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Episode 441: Facilitating a Project Planning Meeting (Free)

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Rich and Jim
Rich Maltzman and Jim Stewart

Planning your project right from the start is a big factor for future success. It’s definitely not everything, but doing the planning right goes a long way. And most planning is done in meetings. And that again means that you really want to make sure that those meetings deliver.

That is where the book How to Facilitate Productive Project Planning Meetings - A Practical Guide to Ensuring Project Success can help. It was written by Rich Maltzman (LinkedIn Profile) and Jim Stewart (LinkedIn Profile), and yes, it does indeed contain Goblins.

We have chosen to focus on chapter 6 “The Zen of Facilitation”. We talk about what is wrong with the way many planning meetings are being facilitated today, what facilitation and facilitative style means, and we have many good tips for you. And yes… we will talk about the goblins.

What you'll learn in this interview will help you put together a better and more accepted project plan.

Lastly here is what one reviewer on Amazon wrote: This book read [sic] better than a textbook as it was full of humor and step-by-step tips for immediate application. The authors provide insight on Agile project planning, tips on facilitating status meetings and lessons learned meetings, and even their appendices provide additional information on topics such as Project Management 101, meeting war stories, and access to their templates.

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Episode Transcript

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

Podcast Introduction

Rich Maltzman: In this episode of The Project Management Podcast™, we talk about goblins and also about our book: “How to Facilitate Productive Project Planning Meetings.”

Cornelius Fichtner: Hello and welcome back to The Project Management Podcast™ at www.pm-podcast.com. This is Episode #441 and I am Cornelius Fichtner. Thank you for being here.

Planning your projects right from the start is a big factor for future success. It’s definitely not everything but doing the planning right goes a long way. And most planning is done in meetings and that again means that you really want to make sure that those meetings deliver. And that is where the book “How to Facilitate Productive Project Planning Meetings – A Practical Guide to Ensuring Project Success” can help. It was written by Rich Maltzman and Jim Stewart. And yes, it does indeed contain goblins.

But before we look at the goblins, I have this question for you. If you are a regular listener to the Podcast then you know that I provide exam prep training for project managers. But did you know that I also offer corporate project management training? So if you are looking to provide project management training in your company then please visit www.pm-podcast.com/corporate to see what I offer. Let’s talk.

Back to the book and interview. We have chosen to focus on Chapter 6 – The Zen of Facilitation. We talk about what is wrong with the way many planning meetings are being facilitated today, what facilitation and facilitative style means, and we have many good tips for you. And yes, we will talk about the goblins.

Lastly, here is what one reviewer on Amazon wrote: “This book reads better than a textbook as it was full of humor and step-by-step tips for immediate application. The authors provide insight on Agile project planning, tips on facilitating status meetings and lesson learned meetings, and even their appendices provide additional information on topics such as Project Management 101, Meeting more stories, and access to their templates.” Enjoy the interview!

Podcast

Cornelius Fichtner: Hello, Jim and welcome to the Project Management Podcast™!

Jim Stewart: Hello, Cornelius! Nice to virtually meet you. I’ve certainly known about your Podcast for quite some time now.

Cornelius Fichtner: Well, we’re happy to have you here. And hello, Rich, and welcome back to the Podcast.

Rich Maltzman: It’s great to be here again, Cornelius.

Cornelius Fichtner: So this is at least I think the third interview that you and I are doing for one of your books?

Rich Maltzman: Yes.

Cornelius Fichtner: So why did you decide to yet write another book?

Rich Maltzman: Well, I just decided that it was time to take on a new topic. I like working with wacky, creative people and Jim’s one of them. He had talked about this for a while and between the two of us, we decided this was a topic that needed some coverage. So project management has been my passion for decades and I really couldn’t help myself when Jim asked me to write on this topic with him.

Cornelius Fichtner: Alright! So today, we are going to look at Chapter 6 from your book: How to Facilitate Productive Project Planning Meetings. But first, Jim, why this particular topic and can you also define what you mean but project planning meetings?

Jim Stewart: Sure. Why this particular topic? I can tell you specifically why. As an independent consultant, I have been independent for a number of years. One of the things, there are always advices: You know, write a book. Get exposure. Advance not only your own self but also the industry.

So I have a friend, who has since retired and moved away, but he and I used to talk at that time. I used to work for him when I used to teach at a college. His name is Tom. I said: “Tom, I love to write a book.” And he said: “Yeah those meetings you tell me about you used to run at pharmaceuticals?” I said: “Yeah.” He said: “I would read about that.” This is an experienced project manager. I thought well if he would read it, well maybe others would read it. And Tom thought it would be a good idea. That is when I approached Rich.

And so, what do I mean by project planning meetings? Specifically, when we are going to run a project with any duration whether it’s 6 months, 6 years or when I did pharmaceutical, 10 to 12 to 15 years, it’s the planning that’s important. So we have meetings to plan for our schedule, for our risk that are vital to do.

And I want to stress another thing. Our book is largely based on this large planning meetings, which Rich is also on exam, one of the capacities, also trickle-down effect in the point of: If you can run a big meeting with these techniques, you can run a small meeting with them. Just the idea hopefully answering both questions.

Cornelius Fichtner: And Rich, can you summarize for us what you think is actually wrong with today’s project planning meetings?

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: Technical Project Management, Project Manager Soft Skills, Project Manager Skills, Meeting 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 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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