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Episode 245: Gower Handbook of People in Project Management (Premium)

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Episode 245: Gower Handbook of People in Project Management (Premium)The Gower Handbook of People in Project Management has over 60 chapters. We’ve already looked at three of them in our last interview and today we welcome back Lindsay Scott to discuss three more.

The handbook looks at the people-issues that are specific to different sectors of organization (public, private and third sector); the organization of people in projects, both real and virtual; the relationship between people, their roles and the project environment; and the human behaviours and skills associated with working collaboratively.

In our interview we will focus on Project Management Certifications, Hero Project Managers and A Day in the Life of a Project Manager. As always… our main goal is to give you insights and recommendations that you can hopefully apply on your projects (or to your career) right away.

Episode Transcript

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 #245. This is The Project Management Podcast™ at www.pm-podcast.com and I'm Cornelius Fichtner. This is a premium episode. It was recorded especially for all of you Premium Subscribers. Thank you very much for your support.

The Gower Handbook of People in Project Management has over 60 chapters. We’ve already looked at three of them in our last interview and today we welcome back Lindsay Scott to discuss three more.

The handbook looks at the people-issues that are specific to different sectors of organization like public, private and the third sector; the organization of people in projects, both real and virtual; the relationships between people like their roles and the project environment; as well as the human behaviours and skills that are associated with working collaboratively.

In our interview right now, we will focus on Project Management Certifications, Hero Project Managers and A Day in the Life of a Project Manager. As always, our main goal is to give you insights and recommendations that you can hopefully apply on your projects or on your career right away.

And now, please enjoy the interview.

Podcast Interview

Female voice: The Project Management Podcast’s feature Interview: Today with Lindsay Scott, Director of Arras People.

Cornelius Fichtner: Hello Lindsay! Welcome back to The Project Management Podcast™!

Lindsay Scott: Hello! Thank you, thank you for having me again.

Cornelius Fichtner: So you have selected three more chapters from your book: "The Gower Handbook of People in Project Management." You told us in the first interview that you've had 51 contributors to this book. So that must have been a big challenge in regards to keeping people on track with their deadlines. How did you approach this? How did you get people to actually sit down and write their chapters and give them to you on time?

Lindsay Scott: Okay! I didn’t use a Gantt Chart or anything like that as much as I should have done. The interesting thing about this is if anybody ever says to you that if you'd really to try and manage 51 project practitioners, don't! I've always love the name of that podcast Herding Cats but that's exactly, exactly what it was like.

Some of them are great. Some of them are absolutely terrible and they know who they are. But that's fine. As long as they're great project managers, that's all that matters. But when it comes to certain projects in their life like putting together a chapter for this book. And to be fair, some of the people that have contributed to this book have never written formally before and I think some of them found it to be a challenge but they eventually got there.

Cornelius Fichtner: Right. Okay. So the three chapters that you have chosen are Chapter 60: Project Management Certification, Chapter 57: The Hero Project Managers, it's how I started out; and then Chapter 30, about Managing Daily Routines.

So let's get going. First one: Project Management Certification, Taking Charge Locally. What is that one all about?

Lindsay Scott: I picked these next three because the book is quite eclectic. There is going to be stuff in there that you are going to expect to see and should see quite rightly so. But there are some things that are in that book that are all about giving food for thought and this is definitely one of those chapters. But essentially what this chapter is about is about project managers taking charge of their own development based on for example maybe their own sector or the domain that they worked following a one-size, fits-all which you can see professional associations and stuff around the world.

So this is a chapter that when I was first got it, I thought "Wow! Okay. This is probably some contentious stuff in there." But you know, this is what our profession is all about. It's still growing. It's maturing and for me, it's about project managers have to take more of an interest in their own development and also the profession really and this chapter certainly put some stuff down on the line that makes you think.

Cornelius Fichtner: One discussion is always the question of: Does certification help your competence? And Michael Greer does talk about that in his chapter 60 here. What's his take?

Lindsay Scott: His take actually is by a story which…I love stories. I love reading. So actually when he is talking about the difference between competencies to vocation, ultimately it boils down to virtually competence is that you have the skills and the abilities to do the job and do you really need an external body to validate that? That's the jist of it

In some respects, some of the things I agree with what he talks about. But in others, I don’t necessarily agree with him totally either. Yes, again, this is why I think it comes down to the most important bit for me is developing competencies in project management regardless of where that comes from. Does that make sense?

Cornelius Fichtner: It does, it does, yes. He also talks about how certifications are created and sold. And I guess that's the part where you mentioned: "Oh, that could be a big controversial."

Lindsay Scott: Yes, absolutely.

Cornelius Fichtner: Alright. What does he tell us? How are they created and sold?

Lindsay Scott: Well, he did actually go into some detail about it. He gives it part by part of the chapter, 10 steps used by professional associations for creating specification framework. I don’t know if it's kind of trying to blow the lid on something but you know, it gives a clear account of how they did go about coming up with a certification or an assessing somebody's competence.

I don’t want to go into too much detail with it because it is more of a checklist. But essentially what it does when it moves from that is that saying: "Okay, so these are the ten steps that you needed to get and create a certification." Then goes on to say: "Well, actually, we do the things by how to validate that, how do we market that." So yes, this is a very contentious thing in there. However, it does go on to talk about something which I happen to be really interested in.

Maybe food for thought for project practitioners out there, how about you actually sat down and created your own certification. So that your blog's PM Certification which is based on your own career. Because as we know, project management and project manager's roles differ throughout organizations throughout the world. So it's an interesting concept but you could be developing your own certification and that's the bit that I like about this particular chapter is that I'd never really thought about it before and it does go in to do some practical ways on how you could actually do that.

Cornelius Fichtner: So we actually have a checklist and therefore everybody to create their own project management certification and start selling it and offering it.

Lindsay Scott: Well, not necessary. I think it is more to do with…the bit that I took away from that is that at the moment what I see in my day-to-day job is I don’t think that project managers are taking too much about active or proactive involvement in the development of the profession and of their own career. And it's particularly interesting that when it comes to things like talking to them about their options when it's training and assessment certification, actually many of them are still not totally aware of what options they've actually got and I think this chapter, yes, there are some bits in there, this is a bit to be chic, but it's actually the takeaway for me is that this is about looking at your development a lot more closely and a lot more seriously. It's almost like putting the discussion out there and it's on the table. It's the opening gambit. You know as project professionals, how do we make sure that we are developing in the right way for me as an individual rather than for a mass collection of project managers across the globe.

Cornelius Fichtner: Should you certify yourself? What does he say about that?

Lindsay Scott: Good question. Michael's idea about this, should you be getting certifications and what have you is 'no' in a nutshell. Easy answer because he believes that you should be focusing on the core competencies, the underlying, the certifications that you get. I think for him it's the professional tools and materials that are important. Getting good guidance in terms of good information and good teaching and then practicing. Practice, practice, practice. He doesn’t believe that you need a certification to have those behaviors, try those behaviors.

Cornelius Fichtner: Alright! I'm just surfing over to LinkedIn and I'm looking at his profile here just to see if he drinks his own Kool-Aids so to speak and it looks like he is actually not certified. I like that. Somebody who's actually doing what he says we should be doing as well.

Lindsay Scott: Yeah, one more thing there. He says you don’t anybody's blessing that you have enough skill to do the job.

Cornelius Fichtner: Right.

Lindsay Scott: And just in point.

Cornelius Fichtner: Yup, absolutely. What is your conclusion from this chapter. What's your takeaway other than 'be more proactive in your own career' for our listeners?

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

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