Interview with Peter Taylor – Author of PM Bestsellers: The Lazy Project Manager & The Project From Hell

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The Secret Recipe To Productive Laziness shared by Peter Taylor, author of the Amazon number 1 best-selling project management book ‘The Lazy Project Manager’

Peter Taylor is an evangelist project manager who has been in the field of project management for over 30 years now.  He is a PMO expert who has built and led four global PMOs across several industries and has advised many other organizations in PMO and PM strategy.

He is also the author of the number 1 best-selling project management book ‘The Lazy Project Manager’, along with 18 other books on project leadership, PMO development, project marketing, project challenges and executive sponsorship.

In the last 5 years, he has delivered over 250 lectures around the world in over 25 countries and has been described as ‘perhaps the most entertaining and inspiring speaker in the project management world today’.

His mission is to teach as many people as possible that it is achievable to ‘work smarter and not harder’ and to still gain success in the battle of the work/life balance.

More information can be found at www.thelazyprojectmanager.com  – and through his free podcasts in iTunes.

Peter is not quite a fan of the more traditional hard-working project management methodology and has set his goal to create awareness that the ethic of “Work Smarter and not harder” is far, far better for gaining that perfect work/life balance, as well better for overall project success.

 

TaskQue: What became a reason and inspiration for you in choosing project management as a career field?

Peter Taylor: I was truly the accidental project manager – I was just given ‘something to do’ one day at work and realized many years later that this was, in fact, a ‘project’. It wasn’t probably until five years after that did I first use the title of ‘project manager’ and think of myself in that way. So, it was less of a career choice and more of a happy accident.

TaskQue: You are recognized as one of the most entertaining and inspirational speakers in the field of project management, what is your recipe for motivating, engaging and connecting with strange people?

Peter Taylor: I think it is a combination of simplicity, humour, honesty and knowing what an audience wants from any presentation. I was taught early on that a great presentation is 80% entertainment and 20% information, and I still believe that this is the case. If people like what you say they can always find out more through my website, books or speaking to me.

TaskQue: For the last 5 years you have placed your core focus at giving lectures and presentations around the world, how do you find this experience yourself?

Peter Taylor: Wonderful! It really is, yes, the traveling can be tiring but each time I get in front of an audience it is a wonderful feeling when you see, or believe at least, that you are giving value for their time as well as perhaps helping them in some small way.

So long may it continue. I am more than happy to talk anywhere in the world if people feel I can contribute to their conference or business meeting or project management event etc.

The other benefit to myself is that through this work I get to see some other great speakers and learn from them of course.

TaskQue: You have come up with a distinct concept of lazy project management which is quite amusing for many ears to hear, how do you explain this methodology, for example, who is in your viewpoint is the perfect project manager?

Peter Taylor: I’m not sure there is such a thing as a perfect project manager but it is certainly someone who cares about their project team as well as the project that they are leading. Projects are about people and so a good project manager knows this and spends time with their team, communicating and listening and helping them.

Perhaps the best way to answer the first part of the question is to read a short extract from the book ‘Productive laziness is all about success, but success with far less effort. By advocating being a ‘lazy’ project manager, I do not intend that we should all do absolutely nothing. I am not saying we should all sit around drinking coffee, reading good books and engaging in idle gossip whilst watching the project hours go by and the non-delivered project milestones disappear over the horizon. That would obviously be just plain stupid and would result in an extremely short career in project management – in fact, probably in a very short career, full stop! Lazy does not mean stupid. No, I really mean that we should all adopt a more focused approach to project management and exercise our efforts where it really matters, rather than rushing around like busy, busy bees involving ourselves in unimportant, non-critical activities that others can better address, or which do not need addressing at all in some cases. Welcome to the home of ‘productive laziness’.

TaskQue: You have visited 25 countries across the world in giving presentations, what significant differences you found in project and people management across different nations and cultures?

Peter Taylor: A difficult question because underlying the culture ‘people are people’ and ‘project managers are project managers’. Of course, audience behaviours do vary in the way they engage, show their appreciation (or not), question (or not) and so on., and you do have to be aware of the sensitivities of some cultural differences – always good to do some research or speak to someone who has spoken there before I have found. Humour across cultures can be challenging as well, and, to be honest, the concept of ‘good laziness’ doesn’t always work in some cultures – I have had to change the title of presentations and workshops in the past to deal with this.

TaskQue: You are a source of inspiration for many, what personalities you find a motivation for yourself?

Peter Taylor: Many of my audience members, my blog followers, LinkedIn contacts, Twitter followers and more. They often come up with great thoughts and insights that I openly re-use.

And there are some great speakers out there in project management world, many of whom I love to see over and over again.

TaskQue: How in your view can a lazy project manager can become a role model for her team?

Peter Taylor: I think by demonstrating the positive effect of taking the path of ‘productive laziness’ and proving the value of this then the lazy project manager can be a role model to their team members.

TaskQue: What factors in your view are major productivity killers at a workplace and how a project manager or scrum master can overcome them for him and his team?

Peter Taylor: Lack of clarity of purpose. How many meetings are there where they is no clear purpose or outcome and it is attended by people who do not contribute in any way?

Add to that managers who do not motivate their teams results in slow actions, loss of engagement, lack of flexibility and generally not caring about success in the business.

TaskQue: You have written two award winning books “The Lazy Winner” and “The Lazy Project Manager”, most of the book writers are introverted personalities although you are recognized as a most inspirational speaker which is mostly extroverted personalities, so what is your recipe of managing this mix?

Peter Taylor: Well, I believe I am an introvert who has a stage persona that is an extrovert – this is very common in actors and other stage professionals. Certainly, when I am in front of an audience it just happens and I come alive on a stage and love doing what I am doing.

TaskQue: Workstation ergonomics matter a lot in determining productivity and motivation of people, we would be really glad if you could share some pictures of your workstation with us?
Peter Taylor the Lazy PM workstation

 

TaskQue: Apart from professional life what are your hobbies in your leisure time which one you find most relaxing in order to maintain healthy work/life balance?

Peter Taylor: Gardening. Just the simple task of cutting the grass etc brings about a calmness. And I read a lot as well, some business books but a lot of fiction, crime particularly.

TaskQue: TaskQue is a task management tool designed for project managers which help them in easily assigning tasks to their subordinates if you have used it then what are your views on it?

Peter Taylor: Not used it.

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