Copyright is to the respective authors. Published here October 2020.

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Here is a record of an interesting and valuable exchange of emails in which Rick Mann raises some serious questions about project management, and Max attempts a serious response. Rick Mann, by the way, is Director of Development & Construction so he is already well-informed about project management. But first, let us show how it all came about.

On 1 Jun 2020, at 19:59, Rick Mann <> wrote:

Hello Mr. Wideman,

My name is Rick and I've recently enrolled in the PMP Certification Course offered by the Sauder School for Business at UBC. I read that you were instrumental in guiding the core competencies of the course as well as the PMI. We are nearing the end of the course and one of the capstone assignments is to interview a Project Manager Professional. I was hoping that if you are available, you would do me the honor of responding yourself. I figured if I'm going to interview someone, I might as well start with the man that started it all.

I would really relish the opportunity to pick your brain on what it takes to succeed as a Project Manager as well as hear about some of your experiences in the field — please let me know if you're available later this week. We can work with whichever mode of communication suits you: telephone, email, videoconference, etc. I wouldn't take more than 20-25 minutes of your time and would be very grateful for the opportunity.

Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to hearing from you.

Rick Mann
Director, Development & Construction

To which Max responded:

Hello Rick,

Thank you for your Email and telephone call.

I would be happy to try to answer your questions. However, I much prefer for you to set your questions down in an email, so I can give some careful thought to the answers. Not only that, but you will have to give careful thought on how you ask the questions and you will have a written record of the answers — saves you writing down what you think I said!

Some of my answers may simply be references to texts on my web site. I believe in saving words.

Good luck with the rest of the course — I would love to know some of the things that it is teaching you — not because I want to plagiarize but because I would like to know the latest thinking and whether it is sound.

R. Max Wideman

Rick Replied:

Wonderful! Thank you kindly for taking the time. I will prepare some questions and email them over later this week.

I really appreciate your taking the time out of your schedule for this interview.

A few days later Rick Mann wrote:

Hello again, Mr. Wideman.

Once more, thank you for taking the time to conduct this e-interview. I can only imagine the value of your time and I really appreciate you sparing some for me.

I've had a chance to visit your website and I've bookmarked it for future reference. There is an entire anthology of PM musings, articles, tips and wisdoms that would take me years to digest properly. Based on some of what I had time to read, and some other of my own curiosity, I've prepared the following list of questions.

Please feel free to go into as much or little detail as you feel comfortable:

Here, Rick posed five significant questions that are repeated in the subsequent Q & A to follow. At the time I was particularly busy so there was something of a delay here. However, subsequently, Rick was good enough to record the following in his next email:

Mr. Wideman,

Thank you again for taking the time for my interview. I am truly humbled and inspired. Below is the final version of the interview if you care to look it over. I took excerpts out of the articles you referenced for context on my assignment.

I sincerely wanted to thank you again for your time. It truly means a lot to me:

Below you will see my interview with R. Max Wideman, P.Eng. Mr. Wideman has over 50 years of Project Management experience and has accumulated much of his learnings and experiences on his website (

Mr. Wideman is widely known for his contributions to the PM industry, especially when in the 1980s he led a team of 80 PMI volunteers to create the PMBOK and was published in 1987. Mr. Wideman has an extensive list of awards and achievements throughout his illustrious career including being awarded the Person of the Year by the PMI in 1986 as well as being recognized for Distinguished Contribution by the PMI in 1985.

I'm not going to lie, I was nervous reaching out to him and am humbled that he accepted my interview request.


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