The PM Podcast


Project Management Interviews for Beginners and Experts

Episode 168: The Project Management Answer Book

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This episode is sponsored by Wrike:
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Jeff Furman
Have you ever wondered what the formal definition of a project is? Or what the main elements of a project charter should be? How software can assist you in project management? What you should include as part of your PM Planning toolkit? If there are times when the baseline doesn't refer to the complete project plan? What the most effective group creativity techniques are in eliciting requirements? Or what the best way is to avoid scope creeep?

I could go on and on and on with questions like these, because I have a copy of The Project Management Answer Book, written by Jeff Furman. It's full of questions and answers like these. Jeff intended and wrote this book as an easy-to-use Q&A reference, that explain key project management concepts in bite-size pieces, including hundreds of hands-on tips and best practices for us PMs. He included diagrams, study aids and Top 10 lists to help PMs prepare for the PMP & related certification exams.

In his foreword, Andy Crowe says the following about the book: The Project Management Answer book covers an amazing breadth of topics. The advice it offers is concise and straightforward. It is brimming with wisdom from someone who faced these questions in the real world and has sifted through the various theories and practices to find what works.

Would you like to win a copy? That's easy! As always we are giving away 1 copy to our paying premium Podcast listeners and 1 copy is up for grabs. All you have to do is go to our Facebook Fan Page, find the notice about the book giveaway and leave a comment. We will draw the winners around the 9th of Feb 2011. So make sure you stop by before then.

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

Have you ever wondered what the formal definition of a project is? Or what the main elements of a project charter should be? How software can assist you in project management? What you should include as part of your project management planning toolkit? If there are times when the baseline doesn't refer to the complete project plan? What the most effective group creativity techniques are in eliciting requirements? Or what the best way is to avoid scope creep?

I could go on and on and on with questions like these, because I have a copy of “The Project Management Answer Book”, written by Jeff Furman. It's full of questions and answers like these. Jeff intended and wrote this book as an easy-to-use Q&A reference that explains key project management concepts in bite-size pieces, including hundreds of hands-on tips and best practices for us project managers. He included diagrams, study aids and top 10 lists to help project managers prepare for the PMP® exam & related certifications.

This episode is sponsored by Wrike: How do you keep your team up-to-date on all projects? Wrike’s social project management software helps thousands of managers worldwide organize their projects’ data in one spot and ensures seamless collaboration of their employees. With Wrike, collaborating on multiple projects is as easy as navigating a social network. Keep your team members on the same page. Collaborate twice as efficiently as you did before. Start a free trial today at www.wrike.com.

Back to The Project Management Answer Book. In his foreword, Andy Crowe says the following about the book: The Project Management Answer Book covers an amazing breadth of topics. The advice it offers is concise and straightforward. It’s brimming with wisdom from someone who faced these questions in the real world and has sifted through the various theories and practices to find what works.

Would you like to win a copy? That's easy! As always, we are giving away 2 copies and 1 of these 2 is reserved for our paying premium Podcast listeners and 1 copy is up for grabs for everybody. All you have to do is go to www.facebook.com/pmpodcast, find the notice about the book giveaway and leave a comment. We will draw the winners around the 9th of February 2011. So make sure you stop by before then.

Jeff Furman has 15 years of experience as an IT project manager for Fortune 500 financial companies in the New York City area, where he managed many software evaluations and implementations, QA testing projects, and the development and support of a software change management system for a large brokerage in Manhattan, which was used 24/7 for many years by more than 1,000 developers concurrently.

He is also a highly experienced technical trainer, and for the last 4 years, has been teaching a popular PMP Prep course, and has trained more than 500 project managers. He also teaches an advanced Train-the-Trainer course, helping many instructors sharpen their presentation skills and become CompTIA Certified Technical Trainers (CTT+) and Microsoft Certified Trainers (MCT).

He has published articles on a wide range of topics, from PMP to risk management to Y2K to IT vendor tools, as well as interviews with singers/songwriters for New Jersey’s daily newspaper: The Bergen Record.

And now, got any questions? Because Jeff's got the answers. Enjoy the interview.

Podcast Interview

Female voice: The Project Management Podcast’s feature Interview: Today with Jeff Furman, author of The Project Management Answer Book and PMP Instructor.

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

Jeff Furman: Hi, Cornelius. Nice to be here.

Cornelius Fichtner: You are the author of “The Project Management Answer Book”. How would you summarize this book?

Jeff Furman: Well, the book has a double purpose. I’ve had a dual career as both an IT project manager for many years and also as a PMP instructor and so the book has two purposes. (1) It’s a very detailed practitioner’s guide for PMs with a lot of hands-on tips and best practices. That was the primary goal but it’s also very much to help PMs toward the PMP and the CAPM. I teach quite a bit and so I’m very immersed in helping people toward the test as well.

Cornelius Fichtner: Yeah, it’s called the answer book. Does that mean that it’s in the question-and-answer style?

Jeff Furman: Yeah! First of all, there was no PMP book in Q&A style for the current PMBOK® so that was part of the idea we saw a need. Also, I find people really like the Q&A format. It’s very easy to read and very easy to navigate. And also, I like it a lot because it goes with my teaching style. I like to break concepts down into bite-size chunks and Q&A is perfect for that in book form.

Cornelius Fichtner: Okay, so if we have a question and an answer, I have to ask the question about the questions. Who asks all of these questions that are in there?

Jeff Furman: Well, that’s a good question. I have toured. I counted up about 500 project managers in my classes so I’ve had literally so many questions over the years and so literally, a lot of these questions are frequently asked questions by my students.

Also, some of the questions came from my editors. They would say, how about Q&A here or maybe a sidebar so some of them are suggestions from my editor in the process.

And some of the more I thought, what’s a good way to take this chunk from the PMBOK®, let’s say an earned value formula, that sort of thing and break it down into very nice bite-size pieces for the reader.

Cornelius Fichtner: I assume the answers then came from you, right?

Jeff Furman: Yeah! They came from me but it’s a very heavily researched book. I wrote the book constantly with about 5 or 6 project management books on my desk. Some of that you’ve heard of Andy Crowe and Rita Mulcahy and the PMBOK and Greene and Stellman book. So anything that I wanted to verify, I did quite a lot of verifying to make sure all my facts were good and also the publisher, Management Concepts, they do quite a lot of project management books so they have a very thorough process as well. The editing process takes a couple of months.

Cornelius Fichtner: And how many questions are in the book?

Jeff Furman: Well, there are exactly 518.

Cornelius Fichtner: Okay.

Jeff Furman: I counted them for you.

Cornelius Fichtner: So in essence, this is a project management FAQ, right?

Jeff Furman: Well, it’s an FAQ but it’s also really a textbook and a practitioner’s guide so a lot of it is frequently asked questions but a lot of it is what would be the text that I can put in to Q&A form to help people learn the stuff, to help them toward the test.

Cornelius Fichtner: You gave me an advance copy and I looked through it; and I have to tell you that I find that some of these questions are rather basic like: What’s the PMBOK® Guide? What job titles might I have as a project manager? What is gold plating? --- Is the book for beginners?

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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