Live Open Hour with iZenBridge: Episode 55

  • Project Management
Created on :
May 25, 2023
iZenBridge
Updated on :
June 22, 2023
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You are cordially invited to join us for our planned open-hour sessions, where you can ask your questions and receive expert answers from industry leaders. We welcome all your inquiries related to project management, including topics like Agile Awareness, Agile Coaching, Kanban, Scaled Agile Certifications, and follow-up queries. We encourage active participation and engagement in our sessions. The details of our open-hour events are shared beforehand, and they usually take place on the second and fourth Fridays at 7 PM IST (+5.5 GMT).

Our expert Saket Bansal recently led a Live Open Hour Episode#55 session, which took place on May 12th, 2023. During this session, participants raised several questions about the Scrum Master and project manager roles. Mr. Saket Bansal provided expert guidance and advice on these topics.

Question: What is a suitable approach to answering the interview question, “Why are you so deeply passionate about project management?”

Question: Can we consider risk management as a solution for change management? What is change management, risk management, and management in general?

Question: In the current job market, do you think solely being a Scrum Master carries some career risks? Would it be beneficial to expand into other areas, such as business analysis, product management, or project management?

Question: What is a common mistake in project management, and can you share your own experience?

Question: How can customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction be measured effectively?

Question: Is it better to switch from a Scrum Master role to a Product Owner role?

Question: How do we explain the concept of organizational process assets to an interviewer or anyone else?

Question: How to implement project portfolio management in my organization? Is that something we should do when we have more projects and programs?

Question: What will a project manager do once they join a new team?

Question: How to get better at budgeting as a project manager?

Question: How can new tools, like an ERP system, be introduced from scratch in an organization as a project manager?

Here is the summarized answer given by Saket Bansal for questions asked by participants-

What is a suitable approach to answering the interview question, “Why are you so deeply passionate about project management?”

Answer: Especially in interview scenarios, these kinds of questions are open-ended versions with no right or wrong answers. The key is to find something that matches your interest, passion and demonstrated commitment to other activities and projects. If someone asks me if I am passionate about project management, I would definitely say yes. However, I would also explain why I am passionate about it:

 I am deeply passionate about project management because it allows me to see the tangible results of my efforts and make a positive impact. I enjoy getting things done and solving complex problems. I find motivation in bringing people together, promoting collaboration, and resolving issues. Seeing our work deliver value and improve the lives of customers gives me a sense of fulfilment.   

Ensuring that your answer aligns with your experience and the project you are currently involved in is crucial. It is important to provide a complete story rather than giving a hypothetical or generic response.

Can we consider risk management as a solution for change management? What is change management, risk management, and management in general?

Answer: The overall concept of management revolves around addressing challenges, collaborating, communicating, integrating, and achieving goals. Regardless of the specific management area, the purpose remains the same – channelling energy, utilizing resources effectively, and creating a positive impact. This organizing, planning, collaborating, and value creation is inherent in all forms of management.

 Categorization becomes helpful in gaining a deeper understanding of different knowledge areas within management. In project management, for example, categorizing issues and planning into specific areas helps better manage and handle those categories. Thus, the goal of management is to deliver value, collaborate, and ensure alignment and different areas within management can be categorized to develop a focused approach and employ specific tools for effective management.

 Now, when discussing risk management, it primarily involves managing uncertainties. From a project management perspective, change management encompasses two types of changes: internal changes within the project and changes brought due to external situations in the business domain. It is important to note that the latter type of change is also significant in the current Project Management Professional (PMP) exam. Change management involves preparing users for project deliverables and addressing the associated risks of both implementing and not implementing changes. Risks are uncertain events that can impact project progress or provide opportunities, and they are an integral part of project management processes.

 While risk management and change management have distinct focuses, at the same time, the core element of all management remains the Same. Regardless of the specific domain, management emphasizes the fundamental principles of organizing, planning, collaborating, and creating value. The term “management” carries the same core elements and principles across its various applications.

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In the current job market, do you think solely being a Scrum Master carries some career risks? Would it be beneficial to expand into other areas, such as business analysis, product management, or project management?

Answer: Yes, I do believe that there are certain career risks associated with solely being a Scrum Master in the current job scenario. We are observing a growing trend where organizations are seeking additional roles alongside project managers or Scrum Masters. As teams mature, there is a need for individuals with multi-skills, as the facilitation and support roles alone may not suffice.

 To address the question of what to do next as a Scrum Master or a project manager, it is important to identify areas that overlap with your current skill set. While areas like development, deployment, or DevOps may not align well if you haven’t been actively involved in them, other areas, such as business analysis, project management, or product management, can be more compatible. These roles require facilitation, communication, negotiation, and conflict management skills already present in the Scrum Master skill set.

 By transitioning into these related fields, you can leverage your existing skills while adding a few more specific to the new role. This enables a faster turnaround and value contribution. However, if you venture into areas that are vastly different from your current skill sets, such as pure testing or development, it may take a longer time to become productive and provide value to users or customers.

 It’s worth noting that secondary skills are increasingly prominent in job descriptions, sometimes even overshadowing the primary requirement of being a Scrum Master. Each organization has its own preferences and priorities when it comes to roles and skill sets. Therefore, considering the market demand and aligning your career path accordingly is essential.

What is a common mistake in project management, and can you share your own experience?

Answer: The common mistake in project management is often related to neglecting crucial aspects of the project. For example, in risk management, the mistake lies in not adequately addressing risks. Stakeholder management highlights the mistake of failing to consider and engage relevant stakeholders. Similarly, in areas like procurement and communication, mistakes occur when they are not handled effectively.

It’s important to understand that we learn about these management topics, whether in PMP exams or through literature, to prevent these mistakes from happening. The topics are designed to equip us with the necessary knowledge to avoid repeating those errors. By identifying risks, engaging stakeholders, communicating effectively, and developing high-performing teams, we can ensure project success.

Project management is an interconnected discipline where everything is linked. There is no need to memorize mistakes separately or view project management content as disconnected fragments. Each topic is connected to the overarching goal of achieving project success and delivering value to the end customer. By understanding these connections and applying the principles holistically, we can avoid common mistakes and drive successful project outcomes.

How can customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction be measured effectively?

Answer: Different organizations employ different approaches to measure customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction. There is no universal approach, and it is up to each organization to determine the most suitable method. While NPS (Net Promoter Score) is commonly used, I personally don’t find it to be a reliable indicator of customer satisfaction.

 To measure customer satisfaction, it is important to identify the specific problem areas being addressed. This could involve understanding factors such as customer experience, feedback, and perception of value. Organizations can choose relevant indicators based on their specific goals and objectives.

 Similarly, when measuring employee satisfaction, it is crucial to identify the areas of interest. This could involve assessing aspects like employee mental health, motivation, engagement, and finding meaning in their work. Using multiple indicators rather than relying on a single measure is recommended.

 Ultimately, effective measurement of customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction requires careful consideration of the organization’s unique context and objectives, selecting appropriate indicators, and ensuring a comprehensive approach to capturing relevant feedback and insights.

Is it better to switch from a Scrum Master role to a Product Owner role?

Answer: The decision to switch from a Scrum Master to a Product Owner role depends on various factors, including the industry you are working in. In service-based countries like India, the Scrum Master and project management roles have been more popular compared to the Product Owner or Product Management roles. This can be attributed to the focus on getting things done and the need for a manager or leader who facilitates the achievement of goals.

Traditionally, the role of product ownership was often assumed by the client or someone responsible for requirements. However, an associated role has been supporting the product ownership function, such as a proxy Product Owner or a business analyst. As a project manager, transitioning towards business analysis, sales, pre-sales, customer demos, and customer interaction can provide a broader perspective on delivering business value, which is also emphasized in the PMP exam.

Similarly, Scrum Masters can expand their role by facilitating the Product Owner and assisting in product ownership tasks. However, it is important to note that in the Indian context, the number of companies leading product development may be limited, and there may be a higher demand for project managers compared to product managers. While switching to a Product Owner role can be a good idea, it is essential to consider the industry demand and opportunities available.

Although there is no specific industry-enabled program for product management in India, the PMI PBA (Professional in Business Analysis) program is a valuable option. This program focuses on various business analysis tools and techniques and can provide relevant knowledge and skills for product management.

The decision to switch from a Scrum Master to a Product Owner role should be based on individual preferences, industry demand, and the desire to gain a deeper understanding of delivering business value and product development.

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How do we explain the concept of organizational process assets to an interviewer or anyone else?

Answer: The concept of organizational process assets revolves around utilizing past learning and experiences within an organization to enhance future projects. It involves accumulating information, knowledge, and best practices from previous projects and using them to improve project outcomes. Organizational process assets include documented processes, templates, tools, historical data, and lessons learned. These assets provide a foundation for project management practices and serve as a starting point for new projects.

 For example, when starting a project, project managers can refer to the organization’s process assets, such as templates, for a kickoff meeting. While these templates provide a standardized approach, they can be tailored to suit the specific needs and challenges of the current project. Project managers are not bound by the templates but can make changes and modifications as necessary.

 The key is to strike a balance between leveraging existing knowledge and adapting it to the current context. By utilizing organizational process assets, project managers can benefit from the wisdom gained from previous projects while addressing the unique requirements of each new endeavor.

How to implement project portfolio management in my organization? Is that something we should do when we have more projects and programs?

Answer: As an individual, I myself am also implementing portfolio management. If you have multiple things to do but limited capacity, you must prioritise where to spend your time. Similarly, organizations with various opportunities but limited capacity must balance their priorities. If the problem is not significant, you may not need a separate portfolio management process. However, implementing portfolio management becomes crucial if your organization’s decision-making becomes complicated due to numerous projects and programs. It involves making prioritization decisions, allocating resources, and determining where to invest. If your organization is struggling to deliver customer value and optimize resources, it may be time to pause and establish a portfolio management process to align with strategic goals.

What will a project manager do once they join a new team?

Answer: Upon joining a new team, a project manager’s actions will depend on the project’s status, the team dynamics, and the project manager’s history with the organization. The focus should be on learning about the team and the environment and then figuring out how to become useful. The project manager should aim to resolve team problems, address escalations and conflicts, and provide support. It is important not to immediately dictate or tell people what to do, especially in the initial stages. Instead, approach suggestions as questions and be tentative, sharing past experiences while acknowledging the uniqueness of the current project. Developing human connections, understanding stakeholders, and gaining knowledge of the business context are also essential.

How to get better at budgeting as a project manager?

Answer: To improve budgeting skills, it is recommended to develop a good market sense and understand historical data. Carefully examine similar projects in the organization, their costs, challenges faced, and critical cost components. One can create a more accurate budget range by learning from past information and understanding cost variabilities. Budgeting skills require data analysis, domain understanding, historical data analysis, and the ability to extrapolate, simulate, and make calculations. The more information and insights gained, the better the budget quality will be.

How can new tools, like an ERP system, be introduced from scratch in an organization as a project manager?

Answer: Introducing new tools like an ERP system requires organizational change management. Change Management is not limited to scope changes or requirements changes but also focuses on transforming the organization. You can say it is related to organizational change management. It is crucial to ensure that the deliverables brought into the organization are effectively utilized by users and stakeholders to realize the intended benefits. Organizations need to focus on overall organisational change management and automation transformation to achieve this.

Project managers should explore change management theories and organization transformation models to navigate this process. Some models that can serve as starting points are Prosci ADKAR and Kotter’s Eight-Step Process. The ADKAR model emphasizes creating awareness, desire, knowledge, and reinforcement for change. It involves generating awareness about the change, fostering a desire among individuals to embrace it, providing knowledge and training programs, offering continuous mentoring and development opportunities, and establishing reinforcement mechanisms to sustain the change.

Similarly, Kotter’s Eight-Step Process focuses on setting the stage for organization-level transformation. It entails steps like creating a sense of urgency, forming a guiding coalition, developing a vision and strategy, communicating the change vision, empowering employees to act on the vision, generating short-term wins, consolidating gains and producing more change, and anchoring the change in the organizational culture.

These models provide a high-level understanding, and it is essential to adapt them to the specific context and dig deeper into the theories and materials. By leveraging these models and developing a transformation plan, project managers can effectively introduce new tools and drive successful organizational change management.

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We hope you could have related to some of these questions, and they might have helped you in some way.

To get more assistance, you can connect with the iZenBridge Team.

 📧Email us at (sales@izenbridge.com

📞WhatsApp Us: +91-9958287711

For more such insights and a lot of interaction with the industry experts, stay tuned for our next “Live Open Hour” which is conducted Every second and fourth Friday at 7 PM IST on

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