Some of the topics you'll hear about are prioritization, aha moments, leadership, how flow can be used in scaling of Agile, the importance of trust in the process, and of course, there is always my favorite question at the end of the interview: How can we apply all of this on our projects today?
Last week, I must have missed the start of at least three scheduled meetings. In each case, I saw on my calendar that the meetings would start in an hour or less, which meant that I could probably start and finish another task before I had to be at those meetings. And each time, I got so involved in the task I was working on that I lost track of everything around me and the meetings started without me.
In positive psychology, this is called a flow state, also known colloquially as being in the zone. This is the mental state in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by the complete absorption in what one does, and a resulting transformation in one's sense of time.
Wouldn’t it be great, if we could apply this to all our projects and everyone working on it? You can.
Here is how someone describes the effect flow has had on their projects: Flow is when you know where you are headed, know what your goal is, and know the steps necessary to get there. It's like running a race. You don't plan each step along the way, but you keep your eyes on the finish line, and everything you do moves you toward it thanks to your training.
The views expressed by Shyam Ramanathan in this interview are his own and not those of his employer
Shyam Ramanathan, PMP, CSSGB, AINS, AU
We live in troubling times. We are facing a global pandemic with many of us following stay-at-home orders, and we see civil and political unrest erupting. There are some political leaders who are stepping up to the challenge, and others not so much.
But what about us project leaders? What can we do to help our project teams, colleagues, organizations and even our social circles face these challenges?
I have invited Shyam Ramanathan to the program today and discuss leadership during crisis and turbulence. Here is what Shyam writes:
In times of crisis like this, we look to leaders for inspiration, hope, and direction. The last word is the key as the first thing to suffer in a crisis is direction. Leaders have a guiding vision for the future and turn to hope when others can only see mud. Let’s hope in this time of enormous crisis it also unearths true leaders who can navigate the turbulent times and move us into a greater future however distant that may seem at this time.
As a reminder, if your company’s products and services are delivered to your clients through projects, then your company is a project business. If we compare this to another industry, then a company that sells consumer goods is a retail business.
In this premium interview, we are going to be discussing the 7 challenges of a project business:
Acceptance of Status Quo
Failing to identify as a Project Business
Optimization of Project Management silos has maxed out
Inadequate communication among key stakeholders or “Lack of stakeholder collaboration”
Lack of governance/Lack a structured, standardized system of organizing their data
What type of project are you currently working on? Is it an internal project, where your own company pays for everything or is it an external project, where an external customer pays your bills? If you are part of the second group, then your project falls into what we call project business.
And now look at your company and the projects you deliver as a whole. Do you see mostly internal projects or external projects? Well… If your company’s products and services are delivered to your clients through projects, your company is a project business.
That means that the term project business is used to classify both individual projects and organizations as a whole. Both are project business. Confused? We can help.
In our conversation, we define the term project business from that angle, we discuss the central characteristics of a project business, briefly talk about some challenges, and look at why productivity in project business is lagging behind other areas like manufacturing or retail.
Every project that you have ever worked on had at least one constraint. Maybe your current project has a fixed budget and maybe the previous one had to be completed by a certain deadline. But I am also sure of this: your projects had to follow laws and regulations.
The laws you have to follow can be major laws, like Sarbanes-Oxley here in the USA, the protection of personal data laws in the european union, or the intellectual property laws that most countries around the world have. And if you work in aerospace or healthcare then you will know all about rules and regulations concerning personal safety. But on the other hand these must-follow laws and regulations could simply be an internal regulation that tells you that all rental cars must be rented from one particular company.
So laws and regulations limit our choices and freedom to shape our projects.
And to explore this in more detail, we have Jim Franklin with us today. He has managed over $500M of Government contracts in California and knows a thing or two about laws and regulations.
Today we are going to talk about Project Business and Project Business Management, and if you have no idea what that means then welcome to the club. Cornelius didn't know what either of these terms meant when he heard them for the first time.
You will learn what project business is all about, that (surprise!) roughly 50% of all projects that are currently being undertaken in the world are part of project business, we talk about the skills that we PMs need to answer project business challenges, and you’ll come away learning about the number one thing that you should pay particular attention to, when you are involved in project business management and why.
Disruptive business models, technological progress and intense competition force your customers to continuously innovate. Clients naturally demand that you deliver high-quality projects involving complex, ever-changing scope at tight budgets and within compressed timelines. Is this challenging? Absolutely! Innovative, effective scope management is a must for project success. Listen in as we discuss the successful scope management techniques from across continents.
This interview with Karthik Ramamurthy was recorded at the PMI® Global Conference 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. We discuss his findings into how project scope management will make or break your project.
You will discover how ineffective requirements gathering, poor scope definition, gold plating, and uncontrolled creep inevitably lead to project failure. And to counteract this, we analyze, adapt, and apply seven proven scope management techniques to increase the probability of project success.
Feeling disconnected from your team? Is getting them all together more like herding cats than project management? Social intelligence concepts (the connections part of emotional intelligence) can help you connect and keep your team all moving in the same direction.
This interview with Kim Wasson was recorded at the PMI® Global Conference 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. We discuss the concepts of her interactive workshop in which she helped the attendees develop strong connected leadership, handle problems gracefully and create and support effective teams using principles from the world of social intelligence translated into project management tools and techniques. They were able to leave the session armed with tools to support their project manager coaching and mentoring back in the workplace, with their colleagues.
From the interview you will learn how to use social intelligence tools to build teams and keep members connected and engaged and how to utilize social intelligence tools to achieve balance among the project dimensions of people, product and process. Note that social intelligence tools are not the same as social media for project managers, although there is definitely value in social media tools too.
People from so many different backgrounds joined Kim's talk and benefited from what she shared. From people who fill the role of project manager in SAFe agile environment, through to people managing multiple projects, there is so much to take away from today's interview. And without further ado, let's listen in.
Definitions are a useful starting point, but what do you really think when you hear the word risk? How does it make you feel? What about related words like "uncertainty," "threat" or "opportunity"? Building on established neurolinguistic theories of word/image association, this session will explore underlying tensions in the way practitioners think and feel about risk. Discover the surprising truth, and compare yourself with your peers. And of course, this episode is relevant to risk management in agile projects as well, just in case you were wondering.
This interview with Dr. David Hillson was recorded at the PMI® Global Conference 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. We discuss his research and insights into what you truly think about when you hear the words "risk" and "opportunity" using the Bouba/Kiki Effect. This is the kind of information you won't find in the Practice Standard for Project Risk Management but it's so useful when thinking and talking about risk with project stakeholders.
You will see and understand why it's hard to include opportunities in an integrated risk management process and discover your own underlying perceptions of risk, and the implications for your risk management behavior. The insights will change how you think about risk management critical success factors. Enjoy the episode!
Employees get 50-75% of their relevant information directly from other people. All project management begins with knowledge; one of the most critical organizational assets—intellectual capital—is held captive in the minds of individuals. How to capture, share, retain and reuse this knowledge is the greatest challenge facing organizations today.
This interview with Benjamin Anyacho (LinkedIn Profile) and Bruce Moore (LinkedIn Profile) was recorded at the PMI® Global Conference 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. We discuss how to create/establish a robust knowledge-sharing environment intelligently, leveraging it for exponential growth, competitive advantage, and innovation.
Our discussion also looks at intelligent approaches to managing competencies, capabilities, and critical knowledge assets of the organization strategies for converting, capturing, sharing, as well as ways to retaining/reusing project knowledge to achieve innovative solutions, and value
Rich Maltzman (LinkedIn Profile) and Jim Stewart (LinkedIn Profile) are back on the program today to talk about Goblins… no… wait… [furiously checks notes]... Ahhh… no. Sorry. My fault. No goblins today.
Instead, the focus is on preparing a facilitated project planning meeting. We look at resolving any looming unaddressed issues before the meeting starts, how to make sure that the financial investment of a planning meeting actually pays off, and then Rich and Jim talk us through about 8 actionable activities they recommend you do in order to plan the meeting right. These tips are important to get the most out of your meeting so you come out of it with enough useful information to create a realistic project plan.
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.
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.
Cynthia Dionisio, Mike Griffiths and Stephen Townsend
At the Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Conference 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, I had the opportunity to attend two workshops to help in the development of A Guide to The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) -- Seventh edition.
Yes, you read that right: Seventh Edition. And here is what PMI® wrote about the workshop:
PMBOK® Guide – The Next Generation: An Innovation Working Session
Join us for an innovation workshop to develop concepts for the next generation of the PMBOK® Guide. Explore current thinking to ensure the next version encompasses the full spectrum of project management approaches. Then actively participate in shaping the content through a series of innovation discussions and exercises. Bring your expertise, ideas and energy to collaborate with your colleagues in building a robust and resilient project management body of knowledge.
The workshop was led by Cynthia Dionisio, Mike Griffiths, and Stephen Townsend. Cyndi and Mike are the co-leads for the new PMBOK® Guide Seventh Edition and Stephen represents PMI. And in addition to attending the workshop, I also got the opportunity to sit down with them and learn what we can expect from the new guide. (My best guess is that it will be published sometime in 2021).
In the interview we talk about
the move from process-based to principles-based standards,
what will happen to the domains and knowledge-areas,
how the next guide will cover the entire delivery spectrum,
why it will be much shorter than the current edition, and
what each member of the team hopes that the seventh edition will be able to achieve.
Today, we welcome Cindy Anderson (LinkedIn Profile) who is the VP, Brand Management at Project Management Institute (PMI)®.
This interview was recorded at the PMI® Global Conference 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. We'll talk about the elements of PMI's new brand and the fact that there is a lot more to it than "just" a new logo. And that's an important distinction. While the new logo is what most of us see, the new brand and its slogan/positioning "Powering the Project Economy" are so much more than just a few new visual assets.
In the interview, we talk about how the new brand was developed and how it affects the many stakeholders around the world.
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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