Episode 244: Gower Handbook of People in Project Management (Free)
This episode is sponsored by The Agile PrepCast for The PMI-ACP Exam:
The projects we lead are all about a group of people delivering benefits to others, so it's no surprise that the human element is fundamental to project management. Lindsay Scott (www.arraspeople.co.uk) is one of the editors of The Gower Handbook of People in Project Management, which is advertised as a complete guide to the human dimensions involved in projects. It’s a compilation of over 60 chapters about project management roles and the people who sponsor, manage, deliver, work in or are otherwise important to project success.
I invited Lindsay to come on the program today and discuss just 3 of these chapters. You can look forward to not only her review but to lots of takeaways that you can hopefully apply on your own projects tomorrow. We discussed the chapters on International Projects, Cross-Cultural Relationships and Managing People in Virtual Organisations.
Below are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only.
The projects we lead are all about a group of people delivering benefits to others, so it's no surprise that the human element is fundamental to project management. Lindsay Scott is one of the editors of “The Gower Handbook of People in Project Management,” which is advertised as a complete guide to the human dimensions involved in projects. It’s a compilation of over 60 chapters about project management roles and the people who sponsor, manage, deliver, work in or are otherwise important to project success.
This episode is sponsored by The Agile PrepCast™. Are you a project manager and want to become PMI-ACP® certified? Then the easiest way to do so is with our sister Podcast, The Agile PrepCast™, and study for the exam by watching the in-depth exam prep video training from www.agileprepcast.com.
I invited Lindsay to come on the program today and discuss 3 of the chapters in the book. You can look forward to not only her review of the chapters but to a lot of takeaways that you can hopefully apply on your own projects tomorrow. We discussed the chapters on International Projects, Cross-Cultural Relationships and Managing People in Virtual Organizations.
And now, please look around you. Those are the people on your project. Enjoy the interview.
Female voice: The Project Management Podcast’s feature Interview: Today with Lindsay Scott, Director of Arras People.
Cornelius Fichtner: Hello Lindsay and thank you for coming on the Podcast!
Lindsay Scott: Hello, Cornelius. It’s nice to be here! Thank you very much for the invite.
Cornelius Fichtner: Oh, we’re happy to have you. So you and Dennis Lock edited The Gower Handbook of People in Project Management. How did the idea for the book first form for you?
Lindsay Scott: It came because Gower Publishers only actually 2 handbooks already. They’ve got a handbook of project management, a handbook of program management and of course they were thinking about what’s missing. I think over the years, people have thought a lot more about I suppose the people aside project management in a more behavioral bits of project management. I think they felt that it was probably a handbook there and they were right. They sent me a handbook there.
Cornelius Fichtner: Yes! So how did you find all the various contributors and how many are there?
Lindsay Scott: I think it’s about 51 when we said some of the chapters have been written by 2 people. Just over 50 contributors.
I basically found them, I suppose the way that the partnership between me and Dennis got put together is that Dennis is very mature, a person that is being around in project management. He is an incredibly great editor as well which is what this book really needed. So that was very much his specialism. I think I got approached because I seem to know a lot of people. I suppose I’ve been around on Twitter for a while and social media and things like that but also part of my business, part of the work that I do, I interact with a lot of practitioners as well.
So I suppose for me, I’ve met a lot of people along the way, I mean we’re thinking about the subject matter of people, straight away I was able to really think of…I don’t say probably about 50% of the book, I could probably think of people straight away. The other 50%, it was good finding out. However, I had a lot of great conversations with people all over the world trying to find some office for some of the more trickier chapters. So yeah, I suppose I got approached because of my network.
Cornelius Fichtner: Alright. When did you first realize that the book was going to be this huge?
Lindsay Scott: We got warned beforehand because obviously, I’ve seen the other size of the handbooks so I knew that we were pretty much going to have to, the book would be that big. But actually, what’s more interesting is that our book is slightly bigger, slightly bigger than the other two. So I think once you get into the process, actually you start to get a bit concerned that it’s getting too big. Yet size, we weren’t too worried about that because we knew that we’ve got, if you ask anybody if you think about people in project management, what could you write about? I’m sure a lot of people will come up with so many great chapters as well.
Cornelius Fichtner: Right. Yeah and what we want to do for the rest of this interview, you have selected hand-picked 3 chapters from the book: International Projects, Cross-Cultural Relationships and then also Managing People in Virtual Project Organizations. We want to go through these chapters, talk a little bit about the content of the chapter and most of all, we want to end each chapter with your takeaways, with your tips and tricks that people can apply on the projects tomorrow based on what the authors have to say in your book.
Lindsay Scott: Okay.
Cornelius Fichtner: So we’re starting out with Chapter 11: International Projects. Tell us a little bit just about this chapter.
Lindsay Scott: Okay. The reason why I picked these 3 particular chapters, I thought well, the Podcast being an international and a virtual Podcast, I thought well you know, it’s probably a great collection.
The international project I particularly picked out and also the cross-cultural relationships. Well it’s actually written by the same person which is Jean Binder. I hope I’ve got my pronunciation right. But Jean is from France. I particularly liked these the more of the international chapters mainly because I meet personally. I’ve never worked on an international project so I actually found a lot of the ways and things that Jean almost was actually writing about. It was all new to me.
So basically what he talks about in this particular chapter is more about if you are working on global or international projects, these are some of the additional things that you need to think about as a project manager over in a book what you quite possibly do if your project team was nearby or you are all located in the same country. For me, I find it really interesting.
Cornelius Fichtner: He starts out by talking about traditional, distributed, international and virtual projects. What’s his definition there?
Lindsay Scott: His definition? He actually says that the global and virtual projects in some ways are actually the same. For him, you put where the traditional projects where you were collocated, where one organization, one project team in a single place. Pretty straight forward, pretty easy to manage.
But then when he tries to talk about more of the global or international projects, that’s where the virtual also comes into that because ultimately the project teams are distributed around the world. Really, you get into both the organizations but also for project managers but basically for organizations, they have to make that decision and get that bonds right between do we go for global project versus do they keep it traditional in one place. He talks about actually if you go global, chances are that you get quite a lot more innovation in your projects because you’re gathering together probably the best team you can whereas if you wish to have it in one country, one part of one organization, your resources might be quite limited and probably not necessarily the best people for the job.
Cornelius Fichtner: He has a chapter in there: “To be or not to be global”. Does this chapter by any chance contain sort of selection criteria that tell us and help us to decide whether or not we should go global?