AUTHOR: Daisy Wallace

This week Canadian project manager and blogger, Bruce Harpham, chats to us about working as a team and budgeting for a project.

Picture of Bruce Harpham


How did you start writing for Project Management Hacks?

“I established Project Management Hacks in June 2014 to explore my interest in the field and related topics in leadership and productivity.”


What key attributes do you feel a leader must possess?

“A leader must possess the following qualities - vision, understanding and empathy of the people they lead, and honesty.”


What things frustrate you when it comes to working in a team?

“It can be frustrating when people miss meetings or are late to meetings because everything slows down and has to be repeated again.”


How do you advise avoiding project scope creep when it comes to budget?

“It depends on the project. In some projects deadlines and quality trump budget. 

“For example, regulatory projects at banks face a high degree of pressure to meet the demands of regulatory authorities.”


How do you approach the beginning of a project?

“I like to start with the big picture. 

“I think it is important to set aside technical details and ask - what will make the customer happy?"


Are you more likely to hire someone in a project team who has a qualification?

“Ultimately, I would prefer a candidate with the PMP qualification

“But decisions are rarely that cut and dried, because industry experience and technical skills are also very important alongside a certification.”


As a financial analyst, what key details do project teams frequently overlook when it comes to budgeting and expenditure?

“I sometimes find that project teams focus very heavily on costs. 

“I think there is room to emphasise the benefits of projects to a greater degree. 

“Project cost alone means little. 

“If we spend $10 million on a project and it yields a $100 million return, I'm more excited about the return side of the equation.”


On the Project Management Hacks blog constant development is encouraged – what is meant by this?

“It is important to seek out new ideas and skills to grow. 

“I recently read in The Atlantic that 23% of Americans read no books at all in 2014.

“I would like to imagine that Canada and the UK are better but I somehow doubt it.

“I advocate learning partly for the love of knowledge but that's not the only reason. 

“If you don't read and learn new skills, you will fall behind those that make the effort to stay up to date.”


If you could offer individuals who are new to project management three pieces of advice, what would they be?

“Relationship skills are incredibly important; your ability to work well with others will outlast any specific technical skill you have.

“Assume positive intent in the workplace and everywhere else.

“Give back to your network of friends and coworkers by staying in touch, offering help and doing favours.”


Who inspires you?

“People inspire me for different reasons and I think it’s important to seek inspiration from a number of different people.

“However, I’m very inspired by Winston Churchill's leadership and speaking skills.”

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