Speaker interview: Carson Pierce
Carson’s 15-year career in the digital space has included roles as a web developer, project manager, and production director. He is currently a Senior PM at DDB Canada, where he focuses on delivering digital marketing projects. For the past three years, Carson has been studying the intersect between project management and brain science, aided by his psychologist wife who tells him when he’s wrong. Outside of work, Carson enjoys listening to music that no one else likes and playing hockey poorly. You can read the occasional article on his blog at carsonpierce.com or follow him on Twitter at @carsonpierce.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I'm pretty sure I wanted to be the general manager of a professional hockey team. As it turns out, that's kind of a hard role to get, so I lowered my expectations slightly. In the end I just wanted to work at a desk in an office. Something that wouldn't require getting out of breath or hurt my hands.
What’s your favourite aspect of your current role as Senior Consultant?
My current role is a bit different than most PM jobs. It's more of a "project lead" position, which is like a combination of project manager, account manager, product owner, and digital strategist. I also get to be hands-on with things like information architecture and content strategy, just to keep things interesting.
What do you find to be your biggest work-related challenge, and how do you approach that challenge?
I think it's always going to be people - people are the worst. OK, not really, but they're tricky because they don't follow logical rules and no two are alike. You can't plug them into formulas and get consistent outcomes. You have to take the time to get to know each person as an individual and learn the best way to work with them within a team.
We’re thrilled to have you at the first ever Ground Control! What made you want to be a part of the conference?
Easy: a chance to travel to the UK to hang out with the smartest PMs on the planet. Was that too transparent? Honestly, if you look at the speaker line-up, it's pretty clearly going to be an amazing conference. I'm excited to hear all the presentations and honoured to be a part of it.
Finally, what piece of advice do you wish someone had given you when you first started out in the field?
That this job is really hard and usually pretty thankless and so it's important to surround yourself with other PMs who can support you. You need people who are facing the same challenges as you and will share how they dealt with them; friends who will cheer you on and tell you you did well when no one else thinks to say so.
Don't miss Carson's session on Your brain hates project management!