PM Matters Interview: Elizabeth Harrin Talks Communication

Great project managers are great communicators
It is a fact that to be a great manager of projects, you must communicate well. You must communicate with confidence, whether you are trying to find ways to encourage great collaboration or follow up on tasks with your team. It’s not easy, especially in a world with so many communication channels. To be a good communicator, you need to put in a lot of effort and organize well. A good PM must be up to the challenge.
Social media managers and project managers
Elizabeth Harrin, a project and program manager, is the Director of The Otobos Group. This project communications consultancy helps people tell their stories more effectively. She is also the author of Social Media For Project Managers, Customer-Centric project management and Shortcuts To Success Project Management in the Real World (now in second edition). Elizabeth also has a wealth of project management content on her website, A Girl’s Guide to Project Management. She started it when she realized there weren’t enough women speaking and writing about project management.
Elizabeth is, to put it mildly, a project management powerhouse. Her point of view is unique, fresh, and authoritative. Listen to this interview to learn more about Elizabeth’s journey to PM, her perspective on certification and training, communications, and what matters to her as project manager.
The Transcript
Brett: Hi. This is Brett Harned. PM Matters is a TeamGantt interview series. It raises the voice and explores what matters.
Hi. Hi. This is Brett Harned, back for another episode on PM Matters. Elizabeth Harrin is my guest today. She is the author of A Girl’s Guide to Project Management, and a few other books. Hi, Elizabeth. How are you?
Elizabeth: Hello. Thank you. Thank you for having me today.
Brett: Thank you so much for being here. I appreciate it. You’re now in the U.K.
Elizabeth: Yes, I am.
Brett: Whereabouts?
Elizabeth: Just south London
Brett: Okay, great. From what I can tell, there is a large PM community in England.
Elizabeth: Yes. It’s a very active group of people. We get together. There are many events that take place in London. It’s not as popular now, because people are on vacation, but it’s still a unique community, I’d argue.
Brett: That’s great. Brett: That’s great. Can you tell me how and when you got started in project management?
Elizabeth: It was my choice. It’s not common for people to enter project management as an “accidental” manager. I did a graduate program at American Express, where I was exposed to many different departments. One of those was the business-reengineering department, which I didn’t know existed as a job. It was a place I fell in love. It was amazing.
After that graduate training program, I decided to search for a job as a project manager because it suits my strengths. I enjoy it. To learn more about the business world, I did a program that had many rotations in different departments. I applied for a job in this field and went looking.
Brett: What type of exercises were you able to do in that program. Did you shadow people in different departments? Or did you get a glimpse into the work of other departments so you could learn more about project management?
Elizabeth: It was a 3-month placement in four departments. There was a lot of choice, but also luck in the fact that the HR team placed people with managers with vacancies that could be filled by someone with no skills.
I was able to do four three-month placements, one of which was workin.