The PM Podcast


Project Management for Beginners and Experts

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

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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.

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Episode 300: Ask Me Anything (Free)

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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:

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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).

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

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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.

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Episode 293: 5Saturdays - Teaching Life Skills using Agile Project Management (Free)

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Students from 5Saturdays.org

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

5 Saturdays (http://www.5saturdays.org) is a program created to support non-profits and other organizations with outreach initiatives into the local community. It teaches life-skills to high school students using project management approaches from the Agile movement.

The program emerged from curriculum created by Dr. Dave Cornelius while partnering with Holman Community Development Corporation in Los Angeles to introduce technology as a profession to urban high school students.

The program achieved success, as students were able to explore career-focused areas such as information technology (IT) and grasp life skills that included: creative and critical thinking, effective communications, Agility using Scrum and Kanban, and root cause analysis using "5 Whys".

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Episode 292: Tap Your Interpersonal Skills to Shine as a Project Manager (Free)

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Kristy Tan Neckowicz , Cornelius Fichtner and Dev Ramcharan

This Interview with Kristy Tan Neckowicz and Dev Ramcharan was recorded at the PMI Global Congress 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona.

In their presentation, Kristy Tan Neckowicz (http://www.linkedin.com/in/kristytanpmp) and Dev Ramcharan reviewed harnessing leadership skills necessary to advance your PM career and shine in your role, how to hone your interpersonal and communications skills to manage teams and stakeholders and discussed ways to realize the critical importance of coaching and mentoring in your career, to demonstrate value to your organization.

And in our interview we open the presentation slides and review the following parts: Why you should care about interpersonal skills, behavior styles and motivators, emotional intelligence, the emotional wake, organizational culture and politics, and we close with the all important look at conflict management and coaching.

Please visit http://yourtalentatwork.com to learn more about Kristy and http://www.arouca-coach.com for Dev.

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Episode 291: Being Agile in a Waterfall World (Free)

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Joseph Flahiff & Cornelius Fichtner

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

During the conference, Joseph handed out hundreds of buttons that read "Agile is not a Noun". Instead, he says during the interview, Agile is a state of being. And that was one of the reasons why he wrote his new book Being Agile in a Waterfall World: A practical Guide for Complex Organizations.

In the interview we focus a lot on the "Mental Shifts" section from the book. You will learn about Command & Control, Competitive Advantages, Optimized Systems and also Why Agility is important.

Joseph closes the interview by giving us his top 3 tips on how to more forward in being Agile. For those who want more in-depth information, why don't you participate in one of Joseph's upcoming classes with the same title as the book: Being Agile in a Waterfall World: A practical Guide for Complex Organizations.. (We are a compensated affiliate and receive a commission if you click and register for the class.)

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Episode 290: Positive Leadership in Project Management (Free)

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Frank Saladis & Cornelius Fichtner

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

In his congress paper, Frank describes Positive Leadership in Project Management as follows:

Despite the effort placed on planning, coordinating, and integrating the many components of a project, the project manager’s typical day is filled with challenge, Each day includes an unending stream of email, deadline issues, some frustrating events (and people), conflicting view points from stakeholders, and demands for changes at very inopportune times. We can also find within a typical day in the life of a project, some successes and victories (and maybe an occasional thank-you or other form of recognition. At the end of the day it is sometimes difficult to remember what actually happened and what was accomplished. The activities and accomplishments of the day are often blurred by the thoughts associated with the preparations and steps that must be taken to prepare for and begin another set of adventures just waiting for their chance to occur at the start of the next morning.

Dealing with this intense mode of operation on a regular basis places a very heavy demand on the abilities of a project manager and there is a real need to find some way to balance the competing elements that go along with the job. This balance extends to one’s personal and family life also. The question then becomes “How can we (as project managers) find that balance?” In the book, First Things First by Roger A. Merrill and Stephen Covey, a suggestion is offered: “Know the direction in which you intend to go and your goals on a personal and professional level.” In other words, a clear sense of direction should be defined for your personal life as well as your chosen profession. To a practicing project manager, that advice should sound very familiar. In fact, it is essential for project success. Without direction and a set of objectives, how will we ever know where we are going? How can we lead a team if we don’t have goals to guide ourselves and our team? There is no question that goals and purpose must be defined upfront, refined, and then communicated with high level of energy and enthusiasm. Without this clarity and sense of purpose, we cannot effectively lead our team, our organization, or our own lives. This is where positive leadership becomes a critical factor.

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Episode 289: Optimize Your Project Management Career - Part 3 - Late Career & Consulting (Free)

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Dev Ramcharan, PMP

This is the third and final of three interviews in which Dev Ramcharan (http://ca.linkedin.com/pub/dev-ramcharan-pmp/1/677/750) from AROUCA Career Coaching (http://www.arouca-coach.com/) helps you to optimize and boost your career. In this interview we focus on the late career phase and also touch upon consulting.

Allow me to repeat my recommendation on listening to this series of interviews one final time: You will get the most out of this series of interviews if you listen to them in sequence, no matter if you are currently in your early career, mid career or late career. This is because each of the three interviews contains many nuggets of wisdom applicable to any career stage. And of course... Dev’s Career Optimization Package can be found on The PM Podcast website. Just go to www.pm-podcast.com/career and download the free version first.

In this final interview you learn that the late career is really the peak of your experience, knowledge and wisdom. As well as the money you earn. But at the same time, this is also the moment to think back to the time when you started out in your career, and now you need to help out and mentor an eager young project manager at the start of his or her career.

The one unexpected topic that you will also hear about is adversity in the sense of getting laid off or overlooked for a promotion during any of the stages in your career. Dev shows you that you can use adversity as your ally to move your career forward. And finally Dev closes with his suggestions for a structured approach to personal growth.

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Episode 288: Optimize Your Project Management Career - Part 2 - Mid Career (Free)

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Dev Ramcharan, PMP

This is the second of three interviews in which Dev Ramcharan (http://ca.linkedin.com/pub/dev-ramcharan-pmp/1/677/750) from AROUCA Career Coaching (http://www.arouca-coach.com/) helps you to optimize and boost your career. In this interview we focus on the mid-career phase, which starts about 2-3 years into your life as a project manager.

In this interview you learn that there is an early mid-career and also a late mid-career, and that both require a different optimization approach. We talk about when and how often you should update the Career Optimization Package and how to perform a career risk assessment.

As part of this interview, Dev also recommends the following two books (Amazon affiliate links):

My recommendation is still the same: To get the most out of this you should listen to all three interviews in sequence, no matter if you are currently in your early career, mid career or late career. And don’t forget to get Dev’s Career Optimization Package from The PM Podcast website. Just go to www.pm-podcast.com/career and download the free version first.

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Episode 287: Optimize Your Project Management Career - Part 1 - Early Career (Free)

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Dev Ramcharan, PMPIf you are listening to this podcast, then you are most likely either someone who wants to start a career in project management or you are already working in the project management field and you want to advance in your career. Well… you have come to the right place. This is the first of three interviews that will help you optimize and boost your project management career.

My guest is Dev Ramcharan (http://ca.linkedin.com/pub/dev-ramcharan-pmp/1/677/750). Dev is not only a PMP certified project manager, but he is also a professional career coach with AROUCA Career Coaching (http://www.arouca-coach.com/) in Canada. That means he not only understands the profession of project management but he also has the coaching background to guide you and me into successful project management careers! And my oh my is he good!

We have recorded three interviews and each focuses on one stage of your career. The stages are early career, mid career and late career. My recommendation is that you listen to all three interviews in sequence, irrespective of your current career stage. So no matter if you are an absolute newcomer to project management or if you are a highly respected and senior VP of project management… you should listen to all three interviews starting with this one here.

Also, Dev has developed the Career Optimization Package for you. This package is just over 30 pages long and contains templates, workbooks, tools and plans to help you review, optimize, plan and boost your project management career. You can download this package for free in both PDF and Microsoft Office format from The PM Podcast website. Just go to www.pm-podcast.com/career. You’ll see that there is a 32 page long free version (that’s the one we talk about during the interview) and there is also a premium version.

The premium version is a much more complete package, because it contains additional career tools, checklists and workbooks. So compared to the free version, the premium gives you a comprehensive, full career-life-cycle coverage with a powerful toolset. We are launching this  premium version initially at the price of $29.99 but we are also giving away FOUR copies. As always… two copies are reserved for our Premium listeners and two copies are open for grabs. Please go to www.facebook.com/pmpodcast and participate in the giveaway. We will draw a winner at the end of October 2014.

And with all that out the way here's an overview of our first interview with Dev Ramcharan: We start out by looking at the benefits that a career in project management gives you, discuss the key factors and skills that will help you make your project management career a success, then we move on to discussing how to optimize your early career and we close the interview by looking at how to use the Career Optimization Package.

Note: During the interview I say that the free package is about 50 pages long, but the correct number is 32 pages. I'm sorry! I was looking at the wrong file. My mistake!

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