The PM Podcast


Project Management Interviews for Beginners and Experts

Episode 208: Are You a Project Manager? Write! (Free)

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This episode is sponsored by The PDU Podcast:
The PDU Podcast

Jeff Furman, PMPA while back we introduced The Project Management Answer Book written by Jeff Furman, PMP to you. I met up with Jeff recently and we recorded this interview in which he recounts all the doors that opened up for him simply because of the fact that he wrote down what he knew about project management.

As you can imagine, this interview is a bit different than others here on the podcast. Generally speaking, we usually talk about project management methodologies and how to apply them on your projects. In this interview we want to show you how with a little effort of writing about what you know can propel your career into unexpected and positive directions.

As you will hear, while Jeff authored a book and became published that way it all started simply because he started writing about IT and project management. So even if your goal isn’t to become a published author of a book it’s a good idea to get everything you know about our field written down and blog about it. And Jeff has a few recommendations for you.

To me, this is a really encouraging story showing what a few words a day can do for anyone.

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

Podcast Introduction

Cornelius Fichtner: Hello and welcome to Episode #208. This is The Project Management Podcast™ at www.pm-podcast.com and I am Cornelius Fichtner. Nice to have you with us.

Awhile back, we introduced “The Project Management Answer Book” written by Jeff Furman to you. I met up with Jeff recently and we recorded this interview here today in which he recounts all the doors that opened up for him simply because of the fact that he wrote down what he knew about project management. So as you can imagine, this interview is going to be a bit different than the others here on the Podcast.

Generally speaking, we talk about project management methodologies, tools, techniques and how to apply them on your project or stories about great or bad projects. In this interview right now, we want to show how you with the little effort of writing about what you know can propel your career into unexpected and positive directions. And of course if you’re a PMP, then you will also earn some PDUs for this writing effort.

As you will hear, while Jeff authored a book and became published that way, it all started simply because he began writing about IT and project management. So even if your goal isn’t necessarily to become a published author of a book, it’s still a good idea to get everything you know about our field written down and blog about it and Jeff has a few recommendations here for you as well. To me, this is a really encouraging story showing what a few words a day can do for anyone.

And now, please pick up your pencils. The interview is about to start. Enjoy!

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: Good morning everybody! We are still here at the PMI Global Congress in Dallas, Texas. And with me this morning is Jeff Furman. Hello, Jeff!

Jeff Furman: Hi, Cornelius! A pleasure to meet you in person.

Cornelius Fichtner: Right, that’s true! We’ve never met in person actually. You’ve been on the program before. You told me just a moment ago because I couldn’t remember that it was Episode 168 in which we introduced your book “The Project Management Answer Book” published by Management Concepts to our listeners.

And in the meantime and this is really what we want to talk about right now is you told me that writing this book has opened so many doors for you. So let me start out with a very simple question for you: Was this your first book? Have you been published before?

Jeff Furman: Yeah, this is my first book but I have published articles over the years and I’ve taught PMP many times.

Cornelius Fichtner: Okay. So you published articles. You were a published author so to speak on the article side and then Management Concepts approached you and asked you to write this book, right?

Jeff Furman: Yeah! They were looking for an experienced senior project manager who also was PMP certified and had PMP knowledge.

Cornelius Fichtner: Okay, excellent. And then book got published. It took you probably 25 years to write it. It was terrible and a lot of work like everybody always says that. And then after the book was published, what doors suddenly opened up for you?

Jeff Furman: Well, it has been very exciting. First of all, I’m teaching for other vendors. I’m doing all kinds of new training. I’m teaching an extended 2-week PMP class where I go into great depth. I’m teaching for the military now. I’m teaching for a college in New York City, one of the big colleges. So it has opened up a lot of teaching doors.

In addition, it has also opened up a lot of knowledge bases and connections. I’ve met so many people. You know you start out thinking I want to market my book. But the next thing you know, you’re meeting people like yourself, Elizabeth Harrin. Henry Will and every time there’s an interview, you learn a great deal and you study and you learn more. It’s quite rewarding and a good challenge.

Cornelius Fichtner: And they’re thinking of having a second edition already.

Jeff Furman: Yeah! The book has only been out in 2011 but they are looking at a second edition. The new PMBOK won’t be out. There’s no date set but probably for at least another year, whatever…

Cornelius Fichtner: December 31st, 2012 is the likely date.

Jeff Furman: It’s likely but not official and so when there’s a new PMBOK, I’ll probably due a new release although actually I’m excited, we’re already talking about the new version I actually have more notes than you would think of. All kinds of good stuff I want to add about Agile, more about leadership, all kinds of stuff. I go to a great many seminars in New York City. I go probably to five seminars a month specifically on Agile as well as plus more on other PMP topics. And so, I’m constantly thinking, I want to add another piece to the book here and there.

Cornelius Fichtner: Right! And the book also opened up a training opportunity for you with the US, was it the army?

Jeff Furman: Yeah! This was a very exciting thing. It sounds a little daunting but I was asked to do a series of classes for the military right on site at various army bases including Fort Hood in Texas. We’re talking about some in Italy near Venice. There’s an American unit where they are building up sort of a little university for the officers.

So I already did a couple and I’m doing more where in the classroom imagine everyone in the room is a senior military officer and they are on fire to learn, believe it or not, it’s the best class ever you can have as a teacher because they are so disciplined and dedicated to learn and it’s nice that they are in a nice peaceful setting in America and they can really focus on learning and think about how they’ll move on to the next phase of their career. Many of these are guys who have been oversees doing tours of duty but now they’re running projects in the US.

Cornelius Fichtner: Okay! So that was one of the venues that opened up. But in the year following the publication of your book, you were asked to participate in how many other books ago?

Jeff Furman: Well actually, 3 other books already. Two came out the way things are so fast nowadays, I was asked to contribute to two different anthologies originally. One is about education and what can senior trainer share with other instructors. So that book was published. It’s called “The Book of Road-Tested Activities” and it came out in 2011 just a couple of months ago and in fact, it was related to a topic that you interviewed me for.

My Ethics chapter in my book is a topic that I have a lot of passion for and I wrote up one of my training activities which is an interactive game called “You be the Ethicist” so I got inspired to write that from reading the New York Times’ Ethicist column which used to be Randy Cohen. For many years, he was known as the ethicist. So the same topic that I talked about on my interview with you.

Cornelius Fichtner: Yes.

Jeff Furman: The second one, I used one of the training exercises that I created for my PMP class where I get the students to read a column from ‘The Ethicist’ in the paper and also they listen to it on the podcast version. There’s a podcast version also and then they look at the question that a writer sends into the New York Times as ‘What should I do in this ethical dilemma that I’m facing?’ and before they read the answer from The Ethicist, I have them really try to put themselves in the shoes of that person and advise them as best they can.

And so it’s an exercise that opens up people to empathy for total strangers in all kinds of different walks of life and I try to get them to think: How would you advice this person? And by the way, how would you apply this on your job as a project manager and how would you further apply it on the PMP test which is very focused more than ever now on ethical situations? So the more people can put themselves in the shoes of the other person, the more they can think that way.

Cornelius Fichtner: Alright! So you published your book and doors started opening up. We had the door for the PMP classes with the military. You have the second edition of your book…

Jeff Furman: The other book is…

Cornelius Fichtner: Oh yes, there were more books, right?

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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