A couple of weeks ago I was interviewed by Samad Aidane for his excellent Guerrilla Project Management blog. Samad was interviewing me about my latest book, Brilliant Project Leader.
Samad was a thoughtful and patient interviewer who had prepared well. I enjoyed my conversation with him immensely and I think his work really shows in the resulting interview.
He has also edited the sound file carefully, so although it is a long interview, it is easy to listen to.
Extremely Wide Ranging
In the 45 minutes or so we were talking, Samad covered a phenomenally wide range of topics. Here are some of the questions we discuss:
- What was the background for writing “Brilliant Project Leader” and what do you tell people who think there is already a successful book called “Brilliant Project Manager” so why book about Brilliant Project Leader?
- Mike’s first rule of teams: you get the team you deserve. What do you mean by this principle?
- You identify 4 essential components for leading project teams: The individual, the plan, the team, and the communication. Give us a brief overview of these components.
- One of the many things I like about the book is how you provide the essential leadership skills for each stage of the project. You talk about three key leadership skills for the definition stage: Managing upward, stakeholder management, and negotiation. Why are these skills critical for this stage?
- To help with negotiation, you provide the FARB Process for structuring arguments. Can you explain the process?
- You recommend to plan in milestones that will allow us to mark and celebrate success at regular and frequent intervals. Why is this important planning principle regardless of the methodology one uses?
- Securing commitment from our project team members can be extremely challenging and at times frustrating. Talk about your recommendation for how we can effectively secure commitment from our team members and especially about the “Jiminy Cricket Effect”
- Controlling changes to the original scope can generate intense emotional conflict. You describe the wrong way and the right way in dealing with requests for change. Can you give us your recommendations on the most effective way of dealing with changes to project scope?
- Communicating setbacks is one of the most challenging aspects of leading projects, especially for first time project managers. You recommend an effective approach for delivering bad news. What’s your approach?
- You emphasize the importance of giving feedback and you provide an effective way of having the conversation about feedback. Can you share with us your approach?
- You say that “In tough times, project management is not enough. People get scared and uncertain and need leadership to keep them working effectively” and you talk about two concepts: “structure of resistance” and “Timing and leadership”. Can you elaborate on these two concepts?
- I loved the Drama Triangle you describe in the section about project team leadership in tough times. Can you describe the Drama Triangle?
- I also loved the SCOPE process: the Five step process for mentally taking control of bad situations. Can you talk to us a little bit about this process?
Listen to the Interview at Guerrilla Project Management
The full interview is available for you to listen to – or download onto your portable device – at guerrillaprojectmanagement.com.