The PM Podcast


Project Management Interviews for Beginners and Experts

The Art of No

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Written by Todd C. Williams2013-11-22-TheArtOfNo-NoSigntrans250

1    The Art of No

There I was, in a nice Montreal hotel conference room, two customers on one side of the table, and my client and me on the other. Taped to the back of my laptop lid was a conference-center supplied piece of paper with a hastily scrawled note on it. The entire message consisted of only two letters followed an exclamation mark. The letters were “N” and “O.” They sent a succinct message that was hard to ignore as the customer incessantly strove to get a little more functionality brought into the project’s scope. For every request, I would drop my chin slightly, look over the top of my glasses, tap my right index finger on the top of my laptop, and they would eventually relent. Instead of being a pessimistic curmudgeon, I was bringing realism about the budget and timeline and doing what leaders do—making hard decisions.

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It’s Project Leadership, Not Management

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2013-11-22-ProjectLeadership-PeopleOrgChartsmall

Written by Todd C. Williams

1    It’s Project Leadership, Not Management

We have all heard it before… “Project management is easy. We have been managing people for hundreds of years. Just take any manager, give them a project, and tell them to get it done.” Experienced project managers will quickly predict how this story will end—there is an overwhelming chance this project will fail. Leaders deliver project value on time and within budget, they do not “manage.” To distinguish the project manager further from functional managers—the latter only needs to manage subordinates, while successful project managers lead extended project teams. This fundamental difference drastically increases the responsibility of the project manager, since the extended project team includes an entire herd of stakeholders.

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Earn 30 PDUs in Your Car. For Free.

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You worked hard to earn your Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification. You studied relentlessly, you passed the exam, and you put in your hours. Surely you’ll do whatever it takes to keep that PMP behind your name once it’s there. But who has time to complete those recertification requirements--60 Professional Development Units (PDUs) every three years? You’re probably not jumping to register for a night class on earned value management at the local college. Do you have time between your kids’ soccer practice and swim lessons to write a paper for the local Project Management Institute (PMI)® chapter? Is tonight the night you’ll sit down and author a book on project management? Do you really have the bandwidth to volunteer your service as the project manager for the new neighborhood park?

We get it. That’s why we’ve made it easy to earn those required PDUs when you’re on the go - or, just as likely - when you’re stuck in traffic. You can earn half of your PDU recertification requirements - 30 Category C PDUs - from the comfort of your car - or anywhere else. The best part is… it’s completely free and you won’t need to take an exam, make any presentations, write a novel, or deal with strong-willed neighbors.

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Successfully Juggling Multiple Projects

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By: Brad Egeland

With the common failure rate of the projects we manage coming in at more than 50%, managing just one project to success is enough of a challenge. In reality though, rarely does a project manager have just one project on his plate – unless it’s a huge project that requires 110% of this time. A more likely scenario finds the project manager usually managing anywhere from 3 to 6 projects at time…maybe more.

If we are going to have any chance of experiencing regular success on the projects we manage, then a few things really need to be in place from a PM infrastructure perspective. The overall list could be incredibly long, for certain, and I welcome reader input on this subject as to their own thoughts and experiences. Here I present my list on what our organizations – and project management offices (PMOs), if applicable – should provide to help ensure ongoing success on the projects we manage.

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Project Management Concepts for Enterprise 2.0

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Dennis Brooke has been using web based project management communications tools since the late 1990s. In his recent interview on The Project Management Podcast he discussed how Enterprise 2.0 project management tools can make the most of communications between team, sponsors and stakeholders. PMPs can earn 30 free PDUs by listening to the entire series of podcasts

Effective Distribution

Once you complete a report, distribution is the next step. Most people send it as an attachment to an email but that isn’t the most efficient way to make sure that everyone sees it. This is because email, although very convenient, often gets lost in the maze of folders that people use to organize their inboxes. They will read a report, file it away and often forget where they put it when they want to refer back to it. Thus, the PM will receive repeated requests for duplicates which will, again, be filed away and lost!

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Developing Your Team’s Leadership Skills

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Andy Kaufman, PMP recently participated in an interview on The Project Management Podcast. PMPs can earn 30 free PDUs by listening to the entire series of podcasts. Kaufman is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Institute for Leadership Excellence & Development (www.i-leadonline.com), specializing in the development of project leadership skills; that is, what PM leaders can do to help their team members take on more leadership responsibilities. One important trait of a project leader is the desire and ability to help others lead.

Developing Leadership Skills

It is important to a project’s success that there is focus on developing leadership skills among the team. Just because there is a group of people working together it doesn’t make them a team. When the team is formed there will be conflict even among the most congenial group - issues about how to do things, personality clashes and other minor issues that can become bigger than you expect. Problems aren’t usually foreseen but they should be; there is always conflict when two or more people are thrown together and expected to cooperate to achieve a positive result. These conflicts should be anticipated and dealt with before they can disrupt the group dynamics.  

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