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Episode 474: Getting the Job (and Your Project) Done (Free)

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Today’s workplace has evolved. Yet the strategies to empower employees and teams are still maturing. Join Cornelius Fichtner and Kevin Torf and let them fill this gap by providing a practical framework to inspire teams and keep them accountable for ultimate success. Rather than impose a single method to make you a better project manager, we will look at a flexible strategy that will help you lead confidently, take advantage of all the perspectives on your team, and get the job and project done on time without having to sacrifice quality.

Learn to master the building blocks of effective project management, as outlined by our acronym P.R.O.J.E.C.T.S: Planning, Reflection, Organization, Juggling, Empowerment, Communication, Teamwork, Standards

Elevate your team and organization’s capabilities and discover how projects can turn from overwhelming undertakings into successful collaborations.

This episode was recorded live and, as usual, we got some insightful questions and comments from the audience!

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Episode Transcript

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

Video Introduction

Cornelius Fichtner: In this episode, we introduce you to a flexible strategy to get your projects done on time without having to sacrifice quality.

Hello and welcome back to The Project Management Podcast™ at www.pm-podcast.com. This is the live stream for Episode 474. I’m Cornelius Fichtner. Thank you so much for joining us today.

And for those of you who are viewing this episode recorded and not live, and in case you are not viewing, please remember, this is a video episode. So if you are only getting audio, please look for the “Play video episode” link in your podcast app or simply go to www.pm-podcast.com/474, and you can play the video from the website.

Today’s interview, our workplace has evolved. Yet, the strategies to empower employees and teams are still maturing. So we want to fill this gap today by providing a practical framework to inspire teams and keep them accountable for ultimate success. But rather than impose a single method to make you a better project manager, we are going to be looking at a flexible strategy that will help you lead confidently, take advantage of all the perspectives on your team and get the job and your project done on time without having to sacrifice quality.

Video Presentation

Cornelius Fichtner: And joining us today from Southern California is Kevin Torf. Hello Kevin, welcome to The Project Management Podcast™.

Kevin Torf: Well, good morning! Thanks for having me! Looking forward to the podcast and looking forward to interacting with your audience and appreciate the opportunity. Thank you.

Cornelius Fichtner: Alright, of course. Before I introduce you to our audience, quick recap or precap maybe: What would you say our audience can expect from our conversation today?

Kevin Torf: I’m hoping that they can get some ideas and thoughts that the book has laid out in ways of being effective and different methods to achieve certain objectives. Hopefully the book would give them some insights to that where we can go over some of those tips over the podcast today and hopefully they can take those forward and put them into practice.

Cornelius Fichtner: Excellent! So, thank you for that and now, here’s everything you need to know about Kevin for today. He is in Information Systems Executive with a career spanning more than 30 years specializing in large IT strategic plans, project designs, procurement, and implementation. And over his career, he has orchestrated the design and implementation of numerous complex IT infrastructure deployments across the globe including some of the world’s largest communication network systems. He brings years of experience in executive level technology and consulting services. He has travelled to more than 30 countries to conduct business and he is strong advocate of professional development and has completed multiple training programs in the US, UK, Germany, Australia, and Canada.

And he mentioned it, he also wrote a book. And here it is, “Getting The Job Done”. And, here’s what we see on Amazon about the book, what is written about it, “Conveyed through 100 educational, factual and relatable project management tips. The framework described in the book will keep your team engaged responsible and transparent. Through our “Getting the Job Done” philosophy, the key how we’ve led healthcare tech consulting for over 15 years, you will master the building blocks for effective project management as outlined by our acronym P-R-O-J-E-C-T-S which stands for “Projects” and it’s a planning, reflection, organization, juggling, empowerment, Communication, teamwork, standards. Don’t worry, we’ll go through each of these seven letters, eight letters in just a moment.

And Kevin, to get us started, why did you write the book? Why this particular book?

Kevin Torf: I never started that with the intention of writing a book out. But over the years, I’ve been trying to refine my ideas and thoughts. We practice a lot of these ideas that are in the book today, and I’ve been doing that for the last 10 years. And, I wanted to start trying to bold out a record of some of the thoughts that I had, and I have refined them over the years and once we had a compilation of them, I thought, well, what a great idea to make this into a book.

And I started putting the effort together to bringing it about and structure in it and had some good help with someone, my colleagues in the company and we now have a book.

Cornelius Fichtner: These anecdotes and tips are collection of your own, of your customers, of your colleagues, do I understand that right?

Kevin Torf: So, not the anecdotes. The anecdotes were way to find a way to compare a tip to some time in history that would make it a little bit more fun and more palatable. I generally don’t like reading very complex academic books myself. So when I did decide to start writing this book, I want to define a way to do it in a manner that someone could find very lighthearted find something in history that could compare the tip to. And yes, I did some research and we looked for different ideas and those with the tips that came through and were anecdoted into each one of them.

Cornelius Fichtner: Right. And then, the acronym P-R-O-J-E-C-T-S, stands for “projects” obviously, how did that get developed?

Kevin Torf: As we started sorting and organizing all the tips, I’ve tried to put them into different categories and I started realizing, you know, the word “projects” actually goes well with the acronym of planning and juggling and refection. These are keywords, which I didn’t realize before I started again. You know, one of those things, which you learn as you evolve. And I thought, well, this could be a great way to maybe structure the book. And I then started organizing it accordingly, and it took on its life and you have the acronym that you have today.

Cornelius Fichtner: Alright. The acronym is eight letters long, and what we want to do is we want to go through these eight letters. And please, if you do have any comments for us, then here is Qasim Abbas who has joined us today, who says hello. And so if you, yourself, are on, live and you have a question for us, then please do use the chat here, and put the questions in the chat so I can bring that up.

Well, let us get started then with the first of the eight letters, which is “planning”. “P” as in Planning. Kevin, what are your thoughts here on this? It’s obvious why it is first because without proper planning, your project will fail. Where do you take it for us?

Kevin Torf: You know, looking at the 10 or so tips that I have, the two, they are probably are the most important to me in planning is the magnitude that you need to plan. Try to find that balance between not planning too little, and also not planning too much.

Each project requires a different amount of effort. You need to understand what your goals and your business objectives are. And get to that perfect level of doing enough, so you can understand what you’re long-term objectives are. But not also doing that much where by the time you get to perform it, it’s actually already changed or your business needs have changed, and you’re now dealing with a lot of change orders.

So my first comment and first advise or tip to the audience is find that balance. The longer the project, the less detail you really need to plan. But plan enough to understand the parameters that the project needs to forward then. And then go plan, you know, that effort to get started, that initial iteration which does require detailed planning. But that would give you the correct balance in order to move forward.

Cornelius Fichtner: And let me guess, there is no silver bullet, right? There is no recommendation where you can say: “Oh, this is the correct amount that you need to plan.” Everybody needs to figure out on their own, on my project, this is enough whereas on another project, well, now, I’m outside the picture, this much is enough.

Kevin Torf: Now, that is correct. You know, some environments change much more often and in an environment that changes very often, it would probably lead to less planning because it’s going to change. So you know, why plan something that you know full well is not going to be what you thought it would be three months before. Some environments are lot more stable, and they don’t have as much change. So with that said, you can’t plan a little bit more. But I’m mostly err on the side of actually less planning because I want to get started and I want to learn from the implications of getting started and then reflect. And make those adjustments as needed in order to be successful. So, you are correct, there is no silver bullet, but if you want to err on one side or another, get started. You don’t have to over-plan.

Cornelius Fichtner: However, you said, don’t over-plan, get started, yet the second letter in your acronym is, you already mentioned it, Reflection. So do I reflect before I get started, do I reflect after, during, well, how does reflection, the second letter, fit into this?

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.

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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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