Episode 176: One More Question...
Did you notice that in past few months, if you listened all the way to the end of some of our interviews - and I mean, really ALL the way to the end, after I say "until next time", after the music has faded out - that there was more. That we sometimes added another short segment?
Usually, this segment started out with me saying: "I have one more question for you" and then our interview guest would usually have some anecdote or story to tell? Well... if you haven't heard them, you can always go back and listen to them.
But to tell you the truth... when I said "I have one more question for you" .... I lied. Because usually, I had TWO more questions for them. And in today's episode you are going to hear the SECOND "one more question" that I asked them.
You'll hear the following guests one more time:
- Peter Taylor
- Pam Stanton
- Frank Saladis
- Mark Philips
- Elizabeth Harrin
- Jeff Furman
- Steve Kaye
Below are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only.
Cornelius Fichtner: Hello and welcome to Episode #176. I am Cornelius Fichtner. This is The Project Management Podcast™, as always it’s nice to have you with us.
Did you notice that in past few months, if you listened all the way to the end of some of our interviews, and I mean, really all the way to the end, after I say "until next time", after the music has faded out - that there was more. Did you notice that sometimes we added another short segment at the very end?
Usually, this segment started out with me saying: "I have another question for you" and then our interview guest would usually have some anecdote or story to tell? Well, if you haven't heard them, you can always go back and listen to them still.
But to tell you the truth, when I said "I have one more question for you" well, I was lying. Because usually, I had two more questions for them. And while the first of those two questions was added to the end of those interviews, well in today's episode, you are going to hear the second one more question that I asked them.
So let's jump right in. You'll hear the following guests one more time: Peter Taylor, Pam Stanton, Frank Saladis, Mark Philips, Elizabeth Harrin, Jeff Furman, and Steve Kaye
And now, just one more thing... Enjoy The Just One More Questions.
Cornelius Fichtner: Peter, before I let you go, let me ask you this: What was the most interesting project that you have ever worked on?
Peter Taylor: Yeah, thank you. I think that there are so many projects. I have aspects of interest about them and then yeah, but the ball I’m going to pick on is the one that I was told wasn’t a project. Actually I was getting married. It’s not easy to disconnect yourself in what you do workwise when you’re a project manager and actually planning a wedding, I approached it in a project management style because there was lots to do, lots to organize, the event, the catering, the guest list, the seating plan, lots and lots of things there.
I say it’s the most interesting project I worked on obviously, it ended up with the great day where I got married and I was given some superb advice right towards the end of it by a senior project manager I was working with because he said: “You’re doing a great job. I can just tell you that you’ve done a great job and it’s going to be a superb event.” And said: “I’ll tell you what, can you stop being a project manager, say, 1 week before the wedding and turn into a husband to be?” and that was some great advise and I had a superb day.
Cornelius Fichtner: Cool!
Peter Taylor: And I have to admit, we went over-budget.
Cornelius Fichtner: And I guess your primary sponsor was?
Peter Taylor: My lady wife to be!
Cornelius Fichtner: I assume so. Here’s one more question for you, Peter: What was the most embarrassing project management moment?
Peter Taylor: Yeah! For me at that time, it was a big project. It was Pan‑European deployment of an MRP system. And I was out in the Nordics and I had picked up the project, I had run with it for a couple of months now, learned all the great people that were involved in the project, got to know them, and we’re moving towards a big steering committee meeting. The room was full probably, I think about 20 people in the room in total including the American contingent coming to see how this deployment was going on, were they interested in picking up the deployment over in the Americas and I was nervous at the beginning of this very meeting, progressed well, with feeling good, reached a state of perhaps a slightly over confidence and was presenting up onto a huge white screen at that time and the chairman of the steering committee asked me a question. It goes exactly although we were talking about particular parts of the pilot project: “Exactly where are we now in the project plan?” And with a flourish, I grabbed the big black pen from the tables, walked over to the screen in a bit of big X on the screen to which he leaned over and turned the projector off leaving a big black X on his beautiful white screen in permanent ink. So it took a little time to recover from that one.
Cornelius Fichtner: Oops!
Peter Taylor: Oops indeed.
Cornelius Fichtner: Alright then, Pam, so tell us, what was your most embarrassing project management moment?
Pam Stanton: Well this, the one that comes to mind was really an embarrassment for everyone involved but also a huge lesson. I was participating on a global team, cross-functional at a big company and I was representing the US faction. And I was dialing in to a conference call where we had colleagues from all over the world joining to represent their regions. And as I dialed in, as we all know sometimes because of the way speaker phones work, you may not necessarily hear that beep, beep that tells you that someone has joined. So as I arrived on the call, I heard a colleague from, I’m not going to mention the European country in best interest of international relations…
Cornelius Fichtner: Thank you!
Pam Stanton: I had a colleague blasting, just blasting “Those Americans” and how every time they got involved in a project, “They just screwed everything up. They dragged everything down” and he went on and on with this chat for about a minute and a half and I really was trying to save him from himself but I couldn’t break through because of the duplex speakerphones so I’m going, “Uh-uh-uh” and finally when he stopped, I said “Hi! This is Pam Stanton from the US.” There was dead silence…awkward! Because everyone then was wondering “how long has she been on the phone” and my screen lit up with instant messages suddenly and I never acknowledged it. I never acknowledged it. I think that people drew their own conclusions about whether I heard it or not which wasn’t the important point.
The important point was “wow!” we all really need to be very cognizant of these communications, opportunities and the disadvantages that come with them as well as basic respect for our fellow team members. So not only fortunately I was on the receiving end and I wasn’t the offender in that situation, but it really drove home for me: “You know what? It could have been my wagging tongue at any other moment and I really need to keep myself operating in a very professional and compassionate manner no matter what.” So that was an embarrassment for everyone, but also as I said kind of funny that the fellow who had made those statements somehow evolved into my greatest fan along the way perhaps as an apology or makeup but it worked out alright in the end.
Cornelius Fichtner: Frank, one more question for you. What was the most interesting project that you have ever managed?
Frank Saladis: Well I guess, I was thinking about different projects that I’ve been doing in the past. One of the projects that comes to mind would be, to me it was a large project for AT&T. The project was I’m just thinking about it. The entire project was a 450-million dollar project. That was the total budget for this project and it involved consolidating a number of locations in New Jersey into one location and it involved somewhere of 9 or 10,000 people. It was particularly challenging. It was, say, a 5-building complex. There were 4 buildings to be refurbished and one building to be built brand new. What was interesting about it is that we actually set up a web cam and we focused on the new building that was being built and the building, those people who are going to move to the building could visit the website every single day and see the construction at work. So you could see it go from a hole in the ground all the way up into this huge 15‑story building I think it was and parking lot plus landscaping. So it was really kind of great. People are seeing what they are going to moving into.
And I remember one of the struggles and a lot of project managers have that struggle is getting requirements from people, working on those requirements. And we were trying to find a way to get them to be working with us because we’re all moving from many different locations into one and a lot of people don’t really like to move but we showed what the place would look like to move into this brand new facility with all these in place, the high tech items and so on to kind of enthuse them to want to work with us so I learned a lot from that particular project. It was one of the largest projects I ever worked on and there was just making the connection with the people and making them feel good about the move was actually the biggest part of it.
Cornelius Fichtner: Thank you!...Mark, I have one more question for you. What are some of your funniest project management moments?