The PM Podcast


Project Management for Beginners and Experts

Episode 306: A Project Using Building Information Modeling (Free) #PMOT #PMICongress

Play Now:

Joy GumzPam Welty

Joy Gumz Pam Welty

This interview with Joy Gumz (www.projectauditors.com) and Pam Welty (http://www.linkedin.com/pub/pam-welty/25/230/755) was recorded at the PMI Global Congress 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona.

This interview is based on the case study presentation "Managing the Devilish Details: A Case Study on Using BIM". In both the presentation and our interview Joy Gumz and Pam Welty discuss how BIM is being used during the design and construction of an office building in San Francisco, California.

We review what BIM is (according to the BIM Handbook it is "a modeling technology and associated set of processes to produce, communicate, and analyze building models"), we hear how it was used during design and construction, and we discuss why BIM was a major factor in the overwhelming success of the project.

We recommend that you watch the Bim In Action Video before listening to this interview because BIM is a very visual approach. And by spending 2 minutes to watch the video first you will have a better understanding of what BIM can do.

Continue Reading

Write comment (0 Comments)

Episode 305: Managing Stakeholders as Clients (Free)

Play Now:

Mario Trentim and Cornelius Fichtner

This Interview with Mario Trentim was recorded at the PMI Global Congress 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Most of us rely on soft skills, communication and leadership to manage stakeholders. But while they're helpful, interpersonal skills are far from being the sole way to implement stakeholder management. As a matter of fact, there are hard skills in stakeholder management - tools, techniques and methods that should be diligently applied to enhance stakeholder management and improve project success rates.

In this interview we learn how Mario Trentim stopped the trend of failing projects when he was a PMO manager by researching better ways to manage stakeholders. We discuss an effective stakeholder management cycle and framework as well as how to involve stakeholders in value creation.

Encouraged by the success of his findings Mario went ahead and wrote a book about it. It is titled Managing Stakeholders As Clients: Sponsorship, Partnership, Leadership, and Citizenship. He was invited to The PMI Global Congress to present these findings because he won the prestigious Kerzner award, which recognizes a project manager who most emulates the professional dedication and excellence of Dr. Harold Kerzner.

Continue Reading

Write comment (0 Comments)

Episode 304: Planning and Controlling Megaprojects (Free)

Play Now:

Frank Parth

This Interview with Frank Parth was recorded at the PMI Global Congress 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Multiple independent research efforts are beginning to show a more consistent approach to developing successful megaprojects in the areas of oil/gas, mining, and construction projects than have been used in the past. These megaprojects are characterized by high value (often defined as greater than $1 billion), comparably high benefits, years-long timelines, and correspondingly high risk. While there have been great advances in both project management methodologies and in the tools the project managers have available (such as CAD/CAM, BIM, and advanced project scheduling and budgeting tools), the complexity of these multi-year programs has advanced even more quickly than the tools have. Construction and engineering projects have become more complex and ambitious faster than our ability to manage them. Oil/gas/infrastructure projects now are much longer in duration and far more complex than even ten years ago, with concomitant increased risks and failures. The International Energy Agency estimates that meeting global energy needs will require investing more than $17 trillion by 2030.

In this interview Frank Parth (http://www.projectauditors.com) looks at the classical project management approaches that focus on delivering the final product within cost and schedule constraints once the project enters the execution phase. We talk about multiple lines of research that show that the ultimate success of a complex program has very little dependency on how the program is managed once the construction phase begins and far greater dependency on what happens before that phase begins. If a $10 billion dollar refinery runs late and over budget, the failure has started long before the project schedule was created or the engineering/procurement/construction (EPC) process began. All of the serious research in this area shows that the only part of the effort where traditional project management approaches make sense in the later stages, the engineering and EPC stages. Earlier phases take a different approach to ensure success.

Furthermore we discuss an overview of current project management practices; current research on megaprojects; development stages for efforts on this scale; and some recommendations.

Continue Reading

Write comment (0 Comments)

Episode 303: Agile Transformation Lessons from an Ancient Greek (Free)

Play Now:

Brian Irwin and Cornelius Fichtner

This Interview with Brian Irwin was recorded at the PMI Global Congress 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona.

While organizations might find it easier to first address the processes and tools they will use when they’re delivering agile projects, it is individuals and their interactions that ultimately determine the level of enduring agile success an organization is able to realize. The change required to enable long-term agility is cultural in nature. For change to occur, the beliefs and values held by individuals in the organization must be examined.

Organizational change cannot be mandated through top-down edicts and policy. An environment that fosters both individual and organizational transformation must be created. One way to help individuals through a change of this magnitude is through the use of deep questioning which is born out of genuine curiosity.

In his presentation at the congress (and also in our interview) Brian Irwin outlines a method of critical thinking through the use of Socratic questioning to enable individual, guided discovery and provides an example of its use.

Continue Reading

Write comment (0 Comments)

Episode 302: Con Artists, Swindlers & Project Managers (Free)

Play Now:

Jim DePiante and Cornelius Fichtner

This Interview with Jim DePiante was recorded at the PMI Global Congress 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona.

If securities dealers sold securities the way we project managers sell our projects, the authorities would throw those securities dealers in jail.

A project has all the characteristics of any investment. There is the asset itself, the price, the return and the risk associated with the return. How is it then that project managers routinely “sell” investments without knowing the price, nor what the asset or its return will be, all with a straight face and without going to jail!?

Projects must be understood as investments. It’s not enough to say that a project is like an investment. A project is an investment, strictly speaking. In this interview, we review the four characteristics of an investment/project.

Continue Reading

Write comment (0 Comments)

Episode 301: How to Manage the Risks You Didn’t Know You Were Taking (Free)

Play Now:

David Hillson and Cornelius Fichtner

This Interview with David Hillson was recorded at the PMI Global Congress 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona.

When most people talk about risk in projects, they are thinking only about uncertain future events that would have a negative effect on achievement of project time and cost objectives. However the definition of risk in the risk chapter of A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge includes much more than mere threats to the project schedule or budget, and other risk standards agree. If we limit our view of risk to look at only one part of the risk picture, we will not be proactively managing all the risks that might affect the success of our project, and we will end up taking risks without knowing it.

In this interview with David Hillso we explore the other types of risk that are usually missed from the typical risk process. Drawing on leading thinking and current best practice, we explore the full range of project risks that need to be managed, starting from the proto-definition of risk as “uncertainty that matters”.

Risks that matter include those with positive effects as well as those with negative effects (opportunities as well as threats). They can also affect any project objective, not just time or cost.

In addition, uncertainty in projects arises from much more than future uncertain events (“stochastic risks”). Other sources of uncertainty include variability (“aleatoric risk”), ambiguity (“epistemic risk”), and emergence (“ontological risk”).

With illustrative examples of each type of risk, and practical response strategies for managing them, this interview helps us to identify all types of risk that might affect our projects, and offers ways for us to tackle them effectively.

Continue Reading

Write comment (0 Comments)

Episode 300: Ask Me Anything (Free)

Play Now:

300 Episodes of The Project Management Podcast
Click to view the mosaic...

Episode 300! Who would have thought back in 2005 when I bought myself a cheap Logitech desk microphone to record the first episode that this little hobby of mine would take all of us to this point here. I certainly had no such expectations.

And for this 300th episode I decided to turn the tables. This is our very first “Ask Me Anything” episode. So I reached out to ten project managers who were guests previously here on the show, and I asked them to send me their question. The question could either be personal or project management related.

And because I contacted ten project managers and asked each of them to send me one question I did of course end up with 15 questions. Talk about scope creep!

Here are my guests and their questions:

Continue Reading

Write comment (0 Comments)

Episode 299: How We All Benefit from PMI's Academic and Educational Programs (Free)

Play Now:

Michael DePrisco and Cornelius Fichtner

This Interview with Michael DePrisco was recorded at the PMI Global Congress 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Generally speaking, the Project Management Institute (PMI) focuses it's work on three markets: Practitioners, Organizations and Academic. Michael DePrisco is Vice President Academic and Educational Programs for PMI and so our discussion centers around the Academic Market.

In the course of this discussion we touch upon The PMI Education Foundation (http://pmief.org/), PMI's large academic research programs, the Global Accreditation Center, and PMI's involvement in academic outreach. Michael closes the interview by reviewing a number of the benefits that PMI creates through all of these programs.

My personal big takeaway from this discussion was that even though "Academic" doesn't sound like the "sexiest" of PMI's three markets it is the one that's at the cutting edge of project management. Through research programs, global accreditation and outreach PMI creates value for all practitioners in the world.

Continue Reading

Write comment (0 Comments)

Episode 298: Why Some Teams Flop, While Other Teams Rock! (Free)

Play Now:

Joseph Flahiff and Cornelius Fichtner

This Interview with Joseph Flahiff was recorded at the PMI Global Congress 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona.

No other single factor has as much predictive power of the success or failure of your projects and programs than the health of your teams. Today more and more work is being performed by teams, both in operations and in new service/product development. But what exactly is a team? What distinguishes great teams? Is it possible to create great teams, or do they just happen when you are lucky?

This interview will explore these concepts and help you with specific suggestions to transform your team into a team that rocks. You will learn that teams that rock have three things in common: a sense of safety, mutual accountability for goals, and they are necessarily interdependent. Teams are the engine that gets most work done in business today, and great teams can make your entire organization grow.

By the end of the discussion you will see, that you too can create a team that rocks if you will focus your efforts on creating a context where teams that rock can flourish. In particular we discuss creating a team culture that encourages collaboration not just cooperation, cultivating a sense of safety, encouraging team members to know each other, and by creating a more distributed decision making model subtly.

While shifting the culture of a team is not easy, it is imperative to do if you want to create a team that rocks.

Continue Reading

Write comment (0 Comments)

Episode 297: Still No Time to Manage Project Requirements (Free)

Play Now:

Elizabeth Larson and Cornelius Fichtner

This Interview with Elizabeth Larson was recorded at the PMI Global Congress 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Many of us know that poor requirements management is a major source of failed projects. But who has time to manage requirements? Elizabeth's presentation "Still No Time to Manage Requirements - My Project Is Later Than Ever" and our interview answers frequently asked questions about requirements management.

  • Why should we manage requirements?
  • What is the definition of requirements management?
  • Do we really need a requirements management plan?
  • How does business analysis play into requirements management?
  • Is business analysis just a synonym for requirements management?

Elizabeth also dispels common misconceptions and provides tips for managing requirements when you don’t have the time. She gives us three time saving techniques for requirements elicitation and management.

Continue Reading

Write comment (0 Comments)

Episode 296: Five PM Competencies to Successfully Drive Strategic Initiatives (Free)

Play Now:

Jack Ferraro t

This Interview with Jack Ferraro was recorded at the PMI Global Congress 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Project leaders are needed to lead and sustain strategic efforts by creating experiences that initiate the transformation of people - starting with themselves - then systems and, ultimately, the organization. The qualities that make the strategic project leader unique are efficiency, customization, foresight, and connectedness.

In our interview Jack Ferraro explains the five competencies that a project leader needs to lead strategic initiatives. These competencies enable building and managing relationships in the organization; using techniques to properly advise executives, sponsors, and stakeholders to increase to executive work efficiency; and driving good decision making that achieves goals that enable organizational strategy. We also discuss the fact that the role of the "traditional" project manager does not exist in many Agile frameworks/methodologies, and how becoming a strategic project leader is an alternative career option for us all.

The strategic project leader requires courage, commitment, and alignment of convictions and purpose to succeed and to fill the talent gap. The interview takes you through the self-directed leadership steps to achieve this alignment and take your first action to begin transforming yourself into strategic project leaders.

Continue Reading

Write comment (2 Comments)

Episode 295: PMI Certifications and their Value for Your Project Management Career (Free)

Play Now:

Frank Schettini and Cornelius Fichtner

This Interview with Frank Schettini was recorded at the PMI Global Congress 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Frank Schettini is Vice President of Information Technology for the Project Management Institute (PMI). But our interview has nothing to do with IT whatsoever. Instead, we focus on PMI's suite of professional certifications and their value to project managers in their careers.

We begin by discussing the 30th anniversary of the Project Management Professional (PMP) credential and if the PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) will ever overtake the PMP certificate. Then we switch gears and look at the talent triangle (which encompasses your technical skills, leadership and business acumen) and how the trend for "fast, online PDUs" is a bit counter to the central concept of the triangle. We close our discussion by taking a detailed look at both the Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP) and the PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA).

Continue Reading

Write comment (1 Comment)

Episode 294: The PM Role in a Lean and Agile World (Free)

Play Now:

Cornelius and Cornelius

This Interview with Dave Cornelius was recorded at the PMI Global Congress 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona.

The project manager is a highly skilled knowledge worker who has received rigorous training and knowledge in the process of achieving a globally recognized certification. At the same time, in the lean and agile world, the project manager does not have an official role. The project manager’s role is distributed between the agile team members.

However, the knowledge and skills obtained through certification is transferable in the lean and agile organization. In a competitive business climate, all available brainpower must be present on deck to enable the organization to achieve enterprise agility and scale to meet customer, compliance, financial markets, internal opportunities, and competitive demands.

Dave Cornelius' paper, presentation and our interview evaluate the project manager role using the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) practice and centers on PM participation in the lean and agile transformation as a strategic, leading, or lagging PM.

Continue Reading

Write comment (0 Comments)