The Project Management PodcastAuthor: OSP International LLC
19 Aug 2018

The Project Management Podcast

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Project Management for Beginners and Experts. Are you looking to improve your Project Management Skills? Then listen to The Project Management Podcast™, a weekly program that delivers best practices and new developments in the field of project management. The more companies understand the importance of sound Project Management, the more will your skills be in demand. Project Management is the means used by companies today to turn their vision and mission into reality. It is also the driver behind transforming a business need into a business process. The Project Management Podcast™ looks at how project management shapes the business world of today and tomorrow. Find us on the web at or send your emails to The Project Management Podcast™ is a trademark of OSP International LLC. All other trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners. Copyright © 2005 - 2017 OSP International LLC. All rights reserved.

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    Episode 417: Leading During A Disaster (Free) #PMOT

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    Niraj and Cornelius
    Niraj Kumar and Cornelius Fichtner

    This interview with Niraj Kumar (LinkedIn Profile) was recorded at the lively Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Conference 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.

    We share insights gained from leading teams in the aftermath of the 2016 flood, called the worst Louisiana disaster since Katrina. Learn how our guest led teams through devastation around them and reacted to a life-altering situation, yet stayed true to the mission to serve the community.

    You will hear how the team leaders collaborated to ensure that the critical tasks get done, operations keep humming, and the affected customers continue to receive service.

    Episode Transcript

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

    Podcast Introduction

    Niraj Kumar: In this episode of The Project Management Podcast™, we look into specific leadership behaviors you can practice to adapt to a chaotic and challenging situation.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Hello and welcome to The Project Management Podcast™ at I am Cornelius Fichtner.

    Podcast Interview

    Cornelius Fichtner: We are coming to you live from the lively 2017 PMI Global Conference in Chicago. With me right now is Niraj Kumar. Hello, Niraj!

    Niraj Kumar: Thank you, Cornelius! It’s nice to be able to talk to you again!

    Cornelius Fichtner: Yeah and we finally meet in person, aren’t we?

    Niraj Kumar: Absolutely! It’s so good to see you.

    Cornelius Fichtner: How is the conference going for you so far?

    Niraj Kumar: The conference has been fun. A lot of activities and things that people can take back to their work. It’s definitely very helpful for anybody who is a project practitioner, not just for a project manager but anybody who works with projects. Even for stakeholders, this conference can be very helpful.

    Cornelius Fichtner: You have just finished your presentation a few minutes ago. How was it for you?

    Niraj Kumar: It was great! People participated and I was glad to see the audience’s interests and how they all resonated with the topic and how they can use some of the things we discussed.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Alright! We’ll look into all of that as well.

    Niraj Kumar: Great!

    Cornelius Fichtner: The topic is “Leading During a Disaster: Lessons Learned from the 2016 Louisiana Flood”. What’s the story behind it? What interested you in discussing, presenting this topic here at the Congress?

    Niraj Kumar: I decided to present this topic because when we are in a situation that’s chaotic and disastrous like this event was for our work situation, we go through events, we work with other people, we use some skills, we also learn the limitations of what do we read in books and how we really end up practicing when it comes to leading people, influencing people. And what I do is I put a leadership lens on what took place in this context at work. And I give out some tips and ideas that project practitioners and leaders can use to be more effective in a chaotic situation.

    Cornelius Fichtner: How were you personally affected during this situation?

    Niraj Kumar: I was affected very deeply because as I said before, it’s one thing to read about a flood. It’s one thing to read about a difficult situation or a war situation. It’s one thing to live through a disaster and work through that. I was in the midst of it and I wanted to share what happens when you were in the middle of it. How does it unfold? And how difficult it is to keep people motivated, how difficult it is to get the work done, what should we focus on? And also how some of the things that you read in the news media are very different when you were in the middle of it when you are trying to get your work done?

    At the end of the day, we are professionals. We get paid to hit a target. We get our accolades from working through people and that’s my focus. That’s what we come to work for everyday. I felt like this event the way it changed me from inside, it refined my leadership abilities.

    Before that situation, I was able to lead people. But now after I have gone through that, I would be talking to them differently if I were in a similar situation. So I would say as a team, people who go through the situation, it helps them grow in a certain way. It helps them balance different things including we have to get the work done, but how do we talk to people so they are still motivated. They get the work done, but they also feel good about it at the end of the day.

    Cornelius Fichtner: How did you keep yourself motivated during that time?

    Niraj Kumar: I kept myself motivated by just going through certain steps that I discussed in this presentation. And I believe that to lead others, you first have to lead yourself. You first have to be in the right emotional state, in the right motivational state to be able to accomplish work through others.

    I learned that when you are in a difficult spot and you are struck by a grief, you are struck by any kind of grief, you go through a staged approach. You know we like to call it six stages of grief. And I felt like we, as humans, go through those stages when we are hit by grief and it’s good to know in advance that when we go through a tough situation, first we like to deny it. We like to isolate ourselves from the difficulty and then we like to bargain with universe or with God or with people who we think are the power to be. And at the end of the day, we accept the situation as what it is and then you work from there. So processing grief to me for any individual is an important concept not just in theory but in practice as well.

    I also kept myself motivated because I have a great team. At the end of the day, I believe that your team motivates you and you motivate your team. We are all in a difficult situation together. So having a great team makes a lot of difference. So I would say my ability to really manage my emotions when we go through a tough time and understand that all of us have different ways of managing our emotions and being self-aware about it helps you go through it, helped me go through it better. And also reach out to others and understand that we can help each other out.

    Leadership is a contact sport. I forgot who said it but it’s a very, very true statement. It’s something where you work with others. You know that there is somebody who can step in if you are feeling bad. You know that if you have a team that reports to you or if you are running a project where there are people assigned to your project, if they trust in you and you have done the work to keep and generate the trust, they’ll step up. Even during difficult times, they will do what’s right for you, for your team so those are the things I think about when I think about keeping myself and that applies to anybody if they want to keep themselves motivated.

    Cornelius Fichtner: How do you define leadership?

    Niraj Kumar: I like to define leadership as how and what you do with people, how you think about people, how you talk to them, how you influence through people. So to me, it’s about whatever skills you use to be influencing and working with people, they all combine all these behaviors and thinking and actions, they are leaderships skills for me, and I call them ‘skills’ because they can be learned.

    I believe that just like other skills for a project manager, leadership skills can be learned. Sometimes they take longer than a technical skill takes to learn but I call them ‘skills’ for that reason.

    Cornelius Fichtner: What did your team do during this event?

    Niraj Kumar: My team worked on the tasks that we generally do. My team provides internal support to our largest operational team and what changed for us during this event was how we had to work through some of the tasks that we generally would not work on because of the emergency situations, because our customers needed special processes. They needed different systems or configuration. So we changed those things so we are able to work for our customers and with our government guidelines.

    Cornelius Fichtner: So what are some of the leadership behaviors that you used during this flood in order to keep your team motivated?

    Niraj Kumar: The first thing I do is I’ve always thought the good leaders create followers and great leaders create leaders on their team. And I want to be creating leaders all the time.

    So the first thing that I did or rather I had done before that ended up helping me was I like to empower other people and always thing in terms of who can do my job if I were not here.

    Growing somebody on your team is very, very important to me and there were a few team members who are able to lead the team when I was unable to get to work. So that’s the first thing that I did in advance. I think all the leaders should do, they should develop other leaders. So when they step away, somebody can take their place.

    The other steps that I took is that I think it seems very simple but something that goes a long way is listening to people’s problems when they are in difficult spot. For example, we are at work to get the work done but if people have lost their homes and they want to talk to you about it, they want a sympathetic person to listen to. They want somebody who would say: “I understand you problem. Let’s see..”

    The most important thing is understanding their problem. Putting ourselves in their shoes and not just trying to solve it right away. Being empathetic goes a long way in generating the trust you need in critical time to be able to ask them to do something for you and for the team. So I would say, keep creating leaders on your team. If you a leader today, I would say, become a better listener. Understand that there are times when you just have to lend your ears. You don’t have to solve their problems yet. That time also comes.

    Meet them where they are. If they are hurting, if they lost their lives, if they have no car to go to work, if they have no place to live after they get out of work, if they living at a make-shift arrangement, it’s good to let people know that you understand their problems and you are willing to walk in their shoes. I think once you get that, once you are able to ask them questions, understand the pain they are in, you can work from there. Because then you will ask questions of them differently, you will demand things of them but in the context of the pain that they are working through. That changes how you interact with people. So I think that really helped us in terms of the behaviors and influencing other people.

    I also believe that leadership at the end of the day is also getting stuff done, getting the tasks done. I think one of the things that I recommend project leaders do is they think about what can be done today or tomorrow like in small chunks of time when you are in a disaster or in a chaotic situation. When things are going perfectly well in a project, let’s say you do a communication once a week, you find out what’s wrong maybe once in two weeks, so you have a lot more time to assess the team’s performance, team’s deliverables. In difficult spots like these, you have very little time. You might have to assess the work everyday. You might have to see how are things moving everyday.

    If you are leader, one of the things leaders always have to do very well, one of the first things is they have to set the vision for the team. We have to paint the picture for our team. Tell them where they are going because if we fail to do that, we have failed as a leader. That’s one of the first things we do no matter what the situation.

    In a chaotic situation when people are confused, when things are broken, they don’t know where to go. That skill of setting and communicating vision becomes a lot more important. That means you might have to tell them everyday: ‘Folks, we are going to do XYZ by the end of today.’ Not by the end of a month, not by the end of the year because that’s what they are looking for from you as a leader. They want you to tell them what’s due today and they want you to tell them when you are done. They are done with the work. They want you to tell them that it’s complete I think one of the things that leaders also sometimes lose sight of is that it’s better to talk about a little bit progress, little bit of progress then talk about a lot of work and no progress.

    Let me give you an example, let’s say that in regular project work when things are just going fine and you have all the resources at your disposal, you have all the budget money and there is time available for the project work to be done. Let’s say you have ten tasks that you want your team to accomplish in a day, during chaotic and disastrous situation, you might want to prioritize which three you want to get done not ten because in these situations, you might not have the full capacity. If you had 100 people on your team, you might only have 40 people or 30 people. So you might want to prioritize the work.

    And once you have prioritized the work, the task list to a smaller list, then at that point, you are better off working with the team to get all those three done, completed. Because once they complete the work even though the list is smaller, they will feel more motivated. They will feel more accomplished. They will go home happy and that can give them a reason and a motivation to keep working through the tough situation.

    So you want to give about progress and completion of tasks and not do like: “Let’s do everything” because when you try to do everything, nothing gets done in those situations. And not only it affects your task and the projects, it affects their motivation because motivation is tied to the progress we make. They need to know what progress they made that day and that’s how you want to communicate to your team.

    Cornelius Fichtner: But this is true not only in situations where you have disasters going on around you. This is true in everyday project management.

    Niraj Kumar: Absolutely! The fundamental concept that the people look for progress and complacent is important no matter what situation you are at. The same concept becomes more important for you because to take advantage of that concept and use that to get the work done and keep things motivated, you might have to reconfigure the task and that’s what the trick is during disastrous, during chaotic situations.

    Give the team the clarity they need. In regular situations, you might tell them here are the ten tasks and I’ll talk to you after two weeks. If they are self-motivated professional, they will keep working on it. In chaotic situations, you might have to tell them that this is the one task that needs to be done today. And let’s talk tomorrow and see how we are doing. That’s the difference. You change the frequency and you change the number of tasks and when you can kind of check in with the team and kind of assess how things are going.

    So what changes here in terms of the game, what changes here is that you might have to do a lot more work in assessment and motivation than you are used to. In regular situations, the frequency doesn’t have to be that often. In disastrous situation, you have to stay close to them and watch them more often.

    Cornelius Fichtner: You mentioned that there is a process grief that happens in chaotic situations like this that some of your team members, that their homes were destroyed during this, were you able to provide anything to them to help them through this time? Did your company support you in this in any way?

    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.

  • Posted on 11 Aug 2018

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    Episode 416: How Millennial Project Managers get Results without Authority (Free)

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    Justin and Cornelius
    Justin Fraser and Cornelius Fichtner

    For the last several years, there has been a focus on helping senior people in the workplace connect with and manage the newest generation in the workforce. Millennials.

    However, this new generation is now moving from entry-level to management positions. Additionally, this is frequently happening within a workplace’s evolving environment and culture. And so both generations need to adapt to each other’s styles, work ethics, and perspectives.

    This interview with Justin Fraser (LinkedIn Profile) was recorded at the impressive Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Conference 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.

    In the interview, we dive into the emerging relationship dynamic in which Millennial project managers lead senior team members.

    We identify differences in style, work ethic, and perspective between team members of different generations, seniority, and experience, and discuss various project management approaches to lead team members to a successful project.

    Episode Transcript

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

    Podcast Introduction

    Justin Fraser: On this episode of The Project Management Podcast™, we identify differences in style, work ethic and perspective between team members of different generations, seniority and experience.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Hello and welcome to The Project Management Podcast™ at I am Cornelius Fichtner.

    Podcast Interview

    Cornelius Fichtner: We are coming to you live from the impressive 2017 PMI Global Conference in Chicago. And with me right now is Justin Fraser. Good morning, Justin!

    Justin Fraser: Good morning! Thanks for having me. I’m really excited to be here and speak to you this morning and you got my name right, which is fantastic. Most people say something in relation…

    Cornelius Fichtner: We had a small mix up before we started the interview with my questions. I pulled out the questions for a different interview.

    Justin Fraser: No problem!

    Cornelius Fichtner: At least I got the name right. That’s a good one!

    Justin Fraser: Nailed it!

    Cornelius Fichtner: Is this your first congress?

    Justin Fraser: This is my third time attending a congress. This is my first time presenting.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Wow! So comparing it to the previous ones, what’s the energy like this year?

    Justin Fraser: I think the energy’s great! Actually every year the energy is always great. It’s a bit colder here in Chicago than in the last two years in Florida and San Diego, but this year has been fantastic. Lots of great, great talks and the keynotes are motivating and exciting. I sense some really good energy from a lot of people here.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Right. Your topic is about millennials and how we are getting results without formal authority. But let me bring this back to the congress. You’re a millennial. You’re the younger generation. What brings you back here? What has the congress that it offers to you as a millennial that you say: I need to go there. This is important.

    Justin Fraser: Yeah! So I’m only project manager in my company right now and this is something that is important to me because I need to see what others are doing in the industry and in the world. You know you can only take it so far with… Podcast like yours are great to learn a new tip here and there but getting face to face and hearing the talks, networking with folks at breakfast, lunch and dinner and all the other opportunities that are provided here really gives me an opportunity to talk about the challenges that I face and connect with people I have very similar challenges and build relationships with folks that can help me out even when I go back to my office and leave the congress.

    Cornelius Fichtner: So the topic of your presentation is “Millennial Project Managers – Getting Results Without Formal Authority”. What’s the backstory here? What interested you? What prompted you? Why this topic?

    Justin Fraser: So I started managing projects I was 20 years old. I was actually still in college. I went to Drexel University and they have an amazing program where you can go to school full time for 6 months and then you go work full time for 6 months. So I started out doing project management. I was thrown into projects with clients, deliverables, timelines and I was 20 years old. I didn’t even have a degree at that time.

    So there are a lot of challenges that I had connecting with folks that when they met me, they said: “Oh, I’ve been doing this. I’ve been managing this project or this product longer than you have been alive.” “Oh, my son is your age.” Or “My kids are older than you”. You know those are some things that I would hear over and over and over again.

    I think it’s an interesting topic because now I’ve been doing this for 8 or 9 years, I see other project managers coming in that that have the same kind of struggle so I wanted to get the word out and talk to some people about some strategies for connecting with people so that you can still get your work done and you can work with someone who has, it doesn’t matter how many more years of experience they have than you but you can still manage them in a way that will result in a successful project.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Let’s take a step back. What is a millennial?

    Justin Fraser: Ah, millennial is going to be someone who was born 1984 to maybe about 2000. So sort of the younger generation, maybe 32 to 18 or 20, somewhere around there. We tend to have different outlook on life than as any generation does.

    You know you have right now in the workforce mostly Baby Boom generation then the Gen X sort of in the middle and now millennials. And coming up in the next few years, we are going to have Generation Z who are, they are about kids that are 18 or so, graduating high school right now heading into college and they are going to be entering the workforce real soon. And every generation has different styles, communication styles. They have different expectations on work-life balance, flexibility and just the way that they approach life and work in general.

    So the common thread between all of those generations is you have to be able to communicate. My goal with this talk and in my day-to-day life is to figure out how to communicate, how to emphasize with someone who’s maybe just graduating high school or college or someone that has been around for 30 to 40 years doing their job.

    Cornelius Fichtner: So we started out with the Baby Boomers, mid-60’s, that’s when that ends. I’m just at the tail end there. Generation X, 65 to 83. Millennials, 84 to 2000. Generation Z or for our international listeners, Generation Zed, starting at about 2000. Which of these other generations understands millennials best, other than millennials obviously?


    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.

  • Posted on 21 Jul 2018

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    Episode 415: Emotional Intelligence Tools for Smoother Projects (Free)

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    Kim and Cornelius
    Kim Wasson and Cornelius Fichtner

    Ever feel like your projects would run much more smoothly if everyone just did their job without nagging?

    Help is on the way.

    Emotional intelligence is the way to really connect with everyone on your team. Take project management to the next level using emotional intelligence principles to guide your interactions and activities. Today we discuss practical applications of emotional intelligence for everything from communications to meetings to celebrations to managing remote teams.

    This interview with Kim Wasson (LinkedIn Profile) was recorded at the uplifting Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Conference 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.

    In the interview, we discuss how to apply emotional intelligence concepts to day-to-day project management tasks and activities (i.e., communications, team building, assignments, goals, and priorities) and learn to recognize both emotional intelligence and cultural intelligence signals and use them to tailor communications and daily operations.

    Episode Transcript

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

    Podcast Introduction

    Kim Wasson: In this episode of The Project Management Podcast™, I’ll show you how to apply emotional intelligence concepts to day-to-day project management tasks and activities like communications, team building, assignments’ goals, priorities, anything you do in project management you can use this for.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Hello and welcome to The Project Management Podcast™ at I am Cornelius Fichtner.

    Podcast Interview

    Cornelius Fichtner: We are coming to you live from the uplifting 2017 PMI Global Conference here in Chicago. And with me right now here in the hallways of the conference center is Kim Wasson. Hello, Kim!

    Kim Wasson: Hello, Cornelius!

    Cornelius Fichtner: Good morning! How are you?

    Kim Wasson: I am just fine!

    Cornelius Fichtner: Just fine. This room over there, 175, that’s where you will be presenting tomorrow.

    Kim Wasson: That’s where I will be tomorrow. Indeed!

    Cornelius Fichtner: Okay! Yes and I am now officially going to complain to PMI about the distances one has to walk here. I am going to bring my hiking boots next year!

    Kim Wasson: It’s really hard to get from place to place but I don’t have to use the gym here.

    Cornelius Fichtner: So ladies, do not wear high heels. Wear something comfortable. And Jen, same goes for you.

    Your topic is Emotional Intelligence from Chocolates to Video Conference --- EI Tools for Smoother Projects. Okay! First of all, EI tools.

    Kim Wasson: Yes, well! Sometimes it’s EQ. Sometimes it’s EI. They are kind of interchangeable but it’s emotional intelligence so EI is kind of the abbreviation but EQ is like IQ.

    These are tools…I’m really trying to focus in on the practical tools. I want to hand people things to walk out with to build up their tool kit to use these things.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Wonderful! So emotional intelligence, soft skill, touchy, feely, you’re giving us the tools, are you finally making us use hard tools to do all these soft skill things?

    Kim Wasson: Yes, that’s the idea!

    Cornelius Fichtner: Oh wonderful! We project managers love you!

    Kim Wasson: Exactly! That’s what I’m finding. Everybody feels…last year when I presented, I had a lot of people find me afterwards and say: “That was great! I really loved your presentation. Do I really have to do this?” And it became pretty obvious that the more concrete tools I can give people, the more comfortable they are going to be using them.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Okay, so why should we care?

    Kim Wasson: Why should we care? Well obviously if you already like the people side of project management, this just gives you some more tools. But if process is really what you like, you have to realize that just because it’s a process, people aren’t going to use it, right? So in order to make your beautiful processes work, you have to figure out how to make people want to use the process. If it doesn’t make sense to them, if they don’t see the benefit, they are going to round it. So no matter which side you come down on, projects are really people and you got to be able to use these tools.

    Cornelius Fichtner: On one of your slides in the opening, you have a true example. What is the true example?

    Kim Wasson: I coach project managers both new and experienced. I had a new project manager the Client Company and his first project was to port an application, an IT application, internal application for use in Europe. And he understood the application in the US he’d done support for. And they use an Agile process at this Client Company and he was working with an outsourced company that he uses often.

    The outsource company brought in a new project manager for this. She wasn’t brand new. She was new to the company. And she had worked in a hardware environment at a printer plant. He could not get her to use Agile. The user stories would drag. There was nothing to show the business unit who really needed to see it and see what adjustments they needed to make. They want working in priority order and he wouldn’t talk to her about it. He said: “It’s a process. She has to use it. But she is not using it. You have to talk to her about it. No, it’s the process, she has to use it.”

    So finally at 3 months it took me and he didn’t talk to her. But he had me talk to her. And I didn’t tell her the process. She knew the process. But I told her every step of the process, what it would do for the project and what it would do for her team, what’s the benefit to her team. And that was fine! Then she followed it to the letter because she was brand new to the company. This was how she was proving herself to use a process she had never used before which as far as she know, it wasn’t going to work. She had to prove herself and she was using the processes that had worked for her before.

    So as soon as we turned it around and said: “No, you’re going to be successful, here’s how.” She was fine. So that’s really all it took. It took half an hour and she was good.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Alright! Learning and walking styles, why are they important for our discussion today?

    Kim Wasson: This is one of the best tools that I have. People taking information and this is not only behavioral science. This is actually neuroscience now. People take information best in one or possibly two of five ways. They can take it in in all of them but we’re all really busy and we’re going to look for the ways very easiest so that people that we communicate as project managers are going to look for their easiest way. So we need to figure out what their easiest ways are and present information in as many ways as possible.

    It sounds really hard and it sounds really time consuming but it’s not. It means that we need to outline our minutes and put Italic and Bold in there so that people who do reading are going to read them but the people who do visual can pick out the points without putting it away, otherwise…

    Cornelius Fichtner: You’ve just given us two of the learning styles, right, visual and reading, okay?

    Kim Wasson: Visual and reading are two of the learning styles. The reading people are the ones who always answer your email. You can send them anything in email. They are going to read it. They are going to get back to you.

    Auditory learners are never going to look at your emails unless they absolutely have to. But if you pick up the phone, they will be right there. They’ll answer on the first ring. They’ll give you anything they need.

    Cornelius Fichtner: And they’ll listen to this Podcast too.

    Kim Wasson: Yes, they will. Actually I send lots of people to your Podcast but particularly the people that I work with who are auditory learners because this is how they get their information. This is what they like the best. It’s hard for people who aren’t auditory learners. Podcasts could be hard to focus on which is why a lot of people do it when they are driving because there are enough other occupation but not enough distractions, yeah!

    The other kinds, so we’ve got visual. They like colors, graphs. So you send them stuff that they can take in quickly, absorb quickly. The reading people like email. The auditory people you have to talk through things. You never say to an auditory person: “Oh you can read the slide.” Because they won’t.

    And then there are tactile people who need to touch information. They are the ones you bring the handouts for. They are the ones who go to a whiteboard.

    And there are kinetic learners who have to move the information or move them. And I’m one of them. My hands are always going, I’ll be the one tapping my foot. So kinetic learners will also take notes because that’s moving. They like whiteboards a lot. You can tell the difference at a whiteboard between a kinetic and a tactile learner because the tactile learner writes and puts the pen down and the kinetic learner keeps the pen and fiddles with it.

    So knowing the people learn in these ways, you can start to present your information specific to the people in different ways, right, show up for the person who doesn’t answer email for the auditory person or pick up the phone. But when you are doing things like minutes and presentations, you can accommodate all of these learning styles pretty easily if you know that they exist.

    Cornelius Fichtner: How do I involve tactile people in a video conference? It seems a bit difficult because they are at the other end of the world.

    Kim Wasson: It is a bit difficult. If you provide materials ahead of time, tactile people will always print them off and they’ll write on them. If you provided them a transcript of what you are going to say, they would still make notes because that’s how they touch the information. So the more information you can provide ahead of time, the better off you’re going to be.

    Cornelius Fichtner: How can I find my own style so that I know what works for me?

    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.

  • Posted on 24 Jun 2018

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    Episode 414: How To Make Better Choices For Your Projects (Free)

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    The PM PrepCast for the PMP Exam

    Andy and Cornelius
    Andy Kaufmann and Cornelius Fichtner

    As leaders of teams and projects, we regularly face choices and decisions that have downstream consequences.

    Learn why the familiar pros-and-cons approach seems to make sense—but is profoundly flawed, and how our biases influence the options we consider and the choices we make. No technique can guarantee great decisions every time, but you will leave this session with practical ideas and tools to make better choices for you, your team, and your projects.

    This interview with Andy Kaufmann (LinkedIn Profile) was recorded at the invigorating Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Conference 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.

    In the interview, we identify the steps in making better decisions based on a well-researched model that can be applied personally and professionally. We also explain how biases influence decisions and how to address those biases to make better decisions.

    We’ll talk about how to execute your projects and grow your project management skills all while setting your business and IT customers up for success. We'll see how organizations without a PMO can be effective by tracking basic metrics, and how key templates in your project management toolbox will help your project managers be effective.

    Episode Transcript

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

    Podcast Introduction

    Coming Soon

    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.

  • Posted on 03 Jun 2018

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    Episode 413: When the Organization thinks they don't need Project Management (Free)

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    Download Project Management Professional (PMP)® training to your pocket:
    The PM PrepCast for the PMP Exam

    Jen and Cornelius
    Jen Pfaff and Cornelius Fichtner

    When an organization has a structured PMO, using your project management skills can be easy.

    But, what if your organization doesn’t have a PMO or doesn’t even like the rigor of project management? What should an experienced project manager do?

    This interview with Jen Pfaff (LinkedIn Profile) was recorded at the dazzling Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Conference 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Trust me... it was 2017 even though I say "2018" in the opening...)

    We’ll talk about how to execute your projects and grow your project management skills all while setting your business and IT customers up for success. We'll see how organizations without a PMO can be effective by tracking basic metrics, and how key templates in your project management toolbox will help your project managers be effective.

    Episode Transcript

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

    Podcast Introduction

    Jen Pfaff: In this episode of The Project Management Podcast™, you’ll see how organizations without a PMO can be effective by tracking basic metrics.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Hello and welcome to The Project Management Podcast™ at I am Cornelius Fichtner.

    Podcast Interview

    Cornelius Fichtner: We are coming to you live from the dazzling 2018 PMI Global Conference here in Chicago. With me right now sitting here in the hallway is Jen Pfaff. Hello, Jen!

    Jen Pfaff: Hello! Thank you for having me!

    Cornelius Fichtner: Oh, you are welcome! How are things going for your at this Congress?

    Jen Pfaff: They’re fantastic! It’s great to be here.

    Cornelius Fichtner: And you’ve had your presentation yesterday, is that right?

    Jen Pfaff: That’s right, yup! I was on yesterday afternoon.

    Cornelius Fichtner: And how was it for you standing in front of all of these wonderful project managers excited?

    Jen Pfaff: It was fantastic! It was well received. It’s fun to be here and I’m glad to be a part of the presentation group.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Alright! The title of your presentation is “When the organization thinks they are running too fast to use project management”. What’s the story behind this? There’s got to be something, right? A company that you worked for they thought: “Ah, we don’t need to stinking project management.”

    Jen Pfaff: Right, right! You know before we even get started maybe I should even go back a little bit and say that I am just so thrilled to be a part of your Podcast. Thrilled that you asked me to be a part of your program. I should say that a number of years ago when I was going to learn some new technologies and new techniques that the first place I reach before I went to a book or to the internet, I love to listen to some of your podcasts to get some new information and you’re still a part of my podcast yeah so.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Thank you!

    Jen Pfaff: Thank you for asking me to be a part of your program.

    To answer your question, I’m with a company that many of you may have heard of with Domino’s Pizza wherein just a tremendous organizational growth period. We just became the number one pizza company in America and with that one of the things that comes along with that growth is this balance between process and innovation, innovation to speed to market.

    So as we’re managing our projects, we are looking at how do we make sure we get projects and products out the door quickly. And so, how does that speed to market impact or work with the way we’re working on our process and projects. And it’s very different than a lot of the companies that I worked in before. They were in a declining growth kind of market. So as I was thinking about how could other team members, what will their interests be, I thought that might be something I could share.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Right. So let me see if I got this right: Because you’re so successful, things are speeding up to the point where project management is no longer regarded as a necessity?

    Jen Pfaff: So let me be careful as I share that. I don’t want to scare anybody. We certainly have quality metrics. We have QA involved throughout the cycle of our projects. But we want to be careful that process doesn’t get in the way of innovation and that’s something that I think that we talk about.

    What’s important for us is getting things to our customers very quickly, getting things out to market so that we can stay on top of our technology and so there is that fine balance and that’s what the topic was about. It’s what is the right amount of project management for a team.

    And if an organization doesn’t have a PMO and you’re this experienced project manager, is that anything that you’d be nervous about or can you find that right place for you and your career in that organization. And my suggestion is absolutely! There are definitely places if you don’t have a PMO where you can be incredibly successful. You can take your career to places you haven’t even thought about like we have and really extend your career. So…

    Cornelius Fichtner: So how much project management and process do you then currently have?

    Jen Pfaff: Okay, so this is going to be kind of the consultant answer, right: It depends.

    Cornelius Fichtner: It depends, yes, okay!

    Jen Pfaff: Do we want to go somewhere with that or…

    So really it does depend and one of the things that we talked about is there’s definitely that traditional PMO structure and then there’s the non-traditional PMO structure.

    In your traditional PMO structure, you’re going to have formal project review process where you have templates, have a structured process, project register, where you would list all of your projects perhaps the very formal methodology, a team of PMs.

    And then you’re going to have in a contrasting way, a non-traditional PMO structure which will be what we are working with. Neither is right or wrong, but it’s another way to get your projects done which I am suggesting can be very successful especially when you have folks who have credentials whether it’s your CAPMs, your PMPs, your experienced project managers can bring those kinds of experiences to help that non-traditional structure and non-PMO organization be incredibly successful and sometimes in a very creative format in that non-traditional structure. They can have those checks and balances by potentially having close customer contact and an open office.

    We prioritize projects but not in that necessarily project register format. We’re allocating our resources by business unit. So there’s a lot of things that happen but in just a different, less structured format and that fluid format is what I am suggesting helps us continue to be successful in moving things along. I’m not suggesting there’s no format or it’s the wild, wild west. I am suggesting a little less structure allows us to move quickly.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Who then keeps the oversight over everything that’s going on? Because you know in a traditional PMO, you have an annual plan. These are the projects we’re going to be working on. Somehow that sort of planning still has to happen somewhere. People have to think about saying: “Okay, out of these five projects, which ones are we actually going to do and tackle?”

    Jen Pfaff: Sure, sure, see you’re absolutely right. Again it isn’t free-for-all. We certainly are a very large organization. We do have a way to capture our projects. They are reporting. Our CIO has and absolute oversight of all of the projects that are happening. There is a budget all of our large projects. So all of that tracking does still happen and as I mentioned, QA is involved in all of our large projects. It isn’t any kind of a chaotic process at all. But it is slightly looser process.

    And one of the things we did talk about yesterday as well, particularly related to methodologies. It is definitely a mixture of, a hybrid of many different types of methodologies. And sometimes within the same project and we can go there if you’d like but that is another reason I think it has remained so successful especially of late.

    Cornelius Fichtner: So what are the mixes, the hybrids that you’re using?

    Jen Pfaff: Sure! Some of the things that we see particularly lately are the mixture of Agile and Waterfall and then one of the things, it also just a little bit of everything else.

     So I have a large project right now in our payments area, which is why I manage what’s called payment strategy and what that means is if you go into a Domino’s and you go to buy pizza whether it’s in a store or online and it works, that means my team is doing their job. And if it doesn’t they’ll call our call center which is my other team. So we’ll hear about it.

    Cornelius Fichtner: I’m very happy that we are mentioning this right now because there may have been some listeners out there who are thinking: “Wait, you’re trying to get pizzas faster to the customer?” That’s not what we’re talking about.

    Jen Pfaff: Right, right!

    Cornelius Fichtner: Your customers are not necessarily the customer customers that buy the pizza but your customers can also be other departments within your organization, right?

    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.

  • Posted on 13 May 2018


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