Corporate Strategy

111. Making Project Management Productive

February 28, 2024 The Corporate Strategy Group Season 4 Episode 7
111. Making Project Management Productive
Corporate Strategy
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Corporate Strategy
111. Making Project Management Productive
Feb 28, 2024 Season 4 Episode 7
The Corporate Strategy Group

Ever found yourself reminiscing about those startling back-to-school transformations and longing for a simpler time? Let's embark on a journey through the corporate realm's promises and pitfalls, where the quest for balance often leads to an overflowing inbox rather than nirvana. Together, we'll chuckle at the irony of the corporate ladder, share in the anticipation of a break from the hamster wheel, and invite you to find solace in the shared experience of navigating the hectic pace of professional life.

Navigating the tech talk minefield can feel like learning a new language, but relax—we're your translators, demystifying the latest trends. From the overhyped buzz of artificial intelligence (yes, ChatGPT, we're looking at you) to the tangled web of quantum computing, we strip away the jargon and explore the true essence of these technological marvels. We also unravel the complexities of microchip technology, paying homage to the power of understanding the tools that shape our digital destiny.

When chaos reigns in project management, we seize the reins with strategies that turn pandemonium into productivity. Discover how visualizing your workflow can transform your approach to complex systems, and why sometimes letting a system fail is the secret ingredient to fostering groundbreaking change. With tales of teamwork that's more like herding cats and communication that keeps the symphony in tune, we gear up for next week's adventures—just be sure to check if you're on mute before we touch base again!

What It's Like To Be...
What's it like to be a Cattle Rancher? FBI Special Agent? Professional Santa? Find out!

Listen on: Apple Podcasts   Spotify

Everything Corporate Strategy:
All the links!

Elevator Music by Julian Avila
Promoted by MrSnooze

Don't forget ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ it helps!

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ever found yourself reminiscing about those startling back-to-school transformations and longing for a simpler time? Let's embark on a journey through the corporate realm's promises and pitfalls, where the quest for balance often leads to an overflowing inbox rather than nirvana. Together, we'll chuckle at the irony of the corporate ladder, share in the anticipation of a break from the hamster wheel, and invite you to find solace in the shared experience of navigating the hectic pace of professional life.

Navigating the tech talk minefield can feel like learning a new language, but relax—we're your translators, demystifying the latest trends. From the overhyped buzz of artificial intelligence (yes, ChatGPT, we're looking at you) to the tangled web of quantum computing, we strip away the jargon and explore the true essence of these technological marvels. We also unravel the complexities of microchip technology, paying homage to the power of understanding the tools that shape our digital destiny.

When chaos reigns in project management, we seize the reins with strategies that turn pandemonium into productivity. Discover how visualizing your workflow can transform your approach to complex systems, and why sometimes letting a system fail is the secret ingredient to fostering groundbreaking change. With tales of teamwork that's more like herding cats and communication that keeps the symphony in tune, we gear up for next week's adventures—just be sure to check if you're on mute before we touch base again!

What It's Like To Be...
What's it like to be a Cattle Rancher? FBI Special Agent? Professional Santa? Find out!

Listen on: Apple Podcasts   Spotify

Everything Corporate Strategy:
All the links!

Elevator Music by Julian Avila
Promoted by MrSnooze

Don't forget ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ it helps!

Speaker 1:

Gregor.

Speaker 2:

There he is, our boy. Every time. So long it has been so freakin long. Oh my gosh, I just got chills. I don't think it's well, it still feels long. It's been a long time since we've recorded one of these, but it hasn't been like as long for them, it's us, because we record early and then we put them up like a week later, so it's been very long.

Speaker 1:

So for us it's been a really long time. Yes, so we're now see. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

No, this is definitely the. We've pushed the button, we're getting in the elevator. You know, you're like whoa, you have a beard now. Yeah, that's weird, that is weird.

Speaker 1:

It's like for, you know, christmas break when you're in school, you know, or whatever the big summer break. As you come back to holy cow, you grew a foot.

Speaker 2:

I Miss those days. Oh summer break, oh, it's the best.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you take a summer break. You come back. Everybody looks a little different sometimes. Then the transformation of individuals just blew your mind. You're like, oh yeah, you grew, you got taller, or you were a nerd and now you're not. This is interesting.

Speaker 2:

It's always weird when they go to that transformation, right Like they go, they go away and they're just like, oh yeah, you like soccer and you they come back and it's like, oh, you're into goth, now what?

Speaker 1:

So that's how the summer was, for you got it I.

Speaker 2:

Miss those days. If you know what I don't miss, what's that? Welcome back to corporate strategy podcast could have been an email on Bruce.

Speaker 1:

And I'm blown away by that intro. I'm Clark.

Speaker 2:

Got him a Clark vibe. Check how you doing oh.

Speaker 1:

It's been some time I'm I'm doing. I mean, I think I'm sticking with the vibe that I said on last time. It's just like I don't know where the year is going. Every day just passes me by. There's not enough time for reflection, I don't have time to get anything done. You just feel like you're just living. You know it's not smoothin, yeah, it's not a bad thing, but it's just, you're just along for the ride. You don't feel like you're driving necessarily. So Sometimes you get a pull the train over and smell the roses, and I have not done that. But I'm trying to get a vacation in in the next two weeks actually.

Speaker 2:

Oh, awesome, I love her in that. We're how long you're gonna be out.

Speaker 1:

I'm gonna try for a whole week. That's the goal.

Speaker 2:

Oh, I know it's a big one. That's impressive. Good luck to you. You're now. Is it gonna be a staycation? Are you just gonna, you know, go to Hawaii and never?

Speaker 1:

come back. I mean, that's the second option sounds like the best one probably just staycation. We're probably gonna go do a little stay away, but not too far away from home, and then we're probably just gonna be hanging out having a good time. So, yeah, it should be nice and relaxing.

Speaker 2:

So I'm looking forward to it. Yeah, no, I. I recently took a couple days off to Go to Philadelphia to visit my family and I definitely did that and didn't cancel it and spend time in the hospital. So you know it was. It was a really nice trip and I'm super fulfilled at my job. I feel great, I'm not dying, life's wonderful, no complaints.

Speaker 1:

Wow, that was just the complete opposite of a vibe check I was expecting. But I'm so happy to hear how well you're doing.

Speaker 2:

It just really fills my soul every day I show up to work and I think to myself can this get any better? Because, honestly, I think I'm at the top. Like I open my email and I see 26 unread mail and I just feel joy. I mean, they even my entire body. Yeah, and it certainly helps all my you know Conditions, which I don't have because I'm healthy as a horse.

Speaker 1:

This sounds like such a wonderful dream. I mean you could probably die tomorrow and be fully fulfilled. Good I might. I'm so happy to hear how much fulfillment your corporate job has brought you, and the promises of the white picket fence, the Golden attitude, like you, are just a resemblance of exactly everything we should strive for as corporate strategists. So thank you.

Speaker 2:

You know how they say living the dream. Some people say that, some people, some people I'm dreaming the life. That's what I do.

Speaker 1:

Oh man, you are so lucky and your cat must be through the roof. It's.

Speaker 2:

It's just beacon all time high. Things I didn't even care about are just so good now so good, that's so good man.

Speaker 1:

You're just such a lucky guy. I wish I was in your spot, you know, if you're hiring, please let us know so we can come join your, join your nirvana.

Speaker 2:

Will do definitely keep you touched. You definitely want to work with me, that's for sure. Well, thanks, clark. Great vibe check we. You know it's been a long time, so we've even thought about current events. What's going on in the news this week?

Speaker 1:

Man, what is going on in the news? Well, I think the only thing that I have to say because a lot of going on the news AIs freaking everywhere. You know, you blink, you sleep, you wake up. Everyone's talking about AI and there's a new AI thing. I don't know about you Maybe it's just people I work with but they talk about AI and I'm like you have no idea what you're talking about.

Speaker 1:

No one has any clue. Do you hear that too? Not that I'm an expert Like I don't want to make like self-proclaimed myself as the AI expert but they say things that I'm just like you've just heard a buzzword and you're just tossing it out there. Like what was the thing we were in? We were in, like we were talking about like some dashboard reporting on a technology server, and they're like we should use chat GPT to you know, report out the results. And I'm like what did you just say? Like you're talking about this integrated AI chat bot that you think is going to integrate into your service and give you like proactive reporting. It just blew my mind. I'm like you just heard this word chat GPT and think it's going to solve the world's problems.

Speaker 2:

He. I don't know why I said he chat GPT is definitely not a he. The chat GPT has become the Google of AI, and I don't mean Google isn't like search engine. I mean like we say, let me Google that. You know, I'm going to go Google that. What we actually means. I'm going to go search for it, likely through Google, since it destroyed all other search engines. But like chat GPT is not the verb.

Speaker 2:

Everyone thinks it is, and not only do people not understand it, it's become abundantly clear that people just don't understand that AI is not even really AI. I think we've gotten so we've gotten so bad at understanding the fundamental underlying principles of how things work that we've become basically stupefied by magic, which I think is like the plot of Warhammer 40 K how technology works and it just. I love it. I watched actually, one of my PR agencies that we work with came to me last week and they were telling me about how Apple now has, in their latest update, put in a feature to help Crypto, quantum computing, cryptography, to prevent basically quantum hacking. So if you use a quantum computer to like, go after some of the heavier encryption mechanisms, they could go after that and they were. They were basically pitching me on the idea like, oh, can we write about how quantum computers are going to change the industry, like AI did?

Speaker 2:

And I'm like, but do you, do you understand that quantum computers are not computers in the way that we think about computers? It's more like that's how you model certain physics, physical things that we couldn't do on computers because it's way too mathematically complex. But you can't even run doom on a quantum computer. Like it's just not, it's, it's apples and eggs. Like it's so different, right, but they talk about things like they know. Yeah, nobody knows. Like I can openly admit I only know very little about a quantum computer, but I know it's not a computer. But you know, apple puts out this, this new technology. But you know Apple puts out this, this new level of encryption. That quote unquote is quantum hacking proof and, to be fair, like there is some logic behind what they did. But people just start saying things like they understand them and they don't. I don't know.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, maybe I don't understand.

Speaker 2:

I'm old man yells at cloud now.

Speaker 1:

Well, I mean well, one for anybody listening to that to really understand anything. You just said I'm in that same boat because I know absolutely nothing about quantum computing but I know like high enough to know. Yeah, it's not like a computer, it's not like you have multiple computers working on like one thing at once, like it's a totally different concept to your point and yeah, those things are just vastly different. But your sentiment is the same as mine. It's like in the professional world you would think a lot of idiots. You would think before.

Speaker 1:

People said something like they would have a little bit of knowledge around it, right, Because they'd be afraid if I say this, I don't really know what I'm talking about. Someone's going to call me out on it, but just the self awareness isn't there and they're just like I'm just going to throw it out there because I think it's smart. And then everybody just kind of sits there and you've got to debate and you got to think everybody who's got enough brain cells in their head is in that room is thinking the same thing. Do I call them out? Because that was really really stupid. So you kind of go through that rationale of like do I should? I question that, Should I make them look stupid? And then you kind of rationalize yeah, probably not worth it.

Speaker 2:

Well, I don't even want to be mean because you know, in this case, with the quantum computing thing, it's very much an example of. You know, when you hire agencies and you work with people in marketing want to attach to the latest buzz and you know hot topics, they're just scraping whenever they can get. And because I'm the technical voice in the room, the reason they come to me and say, hey, can we do this? And I'm expected to be either the approver or the bad guy that says no. But it is just funny to me, Just what we don't know.

Speaker 2:

I watched a gift, a gift, a GIF today, a GIF of how a super not super Michael, that's a, that's a vendor, how a microchip inside of a cell phone does storage. And it was just so cool to see this microchip broken down, sliced up, and you see how the individual electrons are stored inside of these little capacitors. And I might not be using all the right words, but we'll see Like it helped me understand how you can store so much in such a tiny little chip. Great, I learned something today. I mean, I didn't learn everything because I clearly can't explain it to you effectively, but you know, I feel like I understand now we're all proud of you, right, right it was. I pat myself on the back for learning a thing today. But we're so abstracted from everything now, and that's my point, like we, just we don't know what AI is. We're using terms wrong, right we? You know, we hear quantum computer and we think, oh, can I plug a monitor into that? It's just, you know, it's not going to get better.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, I agree, it's only going to get worse, to your point, especially as people who are not in the industry start to pick things up. I mean, exactly to your point, chat Jpt's kind of done this and people just think it like solves the world's problems or I can throw anything in there and it's going to be exactly what I need. And then you know, if you just spend a little time using it, you kind of start to understand. You know its limits, its its guard rails of where you can kind of extend beyond where it's going to be useful and you kind of get an understanding of like, okay, you know, I kind of get where we are with AI. So, yeah, maybe I'm being a little too harsh.

Speaker 1:

I've kind of had it for today for people saying things where I'm just like that makes zero sense. You know, why are we? Why are we here? But then on the other side, you think about everything you just said of, like you, you just watched this video that explained that in such depth. Like someone created that. Yeah, that's incredible. Right, people are out there that are incredible and they're the ones who are providing the value into the world to make all this possible and available to the normal consumer who might not know anything about technology. Which is fantastic in a lot of ways.

Speaker 2:

There's an entire cabal of YouTubers who I just have nothing but the utmost respect for that create documentaries and educational content and all the kinds of things that I used to get on PBS as a child but now like spoon and fed to me as an adult, and I just love it.

Speaker 1:

I live that's great you might have to share one or two of those. I'm excited. I love those kind of things. I nerd out.

Speaker 2:

You know who's got the list. If you want the list, we can just say his name right now and he will give it to us in one of these channels. I'm quite sure it's capitalist correspondent Alex Restrepo. Of course it is, I know. I know no one who knows more YouTube docu series people than than he do. He has plugged in. He's got the goods.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mean he shared a few that I still subscribe to and I watch their stuff. Every time they put out videos more around like how the corporate system is broken or, you know, inflation and all that good stuff, like it's really good stuff. So, yeah, I agree, maybe we'll give him the tosses list out there. I think everybody will enjoy it.

Speaker 2:

Share some of them good things that people need to know what is our discord, need to know that's what. That's what we need to share. Hey, well, actually, yeah, I didn't actually share any news.

Speaker 1:

The other, the last piece of news I wanted to share oh, the AI just blowing up. Siri still sucks, so sorry iPhone users. Siri is God awful and I am so excited for when they fix it. Because I tried to voice the text today when I was driving off car play Dude, it was so bad, you just got into a crash. Because I was like what did you say? I was like don't send that message. I'm like that's not at all what I was trying to get across. I just couldn't believe it. Like Siri, at this point you're affecting our health and you've probably killed people.

Speaker 2:

It's unacceptably bad for what it is it really is. There's reduced functionality in versions plus. I don't understand how that happens. I used to be able to say, hey, blank, turn on the lights downstairs. And it would turn on all the lights in my house that were hooked into our automation system downstairs. That does not work anymore because they've changed the way that, like you, group things and they removed some groupings. I tell you like user testing and user feedback is a thing of the past, and because we're all tied into this software as a service model, now it just gets forced on you and you can't even downgrade to a previous revision that you like, right, suck with it.

Speaker 1:

And what's crazy too, is they kind of led the charge Like wasn't the iPhone one of the first like voice compatible devices that you could speak into? And how has it not gotten any better? It's with how long they've had it.

Speaker 2:

It's got work Imaginably bad, oh man.

Speaker 1:

So, yeah, that's my news for today. Siri still sucks and AI is everywhere. Have you played with Microsoft's co-pilot at all? So, yes, you told me about this and I downloaded the app and I've been playing around with it a little bit. I still am waiting, like this is where it does go into the, let's say, the gated situation with Apple and Android, where I need it to integrate with everything else, right, true, it's the same with co-pilot. It's like I tell it to do something and I'm like, oh, I thought I would like you know, open up outlook or whatever and be able to integrate Doesn't do any of that.

Speaker 1:

So it's still like the bounds are still there and so we're sure it's still restrictive. That's just not too useful. It's just. It's very similar to me, like chat GBT was where, okay, I can use it just for general things. It gives me some pretty good input. It's a little better than chat GBT from playing around with it a little bit. I think it's much better. Yeah, but it's still until it starts like integrating with things. Like, at least for my use cases, it's not extremely helpful.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, no, I get it for larger AI tasks, AI for larger automation integration tasks. That's my AI. Yeah, it's not there, but I wasn't impressed by the fact that actually it's the site sources I love that yeah. Absolutely. It's not just blatantly stealing. That's the cool thing.

Speaker 1:

It is cool. Yeah, everybody should give it a try. I was talking to people work about it. I was like, listen, if you've had like a long day of meetings, you haven't a chance to like write things down on your commute home. Just start talking into chat GBT about your day and ask it to spit out notes or actions for you, and it does a really, really good job.

Speaker 1:

I kind of blew some people away because I showed on my okay, we just had this meeting together. Watch this. I'll just like talking to chat GBT for you know, 60 seconds just rambling about stuff, and it makes it so clear and concise. I'm like this is how you know I'm using AI right now is just to simplify things or help me do things that would take me longer to type out or I have to. You know, if I'm on the move or whatever, how do I continue to optimize and use it as an efficiency gain for me? So how do you use the technology to help you right now? So I encourage everybody to try it out Either copilot, chat GBT give it a whirl.

Speaker 2:

I love that. That's awesome. I didn't even know you could do that and that's kind of the thing is, the things you don't know that you can do are pretty cool. It goes well beyond like, hey, just write me my job, you know like they're cool tools and I'm glad they exist, but, dang, people don't understand them. No, never will. No, speaking of things we don't understand, we actually had a topic come in back in January into January, to be fair, so we're not that behind. Although it was literally a month ago, this topic came in, so sorry. Individual contributor brings us this week's topic. Hopefully the building hasn't burned down and we could give you some water.

Speaker 2:

Individual contributor says hey, strategists, I've recently had the experience where personal circumstance and workload contributed to the projects I am responsible for devolving more and more into chaos. Some example trends increased misunderstandings about goals and scope, uncontrolled schedule slip and deadline, shirm, prioritization errors, lots of perspective on next steps, and so on. Thinking and writing about this makes me actually aware of how many expressions we have for describing these situations off the rails, schedule crunch, calendar, jenga project tell, overload, underwater, etc. While attempting to return the situation to order, I've been considering the tension between project aspects advancing towards a project goal versus maintaining project plans versus goals and governance versus keeping the right people informed. What are some strategies you've employed for maintaining reasonable baseline control over projects when everything else becomes chaos? Come the apocalypse, what is the absolute last project management concession you will make, which I love this topic because I dealt with it and I have solved it literally in the last month.

Speaker 1:

So man, I'm so excited I have it.

Speaker 2:

I'm bringing value today, which is rare.

Speaker 1:

Well, I actually was going to say one yes, awesome topic. Individual contributor, always come up with bangers, the bangers are always here.

Speaker 1:

But also I agree I think you are one of those people that I've worked with in my career that when things are insane you help everybody kind of get back on track, and so obviously we haven't worked directly together in a professional sense in a while. So I'm really curious about your tips, because when everything was kind of wild, I think everybody kind of looked to you to be like, so what do we do now? And you're always that person that helped us kind of get things back together or get us on the right path to be able to resolve the issue. So I've got some myself, but I think I'd love to hear yours, based on, you know, your most recent experience.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, no, totally, and I would put you in the same camp. I think I was mentored under the saying don't just voice complaints, bring fixes. And I know that when we started working together, I tried to push some of that onto you, and I've seen you do that since we worked together and I know that there's a little bit of a shared passion towards fixing what's broken amongst us. So in my mentorship, yeah, yeah, no true. Reaching back to that previous episode, which was great, by the way it was great because I didn't have to say anything that was the best part.

Speaker 1:

I love what I could show up. Your airtime was almost none. It was my edited that.

Speaker 2:

I looked at the little sound waves I was like this is great.

Speaker 1:

Nothing Awesome, moderator, though Value in the bag Crushed it.

Speaker 2:

Anyway, well, you know, I think I've only really mentored you, so I'm really not. Is that false?

Speaker 1:

I think so you don't remember. We have a little friend that we worked with. He was our best bud, I think he got some mentorship. What happened after that we can't speak to. But oh, yeah, yeah, but there was mentorship there, there was progress, and then after that we don't know what happened, Like all things fell apart. But when you get disconnected like that, you know different, you go different pathways in your career. Things happen and you can't. You can't, you know, take it upon yourself. But there was a lot of. I don't mention it anymore. That's why I quit mentorship. You get good eggs, you get bad eggs.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so the best egg you were like a grade A organic free range chicken egg.

Speaker 1:

Does that?

Speaker 2:

make you the golden goose.

Speaker 1:

We could say that when we going with this.

Speaker 2:

I've played an egg. So context back to individual contributors project management calendar Jenga, health, overload, underwater. I recently dealt with an issue and I still am to some extent, but it's getting better, so I know it's working where communication processes and tools were not coming together the way they should. And as I evaluated what people were complaining about, I realized first thing you have to do is like distill the issue. So I had some conversations with folks. It's like okay, so what's not working? And continually I got well, we're not communicating well. And then we do communicate.

Speaker 2:

Things get forgotten, we leave things behind, or you know, we're tracking some things in emails, some things are in Slack, some things are in Jira. So I looked at one slice that was kind of okay and said how can we make this one slice better? And if we can do this one slice and in this case it was video how do we do your projects better? Then I can apply it to the other things people are struggling with, like ARPR events, webinars, blogs, white papers. But like these are all things I'm going to put in the back burner because they're a little more complicated. So I started a video, which was one project that was not well managed. I ended up saying, okay, right now everything's running through Jira, but nothing's actually tracked there and Jira is just a you know, a project management system.

Speaker 2:

I'm sure your company has something like that. If not, don't use Excel. Just stop. Find a tool that works and get a tool that works. Don't track. Yeah and I think that's tip number one, then you'll probably agree with me Do not use any potential offline media that's Excel, email, word, docs, anything that could get lost or out of sync to track projects, goals, metrics, communications, anything, would you?

Speaker 1:

agree, no, 100 percent. You have to have a live way and I'm going to get into my tips. I want you to go through yours, but you have to have a live way to visualize the work. Yes, that's the first step. Get it out of email, get it out of Teams, get it out of Slack, get it out of whatever, and put it into a system that's live, that can be viewed by anybody and it's understood what it is, who's working on it and where it is.

Speaker 2:

I couldn't agree more, and that's exactly what I did. I created a special one-off JIRA project specifically for video. I included our editor, our social media manager and one of our creative people and basically said we're going to run all video through here. Now it's going to go through this process. I showed them how it would work and they were all having trouble with putting it all together. It was like I'm going to teach you and then you're going to give me feedback on the experience. And they did, and every time they would go through it, I take a little bit more feedback.

Speaker 2:

We finally got to a place where we're like okay, we like this, this works, it's great, awesome. Now I'm going to put videos to the side and we're going to tackle webinars, which is actually the bigger issue that people were struggling with. But I had to prove it on something small. First, I had to make it work on a smaller thing, but I had buy-in from a few people. Now I was like remember what we did in video? We're going to do that for webinars. It's going to be painful, it's going to be a little bit more of a slog, but we're going to get there. So I took what I knew, I brought it to the new thing and I started showing people. It's like, okay, we could do this, we could do that what works good for you, and I got buy-in from the various stakeholders that own these works. Do you basically agree? Okay, here's how we can track this in a way that makes sense for the project. And that's important, because webinars are not videos and videos are not webinars. They might seem similar, but the way that that work is done is completely different. So, create a unique process and plan that sort of forked off.

Speaker 2:

The old one got buy-in, started to test it out and I literally recreated this project three times over the course of like the last month to get it right with the people that do the work and this involves like 10 people. For every webinar, we put on like different departments, different roles and responsibilities, and it's still not perfect. But the important thing is is, every week I meet with them and say what's working, what's not working and how can we make it better. And I basically say don't think about what's impossible, like what you can't do. Tell me what you wish you could, and we'll look for a solution and find it. And if we can't, we'll come up with some you know, kluge hack way to build process around it to ensure that things don't get lost.

Speaker 2:

And it's working and it's awesome. And I'm proud to say that this could not work without the input of the people that complain. Those are important voices like I had to consider and meet with and get their feedback constantly, because if they didn't like what I was doing when I started, they weren't gonna like it when I finished. But getting them to buy in throughout the process that got them to feel like they had ownership in the idea and brought them together on the project to get it done.

Speaker 1:

That's incredible. Isn't that the best feeling too, when you start to see the momentum and the people buying into the process?

Speaker 2:

Yes, and the cool thing is, every time we've done this, I'm gonna do this for. The next big project is getting our sort of written work on the same kind of model. It's easy Once you've like got it a couple of times, then it's just oh, I can just go implement this and change a couple of things and 75% of the people now understand that this process works. So it's just okay, we're gonna do this here too, and we can keep iterating, involving, and all of the learning comes back to help raise all ships together. But now everyone's bought in, so it's not a bunch of ships pulling in different directions, it's all ships pulling in the same direction.

Speaker 1:

That is awesome. Yeah, it's such a good showcase of so many things that you've obviously learned as part of your career. But also, I think you just have the natural instinct for you know you kind of embodied like this old software development, you know supply chain, like Toyota manufacturing line process of start small, iterate. You know, try something, see what works, see what doesn't work, improve it, iterate. So build measure, learn, build measure, learn, do those in super small cycles where your feedback is small.

Speaker 1:

And something you did from like a you know, leadership perspective is you got people involved who could then become the champions of it. So rather than you like saying from the top down you're going to work this way, it's hey, let's try this. You know we're in it together. So you kind of embodied that team mindset and then you've got them to say, hey, what do you think? You know, how could we improve this? Why don't you go drive that? And that helps, keep on, it, keeps on building the machine.

Speaker 1:

Right, if everybody has them feeling like they own it, rather than they're being told how to work and I think naturally splitting it up at the front, of saying, well, groups do work differently and they have different processes, so let's split those up, but let's not force them to work in the same way Is one of the most, I think, profound things you know that you were saying through that and that I've seen in my career is, I think we always try to fit like square pay around the whole.

Speaker 1:

Everybody has to work this one process when, in reality, work between development, between user experience, design, between whatever might be user research, marketing, hr, like everybody does work a little different. You know whether it's just how you get your work done or, you know, due to legal processes or whatever it might be. So don't force everybody to be working in the same process, but the key thing is it is all in the same source live system, so that way it's all possible to be integrated together, to see what other people are doing, to link things together. Especially if there's dependencies. It's all in one system that you can manage it. So that's incredible and it's awesome that it's kind of working because it encourages everybody. Okay, we're all gonna keep on moving it. Hopefully, what you see is everyone that's becoming champions continues to follow that model and keep on improving it, and you guys are just gonna be better for it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and it's definitely a process where, if you leave someone out, they will scream and complain and potentially wreck the entire thing. It's hard, especially when you have toxic individuals on your team. I hate that. We always have to come back to that. It's like the warning, but they can derail these things super easily. So making sure you get buy-in from everyone is really important and over communicate, super over communicate where possible.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely. I think one thing I wanted to talk through and actually talking about it now and also just reading through individual contributors no, there's a really good book out there. It's called the Phoenix project and it basically is a story about a you know let's. I think it's like a car manufacturing Companies. They manufacture like car parts. They have a technology department. It's failing, everything's chaos, every projects. Behind they're like looking to shut down the the department and like lay off everybody. And it's kind of the story of someone standing up and doing a lot of what you just said, bruce, of taking the leadership helm.

Speaker 1:

You know, making things simple because I think that's what we do is like it feels so complicated, like it's like well, only people with you know their PMP Certificate can do this, because they understand how to run process. And what I love about this book is they give a really good Analogy that I think comes from like a super old book called the goal, where, if you think of it as Raw materials come in and a finished product leaves and you're inside a factory, elevate yourself to the rafters, go all the way up to the rafters so you can see the whole thing. I can see things come in, I see it go through the process, I see it go out. The first step to that is you have to be able to visualize the work. And that's what I tell my team all the time, like the first thing we have to do when things are crazy is visualize the work. If you're handling work over, you know outlook. If you're handling over slack, if you're handling over teams, it's not visualized, you're just doing work from every angle and there's no way to prioritize it, there's no way to limit work in progress. Everybody just chaos all the time, right.

Speaker 1:

But if you can get it to a system and you can visualize all of it, it makes it much easier to balance. So I think what you said the very first step Get it into a system is if you don't do that, you'll never fix the problem, never. And then I think, as you understand, okay, I've got it in the system. Then, looking down from the rafters, like, okay, I see all the work, I see the process that it needs to go through, like you said, to get out the door and have a finished product. Then you can look at optimizing it, saying, okay, why are these people working on this side with this machine, right? Or why is this machine crapping out? What if we added three machines here that three different products go through at the same time? We can make it more efficient. But until you do that, you'll never, until you can see it all and until you can, you know, get your head above water and look down on it at the Process and get the people that are actually working on the ground floor into the process with you, it's it's almost impossible to get yourself out of that situation.

Speaker 1:

So definitely give that book a read. It's awesome because it's a success story of coming out of that. And then there's a follow-up project after that of like how you then make it more efficient and step into kind of the new Age and accelerate rather than just getting things back on track. But it's a really good book and it goes back to those core principles of the goals of Visualize the work, optimize the process and then continuously experiment and figure out what's working, what's not, get feedback and continue to build that into the system. So everything you said, bruce, without knowing it, is like those core fundamentals that I think make make getting something like this this hectic.

Speaker 2:

You know, back on track so you guys can be successful one thing I want to add to what you just said is the idea of perspective and seniority. When you have been doing this for a while, you start to gain a slant in the way you look at things, and I'm guilty of this, I'm saying right. Like you, you kind of fall into the well, I know what's going on here. Such and such just doesn't want to engage the process, or this isn't working because leadership isn't buying into it, or whatever. Like right, we come with our slants, we come with our perspectives and it is really important that in the process of trying to implement and improve a project management system, kind of throw all bias to the side.

Speaker 2:

You'd be surprised, like I would. I would sit down with certain people and like talk with Jira, with them, and then realize they didn't even know what, like the board view was. They weren't looking at cards, they were looking at the list. So of course it didn't make sense to them. Like you cannot go in with assumptions or preconceived notions that everyone works the same way you do and you have to ask questions, you have to see how they engage and interact with things To understand why it's breaking, because to them it might make perfect sense and everyone else is doing it wrong and they might not know there's a better way. So ask a lot of questions and be super open-minded and patient, because not all people are at the same level as you, which, again, I realize as me, saying this out loud is a little bit of a I could take a dose of my own medicine type of thing, but I had to to make this work.

Speaker 1:

Right, yeah, I think this podcast is always a little bit of therapy for us. But what you just said, I think is important, and you'll be surprised how many people don't even understand how work gets done. It blows my mind. The bigger organization I work with and I talk to people they're like oh, we have to do that every time. Like who does that? Like that needs to happen before this thing can happen. I'm like, yeah, like if that doesn't happen, it never happens. I didn't even know that happened. I'm like you've been working for how long? And you had no clue. This department took this thing from you and then they have to do this thing before it goes live. And they're like no, and I think that's a symptom of just not being able to visualize it. You know, if you can't visualize it, you can't improve it. So I think that you know it all kind of comes back to that.

Speaker 1:

But going back to my point, just on making things over complicated, it truly is simple and I do this all the time because I run a number of teams and my teams run a number of teams and I'll step into things that seem chaotic and a lot of the times I'll just sit there and you'll hear them, everybody panicking, everybody diving in. I'm like, well, there's this one super critical thing that we can't figure it out, we'll never be able to figure out, because X, y and Z. And it's like, all right, guys, let's pause for a second, let's take a breath, and I'm like you're talking about things that I don't even know where they are. Where is that being tracked? And exactly what you said. It's like I've straight up asked people is that in Jira? And they're like no, and I'm like then you shouldn't be working on it. If it's not in Jira, then it doesn't exist in my mind. And I get pretty strict with people because I'm like you can't be working outside of Jira Because then we don't know what you're working on and we can't continue to visualize the work and limit your work in progress. And you know you'll hear it in retrospectives too.

Speaker 1:

If you work in agile science, they'll say like well, I just had all these side things come in. I'm like, was it in Jira? I didn't know it was happening and it sounds like ridiculous. But dumping it down to those things, it's just like everything has to go through that process. Otherwise we shouldn't be doing it, because if you are, we're never gonna be able to get out of the hell you're in. So it seems like sometimes it slows things down to get things into a system, but in reality it helps you speed things up because you can then visualize it and get into a process, get into a flow and you kind of get out of everything flying around every channel, everywhere. No one can see it.

Speaker 2:

And I completely agree. It's definitely one where it requires a little bit of vigilance. You know it requires a little bit of getting outside your comfort zone and forcing not forcing people, but asking them, hey, like, are you engaging with the process the way it's meant to be? And oftentimes they don't realize they're doing it wrong. So, again, overcommunication is gonna be key. I think that's really why, like Project Hell and these nightmares happen.

Speaker 2:

The first place is we're just not good at communicating. I don't know if we ever were Like. This is a question I started to really wonder is like have businesses ever been good at working actually? Or is they used to use the term? I don't know what it is anymore. I'm sure it's changed because it's a little bit misogynist, but it's the Mythical man month, oh yep, you know that right.

Speaker 2:

So, like the idea that eventually adding more people to the equation does not equal more productivity in many ways it can hurt and that you know. You probably need a quantum computer to figure out that math. But it's weird because we don't know how to work good, and I think we do in small teams and small projects, because it's everyone knows everyone else, everyone knows what's going on and it's easy to kind of turn that boat when it's so tiny and lean, but you get in a big company, big corporate strategy. Suddenly it just becomes a behemoth and you don't even know the guy sitting five cubicles down from you what they do and it just becomes a puzzle that you constantly fighting against to do your job. And I think that's where the hell starts, and under communicating or accepting things as they are and not trying to fix them or better them, that's how it gets worse.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, absolutely, and sometimes it takes you calling it out.

Speaker 1:

You know, I think my lucky star is every day that I don't work as a doctor or like an architect or something that could seriously affect people's lives, like sending a rocket to the moon, right, like I try to dumb it down for my team.

Speaker 1:

If we're all struggling with something, I kind of at the end of it, you know, sitting there, I'm like guys, I'm really struggling, I don't quite understand why it's so difficult and I think we can make things simpler because luckily we're not sending, you know, a rocket to the moon, so we don't need to make it so complicated. And it kind of just goes back to those first principles, like let's start with just visualizing the work, let's spend a couple of hours, let's write it all down, let's get it into a system, let's understand our process so we can get this back on track. And by, I think, making yourself vulnerable to not just sit there amongst the chaos but say we got to do something different, I think a lot of people will be open to that, especially when you know I'm reading all the words off the rails schedule, crates, calendar, jenga it's like it's usually just a sign that you need to slow down in order to speed up.

Speaker 2:

And then sometimes I'm a big believer in letting things break. Yeah, I think it ignore some things while focusing on fixing other things. And as you fix those things and the other things break, that's the perfect time and go and then fix those too, cause once it's broken, no one's gonna argue with you that it's working as intended, right? I think that's. That takes a little bit of guts and skill. Obviously, you don't want to be responsible for why it breaks, but I think we find ourselves babying things along, especially if you're like Clark or myself. You see something that requires someone to touch it, and it might not be our jobs, but we're gonna touch it anyways, just to move it along where the better path would be. Don't touch it, let it break, let it fall apart. It might be painful for us and the other people involved, but it's a great way to analyze why is this not working and what can we do to make it work better.

Speaker 1:

Right, yeah, absolutely. Sometimes you have to commit even though you disagree, because the greater team thinks so, and that's okay. You can agree to disagree and be like, hey, these are the things I'm concerned about, but I'm on board, I'm a team player, let's give it a shot, right? Even if you have serious qualms. You might be surprised and might actually work. I've been proven wrong many times of when I was like, guys, I really don't think this is gonna work. But if you guys wanna do it, let's do it and we do it and it works and I'm like, oh, I was really wrong and that's okay. It's all part of working through that together and being a team player. So I think it's always good to voice your concerns, but then, at the end of the day, don't get stuck in analysis paralysis. You gotta do something and so try something different, do something different and then learn from it.

Speaker 2:

Completely agree. Feedback is key, retrospectives are key, being able to walk away when something's not working and saying, okay, we gotta go back to the drawing board and figure out a different plan. You might not have the answer you think you do, so it's a lot of parts and pieces, but I think open-mindedness and communication really make it work.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely agree. I think we crushed that one. We've been gone for a while. We just had that podcast energy building up in us. We were ready.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, we needed to, and we have an interview coming up on our next episode, so that'll be another good one. Excited for that. So we got some good stuff in the pipe. Sorry for being away so long. It is definitely not because I'm dying, because I'm not.

Speaker 1:

Definitely not. There's no confirmed reports of any of that. So I'm happy you're doing well and you're not stressed and you're living this amazing life we all should be jealous, that's.

Speaker 2:

I'm actually missing the pod because I'm just so damn happy is what it's going on. You know, I just don't want to talk about corporate. I'm just so happy with everything.

Speaker 1:

You used to kill your void with corporate strategy. Now you don't need that. You've evolved. I'm so proud, so proud.

Speaker 2:

So proud. Well, good job Clark, good job boss. We did it Again. Another successful episode. Quick, quick, quick, quick question. I'm scared. What's the question? Okay, guess what time it is, clark.

Speaker 1:

Oh, it's that time. It's time to play. It's time to play.

Speaker 2:

Yes. Our favorite podcast game show what Do you Meme, where we force each other to verbalize a meme that's been posted in our what Do you Meme channel and the Discord. Want to find out how to get in our Discord? It's easy Check the show notes, but for now let's play. Shall we Clark Bougiois. Correspondent Alex Restrepo Is that your statement yeah, it's either is Bougiois or it's Bougiois. I think it depends on, like, whether you're in, I think, the United States, americans call it Bougiois, bougioisie, and then in the UK it's Bougioisie.

Speaker 1:

So it's a. I just hold my pinky up. You guys are so cultured Not yet.

Speaker 2:

Bougioisie Correspondent, alex Restrepo, supposed to two memes, and I believe it's your turn.

Speaker 1:

I believe you're right. It's actually, I think, three names, yes, three in a row. I feel like we need a little like Jingle or something to start this up, not to give you more editing necessity, but we got to have something.

Speaker 2:

It's our chat show, new game show.

Speaker 1:

All right, it is me. I am up. It's what do you mean? Where we do awesome radio and we describe to you images that you cannot see. So I hope you know you get hop in our discord so you can actually visualize them and you're not tainted by our wonderful descriptions about what they are All right, you ready, I'm ready All right, the cup of gel. You know what I'm talking about. Nothing better than a cup of gel.

Speaker 2:

I used to drink that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it was a good time Good days you wake up Nothing better than a little what's the jingle folders in your cup. So imagine that with me. You got a nice little. You know it's on a little setting plate to make sure that your hands don't get burnt, you don't spill everywhere. Got a little hand grip to it. It looks like freshly brewed gel, something that's going to go right down the go it and give you that few fuel to get through your corporate day. And it says for the price of a cup of coffee, you too can make corporate, corporate culture better. So I agree for the price of a cup of coffee, you don't have to do anything, just a little caffeine, a little energy, you can make life a little better for everybody. I miss coffee. Coffee is so good, it's so good man, if I didn't have that I don't know what I'd do with my life.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, you're telling me, you know what? I don't miss it because I have it every day. I have it every day. My body is definitely not rejecting it. Yeah, no, please continue.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I'll just share with you how much I love it and how good it is for me, because we both get to enjoy that together.

Speaker 2:

It's great Every day it's so good, so great.

Speaker 1:

So the next one this one's so good Kind of gives it into a. You know an example of what we've been saying today you got a nice little fluffers, you know a little cat reaching up. You know what they do with their little tiny paws when they see something they want, they try to reach for something. And then it's got a little tiny kitten next to him you know, sitting there trying to reach up to, but obviously can't get to, what they want. So instead, what does it say? It says mentoring, pass it on Right With a big cat showing the little cat what to do and potentially getting whatever's on the calendar, the little catnip piece off for the little kitten.

Speaker 2:

See, my takeaway from this one is if you're small enough and your mentor is tall enough, you could just make them do your work for you.

Speaker 1:

Or you could get on your mentor's shoulders, create a superhuman, and then you two together could conquer the world.

Speaker 2:

It's like a mentor zord from the Power Rangers.

Speaker 1:

That's what pair programming is right. You just hop on each other's shoulders and you're typing. Yeah okay, good.

Speaker 2:

Speaking of pair programming.

Speaker 1:

Speaking of pair programming, it's a nice little segue. Or look, bachman, if you know, you know you don't know, everyone knows.

Speaker 1:

If you don't know, then you don't know. He's walking to the room all jolly, someone's asking about like hey, you know, you have someone so awesome under your wing. This is what happens when people come to you about me, isn't it, bruce? They come to you and they're like man, you used to work with Clark, right, he's so great, he's so awesome. And then what do you say to him? You say it's kind of a mentor, mentee sort of thing.

Speaker 2:

Uh huh, that's exactly my words, exactly.

Speaker 1:

You can be the early Bachman in my life. I don't want to be the early.

Speaker 2:

Bachman. Oh well, I would like to hear and just go to Nepal or maybe not go to work? That'd be nice.

Speaker 1:

I got to see him live. Oh yeah, I did.

Speaker 2:

How is that? Did he water all over the stage.

Speaker 1:

It was really bad. It was really. He was. Let's say, he had some fun before and he was barely coherent during the session, so it was kind of disappointing. I'm not going to lie, but I do love the show. Just skip the last season. Watch the show. Skip the last season.

Speaker 2:

What I love the last season, did you? I did? I mean I love, I love the whole thing, start to finish, but I thought the the final. Well, obviously no one's seen it, that's going to be a spoiler, but like that, the final way they handled everything was very cool. I thought it was very real. I liked it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, different perspective. So maybe watch it and tell us your opinion. Yeah, it's a good show. Yeah, I know I tried. I'm not as good as you are, but I tried and hopefully people enjoyed the explanation. One of these days I want to get Mr Correspondent to come on the show and actually do it for us the memes and then post them while he's on the show. Yeah, because he tortures us with these and I love it.

Speaker 2:

Agree Well, hey, clark, thank you, that was great. You did a good job verbalizing images for radio. So thank you. And hey, if you think that's fun and you want to get in on the fun because you can submit memes, what do you mean? There's a whole channel for it on our Discord. Again, you can get there super easy by going to our show notes and just joining the Discord there, or you can go to our website. We have a website. It's called corporatestrategybiz. That'sbiz Stands for business, but it's not spelled that way, and it's a great way to stay in touch, catch up in the latest episodes, all things corporate strategy. You can be found there. We sell t-shirts and mugs. I always forget that, but we do.

Speaker 1:

We do.

Speaker 2:

And you can buy us coffee.

Speaker 1:

I mean, let's think about all the things you can do. You can buy us a coffee, you can buy a mug for your coffee, you can. Then you can sign up for our newsletter too. Just enter your email and the second we release the episode, you'll be the first to know. I think we're kind of thinking about how do we make it more interesting too. Maybe we throw a little secret sauce in the newsletter from now and then so you guys can be interested of like, oh, what's coming up next? Or future topic ideas, or maybe just little Easter eggs that can make it a little more fun.

Speaker 2:

Heck yeah, I love it. And you did mention the buying me a coffee, but I'll just say it again this is a show that is sponsored entirely by us, that is, clark and I and no one else. So we are user listener, we're listener supported. If you want to help out, because this does cost money to do, it's my money.

Speaker 2:

Thank you for us by buying us a coffee, which we have. Support us in the show notes. Again, super easy to go there. If you want to support the show, we greatly appreciate it. Otherwise, there might be ads on the episode. That last ad that we got given to us I rejected because I thought it was so stupid. I'm like I'm not going to subject. I don't care how many pennies we'll get, I'm not going to subject our listeners to that, so I'm just going to pay for it in the pocket again. So if you want to, we'd appreciate it, and if you can't, that's fine. If you don't want to, that's also fine. The next thing you can do is actually give us a review and share this with your friends and your family and the people you love, because the people you hate probably don't deserve corporate strategy. Let's face it Fair enough.

Speaker 1:

Well, maybe they'll come better than the dark. If you want them to improve, maybe you share it, that's right.

Speaker 2:

Just thought If you want them to get fired, don't share it. So the people you want to promote it and keep on share corporate strategy with them Agreed and I think that does. Did I miss anything, Clark? No no, I think you got it.

Speaker 1:

I think you had it all.

Speaker 2:

Great. Oh, I think we got it all. It's team effort, as always, Team work. There is no I in team Clark.

Speaker 1:

You're right, unless it's a different language than maybe.

Speaker 2:

Oh dang, I didn't think about that Further investigation needed.

Speaker 1:

I'm sure there is an I in some translation of team Some. Yeah, just say it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, but is it? Does I carry the same? We can't, we can't.

Speaker 1:

We can't do this. You got it hey thanks for listening.

Speaker 2:

And hey, just remember, this is like herding cats I'm Bruce and I'm Clark and you're on mute Touch base with you next week.

Reconnecting and Reflecting on Life
Current Buzzwords in Technology Misunderstood
Strategies for Project Management Chaos
Improving Project Management Processes Through Collaboration
(Cont.) Improving Project Management Processes Through Collaboration
Understanding Simplifying Work Processes and Communication
Embracing Change and Collaboration
Teamwork and Communication in Translation