In this episode, I am joined by a very special guest, Christine Li, for a conversation I have been waiting to record for quite a while now.
I am closing in on 30 years of work in Project Management and for most of that time, I, like many of you, have been talking smack about Frederick Taylor. My opinions were based on the things I learned from others along the way and were (obviously) deeply informed by moving from traditional PM over to Agile. As far as I was concerned, this guy was the birth of work misery.
But over the past few years, I’ve started to develop this weird compulsion to stick up for the good bits that came out of his work. I mean, literally, no one working in project management or agile would have a job without this guy. You can also make an argument that without him the United States never would have made it through WWII.
Even though I was willing to have Taylor’s back in an argument, there was one thing missing…
I had never actually read his work.
CUE ALL THE PM SHAME!
So I did. I read The Principles of Scientific Management. And, to my shock, not only was it easy to read, but it was fun to read how this guy figured out the things he figured out. Yes, there are a few critical issues with his approach (and they are big issues), but there is a TON of good stuff in there that we all ignore because he’s such an easy target.
(And I really want to go back in time and get hired as SPEED BOSS)
After reading it, I was at a lunch and happened to mention my newfound Taylor Fanboy-ness and Christine Li showed up like Yoda, deep with the PM history geek. She took me to school and that is where this conversation starts.
My hope is that even if you think Frederick Taylor is the Sauron of Project Management, you’ll give this a listen. Maybe it will challenge your understanding of him and his work. Maybe it will (I hope) entice you to read his work. And even if you’ve read his work and can see the good in it, the things Christine shares will level up your understanding as well.
I am very grateful to her for making time for this. It was a really fun conversation.
Nic Sementa is man of many skills. He’s an Agilist, a Marketing Consultant, an Entrepreneur… he does Business Development, he’s a sales ninja, and he’s someone who spends a lot of time honing his skills in listening and communicating.
This podcast began at the 2019 Scrum Gathering in Austin. Nic and I were talking and ended up on the topic of nonviolent communication. The conversation we had in Austin and Nic’s take on NVC and other communication practices was so compelling that I asked if we could pick up the topic during a podcast.
For anyone who makes their living as a traditional PM or is involved with Agile and helping to support, motivate, and lead teams, studying different communication patterns and language techniques is a survival tactic. In this conversation with Nic Sementa, you’ll gain insights into several new communication tools, how and why they work, and how you can practice a language technique like NVC from a place that is both vulnerable and strong at the same time.
Nonviolent Communication Links
Nic’s Contact Info:
In this Agile 2017 interview Johanna Rothman talks with Dave about her new book “Create Your Successful Agile Project Collaborate, Measure, Estimate and Deliver” and how teams that are struggling to make Scrum work may want to adopt an approach that focuses on continuous flow in order to deliver value for their customers with greater frequency.
The interview includes a conversation about working with User Stories that are sized to only take the team a single day to complete and how this may help teams that are struggling with estimation. Dave and Johanna’s also discuss her approach to writing (she averages about 1 book a year in addition to posting to her blog every few days) involves writing for just 15 minutes a day.
FOR MORE ON JOHANNA
A few weeks ago Don Kim put up a blog post challenging the value of certifications. I reached out to Don in hopes of doing an interview about it and found out he’s also written a new book “I think Therefore I Plan”. In this interview we discuss the pros and cons of different certifications, taking an artisan approach to managing projects as well as Don’s new book.
You can find Don’s book here: http://amzn.to/2n7VEHu
You can find Don’s blog post about certifications here: http://bit.ly/2okDUZA
00:07 Interview Start
00:30 What is a Human APEE
03:38 What is an Artisan approach to Project Management
05:15 Don’s Philosophy of Project Management
07:22 Trying to slow down and do less
08:21 Don explains his way of approaching project work and the reason for the book
10:56 How has the traditional vs. Agile debate changed over the past few years
12:53 Seeing the value in every project you work on - regardless of how you got it
16:15 The downside of certifications
17:29 The positive aspects of certifications
18:03 There is more to project management training than just PMP certification
19:48 Making the case for the value certifications can provide and how it can be misunderstood
23:22 Does it make sense for people to want to have a way of gauging their professional achievement?
23:55 What Don expected from PMP certification and how he went deep with the Kerzner to get the most learning out of it (instead of just passing the test)
26:41 Is it the certification that is an issue, or the way people interpret it as an end point rather than a beginning
27:50 An overview of the approach Don’s book takes towards the art of Project Management
30:56 Where you can find Don’s book and how you can reach him with follow up questions
31:54 Podcast Ends
Feedback/Comments: [email protected]
On the Digital PM Slack channel there was some discussion recently about Project Managers' having PTSD. In this podcast, Carson Pierce, Senior PM at DDB Edmonton and Registered Psychologist, Dr. Krista Pierce (who is also Caron's wife) and I got the chance to discuss the topic of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the stress PMs' experience at work and the relationship between the two.
Click here to download the podcast
Krista and Carson Introductions 0:15
Introduction to the topic of Mental Health and Project Management 1:58
The Stress Project Managers Experience vs. actual PTSD 3:30
Living with failure but expecting success 5:30
Are we making too much of it 6:19
We are a dysfunctional bunch 8:00
The role experience plays in helping you cope 9:55
Lacking self-awareness 12:40
How to cope with being assertive 13:42
Bringing the bad news and being at ease15:58
Role playing the tough conversations18:26
Personal risk management 19:39
Recommendations for coping with the stress of being a PM 21:00
Setting boundaries for yourself (and sticking with them) 24:15
Carving out the self-care space and finding balance 25:55
Talking with your client (and team) about personal boundaries 29:49
Owning the burden you choose to carry 32:32
Letting go of the things you can do (Inbox 1,708) 33:03
Parting advice for coping with stress 36:45
Getting in touch with Carson and Krista 39:50
The Digital PM Summit 2016 40:28
Kristi can be reached at http://kristapiercepsychologist.com
Carson can be reached at carsonpierce.com or via email at [email protected]
If you'd like access to the Digital PM Slack Channel, just email Carson
The site for the 2015 Digital PM Summit can be found here: http://bureauofdigital.com/summits/digital-pm/