Twitterview with Jhaymee Wilson

Jhaymee Wilson, Author of The Green PM BlogOn Sunday, March 7th at 3:00pm I had the most fun “Twitterview” with Jhaymee Wilson aka @TheGreenPM. You can still see the actual Twitterview by searching hashtag #TheGreenPM. What was fun about this interview was, it was entirely conducted on Twitter. So both questions and answers were limited to 140 characters each.

I loved Jhaymee’s approach to the whole affair. She approached me early, and worked up some really great questions in advance. She was warm and enthusiastic in the days leading up to the event, helping me to prepare. Knowing Twitter’s 140 character limitation I wasn’t sure how it would play out, but I thought it went really well, and it was an awful lot of fun.

I would highly recommend anyone not already doing so to follow @TheGreenPM on Twitter, and subscribe to Jhaymee’s website, as I believe she presents some fantastic insights into our profession. Jhaymee has organized some great social media events in the Washington, D.C. area, so if you live, work, or are visiting there, check her website to see if she has anything happening!

For ease of reading, I’ve transcribed our Twitterview below.


TheGreenPM : Welcome to our Twitterview with @PapercutPM! We’re excited to bring this exclusive chat to you. Hi Geoff!!:)
PapercutPM : hiya jhaymee! i’m very excited as well! thanks so much for this! πŸ™‚
TheGreenPM : No problem! Thank you for joining. Let’s start off with a few questions about you and your fantastic blog.
PapercutPM : *blush* certainly! πŸ™‚
TheGreenPM : What inspired you to start a career in PM and what was the catalyst to start a blog on the subject?
PapercutPM : i don’t believe i ever “chose” a career in pm. LOL it sort of just happened.
PapercutPM : the blog started because over the years i’ve learned that projects are about people..but nobody seems to want to talk about that
PapercutPM : the primary things i hear about projects are theory based as opposed to emotions or human based
TheGreenPM : Interesting! Why do you think that people don’t talk about the human aspects of projects?
PapercutPM : primarily i think it’s because the human aspects are nebulous and fuzzy. it’s easier to talk about quantifiable things
TheGreenPM : I agree with that. Do you think that PMs are capable of building their “emotional intelligence” on projects?
PapercutPM : i think by and large the tools PMs need are already there because they’re human. it’s just a matter of expression. so, yes.
PapercutPM : expression on the other hand takes experience and maturity. think about consequences before making choices
PapercutPM : (this is crazy fun btw working within 140 characters)
TheGreenPM : I know we’ve talked a little bit about “soft skills”s & PM. What do you think is the biggest soft skill most PMs lack and why?
TheGreenPM : I’m glad you’re enjoying it. I am too.:)
PapercutPM : i would say empathy. when things are moving so fast, it’s easy to stop thinking of other people in favour of our own agendas
PapercutPM : the problem is, as PMs, our own agendas require other people to realize. so there’s an irony there.
TheGreenPM : So PMs need to have more empathy in regards to project teams, customers, stakeholders in your opinion.
TheGreenPM : #TheGreenPM “Projects are about people.” ~Geoff Crane (@PapercutPM). Search for our live Twitterview using . #pmot
PapercutPM : it’s a question of making the people around you the priority. what do they need? want? think? feel?
PapercutPM : it’s important because those things are all potential barriers to getting work done
TheGreenPM : That’s certainly difficult for a lot of PMs I know. Especially with your own competing priorities.
TheGreenPM : So besides empathy, what other soft skills do you feel are important for PMs to have?
PapercutPM : it’s true. PMs have tools..communication plans, different comms vehicles
PapercutPM : but those are just vessels for the real issue which is managing expectations
PapercutPM : i would say active listening is a big one. every PM needs a big ol’ set of ears
TheGreenPM : I couldn’t agree with you more on that! Do you think active listening comes with maturity as a PM?
TheGreenPM : #TheGreenPM “Every PM needs a big ol’ set of ears.” ~Geoff Crane (@PapercutPM). Search for our live Twitterview using . #pmot
PapercutPM : i do. in my early career i clung to my plans like a drowning cat clinging to a floating tire. other people kept messing it up
PapercutPM : over the years you learn your plans are transitory. it’s just a piece of paper that reflects the wants and needs du jour
TheGreenPM : I can just visualize you clinging to a tire.:) So do you think that soft skills should be evaluated on tests like the PMP?
PapercutPM : these days the tire is permanently attached. πŸ™‚
PapercutPM : i think it’s a bit of a conundrum. measuring soft skills stops making them soft. applying measurements breaks the skill
PapercutPM : a measurement suggests there’s a silver bullet response to individual situations and there just isn’t
TheGreenPM : So how would you evaluate a PMs soft skills? Or would you?
PapercutPM : i would and i do. but it happens face to face.
PapercutPM : my evaluations are based on a) fit, b) their listening ability, c) experience
PapercutPM : when my senior PMs would hire, i always insisted on meeting them to rubber stamp
PapercutPM : a person can’t be evaluated on soft skills on a piece of paper. at least i don’t think so
TheGreenPM : You seem to have significant experience in determining strong PMs. πŸ™‚
PapercutPM : hehe you get burned enough times (or you burn yourself) you learn πŸ™‚
TheGreenPM : So I’m sure you have a lot of battle scars from projects gone awry huh?
PapercutPM : oh yes. and it seems i keep getting them. you’d sort of think they’d stop after awhile LOL
TheGreenPM : So does your blog focus solely on articles pertaining to emotions and PM? What types of articles do you write?
PapercutPM : well, it didn’t at the start, but it seems to be something people have a lot of questions about and want to ask me
PapercutPM : i write about the human side of projects. i try to raise specific problems that require an emotional response
TheGreenPM : So you are the “emotional intelligence” guru in the PM community? πŸ™‚
PapercutPM : HAHA um, if you want to throw that moniker on me LOL really i’m just a guy with a hairy face who likes to listen
TheGreenPM : Very well put.:) So if there was one piece of advice that you’d give a new PM, what would it be?
PapercutPM : step outside yourself. your success is based on the success of those around you. if they get what they need, so will you
TheGreenPM : Spoken like a true leader! A couple of final questions. 1) Do you follow other PM bloggers? If so, which ones do you recommend?
PapercutPM : oh my goodness my aggregator is full! i’ll miss some but i follow @BackFromRed @derekhuether @commsabilities @UnlikeBefore
PapercutPM : @JasonMartin530 and of course yourself! πŸ™‚ i don’t mean to not include some but there’s just so many.
PapercutPM : i LOVE all the different perspectives. you learn so much from them
TheGreenPM : Aww, thanks. What do you enjoy about @JasonMartin530 blog?
PapercutPM : you know, jason’s just so inquisitive and interesting. he’s learning and you can see the connections he makes. i love that
TheGreenPM : Ok, so I have one final question, and then you can feel free to share what you want.:) Do you ever plan on getting your PMP? πŸ™‚
PapercutPM : HAHAHA there’s the rub! πŸ™‚ not at present. at this point in my career i would need a compelling reason
PapercutPM : to be honest? i’m 40 years old and academic tests still freak me out LOL
TheGreenPM : Hahaha! I’ve heard that argument before.:) Well those are the questions that I have. Any final comments, thoughts, etc?
PapercutPM : *big smile* all i can say is this has been a tremendous amount of fun!
PapercutPM : if folks would like me to write about specific problems i’m more than happy to take that up. (psst: gives me content too hehe)
TheGreenPM : Absolutely! Tell us how readers can contact you. Email, phone, etc?
PapercutPM : the best way is through my website http://www.papercutpm.com which has all my details, or my blog http://edge.papercutpm.com
PapercutPM : i’m super chatty (as you know, hehe) so hitting me up on twitter is a great way too! πŸ™‚
TheGreenPM : Great! Well thank you again for participating @PapercutPM. This was a FANTASTIC Twitterview!!!
PapercutPM : jhaymee thank you so much for putting this together! it’s been a genuine thrill! πŸ˜€ *BIG HAIRY HUGZ*
TheGreenPM : Thanks to @PapercutPM for a fantastic Twitterview! Blog post to follow on Monday. Search on to read the transcript! #pmot
I’m a professor of project management at the college where I work. My students continually amaze me with their insights, passion and all-around awesomeness. I figure they deserve access to more answers than I can give them by myself. This site is for them.
  • Sorry guys, I can see the novelty but can't quite see the point of using a tool that is obviously not cut to support long textual discussions. Why limit yourself to a 140 characters discussion when you can easily use other more relevant tools?

    Cheers, Shim
    http://www.quantmleap.com

  • Heya Shim! Thanks for the chime-in! πŸ™‚

    Well, from my perspective the novelty isn't something to be dismissed. It was fun to do. That's a legitimate purpose in and of itself. We *could* have done the interview in another way. I was interviewed four times last week–once on the phone, once on paper, and once for a podcast. But the Twitterview was just plain nifty. And people followed along because it was something that was interesting and new. If you don't try new things, you don't find out whether or not they'll work for you. I would absolutely do one of these again because I enjoyed it.

    I think what people have to ask themselves about these types of new media interactions is, “what do you hope to achieve with it”. If it's to headline in the New York Times, a Twitterview probably isn't the right approach. If it's to conduct a project status review, it's probably not the right approach. For attracting interest and building some traffic, it was great! And Jhaymee and I have feedback that people followed along, so that's a little different than just a one-to-one interview as well.

    The Twitterview was Jhaymee's idea, and I felt it was pioneering. I was thrilled to have been invited.

    There were people who didn't see the value of fax machines, instant messaging and text messaging. Now we embrace them as part of our every day lives…but we had to go through disastrous fax marketing, IM spam and poor interfaces to get there.

    Cheers, and thanks again! πŸ™‚

  • Brian Arbauch

    It's important to remember that twitter is only 140 characters per message. It's not limited to 140 characters per answer, and some answers did span several tweets.

    This notion that twitter somehow acted as a barrier to the conversation doesn't ring true for me. The conversation/interview was successful. I got information out of it. It also happened in real time which adds to the fun and excitement of the process.

    There's no editing, you tweet it, it's out there for everyone. No second chance.

    I also think part of the success of any interview is measured by how many people see it. If nobody sees it, it has no impact, so even if it has the most groundbreaking ideas in the Universe, it fails. By this measure Twitter has IMPACT – in all caps!

    Geoff's fax machine analogy is a good one. If I've learned anything, it's not to dismiss the new because I can't see the value..yet.

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