New Post at AITS: Complexity, Profitability, and Risk Management

My latest article for AITS was published today: Complexity, Profitability, and Risk Management.

There is generally a strong correlation between risk and reward, and complexity tends to drive risk. Consequently, project managers often find themselves with endeavors that push the boundaries of their organizations’ ability to deliver. While Agile methods have been shown to help deal with ambiguity, they aren’t a cure-all for complex problems. A rigorous approach to risk management, from early identification and assessment to aggressive development of containment strategies, is the key to realizing those rewards.

As always, thanks for taking the time to read my stuff.

New PM Articles for the Week of June 11 – 17

New project management articles published on the web during the week of June 11 – 17. Beginning with this week, I’ve made some changes to the topic headings. Without a doubt, Agile methods are now firmly established, so rather than artificially differentiating them, I’ll try another approach—distinguishing between managing projects and managing software development. I’ve also renamed the first and fifth sections. I think these labels will be more meaningful but let me know if it needs further tweaking. And this week’s video: Elizabeth Harrin interviews Simon Harris on how to thrive as an “accidental” project manager. 22 minutes, safe for work.

Business Acumen and Strategy

  • Craig Walker, an attorney with lots of experience in mergers and acquisitions, points out some of the potential pitfalls. 4 minutes to read.
  • Deena Zaidi reviews three big data breaches that we first heard about in 2017, even though they might have happened years before. Lesson learned: the coverup is more embarrassing than the breach. 5 minutes to read.
  • Dave Gershgorn reports that Amazon has already begun automating its white-collar decision-making jobs. 2 minutes to read.

Managing Projects

  • Johanna Rothman tries to visualize the organizational constraints that affect our projects. 3 minutes to read.
  • Anthony Mersino explains why most project managers don’t make good Scrum Masters. Yes, it’s a generalization, but there might be something to it. 7 minutes to read
  • Jerry Doucette shares his assessment scorecard for entering consulting / coaching assignments. It can help to understand the organization before you try to change it. 5 minutes to read.
  • Kiron Bondale observes that “traditional” funding models don’t work as well for agile delivery. 2 minutes to read.
  • Leigh Espy gives us a tip for keeping multiple projects all moving forward. 3 minutes to read, plus a 2-minute video, safe for work.
  • Renee Adair concludes her series on six current trends in project management. 2 minutes to read.

Managing Software Development

  • Stefan Wolpers curates his weekly list of Agile content, from metrics that matter to good and bad pressure to why ‘Yes’ doesn’t scale. 7 outbound links, 3 minutes to read.
  • Ian Mitchell addresses something not found in the Scrum Guide: who sends out the meeting invitations?
  • Daniel Elizalde interviews Rich Mironov on his four laws of software economics and his advice to IoT product managers. Podcast, 43 minutes, safe for work.
  • Tamás Török gets six expert opinions on testing distributed systems—both methods and tools—and how their architectures drive their methods. 11 minutes to read.
  • Michael Bolton answers the rhetorical question: which test cases should I automate? 4 minutes to read.
  • Emma Lilliestam describes a way to integrate security requirements with regression testing. 3 minutes to read.

Applied Leadership

  • Alexander Maasik curates his weekly list of leadership articles, from teaching the stars of tomorrow to an ambitious person’s take on work-life balance. 3 minutes to read.
  • Kevin Eikenberry and Wayne Turmel share the key points from their new book, “The Long-Distance Leader.” 4 minutes to read.
  • Alex Novkov begins a series on managing a lean team. 3 minutes to read.
  • Lukas Klose explains the “diamond” model of participatory decision making. 6 minutes to read.

Research and Insights

  • Isaiah Sarju gives us a primer on Malware, from the different types to how we can avoid it. This isn’t just about viruses anymore. 6 minutes to read.
  • Georgia Frances King interviews sleep researcher Daniel Gartenberg on how much sleep we actually need—apparently, more than we’re getting. 13 minutes to read.
  • Corinne Putill reports on recent research that indicates that the sunk cost fallacy keeps us tied to other people’s dumb decisions as much as our own. 2 minutes to read.

Working and the Workplace

  • Pawel Brodzinski reflects on the nature of respect, and asks: Can one be too respectful? 5 minutes to read.
  • Robyn McLeod shares her “4P” framework for preparing to have an important conversation. 2 minutes to read.
  • Art Markman points out three ways to identify cultural differences on a global team. 3 minutes to read.


New Post at MPUG: Add a Calculated Status Indicator to MS Project

My latest article for MPUG was published today: Add a calculated status indicator to detail tasks in MS Project.

This is an update to one of the most popular articles I’ve ever written. It shows how to add Red / Amber / Green stoplights to the detail-level tasks in an MS Project plan, based on the task Start and Finish dates and the % Done fields. This is an abbreviated version of a chapter in the second edition of my book, Microsoft Project Hacks, due out later this year. I’ll announce here when it’s available.

As always, thanks for taking the time to read my stuff.