The PM Podcast


Project Management Interviews for Beginners and Experts

Episode 146: Projects, Programs, Portfolios & Career Advice

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This episode is sponsored by:
The PDU Podcast

Tom MochalAt this year's PMI Atlanta Chapter's Professional Development Day, Tom Mochal, PMP (www.tenstep.com) presented a 2.5 hour long workshop. It was simply called "Successful Project Management" and was based on the premise that the days of the monolithic, complex, multi-year project are over. Tom says that they are just too hard to plan, manage and complete within expectations. He argues that the better approach is to break large initiatives into multiple smaller projects. These smaller projects are easier to manage and they each have a much better chance to be successful.

Of course, if each project was managed independently, the entire initiative would be at risk of losing focus and getting out-of-control. So... Enter the Program.

A program is the organizational structure that is established to coordinate and guide a large initiative made up of multiple related projects. The program provides an umbrella structure over the entire initiative and has the high-level visibility and continuity to guide all of the underlying projects toward overall success.

Shortly after the workshop ended, I had a chance to sit down with Tom and discuss his approach to project, program and portfolio management. And we even manage to sneak in some career advice for you as well.

W also announce a giveaway where one lucky PMP out there is going to win a copy of The PDU Podcast. The PDU Podcast is our sister podcast and you can learn more about it at www.pducast.com. It's a convenient way for PMPs and PgMPs to earn their PDUs through webinars that are delivered to you as a Podcast. Listen to the first 5 minutes of this episode to learn how to participate.

 

Below are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only.

Podcast Introduction

Cornelius Fichtner: This is The Project Management Podcast™. We bring project management to beginners and experts. Find us on the web at www.pm‑podcast.com or send your emails to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Cornelius Fichtner: Hello and welcome to Episode #146. I am Cornelius Fichtner. This is The Project Management Podcast™, nice to have you with us.

At this year's PMI Atlanta Chapter's Professional Development Day, Tom Mochal, PMP from TenStep presented a 2.5 hour long workshop. It was simply called "Successful Project Management" and it was based on the premise that the days of the monolithic, complex, multi-year project are over. Tom says that they are just too hard to plan, manage and complete within expectations. He argues that the better approach is to break a large initiative into multiple smaller projects. And these smaller projects are then easier to manage and they have a much better chance to be successful.

Of course, if each of these projects were managed independently, well then the entire initiative would be at risk of losing focus and getting out-of-control. So, enter the Program.

A program then is the organizational structure that is established to coordinate and guide a large initiative made up of multiple-related projects. The program provides an umbrella structure over the entire initiative and has a very high-level visibility and continuity to guide all of the underlying projects towards success.

Shortly after the workshop ended, I had a chance to sit down with Tom and discuss his approach to Project, Program and Portfolio Management. And we even managed to sneak in some career advice for you as well towards the end.

Before we get to the interview, I have a giveaway to announce, because one lucky PMP out there is going to win a copy of The PDU Podcast™. The PDU Podcast™ is our sister podcast and you can learn more about it at www.pducast.com - that's P-D-U-C-A-S-T dot com. It's a convenient way for PMPs and PgMPs to earn their PDUs through webinars that are delivered to you as a podcast. So just like this podcast here that you are listening to right now, you will receive monthly webinars from The PDU Podcast™. You play them for instance as you drive to work and then you can earn your PDUs in your car. In the first year alone, you will earn over 20 PDUs.

In order to participate and possibly win a copy of The PDU Podcast™, please write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , put "PDU Podcast" into the subject line and make sure that the email reaches me on or before Wednesday, May 26, 2010 and your name will go into the hat. As always, we have one license for our free listeners and one license for our premium listeners

And now...the interview.

Tom Mochal is a PMP and the President of TenStep, Inc., a methodology development, consulting and training company. Tom is the author of a book on managing people called "Lessons in People Management" (BookSurge 2005) and a companion book on project management called "Lessons in Project Management" (Apress 2003). He is also the author of a number of business methodologies including the TenStep Project Management Process, a complete portfolio management process called PortfolioStep, a project lifecycle methodology called LifecycleStep and a framework for building and running a Project Management Office called PMOStep. Tom is a speaker, lecturer, instructor and consultant to companies and organizations around the world.

Enjoy the interview.

Podcast Interview

Female voice: The Project Management Podcast’s feature Interview: Today with Tom Mochal, President of TenStep.

Cornelius Fichtner: Hello Tom. Welcome back to the program.

Tom Mochal: Hi Cornelius. Happy to be here. Well, by the way, welcome to Atlanta.

Cornelius Fichtner: Thank you, thank you! This is the second time that I’m in Atlanta actually.

Tom Mochal: Great!

Cornelius Fichtner: Your workshop this morning here at the PMI Atlanta Professional Development Day, how did it go?

Tom Mochal: I think it went pretty well. We had probably 25 people that attended. It’s always difficult. I had the workshop so for the listeners, there’s a workshop in the morning for 2 hours and 15 minutes and then there’s also individual sessions for an hour.

Cornelius Fichtner: Yeah, that’s one of the individual sessions that I did.

Tom Mochal: Yes! People that come for two hours, you are competing against other people that want to go to individual sessions for an hour each. So we did a 2-hour-and-15-minute workshop and allowed 25 people. So I thought that was a pretty good number and I got a few people afterwards, they come up and said that it was very good and they appreciated it so that’s always a good sign.

Cornelius Fichtner: Excellent! And I spoke to somebody over lunch who said that he had attended your workshop but he would have also have loved to be with mine but he had to make the decision as to where does he want to go.

Tom Mochal: And that one person came to mind, but probably 10 others went to yours.

Cornelius Fichtner: Oh, well!

Tom Mochal: Actually when I went to lunch, I was with a person. I asked: “Well, how did sessions go this morning?” and one person mentioned that she had gone to your session and said it was very good. So that sure is excellent!

Cornelius Fichtner: Oh, wow! Thank you, good! That’s the first feedback I’m getting so I hope that we’re some getting written feedback later on as well. Give me this 30-second description of your workshop. What was it that you did in those 2.5 hours?

Above are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only. Please subscribe to our Premium Podcast to receive a PDF transcript.

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Great information...Thanks!