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Episode 018: Soft Skills

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Show notes: Our main focus today is on Soft Skills. What they are, how they will help you become a better PM and how to improve your own set of soft skills. Two resources I mention for soft skills are Monster.com's soft skill "Quiz" and a whitepaper titled Accommodating Soft Skills in Software Project Management. Find them in the Helpful Resources below. A special hello and congratulations goes to my friend Thomas Schmidt in Germany who passed his PMP exam last week.

Project Management in the News
- UC Irvine Extension's Advanced Project Management Simulation Course
- Business consultant Wirick pens book on project management
- Project In A Box Launch P2abc The First Prince2 Styled Method For Smaller Projects
- When do you think PMI will reach 250,000 members?
- CIO'S expect to hire Project Managers in 2006
- Global PM Forum Reports now available

Episode Transcript

Below are the first few pages of a computer-generated transcript with all its computer-generated quirks.

Cornelius Fichtner (00:11):

You are listening to the project management podcast. We bring project management topics to beginners and experts. Find us on the web at pmpodcast.blogspot.com or send your emails to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Hello, and welcome to show number 18. I am Cornelius Fichtner. Now this is the project management podcast for the 4th of February, 2006. And today I'll be getting soft on you because the main segment of the show is about soft skills in my announcements. Let me start out with iTunes to be precise, the iTunes review section and my thanks. Go to OC Rob D for writing a great review about the project management podcast and giving me four out of five stars in the iTunes podcast directory. Thank you very much. If any of you listeners out there would also like to write a quick review and give me your rating on the show. Um, go to the music store and iTunes, find my podcast and click on the right review link, which you can see on the right hand side.

Cornelius Fichtner (01:26):

I have again received some wonderful listener feedback this time from Anthony Blore out of Manchester. And he thanks me for my great podcast here. And every email I get with constructive criticism and constructive feedback like Ks is encouraging me to continue the show. So please keep your emails coming. I really enjoy them well about sponsorship again here, does your company have a project management tool or maybe a project management book, project management seminar to promote well then why not become a sponsor of the project management podcast? Being a sponsor of the show will immediately get your message into the ears of thousands of project managers worldwide at a cost, which is definitely lower than what you would pay for an ad in a trade magazine. Simply write to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and I'll be happy to discuss a sponsorship with you. And finally, I wanted to send congratulations to my friend Thomas Schmidt in Germany, who recently passed his PMP certification. So you got to that's your own Thomas. Alright, and now let us move on to the two segments, helpful resources and project management in the news.

Cornelius Fichtner (03:06):

I have four resources for you today. The first one is from Sabrina Mancini Johnson. If you recall, she was my interview guest last week on the show, and this one is straight from her website and it's a two page PDF document titled the top 10 characteristics of a successful project manager and a, well, this is, this is quite a good document. If you need to tell people what it is that you're actually doing, or if HR and your company is looking for project managers, if your boss's boss's boss is telling you, what does a project manager do? I mean, take out this document and give it to them because it gives kind of the great overview of, of what it is that we project managers really do. I mean, it's not the Gantt charts and making sure that deadlines are met. It, it it's inspiration have a shared vision.

Cornelius Fichtner (04:10):

It's a good communicator. You need integrity, empathy, competence, team building skills. All of these items are very neatly explained here on these two pages from Sabrina. The second helpful resource I have for you or I have for myself actually this week around is a document from project. Perfect. It's a part one of two. Unfortunately it's only part one at the moment and it's called developing a test strategy. One of my projects has recently just gone into the testing phase or will a in a couple of days actually, and this would have been great if I had had this a about three weeks ago. And of course I would need both the part Walnut part two. This has been written by Neville turbot from project. Perfect. I think we've, uh, I've mentioned him three or four times already here. So he's, he's producing rather good content.

Cornelius Fichtner (05:07):

And this is a humongously long document on how to develop a test strategy. This is good. If you have time on your project, if you can really focus on creating a test strategy, how you want to test things, who's going to test things, what environments you're going to test this on, what the test scripts are going to be, what are you going to do for retesting, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. So this is a excellent template. If you wish for anybody who needs to develop a test strategy. In my case, I looked at it and I thought, wow, would have been great. If, if the previous project manager on my project here had, had used this and had created something useful like that, in my case, my test strategy is about five sentences and a and a table in length. So yeah, I wish I wish I had had this a few weeks ago.

Cornelius Fichtner (05:59):

The third helpful Reese's the resource I have for you is it's from comp T I a and it's titled the comp T I a project plus glossary of project management terms. This is a 16 page document, which contains well, yeah, a glossary of project management terms. For instance, what is performance reporting? Just picking one here, reporting to the stakeholders, to provide information about the project status, progress, accomplishments, and future project performance predictions. Lots of PS here. Well, this document is a good alternative resource for, shall we say to PMBOK, it's not an exhaustive as the glossary of terms in the PMBOK. The PMBOK is 44 pages in total focusing of course, on PMBOK terms. I assume Prince 2 has, has a similar glossary, but what I found is that these 16 pages here, the language is less complicated. You actually understand what they're talking about.

Cornelius Fichtner (07:08):

It's easier to comprehend. So my, my idea here is if you're looking for an explanation of a term, yes, use the PMBOK, use the Prince 2 glossary. Also use the white man's comparative glossary. If you remember max wideman.com , I really raved about his website and he also has a, has a glossary there. So use these glossaries that are out there and also use this comp Tia project management glossary in order to figure out what are these terms. If you have to explain it to somebody, the PMBOK Prince 2, they are more focused on the technical aspects. And this one here is, is, is simple, easy language. The fourth and final helpful resource I have for you today is something for beginners. It is part four of about dot coms, project management, one Oh one part four is talking about managing costs, money and profits.

Cornelius Fichtner (08:10):

And it's a very easy to read for beginners explanation on how to manage costs, money and profits on your project. The first three, um, items in this series here are part one overview of project management. Of course, part two was talking about managed resources and part three talked about managing time. I do not know where they're going in the future with this, but, uh, this is definitely going to be something because about.com keeps their content online forever and ever. So in five, six years, if you have something that you need to give to a beginner, this is, this is still great content that you can do. Also at the end of each page, they have suggested reading. They have related articles and even most popular videos, but I'm not sure if online music stores is something that we really need as project managers. So there you have it, the four helpful resources of this week. And now let's continue with the news.

Cornelius Fichtner (09:23):

I have six news items for you today. The first three I'm going to focus on on the last three, I'm just going to skim over quickly. First one is titled UCI Irvine's extensions, advanced project management simulation course offers chance to blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah goes on and on and on has a humongously long title. But what it basically boils down to the UCI, the university of California, Irvine is offering an online project management course, big deal. You may say, well, it is for me because I am now on the UC I's advisory committee for project management. And we're going to have our first meeting on February the seventh. And I'm going to give you a little bit of feedback there. What it's like to work together with a university, uh, on their advisory committee, on project management, I'm actually looking forward to this. So it was interesting for me to see that they're actually putting out press releases for all of their, uh, project management seminars that they have. The second news item is titled business consultant. Wyrick Penn's book on project management. Well, that's really nothing new. There are dozens of books on project management out there, but, um, he is actually taking the apprentice project runway and trading spaces. Television shows here in the United States. And he is saying that well, if you're watching these shows, you're actually getting a lesson in project management. So very interesting to take the idea that what you see in a television show is project management and writing a book on it.

Above are the first few pages of a computer-generated transcript with all its computer-generated quirks. A human-generated transcript is available to Premium subscribers starting with episode 136.

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Cornelius Fichtner
Cornelius Fichtner
Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, CSM, is the host and the author at The Project Management Podcast. He has welcomed hundreds of guests and project management experts to the podcast and has helped over 60,0000 students prepare for their PMP Exam. He has authored dozens of articles on projectmanagement.com and PM World 360. He speaks at conferences around the world about project management, agile methodology, PMOs, and Project Business. Follow him on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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