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Episode 328: Agile Communications (Premium)

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Bill Dow
Bill Dow, PMP, ITIL, CSM - Author

According to Harold Kerzner, we project managers spend 90% of our time communicating.

And according to the title, Bill Dow’s new book Project Management Communication Tools is 100% about communication tools. And since agile project management is the hot topic of the day, a large portion of the book is devoted to Agile Communications and Agile Communication Tools.

So in this interview, Bill and I review:

  • Agile dashboards
  • Agile meetings
  • And even agile estimation.

Good communication is essential for risk management in agile projects so you are sure to pick up some great ideas from this episode -- whether or not you are working in an Agile environment.

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 number 328. This is the Project Management Podcast at and I'm Cornelius Fichtner. And if you are listening to this interview, then you are one of our premium subscribers. Thank you so much for your financial support of the Project Management Podcast. I really do appreciate it.

According to Harold Kerzner, we project managers spend 90% of our time communicating. And according to the title, Bill Dow's new book Project Management Communication Tools is 100% about, well, communication tools. And since Agile is the hot topic of today, a large portion of the book is devoted to Agile Communications and Agile Communication Tools. So in this interview, Bill and I review Agile dashboards, Agile meetings, and even Agile estimation. And now, if you spent 90% communicating, what were you doing with the other 10%? Enjoy the interview.

Podcast Interview

Cornelius Fichtner: Bill, welcome back to the program.

Bill Dow: Thank you, appreciate it.  

Cornelius Fichtner: So, we are continuing to talk about your new book, Project Management Communication Tools and we are now going to be delving into Agile. And, you've made a big commitment to Agile in that book, put a number of Agile tools into it. Why now, why did you add Agile Communications?

Bill Dow:  I did. I spend a lot of time. Agile's hot, right? Agile is the latest, greatest we've got. You know, everything is going to Agile. Waterfall is really kind of slowing down a little bit and the world is kind of pointing to Agile. So, I thought the time was right. I think it needed an addition. I do have a special co-author though, Kevin Riley, who’s an Agile Expert. I believe he's been on your program before.

Cornelius Fichtner:  Yeah, multiple times. Yeah.

Bill Dow:  Yeah, he wrote the Agile tools for my book. So he did an amazing job. He put in Agile meetings, Agile tools, burn up, burn down charts. So we've got some great stuff there and Kevin was a great asset to the book.

Cornelius Fichtner:   So, question totally out of the blue that I was just thinking about, you've said Agile is hot right now, so you've added this. Have you seen anything on the horizon that will be in a future book of yours? Is there anything coming up that you think, oh you know what, in the new book, that's going to be hot, I going to have to think about adding that.

Bill Dow:  Yeah, potentially Scaled Agile Framework.

Cornelius Fichtner:  Ah, SAFe.

Bill Dow:  Yeah, the SAFe. That's kind of the next thing right now. I still feel it's very, very new. It seems to be a little bit more marketing materials than actual but I've done a lot of research on it. Microsoft was starting to look at bringing that in. So no, that's probably where I would go next but yeah, not at this point, yeah. 

Cornelius Fichtner:  What was the hardest thing to write about in regards to Agile Communication?

Bill Dow:  I don't think there's necessarily any hard thing. There's a lot of tools. It's just a matter of picking which tools, which tools were really communication-focused. Again, the book is really about communications. And so when Kevin and I sat down, we looked at the tools, we said hey, what - you know, what tools should we put in there? There's a million tools out there but which ones are going to be the most effective from a communication tools perspective? And that's exactly what we did, is we really focused on the best communication tools, Agile project meetings and burn down charts and some all good communications.

Cornelius Fichtner:  Okay. We also want to make it absolutely clear your book is not an Agile communications book right? It is a project management communications book that happens to include Agile and happens to include social media from the previous interview.

Bill Dow:  Right, yeah. So it's not a waterfall book, it's not an Agile book, it's a project management book and using those two development methodologies, you can certainly help you execute your project from a communication perspective.

Cornelius Fichtner:  Agile and waterfall, they are - you know, fundamentally different. Have you noticed that you had some integration issues when it came to the tools? Because you know, they're sometimes so different and we communicate so differently in these project types.

Bill Dow:  Yeah, we didn’t really look at it from an integration perspective. We said, yeah, well, yeah, we really didn't. We really looked at from a PMI framework perspective. We said which tools would we use from an Agile perspective in which areas of the project. So in integration, for example, we use Agile project meetings, Agile product vision statements. So we really looked at it from a pure PMI perspective exactly the way we did the last book but we applied Agile to those particular PMI areas, knowledge areas in this particular case.

Cornelius Fichtner:  Okay. Anytime you think about Agile from a project communications perspective, you have to think about dashboards and various reports that Agile teams use to communicate project information. So, what dashboards or reports do you recommend that our listeners can use immediately on their projects?

Above are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only. Please subscribe to our Premium Podcast to receive a PDF transcript.

PDUs: Ways of Working, Project Communications Management, Podcast Episodes About Agile, Podcast Episodes Recommended PM Books, Agile Communications, Agile Project Management

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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 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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