The PM Podcast


Project Management for Beginners and Experts

Episode 377: The PMI Educational Foundation (Free) #PMOT

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Suketu Nagrecha
Suketu Nagrecha and Cornelius Fichtner

The Project Management Institute (PMI)® Educational Foundation is a charitable nonprofit organization, with the mission to inspire and empower people to realize their potential and transform their lives and their communities through the use of project management knowledge. This interview with Suketu Nagrecha, PMIEF Chair, was recorded at the 2016 PMI Global Congress in San Diego, California. We discuss:

  • The history of PMIEF
  • How PMIEF can help you with
    - Scholarships
    - Grants
    - Awards
  • How you can apply for a scholarship, grant, or award
  • How your or your employer can become a PMIEF donor
  • And we'll hear a story from a project manager whom PMIEF helped in his career

Full disclosure: My own company is a PMIEF donor and offers certifiication scholarships. If you are thinking of earning a PMI scholarship but lack the means to do so then please visit https://www.project-management-prepcast.com/scholarships to learn how to apply.

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Episode 376: Influence Without Authority (Free)

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Kristine Munson
Kristine Hayes Munson and Cornelius Fichtner

Sharp influencing skills are a major factor that help project managers succeed. This interview about leading without authority with Kristine Hayes Munson was recorded at the 2016 PMI Global Congress in San Diego, California. We discuss her paper and presentation "Getting Things Done -- Influence Without Authority". Here is the abstract:

"Project managers frequently face the dilemma of how to accomplish the project’s work without having any functional authority. Resources assigned to the project report to someone else who writes performance appraisals and recommends pay increases. In addition, resources may be assigned to multiple projects with competing priorities. Project managers must rely on their ability to influence others to get work done in a timely and thorough fashion.

This paper explores the influence cycle and the associated skills to be used by project managers in order to get things done using influence rather than authority. Five stages comprise the influence cycle: (1) prepare, (2) ask, (3) trust, (4) follow up, and (5) give back."

The paper concludes that in regards to leadership without authority "Developing influence skills is hard work and takes conscious effort. The influence cycle is designed to be repeated for each project in order to help us as project managers continue to improve our influence skills. Our success as project managers and the success of our projects depends on our ability to use influence to get things done".

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Episode 375: Project Assumptions (Free)

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Beth Spriggs
Beth Spriggs and Cornelius Fichtner

This interview about assumptions in project management with Beth Spriggs was recorded at the 2016 PMI Global Congress in San Diego, California. We discuss her paper and presentation The Risky Business of Assumptions - Uncovering the Truth, as We Assume It to Be. Here is the abstract:

We all hold assumptions, then make decisions and take actions based on those assumptions without verifying their validity. Worse is when other people hold assumptions about our work and we don’t know it. This can impact user adoption, timeline, scope, quality, and overall project success. Not to mention personal frustration, stress, and desires to pull out one’s own hair.

Unchecked assumptions can be very dangerous in the workplace. We should be mindful of some common assumptions and actively work to uncover assumptions. Doing so will bolster project work and open up new paths for identifying risks.

Some project assumption examples that Beth introduces us to are assuming a project or task is easier or faster than it actually is, assuming priorities are aligned and haven't changed, and assuming who owns, or is responsible for, what.

Very importantly the paper and discussion also include a section about uncovering assumptions. Here, Beth offers us 5 ideas on how to develop and expand our project assumptions list.

PDU Tip

This interview is 23 minutes long. This means that you can "legally" only claim 0.25 PDUs for listening to it. However... if you first listen to the interview and then also read the white paper on which it is based, then you can go ahead and claim 0.50 PMP PDUs!

Click to download the white paper

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Episode 374: Benefit Management for Projects in Action (Premium)

This episode is reserved for subscribers of the Premium Podcast. Learn how to subscribe to the Premium Podcast to access this interview and transcript...

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Dave Davis Project Manager
Dave Davis, PMP, PgMP, PBA

When we last spoke with Dave L Davis (https://www.linkedin.com/in/dldavispmp) we learned about the basics of benefits realisation and benefits realisation management? We discussed the benefits management process and focused on the important aspect of how all of this fits into project benefits management.

Now that we understand the theory of benefits realization management it’s time to take the next step and ask “How do we actually do all of this”. Luckily, Dave has a lot of experience in applied benefit management and he happily agreed to this second interview, so that we can take a look at a case study.

You’ll hear how we project managers are involved in the overall process, the importance of engaging stakeholders, how to ensure alignment between benefit management and organizational strategy, and of course, we will also look at metrics.

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Episode 373: Stuck on your Project? Get Un-Stuck with ProjectManagement.com (Free)

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Danielle Ritter
Dani Ritter and Cornelius Fichtner

This interview with Dani Ritter was recorded at the 2016 PMI Global Congress in San Diego, California. Dani is the Manager, Community Engagement at Project Management Institute and her primary focus is the PM community of www.projectmanagement.com.

In the interview we discuss:

  • Why projectmanagement.com is at the congress
  • Its mission and relationship to PMI
  • How much it costs being a member (spoiler alert: it's free!)
  • The available resources, some of which are free PM templates, white papers, or webinars
  • How the community can help you if you have a PM related question
  • The online games (PM Wars and PM Challenge) that it offers
  • How members can get the most out of the site
  • How anyone can earn free PDUs by reading articles and attending virtual events

PDU Tip

This interview is 14 minutes 46 seconds long. This means that you can "legally" not claim any PDUs at all, because the minimum is 15 minutes for 0.25 PDUs. However... if you first listen to the interview and then also visit the site and spend at least 14 seconds reviewing all the great templates that they offer, then you can go ahead and claim 0.25 PMP PDUs in the technical category!

Click to visit the website

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Episode 372: Stakeholder Analysis Reduces Project Risk (Free)

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David Hillson
Dr. David Hillson and Cornelius Fichtner

This interview with Dr. David Hillson was recorded at the 2016 PMI Global Congress in San Diego, California. We discuss his paper and presentation My Stakeholders are my biggest risk -- help!. Here are two passages from the paper:

Abstract:

Stakeholders can pose a real risk to our projects—at least some of them can—and project managers and their teams need to be aware of this and take steps to control risks to their project that arise from risky stakeholders. As with all risks, stakeholders present both positive as well as negative risks, and we need robust ways of identifying which stakeholders offer opportunities, and where potential threats might lie.

This paper presents a structured way of identifying risky stakeholders based on a best-practice stakeholder analysis model (The Stakeholder Cube). It explains how risky stakeholders might influence a project based on their power, interest, and attitude. Finally, the paper shows how applied emotional literacy can be proactively used to influence risky stakeholders in order to optimize the outcome for the project.

Conclusion:

A risk is any uncertainty that could affect achievement of project objectives. Some of the biggest risks in projects arise from stakeholders, and project managers and their teams need to be aware of these risks and manage them proactively. As with all risks, there are both positive and negative stakeholders, and it is important to identify which stakeholders offer opportunities, and where potential threats might lie—and then act appropriately.

David is retiring and this was his last active participation at a PMI Global Congress in North America. He plans on continuing to attending the EMEA congresses and he has offered to be available for interviews over Skype in the future.

PDU Tip

This interview is 26 minutes long. This means that you can "legally" only claim 0.25 PDUs for listening to it. However... if you first listen to the interview and then also read the white paper on which it is based, then you can go ahead and claim 0.50 PMP PDUs!

Click to download the white paper

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Episode 371: PMBOK 6th Edition (Free)

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This episode is sponsored by The Agile PrepCast. Earn 37 PDUs::
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Cyndi Snyder Dionisio
Cyndi Snyder Dionisio and Cornelius Fichtner

This interview with Cyndi Snyder Dionisio was recorded at the 2016 PMI Global Congress in San Diego, California. We discuss her presentation "PMBOK® Guide -- Sixth Edition: Preview of Coming Attractions". Here is the session description:

A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) is being updated as we speak, and the Sixth Edition will soon be published. This session provides insights into the new edition, including a peek at a new chapter on the role of the project manager. For each Knowledge Area, there are new sections describing key concepts, emerging trends, and tailoring considerations, as well as updates to ensure the PMBOK® Guide remains relevant to most projects, most of the time. Come and find out what to expect!

Cyndi was the chair of the team that worked on updating the guide and in her presentation (as well as in this interview) she introduces us to the publication timeline as well as many of the changes that are coming our way. This was of particular interest to me professionally, because the guide is a central text that we use in our PMP certification training for our students.

More About PMBOK 6

If you would you like to know more about what's coming in the new version, when and how it will be released and when the PMP exam will change to the new standard, then please click to visit our PMBOK 6 article.

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Episode 370: Benefits Realisation for Project Managers. An Introduction. (Free)

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Dave Davis Project Manager
Dave Davis, PMP, PgMP, PBA

Here is the first sentence in Mark Langley’s foreword of the in-depth report Delivering Value - Focus on Benefits during Project Execution, which PMI published as part of it’s Pulse of the Profession Series:

A project is truly successful only if it delivers the benefits an organization envisions.

Mark Langley, PMI President and CEO

At first glance this sentence is awfully obvious to us project managers. But having good and successful benefits realization management and thereby turning this statement into a reality is what makes our job so hard. And rewarding.

So what exactly are benefits realisation and benefits realisation management? Is there a benefits management process and how does all of this fit into project benefits management?

How about if I let Dave L Davis (https://www.linkedin.com/in/dldavispmp) explain it all to you? He has authored one of the articles in that Pulse of the Profession report from where I took the earlier quote. The article is titled “The Benefits Management Journey” and serves as our guide.

We’ll learn what exactly benefits realization management is, review the process of implementing it on projects, meet the people involved, and we’ll even talk about tools.

And at the very end of this episode you’ll learn that even failings project have benefits

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Download The PM Podcast PDU Logfile (XLSX) and track each episode you listen to. The better you document your learning activities the more you can give evidence to PMI that you have indeed subscribed and listened to The PM Podcast during an audit.

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Episode 369: Growing Business Acumen and Business Awareness as a Project Manager (Premium)

This episode is reserved for subscribers of the Premium Podcast. Learn how to subscribe to the Premium Podcast to access this interview and transcript...

Preparing for your Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam? Get PMP exam prep on your phone with The PM PrepCast:
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Bruce Harpham Senior Financial Analyst
Bruce Harpham, PMP

If you are a regular listener to The PM Podcast then you heard me say on many occasions that projects are the mechanism by which companies turn their vision and strategy into a reality. And it is us -- the project managers -- who are asked to bring these projects to a successful completion so that the business needs are met.

This means that we project managers need a great deal of business acumen and business awareness. But many of us are accidental project managers, who at some point in our career found ourselves to be quite shockingly thrust into the position of a project leader. We were taken by surprise back when that happened and now they suddenly tell us that we also need all this awareness?

Well, fear not because Bruce Harpham (https://ca.linkedin.com/in/bruceharpham and http://projectmanagementhacks.com) is here to tell you how to grow your business know-how as a project manager. In this interview we review what foundational skills you need, how to access internal business knowledge from your organization and how to look for information and trends in the broader environment outside the four walls of your company.

Our goal is to help you grow the situational awareness that you need day after day on your projects by adding business awareness.

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Episode 368: How to Make Remote Work Productive (Free)

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Bruce Harpham Senior Financial Analyst
Bruce Harpham, PMP

Does your project rely on virtual teams? If yes, then it means that working remotely is the norm for your project team members.

Are they doing their work effectively and efficiently? And even if you answered yes, there is always room for improvement, right? Good, because how to make remote work productive is our topic today.

Our interview guest is Bruce Harpham (https://ca.linkedin.com/in/bruceharpham and http://projectmanagementhacks.com) who has written about remote workers and how to increase all our effectiveness. He argues that working virtually is simply the reality on many projects and project teams these days.

And so in order to help us improve remote work he recommends the following four steps:

  • Evaluate your current tools
  • Review communication preferences and strengths
  • Analyze the project’s requirements
  • Adjust your communication practices

We’ll go through each of these in detail with lots of examples from his own experience.

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