Digital project management: What is it, and who makes a good digital project manager? In this first episode of Sprints & Milestones, Brett Harned and Greg Storey introduce you to digital project management, the principles set forth in Brett’s book Project Management for Humans, and how they apply to anyone leading projects. This first episode is just a taste of what’s to come in future episodes, so take a moment to get to know your hosts and the basis of this first season before we dig in.
Each episode of this first season will deep deeper into the principles and your hosts will share their opinions, war stories, and tips and tactics on how to address many curve balls that come your way while working on digital projects. Here’s a sneak peek of the principles and discussions to come:
- We Are Chaos Junkies
- We Are Multilingual Communicators
- We Are Loveable Hardasses
- We Are Consummate Learners and Teachers
- We Are Laser-Focused
- We Are Honest, Always
- We Are Pathfinders
We’re digging in to what it means to truly lead projects — and all of the guts and glory that come with it. We hope you enjoy!
Links Mentioned in This Episode
Transcript: Episode 0
Announcer: Welcome to Sprint and Milestones, a podcast where Brett Harned and Greg Storey share war stories, tips, tactics, and anecdotes on navigating the sometimes rough waters of getting digital projects done. If you're leading projects and want some help and reassurance that you're doing the right things, you've downloaded the right podcast. Enjoy the show.
Brett Harned: This episode is sponsored by TeamGantt and Harvest. Two companies who have supported me and the digital project management community for some time now. TeamGantt is an online project management platform, that helps you to create intuitive and beautiful project plans. For more information and a free account, visit teamgantt.com. Harvest, if you don't already know, is a leading time tracking and reporting software that has helped me to keep many budgets and projects intact. For more information and to start your free trial, visit getharvest.com. On with the show.
Welcome to Sprints and Milestones, a new podcast all about leading digital projects. I'm Brett Harned, a digital project management consultant and community builder. I've worked as a project manager in some capacity for the last 15 years or so, and have really put a lot of time and energy into giving a name to digital project management. I'm excited to get going with this podcast. We can talk about the things that matter to people who lead digital projects.
With me is my good friend and colleague, Greg Storey. Greg and I worked together at Happy Cog, where we led large digital projects, and also created the Digital PM Summit, which is an annual conference for people who lead digital projects. Hi, Greg.
Greg Storey: Hey.
Brett: How're you doing?Greg: I'm doing good. I'd also like to add, I wrote the forward to the book.
Brett: That's true, you did. Project Management for Humans is now out through Rosenfeld Media. And the book was really kind of the impetus for the show.
Greg: Yeah that's right. You know Brett I came to you, after reading an early manuscript, and thought that the way that you had, well the content of the book and the way you'd laid out the principles of project management just lent itself well to a complimentary podcast, and I'm glad to be doing it.
Brett: Thanks, yeah. I think it's important to note that, what we're gonna talk about through this season of the podcast is really gonna be based on the book, but I think, you know whether you read the book or not, you should be able to find some good content, information, tactics, that kind of stuff we will definitely be covering.
Greg: Yeah, so what made you write the book in the first place?
Brett: Oh boy, so much. So after doing the Digital Project Management Summit, and doing some speaking on related topics, I got a really good view into the needs of the digital PM community. And when I talk about the digital PM community, I really think it's anyone who is leading any kind of digital project, whether they're a project manager or not. But it always felt to me like, we were kind of missing something, and it wasn't necessarily a book. You know there are a lot of really good books out there, written by people I know and respect. But to me what we were missing was more of kind of the human aspect of the role. It didn't feel like that was as accounted for.
Brett: 'Cause I think people tend to think project management is all about numbers and spreadsheets, but when there's a real human aspect to it, that when you get it right as a human, as a PM, then you're a really good PM. And you're building relationships, you're communicating well with people, and you're trusting people to do a great job, and they're trusting you to lead them through it.
So I wanted to ground some of the principles that I write in the book, of how we operate as humans as project managers, and relate it to the content of project management. And that's pretty much the book. So I think the book's gonna validate for some PMs a lot of the practices that they have ongoing. I think it'll educate some others who are maybe, designers and developers and managing their own work. And, make some non PMs realize that they kind of are PMs in some ways, or using PM skills every day.
Greg: Yes, so one of the things I took away from the book is it kind of seems like you're making the point that, everyone is a digital project manager. So how would you define, what is a digital project manager?
Brett: Yeah, so first I would say, I'm not necessarily saying that everyone is a project manager. I think it depends, you know. People lead projects. Sometimes with the formal role of a project manager, digital project manager, producer, or whatever the title might be. But I think to me, a digital project manager is someone who can balance a bit of, kind of project strategy with the tactical side of the sort of project management, so looking at project goals and making sure that people are making the right decisions, and having conversations about goals and the strategic path of the project.
Brett: But also mingling in things that are important, like managing scope, and budget, and timelines, and things that people typically think of as a project manager. So I think it's a PM role, but it's expanded a bit.
Greg: So does it matter what these people are called?
Brett: It's funny, that's a really big conversation I think in the industry right now. And to me it doesn't, I'm not going to lie. The conversation gets on my nerves a little bit, because I'd rather talk about big picture, what a company needs someone to do, rather than what to call them. So for me, it's more about the role than the title. You can own a small shop like you did with Happy Cog, and run your own projects like you did early on. Or you can be a freelancer, and need the skills to estimate and plan a project, so that you can be a good client partner. So I really do think it depends on the situation.
Greg: Yeah, totally agree. So the first season of this podcast is gonna take the principles from the book, and in each episode we'll take a principle and expand on that. Share some war stories, which is always good. Brett, I think you'll have a lot of advice, and probably even anecdotal advice from both of us on these principles. So, for the listeners, do you wanna give just a quick overview?
Brett: Sure. So the principles are in chapter two of the book, but I'm gonna run through them at a high level. And they're all statements. I kind of wrote this as a manifesto in some way, so they're statements that start with "We are", and they're explained more in the book, and in the presentation I've given called, Army of Awesome, which we can share a link to as well.
But so here they are. We are chaos junkies, we are multilingual communicators, we are lovable hard asses, we are consummate learners and teachers. We are laser focused, we are honest always, and the last one is, we are pathfinders.
Greg: Yeah, it's, I think anybody can kind of find themselves in one of those principles for sure.
Brett: Absolutely. I think it applies to more than just digital project management right? I mean some of it applies to just being a good team member, a good employee, and honestly a good human.
Greg: Yeah, totally. So that's why I'm really excited about this show. I'm excited to go through these principles and share stories that are, you know. I have some new stories for you that you haven't heard yet, and we for sure have lived through a lot of victory and pain together on projects. So, I think it'll be interesting for anyone to subscribe and give us a listen.
Brett: Yeah maybe we should have called this podcast Victory and Pain. Or maybe not. But yeah, I'm excited too, I think we're gonna share a lot of stories, give people some advice, and then I think see what happens with the podcast and what happens with the format in future episodes. But I'm excited. Thank you for doing this with me, thank you for helping me with the book, and I'm excited to record more. And everyone out there who's listening, we hope you come back. Thank you.
Announcer: You've sprinted to the end of this episode. Milestone complete. Thank you for listening. If you're looking for more resources on digital project management, check out Project Management for Humans, by Brett Harned, which is available on amazon.com or through Rosenfeld Media. And of course, don't forget to subscribe on iTunes. And check out our show notes and more at sprintsandmilestones.com.