The PM Podcast


Project Management for Beginners and Experts

Episode 400: Mindfulness for Project Managers #PMOT

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Margaret Meloni
Margaret Meloni, MBA, PMP

Becoming better at project management and by extension also becoming a better project manager does not necessarily mean learning about and then also implementing the latest tools, techniques or methodologies. Instead, it can simply mean that you start paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment and nonjudgmentally. That’s mindfulness.

Mindfulness as a business practice and leadership tool has seen a significant increase in press coverage lately. It originally started out as a means for improving yourself and your interactions with others but you will find that many leadership articles in the large business journals will make reference to it.

And so we are very glad to welcome Margaret Meloni (www.margaretmeloni.com) to look at Mindfulness for Project Managers with us today. We will give you a definition, discuss the benefits, but most importantly we go through a number of familiar project management situations to see how mindfulness will help us improve and become better leaders.

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Episode 399: Situational Project Management

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Oliver Lehmann
Oliver F. Lehmann, MSc., PMP

The one thing I really like about project management is how unpredictable my days can sometimes be. I come to the office in the morning with a clear plan of what we are going to do today, and then something happens.

Maybe something breaks, a critical resource is unexpectedly not available today, or -- even more normal -- the customer wants a change and he wants it now. I love this challenge, because as a project manager I now have to re-evaluate the situation and change my plans accordingly. That is situational project management.

However, there's more to situational project management than just responding with a knee-jerk reaction. These times demand situational awareness, skill and finesse from us project managers.

And so I’m very happy to welcome Oliver Lehmann (www.oliverlehmann.com -- www.linkedin.com/in/oliverlehmann/) who literally wrote the book on this topic. The book is called Situational Project Management the dynamics of success and failure.

PDU Tip

Most of this interview is on technical aspects, but a little over 15 minutes are on leadership topics. That is why you can claim 0.50 'technical' and 0.25 'leadership' PDUs.

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Episode 398: Coaching, Mentoring, Training & Motivational Techniques

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Susanne Madsen
Susanne Madsen, Author

Every project that you and I have ever and will ever manage depends on people’s skills.

The sponsor relies on you as the project manager to successfully lead the team, you rely on the team to have what it takes to create all the deliverables at the required quality, and the end user -- the recipient of what you and the team deliver -- must have the skills to use the product you finally give them.

But what if the skills don’t match up to the tasks at hand? What if a team member is lacking a skill? What if the technology is so new and different that your users will have a hard time with it? The answer is of course coaching, mentoring and training.

And there is no one better than Susanne Madsen (www.susannemadsen.com -- www.linkedin.com/in/susanne-madsen-1134312) who coaches and mentors project managers into project leaders to come on the program and help us understand these three similar yet different activities.

PDU Tip

This interview is 42:34 minutes long. This means that you can "legally" only claim 0.50 PDUs for listening to it, because in order to claim 0.75 PDUs the interview must be 45 minutes long. However... if you first listen to the interview and then also read the following article from Susanne about coaching and project management, then you can go ahead and claim 0.75 PDUs!

Click to read the article

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Episode 397: Lessons Learned Management Techniques

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Elizabeth Harrin
Elizabeth Harrin, FAPM

There is no doubt in my mind that you have heard the term lessons learned before.

It is mentioned extensively throughout A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, (PMBOK® Guide), I teach it as part of my PMP training lessons and my favorite search engine gives me over 51,000 results for the search term “lessons learned in project management”. In fact, as an experienced project manager you have probably participated or even chaired one or two lessons learned meetings yourself on your own projects.

But let’s consider the bigger picture around lessons learned. What process do we follow? What management techniques are there for lessons learned? Are all documented lessons learned equally valuable?

These questions need answers. And so I’m happy to welcome Elizabeth Harrin (www.girlsguidetopm.com -- www.linkedin.com/in/elizabethharrin/ - ) who has the answers for us!

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Episode 396: More Projects Are Using Agile Than Ever

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Joseph Flahiff
Joseph Flahiff, PMP, PMI-ACP

Are you using an adaptive life cycle to manage your projects? You know, something that falls under the general umbrella of Agile like Scrum, XP, Kanban or DSDM?

And if your answer to this question is yes, then think about when exactly you started using these approaches, because that date says a lot about you and your organization. If you started 20 or more years ago then you can consider yourself to be an innovator, but if you started just recently you are a laggard. (And just in case you are wondering, I would put myself in the middle with what is called the "early majority".)

But no matter when you started your journey into Agile it might be interesting to know how many of us out there are actually using Agile on our projects. And according to Joseph Flahiff (www.whitewaterprojects.com -- www.linkedin.com/in/josephflahiff) there are more than you would think.

How many more? He doesn’t have an exact number, but then again nobody knows how many waterfall-based projects there are either. However, studies done on this subject and a number of other indicators lead him to believe that Agile is now the new normal. The number of Agile projects is massive, which is just one more reason to also get started with your PMI-ACP Exam Prep

PDU Tip

This interview is 28:59 minutes long. This means that you can "legally" only claim 0.25 PDUs for listening to it, because in order to claim 0.50 PDUs the interview must be 30 minutes long. However... if you first listen to the interview and then also read the article on which it is based, then you can go ahead and claim 0.50 PDUs!

Click to read the article

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Episode 395: How to Pass the PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® Exam

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Agile exam prep on your smart phone:
Agile PrepCast for PMI-ACP Exam Prep

Yazmine Darcy
Yazmine Darcy, MBA, PMP, PMI-ACP, CSM

This is another episode where I’m asking: Are you currently studying or thinking about studying for your PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® Exam? Wonderful. That’s what we are going to be talking about.

In this interview you are going to meet Yazmine Darcy (https://www.linkedin.com/in/yazminedarcy). Yazmine is not only one of my students and coworkers, she is also the project manager in charge of developing the sample exam questions that we use in our PMI-ACP Simulator. And so, if you not only want to know how to prepare for your own PMI-ACP Exam but also want to hear about all the work that goes into creating one of the training tools you could be using, then you have come to the right place.

As you know, the rules of all Project Management Institute (PMI)® exams are such that we are not allowed to discuss specific questions from the exam. But we can discuss her overall experience, general thoughts on the process and her recommendations to you. So you can look forward to an experience and tip filled interview on how to prepare for and pass your PMI-ACP Exam.

Full disclosure: Yazmine Darcy and Cornelius Fichtner both work for OSP International LLC, makers of The Agile PrepCast and The PMI-ACP Exam Simulator.

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Episode 394: Project Management is Hard. Complexity Makes it Even Harder. (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...

For your Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam use PMP exam prep on your phone with The PM PrepCast:
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Jordan Kyriakidis
Jordan Kyriakidis, CEO of QRA Corp

One thing that every project manager notices over the course of her or his career is this: We begin with managing relatively simple projects. Here we learn about the theory of project management, its good practices and how to apply them. And as we get better we are assigned to bigger and more important projects.

But in recent years you may have begun to notice that even though your projects may not have become any bigger their complexity has never the less steadily been increasing. In other words, if you took a project you managed 5 years ago and repeated it today in exactly the same way then the one thing that would definitely change is the complexity caused by an increase in interdependencies.

And that’s where Jordan Kyriakidis (https://www.linkedin.com/in/jordankyriakidis/) and I are starting this interview. We are exploring why complexity is increasing, whether it is actually real or just a perceived problem, and what you can do about it.

PDU Tip

This interview is 29 minutes long. This means that you can "legally" only claim 0.25 PDUs for listening to it, because in order to claim 0.50 PDUs the interview must be 30 minutes long. However... if you first listen to the interview and then also read Jordan's related white paper, then you can go ahead and claim 0.50 PMP PDUs!

Click to download the white paper

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Episode 393: How to Pass the PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® Exam

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Agile exam prep on your smart phone:
Agile PrepCast for PMI-ACP Exam Prep

Stanislav Podoxin
Stas Podoxin, MBA, PMP, PMI-ACP, CSM

Are you currently studying or thinking about studying for your PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® Exam? Wonderful. That’s what we are going to be talking about.

In this interview you are going to meet Stas Podoxin (https://www.linkedin.com/in/staspodoxin). Stas is not only one of my students but also one of my coworkers. And one of the interesting differences in how he prepared for the PMI-ACP exam is the fact that he took an Agile course at a university that helped him get a better understanding of the Agile mindset. And so by the time he got around to using our own online training course he was already quite far ahead on the curve.

As you know, the rules of all Project Management Institute (PMI)® exams are such that we are not allowed to discuss specific questions from the exam. But we can discuss Stas's overall experience, how he did his PMI-ACP Exam Prep, his general thoughts on the process and his recommendations to you. So you can look forward to an experience and tip filled interview on how to prepare for and pass your PMI-ACP Exam.

Full disclosure: Stas Podoxin and Cornelius Fichtner both work for OSP International LLC, makers of The Agile PrepCast and The PMI-ACP Exam Simulator.

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Episode 392: Face it. Your Project Requirements are Poorly Written! (Free)

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For your Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam use PMP exam prep on your phone with The PM PrepCast:
The PM PrepCast for the PMP Exam

Jordan Kyriakidis
Jordan Kyriakidis, CEO of QRA Corp

My goal of having these show notes on the website is to give a quick and concise introduction of the podcast topic and to tell you what you can expect to learn from it. Sometimes I am right on point and sometimes I’m a little more vague.

And tomorrow, when you are back at the office working on your project requirements your goal will be to correctly and succinctly describe the requirements for that project your company is going to launch. The big difference here is that your descriptions have to be 100% on point. You cannot afford to be vague, because requirements that can be misinterpreted is a sure-fire way to doom your project. So what can you do to improve your requirements?

The problem of poorly written, ambiguous, and inconsistent requirements is something that Jordan Kyriakidis (https://www.linkedin.com/in/jordankyriakidis/) has thought about a lot. And his answer to this problem is not only a list of “21 Top Tips for Writing an Exceptionally Clear Requirements Document” (https://qracorp.com/write-clear-requirements-document/) but also to use computing power. Yes, there is actually a software that will scan your requirements document and tell you what's wrong with it.

But we’re not going to talk about the software much, because that would be pretty boring here on an audio podcast. Instead, Jordan and I look at the root causes of poorly written requirements and then we introduce you to the most important 6 out his 21 tips. In that way you can start using your brain power to write better requirements.

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Episode 391: My Agile Exam Application Got Audited (Free)

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Agile PrepCast for PMI-ACP Exam Prep

Jonathan Hebert
Jonathan Hebert, PMP, PMI-ACP

Are you by any chance thinking of getting your certification as a PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)®? Great. Because that certification is our topic.

Today you are going to meet Jonathan Hebert (https://www.linkedin.com/in/jonathan-hebert-pmp-csm-pmi-acp-0712471) who not only passed his PMI-ACP® Exam, but he also got audited in the process. So he has a story to tell!

As you know, the rules of all Project Management Institute (PMI)® exams are such that we are not allowed to discuss specific questions from the exam. But we can discuss Jonathan's overall experience, how he got his PMI-ACP Exam Prep, his general thoughts on the process and his recommendations to you. So you can look forward to an experience and tip filled interview on how to prepare for and pass your PMI-ACP Exam.

Full disclosure: Jonathan Hebert and Cornelius Fichtner both work for OSP International LLC, makers of The Agile PrepCast and The PMI-ACP Exam Simulator.

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Episode 390: Conflict Resolution on Multicultural Projects (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...

For your Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam use PMP training on your phone with The PM PrepCast:
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Karin Bruennemann
Karin Brünnemann, PMP

Are you currently managing a multicultural project?

Well, no matter if you answered “yes” or “no” to this, today’s interview with Karin Brünnemann (https://www.linkedin.com/in/karinbrunnemann) is for you. We will look at what culture is, how cultural differences can lead to conflict, and how culture affects the various dimension of conflict on projects that we learned about when we last spoke to Karin. Most importantly, we will of course also discuss approaches for conflict resolution.

So… if you answered “Yes” to my questions “Are you currently managing a multicultural project?”, then you are going to learn a lot about culture, conflict and what to do about it.

And if you answered “No”, then you will learn that your answer was in fact wrong and that you should have answered “Yes” in the first place. You are in fact managing a multi-cultural project even if you don't think you are.

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Episode 389: Conflict Resolution in Project Management (Free)

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Karin Bruennemann
Karin Brünnemann, PMP

Conflict in project management is inevitable. In fact they say that the only way to not have a project management conflict is to have a one-person project. And even then, some people have a tendency to argue with themselves.

Karin Brünnemann (https://www.linkedin.com/in/karinbrunnemann) recently gave a presentation on the topic of Managing Conflict in Projects to the Project Management Institute (PMI)® Slovakia Chapter. And because it was such a success she suggested that we bring it to you as well!

Karin’s presentation and our interview is full of solid advice and best practices you can apply to the conflicts you will inevitably encounter. We will discuss: Definition & Characteristics of Conflict

  • Conflict in the Context of Project Management
  • How to Analyse a Conflict
  • How to Manage Conflict

A big part of the interview is actually focused on that last part -- the actual project management conflict resolution. We are, however, not going to talk about conflict resolution on multicultural projects. That’s reserved for next week.

Presentation Slide Deck

Karin has made her presentation slides available for listeners of The PM Podcast. Download the file here:

Click to download the presentation...

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Episode 388: Implementing Project Portfolio Management (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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Jamal Moustafaev
Jamal Moustafaev, MBA, PMP

In this second interview with Jamal Moustafaev (https://ca.linkedin.com/in/jmoustafaev we take what we learned about the project portfolio management process and discuss how to implement it in our organizations.

We look at PPM reviews, internal resource cost, the importance of our mission and strategy, how involved c-level executives need to be, a charter for portfolio management, how the halo effect can skew your project selection methods, and how to improve the quality of project proposals.

All of these ideas are of course taken from his book Project Portfolio Management in Theory and Practice: Thirty Case Studies from around the World (Best Practices and Advances in Program Management) with the intent of giving you practical tips on how to implement project portfolio management in your own organization.

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Episode 387: Project Portfolio Management (Free)

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Jamal Moustafaev
Jamal Moustafaev, MBA, PMP

Project Portfolio Management and the realization that strategic alignment of all projects within an organization is crucial are both gaining ground. And this realization also emphasizes the need for having solid project selection methods.

But how exactly do you do all of this? The number of books that focus on practical advice for implementing a strategic project portfolio management process is quite small. Lucky for us that a new one with exactly that focus has just been published

The new book is titled Project Portfolio Management in Theory and Practice: Thirty Case Studies from around the World (Best Practices and Advances in Program Management) written by Jamal Moustafaev (https://ca.linkedin.com/in/jmoustafaev. In our discussion, we answer these questions:

  • What is project portfolio management?
  • What are the three pillars of strategic PPM?
  • What are some project selection models that support a company's strategy?
  • How do we achieve strategic alignment?

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