The Project Management PodcastAuthor: OSP International LLC
17 Jan 2019

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 426: How to Ensure Long-Term Project Success (Free) #PMOT

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    E. Pieper + C. Fichtner
    Eleonore Pieper and Cornelius Fichtner

    Successful projects result in change. However, this transformation usually happens when the original project team is already disbanding, leaving the process largely unmanaged and stakeholders ill-equipped to use the deliverables as they were intended, diminishing the expected project impact and benefits.

    In this interview we explore five strategies that project managers can easily incorporate into their project plans to put in place preventative and mitigation strategies that will lead to improved adoption of project results.

    This interview with Eleonore Pieper (LinkedIn Profile) was recorded at the diverse Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Conference 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

    We look at a scalable model of five strategies for change and discuss how to modify plans with specific tasks in the areas of communication, training, organizational design, sponsorship and HR management to ensure successful post-project transformation.

    Episode Transcript

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

    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 01 Jan 2019

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    Episode 425: Maximize Your Project's First 21 Days (Free)

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    S. Gallagher + C. Fichtner
    Sara Gallagher and Cornelius Fichtner

    The ink isn't even dry on your charter, but what if the seeds of project destruction have already been sown? The odds are not in our favor.

    The Project Management Institute (PMI)® reports that nearly 15% of projects are deemed failures. After years of helping companies "unstick" troubled projects, our guest knows that the first 21 days are critical to success. Learn how you can leverage them to beat the odds!

    This interview with Sara Gallagher (LinkedIn Profile) was recorded at the connecting Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Conference 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

    We look at the most common mistakes that project managers make in the first 21 days, how to correct them, and learn about critical but often overlooked objectives that must be achieved early related to project framing and team infrastructure.

    Episode Transcript

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

    Podcast Introduction

    Cornelius Fichtner: In this episode of The Project Management Podcast™, you’ll learn how to maximize your project’s first 21 days and avoid some of the common startup mistakes.

    Hello and welcome to The Project Management Podcast™ at I’m Cornelius Fichtner.

    Podcast Interview

    Cornelius Fichtner: We are coming to you live from the connecting 2018 PMI Global Conference in Los Angeles, California. And with me right now is Sara Gallagher.

    Sara Gallagher: Hello!

    Cornelius Fichtner: Good afternoon and welcome back!

    Sara Gallagher: Thank you so much!

    Cornelius Fichtner: This is our second conference interview.

    Sara Gallagher: It is, yes!

    Cornelius Fichtner: Will you be presenting next year?

    Sara Gallagher: I hope so.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Oh good!

    Sara Gallagher: I hope to present every year because it is such a fun experience to come back year after year and see some of the same people over and over again.

    Cornelius Fichtner: What do you get out of it?

    Sara Gallagher: I get a lot. Number one, I obviously get the PDUs that everybody else gets, right? But more importantly, I always leave everyday of the conference with at least a couple of a-ha moments, something that just makes me think about my own project management practice in a new way. And I always leave with new friends.

    Cornelius Fichtner: The adjective that I used were coming to you live from the connecting 2018 Global Conference, that adjective is from you. Tell me why do you choose “connective”?

    Sara Gallagher: When I come to the PMI conference, I always feel that I make really meaningful professional relationships but also friends, you know. People from allover the world. I meet people from different industries. I meet fellow consultants who it’s always so fun to chat with about how they approach their work, how you help people solve their project problems. I just love it!

    Cornelius Fichtner: And to everybody out there who is not here, that’s what you are missing. Your presentation is called “Win the battle before it begins. How to maximize the first 21 days.” Why 21 days and is it business days or are we actually talking three weeks, calendar weeks?

    Sara Gallagher: So the number 21 has a special significance to me. It’s the story that I open a presentation with. It is an arbitrary number. What I’m really talking about is the first, let’s say, 10% of whatever your project link is, which is when you are building trust with the team, when you are scoping out your project, you are framing it up. You are making sure everyone understands the “why” of the project that you are doing.

    So for long projects, that might be more like 45 days. For short projects, I used a length of let’s say about a year. So 21 days is kind of how I arrived at that number. But for me the story comes from the very first project that I ever managed.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Oh okay! You mentioned it. We have to follow up on it.

    Sara Gallagher: Okay, okay.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Please tell us more about that.

    Sara Gallagher: So I worked for a really wonderful educational institution that was responsible for training and retraining adults in Oklahoma, the state where I’m from. So people would come to us to learn how to be a welder or cosmetologist or a medical assistant, right? And I went to work for them in 2008. So if you’ll remember that is the year of one of the greatest recessions to hit in a long time. And what do people do whenever there is a recession? They go back to school. They retrain or they train themselves in a field that’s in demand or try to sit out the market for a year or two until the opportunities open up.

    So our institution had always enjoyed really great student retention and job placement rates. When that recession hit and we got hit with an influx of students, it became really difficult to manage that new student volume. So the CEO comes to me and she says: “Sara, here’s your project. I need you, you got 18 months, I need you to get our student retention percentage up to pre-2008 levels and should do it in 18 months and I need you to figure out how to do it. You tell me what the scope of the project is going to be.” So when you say a project is a service, product or result, this was a clear result-oriented project and I was scared to death. I mean this was a project I really had no business managing probably with my current level of experience.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Most first projects, we have no business managing, yeah.

    Sara Gallagher: Exactly! So then she added something. She said: “Sara, I already taken the liberty of meeting with the department heads and the executives. And we all agree that we are really seeing problem is that students are actually getting all the way to about week 30 of a 33-week program and that’s when they are quitting.” They are quitting 3 weeks before graduation which is insane, right?

    Cornelius Fichtner: Yeah!

    Sara Gallagher: And so she said: “I want whatever you do to focus on the last three to four weeks of a student’s program.” So I said: “Great! I’m on it boss.” Right? So we go in. We invest in stuff. We invest in new processes. We upgrade our software. We figure out what we’ve got to do to hit those students in the last three to four weeks. Okay, six months goes by. Director of Accreditation happens to be a friend of mine. She comes to me and she posts the latest retention numbers. Not only have they not improved, they’ve gotten worse.

    Cornelius Fichtner: I think I can see where this is going in particular with the title of the presentation here.

    Sara Gallagher: Yes, yes. And so what my friend came to me with was some data that suggested we had been completely wrong about students graduating at the end of their program. In fact, nearly 40% of all drops were recurring in the first 21 days of a student’s program. And 75% of our drops were recurring in the first half of a student’s program. And again an average program is about 35 weeks.

    Cornelius Fichtner: So you had to focus not on the end. You had to focus on the beginning.

    Sara Gallagher: Focus on the beginning, exactly. And so this presentation was really born out of my most painful moments as a PM starting with that very first mistake, right, of not doing my own assumptions, validation in the beginning. But I started to wonder, is there something to this 21-day thing that doesn’t just apply to students but applies to anything we do --- project, a goal that we are trying to do for the first time --- that those first few weeks are disproportionately more important than the rest. And as it turns out as I started to practice project management for many years after that and do research, I started to see there is actually a lot of support for the fact that those first 21 days really matter.

    Cornelius Fichtner: One of your slides in the presentation talks about where do failures occur? What areas do failures occur? I know you are presenting this only tomorrow. But what do you expect the answer is going to be? What is your current data show you where do failures occur?

    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 16 Dec 2018

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    Episode 424: Lean-Agile PMO (Free)

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    A Burns + C. Fichtner
    Andy Burns and Cornelius Fichtner

    Slow PMO?

    In today’s “right now” business environment, “hurry up and wait” annual planning cycles won’t do! To be fit for purpose, PMO processes deliver value faster than the competition—continuously, and certainly not just annually. Lean agility delivers this winning velocity! Here's a diet to help lean out an overweight PMO.

    Transforming the heritage PMO takes insight, empiricism, and experience.

    This interview with Andy Burns (LinkedIn Profile) was recorded at the encouraging Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Conference 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

    The experience shared in this interview should inform those needing to deliver fast—before the competition! We compare and contrast the practices of the heritage PMO and the lean-agile PMO and illustrate a technique to tailor the PMO process.

    Episode Transcript

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

    Podcast Introduction

    Andy Burns: Hello! This is Andy Burns and in this episode of The Project Management Podcast™, we are going on a diet. A diet to lean out and overweight PMO.

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

    Podcast Interview

    Cornelius Fichtner: We are coming to you live from the encouraging 2018 PMI Global Conference in Los Angeles. And with me right now is Andy Burns.

    Hello, Andy!

    Andy Burns: Hello, Cornelius and thank you so much for doing such a great service you did for project managers.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Well, thank you for sitting here with me. Two years in a row! We did one last year, right?

    Andy Burns: I think so, I think so.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Yeah! Okay, so my question has to be: What are you going to present next year because we need to do an interview on that?

    Andy Burns: I’m doing more and more with portfolios and Lean and Agile so it will probably be there.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Alright! So your presentation is titled: Calorie Counting and the Lean-Agile PMO. Let me begin with somewhat of a challenging question, Lean-Agile PMO, those two things, Lean-Agile and PMO, they don’t seem to go together all too well in my head. Lean and Agile, that talks quick and fast and you know Lean and Agile, right? Whereas PMO, it’s like okay we are prescriptive. We have this methodology. You have to fill in these templates. It takes forever. Here’s a new rule and if you don’t do it our way, we’ll send an auditor. How do these two things mix together?

    Andy Burns: Well it’s very interesting because we found out that Agile itself doesn’t scale very well from small teams. We also found that PMO with their prescriptive nature are not very good at managing the flow of value through a business. And so there’s a school of thought, a group of people that has come together and said: Let’s Lean out the PMO. Let’s take some of this heavy-weight prescriptive documentation and process and let’s look at flow and let’s focus on getting business value to come out continuously.

    So we see an opportunity to have value come out immediately and compound like compounding interest in a bank account and we are incredibly encouraged by what we are seeing myself and several colleagues that are doing this for different companies. And so it is possible to take the traditional PMO and say: ‘Look at your practices and see if you can Lean them out. So I do have a bit of a recipe I’m going to share at the Congress on Monday and I’m incredibly excited to do that.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Right, and what are the qualities of a Lean-Agile PMO when you compare it to say a traditional PMO?

    Andy Burns: Well it really comes down to the definition of your work. If you think about our definition of a project, our traditional definition of a project, it’s a one-time endeavor to create a new service or a new product. And if you think about that, how can I possibly optimize something that is unique and being built one time. So the Lean PMO says: You need to pay a little bit more attention to the components of the project and break it down and drive some of that variability out of the process so that you can basically optimize the entire value chain from the moment the project or the program becomes a gleam in someone’s eye down to the person that’s actually delivering the unique product or service.

    So in this context, we are saying, projects are too big and too amorphous. We really need to focus on what are the individual components and this can be done at the portfolio level and Lean is informing us of different ways of doing this. So I’m really excited to share this on Monday.

    Cornelius Fichtner: You said you and your colleagues have done this in several places, have you succeeded everywhere or have you found that oh it works better in this industry versus that industry?

    Andy Burns: Well what we found is that agility is not a destination that’s a continuous journey and naturally things will go backwards from time to time and they’ll go forward. And so everybody has periods of retrenchment and periods of doing better. But if you think about it the traditional projects say it’s going to deliver a million dollars in 10 months, so in 10 months, you’ll get that million dollars worth of value.

    If you think about a Lean project going through a Lean PMO, it’s going to give you $100,000 a month for the next 10 months. So basic financial costing will show you that you’ll begin to get interest on that first 100,000, on that second 100,000 and every month, you have more and more money compounding. And so, there’s really no competition. Once these processes and thought processes take hold within a portfolio, you can’t compete. I mean it really doesn’t.

    Cornelius Fichtner: This is exactly where I was going to go next, thought processes. Because what change in the mindset of people --- project managers, PMO managers, management in general --- has to take place before you can convert or even implement a Lean-Agile PMO.

    Andy Burns: Well in my experience, we always talk about culture. You know how well we change the culture? My experience has been that culture changes last. You need to bring processes online and show people the success and then prepare to refactor those processes and make them better and better as you go along.

    So your first steps really depend on having a recipe in place. In my presentation, I’ll talk about this recipe, which basically has six steps. But from a portfolio organization level, there are few things you can do to build what we call social capital. And social capital is basically saying: People begin to trust you when they see incremental improvements and then the cultural change. You can’t go in and say: ‘Change the culture.’ There’s no magic wand to wave, no fairy dust. Nothing you can do. However, if you are going to make small incremental improvements, the culture does begin to move.

    Cornelius Fichtner: The recipe that you have just mentioned is actually seven-steps long and they jumped right in to the last one, the social capital. So if I understand this correctly, this is what you get at the end of the first six steps once you’ve gone through them? You’ve shown that it works therefore you get the social capital and now let’s really do 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.

  • Posted on 28 Nov 2018

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    Episode 423: Knowledge Management (Free)

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    B. Anyacho + C. Fichtner
    Benjamin Anyacho and Cornelius Fichtner

    By 2029, 76 million baby boomers will retire. And organizations, including yours, are losing knowledgeable employees due to retirement and a competitive labor market.

    With 50% employee turnover in 2016, this brain drain of historical proportions increases our vulnerability to loss of institutional knowledge and critical skill sets required to conduct our business. In this interview, we explore the trends, urgency, value, techniques, and how-to of knowledge management — the new competitive and comparative advantage for high performing organizations.

    This interview with Benjamin Anyacho (LinkedIn Profile) was recorded at the superb Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Conference 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

    In the interview we also discuss strategies for creating a knowledge management culture in your business environment and how to develop knowledgeable project teams.

    Episode Transcript

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

    Podcast Introduction

    Benjamin Anyacho: In this episode of The Project Management Podcast™, we discover strategies for creating a knowledge management culture and your business environment and how to develop knowledge management project teams.

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

    Podcast Interview

    Cornelius Fichtner: We are coming to you live from the superb 2018 PMI Global Conference in Los Angeles. And with me right now is Benjamin Anyacho. Good afternoon, Benjamin! How are you doing?

    Benjamin Anyacho: Good afternoon, Cornelius! I’m doing fantastic.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Yeah! So you already gave your presentation this morning on knowledge management. How did it go? How many people did attend?

    Benjamin Anyacho: Hundreds of people. It was intriguing and people were very impressed with the presentation and the delivery, the content, the richness of the content. I had so many people who are coming to take pictures with me. They made me a celebrity at the end of the presentation. But it was a very relevant subject that is rarely discussed. It’s part of the strategic PMI Triangle, is purely 100% strategic. So many people have very little information about knowledge management. So those who came were very impressed.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Why do you think it is very rarely discussed?

    Benjamin Anyacho: Yeah because it’s one of those subjects that is all over the place. People whom you think know about it have no knowledge or very little. One of the illustrations is I met with a group of executives to talk to them about knowledge management. One of them said: “Please forgive my ignorance. Is knowledge management not succession planning?” Actually, I told him, say: “It is like asking somebody: Is work breakdown structure not project management?”

    Cornelius Fichtner: Yeah, okay.

    Benjamin Anyacho: So knowledge management, succession plan is just a tool and a very little tool in the whole picture. And knowledge management is vast. It has different components, techniques. It’s bigger than just a succession plan. A succession plan is one of the tools but it goes beyond that.

    Cornelius Fichtner: So if you had to summarize it to give us a definition of what knowledge management is, how would you define it?

    Benjamin Anyacho: Knowledge management is according to many definitions, it has to be the ability to ease up a program. If I look and test a program that incorporates knowledge sharing, knowledge codification and knowledge management, okay? So in other words, knowledge management is the concept of articulating the knowledge asset of an organization and how to transfer that knowledge from the heart, from the hand of one employee to other employees and having fun doing it and creating new knowledge.

    Cornelius Fichtner: So this is beyond just project management that it encompasses the whole organization, right.

    Benjamin Anyacho: Whole organization. So it talks about codification of the knowledge. It’s one element. We have two different components of knowledge management --- tacit knowledge and explicit knowledge.

    Most of the time when we talk about knowledge management, what people concentrate is on the explicit knowledge. The one you codify. But a big percentage, about 95% is tacit knowledge - tips, techniques, how people do things, achieve results.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Knowing how things work in our company, yeah.

    Benjamin Anyacho: Experience, skills. There are skills you can’t codify. How people maneuver their ways and get the job done, that you can really document. Those are very big chunk of knowledge management. How do you transfer it from their hands of employees to other employees?

    Cornelius Fichtner: How important is knowledge management for us project managers?

    Benjamin Anyacho: Very, very, very important. You see one of the tools of knowledge management is ‘lessons learned,’ okay? And ‘lessons learned’ is a joke. Why is it a joke? Because thank God for PMBOK® Guide 6.

    PMBOK® Guide 5, project management, oh when we finish a project, we do lessons learned. But knowledge management actually is in line with PMBOK® Guide 6 where manage knowledge is one of the knowledge tools, one of the processes is…

    Cornelius Fichtner: Knowledge management.

    Benjamin Anyacho: Manage knowledge.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Yes!

    Benjamin Anyacho: And it makes lessons learned as a living activity, progressive activity. So it is not what you do at the end of the lifecycle of the project but something that you do throughout the iteration. So when you discover a new knowledge, you learn a new knowledge, you revise it. You implement it in the project and people learn it.

    One community of practice in my organization, why they are so unique is that if they are doing their project maybe in the planning phase of the project, they learn some new knowledge. They edit the standard operating procedure, write it and include it and send email to all the team that: “Hey, there’s a new way to this. Henceforth, the standard operating procedure had changed.” So that’s what lessons learned should be. You implement those new things you learned and utilize them and create new knowledge.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Until the moment comes where you look at it and you go: “That old rule that we have in our standard operating procedures is now also outdated, we have to remove it again” right?

    Benjamin Anyacho: Yes!

    Cornelius Fichtner: So adding knowledge and removing knowledge I think is also an important thing to do.

    Benjamin Anyacho: Yes!

    Cornelius Fichtner: Earlier on, you mentioned explicit knowledge and tacit knowledge. Can you give us sort of the definition of what the differences between the two?

    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 18 Nov 2018

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    Episode 422: How NOT to Work 60-Hour Weeks (Free)

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    K. Wasson + C. Fichtner
    Kim Wasson and Cornelius Fichtner

    It's hard to juggle everything on your project. And just a glance at your company's project management methodology can make you despair about getting it all done.

    But if we take a page from agile development, adding tools from behavioral psychology to Pomodoro, and incorporating pragmatic prioritization, you’ll be able to build a personalized time management system that fits your own working style. Come out of this interview with a manageable system for yourself and the tools to help your team members manage their own time and priorities.

    This interview with Kim Wasson (LinkedIn Profile) was recorded at the exciting Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Conference 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

    In the interview we review the key components of a good time/priority management system, the smorgasbord of tools available, and we discuss how to create a tailored time management system and advise team members on ways to manage their time and priorities.

    Oh... also... below is an image of the time management system that got Cornelius so excited during the recording:

    Kim Wasson Folder System

    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 show you how not to work 60-hour weeks.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Hello and welcome to The Project Management Podcast™ at I’m Cornelius Fichtner. We are coming to you live from the exciting 2018 PMI Global Conference in Los Angeles, California.

    Podcast Interview

    Cornelius Fichtner: And with me right now here in the hallway is Kim Wasson.

    Hello, Kim!

    Kim Wasson: Hello, Cornelius! It’s nice to be with you again.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Yes, thank you. Another conference, another Podcast interview it seems.

    Kim Wasson: Indeed! I’ve switched directions a little bit this year talking about different things.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Yeah so you’ve been speaking at quite a few number, how many is this that you are speaking?

    Kim Wasson: This is three.

    Cornelius Fichtner: This is the third! Oh! So I caught you at every single presentation.

    Kim Wasson: Yes, you caught me right at the beginning. Yes, because we talked before I started even coming to PMI.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Yeah! How is this for you as a speaker? How much value does it bring to come here, speak, meet people?

    Kim Wasson: It’s actually quite valuable. The preparation for the conference gets better every year. There’s more support. They are more concise. They offer a lot more reviews and I love meeting people and I like to talk about the things that I talk about.

    Cornelius Fichtner: When I presented a few years back, I had to actually submit a white paper. Do they still require it now?

    Kim Wasson: They do not require that.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Okay.

    Kim Wasson: It was actually last year, they didn’t. The year before they did. It was quite a shock so I didn’t know I’d have to do it the year I did. I had to back up and write it down.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Right. So for anyone out there who’s interested in speaking at a PMI Conference, it is now much easier and more accessible. If you have a good topic and a good presentation, you can do it.

    Kim Wasson: Yes, it’s not that difficult. They have Toastmasters that you can review with and it’s very well done. People here are very nice. It’s nice to present here. People are supportive.

    Cornelius Fichtner: When is your presentation?

    Kim Wasson: Two o’clock today.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Two o’clock today. Any idea how many people have signed up?

    Kim Wasson: No! They don’t check. So I don’t know I might go into an empty room. It’s a different topic. The emotional intelligence that I talk on, the rooms are always packed because it’s such a hot topic. So we’ll see how this one.

    Cornelius Fichtner: So you said it. You’ve changed your focus a little bit. Your topic this year is how not to work 60-hour weeks and we’re not going into emotional intelligence today.

    Kim Wasson: No.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Why the change?

    Kim Wasson: I didn’t have really a lot new to say on the emotional intelligence front and I have been doing more and more of this with the people that I coach. This time management because I think we were already, project managers always have a lot of incoming. We always have and with the internet and everything else that’s going, the incoming never stops and so people get behind.

    People that I work with work a lot of extra hours and it’s really hard to get hold of that. And so as I have been working through, I’ve actually codified what I’m telling people and it’s working well. It’s helping people. And so, I want to put it out to a broader audience.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Alright! So let’s a put a shout-out right there. You help people with their time management.

    Kim Wasson: Yes.

    Cornelius Fichtner: So if anybody after this interview feels this sounds great, I need assistance because I’m sure I won’t be able to get through this on my own, they can get in touch with you.

    Kim Wasson: Yes, they can absolutely do that. Yes!

    Cornelius Fichtner: Excellent, wonderful! So how exactly did you come up with this approach?

    Kim Wasson: Over a period of years. I’m kind of a non-standard person. And so, I had to roll my own time management and I found that a lot of other people are doing that. The CAN systems, what I think of as the CAN systems, Covey and the Day-Timer stuff and the Pomodoro, they work really well for the person who developed them. But if it doesn’t fit exactly with how you work, it’s just this extra stuff that you have to do and you drop it because it’s extra. It’s not how you work.

    And so there are some ground rules that you have to have for any time management, but you need to customize and it needs to be fit in with what you do so it’s not extra work. It’s just managing the work that you have and that’s how I have evolved it. I use a lot of the emotional intelligence or at least some of those concepts like the learning styles to help people develop systems that work for them. So if you are an auditory learner, you let Siri read your reminders. If you’re a tactile learner, you use a whiteboard or whatever it is that feels right to you and doesn’t make extra work.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Okay, yeah. So jumped right into it into the learning styles. But allow me to take a step back and go at this from the very beginning. Why do we need time management? What does it help us become?

    Kim Wasson: It helps us understand what is on our plate. It helps us work on the right thing at the right time. That’s the biggest part of it. For various reasons, we all procrastinate on things that we know we have to do or we forget about them or the list gets too long. Or we go down a rabbit hole because somebody’s right in front of us, right? And then we get to the end of the day and really like: ‘I’m tired. I know I worked. I don’t what I did but it wasn’t I thought I was going to do when I started out.’ So that pulls it all together. It also gives us a chance to construct some time for thinking to do the things that we don’t have time to do so we skip them or we do them at home or we do them late at night.

    Risk management, risk assessment, learning new things, fixing processes. Having a system helps you carve out time to do those things that on the Eisenhower Matrix are important but not urgent. They are not right in front of us but they’ll keep us out of trouble.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Okay. Let’s talk about the Eisenhower Matrix by the way. Let’s get this out of the way. So it consists of four quadrants, what are they?

    Kim Wasson: They are on two axes --- important and urgent. So the quadrants are urgent and important,

    Cornelius Fichtner: I’m showing her her slides. She is like: “No, no, no!”

    Kim Wasson: Oh I got this. Now there’s urgent and important and that’s like the system is crashing and you got to deal with that. You absolutely have to deal with that.

    There’s urgent and not important. That’s the guy who sits next to you coming by to talk about the game last weekend and whatever. It’s right in front of you but is not important. You know we spend our time on that.

    There’s not urgent and not important, which we should not be doing ever.

    And there is not urgent and important and that’s sharpening the saw. This is the thinking stuff that you do to keep you out of urgent and important, to keep you away when the system crashes and the emergencies. It’s the pre-work and meeting your long-term goals and things like that all go in important but not urgent.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Okay! So we have not urgent, not important, don’t do those.

    Kim Wasson: Don’t do them.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Right! We have urgent and important. That’s at the exact other spectrum.

    Kim Wasson: Yes, let’s do it now.

    Cornelius Fichtner: That’s when something crashes, right?

    Kim Wasson: Yes.

    Cornelius Fichtner: And then in the middle, we have important, not urgent and urgent, not important. Which of these four should we actually be focusing on most?

    Kim Wasson: Important and not urgent.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Important and not urgent.

    Kim Wasson: Absolutely! Although if it’s important and urgent, you have to do it. Your CEO shows up in your office, you better deal with that.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Yeah, server is down.

    Kim Wasson: You have to do that but the more you do of important, not urgent, the less important and urgent is going to come at you because you’ve laid the groundwork for keeping out of trouble.

    Cornelius Fichtner: In your presentation, you also suggest that people should track their time for a few days to see where their time goes. Have you done this for yourself?

    Kim Wasson: I have done this for myself.

    Cornelius Fichtner: What did you learn?

    Kim Wasson: It is incredibly annoying. It absolutely is. I totally agree with it. It’s special project management because we’re switching gears and switching gears. But it shows you where you are wasting your time. It shows you where you are doing things that you shouldn’t be doing. And it also gives you like categories of work that will help you put a time management system together. You kind of know what general areas things to go to when you start to be able to portion time to them.

    Cornelius Fichtner: It’s actually kind of relatively simple table that you have. Start time, stop time, the activity you have been working on, the people who were involved. Why the people who were involved?

    Kim Wasson: Because you could start to see if you have someone who sucking down your time that shouldn’t be.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Ah, okay. Got it!

    Kim Wasson: Or someone who needs help or education, or I mean sometimes you’re just the shortest path. But sometimes people just, they need something that they haven’t gotten and so they’re just coming to you and so you can start to identify that too.

    Cornelius Fichtner: Earlier on, I believe you mentioned learning styles. What is the influence of my learning style, my working style when it comes to my personal time management needs?

    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 Nov 2018


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