5 Easy Questions for Kathy Schwalbe

On this blog I have published interviews with Steve McConnell, Johanna Rothman, Alistair Cockburn, Robert L. Glass, Scott Berkun, Mary Poppendieck and Grady Booch. Everytime I ask the same five questions, and everytime I am pleasantly surprised by the answers I get.

Kathy Schwalbe is the author of Information Technology Project Management, listed at #50 on the Top 100 Best Software Engineering Books, Ever. Apart from being an author and consultant, she is Professor at Augsburg College in Minneapolis. She is sometimes introduced as a Ph.D., PMP, and mother of three. Kathy Schwalbe has her own site at www.kathyschwalbe.com.

These are the five questions I asked Kathy, and the answers that she gave me…

1. What has been the toughest challenge in your past?

I've had several. Both of my parents fled communist countries, so I'm a first generation American. We didn't have a lot of money growing up, but we had a lot of love. My parents taught us to work hard and go for what we wanted. For example, I loved playing soccer as a child (and played until just this year due to knee problems). My 8th grade science teacher taught the boys' team at my high school. I kept telling him that I wanted to play on the team. Well, when Title IX came out, they had to let the girls try out, and I was the only one to make and start on the team. I was also the first child in my family (I'm number three out of seven kids) to go to college. My parents didn't have any money to give me for college, but I got several scholarships and worked a few jobs to pay for it. I was also the first woman to earn the rank of full professor in the Department of Business Administration at my college just this past year. It seems the challenges never end, but when you really want something, you have to go for it!

2. What is the main source of inspiration for what you do?

I never thought I would teach and write. I was always much more a "doer" than a "talker" and hated those English courses back in high school. But now I see how important my work is. I can help a lot of people reach their career goals or just save some time teaching or managing projects so they can do other things. I love getting feedback from students, faculty, and project managers in the field who have read my books. I also look forward to those royalty checks! 😉

3. What activity should be on every manager's daily list?

Look at the big picture, take care of yourself, help others, and enjoy life. I know that's more than one activity, but you should do each of them every single day.

4. What can we learn from you in the near future?

How to balance work and family. I've been doing that for a long time, but I think most people still need to learn how to do that, and I keep finding more ways to achieve more at work and enjoy my family life more. Of course it gets easier as my kids get older!

5. What is more interesting than software development?

Lots of things! Playing soccer, golf, tennis, etc. Spending time with loved ones. Traveling. Reading a good book. Watching a funny movie. Quilting. Using your creativity in other ways.

Gotta head out to play golf now!

Well, these are the answers given by Kathy Schwalbe. I hope you liked them!

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