Project Management with Naomi Caietti!

 

Listen to Naomi Caietti talking on women entrepreneurs, her journey as a project manager and her latest book Transform Your Project Leadership on #41 episode of Stay On Top Of Work Podcast!

 

Naomi Caietti, PMP, CTM, is the executive editor and author of the new book: Transform Your Project Leadership: For Professionals Leading Projects or Corporate Initiatives. Learn more at www.naomicaietti.com.

 

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Podcast Transcript

 

Kate: I’m Kate your host and this is Stay On Top Of Your Work Podcast, where I talk with productivity experts, project managers, authors, speakers, and people whose aim is to help you find a work-life balance.

This is number 41 episode and you’ll learn how to stay on top of your work with Naomi Caietti.

Who’s Naomi Caietti?

She is an award-winning business woman, widely respected global thought leader in the project management community, an honoree of several awards. In 2014, she founded her consulting company to meet virtual, on-demand business needs as a speaker, author, and consultant. She has been featured in national and international media and books.

And we’re gonna talk about business women, women entrepreneurs and Naomi’s new book Transform Your Project Leadership.

Kate: Naomi, thank you so much for joining me it’s my pleasure to have you here.

Naomi: Great, thank you, Kate. It’s great to be here on your Stay On Top Of Work Podcast and I welcome your audience to listen to our conversation today.

Kate: Yes, I think they can learn a lot from you because you have very interesting things to talk about. So for the beginning, would you like to introduce yourself and say a few words about yourself?

Naomi: Sure. I’m Naomi Caietti and I am the director of Naomi Caietti Consulting and it’s a niche boutique consulting firm focused on providing just in time virtual services as an author, speaker, and a consultant I work with small, medium, and large clients like PMI, Workfront and projectmanager.com.

[00:02:14 – 00:05:21]

Kate: So I’d like to ask you about 2018 and the new year 2019 coming very soon. Because we’re in the middle of December recording this.

How has been 2018 for you so far? Has it been good or bad? And how is 2019 going to be? Because I know you’re releasing your book so how has it been so far?

Naomi: Well, 2018 has been a great year for me. I really kicked off the year actually with the concept of writing a book and I was able to reach out to 11 international authors to contribute and participate in this journey with me. And so I was really pleased that I was able to announce on a podcast, The Project Management Office Hours in December with Joe Pusz, the preorder of my book in December called Transform Your Leadership, and it’s available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and also distributed through Smashwords which is a global distribution, ebook distributor.

And my book will officially launch for order on those sites January 7th 2019. So it’s kind of, you know, the year kind of brings me full circle. I really was focusing on my book, for most of the year. I also have a variety of clients that I was working with on focusing on project management, performance metrics, project management strategies.

I was also writing a lot of different articles as I do continuing to do on leadership, women in project management. And I was also kind of focusing on those people who are interested in project management, maybe just getting started or wanting to find mentors to help them along in their journey.

So I kind of focus some on my articles and some of my podcast talking about project management from that perspective. Because I think anyone out there who is charged to lead a project in their organization is looking for just-in-time information, they’re looking for mentors and they’re looking for how to be successful and try to decide if this is going to be a career for them. Do they see there’s something big, something that they want to do day in and day out.

Like, many of us who talk about project management and write and consult, we’re all very passionate on helping giving back to the community.

[00:05:22 – 00:09:59]

Kate: Yeah, so let’s say I want to find, a mentor, a coach from whom I would learn about project management because I’m a junior project manager and I want to be part of this amazing world of.

How can I be sure that such a person will be good for me? And how can I actually be sure that project management is good for me?

Naomi: Wow, that’s a layered question, I would say. I think the first thing is, if you are… I think today many organizations are, have initiatives or they have operational needs or they may be looking at launching either a new product or new service or program in their department.

And they’re looking at people inside their organization to hope lead or participate on those efforts and so I think that, you know, many people who are task-to-lead those efforts internally, they, you know certainly… you want to work with someone inside your organization who’s test you with that effort to see if you can get some mentoring from your internal stuff whether it be project manager that you’re working with, it could be your functional manager. It could also be the team that you’re working with. And that’s I think a focus to look internally.

But also if you do see that you really enjoy project management, you really enjoy the work that you do, working with teams and stakeholders, you should look at a local PMI chapter to maybe get involved with the chapter or be around other likeminded people who are in project management to talk about more about what you’re doing inside your organization, what some of the challenges and issues are that you’re facing and find out a little bit about what their background and what their story is and, you know, I think you’ll probably find out that many people who started in project management have started with, I’ll call a quote, “accidental project manger hat,” they didn’t expect to be managing projects, they didn’t see that it was a career that they were looking at but they found through coaching and mentoring, being given the right kind of projects that they became passionate about working with teams and they found that they were good at it.

I think that’s the other thing too, you should kind of in talking with people and finding out more about project managements, identify what your strengths are and see are these really the skills that are making me successful? Do I enjoy doing this job? Do I have kind of a knack to communicate well with others, you know, and build relationships. And I think it all kind if starts there.

And then you probably have to go back and do some introspection to yourself with yourself and identify is this something that I want to continue doing? Do I think that I have interest elsewhere? It all really starts there.

I think some people have found that over time and working on different projects and being given opportunities and actually stepping forward to let their functional managers know and other project managers know, “hey, I’m interested, I’m available, I’d like to learn more.” That’s kind of another entry into getting more experience and working on projects.

And once you get your foot in the door, you get little experience under your belt, and you build your confidence, I think that’s, in any job, that’s a good step forward to continue on your personal growth and development.

 

naomi-caietti-podcast-1

 

[00:10:00 – 00:11:45]

Kate: That’s true. And project managers need some kind of resources. And I think is a great example of a good resource. Let’s talk a little bit about your book. Why did you decide to write it? What was the reason behind writing the book?

Naomi: Well, over the last few years I’ve really focused on participating in my community by offering articles, I’ve actually co-authored many books. Other authors have reached out to me, they were looking to write a book and they were looking for contributors, experts. Someone who could speak to a certain topic in their book that they’re looking for.

And so I’ve really focused on doing that but I think I found that I really had the idea for a book, you know, several years ago. And I had been journaling and I actually had been spending quite a bit of time talking in my articles and my coauthored books about project management and leadership and women entrepreneurs so you know, I think that taking on the effort to actually put it back together, to reach out to authors and get it published is a huge undertaking and, you know, it was a project, publishing a book and I really think that you need to have a clear vision for writing a book, you need to find and hire the right team and stay focused on your goal, which really did this year so I could get the book published out in January.

[00:11:46 – 00:13:49]

Kate: Congratulations on publishing the book. I think it’s a fantastic achievement.

Naomi: Yes, yes, you know, it’s a great feeling, it was a lot of hard work, and over the last few months I’ve been worrying that the project and the product, the quality test in marketing hats, working with the CEO of a publishing company and they’re amazingly talented, distributed team.

I really had three goals for my book and I really wanted a book that was going to address a gap and a niche today in a project leadership awareness for practitioners season PMI and PMIS credential and holders. So since leadership has been my passion, my three goals where to fill a gap.

I believe that there is a gap out there right now for people who are looking to get their credential, and we also have season practitioners out there as well as journeying level project managers. And we’re still failing projects so I think having a book that’s leadership focused but with the multifaceted view from leading industry experts is something else that I wanted to focus on and highlighting top ten competencies needed for leaders in projects of today’s global economy.

It’s really important, that’s really what a lot of industry leaders are looking for project managers who have these competencies. When they get hired, they expect them to be able to take on these projects and get them under way and deal with the challenges and issues along the way and make sure they get across the finish line.

[00:14:00 – 00:14:33]

Kate: So what topics does your book touch?

Naomi: So there are actually 10 chapters in the book which are aligned with the PMI triangles. Top 10 competencies in the leadership area and they are:

  1. Brainstorming
  2. Coaching and mentoring
  3. Conflict management
  4. Emotional intelligence
  5. Influencing
  6. Interpersonal skills
  7. Listening
  8. Negotiating
  9. Problem solving
  10. Team building

And interpersonal skills are really sprinkled and discussed throughout the book.

[00:14:34 – 00:15:42]

Kate: Okay, fantastic. So how can people use the book to become better project managers, better leaders?

Naomi: So there are a variety of ways that you can use my book. One of the things I wanna do is, in the beginning of the book, section 1 and 2, I kind of talk about leadership and is it section that you should first refer to and then you can kind of reflect and identify what short term and long terms goals that you want to meet.

And then, also if you look at the back of the book, I created How to use this book? section and it really talks about how you can take the book, use it as a self learning guide. You can use it in a classroom studying. You can also use it if you are a sponsor or a manager or coach and use it as a coaching tool.

[00:15:43 – 00:17:09]

Kate: Okay, so does the book say or teach people how to be a good project manager and what to avoid?

Naomi: Well, you know, in each chapter, each author gets to share their personal story and experience related to the competency. So there’s a lot of tips, and advice, and tools rolled into each chapter.

And so I think that someone who is looking for either just-in-time information or information related to a project that they’re working on right now, that they’re having some issues with problem solving. They might be having some issues with their team and want to learn more about emotional intelligence. Or they might one think that they need a coach or a mentor a sponsor to find out more about that.

They can actually go to those chapters, pull out the information that they need. There’s also actually… it’s kind of a working book too because in each chapter there’s places to take notes, there’s questions, to walk through for the reader and give some opportunity to reflect in and take many of these tips and put them into action right away.

[00:17:10 – 00:22:30]

Kate: Okay, fantastic. That sounds like a good workbook for every person who wants to be a project manager and for everybody who already is a project manager or wants to be a better person in the world of project management.

So what does it mean, for you, to be a businesswoman in project management? Because I know some people still believe that there is a huge gap between man and women in project management. What do you think about it?

Naomi: Well, you know, I’ve been in project management for over 25 years and I have probably spent the last 10 years  really kind of digging in  doing some research, talking to other women and men about women in project management and I actually writing articles.

I have a series of articles on pojectmanager.com where I highlight women in project management and it allows me to kind of really get the pulse of what is being talked about out there and how women are experiencing project management and actually get the opportunity to continue to share with the audiences that women have a place in project management, I think that it previously or historically it has been male dominated profession in many industries.

But if you check these boxes off women, I can’t really think at the top of my head where I don’t see women in the various industries making their mark and being successful and actually what I talk a lot about, in another book that I am co-authored called Finding Your Voice, is basically stepping up and choosing to lead.

I think it’s a big part of it for women is that realizing and recognizing that you really can make any difference for an organization to their bottom line and…. I’ve seen… I believe PMI gives up these awards now but for many years for project management office, you know, PMO award winners have been a project management office that consisted of primarily women and not predominantly men.

You can go read their submissions and see what a great work being done out there and when I was working at the private sector in some very large project management office in information technology, it was predominantly women in the private sector that I worked with.

And also, as a businesswoman working in the project management I still see the opportunities for women out there.

It’s really their choice to step up and take them and I think the other thing too, certainly like you said, there’s still challenges and issues out there I think each person has to deal with them on an organization basis. But if they find that the environment and culture is not working for them, then they need to look for other opportunities elsewhere and find organizations where leaders are looking for project managers to step up and lead and it really has nothing to do with gender. It really has to do with finding the right candidate for the right project with the right skill sets.

And if you are that candidate then there’s a huge amount of opportunities out there for women. And so myself as well as many other women are stepping forward to talk more about women in project management and I know my good friend Elise Stevens happens to be heading up an initiative where she’s going to be focusing on women in project management for 2019.

So I’m really excited to see that come out and I’ve submitted my profile so for those of you out there who are women in project management want to step forward and show your profile and share your voice and let everybody know what good work you’re doing, Elise Stevens project initiative is going to shine a spotlight on women in project management for 2019.

[00:22:31 – 00:28:09]

Kate: Fantastic. So, Naomi, what was the most challenging part in your entire career as a project manager? Have you met something that difficult, something that shaped you, that inspired you or changed your way of thinking?

Naomi: Wow, that’s a good question. You know, I’ve spent quite a bit of my career working at one of the largest data centers, west of the Mississippi, here in California, so I’m very proud of that. And there was a project for a department of health care services that I had a great opportunity to be a part of.

I got to be a part of several pieces of it. I actually got to help retire an old system and implement a brand new system. And to connect the systems, I had to work with and integrate three data centers. I have never done that before. It was a project that probably was I’d say two to three years span ‘cause really the focus for my project was to retire the old system and to implement the new system.

Implementation, you know, launches that new services and implementation and integration was my core skill set working at the data center, working with external customers.

And there were so many complexities, working with the different data centers and the different connectivity issues, there were so many different kinds of stakeholders working at the different, each different data center and working with the integrator as well as working with the client. There was a huge effort to ensure that the data was traveling between the three different data centers, that it was secure and that it reached its destination.

And then there was also some I think reporting pieces that were also built into that project but it was a huge project for me. I’ve never been on a project of that nature. I was really glad that the data center allowed me to lead that effort working with the customer which I had really good experience working with customers. I think that’s why I was chosen to work with this customer. They enjoyed working with me, I enjoyed working with them.

And I think, as I probably previously said, one of the dynamics, one of the huge things for me about making that project successful is through the customer engagement and building trust with that customer and making sure that I was available to them at any time if they needed me. And so, I really went away from that project feeling the huge amount of confidence because it wasn’t something that I have done before but I knew I had all the skill sets to pull it together, to make sure that it was successful.

 I knew the different people at the different data centers that was huge and making sure that the communication and engagement took place and making sure that when we did communicate at face to face meetings or through email or any medium that the right messages were being delivered and if there was any confusion, I made sure that I stayed on top of that so that the project keep moving and also let this… so that they can make sure that they could work with the staff to keep the project and making sure it’s successful.

So really, it was just… It was an effort that everybody came together and when you have a project like that that you have a few bumps along the way that you can get passed and be able to deliver what the client not only needs but deliver the quality and deliver the value I think that was the other thing too. I was working on a project management office and certainly that’s one of the things that we talk about today is delivering not only on time, under budget and meeting customer needs is delivering that value and making customers recognize that the service  providing the project management significantly a value to them and they would come back to us again and again for those services.

 

“One of the things that we talk about today is delivering not only on time, under budget and meeting customer needs is delivering that value and making customers recognize that the service  providing the project management significantly a value to them and they would come back to us again and again for those services.”

 

[00:28:10 – 00:29:20]

Kate: Fantastic, that really sounds challenging so I’m really impressed that you managed to do that. So I have one last question to you. Which is related to the name of the podcast, Stay on Top of Your Work, how do you stay on top of your work?

Do you have any strategies, practices, tips, tools? Something that helps you?

Naomi: Well, I use, gosh, I use a variety of tools. Certainly… you know there’s so many different tools out there but I use journaling, calendaring, use a variety of meeting management tools with the various clients that I work with. And then I try to, I kind of time box my work too. So I set aside time just to focus on that particular, task and get that work done and then I move on to the next task or the next project that I need to focus on. And that seems to work well for me.

[00:29:21]

Kate: Okay! Naomi, so if we want to buy your book, where can we find it?

Naomi: Well, right now, you can find my book, for preorder, at amazon.com. You can also find it on Barnes & Noble and you can also find it on Goodreads actually, goodreads.com. And to stay up to date on more information about my book launch and where you can find my book and actually, you know, if you are interested in purchasing a signed copy, you can go to www.naomicaietti.com. You can also look at new books and you can browse around my website and you can sign up to get more information that would be send out to you.

Kate: Okay, that’s fantastic. Naomi thank you so much for joining me here today for this podcast. It was an honor and a pleasure to talk to you.

Naomi: Okay, it’s been an honor to be here today on your Stay on Top Of Work Podcast. And I wish every project manager out there to just keep doing the good work that you’re doing but if you think you need help, certainly check out my book Transform Your Project Leadership.

 

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We hope you enjoyed this episode.

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Kate Kurzawska

Author Kate Kurzawska

Marketing Assistant at TimeCamp. Freelance translator, proofreader, copywriter & content writer, software researcher.

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