Wow, its been days since I published- this month turned out to be pretty eventful than I had expected.
This is the last interview of the series with the #PMOT author/s and today meet Lindsay Scott, Director of Arras People as she talks about her new venture of co-authoring a book.
It’s a big milestone to be an author- why did you decide to be one?
My experience has been quite unique. I was approached by a publisher at the beginning of 2011 and asked if I wanted to co-edit a handbook related to the people aspects of project management. The book is called – The Handbook of People in Project Management – and it’s going to be published in2013. Initially when I was approached I was surprised as I’ve never written a book and certainly never edited one before. When I found out that my co-editor was Dennis Lock (the eminent project management author) I felt a little more comfortable and decided to go for it. I was looking forward to the challenge of doing something completely different yet in a field that I felt totally comfortable within.
Both Dennis and I had complete authority to decide the structure of the book and we knew that it was going to be a huge book (63 chapters, 800 pages, featuring over 58 different authors!). The book focuses on the people aspects of project management so we have parts which focus on areas like leadership, team management, conflict and behavioural skills. With my experience working and blogging about project management careers and recruitment I’m contributing to three chapters – on recruitment, pay and redundancy.
What was your schedule like while working full time and writing it?
One of the most interesting things about being part of a commission for a new (and large) book is the schedule and time involved. From the initial commission through to the book being on the shelf will be over two years. During that time I’ve been responsible for setting the topics for the book, approaching authors to write the chapters, reviewing the content and working with Dennis whilst he edits the chapters. Later on in the schedule we will look at the overall layout making sure the chapters are aligned, the index comes together and the overall design.
Fitting in this project alongside a full time job has its ups and downs. I’m lucky in one respect that I do own and manage my own business which is in the project management field. I’m working with people that I already know and reading about subjects that fit into my day to day job anyway. I tend to work via email and social networking sites so can be in touch with authors around the world very easily. The downsides are trying to write the chapters that I’m commissioned to do; there are never enough times in the day. Other authors also suffer from this as most are current practicing project managers too. We’re lucky in one respect that we have a long timeline to work to but I’ve found that project managers work best when they have tight deadlines so often the writing happens in the evening and weekends. The bottom line is, if you want to become an author – whether it is a book or just a chapter – you need to show commitment, manage your time effectively, and create a space in your schedule when you can be creative.
How different is authoring a book from blogging?
As I mentioned I’m also authoring three of the chapters (about 7000 words each) and it has been a great experience switching the style of writing that I would normally use on the blog (How to Manage a Camel). In some ways it has been like being back at University creating a thesis. There has to be a lot of research beforehand, the chapters have to be correctly structured so they ‘flow’ and I’ve been really lucky to have such a good editor in Dennis has he is a great writer with an excellent command of the English language. One of the main differences between writing for the book and writing for the blog is the use of informal language. With blogging I tend to write as I speak so there are a lot of localisms, English sayings or slang. When writing the book these are removed so you really need to be conscious of what your author “voice” sounds like and make sure the grammar is correct. I’ve learned an awful lot so far and I’m still learning a lot!
Name a book/incident/person that inspired you to become an author.
I’d never really given it much serious thought about becoming an author before this opportunity landed in my lap but I’m a dedicated reader and love to read about project management. In the future I’d like to write a full book myself – something that focuses on the career aspects of project management. Some of the best books I’ve enjoyed over the years include; I have to include Dennis Lock’s Project Management book it’s a definite guide to project management with so much detail where its necessary (especially around scheduling and plans). I love the refreshing style of Peter Taylor’s Lazy PM and he’s done a great job of creating a breath of fresh air into project management books. Finally I loved Rework from JasonFried and David Hansson simple to read, great ideas and I wish I’d come up with the layout and concept!
You can find the interviews from this series here.