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One Page Project Manager

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In a past Business901 Podcast, One Page Project Manager Podcast, with Mick Campbell co-founder and Managing Partner of OPPM International, we discussed the most recent book in the series, The New One-Page Project Manager: Communicate and Manage Any Project With A Single Sheet of Paper.

The One-Page Project Manager sets a new standard as an understandable and easy-to-apply organizational tool, allowing managers to summarize complex projects on a single information-rich page. The third book in the OPPM series, The One-Page Project Manager for Execution: Drive Strategy and Solve Problems with a Single Sheet of Paper describes how to combine the OPPM with the Toyota A3 report to create an enhanced, integrated management tool.

There has been a project management theme this week on the blog so the transcription is a perfect wind-up for the week.

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One Page Project Manager

  1. 1. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsOne Page Project Manager PodcastCopyright Business901One Page Project ManagerGuest was Mick CampbellSponsored byRelated Podcast:One Page Project Manager Podcast
  2. 2. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsOne Page Project Manager PodcastCopyright Business901Mick Campbell, MBA is co-founder and Managing Partner ofOPPM International. With 20 years of experience rooted in projectmanagement, innovation andtechnology, Mick helps individuals andorganizations with leadership andcommunication to substantially improveproject performance. Focusing onproject innovation, Mick facilitateshighly interactive sessions andworkshops for PMI and AAPMcertification requirements.With a BS from the University of Utahand MBA in Technology Managementfrom Westminster College, he hasdirected project and salesresponsibilities in small and large high tech companies. Withcertifications in Traditional and Agile ProjectManagement and from Cisco, Mick brings arich portfolio of both technical and qualitativeexperience.The New One-Page Project Managerdemonstrates how to efficiently and effectivelycommunicate essential elements of a projectsstatus. An OPPM template reduces anyproject—no matter how large or complicated—to a simple one-page document, perfect forcommunicating to upper management andother project stakeholders. Now in its SecondEdition, this practical guide, currently saving time and effort inthousands of organizations worldwide, has itself, been simplified,then refined and extended to include the innovative AgileOPPM™.
  3. 3. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsOne Page Project Manager PodcastCopyright Business901Transcription of PodcastJoe: Welcome, everyone. This is Joe Dager, the host of theBusiness901 podcast. With me, today is Mick Campbell. He is theco-founder and a managing partner of OPPM International, whichstands for One-Page Project Manager, and, co-author of the mostrecent One-Page Project Manager book that includes updates, theoriginal version, and a section on using the One-Page ProjectManager in an agile type environment. I would like to welcomeyou, Mick, and would you start out by updating me on the fourbooks and what is going on with them?Mick: I would love to. I appreciate, Joe, the invitation to be withyou today and with the audience and I look forward to ourconversation. The One-Page Project Manager series of books havebeen well accepted in many different areas and were firstpublished by Wylie some years ago with the green book. Theoriginal One-Page Project Manager. That was followed with theyellow book, the One-Page Project Manager for IT Projects, twoyears later. Two years after that, a red book was published theOne-Page Project Manager for Execution.The compilation of those three books and our best thinking wasthen summarized into the new One-Page Project Manager whichreplaces the first two books and adds elements of OPPM bothfrom a traditional project standpoint, as well as an agile projectstandpoint. So, we have been well received and are pleasantlysurprised at the acceptance and adoption of the new book out inthe world at large. So, thanks for having me.Joe: I think I was the first reviewer on the original One-PageProject Manager over six years ago on Amazon.Mick: I think thats accurate. I think that is accurate. We went
  4. 4. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsOne Page Project Manager PodcastCopyright Business901back and looked at that, and that is a fun connection to have.Joe: I was struggling trying to create a one page document togive to clients. I had tried this out and built one up in Excel onmy own, then I ran across this book and I said, "This is betterthan mine."Mick: Thank you.Joe: When you first think about an Excel document in projectmanagement, you think of a simplified version of MicrosoftProject. However, I think the One-Page Project Manager wasntexactly a project manager document to begin with. It was basedon an X matrix and was a reporting tool, wasnt it?Mick: It absolutely was. If we go back in time to 1985 if you canremember that far back. I know you and I can, probably some ofour listeners may not, but at that time we had a transition in theorganization from a manager who was a micro-manager in hisnature, to a manager or President/CEO of the company, to bespecific, who was not. In the context of a project he said, "Heresten million dollars to execute this particular project. Keep meposted." So, as a team we had to devise a way to communicateto a person who was not interested in the details.As you stated, clearly we are interested and needed to follow andmanage and track and use multiple tools to do that. Invariably,some of the reporting elements that would comeout of those tools that wed hand to management were not clearlyunderstood, not intuitive and in general, missed the mark incommunication.So, this genesis of, back then as you called it, we actually calledit the Matrix report, not the little blue pill one, that weve seenthe film on, but the Matrix report and then changed it the One-
  5. 5. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsOne Page Project Manager PodcastCopyright Business901Page Project Manager several years later. It became a standardfor reporting project status to stake holders who dont need allthe details.Joe: I think its better than a reporting thing. I have always usedit as a communication tool. I think, it raises questions, allowsthings to move around, assigns a lot of responsibilities and youcan even do some "what ifs" with it if you would like. How has itdeveloped in your mind? Its much more than a reporting toolisnt it?Mick: It really is. In our new book, as we thought on how to getthe idea of communication to the market in general, we used theanalogy of a watch face. For anyone who flies knows that stilldials are well used, despite all the electronics that we can still putinto our planes. It is because they communicate so crisply.So, we used that analogy to say that communication if I take onestep back, communication is the great statistical difference makerin, certainly, in project success and we would probably take,even, a step back and say in business and life and otherelements. Our ability to communicate well provides for us anopportunity for success.Recognizing that you have hit the nail on the head identifyingthat the One-Page Project Manager, albeit, the genesis of areport, facilitates for communication, pushing really, a lot of,what we might call from a Lean perspective, non-value addedwork out of our communication and making it intuitive.You look at your watch, you dont do calculations, you just have ageneral sense if youve got a meeting at 11:30 and youre lookingat your watch, and its 11:00 you know in your gut how long ahalf an hour is how many different things you might be able toaccomplish before that.
  6. 6. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsOne Page Project Manager PodcastCopyright Business901We wanted to have the OPPM, the One-Page Project Manager, bejust that. A communication tool that, when provided to anyindividual, they might look at it and have a sense intuitively as towhats going on, whats the status, how are we doing, what areasmight we need some more help on, or, at a high level, you werespot on.Its a tool that facilitates communication. Weve had a womansend us her daughters wedding on an OPPM and maybe a littlebit later I can tell the listeners how the effortto put Governor Romney in the White House from a transitionteam was done on OPPMs as well.Joe: Well, Ive noticed through the years the flexibility that thedocument has because its based on Excel. I think that have Iever used it, and I did reconfigure it slightly and is thattypical? Have most people made it their own through use?Mick: They have. Theyve used it as a core template and thenadopted it to the norms of their organizational needs.Joe: And, do you think that is the strength of it?Mick: I do. I look at it, and I had an interesting call one dayfrom a program manager for a small, little organization up inRedmond, Washington, some of us might be familiar with. Hes incharge of Microsoft project. A brilliant person, and in ourconversation it stemmed into this idea that this simple One-PageProject Manager was something that, intuitively, they wouldnt, ordidnt currently provide. It is being adopted.When the books had some success, Wylie, our publisher, cameback and asked us, "Why is it working?" I will be completelyhonest with you, this is a little bit of behind the curtains truth, we
  7. 7. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsOne Page Project Manager PodcastCopyright Business901didnt know all the answers initially, as to the "why?" We hadcreated it, it had been moving forward, it found adoption but, wethen began to understand that there is power in pictures whenyou communicate.Pictures are so much more communicative than are words and/ornumbers, even. Then we found that theres a necessity forsimplicity coupled with pictures. And, as those two elementscame together in a format that, when I am across the worldtalking about project work, when I ask people, "Whats yournumber one project tool?" As you would probably guess, theysay, "Excel." Just as youve said.So, the fact of the matter thats in the tool that theyre alreadyused to using, and it provides them an opportunity not to rip andreplace some of these other more robust tools that they mayneed to facilitate the project work, it just lays on top and can beused in coordination or conjunction with.Joe: I think it is so adaptable because it went through a lot ofchanges within Excel and maintained its integrity, hasnt it?Mick: It has. The core matrix, or that built off that X chart hasstayed, but there have been little iterative changes over theyears, and our best thinking shows those in the new book. Mostinterestingly are the changes that were necessary to take it froma traditional standpoint and make it as powerful and useful froman agile standpoint.Joe: Well, and the new book has come out to include Agile. Ithought it was a great step. It never was a waterfall or a Ganttchart project manager, it always was more of a communicationtool, and it was very agile in nature.Mick: You bet. It really was. As you come to understand it or, as
  8. 8. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsOne Page Project Manager PodcastCopyright Business901you have done, read the books you know that much of theconclusions that go onto the document itself come from the team.The collaboration that takes place among peers and differentpeople who have ownership in accomplishing the work, everybodyhas got to be in alignment and in agreement before that getscommunicated, and certainly from an agile communicationstandpoint, youre right. That is native to the actual experience ofworking through the use of an OPPM.Joe: I have a couple of real basic questions for you. One of themis, when I pick up the book, does the book teach me aboutproject management? Or, does it just teach me about the projectmanager?Mick: The book itself is an attempt to provide somesimplification to the work of projects so that you can have acontext to think about it and then apply that to the use andcreation of the One-Page Project Manager.We view projects as having five essential parts. For people whohave gone out and studied project management institutes, PMPmethodology youre well attuned and understanding the fiveprocess groups, well it used to be nine knowledge areas, nowwith the new release this year ten knowledge areas as theyadded stakeholders to that relationship. Then we would identifyinside of those all the different nuances that are required from aPMIs perspective to execute the project. I think thats wonderfulthinking.We tend to simplify it down to say that projects, in general, havefive basic parts and we speak to those, and its the understandingthat it takes twelve steps to create an OPPM that you walkthrough with the team. Once those are done you have acommunication tool that communicates the plan. So, the first
  9. 9. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsOne Page Project Manager PodcastCopyright Business901step is it communicates the plan.Next we teach just five reporting steps to the, already nowcreated OPPM. Those five reporting steps simply statedcommunicate progress to the already communicated plan. So, asI move through that, thats my expectation. The book, itself,again, teaches five basic core fundamental ideas in project work,twelve steps to create an OPPM, five steps to be used to reportan OPPM to improve communication.Joe: Has anyone ever claimed that there is too much informationon a page?Mick: Thats an interesting conversation. I recall a wonderful, indepth conversation with a friend of mine at Texas Instrumentswhom Ive come to know. He talked about using the OPPM as afront door step, as a boiler plate. As something that would drawin attention and then he wanted to have cells that you could clickand find a litany of data in and behind that. That is as you wouldexpect, because he is a detail oriented person.One of the best thinkers and probably most successful projectmanagement writers, a gentleman by the name of Harold Kerznerhas talked about an idea that we like and use, and he mentions itin some praise for some of our books. That executives, those whoare making decisions have so much information to look at, andwe, ourselves, weve got hundreds of web sites, we have multiplenews publications, who know how many cable stations or satellitestations we have at our disposal, how many e-mail accounts youmanage personally. We are inundated with information and so,how do we parse through that?The idea being that when he goes out and does some things hecauses that people write up a report, and invariably it is multiplepages and people have beautiful documentation that accompanies
  10. 10. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsOne Page Project Manager PodcastCopyright Business901it, at the end of that he throws all this away to make a singularstatement that Ill share with everyone. I love this statement. Ithink its applicable to your comment about too much informationon one page.He says that if there is a paper clip around it or a staple throughit they wont read it. So, we took that and applied it directly toour thinking, saying that you cant choose or scrunch down yourfonts size, youve got to keep it legible, and that, actually, formost of us who are detail oriented, which many people in theproject world are, that becomes quite a bitof a struggle. In fact, when were out talking about the One-PageProject Manager that is sometimes the hardest thing for people todo is to try to determine how much information theyre going toput and what information is salient.Joe: I look at it a lot as an A3 and as a cover document, asummary document over the top and, of course, it may not beable to express every detail in its entirety, but if you have ahyperlink or you have a place to go to find the rest, the peoplewho need that can go get it.Mick: You bet. I think your point about adoption, people havebeen able to use it as a core idea and build on it for their ownorganizational needs.Joe: What are the limitations of it, then?Mick: Because it is one page it cant communicate everything.You have to choose the elements, or think of it as high leveltasks, or high level deliverables that youre going to track orwatch or the elements of risk or opportunity that you, maybe,want to communicate to the project team.That, to some degree for some people, in and of its nature does
  11. 11. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsOne Page Project Manager PodcastCopyright Business901not provide them as much information as they would want,because of that weve learned and found ways to cascade them inwhat we call Level One, Two and Three. One being a high level,two beingtaking a singular line item and extrapolating that into a secondarydocument and subsequent tertiary document if the need ispresent.Joe: So, this is like the front cover of my file cabinet and it canmaintain everything that 90% of us need but 10% is going tohave to open the door.Mick: Very well said. In fact, as I mentioned, it doesntnecessarily replace, at all, many of the tools whether theyre offthe shelf or home grown tools that organizations are using tofacilitate the management of their projects. It just becomes a,back to the point, communication vehicle to more clearlyunderstand where people are.Joe: You have an online version of this. Can you tell me a bitabout that?Mick: When we decided to create our business, in and aroundthe One-Page Project Manager, we chose what I think is probablythe best year to do that, 2008. We launched out on our own, andit was a wonderful growing and learning experience, and we haveprovided an expanded core set of templates that aredownloadable on our website. Those, as you have alreadymentioned, are Excel based and with several examples in PDFandother ways.What we have found is organizations sometimes forget the howdo I build this, and/or someone gets the template somewherecascaded from someone and they go through the effort of trying
  12. 12. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsOne Page Project Manager PodcastCopyright Business901to create or use it and, invariably, have sections that are leftunfilledin and/or not tied to the other pieces. The document itself, from adesign standpoint, everything connects, back and forth with oneanother.So, to be able to do that our online tutorial is much like, maybeappropriate since it is tax season, a Turbo Tax. It takes youthrough a wizard to ask you those twelve different questions as tohow you might create it, and as you fill those out, it automaticallypopulates those into, either, a Web-based template that you canmanage and/or once you use that to create your OPPM whatweve found is that people use that to create it andthen just download it into Excel, tweak it a little bit for theirorganization and fire it off and use it throughout the course oftheir projects.Joe: Okay, so I can go in there and customize it and still have allthese things in Excel after using it. It is just not all up in thecloud.Mick: Thats right. You have the option of leaving it in the cloudand getting e-mail reminders. As you stated, a lot of people use,we call it My OPPM, use My OPPM as just a creation engine tofacilitate the first document. Remember once youre done withthose that communicate the plan and then they download in Exceland then use that ongoing to communicate performance to theplan.Joe: OPPM, the corporation is more than just the One-PageProject Manager. What else do you do?Mick: We have started out with the books and as we havelearned, unless youre J.K. Rowling or Michael Crichton mostpeople dont write books to make money. Books are a wonderful
  13. 13. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsOne Page Project Manager PodcastCopyright Business901opportunity to validate some ideas and to share those with thecommunity atlarge. In this case mostly the business community for us.The books have been a wonderful effort, and we continue to begrateful to have our connection as I mentioned, with Wylie ourpublisher to facilitate our books out there. Thats the first elementof the business.The second element is the Web deliverables. We talked about theforms, the templates that are available for download and wevehad just a wonderful interaction internationally with those goingall around the world being used in projects, small and large, backand forth. That community has grown. That, also, has expanded,as you mentioned, to the My OPPM offering, which is that wizardbased creation tool for OPPMs online as well.So, we have the books and the online offerings. I spend asignificant portion of my time out in the world of training andcoaching. Where I am out, some of my other team members areout talking to project people and executives about simplificationandcommunication improvement in the realm of projects, of course. Ithink I was in about 26 cities this last year having a conversationwith hundreds and hundreds of professionals about that.Then, as you would guess, the old horse and cart scenario is wespend some time in-house with organizations who get exposureto any of those three previously mentioned areas of businessfocus and then we come in and do a little bit of, whether it iscustomized training or particular consulting with differentorganizations.Its been a ton of fun to continue to grow the business, and likemany of you who are entrepreneurial in your nature, you
  14. 14. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsOne Page Project Manager PodcastCopyright Business901probably feel the same pull that I do in my company is that youhave multiple irons in the fire all of which are yielding something,and youhave to choose where you can focus your effort because we donthave teams of dozens and dozens of people sitting around lookingto us to assign them something to do. So, its been a wonderfulgrowth of the business in those four basic areas.Joe: I noticed that you have a video for entrepreneurs on yourwebsite. Should an entrepreneur use the project plan? Should heuse the One-Page Project Manager?Mick: Weve found that little bit of thinking structure helps in atremendous way. It helps us in our efforts, so, just fromessentially stepping in our own glue buckets over time wevetried to share and help other people not have to step in the sameones. So, it becomes a wonderful tool for focusing your effortsand energies in an area that will yield the most foryour effort.Joe: So, whats upcoming for OPPM?Mick: Thats a fun topic for us right now. We are just finishing upa . . . its a historical document. We have an opportunity to havethe One-Page Project Manager be used by Mike Leavitt. He wasthe three term governor of my home state of Utah, and duringBush he was asked to be Health and Human Services Secretary.You can imagine, if any of us was asked to head up that type ofdepartment and all the litany of activity and projects that weregoing on from Medicare and Medicaid to the internationalpandemic planning and the Center for Disease Control andPrevention, he wanted a simple way to understand how this work.
  15. 15. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsOne Page Project Manager PodcastCopyright Business901So, he found OPPM, asked us to help them and for many years,the OPPMs were used to communicate, for example, InternationalPandemic Planning. Then, when the Obama administration tookover, and Kathleen Sebelius was asked to be secretary in the firstterm, Governor Leavitt was able to hand all those documents toher. Well, he was askedto head up the effort for Governor Romneys attempt at thepresidency. As we are not partisan, we have a little joke to say,"We dont work for red states or blue states, particularly, we workfor both because, oddly enough they both pay with greenmoney."Weve worked for the National Science Foundation helping someof the global warming team communicates more successfullyback to Washington, and as Im telling this little story now, we,obviously had some efforts with the Romney transition team. But,our job was not to talk about politics; our job was to talk with thetransition team on how to communicate project worksuccessfully.We had over a hundred OPPMs that would roll up to one singularOPPM which Governor Romney would review every Mondayafternoon to assess the status of the transition team that wasbeing put together and executing the work to stand up the UnitedStates ofAmerica government on OPPMs.So, we couldnt be more ecstatic and thrilled, and that book is inthe finalization, actually, this week as were talking a publicationand will then be out there and prominently features many of theOPPMs that were used and the efforts to share that. So, that wasobviously a huge project of immense proportions, our entiregovernment if youre listening to this from the United States ofAmerica.
  16. 16. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsOne Page Project Manager PodcastCopyright Business901Yet, as I mentioned earlier, we had feedback from a woman whodid her own project work managing her daughters wedding on anOPPM, so the future is wonderful and were happy to be able toshare that. Additionally, with just our new book that also, thattemplate and that example out there to the world, as well.Joe: That sounds pretty exciting.Mick: Its more than exciting for us. It was a ton of fun. Its thefirst time in a long time that wed been fired from something, Joe.Fired by the American people this time, unknowingly, but still youfeel the effort.Joe: You originally had a book on Lean IT using the OPPM. Then,in your execution book it was Lean orientated with how to useOPPM with A3s. Another part of Lean software especially in theagile has been Kanban. Is that something that the OPPM can beused with?Mick: We initially, as you stated, thought OPPM was agile in itsnature, which it is. From the perspective, the idea is yourepulling work instead of pushing work, and theopportunity, whether its working with sticky notes and/or areasof communications where youve got teams that are co-locatedand youre expecting that this osmotic communication takesplace, and youre information rated or set around the work areasto tell people whats going on.Invariably, though, we found as we got into that world that therewere not many good way to communicate to management whatsgoing on. So, management would have their agile teams andtheyre out there doing the work and theyd want to know whatsgoing on and the teams, themselves would say well come into ourwork areas, and youll intuitively know by looking around.
  17. 17. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsOne Page Project Manager PodcastCopyright Business901For many of them, one, they wouldnt come, and two, theymaybe werent well versed enough to understand exactly whatwas happening. So, we, then had to re-craft what in its creation,in its teaming as an agile experience, but its reporting isdifferent. So, we took the original and kind of had to scrap it, gothrough our own experience from a Scrum Master and a Kanbanand a Lean thinking perspective and change the OPPM to mirrorhow agile projects are being run. Weve received wonderfulfeedback from multiple organizations on their use of it to be ableto help communicate more effectively.Joe: I think your document covers that well and most agilepeople, most software people should take a look at it and see if itfits them. Because, I think its very unique in the way you did it.Mick: Thanks. We spent some time. That went through a lot ofiterations, Ill be honest. We had wonderful collaborations withsome of the top thinkers whether it was Jim Highsmith or AlistairColburn or others and, so that was helpful to make sure it wasaligned to what people wanted to see.Joe: Is there anything you would like to add to this conversation?Mick: The only thing Id love to add is as you think about whatall of us are trying to accomplish, I think we started out in theright area, and we should close in that, its about communicatingmore appropriately. I will be honest with you; this might be a toolthat could be as Ive heard from many people, the best tooltheyve ever found to use to communicate.Ive also had people on the total other side of that, who havesaid, "You know, this doesnt help me in the least." So, we arecomfortable with either, and would say to you that if it helps,fantastic. Use it, leverage it and find success in it.
  18. 18. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsOne Page Project Manager PodcastCopyright Business901If it doesnt fit, thats okay, too. We dont believe ourselves to bethe answer to all things, but if there is a little opportunity toimprove and enhance what youre already doing wed love to seesome more success on your part from our thinking.Joe: Well, Mick, I would like to thank you much for your time andyour generosity in giving us this information about the One-PageProject Manager. This podcast will be available in the Business901on iTunes store and the Business901 blog site. So, thanks again.Mick: Thank you. Have a great day.Joseph T. DagerBusiness901Phone: 260-918-0438Skype: Biz901Email: jtdager@business901.comWebsite: http://www.business901.comTwitter: @business901Joe Dager is president of Business901, a firm specializing inbringing the continuous improvement process to the sales andmarketing arena. He takes his process thinking of over thirtyyears in marketing within a wide variety of industries and appliesit through Lean Marketing and Lean Service Design.

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