Interview with Elizabeth Harrin


People Deliver Projects and We Should Focus on People

Interview with Elizabeth Harrin, FAPM

Award-winning Author, Blogger, Speaker
Creator of A Girl’s Guide to Project Management
United Kingdom

Interviewed by Yu Yanjuan

Journalist, Project Management Review: PMR (China)
International Correspondent, PM World Journal

Introduction to the interviewee

Elizabeth provides project management training and mentoring in-person and online, to individuals and companies. She is a Fellow of the Association for Project Management (APM) and was the youngest female Fellow at the time of her appointment.

Prior to becoming an independent practitioner, Elizabeth spent over 15 years in the corporate world, leading IT and business change projects across financial services and healthcare, including two based in Paris, France. She actively worked to engage stakeholders from across the business to ensure buy-in and support for change.

Elizabeth is an award-winning blogger and author of several books including Handbook of People in Project Management, Shortcuts to Success Project Management in the Real World, Customer-Centric Project Management, etc., several of which are now in subsequent editions. Shortcuts to Success: Project Management in the Real World was shortlisted for the Management Book of the Year Awards in 2014.

Besides mentoring, training and writing, Elizabeth speaks on the topics of stakeholder engagement, project management careers and productivity at events around the world – often via interactive online sessions but also in person. She has spoken for the APM and PMI, IPMA Young Crew and given guest lectures at universities in the UK, US and Belgium.

She also contributes to a variety of other initiatives including sitting on the advisory board for the RISE Being Lean and Seen programme at Liverpool John Moores University.

Read more and get in touch via Elizabeth’s website: https://www.girlsguidetopm.com/



Part I People deliver projects and we should focus on people

Q1.      With COVID-19 spreading globally, virtual work is a trend. As an expert on people engagement, would you please offer some tips on engaging people in virtual teams?

Elizabeth Harrin (Harrin):             I suggest putting a lot of effort into getting to know the team, understanding their work preferences and communication preferences, and tailoring. Personalization is a big deal now because it gets us better results when time is short and stakeholders are distracted, so think about how you can tailor project communication to the format and style that is going to get the best results from each stakeholder.

My project teams have been distributed for the past 13 years – perhaps even longer. We speak on the phone, we use software to communicate, and we collaborate remotely. I suppose what’s different is the lack of informal opportunities to influence and network. You have to be more conscious about getting time with senior stakeholders: no more getting into the office early to catch a director before he / she gets sucked into a day of meetings.

Q2.      You’ve written a book titled “Engaging Stakeholders on Projects”, which is about harnessing people power to benefit projects. Would you please introduce the book?


To read entire interview, click here

Editor’s note: This interview was first published in PMR, Project Management Review magazine, China.  It is republished here with the permission of PMR. The PM World Journal maintains a cooperative relationship with PMR, periodically republishing works from each other’s publications. To see the original interview with Chinese introduction, visit PMR at http://www.pmreview.com.cn/english/

How to cite this interview: PMR (2020). People Deliver Projects and We Should Focus on People: Interview with Elizabeth Harrin; Project Management Review; republished in the PM World Journal, Vol. IX, Issue XI, November. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/pmwj99-Nov2020-Yanjuan-Interview-with-Elizabeth-Harrin.pdf



About the Interviewer

Yu Yanjuan

Beijing, China


Yu Yanjuan (English name: Spring), Bachelor’s Degree, graduated from the English Department of Beijing International Studies University (BISU) in China. She is now an English-language journalist and editor working for Project Management Review (PMR) Magazine and website. She has interviewed over sixty top experts in the field of project management. Before joining PMR, she once worked as a journalist and editor for other media platforms in China. She has also worked part-time as an English teacher in training centers in Beijing. Beginning in January 2020, Spring also serves as an international correspondent for the PM World Journal.

For work contact, she can be

reached via email yuyanjuan2005@163.com  or LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/yanjuanyu-76b280151/.

To view other works by Spring, visit her author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/yu-yanjuan/