116. Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez: The Project Revolution

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My guest on the podcast today is Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez, a passionate expert on project management and the author of The Project Revolution: How to Succeed in a Project Driven World.

In a traditional work setting, managers think of projects as something outside the regular duties of employees. Some even consider them a distraction from the “real work” that needs to be done on a daily basis. However, the evidence is beginning to suggest that projects are the work of the future: with more and more routine tasks being completed by computers and other forms of automation, projects are quickly becoming where “real work” is done.

Continued below…

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In his book, Antonio lays out a framework for how companies can adapt to this new normal and embrace the project paradigm. He demonstrates the power that projects have to get work done while energizing the workers completing them.

“I'm becoming more and more convinced that countries, companies, enterprises, they need to have a big project. That's when people feel part of something bigger. That people are challenged to do their best, that they're happy to contribute.”

Antonio cites the moon landing as a time when America banded together to support a project, and the visual is motivating. If NASA had only focused on their “day to day” tasks of monitoring the skies, would the country have accomplished the impossible? There was a goal, there was a timeline, there was a “why”—all important elements to managing a complex project.

Is there a really big goal bringing your company together? Do you have anything to help “rally the troops” and allow people to do their best?

Join us as we discuss how to recognize the benefits of projects before they’re done; what to do prior to your company kickoff event; and the time that Antonio bet his entire career on the importance of projects…and the result was not what he expected.

Listen to the podcast in the player below, or download on Apple Podcasts or on Spotify. If you like what you hear, please leave us a comment or share with a colleague! Your support is always appreciated.

Takeaways from this episode:

  • Projects are becoming increasingly more important. Rather than having day to day work with occasional projects, more and more people are having constant projects that overlap, creating their day to day work.
  • Not all projects are created equal. Antonio once consulted for a company with 80 employees that had well over 500 “projects” in the works. It’s not possible for all of those to be accomplished at once. Be realistic and prioritize.
  • Before beginning a project, evaluate:
    • How much is the investment?
    • What is the duration? Antonio recommends 9 months—if it is longer, break it into smaller chunks.
    • Is it transversant? Does it involve different people from different parts of the business? If so, a project manager is recommended.
  • Two to three big projects at a time is normal for a company. Employees should have a maximum of 4 projects at one time. This gives you one day per week per project, plus one day for catch up.
  • Why you are doing this project? Go beyond simple answers, such as “to improve the technology.” Is it to help your employees or customers in some way? Does it meet an emotional need, fix a particular problem you are having? Knowing the real why can help you down the road when your project is in jeopardy of being derailed.
  • Timing for projects is very important. Don’t start until the time is right; if you’ve already started, don’t be afraid to pause or stop if the timing is wrong for getting the right results at the right time.
  • Do you know what it is you are trying to accomplish? Do you have an idea of what the end result will be? What are you ultimately trying to create? To build?

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