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Never Weakened By a Weekend

Buildingplan_home_2In a 24-hour duration, what can one really accomplish?  Well, one could paint a room.  One could do some major yard work.  One could finish up some paperwork.  One could watch two full seaons of the Simpsons on DVD.  One could tackle a fairly substantial book (reading or writng... your pick).


One could spend 60% of his time with 34 MBA students (the other 40% driving home, sleeping, and driving back the next morning).  This was the second weekend (out of three weekends this semester) that I taught the Project Management elective for Drake University.  I feel very fortunate to work with this group of young professionals.  In reality, they continue to teach me more about resiliency and the human spirit than I teach them about project management.  As I alluded in an earlier post, we've had a few hiccups since the start of the semester.  However, their sense of humor, their maturity, and their insights continue to inspire me to be my best.

As if spending time with them wasn't enough reward, we had two amazing guest speakers in our class.  While I like getting "geeky" with MS Project, my friend Terri is utterly amazing at presenting a working, practical, and entertaining demonstration of the tool.  She is nothing short of amazing, keeping their attention for two hours right after lunch.  Then, we were able to spend an hour on the phone with the passionate and witty Kevin Brady, who graciously agreed to dial into conference with my class to share his views on Agile, Scrum, and IT strategy in general.  My students enjoyed hearing his insights and stories, and he added tremendous value by sharing his experience with them.  Thanks, Kevin!

Again, one could be brought down by the little things.  Or one can be very thankful for people who mitigate the little things.  Kent Sovern, the director of the Des Moines Higher Education Collaborative, is Mister-Rise-Above-The-Small-Stuff-And-Go-Above-And-Beyond-The-Call-Of-Duty.  He played a critical role behind the scenes on many of the issues my class encountered recently.  Thanks, Kent!  (You deserve a raise.)

Now there is another big week ahead ... complete with a lot of activity, some travel, and plenty of hustle-and-bustle.  The energy and fun and interaction from this weekend will propel me through anything I have to deal with in the coming week.  Tonight, however, there are a couple of pillows with my name written all over them.


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Kevin Brady

Great conference Tim and it was a pleasure.

I am so pleased to have helped in some small way these managers of the future and let them see that Project Work is not all boring process and check lists but sometimes hard decisions need to be made.

I think the armies improvise and overcome is an apt description of what a GOOD pm has to do daily.

To some this job is hell to others it is fun!!

Having FUN is a key and a few good stories help !.

Beth Peck

I think Terri was afraid to disclose her contact information (I don't blame her!!). But make sure to let her know her presentation was great, interesting and informative! I am already working on my employer to begin using this tool.

And thank you Tim for making class entertaining and interesting as well! Your passion for project planning is contagious!

Timothy Johnson

Kevin - thank you again for speaking. Your impact will be felt by these students for a long time. And you are so right... if you're not having fun, you're not doing it right.

Beth - I'm glad you are getting value from the class. The weekend format makes for some long sessions, so knowing that I'm balancing information with environment is good feedback to have.

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