004 The Work Breakdown Structure with Margaret Meloni

July 24, 2013

PM4TM Artwork 1400x1400Here we are with episode 4 of the PM for the Masses Podcast!  Thank you for listening and for giving me such amazing feedback.  I am so happy that the show is resonating with you and that some of you have shared with me that you have been looking forward to new episodes.  Thank you so much.

As you may remember, I’m still down in Brazil for World Youth Day, helping lead a group of Canadian teenagers in pilgrimage.  I’m typing this on the bus to the Detroit airport, where I’ll catch a flight to Brazil.  Through the magic of the internet, I can pre-produce the show and have it released even though I’m probably sleeping outside somewhere in Rio in a sea of millions of teenagers. Fun times!

Today’s episode: The WBS with Margaret Meloni

Margaret Meloni

Margaret Meloni, MBA, PMP

Today I will talk about the Work Breakdown Structure with my friend Margaret Meloni.  She is a fantastic project manager, educator, and coach. Talking to her was a true delight.

The Work Breakdown Structure, or WBS is one of the fundamentals of good project management.  The WBS shows in a very organizational chart-like way all that the project will deliver.  In other words, if a deliverable is not on the WBS, it won’t get done.
As we start talking about PM concepts here on the show, the WBS is the natural place to start.
Margaret, as the person behind pmstudent.com, is the best resource I know to get you started on learning about the WBS.
In keeping with the spirit of the PM for the Masses Podcast, I also grill Margaret on what she has done as a professional to become such the high profile project manager she is today.
Press the play button on top of this post to listen to this episode in your browser or click here to subscribe to the show in iTunes.

Margaret Meloni, MBA, PMP

Margaret Meloni is a speaker, writer and  teacher who supports project managers with the human side of project management.

Margaret understands that managing projects can be difficult and this is why her goal is to provide her community with knowledge and skills that can be used on the job RIGHT NOW! Her wish is to see her clients and students take on tough projects and emerge as strong and sought after project managers.

When she is not teaching, Margaret works to help project managers and other professionals resolve work related conflict and strengthen their soft skills. Her passion is to help people successfully navigate the workplace peacefully. Peace does not mean avoiding conflict or difficult situations it means to handle them calmly and professionally.

Margaret Meloni is a people oriented leader with over eighteen years’ experience in Information Technology. During this time Margaret has performed in multiple roles including: program management office director, program manager and senior project manager.

She holds a B.S. in Business Administration and an M.B.A. from California State University, Long Beach. She is also a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) through the Project Management Institute.

Margaret is a member of the Project Management Institute Los Angeles chapter where she has volunteered with the communications team and the community outreach team.

Main Takeaways

Work Breakdown Structure

The power of the WBS is that it clarifies scope, illustrates the organizational relationship between deliverables, and sets the stage for clear communication and measurement of success as the project progresses.  It is extremely important that it receives the attention it deserves.

Margaret has one of the best training materials when it comes to a solid introduction to the WBS and some of the best practices surrounding it.  If you are interested in learning more about the WBS, I really recommend the resource she provides. You can check out her material on the WBS here: http://pmforthemasses.com/wbs.

Standing out, Networking, and Being Awesome

Margaret also shared with me her thoughts on how to stand out, the first steps to take to become well-known in our industry, how to best network when you’re an introvert (much like herself), and many other tips.

Some of my notes during our call were:

  • Margaret started her consultancy, speaking, and coaching career after losing a job.  After learning to deal with the loss, she was able to turn that experience around and start working for herself. I think her story is a true inspiration on how to use a negative, perhaps catastrophic experience to reinvent yourself and completely change your life for the better.
  • Speaking: Margaret shared that one of the things that truly propelled her career forward was speaking, firstly at her local PMI chapter.  I can absolutely agree with this.  I’ve spoken at my local chapter as well and it has been a great way for people to learn about myself and what I do.
  • Create a newsletter: Margaret started an email newsletter years ago and still pushes it out every week or so.  Her list has grown tremendously over the years and she has leveraged the relationships she has created through her mailing list to help promote her in other ways.  I’m a subscriber to her newsletter and it is always a nice read.
  • Following what many online marketers teach, she encourages opt-ins to her mailing list by offering a free eBook in exchange.  It has worked really well for her.
  • Networking: Margaret considers herself an introvert, so networking does not come easy to her.  However, because of her speaking engagements and her activity online, people will usually try to network with her, which makes it a lot easier.  She also says that networking should be about giving and receiving, to which I add: when approaching a new contact, think about how you can be of service to them first.

For my entire conversation with Margaret Meloni, click the play button on top of this post or subscribe to the show in iTunes by clicking here.

Plug of the Week

imageI continue to comb through the Project Management world to find the best of the best resources for you. This week’s plug is Samad Aidane and his solid Guerrilla Project Management blog and podcast.

I want the PM for the Masses Podcast and website to be a go-to reference when it comes to people creating Project Management content on the web.  Guerrilla Project Management by Samad Aidane certainly qualifies!

Samad has been blogging and podcasting for years.  In fact, several times when I would tell people that I was starting a podcast for project managers, Samad’s name would come up.  He is a prolific content creator

Samad Aidane and his material can be found at http://guerrillaprojectmanagement.com.  Thanks Samad for your great work!


Review PM for the Masses in iTunes for a chance to win a book

During these first weeks of launch, it is really important that the podcast ranks well in iTunes so a lot of people can find it.

One of the best ways to make this happen is for the PM for the Masses to receive lots of reviews in iTunes.

If you enjoy the show and benefit from it, this is the best way you can help the show right now.

In order to make this even better, next week I’ll reveal the winner of the signed copy of Peter Taylor’s book “The Lazy Winner.” Peter was my guest in episode 1 and graciously offered a copy of his book to one of my listeners.

Leave a review in iTunes by clicking here.  Thank you SO much!

 What about you?

Use the comment box below this post and share with the community your thoughts on this episode.

Do you use the WBS at work?

Has it been helpful in your projects?

What are your thoughts on Margaret’s approach?

Thanks again!  I will talk to you next week and until then remember: Life is a project.  You are the manager.