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Jeff Furman is the author and editor of The Project Management Answer Book. I asked Jeff Furman why he wrote it, and how it felt putting it together.
Hello, Jeff. Please tell me why you wrote The Project Management Answer Book.
Hi, Elizabeth. Hi Elizabeth.
I wanted the book practical and to have lots of tips and templates that could be used immediately. This would allow PMs to use the book for both their job and certification exams.
Answers are the focus of the book. What is your favorite question?
In my chapter “Ethics in Project Management”, I ask the question “What are microinequities and how do they relate with xenophobia?”
This question was posed by one of my PMP classes. We were discussing xenophobia. PMI favors this term because of their strong emphasis on diversity. It means fear or distrust for strangers. A PM from India introduced microinequities to the discussion, a term we had never heard of, and it refers to small-scale injustices.
This led to a lively discussion about how xenophobia can manifest in subtle ways. Team members may not realize that they are unfairly treating their virtual coworkers. It was a memorable learning moment for everyone.
How was the writing process?
I found it easy to write down many of the questions using the Q&A format in the book. Then, I could work on the answers. I began by taking each key point of my PMP class and creating questions from it. Some were questions I had in mind from my students, others were composites.
I compiled various questions and answers in class.
As I could recall a student who struggled with a formula, concept, or formula, I would write the Q&A with them in mind. One of my students, who had just finished the book after taking my class, wrote to me, “It’s funny because I actually see my self in your questions and answers.”
How long did it take you to write this article?
The first draft required six months of full-time writing. I wrote the book almost every day except weekends. (Many thanks to Martha Garvey, my wife, for her understanding and expert suggestions – she has two books on pet nutrition).
After that, there were two rounds with my editor for review and revisions over several months. We then polished it up (Kaizen!) ).
That’s a lot of time! Which was the most difficult part to write?
“Managing Your Human Resources” was the most difficult chapter. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to HR issues. This is a challenge. There is a lot of material to choose from. I tried to use as much of the original writings from the motivational pioneers (Maslow McGregor, Herzberg Fiedler Fiedler, Vroom and McClelland) as possible. In researching this chapter, I learned quite a lot. Then I was forced to limit my knowledge to just a few Q&A’s.
One might believe that everything is online. To find these rare books, I had to make many trips to Manhattan. Many of these books can be viewed at the NYC Public Library on 5th Avenue, which is guarded by lions.
Where can people find more information about your book
I have had the opportunity to do some great interviews (podcasts and blogs) where people can learn more about the book and get lots of useful project management tips.
Cornelius Fichtner, host and podcaster of The Project Management Podcast, was my interview for Episode #168: “The Project Management Answer Book”.
And I gave a live Webinar/