Interview with Geoff Crane, author of PaperCutPM.com

Listen to the interview now:

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Geoff_CraneIn this edition of the Guerrilla Project Management podcast, I interview Geoff Crane author of the popular blog PaperCut Edge. Geoff is the popular and beloved twitter known as @PapercutPM.

Geoff is the owner of Papercut Project Monitoring, a consulting company with experience in global multi-million dollar projects that helps clients deliver complex projects on time and on budget.

I asked Geoff about the following:

1. What was the motivation for starting Papercut Project Monitoring?

2. What are some of the typical project problems you help your clients solve?

3. How do you approach a typical Project Monitoring engagement with a client?

4. You also provide coaching as part of Project Monitoring services, how can project managers benefit from coaching?

5. We are familiar with executive coaching, why are organizations not providing enough coaching for their project managers?

6. What is your approach to coaching project managers?

7. You also help clients reboot where you help “clients burn the old maps and draw up a new map that identifies the safest path when projects go wrong.” What is your approach to turning projects around?

8. You feel very strongly about soft skills and you talk about this topic a lot in your blog. You refer to the “Forrest Gump” aspect of project management, you say in your blog:

“For all the resources on Project Management best practices, methodologies and procedures, I find folks are pretty quiet about those soft skills that a PM needs, probably more than anything else, to keep projects moving along”

Why do you think there is not enough coverage of soft skill in the project management literature and training?

9. What can Project Managers do to get the help they need with Soft Skills?

10. In your keynote titled: “Why I’d rather you go play in the traffic: 3 levels of trust in a project environment”, you discuss the 3 levels of trust. Give us an idea on these 3 levels of trust that Project Managers should be aware of?

11. Continuing on the topic of trust, somebody quoted you as saying:

“On a team, when trust is breached, the focus shifts from results to the breach.”

What costs do project managers pay when trust is breached?

12. On soft skills, in your recent blog post “I Second That Emotion”, you say:

“Feelings tempered with facts are an essential part of communication, and I believe, a more accurate representation of a situation than just facts alone”

Why do you think we are so uncomfortable discussing the critical role that emotions play in everything we do on projects and in the workplace in general?

13. In the same blog post, you say:

“Feelings define boundaries. When we show anger to people, they understand they have pressed a boundary and need to back off. When we show people affection or gratitude, they understand a gate has opened and they are welcome a little further in”

How can we make project managers and project teams comfortable with dealing with emotions (theirs and others’)

14. You also say:

“What I do know, is that when I choose to acknowledge someone’s feelings, and create a response that addresses them, I get that gratitude that opens a small door to me and allows me to pass to the next level, leaving my colleagues out in the cold”

What I understood from this idea is that Project managers that can deal with others’ emotions effectively gain an edge over those who don’t. It almost gives them an unfair advantage. Can you elaborate on this powerful concept?

Talk to me a little bit about your approach to assumptions.

15. In “The 5 P’s of Managing a Stubborn Stakeholder”, you say:

“stakeholders who, despite being brought in early, having their goals and objectives addressed, being kept informed, guided, hand-held and otherwise mollycoddled, refuse to see reason. These thorny branches can debilitate morale across the team at best, and completely derail a project at worst”

These are the situations we don’t prepare project managers for. This is the ugly side of projects and it is a reality we need to be ready to face and overcome. What is your advice to project managers to deal effectively with this situation?

16. Consequences In the same post, you say:

“At the end of the day, people learn through consequences. Often we hope to learn (and teach) through positive consequences, but sometimes, it’s negative consequences that prove the most powerful lessons. If you’ve done all you can, and are prepared to help your stakeholder pick up the pieces afterwards, there’s nothing left but to let them put their hand on the fire and scream, ‘OW’ ”

This is another mindset concept that has been a challenge for me. That is to try to not feel like I have failed when stakeholders don’t make the right decisions, despite all the information that I provided them. We sometimes take this very personally. What other advice do you have for PM to be help them let go, when their sponsors are making bad choices.

17. In your blog post: “When It’s All Going to Hell, Stop. Breathe. Listen”, you talk about the importance of being patient and appreciating diversity of styles in team members:

As tempting as it can be sometimes to blow past the slower folks, periodically slowing yourself down to a crawl can let you discover things everyone else overlooks

What are the lessons we should learn from the story you tell in the blog?

More about Geoff:

Geoff brings over 22 years of experience to Papercut Project Monitoring. As a former executive of two global banks, Geoff has overseen the development and implementation of many multi-million dollar projects. He has a solid background in the information technology and financial service sectors, and has recently turned his eye to the creative industry. Both down in the trenches and up in the boardroom, Geoff has seen his share of surprises.

Based on his experience, Geoff has developed an approach that marries the human side of projects with the hard data needed to manage them. He believes that projects shouldn’t hurt. In fact, with the right combination of effective planning, tools, and practices, Geoff believes that projects can even be fun.

  • Read more insights from Geoff on his blog edge.papercutpm.com
  • Get tools from www.papercutpm.com
  • You can also follow Geoff on twitter @PapercutPM

Listen to the interview now:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Right click here to download the MP3


4 Responses to Interview with Geoff Crane, author of PaperCutPM.com
  1. Geoff Crane
    March 8, 2010 | 2:14 pm

    Samad, thank you so much for the wonderful experience and interview. You are a very warm host and very in-depth in your research!

    • samad_aidane
      March 8, 2010 | 2:45 pm

      Geoff, it was a real honor to spend time with you and get your insights on topics that are not addressed enough in Project Management literature and training. Your courage to share your insights on the mindset it take to deliver tough projects is very inspiring to me so thank you for your time and for your patience. I look forward to our future conversations.

  2. Jason Martin
    March 8, 2010 | 2:31 pm

    Great stuff, guys! As a person who was untrained, in formal pm theory and tools before I was “anointed” with the title, you guys touched on so many of the aspects of my experience. Lack of coaching and a complete unawareness to the body of work surrounding project management led me to reinvent the wheel. Obviously, the wheel that I invented had few spokes and wasn’t perfectly round, but so many of the pitfalls that I encountered could have been avoided. Keep up the great work guys, pm knowledge is propagating, and conversations like this are pushing the frontier. Thanks, again.

    • samad_aidane
      March 8, 2010 | 3:31 pm

      Jason, thank you so much for your feedback. I love these interviews because they give me the rare opportunity to talk to people that I follow and admire. It is a real gift to have these opportunities and I am blown away with the valuable insights that these real project managers like Geoff, Deanne, and Mark share with me and readers of this blog. I look forward to doing more of these interviews.

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL http://www.guerrillaprojectmanagement.com/interview-with-geoff-crane-author-of-papercutpm-com/trackback

Interview with Geoff Crane, author of PaperCutPM.com

Listen to the interview now:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Geoff_CraneIn this edition of the Guerrilla Project Management podcast, I interview Geoff Crane author of the popular blog PaperCut Edge. Geoff is the popular and beloved twitter known as @PapercutPM.

Geoff is the owner of Papercut Project Monitoring, a consulting company with experience in global multi-million dollar projects that helps clients deliver complex projects on time and on budget.

I asked Geoff about the following:

1. What was the motivation for starting Papercut Project Monitoring?

2. What are some of the typical project problems you help your clients solve?

3. How do you approach a typical Project Monitoring engagement with a client?

4. You also provide coaching as part of Project Monitoring services, how can project managers benefit from coaching?

5. We are familiar with executive coaching, why are organizations not providing enough coaching for their project managers?

6. What is your approach to coaching project managers?

7. You also help clients reboot where you help “clients burn the old maps and draw up a new map that identifies the safest path when projects go wrong.” What is your approach to turning projects around?

8. You feel very strongly about soft skills and you talk about this topic a lot in your blog. You refer to the “Forrest Gump” aspect of project management, you say in your blog:

“For all the resources on Project Management best practices, methodologies and procedures, I find folks are pretty quiet about those soft skills that a PM needs, probably more than anything else, to keep projects moving along”

Why do you think there is not enough coverage of soft skill in the project management literature and training?

9. What can Project Managers do to get the help they need with Soft Skills?

10. In your keynote titled: “Why I’d rather you go play in the traffic: 3 levels of trust in a project environment”, you discuss the 3 levels of trust. Give us an idea on these 3 levels of trust that Project Managers should be aware of?

11. Continuing on the topic of trust, somebody quoted you as saying:

“On a team, when trust is breached, the focus shifts from results to the breach.”

What costs do project managers pay when trust is breached?

12. On soft skills, in your recent blog post “I Second That Emotion”, you say:

“Feelings tempered with facts are an essential part of communication, and I believe, a more accurate representation of a situation than just facts alone”

Why do you think we are so uncomfortable discussing the critical role that emotions play in everything we do on projects and in the workplace in general?

13. In the same blog post, you say:

“Feelings define boundaries. When we show anger to people, they understand they have pressed a boundary and need to back off. When we show people affection or gratitude, they understand a gate has opened and they are welcome a little further in”

How can we make project managers and project teams comfortable with dealing with emotions (theirs and others’)

14. You also say:

“What I do know, is that when I choose to acknowledge someone’s feelings, and create a response that addresses them, I get that gratitude that opens a small door to me and allows me to pass to the next level, leaving my colleagues out in the cold”

What I understood from this idea is that Project managers that can deal with others’ emotions effectively gain an edge over those who don’t. It almost gives them an unfair advantage. Can you elaborate on this powerful concept?

Talk to me a little bit about your approach to assumptions.

15. In “The 5 P’s of Managing a Stubborn Stakeholder”, you say:

“stakeholders who, despite being brought in early, having their goals and objectives addressed, being kept informed, guided, hand-held and otherwise mollycoddled, refuse to see reason. These thorny branches can debilitate morale across the team at best, and completely derail a project at worst”

These are the situations we don’t prepare project managers for. This is the ugly side of projects and it is a reality we need to be ready to face and overcome. What is your advice to project managers to deal effectively with this situation?

16. Consequences In the same post, you say:

“At the end of the day, people learn through consequences. Often we hope to learn (and teach) through positive consequences, but sometimes, it’s negative consequences that prove the most powerful lessons. If you’ve done all you can, and are prepared to help your stakeholder pick up the pieces afterwards, there’s nothing left but to let them put their hand on the fire and scream, ‘OW’ ”

This is another mindset concept that has been a challenge for me. That is to try to not feel like I have failed when stakeholders don’t make the right decisions, despite all the information that I provided them. We sometimes take this very personally. What other advice do you have for PM to be help them let go, when their sponsors are making bad choices.

17. In your blog post: “When It’s All Going to Hell, Stop. Breathe. Listen”, you talk about the importance of being patient and appreciating diversity of styles in team members:

As tempting as it can be sometimes to blow past the slower folks, periodically slowing yourself down to a crawl can let you discover things everyone else overlooks

What are the lessons we should learn from the story you tell in the blog?

More about Geoff:

Geoff brings over 22 years of experience to Papercut Project Monitoring. As a former executive of two global banks, Geoff has overseen the development and implementation of many multi-million dollar projects. He has a solid background in the information technology and financial service sectors, and has recently turned his eye to the creative industry. Both down in the trenches and up in the boardroom, Geoff has seen his share of surprises.

Based on his experience, Geoff has developed an approach that marries the human side of projects with the hard data needed to manage them. He believes that projects shouldn’t hurt. In fact, with the right combination of effective planning, tools, and practices, Geoff believes that projects can even be fun.

  • Read more insights from Geoff on his blog edge.papercutpm.com
  • Get tools from www.papercutpm.com
  • You can also follow Geoff on twitter @PapercutPM

Listen to the interview now:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Right click here to download the MP3


4 Responses to Interview with Geoff Crane, author of PaperCutPM.com
  1. Geoff Crane
    March 8, 2010 | 2:14 pm

    Samad, thank you so much for the wonderful experience and interview. You are a very warm host and very in-depth in your research!

    • samad_aidane
      March 8, 2010 | 2:45 pm

      Geoff, it was a real honor to spend time with you and get your insights on topics that are not addressed enough in Project Management literature and training. Your courage to share your insights on the mindset it take to deliver tough projects is very inspiring to me so thank you for your time and for your patience. I look forward to our future conversations.

  2. Jason Martin
    March 8, 2010 | 2:31 pm

    Great stuff, guys! As a person who was untrained, in formal pm theory and tools before I was “anointed” with the title, you guys touched on so many of the aspects of my experience. Lack of coaching and a complete unawareness to the body of work surrounding project management led me to reinvent the wheel. Obviously, the wheel that I invented had few spokes and wasn’t perfectly round, but so many of the pitfalls that I encountered could have been avoided. Keep up the great work guys, pm knowledge is propagating, and conversations like this are pushing the frontier. Thanks, again.

    • samad_aidane
      March 8, 2010 | 3:31 pm

      Jason, thank you so much for your feedback. I love these interviews because they give me the rare opportunity to talk to people that I follow and admire. It is a real gift to have these opportunities and I am blown away with the valuable insights that these real project managers like Geoff, Deanne, and Mark share with me and readers of this blog. I look forward to doing more of these interviews.

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL http://www.guerrillaprojectmanagement.com/interview-with-geoff-crane-author-of-papercutpm-com/trackback

Interview with Geoff Crane, author of PaperCutPM.com

Listen to the interview now:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Geoff_CraneIn this edition of the Guerrilla Project Management podcast, I interview Geoff Crane author of the popular blog PaperCut Edge. Geoff is the popular and beloved twitter known as @PapercutPM.

Geoff is the owner of Papercut Project Monitoring, a consulting company with experience in global multi-million dollar projects that helps clients deliver complex projects on time and on budget.

I asked Geoff about the following:

1. What was the motivation for starting Papercut Project Monitoring?

2. What are some of the typical project problems you help your clients solve?

3. How do you approach a typical Project Monitoring engagement with a client?

4. You also provide coaching as part of Project Monitoring services, how can project managers benefit from coaching?

5. We are familiar with executive coaching, why are organizations not providing enough coaching for their project managers?

6. What is your approach to coaching project managers?

7. You also help clients reboot where you help “clients burn the old maps and draw up a new map that identifies the safest path when projects go wrong.” What is your approach to turning projects around?

8. You feel very strongly about soft skills and you talk about this topic a lot in your blog. You refer to the “Forrest Gump” aspect of project management, you say in your blog:

“For all the resources on Project Management best practices, methodologies and procedures, I find folks are pretty quiet about those soft skills that a PM needs, probably more than anything else, to keep projects moving along”

Why do you think there is not enough coverage of soft skill in the project management literature and training?

9. What can Project Managers do to get the help they need with Soft Skills?

10. In your keynote titled: “Why I’d rather you go play in the traffic: 3 levels of trust in a project environment”, you discuss the 3 levels of trust. Give us an idea on these 3 levels of trust that Project Managers should be aware of?

11. Continuing on the topic of trust, somebody quoted you as saying:

“On a team, when trust is breached, the focus shifts from results to the breach.”

What costs do project managers pay when trust is breached?

12. On soft skills, in your recent blog post “I Second That Emotion”, you say:

“Feelings tempered with facts are an essential part of communication, and I believe, a more accurate representation of a situation than just facts alone”

Why do you think we are so uncomfortable discussing the critical role that emotions play in everything we do on projects and in the workplace in general?

13. In the same blog post, you say:

“Feelings define boundaries. When we show anger to people, they understand they have pressed a boundary and need to back off. When we show people affection or gratitude, they understand a gate has opened and they are welcome a little further in”

How can we make project managers and project teams comfortable with dealing with emotions (theirs and others’)

14. You also say:

“What I do know, is that when I choose to acknowledge someone’s feelings, and create a response that addresses them, I get that gratitude that opens a small door to me and allows me to pass to the next level, leaving my colleagues out in the cold”

What I understood from this idea is that Project managers that can deal with others’ emotions effectively gain an edge over those who don’t. It almost gives them an unfair advantage. Can you elaborate on this powerful concept?

Talk to me a little bit about your approach to assumptions.

15. In “The 5 P’s of Managing a Stubborn Stakeholder”, you say:

“stakeholders who, despite being brought in early, having their goals and objectives addressed, being kept informed, guided, hand-held and otherwise mollycoddled, refuse to see reason. These thorny branches can debilitate morale across the team at best, and completely derail a project at worst”

These are the situations we don’t prepare project managers for. This is the ugly side of projects and it is a reality we need to be ready to face and overcome. What is your advice to project managers to deal effectively with this situation?

16. Consequences In the same post, you say:

“At the end of the day, people learn through consequences. Often we hope to learn (and teach) through positive consequences, but sometimes, it’s negative consequences that prove the most powerful lessons. If you’ve done all you can, and are prepared to help your stakeholder pick up the pieces afterwards, there’s nothing left but to let them put their hand on the fire and scream, ‘OW’ ”

This is another mindset concept that has been a challenge for me. That is to try to not feel like I have failed when stakeholders don’t make the right decisions, despite all the information that I provided them. We sometimes take this very personally. What other advice do you have for PM to be help them let go, when their sponsors are making bad choices.

17. In your blog post: “When It’s All Going to Hell, Stop. Breathe. Listen”, you talk about the importance of being patient and appreciating diversity of styles in team members:

As tempting as it can be sometimes to blow past the slower folks, periodically slowing yourself down to a crawl can let you discover things everyone else overlooks

What are the lessons we should learn from the story you tell in the blog?

More about Geoff:

Geoff brings over 22 years of experience to Papercut Project Monitoring. As a former executive of two global banks, Geoff has overseen the development and implementation of many multi-million dollar projects. He has a solid background in the information technology and financial service sectors, and has recently turned his eye to the creative industry. Both down in the trenches and up in the boardroom, Geoff has seen his share of surprises.

Based on his experience, Geoff has developed an approach that marries the human side of projects with the hard data needed to manage them. He believes that projects shouldn’t hurt. In fact, with the right combination of effective planning, tools, and practices, Geoff believes that projects can even be fun.

  • Read more insights from Geoff on his blog edge.papercutpm.com
  • Get tools from www.papercutpm.com
  • You can also follow Geoff on twitter @PapercutPM

Listen to the interview now:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Right click here to download the MP3


4 Responses to Interview with Geoff Crane, author of PaperCutPM.com
  1. Geoff Crane
    March 8, 2010 | 2:14 pm

    Samad, thank you so much for the wonderful experience and interview. You are a very warm host and very in-depth in your research!

    • samad_aidane
      March 8, 2010 | 2:45 pm

      Geoff, it was a real honor to spend time with you and get your insights on topics that are not addressed enough in Project Management literature and training. Your courage to share your insights on the mindset it take to deliver tough projects is very inspiring to me so thank you for your time and for your patience. I look forward to our future conversations.

  2. Jason Martin
    March 8, 2010 | 2:31 pm

    Great stuff, guys! As a person who was untrained, in formal pm theory and tools before I was “anointed” with the title, you guys touched on so many of the aspects of my experience. Lack of coaching and a complete unawareness to the body of work surrounding project management led me to reinvent the wheel. Obviously, the wheel that I invented had few spokes and wasn’t perfectly round, but so many of the pitfalls that I encountered could have been avoided. Keep up the great work guys, pm knowledge is propagating, and conversations like this are pushing the frontier. Thanks, again.

    • samad_aidane
      March 8, 2010 | 3:31 pm

      Jason, thank you so much for your feedback. I love these interviews because they give me the rare opportunity to talk to people that I follow and admire. It is a real gift to have these opportunities and I am blown away with the valuable insights that these real project managers like Geoff, Deanne, and Mark share with me and readers of this blog. I look forward to doing more of these interviews.

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL http://www.guerrillaprojectmanagement.com/interview-with-geoff-crane-author-of-papercutpm-com/trackback