Interview with John Langlois

Filed under Interviews | Posted by PMStudent

john-langloisJohn Langlois is currently an IBM certified Executive Project Manger chartered to deliver integrated solutions on the Power Systems platform. John Langlois joined IBM in 1984 and has seen dangerous tours of duty in many brands. From 1996 through 2001, John led the most successful notebook project in history – ThinkPad T series. He also launched a major horizon three software project commissioned by Sam Palmisano. John’s website is dedicated to helping project managers guide troubled projects through rough waters.

joshnankivel Josh:?? Thank you so much for sharing your background and experience with the pmStudent community John!? How did you get your start in Project Management?

john-langloisJohn:? Back in 1995, IBM turned to a more discipline project management approach to add more predictability to projects.? So they offered technical leads like myself the opportunity to complete the George Washington University master certificate program in project management. Free education.? Enough said.? Everyone should take up their company’s offer to help them improve their skills.

joshnankivel Josh: Who do you look up to and have learned a lot from in relation to project management?

john-langloisJohn: Adalio Sanchez, a senior manager at IBM.? He asks his direct reports for their opinion and then, gulp, listens to what they say. I’m not making this up.? A senior management like this actually exists.

joshnankivel Josh: What are the top personal attributes that lend themselves to project management?

john-langloisJohn: The ability to speak openly to people.? Tell them your core values and then defend them in a way that doesn’t make the other person too angry.

joshnankivel Josh: What are the top skills a new project manager needs?

john-langloisJohn: The ability to work in a time box.? Deadlines are our friend, but only if we learn how to balance scope and cost to achieve the schedule.? Agile development is an interesting expression of this idea and I recommend that all new project management explore Agile method just to see this principle in action.

joshnankivel Josh: What are the biggest challenges a new project manager faces?

john-langloisJohn: Earning the respect of your team.? Why should they listen to you?? Some of team members may be old enough to be your dad or mom!? The answer to this obstacle involves your ability to effectively articulate your value add to the team.