Listen to Cesar Abeid Interview Me!

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Cesar AbeidPodcaster, project manager, and interviewer extraordinaire Cesar Abeid interviewed me recently as part of his series, “Project Management for You.” It’s part of his larger effort to write a book by the same name, funded with a Kickstarter campaign called … well, you can guess. Just 35 minutes, safe for work, and I hope it’s as much fun for you as it was for Cesar and I.

Thanks for listening, and leave a comment correcting my mistakes!

Project Management For You: Interviews by Cesar Abeid

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Cesar AbeidCesar Abeid is publishing a series of podcast interviews conducted with project management practitioners, authors, and thought leaders in the summer of 2014. He asked each of us a few questions:

  • How would you define project management to the lay person?
  • What is the least people need to know about PM to start on the path of getting things done?
  • What are the stages of bringing an idea to reality?
  • If you could recommend one technique from the PM world to the masses, what would it be and where can we learn it?
  • Managing projects often means working with other people. What’s the best way to know when and what to delegate, and to compel people to collaborate on a project?

The result was an interesting mix of thoughts, opinions, examples, and recommendations. Here are links to each of the podcasts in the series. Aside from Cesar’s brief introduction, the interviews average around 30 minutes each. I’ll add the remainder as they are published.

Project Management For You: Introduction Cesar explains the basic idea behind the interview series, and his upcoming book by the same name.

Interview with Andy Kaufman Andy is a project management consultant and trainer, and the the host of The People and Projects Podcast.

Interview with Susanne Madsen Susanne is a project leadership consultant, trainer, and coach, and author of The Project Management Coaching Workbook.

Interview with Carl Pritchard Carl is a risk management consultant, and the principle author of the risk management chapter of the PMBOK, 4th Edition.

Interview with Tony Adams Tony is a project leadership consultant, speaker, and blogger focusing on the importance of communications.

Interview with Elizabeth Harrin Elizabeth is a practicing program and project manager, prolific author, and blogger at A Girl’s Guide to Project Management.

Interview with Cornelius Fichtner Cornelius is a practicing project manager,trainer, and host of The Project Management Podcast.

Interview with Adriana Girdler Adriana is an entrepreneur, executive coach, professional speaker, facilitator and prolific author.

Interview with Peter Taylor Peter is the author of several books, consultant, lecturer, coach, and host of The Lazy Project Manager Podcast.

Interview with Stephen Carver Stephen lectures at Cranfield University School of Management, with experience ranging from banks to oil and from construction to law firms.

Interview with Mark Phillipy Mark is a project management practitioner, blogger, and host of two project management podcasts.

Interview with Francis Hooke Francis is a blogger and consulting project manager with experience in the financial industry.

Interview with Johanna Rothman Johanna is a prolific author, blogger, and management consultant, specializing in Agile software development.

Interview with Dave Gordon Hey, that’s me! Dave is the project manager and blogger behind The Practicing IT Project Manager.

Interview with Rich Maltzman Rich is a prolific author, blogger, teacher, and speaker on Green project management.

Interview with Geoff Crane Geoff is a former project portfolio manager, currently pursuing his PhD and teaching project management at Durham College in Ontario.

Interview with Michael Greer Michael is a project manager, author, and teacher of project management, known for his “minimalist” approach.

Interview with Ron Rosenhead Ron is a project manager, consultant, trainer, and co-author of “Strategies for Project Sponsorship.”

Interview with Margaret Meloni Margaret is a speaker, writer and  teacher who supports project managers with the human side of project management.

Interview with Cesar Abeid Mark Phillipy turns the tables on Cesar, interviewing him with the same questions he asked each of us.

Cesar reflects on his series of nineteen interviews published in nineteen weekdays, “Project Management for You.”

Overall, a great series of interviews! When nineteen different experts answer the same questions, you’re bound to get a lot of overlap, but there was a lot of room for each of us to present the material in a different light. Thanks for taking us along on this journey, Cesar!

An Interview with Chuck Novack

I recently saw an excellent YouTube video referenced in a discussion in the PMLink Project Managers Group. The video was created and uploaded by a project manager named Chuck Novack, as a video cover letter for his job application. It got 17 comments on that discussion, as well as over 600 views on YouTube. Just two minutes long, and safe for work.

As it turns out, Chuck recently moved here to Las Vegas from Southern California. I gave him a call and introduced myself. After the call, I sent him a list of interview questions and he graciously took the time to answer them.

How long have you been managing projects, and how did you get into this sort of work?

Long before “Project Management” was considered science, err, an art. And I morphed into this career. Started as a computer operator (for a Honeywell 2020), with COBOL (gasp) utility programming, business programming and, hocus-pocus, changed into an analyst position. Whew. Some corporate jobs but my niche, my favorite is Project Management. I like its challenges and variety.

Do you have a preferred knowledge domain, or specialty?  Or do you consider yourself a PM generalist?

Not by any plan or design, most of my PM work has been in the Healthcare domain. I’ve worked with hospitals, HMOs, Skilled Nursing Facilities, health insurance companies and even insurance brokers. But also non-profits, real estate, food manufacturing, government and more. Generalist? Nah. Perhaps an IT generalist, but I truly don’t want to limit myself into a pigeonhole. A PM is a PM is a PM.

What are your thoughts on the value of professional credentials, like the PMP, PMI-ACP, and so on?

I’m not certified, so maybe I am just a little biased. The success of a PM is not the sheepskin hanging on the wall, in fact, the success of a PM is more than the bean-counting part of the job. I am talking the burn-rates, WBS, GANTT, EVM. CPI and so on and so on ad nauseam. Critical, essential. However also essential is ‘the fit.’ The relationship to the stakeholders and all the ‘suits’, the respect from all the team who are affected by the project. In many cases, the PM cannot control the environment. And a PMP cert doesn’t give a Hiring Manager insights about ‘the fit.’ And a good PM can fail in a good company just because the chemistry doesn’t work.

What advice would you give to a project team member who was thinking of a career in project management?

I would recommend a psychologist. Well, not really. But I would suggest some self-assessment. Really. A good manager has be detail oriented and a clock watcher. Yet, a good PM also needs to be a big vision person. Entirely divergent skill sets all in one. A good PM manages projects, not people. Cannot hire or fire people. Must facilitate. Must coordinate. Should inspire. But a PM gets the blame, especially for contract positions, and only sometimes receives some of the credit. Not inspiring.

What do you see as the biggest challenge we’re going to face in managing projects over the next few years?

If I was planning for the future I would empower the PMO and fund the PMO to experiment with new processes and with new resources. That is challenge 3.

Challenge 2 is to engage the Senior Management and get all the suits on-board. They should not just ‘sign-off’ with your PMO and the PMOs new initiatives, make sure that they ‘sign-on’ to the future of Project Management.

Challenge ONE is security. If you have to be OCD on something, this is what you should be compulsive about. I don’t know if it will be corporate espionage, disgruntled (ex)employees, terrorism or just teens getting into mischief. But this is the biggest challenge … for the Project Management world and the corporate world at large.

Thanks for taking the time for this interview, Chuck!