DPM Podcast

DPM Podcast: Project Managing Agile On The Sly (With Sarah Hoban)

By 15/10/2018 One Comment

This podcast is part of an article published on The Digital Project Manager.
You can read the article here.

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Audio Transcription:

Ben Aston:

Welcome to the DPM podcast where we go beyond theory to give expert PM advice for leading better digital projects. Thanks for tuning in. I’m Ben Aston founder of the Digital Project Manager. “Oh, I love being managed.” Said no one ever and even if they did, certainly no one said that about being micromanaged so, the role of a project Manager can be a tricky one. How do we manage our teams and our projects effectively without being a micromanager and how do we manage teams who don’t want to be managed , with the shift to increasingly agile projects and scrum dictating a product owner role, a scrum master but no Project Manager what is the future of the Project Manager.

All will be revealed in today’s podcast where we’re talking about Project Managing Agile on the sly, today I’m talking to Sarah Hoban and Sarah is a PMP certified project and Program Manager. She’s a strategy consultant with more than 10 years experience directing complex multi million dollar projects and leading diverse global teams.

Passionate about being resilient in the face of uncertainty. Her career has focused on Well, sometimes stealthily, incorporating project management techniques to improve organizational or business processes. Sarah is a project management thought leader and author of a weekly blog and podcast that you should check out the stealthy project manager and it’s focused on project management and productivity. Sarah, why don’t you just tell us a little bit about yourself. Tell us your project management story. How is it that you ended up in project management, you’re now at Booz Allen how did that happen?

Sarah Hoban:

Hi, Ben. It’s great to be here today. I’ve worked as a strategy consultant since I graduated college and like most folks just right out of school, I didn’t really know what it is that I wanted to do and discovered that the roles I was put in were project manager roles and I was just so thrilled about that. It was the most exciting discovery for me that someone would be willing to actually pay me for what I naturally love to do and also do well which is, making things organized, making them efficient and being a project manager.

Ben Aston:

Yeah, well, that’s pretty lucky then, I’m surprised. I feel like it’s really rare that you hear someone say they knew early on in their career that they wanted to be a Project Manager. What was it that kind of happened for you, to realize or kind of have that epiphany, “Hey, I love organizing people and projects and teams and this is kind of what I want to do”. Was there a moment for you?

Sarah Hoban:

I’m sure my younger brother would tell you that that tendency was born early on, but I would say being thrown into the deep end of the pool on a first engagement and being in front of a client and a group of folks who didn’t really get along with each other and having to be that person who did that conflict, mediation negotiation role, and seeing right away where I can add value is just really rewarding and I thought, This is great. This is talking to people all day. This is figuring out strategy. This is getting things done and being efficient. It was just so much fun. I loved it.

Ben Aston:

That’s awesome. It’s clearly something you love, so tell us about a bit about the kind of projects that you work on. What are you working on right now?

Sarah Hoban:

Right now I’m managing infrastructure projects for two different federal clients. One is a transportation project based in West Africa, which was really cool. I’ve got some work experience there so it’s fun to be back in that space and the other is domestic and it’s improving the facilities program for a major federal agency. The both are really different, although they’re both infrastructure projects and the clients are different from each other, I get to work on a variety of different kind of functional areas as well, which is fun.

Ben Aston:

Cool, so we don’t often talk about infrastructure projects, explain a bit about what is in infrastructure projects, what’s the that whole project life cycle look like? What do you actually managing the delivery of?

Sarah Hoban:

Sure, so the, the one that I mentioned that’s in West Africa is actually road maintenance program, putting that in place for this country, so we’re working with local government with some US government stakeholders to do a lot of training in capacity building so kind of teaching them the elements of what it’s needed to stand up a successful road maintenance program and then ultimately, as a result of the project, they’ll come up with a prioritized list of projects that they can invest in. That’s pretty cool because you get to see how your work makes an impact on people’s lives, who are involved in the program, but also people who actually use the roads there.

Ben Aston:

Have you been out to see the project in action?

Sarah Hoban:

Yes, I’ve gotten to go twice now and be in the field as well, which is really fun.

Ben Aston:

That’s cool, so how’s your road doing?

Sarah Hoban:

It’s good. I think there’s obviously room for improvement, which is why we’re helping stand up this program but we’ve got a group of stakeholders in the ground that are really passionate about what they do, and are really taking advantage of this training, so that’s really rewarding to see.

Ben Aston:

That’s cool, and so before you’d worked on this kind of transportation infrastructure, road maintenance, did you have some construction background or how is it managing … I mean, I guess there’s a bigger question around the kind of project management that you do within Booz Allen, you’re kind of thrown in to very different scenarios so how do you kind of manage that? Very different types of projects in different places. You even do them in different countries.

How do you try and understand the lay of the land and all about infrastructure and transportation so that you can manage the project effectively?

Sarah Hoban:

Yeah. I would say a big part of that is the team that I get to work with. I’m not an engineer by training but I do get to work with some very smart people who are engineers and learn from them, and from their subject matter expertise to help us design a project that works but in terms of the PM-ing of it, the more projects that I work on the more similar and they seem to me to one another.

There’s the same basic principles that all Project Managers are familiar with, the need for communication among your stakeholders, the need to make sure you’re monitoring your risks, obviously, the risks are very different if you’re working internationally, and that kind of a developing country context and if it’s a project here, but at the end of the day, it’s really about communication, stakeholder engagement and just your know how and ability to work with your team to get a successful result.

Ben Aston:

What does your team look like? Tell us who are the key people within your project team?

Sarah Hoban:

Yeah, so we’ve got kind of a wide range of experience we’ve got an engineer who’s very seasoned has many, many years of work experience and has worked in this environment before so somebody a more seasoned end of their career and then a couple of right folks who are out of school or out of grad school who either have a background in engineering and some cases or background in law or international affairs that can kind of bring diverse perspective. That’s what my background is in, as well as international economic so we’ve got kind of a mixed group of support, but I think that’s what makes the team so effective at what we do.

Ben Aston:

Tell us what are the kind of challenges, what’s tough for you right now, what are the challenges that you’re dealing with right now in a project like this?

Sarah Hoban:

I think one thing that’s challenging for this type of a project is, your remote from the work so we do have the chance to travel occasionally to supervise on the ground but being remote, you do have to trust some of the folks who are in country who are doing some of that work, which is kind of the other half of my team and also protecting your time because there’s going to be a lot of different fires that pop up throughout the day and which ones do you need to be engaged in and you need to be thinking ahead to preventing the next fire a lot of the time.

Making sure you’re really protective of your time so that your team can rely on you for what they need the most.

Ben Aston:

Yeah, so what’s your triaging process because I think this is something that as PMs is something that we all deal with. There’s a whole host of fires burning, and it’s hard to kind of see, which the bigger fires are because of all the smoke that’s making it really hard to see, all that we kind of get a sense of, “Hey, there’s, there’s lots of things on fire”. So what’s your kind of process for triaging and working out the issues that you need to get involved in and the issues that you’re going to try and delegate or postpone. How do you deal with that?

Sarah Hoban:

I think I mean, obviously, I’m not perfect at this. I don’t think anybody is and there’s going to be days where everything’s going to get away from plan and you just have to deal with what’s right in front of you but I do try to reserve some time at least once a week to kind of sit down and think through, “Okay, these are the fires that kept popping up. Why are they popping up? How can we prevent some of these things from happening in the future?” And so as a result of that, I came up with a couple ground rules for some things that can help me manage my time better.

One is around setting expectations and I think this is important for all PMs to do for your team’s, the team needs to understand what things they need to come to you about and which things they don’t, so for one of my projects, the one I just mentioned the transportation project, anything that’s schedule and budget related, involve me, everything else micro decision, go with it, not that I want to input on it, but I can review it later.

It’s not something that needs to kind of derail things for the day. For my other project I have this one stakeholder where I’m sure everybody has that one stakeholder where you want to make sure that your messaging perfectly to this person either because they’re so important or because they’ve had issues in the past anything where that stakeholders involved I need to be involved. I think it’s kind of coming up with what those ground rules are for yourself, communicating them to your team, and then actually sticking to them. That can be the challenge but committing to stay out of the things that you said you didn’t care about.

Ben Aston:

Yeah, that’s useful advice. I’m always kind of intrigued in understanding people’s career trajectory, and you said you started off … Actually, you love this PM role but what did you want to be when you grew up? And I guess what you’re doing now, how does that kind of reflect on what you wanted to be when you were younger?

Sarah Hoban:

Yeah. I think when you get asked what you want to be when you grow up, when you’re young, you kind of say whatever is in the media in front of you. I think my first answer to that question was a carpenter, which would have been an abysmal disaster now, because clearly, I’m not an engineer and that is not something that I would excel at by any means but I think when I got the first handle on what that dream professional looked like, I recall this field trip that we took in fifth grade, we went to a Space Center and we had to reenact a space launch and everybody in the class got assigned or role to play in that launch.

My role was the command center operator so that’s true that has been fulfilled in life, but I often think back to that experience because I feel like everybody on that space shuttle has a role to play and no one role is more important than any other so yeah. I am kind of fulfilling my childhood ambition.

Ben Aston:

The command center operator, which I think is actually a kind of a good Parallel role for project management. That’s awesome and tell us in terms of … I think it’s also interesting kind of thinking about, “Okay, where do people kind of think they’re heading with their careers?” So tell me where in 10-15 years time, what do you think you’ll be doing?

Sarah Hoban:

I think I would like to continue to be a project manager but I see my role kind of morphing in terms of different types of projects that I might work on. I’m somebody who’s always looking to learn and to get immersed in something different, whether that’s a different industry or a different type of work. Learning about something new, different region would be awesome. Eventually, I do see myself being some sort of a life coach or organizer as a second career because that’s something I’m passionate about on my personal life as well.

Ben Aston:

Awesome so one thing I’m always keen to ask people is what have you found recently that’s making your life awesome and I think this is an interesting thing to ask you is, digital PMs, we’re using lots of different digital tools. Are there any tools that you found recently that you think, “Hey, everyone should know about this tool”. Or any kind of hacks that you’ve been using that are really helping you deliver projects better? Manage your teams better?

Sarah Hoban:

Yeah. I think the answer is actually going to be decidedly low tech and so probably a lot of your audience will be able to apprise me probably more than I can apprise them of some of the best tools that are out there, but I have recently discovered the ability to turn off notifications on my phone. I don’t know if people know about this, but it’s the thing you can do, during this podcast, I don’t have like 55 notifications of a group text that I need to respond to. I can just deal with that later, and it’s great, and it’s not a big deal, life changing.

Ben Aston:

Yeah, but I guess the key thing is remembering to send back on again I’m saying that … Someone trying to chat to me right now … you’ll have to wait. Cool well let’s talk about your article and I think this is actually really pertinent because this week, true story. I had a call from someone who was actually pretty upset and they were upset because they’ve seen this seismic shift. I think that we can all see that happening towards more agile projects.

They basically rang me kind of totally Well, they kind of lost their hope in project management and I think this is maybe because … Let’s be honest. Have you ever heard of an agile enthusiast singing the praises of their Project Manager? Agile is all about collaboration. It’s about self organizing teams, and it kind of throws into question a bit, what is the role of the Project Manager? So this person rang me and they’d been sold this idea that the Project Manager role is dead and they were kind of saying, “Where do we go from here? Well, what’s my career come to like with an agile team itself organizing, we have a scrum master if we were following Scrum that facilitate, kind of get rid of blockers, a product owner that grooms the backlog so what’s the role of the Project Manager and if everyone’s just getting on with the word themselves where does that leave us as Project Managers?”

I responded to her and said, “Hey, well, someone’s still got to look at the big picture here. Where’s the budget at? Where’s the timeline at? What’s the scope, the stakeholder management, there’s change management, there’s resource management. The list goes on and on but we’re going to park that for an issue”. I think the underlying issue we’re trying to address, and I think that’s what I want to talk about today is, this emerging role of the Project Manager in an agile world. How do we lead our teams by exception? How do we empower them to do their best work?

I think I really love Adam Pink’s view on this, and he talks about, how we can motivate our teams, how can we take what motivates us autonomy, mastery, and purpose and use that to be a better PM to lead our teams better now, Sarah, I found, I don’t know if you found this, but one challenge with agile projects is everyone agrees, in principle, theoretically, that we want to be more agile, that this is going to be an agile project.

One of the consequences of that is often I feel like the teams want freedom to do what they want and they’re trying to self organize, so they want freedom but on the flip side of that, they don’t want responsibility for the outcome of the project or the outcome of the work. Am I alone in this, or is this something that you found too?

Sarah Hoban:

You’re not alone, I have found this as well, and I think people say that they don’t want to be micromanaged, and I agree, nobody wants that and that’s where the PM has to come in, and walk that fine line between, like you said, helping the teams to be free and self organizing, but also making sure that things don’t go off the rails, and I think part of the reason why people are kind of shying away from this responsibility is because of human nature, when something goes wrong, you want to blame somebody else, even if it’s something that the team together came to an agreement on.

The PM can be that scapegoat, especially if you’re a client facing PM and you’re the one who’s interacting with the client. The team may not be as much. The clients going to call you, and the team doesn’t have to hear it. I think what it comes down to is having to lead your team to care about the client, and the client wants and needs as much as you do, which can be challenging, but I think there’s a way to start to do that.

Ben Aston:

Talk us through that then, how do you expose the team to that? To care and to kind of expose them to the realities of … Because I think sometimes project teams kind of blinkered in their view of the project, and not see the broader context of why we’re doing the project or what the projects for or that bigger picture. Talk us through how you help, your teams care about the projects beyond the deliverables that they are focused on.

Sarah Hoban:

They describe a leader versus a manager, the typical difference that they side is that the leader is the one who’s setting the vision for the project but I also think that the leader is the one who sets the framework for the project, especially folks that have been in the job market for a long time can kind of have an idea in their head about how things have to be structured and that they accept the presence of certain fires or things having to be a certain way, but I try to turn the heads on that and get them to come together with, “Okay, that doesn’t have to be this way rushing at the last minute, we can have a structure in place for how we do our deliverables for how we do our review process so that we’re not kind of doing this to ourselves”.

There’s one thing if you’re working late for a client, it’s another thing if you’re working late because you’re disorganized on your own. I think part of the way that you do that as you get to know your team as individuals understand what their strengths and weaknesses are, which helps you to figure out how you can really push to them as much work as they can really handle and I know that probably sounds like, “Okay, I’m off on the beach, sipping Mai Tai, while my team is doing everything”. That’s not what it’s about. Obviously it’s about freeing up your time so that you’re the one who can spend the time building that client relationship to get the next piece of work.

I think having that conversation with them about where you’re spending your time and being very transparent about that is helpful so we use a con bond board to track all of our project activities and on there I have all the project management activities as well so that they can see, “Okay, I’m not just running around all day I’m calling the client on I’m writing this proposal I’m doing this marketing meeting”. So they can kind of understand everybody has a contributing role and I think that goes back to your point about the PM is not necessary, I think the PM just like that space center and fifth grade, the PM has a role just as much as everybody else who’s participating in that project has a role just may look a little different than theirs.

Ben Aston:

Yeah, I think I really like this idea what you’re talking about in terms of creating visibility for the things that we do and I think so often our JIRA boards whether or not, the project board is often so focused on deliverables and producing stuff because ultimately, that’s what we’re getting paid to do. The project management is, something that happens in the background, but actually I like what you’re saying about creating visibility for the things that we’re doing to help the team understand what you’re doing there and the value that you’re adding and actually the reality that we’re the ones that are keeping this whole thing on the rails so that there’s work to do and so ultimately we’re continuing that relationship with the client.

Now, one of the things that your blog is all about stealthy project management. Tell us how that plays into this. Firstly, what is stealthy project-

Sarah Hoban:

Yeah, that’s a good question I have I actually coined this term for clients actually on the client side of things. I’ve had a few clients in the past who have told me, “Oh, I don’t want PM, I don’t need that. It’s too much work. It doesn’t have value. I don’t want to pay for it”. But the reality is, you can’t have a project without managing it so you have to just disguise what PM is without their knowledge. One example I did was I had a working session with them to brainstorm how to fix the problem. Then afterwards, I was like, “Do you know we just did there that was strategic planning. That’s what you thought that scary word was. We spent an hour and we have a plan. It may not be the most perfect plan, but we’ve got something”.

I just wrote up notes from that meeting. Great. Here’s our charter and then later they were grateful to have that charter because they could … When they face budget cuts, they could point to the project and say, “Hey, this is chartered and signed by the director and this validates the reason for funding”. The value can be seen and may just not be realized immediately maybe down the road, but I think that the stealthy project management piece also applies to managing people and that’s subtle ways that you can empower people to make their own decisions to learn on the job we are still moving the project forward while still making sure that your stakeholders are happy and making sure that you as a PM are continuing to grow the work and grow the team.

Ben Aston:

Yeah. Let’s dig into that deeper in terms of, What’s your advice for managing by exception by not kind of stepping deliberately trying to give people some slack and giving them some space and only stepping in when you really need to, what are your tips for providing opportunities for creating or giving the team is challenged full autonomy and mastery throughout the project-

Sarah Hoban:

Yeah, I think they’re going to talk about this to a little bit in the article. I think the steps that you need to take and I spoke about this earlier to or first you’ve got to set expectations, what are your ground rules that for the things that you want to be involved with versus the things you don’t and then reinforce what those expectations are, communicate them to your team and then stick by them so that you’re not going back on your word and getting in the wits, because then your team is going to see you as micromanaging and the whole thing kind of comes tumbling down.

I think the last piece of that is the concept of teaching your team to fish and that’s like the metaphor of, teach a man to fish you can eat for a lifetime versus teaching them for something for a day. Part of leading, I think, is having your team figure out how to solve a problem. One example was, I had a lot of I’ll say, probably nitpicky comments on some deliverables we were doing for my project admittedly nitpicking, but they just kept coming up over and over again and my team figured out, “Hey, we should probably make a checklist so we catch all of these things so that, we don’t have to deal with Sarah”. I didn’t say, “Hey, guys, you should probably think about making a checklist”. I kind of let them come to that realization of their own and they got it.

I think the other thing that I try to do is I try to explain when I’m making a comment on something, what’s my rationale for it so if I know the client really well, and they don’t, I can tell them, “Hey, I’m picturing the client he’s definitely going to ask me about this”. And try to get them to view the deliverables from that perspective, which I think especially if you were a more junior employee, you don’t always think to do. You look at it, it makes sense to you, but you’re close to it so taking a step back and thinking about the audience.

Finally, I’ll try to have them either attend client meetings are listening and client meetings so that they can hear me ask the questions that I should be asking so they can kind of figure out what questions to ask themselves, like modeling that behavior and then the other thing I do which maybe it’s not going to be interpreted as the nicest thing to do, but I do it and I encourage other PMs to do it too, is look for opportunities where your team can fail, obviously, you’re not going to want to do that for the final deliverable that indicates whether you get paid for the whole project, probably not the time to do that.

I think that there’s little things that don’t necessarily matter schedule or budget, they’re not crucial if they miss a day or two or something needs to be reworked for a couple of hours, give them the experience of what happens when this doesn’t go, right because they’ll learn the next time and I think part of that is really when you’re offline, really be offline. I know a lot of PMs, fellow colleagues will say, “Oh, I’m on vacation, but you can call me”. To me, it’s just giving the team the safety blanket so that they’re like, “Oh, it’s fine. Sarah will always be around if I needed something or if I have a question”. They have to get used to the feeling like … I may be, but they have to use the feeling of like,” Oh my gosh, no one’s here, what do I do?”

It helps them to care and gives them a sense of ownership I think.

Ben Aston:

Yeah, I think that’s sound advice, so talking about those kind of things that you wrote about in your article in terms of our role then as PMs, we managing by exception, we set expectations, reinforce the shared expectations and teaching your team to fish. I just want to kind of dig into like setting expectations and setting ground rules, what are your ground rules for the projects and do they change project by project or what’s your process of actually setting those ground rules, do you have a kind of sit down with the team at the beginning of the project or is it something that you try all the time?

Sarah Hoban:

They definitely differ from project to project because there are certain projects where I feel like more PM involvement is needed versus others and that can depend on how the project is staffed or who the client is or what experience the team has working with that client, so those can change and I think some of those types of situations, I like to work with the team to come up with them so throughout the project in our team meetings, we will kind of formulate what those ground rules are together so for example, I mentioned for my one project, we have this QA checklist that we use.

Now we have this con bond board that we use to manage tasks as a group but we came to that conclusion together through a trial and error process about what’s going to work for us and what’s not for me, I try to explain up front, these are the things that I’m going to be really nitpicky about one of the things I always tell them is, I used to be a technical editor and another life so I will be obsessive about these details so you should probably get it right so kind of giving them a heads up about the things that matter to me, but generally formulating them as a team.

Ben Aston:

That’s good, so Let’s go back to where we started the conversation in time in terms of the emerging role of the Project Manager with agile project, our teams are wanting to be self organizing, but I don’t know what your experience is like but I’ve never had a team that’s actually being properly stealth. Have you ever have you had a team that’s been able to self organize? What does the self organizing team even look like to you?

Sarah Hoban:

I honestly don’t totally know what that means. I feel like well, we’ll get close and I think if the team is perfectly self organizing, then it would be the most boring job and I wouldn’t want to PM it but I think the reason for that is that people aren’t perfect so teams never going to be really perfect. They may be able to advance and as they start to work together, develop a rhythm with each other but I think when you introduce a new team member, or introduce a new set of circumstances, kind of that dynamic can change and the team, so kind of continually re calibrates all so to me, I see that as like a continuous improvement process.

I don’t think there’s like a Novena of self organization, unfortunately, maybe I’m biased as a PM that I feel like that’ll never happen. I think the PM like I was mentioning before is really a part of that team and has a role to play just as much as the other team members do because if you’re good PM you’re going to be in the trenches with your team, when you need to be you’re going to pitch in where you can lend a hand it’s not all just sitting on high looking down and seeing that things are going the way they should be.

I think that will continue to evolve in that direction but I don’t think we’ll ever reach complete self organization.

Ben Aston:

Yeah, I think it’s an interesting idea. I think it’s a nice idea. I think ultimately, somebody has to set the vision of the project and make some really key decisions. There’s always trade off that we’re making, as we’re managing projects, We’re prioritizing things, we’re deciding what we can expend additional effort or time on and you have to draw the line somewhere and the challenge with a self organizing team, in my experience anyway, is that the project doesn’t move, it doesn’t really get any momentum because people want to be collaborative and they can’t quite come to making a decision on something.

This kind of inertia thing where people are kind of spinning their wheels a bit but the project isn’t really moving forwards as I think that’s where I think the role of the Project Manager can be in terms of blocking in the canvas and saying, “Okay guys here the project we need to work within and here’s when we need to make a decision by, here are the parameters on within which you can collaborate and self organize and iterate on”. But, it’s really clearly defined framework that we’re providing for people to work within to help them do that work better to help them self organizing but yeah, I don’t know what your view is on that?

Sarah Hoban:

Yeah, I think that goes back to the idea of the team leader or the Project Manager, setting the vision for the project, but also kind of a structure like you mentioned for how the team is going to work together and I think sometimes breaking that deadlock and I think what could be interesting for the future is, maybe that PM is not always the same person, maybe there’s a different appointed decision maker or leader to kind of make sure that you don’t run to that classic problem where everyone assumes someone else is doing it, but in fact, no one is doing it.

I do think you need somebody in that role and any team to just make sure you have that momentum.

Ben Aston:

In terms of a first step for people, there’ll be some people who are listening who are thinking, “Hey, well, this all sounds good giving the teams a bit of at leash giving … One of the things you talked about right at the beginning was trusting your team and then setting the expectations, reinforcing those shared expectations, teaching the team to do it themselves and problem solve but what’s the starting point? How’d you get to that position of trust with your team to kind of let some stuff go? You’ve talked about allowing them to make some mistakes but it’s difficult isn’t it? Trusting the team when your heads on the block if this all goes wrong so I’m curious to know just as we finish, what’s the first step for developing that trust with your team?

Sarah Hoban:

I think what I’ve learned in the past, and I’m still learning is, sometimes I’ll have an issue with a team member, and I privately just get so frustrated. I’m like there, not pulling their weight. They’re not understanding what’s going on. They’re not interfacing with the rest of the team, and I just kind of worked myself up and then 9 times out of 10, I meet with them and then I realized there’s like something totally different going on. It’s nothing to do with any of the things that I thought it’s usually a very simple and straightforward thing that can be resolved within like, 20 minutes of talking.

I feel like a lot of that comes down to communication so while I do try to be as hands off as I can, with my teams, I do meet one on one with everybody once a week. It’s a smaller team, so I can do that so, obviously, if you have a different size project or a very large team, you’ll want to stagger out a bit more, but I do try to make time for those conversations. I think also having that time setup helps the team to know like, “Hey, this is my time with the PM, so they kind of learn to problem solve in the interim, and then kind of come with their questions at once.

Again, that helps with kind of managing your time so not everything is kind of hitting you throughout the day as things crop up, so I think having those one on one meetings and just getting to know the person outside of work and that comes out through that conversation. Then I try to do even if it’s a small sort of team building thing every so often, even if it’s just … Last week we had somebody’s birthday so we went out and had our meeting over coffee, which sounds like a small thing but people appreciate that kind of stuff, just to take a step back and interact with each other as people that screens in front of us.

I think it’s really getting to know people on a human level.

Ben Aston:

I think that’s pretty sound advice. I think so often we can think, “Hey, I don’t trust my team”. But I think trust comes from that place of knowing the person and really solid communication and transparent, clear communication, if there’s transparency there. If there’s really clear communication there, then that’s where we can begin to build trust, as we understand their perspective, we understand why they’re saying what they’re saying, and we can kind of predict their behavior maybe a bit more that can really help to build trust. Sarah, thanks so much for joining us today. I think that’s been really-

Sarah Hoban:

Great, I was glad to be here. Thanks so much Ben.

Ben Aston:

Well, if you’d like to contribute to this conversation about really the future of project management, the future of the Agile Project Manager and what that like, well head over to thedigitalprojectmanager.com to comment on Sarah’s post but you can also join our Slack team head over to the resources section of our website and you’ll be able to join in the conversation where we’re talking about this and a whole load of other things but until next time, thanks for listening.

Ben Aston

Ben Aston

I’m Ben Aston, a digital project manager. I've been in the industry for more than 10 years working in the UK at London’s top digital agencies including Dare, Wunderman, Lowe and DDB. I’ve delivered everything from video virals to CMS’, flash games to banner ads and eCRM to eCommerce sites. I’ve been fortunate enough to work across a wide range of great clients; automotive brands including Land Rover, Volkswagen and Honda; Utility brands including BT, British Gas and Exxon, FMCG brands such as Unilever, and consumer electronics brands including Sony.

One Comment

  • AbuZaid says:

    I Like it, so useful specially the idea of knowing the human personally not only the team member

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