The PM Podcast


Project Management Interviews for Beginners and Experts

Episode 158: Customize And Contextualize Your Project Communications

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This episode is sponsored by http://www.pm-summit.de:
PM-Summit 2010
Listen to the "Gizmo" Interview in this episode to learn more about our sponsor!

Mark PhillipsHow would you feel, if you only had 140 characters (just like on Twitter) to give a status report to each of your project stakeholders? At first, you'd probably complain that 140 characters isn't enough and then you'd put a lot of effort into customizing the 140 characters you have to the person receiving it. Your internal sponsor would receive a different Message than your external customer and the message would look even different for your project oversight committee chair.

Don't worry... we aren't going to ask you to use Twitter on your projects. In fact, my interview with Mark Phillips, Lead Evangelist of Vertabase, only briefly mentions Twitter and then we discuss why and how you should both customize and contextualize all your project communications. We look at the role we PMs play in this, what skills we need and what you can do to improve the contextualization of your project communications.

We also have a correction to make. After the Gizmo interview with Jason Westland about projectmanager.com in Episode 154  we announced that we were giving away 2 licenses of their web based tool projectmanager.com. Well... it turns out that we misunderstood. The 2 licenses are not for projectmanager.com but instead they are for their PM Methodology called MPMM. So... therefore.. our winners Sandy Koppelmann and Oke Abiodun will receive a license to MPMM in the coming days. Sorry about the mixup!.

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

How would you feel, if you only had 140 characters, you know just like on Twitter, to give a status report to each of your project stakeholders? Well at first, I bet you'd probably complain that 140 characters isn't enough and then you'd put a lot of effort into customizing these 140 characters that you have to the person receiving it making it absolutely perfect for you recipient. Your internal sponsor would receive a different tweet than your external customer and the message would look even different for your project oversight committee chair.

Don't worry, we aren't going to ask you to use Twitter on your projects. In fact, my interview with Mark Phillips, who is the Lead Evangelist of Vertabase, only briefly mentions Twitter and then we discuss why and how you should both customize and contextualize all your project communications. We look at the role that we Project Managers play in this, what skills we need in order to be able to do it and what you can do to improve the contextualization of your project communications starting tomorrow.

Well next, I have a correction to make. After the Gizmo’s interview with Jason Westland about www.projectmanager.com that was in Episode 154, I announced that we were giving away 2 licenses of that web-based tool www.projectmanager.com. Well, it turns out that I misunderstood. The 2 licenses are not for the online tool, but instead, they are for their Project Management Methodology called MPMM. So therefore, our winners Sandy Koppelmann and Oke Abiodun will receive a license to MPMM in the coming days. Sorry about the mixup!

In the past few episodes, you also heard me announce that "The sponsor of this episode is the PM Summit 2010 in Munich". This was a completely free sponsorship that I offered to the PMI Munich chapter to help promote their event here through the Podcast. They are still the sponsor but today, instead of a sponsor message, let's speak to Stephen Norton and learn a bit more about the event:

[Background music]

Cornelius Fichtner: Hello, Stephen and welcome to the Podcast!

Stephen Norton: Hello, Cornelius. Thank you!

Cornelius Fichtner: You are a member of the Marketing team of the Munich PM Summit 2010. Is this a first year that this summit is held?

Stephen Norton: Yes, that is correct.

Cornelius Fichtner: And, what is the topic of the summit?

Stephen Norton: The central theme of the summit is the clever achievement of milestones.

Cornelius Fichtner: Okay! What exactly does that mean?

Stephen Norton: We believe that it is clever to ensure project management success in industry practice to the smart implementation of methods and the intelligent application of tools.

Cornelius Fichtner: Okay, okay! So who should be attending this summit?

Stephen Norton: The conference is aimed at project managers from every industry and every form of project; novices who are maybe just gaining their first experience in the introduction or implementation of project management in their company are also welcome.

Cornelius Fichtner: And who are some of the presenters and what will the attendees learn?

Stephen Norton: The keynote speaker is Mr. Peter Taylor, Project Management Office Director of Siemens Industry Software in the United Kingdom. He will give attendees useful insights into his experience of managing large software projects. We also have further 35 presentations which we have grouped into 8 tracks. These tracks range from the synergies of Agile and [Traditional] Project Management Methods to Pragmatic Project Management for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Small and medium-sized enterprises play a central role in the European economy. They are an important source of business competence, innovation and employment. I will post three questions: Are established project management methods usable and affordable for SMEs? What other benefits of investing in project management for SMEs? And, should we concentrate on modifying specifically slimming down these methods?

We believe that SMEs need pragmatic solutions, sophisticated methods and voluminous standards are generally difficult to roll out. One driving factor is the cost efficiency. Delegates attending the PM Summit will be able to get answers to these questions and learn from the experiences of our speakers.

Cornelius Fichtner: Talking about learning from the experiences of our speakers, when I think about projects, every project has a crisis. It’s a common experience for us project managers. What advice will the PM Summit offer in regards to project crises?

Stephen Norton: Without sound evaluation of the situation, a project manager cannot start to reorganize the project. So questions need to be addressed: How does the project manager find out what is going on? How suitable are the project tools for managing a crisis? Is a 360-degree review an effective method to bring a project back on track? How does one recreate a high-performing team after the crisis? The PM Summit will provide delegates with example of restructuring particularly in startups and give advice on how to reorganize a project successfully.

Cornelius Fichtner: Many of listeners are PMPs and PgMPs so how many PDUs can they earn by attending the summit?

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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