5 questions about project management
with John Shoemaker
Before we leave the office for the weekend, we stop for a quick coffee talk with our project management colleagues to chat about their best practices. Well, not literally, but that's how we designed our interview series "5 questions about project management". To be fast, intense and refreshing like a good cup of coffee.
Today, we’ll talk with John Shoemaker. He is the founder and principal consultant of American Informatics, a consulting company he founded in 1991. John has more than 20 years of practical experience in project management. He trains project managers in North America, Europe and the Middle East and shares his knowledge as lecturer in MBA programs worldwide.
1. What is your favorite project management method?
I really like Earned Value Analysis. It provides much more useful, accurate and reliable information than traditional methods of measuring project progress. One client I have worked with uses CPI as their primary measure of project health. They have found that a favorable CPI indicates not only that the project is on budget but that it is almost always on schedule as well.
2. Do you use project management software for bigger projects? If so, which one?
I use project management software for all my projects. If the project is large I know that it will generate more information than I can keep track of without it. If the project is not so large, the benefits are not so great but neither is the effort it takes to set it up.
3. What is your favorite routine in a project?
I do think it is important to spend time up front with the key stakeholders. I like to do it face-to-face whenever possible. Who wants to meet a key stakeholder for the first time when you have to talk with them about a missed deadline or cost overrun?
4. What in your opinion is the most underestimated factor for project success?
Emotional intelligence. The ability to work together with team members and other stakeholders is only beginning to be recognized as a critical factor. As one experienced project manager once said, I have never seen a project fail because the pm could not draw a good Gantt chart but I have seen many projects fail because the pm was not able to motivate and manage his/her resources.
5. What is your biggest time waster?
Interruptions. I know there are people who like to multitask but it is a significant drain on time.
Thank you for your time and all the best for your next project.