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Project Management for Beginners and Experts

Episode 156: Productively Lazy Project Communications

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This episode is sponsored by http://www.pm-summit.de:
PM-Summit 2010

Episode 156: Productively Lazy Project CommunicationsIf you have heard Peter Taylor talk about "Productively Lazy Project Management", then you may remember, that projects are thick at the beginning, thin in the middle and then again thick at the end.

But... does this hold true for project communications as well?

After all, we communicate anywhere from 70-90% of our time, so that means that in regards to project communications a project is thick at the beginning, thick in the middle and thick at the end. Or is there a special secret to allow you to have Productively Lazy Project Communications?

Peter Taylor says yes - but it's not a secret. It's simply how you approach things.

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 #156. I am Cornelius Fichtner. This is The Project Management Podcast™, nice to have you with us.

If you have heard Peter Taylor speak about "Productively Lazy Project Management", then you may remember that projects are thick at the beginning, thin in the middle and then again thick at the end. But does this hold true for project communications as well? After all, we communicate anywhere from 70‑90% of our time as a project manager so that should really mean that in regards to project communications, a project is thick at the beginning, thick in the middle and thick at the end again. Or is there a special secret that allows you to have Productively Lazy Project Communications?

Peter Taylor says “yes” but it's not a secret. It's simply how you approach things.

Today's episode of The Project Management Podcast™ is sponsored by the Project Management Congress 2010 in Munich, better known as The PM-Summit 2010. It takes place on November 15th, 2010 and offers 5 presentation tracks with over 35 presentations on topics like Agile versus Classic Project Management, Soft Skills as well as Requirements, Team Leadership and Knowledge Management. The keynote speaker is better known as the Lazy Project Manager. Can you guess who it is? If you cannot guess, then simply listen to the interview that s going to follow and then stop by at www.pm-summit.de for more info.

And now, without any further ado, sit back, get lazy and enjoy the interview.

Podcast Interview

Female voice: The Project Management Podcast’s feature Interview: Today with Peter Taylor, PMO Director at Siemens PLM Software.

Cornelius Fichtner: Hello Peter! Welcome back to The Project Management Podcast™!

Peter Taylor: Thank you! Hello again!

Cornelius Fichtner: Hey, tell me, you call yourself the lazy project manager but I noticed you are traveling a lot around the world, various speaking engagements, PMI congresses, PMI gatherings. There’s nothing lazy about that, all that traveling. What’s up with that?

Peter Taylor: Actually, this is close to my favorite question. A lot of people at the end of my presentations say: “Wow! You’re doing so much. You have a full-time job with Siemens, working to the PMO, you have written a book, you’re writing another book, you’re doing blogs. How do you do it?” and I just turn around and say: “Well, it must work, the lazy project manager --- the art of productive laziness. It must work because I can do this, I can do this.”

Part of it is being organized, is being structured. Part of it is, I am blessed, if you like, in having a job that it doesn’t really matter where I am in the world, the job can still be done to a greater extent. This is as much my hobby as anything else. I love doing it.

Cornelius Fichtner: Alright. One of your next upcoming speaking engagements is at the PMI Summit 2010 in Munich. And it is titled “Clever Achievement of Milestones”. Frankly, it sounds much better in the German original. Now, that Clever Achievement of Milestones doing it cleverly, it sounds completely right up your alley, is that so?

Peter Taylor: Yeah, definitely. I was really looking forward to this one. Because for whatever reason, the Lazy Project Manager is very popular in Germany which is great. This title, as you say, “The Clever Achievement of Milestones,” it is the essence of what I talk about which is achieving those milestones in the most effective manner. It’s working smarter, not necessarily harder. I’m just looking forward to it. I think it’s going to be right on tune with everything else that goes on in that conference.

Cornelius Fichtner: When exactly are you going to be speaking and what will you be talking about?

Peter Taylor: Well, I’m speaking, it’s on the 15th of November this year in Munich and I will be speaking about the art of productive laziness.

Cornelius Fichtner: And what will people learn from the keynote?

Peter Taylor: What I’m trying to convey to people is the essence of the approach, how to be a little bit more lazy in what they do. So I’ll be touching on some of the topics that are actually in the conference itself with a little bit of agile working, how the PMO can help. I’m also be picking up on the…fill out the key themes of the Lazy Project Manager, which is the foundations of the project, how to work smart at the early part of the project to give a good foundation to be successful, what to do in the middle when you’re hopefully being a lazy project manager, the sitting back in the comfy chair a little bit, and certainly what to do at the end of a project about the whole process of lessons learned and the huge value there is in that activity.

Cornelius Fichtner: Okay. We don’t want to giveaway your PM-Summit 2010 keynote presentation here. That’s why we are going to concentrate the rest of our discussion here on Lazy Project Communications is what I’ve titled it. So let me start with this question here: Communication – Communication is one of the most important activities that we have on a project. If you forget to communicate one key point to your team members, you might be out of luck with the complete project. So how can we possibly be lazy in how we communicate?

Peter Taylor: You’re absolutely right! If you do fail to communicate that one key point, you can be in trouble. Now, depending what you rate; it’s anything from 70-80% perhaps more of a project manager’s time is actually spent in some form of communication, right. So what a great place to try and be more productively lazy.

So I’m not saying that you should do bad communication. I’m just saying, you perhaps can do less communication but you can do it in a more effective way. It’s just that it’s putting in the right effort in the right area and you need to communicate those key points for sure but there’s a whole bunch of communication that isn’t critical to the projects and could perhaps be done in certain different way in the more some nice way.

Cornelius Fichtner: Let’s take a look at this through your book, the Lazy Project Manager, because in this you offer some quick tips. And one of them reads as follows: “Avoid communication breakdown through an open and honest, effective communication process that suits each individual.” This doesn’t sound really lazy at all. Once again, this sounds like a lot of work, right? So let’s take a look at how exactly you do this. How do you personally create this kind of process in a productively lazy way?

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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