Interview with Egile Waterfall about Project Management Topics in 2015 – Part 1

projektkladde had the luck to interview Egile Waterfall in the middle of january about their vision of project management methods for online projects in 2015. Egile Waterfall is Senior Project Manager Evangelist at DDBB in San Francisco. Her latest and largest project was the relaunch of one of the biggest media e-commerce-sites, which get some publicly as you can imagine, because nobody thought that this major player ever will make a complete relaunch.
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projektkladde meet her in hamburg at the airport between two flights, she was on her way to stockholm for a consulting project. We guess a new consulting job for h&m, but this was not committed by Egile Waterfall ;-).

projektkladde: Hej Egile, nice to meet you again, even if this is for a short time slot at the airport (… but in the business lounge with some nice drinks, strike!!!)

Egile: a stop in good old germany is every time a pleasure for myself (she grins).

projektkladde: because your are short in time, we and our readers are interested in some visions of real senior evangelist:
what do you think project management has to focus on in 2015?

Egile: thanks for all the flowers, you are so kind! my guess for 2015 is, that we have to work on these 5 main topics:

  1. to make a real marriage of agile project method and the classic way of project handling
  2. to open the project managers mind
  3. to reduce the project managers focus
  4. to love the project again and again
  5. to care of the environment of the project

projektkladde: ah, thanks. ähm, could you perhaps explain your issues in some more words?

Egile: for sure – for a moment i thought you would never ask me (she laughs out loud).

about 1.: some project managers use a mix of agile and classic methods, some more agile, some more classical portion – that’s all fine, because it differs from person to person and from project to project – but, hey, we have the year 2015, we must melt both ways to one way. it is absolute necessary to combine both methods in one method, which works. we are on you way with a combination of PRINCE2 and PMI but i’m missing a name for this method, a group who develops this & who tries to answer all unsolved questions.

p: what do you mean with unsolved …
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E: … f.e. how to start agile for a fixed budget? and that’s your project management reality. every day. hi folks: we need books, we need a name, we need user groups, we need …

p: ok, we got the point 😉

E: about 2.: an open minded project manager is half of the project success! all companies have to support the project managers with some assistance … you would say: „wohlfühl-programm“ ;-), to keep the project manager on track, to support him, also to coach him, to give him a sparring partner, to get his mind open for new ideas to solve complex and difficult project situations. actual online projects getting more complex, you have tons of interfaces, you have hundreds of stakeholder, which you have balance to finish a project successfully. keep this in mind, do not ride on a project managers nerve with pressure for daily reports – he will deliver you reports, when it is time for reports 😉 for sure. they are all grown up!

p: yeah! you like your fellows, i see. but isn’t it the job of a project manager to handle complexity? he gets his money for this or?
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E: yes, hopefully he is paid very well for his interface-balance-job! but this leads us to topic 3. reduce the focus.

p: isn’t this a contrary to 2. open the mind?

E: yes and no. PMs have to be open minded for new solution ideas, not only the view on the project itself, what is a problem the bigger the projects are, but on the other side they have to concentrate from time to time on a small corridor, kind of zen meditation, focussed with all energy on the top 3 issues to get the project one real step ahead. in this period the project manager has to work with blinkers, ignoring every other question and demand from outside.

… next week – Interview with Egile Waterfall – Part 2

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