Strategic Project Management with Yoon Chung

“Project managers are probably one of the most key influencers for strategy. And they can either make or break any project”.

Strategic decision making is a part of almost any job, but it’s all-encompassing when it comes to project management. PMs are not only faced with making strategic decisions to deliver a project successfully, they are also well-positioned to help stakeholders make decisions that will impact their projects.

One set of decisions plays into the other, and PMs hope they all work together. It’s widely known and mostly accepted that there’s a general lack of control in the PM role, but an area that any project manager can control is in charting and managing a project strategy that will guide projects through change, issues, and even progress. And that’s where stress comes in!

In this episode of Time Limit, Brett sits down with Yoon Chung from Veritas to discuss the project manager’s role in decision making, and doing so in stressful situations. The conversation covers:

  • How project management is a strategic role
  • Why asking questions is so important in project management
  • How to create an atmosphere where the PM is more strategic
  • The types of strategic decision project managers make and facilitate
  • The challenges PMs face when it comes to decision making on projects
  • Tactics to use when facilitating decisions on projects
  • How to know if you are making the right decision
  • How to handle stressful situations
  • How to pick up on team stress

About our guest


Yoon Chung
Director of Program Management, Veritas Technologies

With a career spanning 20+ years, Yoon has worked in companies such as Sun Microsystems, PayPal, Rosetta Stone, Visa, Symphony and Veritas, doing the full gamut of project, program and agile software management.

His background in project/program management and behavioral development has made him a valued advisor to many leaders at his companies. His leadership has often acted as a multiplier effect in company transformations and was part of the executive team that led the start-up Symphony Communication to unicorn status. 

As an experienced coach and mentor for leaders in organizations, Yoon consults in up-leveling individuals and teams using methods in design thinking, Lean principles, and Agile methodologies to bring out the best in organizations. He is a master storyteller, certified Gallup StrengthsFinder Coach, a certified MBTI Practitioner, LUMA Certified Practitioner and an accomplished speaker and researcher in the areas of communication, influence and leadership. Yoon currently leads Program Management for the Product Management and User Experience Organization at Veritas Technologies.

Episode Transcript


Brett Harned:                                          Hey, welcome to Time Limit. This is your host, Brett Harned, and I'm glad that you're playing this episode. Because the topic I think will likely push the boundaries of what some people consider to be project management. So we're going to talk all about project management as a strategic role and how that, the idea of embracing strategy, can impact the role itself, your team, your projects, and even your stakeholders.
                                                      Now, I'm not claiming this to be some kind of mind blowing concept. And we'll definitely get into some other related topics around decision making and taking on project stress as a PM. But I was really excited to find out just how aligned I was with my guest, Yoon Chung, on the idea of PM as a strategic role. So Yoon leads program management for the product management and user experience organization at Veritas Technologies.
                                                      He's also presenting strategic decision making in stressful situations at the Digital PM Summit 2020, which just so happens to be the conference that I organized. And it's happening online this October 19th through the 21st. So whether you'll be attending the Digital PM Summit and Yoon session or not, I think this topic is a good one to think on. And I hope you enjoy the conversation. Yoon, thank you so much for joining me on Time Limit. How are you doing today?

Yoon Chung:                                            I am doing great. First off, thank you for having me. It's both an honor and a privilege because the topics that we're going to be talking about here as well as in the Digital PM Summit coming up later on the year are very near and dear to my heart. So thank you for having me and giving me this opportunity. I feel very privileged. So thank you.

Brett Harned:                                          Thank you. I feel privileged to have you here. And I'm really excited to dig in on the topic. So everyone's thinking, all right, what is the topic? So you are going to be speaking at the 2020 Digital PM Summit and it's about strategic decision making. I think we could probably take the conversation down a couple of paths, because I think your topic actually kind of gets a little bit more into personality and stressful situations. But I thought maybe we could start at the top really and just talk about strategic decisions in project management. I'm curious, do you see project managers as strategic decision makes?

Yoon Chung:                                            Oh, this is one of my favorite, favorite topics.

Brett Harned:                                          Awesome. Me too.

Yoon Chung:                                            So I'm super excited. Let me just state this right here right now. Project managers serve as the... They must have incredible tenet strength, but they are probably one of the most key influencers for strategy. And they can either make or break any projects. And as the saying goes in the world of PMs, you're only as good as the last project you deliver.
                                                      So being able to be strategic is incredibly important. So in regards to your question, let me just give my definition of why PM's strategy as well as the art of decision making is so critical. Because strategy, as there are many classical definitions, I like the Harvard Business Review definition they give. There was an article a couple of years ago about strategy is really setting some guiding principles that when communicated and adopted really help generate a desired pattern for decision making.
                                                      So once you have that set of patterns for making effective decisions, it is probably one of the most powerful assets that a PM can have within their arsenal to be strategic. And there are many ways to be strategic, but being a wise decision maker or influencing the decision makers is why it is an art based on science. And so that's kind of my definition, what I'll be talking about in the coming summit.
                                                      But even just here, just giving a couple of tips in terms of why is it that it's so critical for a PM to be strategic. I would say at the highest level, a PM serves as the bootcamp and the school of hard knocks for all future leaders. Because no matter how good a leader is from a strategic standpoint, being able to bridge the gap between strategy and execution, this is where we are most strong. This is what makes us unique.
                                                      And that's why I think project managers going into the next generation, going into 2020 and above, this is where we need to thrive as a discipline. I know I'm going way over on just one question, but I'm super passionate about this topic and something that I really think that we all need to embrace within the PM community.

Brett Harned:                                          Yeah. So I'm sitting here nodding so hard that I'm like rocking back and forth in my chair because... As someone who is a seasoned project manager, do you feel that there is very little expectation for PMs to be strategic or even an expectation that PM's are just kind of like the box checkers. You set up a plan, you help get things don.
                                                      I've seen organizations where a PM is handled that way and it's mind blowing because they're missing out on this really critical aspect to the role that can help to get projects done with better quality and better outcomes, like meeting goals so much better because there's someone there thinking strategically, not just how to get the project done, but like why it's being done, like thinking back to those goals. I don't know. A lot of what you said, I just feel like I would love it if more project managers would push the fact that they are strategic in their roles and in a lot of different ways, kind of like what you said.

Yoon Chung:                                            You bring up two really great, great points, but let me get to the first one because I would say we face this on a regular basis. Project managers, one, I think from a discipline standpoint, we've become our own worst enemy, in many regards. There are so many different methodologies and so many tools that we use that we forget what are the basic tenets of what makes for a great project manager.
                                                      And there's a level of connectivity we need to have going from person A to person B. And there's an emotional intelligence that is just needed. I would say within Silicon Valley here, there is a bias towards making sure that PMs tend to have more subject matter expertise in a discipline, whether it's engineering, product management or design.
                                                      Because I think older generational learning, I'm not being agist, but in terms of just learning has always been let's use this methodology. And that's why I like to say it's an art based on science. I mean, one of the ways that I would recommend, what is one thing you can do to become a more strategic PM so that people take you seriously and not just call a meeting, take some notes, follow up on the action items.
                                                      I'm an introvert by nature and one of the best advices I've ever been given is ask good questions. And then I asked my mentor, "I may ask a dumb question. Is there such a thing as a dumb question?" And he said, "As a PM, absolutely." Because if you ask a dumb question, and truly I'd say a numbskull, like if somebody asks you what is the timeline or when are things due and you don't know, and it's your own project, you're going to lose respect.
                                                      Here are just two tips I give everyone as we go through this great conversation. Master the art of why and how. And the reason I say this is asking why, whether it's the five why's or using that in combination with Ishikawa fishbone diagramming, asking why questions will lead to strategic answers. And having those strategic answers will give you context as well as challenges of the other person, whether it's your stakeholder or a leader, to explain the why, because everyone needs to know the why.
                                                      As a discipline, we tend to focus on the how. The how is usually the tactical steps, which usually evolve down to allocation of time, resources and money. If you can learn how to ask at least one why and how question anytime somebody asks you to do something, supremely powerful. And it's a great ice breaker for even the introverts who might be a little bit more shy to be more engaged because often this will lead to strategic discussion and debate which people might not have.
                                                      And people will see PMs as either primary strategic thinkers or influencers of strategic decision. Simon Sinek always says start with why. But start with why, start with how, influence the decision, step one to being a very good strategic PM within your field.

Brett Harned:                                          Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I talk about that all the time, just asking questions. Never feel like there is a dumb question. Now, of course, there are certainly some kind of numbskull questions, like you mentioned. But when it comes to figuring out what your project is, what it's meant to do, what the goals are and how your team can meet those goals.
                                                      And then learning about the factors that can impact your projects, typically the people, like asking the right questions of them and their expertise in subject matter and even just how they like to communicate, how they expect to work on the project. Those things are all going to impact your project, but they're certainly going to impact the strategy of how you get that project done or how you end up motivating those people at the end of the day.
                                                      So I think what we're talking about a lot is high level kind of strategic thinking in terms of project management, is that it's not just about following a methodology or putting together a plan and following it, it's about digging in and understanding what you're doing, how you're doing it and why you're doing it.
                                                      On the project level, what do you think are the kind of strategic decisions that PM's are making? I know we talked a little bit about how a lot of it is facilitation, facilitating decisions. In my experience, I know that I have facilitated a lot of decisions that led teams or stakeholders to make important decisions. On the kind of PM level, what kind of strategic decisions do you think they're making?

Yoon Chung:                                            Let's go with some of the classical definitions you might see. Time, scope, quality, depending on your field. Here is how I would gauge it as... If you were to reflect back as a PM in your field, what level of those facets do you have influence over? And I'll use the example, how much influence do you have as a PM in prioritization? Is it at the tactical level?
                                                      If we're doing software development, in terms of some of the tasks. From a marketing perspective, are you able to prioritize and help your stakeholders in terms of why we're doing certain things and how? And a lot of that comes from... Some of it is subject matter expertise in terms of how you get things done with the people you know. Other times it's, do you have credibility?
                                                      There's a certain level of pedigree that a PM should have, depending on the project. But in terms of facilitating strategic decisions, once again, based on science, I would recommend and tell every PM who is in that situation, if you want to be able to facilitate and be part of the discussion, they say be on the dance floor and on the dance floor. Tip number two, never ask for status.
                                                      Just remove the word status from anytime you're talking to your teammates, because there's a psychological bias that we are check the boxers and status usually associates with that. Just go, "Cool. What's the latest? What do I need to know? What does the team need to know?" If you just open it up with that open statement, it leads very easily into why and how questions. And it can also open up for just decisions.
                                                      Next time you're going into a meeting and you're asked and they're looking to make a decision or being part of decision making, just asking, "Give me two minutes of context. Give me the cliff notes version." And start probing with those questions. And it helps out tremendously in terms of building that respect and pedigree of our discipline.

Brett Harned:                                          Totally agree. You know what I call that? I call that the human approach.

Yoon Chung:                                            Absolutely.

Brett Harned:                                          So many people treat PMs like robots because they ask robotic questions, right? If you ask me a status, it feels like something I could type into an email or a chat or whatever. If you ask me how I'm feeling, how I'm doing, that leads to a conversation that allows you to get to know me better, which allows me to understand your motivations, understand your challenges and at the end of the day help you. And if a PM can think and behave that way, they're going to build so much better relationships and build trust and really enable teams and team members to get things done.

Yoon Chung:                                            You're actually giving me goosebumps because quite literally, I'm going to be talking about this later in the year. But this is something that I think all... This is tip number three, but this is a big one. In terms of how do you handle these situations where you're working on projects and there's a lot of decisions or just in general interactions, psychologists Goleman and Ekman talk about empathy when it comes to thinking.
                                                      And there's kind of a three-step process that they go through from a psychology standpoint, from a pure discipline standpoint. But this is something I think all PMs, leaders in general, I'd say professionals, influencers should take to heart of the human element. And that is empathy based thinking. There's a lot of design thinking around this, whether it's IDEO or double diamond methodologies.
                                                      But the three things that if you take empathy as an approach. Let's say, step one, cognitive empathy. It's the ability to understand how a person feels and what they may be thinking. It makes us be better communicators in the best way possible and authentic way. Marrying that with emotional empathy, the ability to share the feelings, creating that emotional connection.
                                                      If you usually have those two at least, it will usually lead towards a compassion based empathy, which is not empathy, or I should say sympathy, but it's beyond just the understanding and the sharing, the feeling. It leads to action. And if you do that in just microseconds, just cognitive, emotional, what is my action? Which is why... If it's just asking, "How's your day been going? What'd you got for me? You got some good news?"
                                                      "We're behind schedule." "Really? Why?" We've just created a connection and that's even more powerful than asking what's your status, which does nothing for a person nor acknowledges them as a human being. I'm so with you on so many levels right now.

Brett Harned:                                          Awesome. I want to kind of put all of this in the context of it certainly being a challenge, right? Like you and I can certainly sit here based on the experience we have, based on observing other PM's and just like knowing how some folks in the team feel about PM's. And it's not all rosy, right? There are times where it's not great at all.
                                                      And I think part of what we have to do is build PMs up and recognize that it can be a challenge when you are in a stressful project and you really need to get a decision made to move on, whether that could be on the design of a thing, whatever the decision might be. To me, it feels like a big challenge. And you might not agree with me on this.
                                                      A big part of the challenge in PMs feeling like they can facilitate a decision or they can just take their reins and make a decision for the sake of the project or the team or the scope, whatever it might be, it's a communication barrier. And we're kind of like talking about that already. I'm wondering if you have kind of any tactics that you use when it comes to level setting a conversation or even just like resetting expectations to facilitate a conversation that will then lead to a decision. Any tactics in that realm to help teams or even stakeholders make decisions?

Yoon Chung:                                            There are so many different ways. Going back to starting with why... And usually if there is that type of level of conversation that happens in terms of whether there's conflict or there's butting of heads or even just, "Do I take my PM even seriously?" Asking why is literally one of my favorite things to do just in general. And I think people take that as an offense or you're questioning their identity. But it's not. Why aren't we doing this or can you tell me why you think your approach works better than this other cross-functional stakeholder?
                                                      Getting context and understanding the problem is probably one of the first things I would recommend all the PMs when they run into any type of situation, even at beginning of the project. Albert Einstein was once asked this question of, if you're given an hour to solve a problem, how would you use that time? And to paraphrase, I believe he said, "I would spend 55 minutes thinking of the problem and five minutes with the solution." And I think most of us as PMs, I think we kind of inherently know what the best solution might be.
                                                      But building alignment around the problem itself just through open dialogue is one of the hardest but also one of the most rewarding things. Because any PM can manage an easy project. It takes true talent and skill to manage a hard one when it comes to especially building alignment and common understanding around a problem statement. I encourage heavy debate and honest candour when it comes to that early stage of even team dynamics, form, storm, norm, perform.
                                                      And storm period is actually one of my favorite phases because you learn so much about yourself as well as the team. So start with the why and figure out what the problem is. And if you get stuck, well, ask your PM community for help.

Brett Harned:                                          Totally. Those are out here.

Yoon Chung:                                            Ask for help. We're all here.

Brett Harned:                                          Yeah, it's true. I'm with you on that, too. And I think it's not only asking why, it's also being conscious about the way that you're asking why because you kind of alluded to the fact that it could come off not in the best way. It could make people lose trust in you because they just think you don't know what you're talking about, or it could make people think that you're constantly playing the devil's advocate role and nobody loves that, right?
                                                      So for someone who is newer to PM, for someone who's working with a new team that might be full of subject matter experts like people who really just know their stuff, you can put yourself in a bit of a pressure cooker as a PM if you're not feeling like you really know everything. And it can be hard to ask why. But I think if you're genuine about it, you're going to get good results.
                                                      I also think that as PMs, we tend to be under pressure a lot, right? Because you want things to go well. You're responsible for being within a budget, delivering on time, making sure your team is headed in the right direction, making progress. Individually they feel like they're working toward goals. As a team they're working towards... There's a lot, right? And I think that alone can bring a lot of stress to PMs.
                                                      So as a seasoned PM, I'm sure that you've encountered a lot of that on your own. I know I certainly have. You've been managing PM's who you've had to help through it. What are the things that you think contribute to that stress? The reason I ask this question is because I think it's important for a PM to recognize what stress comes along with their day to day, regardless, so that they can kind of compartmentalize when needed.

Yoon Chung:                                            Oh, another topic that's great. I'm going to give a super simple, I would say oversimplified answer in terms of just the first step when it comes to stress. And as project leaders, we face it all the time, but how do we manage it? How do we make sure that we're not, as I would call, being an energy vampire and sucking away the energy from your team or just being that toxic person?
                                                      I forgot the study, but there's a study that shows that in a group of 10, it only takes one toxic person to produce overall efficiency by almost a third, in terms of just both quantitative and qualitative drain. HR, managing, managing conflicts. But when dealing with stress and these really strong, stressful situations, the first question I ask myself and ask everyone else, did you eat? Did you have some coffee? Are you tired? Did you sleep?
                                                      And it sounds so easy, but I think we forget to ask because it is our first biological need and not having just those prerequisites will influence you. It will make you irritable. But if we were to take more of a scientific approach, back in early 2010s, 2011, there was a study around what they call the irrational hungry judge effect. So there was a study around Israeli parole boards in situations where ruling was favorable towards one person versus another.
                                                      And they said that there was a higher chance of having a ruling in your favor if you started earlier in the day versus later in the day, because the theory goes that you're just mentally depleted. You're just tired. Your cognitive brain battery just runs out. And usually it recharges after lunch. Now, there was a recent study back in 2016 that says the data is not a hundred percent perfect.
                                                      But I think from a guiding principle standpoint, where we get the term hangry, when you're hungry and angry, always ask yourself just that one first most basic question. Am I hungry, tired or thirsty? If even one of those is not checked, you might be a little bit more irritable. It could lead to a little bit more stress. And it is reflected. So if you want to manage the stress, feed your team, feed yourself, have a cup of coffee, and you'd be surprised how just that takes edge off for the team. And going back to our earlier point of the human approach to project management, it is the first basic thing.
                                                      When you eat together, you're building a community together and you're establishing some level of trust because most people will eat, but you eat with the people you like, I hope, or eat by yourself because you like yourself. So I'd say start with food and drink first. You'd be surprised how much of an edge it takes off when it comes to these situations.

Brett Harned:                                          Like get your brain in shape, right?

Yoon Chung:                                            Absolutely.

Brett Harned:                                          Set yourself up for success. That absolutely makes sense. And make sure your team's there as well.

Yoon Chung:                                            Yeah. It's so simple, but we don't do it. And it's scary how something as simple as just making sure you are just taking care of yourself. It's one of the first things they teach in executive coaching and executive leadership programs is diet and exercise. Are you taking care of yourself? So please, everyone who's listening to this, eat some decent food, get a cup of coffee and make sure you're getting some decent sleep. And trust me, it will help in terms of managing these stressful situations and manage them properly. I can't say it enough.

Brett Harned:                                          It's true though. I've experienced it myself, especially on the sleep part. It's like, if you're not getting good rest, then you're not going to be the top of your game. And when you're talking about stressful situations that aren't necessarily all just reliant on your own mood or your own kind of well-being, sometimes it's related to the team or a decision that a stakeholder needs to make that you have to help with.
                                                      But I want to talk a little bit about the psychology of stressful situations, because I think that's going to be a part of your session at the Digital PM Summit. I think a little bit about its impact on making strategic decisions. Can we get a little sneak peek of kind of what you're going to be talking about there?

Yoon Chung:                                            Sure. I have to give a lot of credit towards a professor Linda Ginzel at Chicago Booth's program, as well as folks at Stanford as well. He really inspired a lot of this from a project management standpoint in terms of how do we manage stress in these strong social situations to making sure that we are building that level of trust with our stakeholders, but people are seeing this as these strategic thought leaders within our teams? And I alluded to one point in terms of food and diet.
                                                      But one of the things I'll be talking about during my talk is what are the basic hierarchy of needs that you need as a check box to knowing that am I making the right decisions? Am I in the right mindset to make the best decisions? And are my team also emulating these same behaviors so that we're a positive force for communicating, managing, and delivering what is good. I believe that all people are inherently good, especially if they're not in these stressful situations.
                                                      But in regards to the talk itself, one of the topics that we're going to get into is once you get past food, let's talk about what are some regular things that we meet on a regular day to day basis within our workplace in terms of what causes the stress and how do we manage it? Let's go with the classic time. Time is not our ally sometimes. We get the call from some stakeholder executive asking us to do it in a shorter amount of time, asking us to do it with scant resources.
                                                      And when that happens, if the person is not I'd say easily influenced in these situations, we get a lot of negative emotions. Fear. Oh my gosh, am I going to lose my job? Anxiety, uncertainty. We lose the confidence to being able to lead our teams. And no one wants a project manager, a PM who's not confident. We're a wolf-like culture. You want the best PM because you know they will take you across the finish line, kick some butt and make sure everyone's happy.
                                                      How do we manage that? We talk about food as one. Number two is asking those why questions. Why do you need it by the end of this week? And then we talk about empathy. And one of the first things I would say is do you understand it from their point of view, from a cognitive framing standpoint? They're probably likely under stress, too. And it's important to know how to negotiate that and how to manage the other person's stress. Some Jedi mind tricks almost.
                                                      We're going to talk about some of those tips in terms of how do you turn those types of people who might be inducing stress within your teams and creating that pressure versus yeah, it is pressure, but you know what? I think we know where they're coming from and I think we know how to solve it. We'll work together, but this is not something we should be worried about. I would call, unless we're building bridges or making medicine to cure people or building space shuttles, those are life and death stresses.
                                                      If you're building a marketing program or delivering some software, is that really something that you should be stressing over? Everyone's different. But one of the things is how do you ask the right questions and how do you do it within the meeting to turn even the, I guess, roughest of stakeholders on your side? Because I think if we're all on the same side in these situations, it makes things a lot easier. Here is another example of what happens, if you don't do this, bad things will happen.
                                                      We might lose the account. Well, will we really lose the account? I mean, really? Why? There's no such thing as a stable job and there's no such thing as a stable project at times, too, because anything can happen. But if we learn to accept that level of uncertainty and not let it be a mental drain for us, it gives us the ability to manage the stress so you can say, "This is our priority. This is what I think we need to do because I've taken some of these things to consideration. What do you all think about it?"
                                                      And it's great. I will never condemn anyone for trying their best in the right mindset. And if they fail, that happens. Failure is not really a true failure. It's just something we learn from. And as a PM, we are the ones responsible for that and we need to make sure we embrace it. I recently had a bad meeting with an executive stakeholder and the executive called me up afterwards and said he felt bad for being tough. And I said, "No, it was great. Feedback is a blessing."
                                                      And what people might see as stress, I see that as opportunity. Because whether you love it or hate it, be one of those because the opposite of love is indifference. And if you don't care, then we learn nothing from it. So stress is something that we can turn to as an ally for knowing what we need to do. But some of that is just mentally reprogramming ourselves and seeing it for the right way.

Brett Harned:                                          Or reprogramming your natural instinct to kind of react to negative...

Yoon Chung:                                            Yeah. I get into situations where... You send an email to somebody asking for a response and they just say no, N-O. I think a lot of people are like, "How do I interpret that? They must be really angry? Maybe they're pissed off at me." You find out they were dealing with their kids at a soccer game and they all had enough time just to write no right before the kids had a meltdown. We are our own worst enemy. And as Chamine in his book Positive Intelligence says, sometimes we're our own worst enemy. And we can't afford to be as PM's because we are central for executional and strategic leadership within our teams. We're the rock of the team and I believe in it.

Brett Harned:                                          And in that role, you also are kind of the person who's making sure that things are smooth, right? Like there aren't any major waves. People are not stressed, which also can be really hard because that stress doesn't just manifest itself through angry conversations or a flag going up. You can't always tell when it's there. But I'm wondering if you've come across any ways to kind of like monitor the team or gauge the team on stress to make sure that you're doing everything you can to avoid the situation when stress kind of bubbles up to the top with a team, especially when it comes to a point where you're trying to make progress or you're under pressure to make progress.

Yoon Chung:                                            I'm a big advocate for embracing video chat. It's important to see a person's face. And in Korean culture, there's a term called noonchi, which translates to almost like what American would say is emotional intelligence or being able to read another person's body language and infer what they might be feeling. And it's important to really look for those nonverbal cues, one. And then secondly, my team, I try to make sure that we are syncing on a regular basis. And I say video on, everyone.let's see those lovely faces so I can make fun of you all. Because humor is important.
                                                      You'll want to see it in the face. And then you're going to want to ask and see how are they doing with their projects in an open-ended way. Because if you start to hear these words that you're not familiar with, or if something is just starting to spin, it's important to ask in just a one-on-one setting versus group. You almost don't want to say, do you need help? Because I think PMs we inherently don't want to ask for help because we want to do it ourselves. People look towards us versus walk me through what you've got going on and give advice, give some guidance in terms of, have you thought about this? It can help you with that.
                                                      You don't want help. I'll just do it for you. Stop arguing. But one of the things from an agile methodology standpoint, which I'm a huge fan of, is just the daily standup. And it might seem like a huge bore, but in the world of video, virtual and remote, having the connectivity and seeing the face every day is really important. Do a daily standup, folks. See your faces. Do it for 50 minutes.
                                                      Sometimes it's not even about calling the work up, but just seeing the people and building that connection on a regular basis. And it will help you avoid those situations where you get blindsided, somebody quits, somebody has a meltdown. Because maybe you don't catch it, but maybe your teammates do. And then they relay it saying, "I think so and so is going to lose it, Yoon. I am just letting you know. I mean, I care for the person. Can you help?" Start with the daily, if you need to.
                                                      Try it out for a couple of weeks. And if you're doing this properly, people are going to want to come because it's fun. We just did a... We'll ask people to dress up. Usually it's at the expense of somebody with a meme or a joke or an animated gif that just makes people laugh. So see everyone and talk to each other every day at some type of team daily standup is all I would say.

Brett Harned:                                          Yeah. Having that kind of personal connection with the people that you work with can be really invaluable when it comes to stressful situations. Even just like a regular day, it's good to know that you like the people you work with and you know a little bit about them. I think it makes the work all that much more meaningful and I think it makes the job a little bit better, too, especially on those stressful days.
                                                      So this has been awesome. I mean, I am so disappointed that the Digital PM Summit is not happening in-person this year. Because I imagine you and I would be talking a lot about this stuff in-person. But we're going to be online, which is also cool. It means that a lot of people can attend and come to your session, which is awesome. I have just one last question for you.
                                                      And on the Time Limit podcast, I ask every guest a final question that's kind of nodding to the title of the show, which is time limit, like I said. I'm wondering if you've got any tips that kind of don't require a lot of time or a lot of resources, tips to kind of help set expectations or even tips to help facilitate decision making quickly and easily.

Yoon Chung:                                            I'll give two. One of them is quick. I'll just reiterate and solidify kind of all the stuff we've been talking about. And two is a little bit more of a maybe hour and a half investment. So number one, there's a movie called 12 Angry Men, the 1957 version, which is amazing in terms of how to influence decision making group dynamics. They talk about this a lot during MBA programs, as well as tons of articles on this in terms of both the psychology, as well as the art of influencing. Watch that, everyone.
                                                      And I would say if you just watch it, you will see a lot of what is in there happens, in a much more polite way, within your workplace. So watch that. Because doing the right thing is hard. Doing the right thing when it's even stressful takes courage and bravery. There's times when you just have to be willing to just put yourself out there. So watch that movie is part one. A short tactical way, if I had to give everyone just one takeaway with the Time Limit theme, eat a snack, ask why, empathize with your folks. But it's like bandages, grip it and rip it. Always lead to action. But eat a snack and ask why. It's so simple, but...

Brett Harned:                                          Quick and easy things you can do.

Yoon Chung:                                            You can do it every day. It's a running joke with my team. Did Yoon have this cup of coffee? I'd be like, "I haven't." Literally, give me two minutes, folks. Let me go get a cup of coffee, take a deep breath and then I'll drink. I'm like, "All right, tell me the news. Oh, it's not that bad. We can do this. We got this. We got this, everyone." And that's my story. I hope everyone at least will take it to heart in some shape or form. Because I love the field of project management. I have a huge passion. One of my goals in life is to go to a high school or college career fair and somebody to say, "I want to be a project manager. Like, what? Are you kidding me? We got to talk. I'm so happy"

Brett Harned:                                          It's happening. It's definitely starting to happen more than it used to at least a few years ago. And I think that digital has a little bit to do with it. I think we're making some moves there, which is awesome. And there's tons of students using TeamGantt, which is really cool to see, too, and to hear their stories. Well, Yoon, thank you so much for taking the time to join me today. I really do appreciate it.
                                                      I hope we get to talk again soon about some more project management stuff. I'm always excited to kind of pick your brain and hear what topics you're thinking on. So I hope we talk again soon. But in the meantime, stay safe and enjoy work. Have that cup of coffee. Make sure you drink that coffee.

Yoon Chung:                                            I will. Thank you so much.

Brett Harned:                                          All right. Thanks, Yoon. Have a good one.

Yoon Chung:                                            You too.

Brett Harned:                                          All right. There you have it. I just have to say, Yoon's perspective on this was so refreshing to me. I honestly do believe that project management is a highly strategic role. And even if it isn't, if you aren't in that position right now, it can be. So think about how you can put your strategic hat on. Think about that and let me know what you're thinking. I'd love to hear thoughts.
                                                      Feel free to email me or reach out at brett@teamgantt.com and I'll certainly get back to you. Also, if you like what you hear on Time Limit, check out our free project management guides, templates and classes over at teamgantt.com under the learn button in our main navigation. And of course, feel free to leave a positive review of Time Limit wherever you listen to your podcasts. I'll see you on the next episode. Thanks.

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