Project Manager Soft Skills

Episode 402: Generational Sensitivity and Diversity for Project Leaders (Free)

Play Now:

For your Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam get PMP Training on your phone from The PM PrepCast:
The PM PrepCast for the PMP Exam

Margaret Meloni
Margaret Meloni, MBA, PMP

Here are some buzzwords for you:

Multi-generational teams. Generational shifts. Inter- and intra-generational communication. Multi-generational workplace. Millennials vs baby boomers. I think you get the idea... right? We’re here today to talk about how old I am... :-) Just kidding... we’re here to talk about generational sensitivity and diversity and how to make the best of it in project management.

And in order to explore this generational topic we turn to our "soft side expert" Margaret Meloni (www.margaretmeloni.com). She has been an IT and project manager for some time and has had the pleasure to work with people from many generations. And I’m not saying she’s old either...

Episode 400: Mindfulness for Project Managers (Free)

Play Now:

Margaret Meloni
Margaret Meloni, MBA, PMP

Becoming better at project management and by extension also becoming a better project manager does not necessarily mean learning about and then also implementing the latest tools, techniques or methodologies. Instead, it can simply mean that you start paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment and nonjudgmentally. That’s mindfulness.

Mindfulness as a business practice and leadership tool has seen a significant increase in press coverage lately. It originally started out as a means for improving yourself and your interactions with others but you will find that many leadership articles in the large business journals will make reference to it.

And so we are very glad to welcome Margaret Meloni (www.margaretmeloni.com) to look at Mindfulness for Project Managers with us today. We will give you a definition, discuss the benefits, but most importantly we go through a number of familiar project management situations to see how mindfulness will help us improve and become better leaders.

Episode 394: Project Management is Hard. Complexity Makes it Even Harder. (Premium)

This episode is reserved for subscribers of the Premium Podcast. Learn how to subscribe to the Premium Podcast to access this interview and transcript...

For your Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam use PMP exam prep on your phone with The PM PrepCast:
The PM PrepCast for the PMP Exam

Jordan Kyriakidis
Jordan Kyriakidis, CEO of QRA Corp

One thing that every project manager notices over the course of her or his career is this: We begin with managing relatively simple projects. Here we learn about the theory of project management, its good practices and how to apply them. And as we get better we are assigned to bigger and more important projects.

But in recent years you may have begun to notice that even though your projects may not have become any bigger their complexity has never the less steadily been increasing. In other words, if you took a project you managed 5 years ago and repeated it today in exactly the same way then the one thing that would definitely change is the complexity caused by an increase in interdependencies.

And that’s where Jordan Kyriakidis (https://www.linkedin.com/in/jordankyriakidis/) and I are starting this interview. We are exploring why complexity is increasing, whether it is actually real or just a perceived problem, and what you can do about it.

PDU Tip

This interview is 29 minutes long. This means that you can "legally" only claim 0.25 PDUs for listening to it, because in order to claim 0.50 PDUs the interview must be 30 minutes long. However... if you first listen to the interview and then also read Jordan's related white paper, then you can go ahead and claim 0.50 PMP PDUs!

Click to download the white paper

Episode 390: Conflict Resolution on Multicultural Projects (Premium)

This episode is reserved for subscribers of the Premium Podcast. Learn how to subscribe to the Premium Podcast to access this interview and transcript...

For your Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam use PMP training on your phone with The PM PrepCast:
The PM PrepCast for the PMP Exam

Karin Bruennemann
Karin Brünnemann, PMP

Are you currently managing a multicultural project?

Well, no matter if you answered “yes” or “no” to this, today’s interview with Karin Brünnemann (https://www.linkedin.com/in/karinbrunnemann) is for you. We will look at what culture is, how cultural differences can lead to conflict, and how culture affects the various dimension of conflict on projects that we learned about when we last spoke to Karin. Most importantly, we will of course also discuss approaches for conflict resolution.

So… if you answered “Yes” to my questions “Are you currently managing a multicultural project?”, then you are going to learn a lot about culture, conflict and what to do about it.

And if you answered “No”, then you will learn that your answer was in fact wrong and that you should have answered “Yes” in the first place. You are in fact managing a multi-cultural project even if you don't think you are.

Episode 389: Conflict Resolution in Project Management (Free)

Play Now:

For your smart phone: Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam Prep:
PM PrepCast for PMP Exam Prep

Karin Bruennemann
Karin Brünnemann, PMP

Conflict in project management is inevitable. In fact they say that the only way to not have a project management conflict is to have a one-person project. And even then, some people have a tendency to argue with themselves.

Karin Brünnemann (https://www.linkedin.com/in/karinbrunnemann) recently gave a presentation on the topic of Managing Conflict in Projects to the Project Management Institute (PMI)® Slovakia Chapter. And because it was such a success she suggested that we bring it to you as well!

Karin’s presentation and our interview is full of solid advice and best practices you can apply to the conflicts you will inevitably encounter. We will discuss: Definition & Characteristics of Conflict

  • Conflict in the Context of Project Management
  • How to Analyse a Conflict
  • How to Manage Conflict

A big part of the interview is actually focused on that last part -- the actual project management conflict resolution. We are, however, not going to talk about conflict resolution on multicultural projects. That’s reserved for next week.

Presentation Slide Deck

Karin has made her presentation slides available for listeners of The PM Podcast. Download the file here:

Click to download the presentation...

Episode 386: Interpersonal Skills for Project Success (Free)

Play Now:

For your smart phone: Project Management Professional (PMP)® Certification Training:
PM PrepCast for PMP Exam Prep

Presenters Collage
Congress presenters reveal their most important interpersonal skill

Last year at the Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Congress 2016 in San Diego, California I recorded an all time high of 14 interviews. They have all been published over the past few months and you’ve probably heard some or all of them. But what you don’t know is what happened once each interview was complete.

I pressed the recording button one more time and asked each of my guests the following question: Which is the interpersonal skill that you attribute the most of our success in your career to? In other words, what skill has helped you most on your projects when you interact with others?

And today you are going to get all the answers. In one nice mashup. Here are all the presenters in the order you will hear their answers

  • Jay Payette
  • Kristy Tan Neckowicz
  • Nk Shrivastava
  • David Hillson
  • Denise McRoberts
  • Joy Beatty
  • Kristine Hayes Munson
  • Andrew Burns
  • Kim Wasson
  • Wanda Curlee
  • Beth Spriggs
  • Cyndi Snyder Dionisio
  • Connie Inman

Oh, and spoiler alert... the answer that I received most often was "Relationships".

Episode 379: Emotional Intelligence in Leadership (Free)

Play Now:

Need Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam training? Have you considered PMP exam prep on your phone?
The PM PrepCast for the PMP Exam

K. Wasson
Kim Wasson and Cornelius Fichtner

At its core project management is all about effectively leading your team. Therefore emotional intelligence for project managers and project leaders can be just as important (if not more) than knowing how to interpret the latest earned value data.

This interview about emotional intelligence in project management with Kim Wasson was recorded at the Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Congress 2016 in San Diego, California. We discuss her paper and presentation One Unhappy Person Can Ruin Your Beautiful Plan -- Emotional Intelligence for Project Managers. Here is the abstract:

Just one unmotivated person on your team can bring everything crashing down. Unhappiness, dissatisfaction, and lack of motivation are highly contagious; ‘one person’ quickly turns into an unhappy and possibly dysfunctional team.

We're all focused on getting the process right and there’s no doubt that process is important. What many of us don’t take into account is that the success of most projects depends largely on the teams actually doing the work Process is important but it’s not going to build anything on its own – it’s a team of satisfied, competent people working together who will actually deliver a product.

The people side of the project management equation is critical. Managing effectively requires the ability to understand individuals and teams, establish working relationships, manage goals, and motivate team members. Effective tools and techniques discover what makes the team members and the team itself tick, to communicate effectively with many different people both one-on-one and as a group, and to generally balance the process part of the equation with the people part of the equation are critical to project success.

PDU Tip

This interview is 24 minutes long. This means that you can "legally" only claim 0.25 PDUs for listening to it. However... if you first listen to the interview and then also read the white paper on which it is based, then you can go ahead and claim 0.50 PMP PDUs!

Click to download the white paper

Episode 376: Influence Without Authority (Free)

Play Now:

Preparing for your Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam? Get Affordable PMP training on your phone, tablet or PC:
The PM PrepCast for the PMP Exam

Kristine Munson
Kristine Hayes Munson and Cornelius Fichtner

Sharp influencing skills are a major factor that help project managers succeed. This interview about leading without authority with Kristine Hayes Munson was recorded at the 2016 PMI® Global Congress in San Diego, California. We discuss her paper and presentation "Getting Things Done -- Influence Without Authority". Here is the abstract:

"Project managers frequently face the dilemma of how to accomplish the project’s work without having any functional authority. Resources assigned to the project report to someone else who writes performance appraisals and recommends pay increases. In addition, resources may be assigned to multiple projects with competing priorities. Project managers must rely on their ability to influence others to get work done in a timely and thorough fashion.

This paper explores the influence cycle and the associated skills to be used by project managers in order to get things done using influence rather than authority. Five stages comprise the influence cycle: (1) prepare, (2) ask, (3) trust, (4) follow up, and (5) give back."

The paper concludes that in regards to leadership without authority "Developing influence skills is hard work and takes conscious effort. The influence cycle is designed to be repeated for each project in order to help us as project managers continue to improve our influence skills. Our success as project managers and the success of our projects depends on our ability to use influence to get things done".

Click to download the white paper

Episode 352: Enlightened Project Management (Free)

Play Now:

This episode is sponsored by The PM PrepCast for The PMP® Exam:
The PM PrepCast for the PMP Exam

Joe Drammissi, PMP, PMI-ACP, CSM
Joe Drammissi, MSPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, CSM

We spend most of our waking hours at work, yet for many among us the time spent there is unrewarding, unfulfilling, and often just unpleasant. If that sounds familiar, then we can help.

Today we are going to be talking about Enlightened Project Management with Joe Drammissi, PMP (http://enlightenedpm.com/about). At first, this sounds like a method that comes straight out of a new age textbook, but it is in fact a worthwhile concept that helps us project managers not only make a positive difference, but also puts us at the leading edge of change. So keep on listening!

In our interview, Joe and I talk about what enlightened project management is but then quickly talk about the traits that an enlightened project managers has. We review what such a PM strives to do, believes in and how she or he works with stakeholders.

We close out the interview by learning how EPM is applied on a project manager's day-to-day work, and Joe gives us a technique that is easy to apply to get us started -- all based on his book 101 Tips for the Enlightened Project Manager.

Episode 344: Achieving the Elusive Work-Life Balance (Free)

Play Now:

This episode is sponsored by The Agile PrepCast. Earn 37 PDUs::
Agile PrepCast PDU

Neal Whitten
Cornelius Fichtner and Neal Whitten

This interview with Neal Whitten was recorded at the 2015 PMI® Global Congress in Orlando, Florida. We discuss his paper and presentation "Achieving the Elusive Work-Life Balance". Here is the paper's abstract:

If you have difficulty in juggling the demands of your job and your non-work life, you’re not alone. Many people feel like their lives are overcommitted and see no relief in sight. Nowadays, work-life balance can seem like an unrealistic objective and can seem more elusive than ever.

I have personally wrestled with my own work-life balance issues for most of my adult life, but—as a senior-aged person—I have learned a massive amount of knowledge and, dare I say, wisdom, about the highly important subject of finding a satisfactory harmony across all aspects of life. I have also read the research and musings from many valuable contributors that have opened my eyes even wider on maintaining a healthy work-life balance. My mission here is to sift through the data and present to you meaningful information that can help you to not only better understand your work-life balance, but can also give you ideas that can help you to achieve the integration that is most important to you.

Episode 344: Power Snippets

Click here to download the Power Snippets PDF Document...

This PDF Document is the first of two handouts that Neal gave to the attendees of his session "Achieving the Elusive Work-Life Balance" at the PMI® Global Congress 2015 in Orlando FL.

The document is also part of a Neal Whitten eLearning course called "Achieving the Elusive Work-Life Balance" and was developed by Neal Whitten in partnership with Velociteach.

Episode 331: Add Compassion to Your Project Manager Skill Set (Free)

Play Now:

This episode is sponsored by The Agile PrepCast for the PMI-ACP® Exam:
Earn 37 PDUs with The Agile PrepCast

Margaret Meloni
Margaret Meloni - Project Management Coach

When you think of your project manager skills, then “compassion” is probably not the first word that comes to mind. You would probably first list some other hard project management tools and techniques like your scheduling abilities or completing your projects on scope and on budget.

And only if you keep adding words to this project management skills list will you eventually come to terms like conflict management, team building, empathy and compassion.

Margaret Meloni (http://www.margaretmeloni.com) says that we project managers should value compassion much more than we do.

If we are supposed to use compassion as one of our project management soft skills then we have to first define what it is, how it relates to project management and hear examples of how to use it on our projects. And that’s exactly what you are going to get from Margaret’s interview.

But the most important question that I have asked margaret is this: If compassion is truly so important for me as a project manager, how can I see quantifiable results on my projects?

Episode 330: Project Coaching makes you a better Project Leader (Freemium)

This is a Premium episode that we are making available to all our listeners. Please click here to learn more about The Premium PM Podcast...

Play Now:

Susanne Madsen, Author
Susanne Madsen - Author and Leadership Expert

Generally speaking there are six leadership styles: authoritative, democratic, affiliative, pace setting, commanding and coaching. Each one of these has its time and place.

But for you and me as project leaders, project management coaching should be at the top of our list. After all, it is the people working on our projects who get things done, so we want to unlock their potential. And coaching may just be the answer.

A little while back we had Susanne Madsen (http://www.susannemadsen.com) on the program to discuss how her Project Management Coaching Workbook can help unleash your potential. And today, we are going to do a deep dive into various coaching techniques and how it can make you a better project leader.

Episode 329: How to Overcome Resistance to Project Change Management (Free)

Play Now:

This episode is sponsored by The Agile PrepCast for the PMI-ACP® Exam:
Earn 37 PDUs with The Agile PrepCast

Susanne Madsen, Author
Susanne Madsen - Author and Leadership Expert

When we talk about “change management in project management”, the words “resistance” and “tension” often spring to mind.

Consider the resistance to project change management for instance, when two organizations merge, or the fear that employees will feel when a part of their job is automated and some of their skills become redundant.

But the problem isn’t the change itself in spite of the difficulties that it may bring.

To discuss the project change management process with us today I’m very pleased to welcome back one of our favorite interview guests: Susanne Madsen (http://www.susannemadsen.com), whose book The Power of Project Leadership contains a large section on change management.

She says: Organizational change is vital for any business that wants to survive and thrive in our increasingly competitive and fast paced word. The problem is that many project leaders struggle to fully motivate and engage their teams in the process. They often move too fast, are too outcome driven and not sufficiently consultative in their approach.

Project Management for Beginners and Experts

Going beyond Project Management Professional (PMP)®, PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)®, and Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®

Copyright © 2008 - 2019 OSP International LLC.
PMI, PMIef, the PMI Registered Education Provider logo, the PMIef logo, PMBOK, PMP, PgMP, PfMP, CAPM, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, and PMI-PBA are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.