Posts Tagged ‘podcast’

The Need for Speed

February 12, 2016

Now an immediate disclaimer from me, this article really isn’t about anything to do with speed but it is a neat title I thought.

Tachometer and arrow on 7 (done in 3d)

Well when I say nothing to do with speed it does in an indirect way.

Let me explain.

This week I found myself in a cold draughty church hall with 19 other fellow humans on what is known in the UK as a ‘Speed Awareness Course’ – yes I had been caught fair and square by a speed camera sometime late last year. The National Speed Awareness Course (NSAC) scheme is designed, in the official words ‘to allow the Police to divert low-end speeding motorists to a re-education course’. The idea is that the course is designed to change the driver’s behaviour with ultimate goal of preventing the driver from reoffending in the same way.

So there you have it – guilty as charged and paying the price. I should have no complaints, and I don’t – other than why couldn’t the course have been somewhere nicer, why was I only allowed one coffee in 4 hours, why was the course 4 hours anyway when it could have been delivered in 2 hours, and why did we have to have two trainers?

All that aside and getting back to the point of this article, one of the two trainers did make a statement that started me thinking. He first asked the group ‘When did you get your driving licence and pass your driving test’ and most of us said around the age of 17 to 19, and then he asked when would we next have to be assessed for our driving skills and the common answer was ‘aged 70’ which is correct. Now even at age 70 all you have to do is apply and complete a form and you get another 3 years of driving in the middle lane on the motorways of Great Britain at 44 miles an hour (OK so that was a little stereotyping but hey you know what I mean) so no real test as such.

And here is the key – the trainer asked a final question, ‘what other activity that you have to take an exam for (practical and theory these days) can you keep doing for 53 or more years and never have to take any additional training to keep doing?’.

Now there’s a thought I indeed did think!

Consider the growth in traffic volumes in the last 50 years – consider lights, seat belts, air bags, navigational technology, brakes – consider road layouts and length of journeys undertaken – consider what that Audi A5 Sportsback I now own can do compared to my first car, a wreck of a Ford Anglia – readers can check what this actually is at their leisure but the point is it all adds up to a very different world from the point of passing a driving exam.

This is one reason I kind of like the various project management certifications out there because it is not just a matter of passing but also at renewing with evidence of practice engagement, education and contribution – I am looking at my PMP certificate as I write this (and I freely acknowledge other certifications are out there and are just as good); passed on 2nd November 2006 and renewed 3 times so far.

There must be project managers out that have taken and passed (or just stayed until the final day in some cases – you know it is true) project management courses and have never been back on any form of re-education since.

For sure practice is really, really important but I would argue that is not enough. You end up in a bubble of self-justification and personal measurement if you don’t set yourself against your peers and against the world-wide community of project managers.

Your value in the marketplace cannot be objectively measured.

And you cannot identify ways to get even better than you are, and yet there are so many ways through reading, blogs, podcasts, conferences and congresses, shared team experiences, and much, much more.

Did I at the end of the ‘Speed Awareness Course’ learn anything, yes I did and did it also remind me of some things I have forgotten, again yes it did. So was it worth it? Well yes, I just wish I taken my coat with me.

These days I am built for comfort and not for speed.

 

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Fit for Purpose

September 10, 2015

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There is a great presentation by Tom Peters where he talks about some organisations that get so big that they forget about some of the basic, simple, everyday stuff.

He produces a tiny shampoo bottle that he has taken from a hotel bathroom and he asks, rhetorically, ‘who was the average user of this bottle?’ The answer being that most likely this was going to be used by a middle-aged business traveler who more than likely wore reading glasses. He then asked, still rhetorically, ‘where was this likely to be used?’ And the answer this time was of course it would be used when the middle aged business traveler, who most likely wore reading glasses, was taking a shower. He paused for effect and summed up; this product was most likely to be used by this guy in a shower without his reading glasses in in steamy environment with water running and when he wanted to decipher between the two almost identical bottles of shower gel and shampoo. Result: frustration and improper use of products.

A definition of ‘fit for purpose’ is ‘something that is fit for purpose is good enough to do the job it was designed to do’, but you could argue that the shampoo bottle, standing next to the shower gel bottle, and sometimes also next to a ‘body lotion’ bottle, is fit for purpose. The trouble is you need to distinguish the shampoo bottle first to then use it and for it to truly become ‘fit for purpose’.

In a project all of the resources need to be fit for purpose if you, and your business, wish for the most successful and least costly outcome. People need to be the right people and skilled/trained in the right way, facilities need to be suitable to the purpose that they will be put to, equipment must be appropriate in design and availability, and the actual project deliverables need to also be deemed ‘fit for purpose’ – this is the responsibility of the project manager.

There can be shortcuts, and there can be cut backs but the end result always needs to be considered in the context of the impact of utilising something or someone that is not ‘fit for purpose’. And always be aware that such an approach can, in the end, make the deliverables so constrained that they fail the ‘fit for purpose’ evaluation.

Just don’t take the whole ‘fit for purpose’ too far:

In a circus, the Bearded Lady and the World’s Strongest Man fell in love, and decided to start a family. Soon the Bearded Lady fell pregnant.

A few weeks before she was due to give birth the Bearded Lady and the Circus Ring-Master were talking.

‘How’s it going?’ the Ring-Master asked, ‘Are you well?’

‘Yes thanks, we are very excited’ said the Bearded Lady ‘We have so many plans for the baby and we want to be supportive parents’.

‘That’s great’ said the Ring-Master ‘Do you want a boy or a girl?’

‘Oh, we really don’t mind as long as it’s healthy’ said the Bearded Lady ‘Oh and it fits into the cannon…’

Tweetfacelinkblogpodoogle

September 10, 2015

Communication was always the key differentiator for good project managers but what is ‘new’ in the world of effective communication in this modern ‘social’ and ‘distributed’ world – what do ‘real’ project managers think?

‘Like most project managers, I have had both successes and failures in my projects. In post project analysis communication is still at the heart of both success and failure. In my discussions with project managers, I hear the same thing on every project, regardless of the project size, what has doomed the failed projects is not learning how to effectively communicate with the intended audience, ensuring that each communication is complete and understood’

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And others felt that in this ‘new’ project world there was a ‘new’ challenge (and presumably then, opportunity):

‘Communication skills become even more important as the Digital Generation comes of age in project management’

‘As project managers we learn there are many ways to communicate, however the most effective communication is face to face and this is where I see problems with the digital natives. They have grown up with casual communications across all types of media, but lack the maturity and understanding to manage formal business and face to face communications with diverse audiences’

‘For anyone who is looking to become a successful project manager the ability to learn and practice communicating in all types of media is important, but face to face communication is critical’

Just take a look at these recent statistics:

Facebook continues to grow (numbers from earnings call for the first quarter of 2013) –

  • Daily active users have reached 665 million
  • Monthly active users have passed 1.1 billion for the first time
  • 751 million mobile users access Facebook every month
  • Mobile only active users total 189 million

Twitter is the fastest growing social network in the world by active users according to a 2013 GlobalWebIndex Study –

  • 44% growth from June 2012 to March 2013
  • 288 million monthly active users
  • Over 500 million registered accounts
  • Twitter’s fastest growing age demographic is 55 to 64 year olds

YouTube (from YouTube’s own blog) shows its reach into our culture (and our time) –

  • 1 billion unique monthly visitors
  • 6 billion hours of videos are watched every month
  • YouTube reaches more U.S. adults ages 18-34 than any cable network

Google+ is making an impact on the social media universe and is now the second largest social network

  • 359 million monthly active users according to a GlobalWebIndex study

My personal favourite (feel free to send me an invitation to connect) LinkedIn, which is the largest business network

  • Over 200 million users

Throw in webinar tools and instant messaging and podcasts, blogs, and a whole bunch more that are no doubt ‘really hot’ but that are currently passing me by (where is a Gen Y when you need one?) and you get a whole lot of new and old ways to communicate as a project manager.

That seems to be the essence of the problem, communication has always been a challenge, even when you had only a few ways of doing it, but now there is an explosion of means and project managers are confused over what to use and when. Dealing with the mass of traditional and social communication channels is causing problems.

‘I want to keep with all the new ways of ‘talking’ to my team and stakeholders and not miss out on a better way of providing updates, reports or team exchanges but I just don’t have the time to learn all the new stuff without dropping other important things’

Are you feeling the challenge of the ‘Tweetfacelinkblogpodoogle’ world?

 

The above is an extract from ‘Real Project Management’ published by Kogan Page (2015) Amazon – you can also find out more with the PMI hosted webinar http://www.projectmanagement.com/webinars/296120/Real-Project-Management I presented based on this book.

I will explore this subject in a lot more detail in my new book ‘The Social Project Manager’ due to be published by Gower in December 2015 https://www.gowerpublishing.com/isbn/9781472452221

The Best of British

May 6, 2015

UK-Union-Flag

Starting on Monday 11th May, to celebrate the PMI EMEA Congress being held in London, I welcome 10 of the ‘best’ from British project management to my podcast – The Lazy Project Manager

Join me in hearing what Stephen Carver, Donnie MacNicol, Lindsay Scott, Sheilina Somani, Mike Clayton, Rob Cole, Emma-Ruth Arnaz-Pemberton, Sarah Coleman, Elizabeth Harrin, and Bryan Barrow  have to say on the subject of project management progress in the UK and what they see as the major challenge moving forward.

Three podcasts will be released, one for each day of the congress, so listen out for some great insights and thoughts from some of the ‘Best of British’

The Lazy Project Manager podcast is currently the fourth most popular podcast in iTunes on project management in the world with over 200,000 downloads to date

Just search for The Lazy Project Manager in iTunes podcasts or go to The Lazy Project Manager Podcast – and if you like it, tell all your project manager colleagues!

5 Lazy Years

May 5, 2014

Welcome; you are warmly invited to join me for a celebration of a major milestone in my life – 5 years ago I submitted the manuscript for The Lazy Project Manager to my publishers and the whole ‘Lazy’ journey began for real.

And so this is ‘5 Years of the Lazy Project Manager’ Part 1.

Part 2 will be out on 1st September and this will celebrate 5 years since the book was actually published and made available to the general public around the world.

The Lazy Project Manager

I did wonder how exactly I should commemorate this momentous (to me anyway) event and decided in the end to take a quick look at what you, the general public, were saying about ‘The Lazy Project Manager’ now in 2014 exactly 5 years on from the original manuscript being written.

To be honest it doesn’t feel like 5 years since I locked myself in my home office and, with pieces of paper and post-it notes of ideas and thoughts stuck all over the walls, I wrote and wrote and wrote. 8 days later the first rough    draft was done and I sat back, drained my final can of Red Bull and considered my ‘masterpiece’ (well all authors think that way…). It would be many months later that the real test would come, that of what the general public thought, but here we are with thousands of copies sold (and still selling – as I write this it is currently at #35 in the US Amazon charts Amazon US for example and has been translated in to German and Portuguese so far) and so I think it fair to say it can be described as a ‘success’.

If you haven’t read the book or want to read one of my other ‘Lazy’ books check out my special ‘5 years on’ offer at Book Offer

And it is not just a book now – it has evolved and grown in to a series of offerings that promote the theme of ‘Productive Laziness’:

As well as all this thousands of you follow me on Twitter @thelazypm, or are connected to me on LinkedIn Profile – if not then it is time to follow and link!

What a 5 years – thank you – thank you everyone.

And so back to what you, the general public, are saying about ‘The Lazy Project Manager’ now in 2014.

Self-googling is something I have done, of course, 1) because it did help identify what was working and what wasn’t with regards to online marketing and the interest in the ‘Lazy’ message and 2) I was interested in what people said or thought about me. This self-googling has also been called ‘ego surfing’ and I did a lot of this in the early days, less so in recent years, but now I am back and checking out what is being said.

Searching for ‘The Lazy Project Manager’ here are just a few of the more interesting ones I found:

And you can learn more:

  • One day workshop in Sweden Arkatay
  • One day workshop in Germany Scitus
  • One day workshop in UK APM
  • Or contact me to talk about how I can help your organisation Peter Taylor

Thank you once again for an amazing 5 years – here’s to the next 5 and a 10 year celebration of all that is ‘Productively Lazy’ in 2019

Peter Taylor Lazy PM Books

Peter

http://www.thelazyprojectmanager.com

PM for the Masses Podcast is officially launched

July 8, 2013

PM for the Masses Podcast is officially launched and I was delighted to be the first guest on this brand new show.

 

Here’s the link to the podcast page:

 

http://pmforthemasses.com/category/podcast

 

And here is the iTunes listing:

 

http://pmforthemasses.com/itunes

 

And here’s the direct link to my episode:

 

http://pmforthemasses.com/1

 

If you’re an iTunes user, it’d be great if you left a review for the show in iTunes.  This helps raise the visibility of the show and increases the chances of new people finding it.

 

Also, please feel free to share the links with your community.

 

Congratulations to Cesar Abeid who came up with this great initiative http://www.pmforthemasses.com