The Optimization Triangle: leadership, project management, and individual learning is how Lou Russell views the type of work she does at Russell Martin & Associates. I enjoy her project management books (I own 3 of them) and her Accelerated Learning Workbook (yes, I have that one) and recommend them. She recently sent me a leadership book that I have in my to read pile. I am really intrigued to read the final leg of the stool.
In our recent podcast, I asked Lou about her project management books.
Lou Russell: Let me do the disclaimer – we are PMI education providers, so we are completely and fully aligned to the project management body of knowledge – OK, there we go, that’s done – but it’s too much. I used to teach IT project management when dinosaurs roamed up 69, but mostly for IT people, and we kind of got in this space of teaching project management in the last five years to people who never meant to be project managers, and they don’t know what happened. Like, how did they end up being project managers, and everyone is doing projects now, because we’re all multi-tasking so much.
That’s kind of interesting – we describe projects nowadays as flash-mobs. The flash-mob people come together through some kind of virtual communication for a very specific purpose. They arrive, they converge in, they do a thing, and then they fade out divergent to the crowd. This is exactly how we’re running projects in large companies and all companies right now. You converge for a one-hour meeting, you pick up and you go to your next one-hour meeting. It’s very frustrating, and nobody is getting anything done. What if we step back from that and say, “Hey, if we were creating a project management process, Lean, let’s say, for flash-mobs what it would look like. I like that metaphor to help, now we’re talking about simplifying minimal. We have been in that space – that’s worked out really well for us. “Bad news early is good news,” is one of our mantras. You seek to communicate, because that’s the only thing that will save you. Don’t seek to control or you’re dead. There’s no control. There’s no ego, or your project is dead.
Last week, I was speaking at Project World in Seattle, and I was doing a project scheduling lab – and people were supposed to be bringing in their project and normal stuff – and all of a sudden, in come these eight people, and they’re all from Boeing, and they’re all PMPs, and they’re all in IT, and they’re all building some innovative aircraft, you know what I mean? I said, “Here’s what we’re going to do – I’m going to sit down and you’re going to teach me scheduling.” I was completely intimidated, I was like – you guys are you kidding me – and they go, “No. We need to hear this. We need to simplify.”
We have new traction in IT of all places, where the most complex is complex, and nothing is getting done. So, there’s interest there. The other big push in project management right now is – how do we train executives to sponsor well? What an excellent question that is. Right?
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