Advice to New (and Established) Bloggers

Aside

At this writing, I’ve posted over 420 weekly round-ups of content that I think would be of interest to IT project managers. Without counting, I’d guess about 9,000 links. Curating so many lists has naturally led me to some opinions on what makes content interesting. So, here are a few thoughts for my fellow bloggers and other content producers.

  • Visualize your audience and keep them in mind when choosing topics. Write about Why and When and How they can do something useful. Create value for them
  • I generally leave out generic stuff that reads like it was bought from internet copywriters or placed by some marketing team. Be original
  • I also bypass the topics that have already been done to death. Start a new dialog
  • Good search engine optimization technique certainly has value, but it’s no substitute for good content. Don’t let SEO get in the way of what you want to communicate
  • Use facts and diagrams. Provide links to reputable sources. Show your math
  • Don’t make unsupportable claims. Don’t present conventional wisdom as if it were controversial and don’t present the controversial as settled. Maintain your integrity
  • Read your own drafts like a skeptic. Aspire to be valued as a trusted resource
  • Let people know who you are—put your name on your work. If you have a good reason to post anonymously, you can use a pseudonym
  • Post an About page with your biography, a good headshot, and an EMail address that you don’t mind being exposed to the general public
  • Turn on comments on your blog posts. You can meet some interesting people that way
  • I took a lot of the pictures embedded in my posts, including the three on this page. Stock photos are fine, but be willing to expose your personality to your readers. Be willing to be liked
  • You are building your brand. Be mindful of what you say, but express your opinions in a way that will make your readers think. Be interesting
  • It’s good to have well-founded opinions, and most people like reading well-written, opinionated content. Try to say something profound and memorable
  • I regularly include links to opinions I disagree with, and frequently adjoin articles with differing or supplementary opinions in a “point / counter-point” sequence
  • “Omit needless words.” Read The Elements of Style, by Strunk and White
  • Use your spell checker and grammar checker. There are many bloggers whose work would benefit tremendously from proper editing
  • Write clearly—ambiguity is for Christopher Nolan films
  • Sell the good stuff; you don’t need to discredit the alternatives. Take the high road
  • Be insightful. Aspire to be quotable
  • Good expository writing is well-structured. It provides some history, explores the issues and alternatives, convinces, stimulates, and calls to action. Especially if the action is to compose a rebuttal. Aspire to start a debate or even a ruckus

Thanks to all of you who take the time to produce good content—it’s appreciated. And thanks to everyone who reads these round-ups and the other content I post here. I get a lot of enjoyment out of writing this stuff and interacting with the readers. Peace be with you!

New PM Articles for the Week of October 8 – 14

New project management articles published on the web during the week of October 8 – 14. And this week’s video: Celeste Headlee’s TEDx talk on how to have a good conversation, even with people you profoundly disagree with. 12 minutes, safe for work, and a tip of the hat to Alison Mai at Steelray for the link.

Business Acumen and Strategy

  • Vanessa Bates Ramirez reports on a new robot-staffed warehouse in Tel Aviv that fills orders in under 5 minutes and fits in 6,000 square feet of floor space. 2 minutes to read.
  • Rebecca Addison notes the growing use of Cobots—robots design to collaborate on tasks with humans, rather than work independently. Like Amazon’s warehouse robots. 4 minutes to read.
  • Shahab Arif updates us on how automotive manufacturers are speeding up the production line with automation, assisted by humans. 7 minutes to read.

Managing Projects

  • Leigh Espy tutors us on the Critical to Quality tree, a requirements elicitation tool to help you get your customer from general to specific success criteria. 4 minutes to read.
  • Mike Clayton explains the value of a quantitative business case as a decision-making tool. Video, 5 minutes, safe for work.
  • Tony Adams reminds us to keep the stakeholders engaged during a long, long project. 3 minutes to read.
  • Toby Elwin tells us why we shouldn’t let a skeptic drive business change. 3 minutes to read.
  • Michael Wharton shows how to estimate annual budgets for your department projects using Project Online of Project Server. 4 minutes to read.
  • Cornelius Fichtner interviews PMO consultant Hussain Bandukwala on setting up a fully functioning PMO in 100 days. Podcast, 44 minutes, safe for work.

Managing Software Development

  • Stefan Wolpers curates his weekly list of Agile content, from what constitutes a team to coaching to mindsets. 7 outbound links, 3 minutes to read.
  • John Yorke begins sharing his assignment to “create, build, and run a virtual office comprising of cross-functional teams that create software”—sustainably and profitably. 4 minutes to read.
  • Johanna Rothman concludes her series on creating a product-based development organization. Part 5 and 6 are here; each has links to the earlier posts. Total for the series about 25 minutes to read.
  • The Clever PM addresses prioritization of product feature development from three perspectives: value, difficulty, and instinct. 4 minutes to read.
  • Nishi Grover Garg explains how to optimize your hardening sprint to produce the best possible quality before release. 5 minutes to read.
  • Amir Ghahrai insists that the problem with modern QA is the retreat from manually exercising the software. You can’t automate unless you identify the scenarios. 9 minutes to read.

Applied Leadership

  • Grand CanyonAlexander Maasik curates his weekly list of leadership articles, from OKR’s to AQ to making a dent in the universe. 5 outbound links, 3 minutes to read
  • Melissa Boggs reminds us that exhaustion is not a status symbol. Well-managed teams work at a sustainable pace. 3 minutes to read.
  • William Malsam coaches us on delivering constructive criticism—expressing a valid and well-reasoned opinion. 5 minutes to read.
  • Dan Rockwell notes the dangers of being over-helpful—in other words, doing someone’s job for them. 2 minutes to read.

Research and Insights

  • Gabrielle Coppola reports on a new line of R&D for autonomous cars: helping AI predict what human pedestrians are about to do—what human drivers do intuitively. 4 minutes to read.
  • Mary Haskett help us understand face recognition—biometric identification of a live face image, validated against a stored (enrolled) image of that person. 5 minutes to read.
  • Adam Shostack reviews a GAO report on the Equifax breach and shares his own follow-up questions. 2 minutes to read.

Working and the Workplace

  • Heather Landy curated a list of the top ten Quartz at Work stories about life at the office, from awkward eye contact to dorky motivational posters to cushy office perks as a form of oppression. 5 minutes to read.
  • Rebecca Knight explains how to stay focused in a noisy open office, from setting group expectations to noise-canceling headphones. 8 minutes to read.
  • Lisette Sutherland reports on five new tools for remote work and collaboration at a distance. Podcast, 8 minutes, safe for work.

Enjoy!

About the Weekly Round-up

Aside

I’ve been curating a weekly round-up of new content of interest to project managers since July 2010. With a couple of exceptions, I’ve managed to maintain that weekly schedule since I started. For all of you who read these lists and the linked content, and especially those who leave comments to the authors (we treasure the dialog), thanks.

I get inquiries from time to time from people who would like to add a post on their blog or LinkedIn or a corporate website to my weekly roundup. Naturally, I want to encourage new bloggers and give greater visibility to good content. To that end, let me explain how I curate the weekly list:

  • My publishing cycle is to post at 21:00 Sunday evening US Pacific Time (GMT-8), based on whatever appeared during the preceding seven days. We observe Daylight Savings Time on the same schedule as the rest of the US
  • It is difficult for me to stay current with the 200 or so sites I follow, so I use Feedly as my RSS reader. If your site doesn’t offer RSS, I probably won’t notice your latest post
  • If something is dated a day or two before the start of the week, but I believe it should be seen by my readers, I’ll link to it. Anything older than that is sand through the hourglass
  • I typically review 200 – 250 articles, podcasts, videos, and blog posts each week and link to the best of them, in my admittedly subjective opinion. YMMV
  • No one gets two links in the same week. Even if you wrote the two best articles of the week, I’m only going to send the audience toward one of them
  • I limit the list to 25 lines each week and group them by broad topic areas, to facilitate cherry-picking by the readers. Estimated reading time is based on roughly 250 words per minute
  • I include a link to a video or audio recording each week. Usually, it’s related to project management in some way, but I sometimes link to stuff that appeals to my off-beat sense of humor and musical tastes. Mea culpa

Note that some links may take you to a site that limits the number of page views if you aren’t a subscriber. If you’ve hit the limit but still want to read the article, it may be possible to access the URL by opening an incognito window. That said, if you are getting good information from a site, consider subscribing. And while you’re at it, support public broadcasting in your area.

I maintain a Blogroll on the main page of this site, listing links to sites I think my readers should be aware of. I remove links from the list when they appear to be inactive and add new links when it seems appropriate. Most of the sites on my Blogroll don’t link to this site, but it’s not intended to be a quid pro quo. That said, I believe in the power of community, and those who want to be read should be actively working to grow the community.

While I have in the past published articles by practitioners on this site, I’ve discontinued that practice. I don’t want post product placement puff pieces or publish “high-quality content written by [blah, blah].” I do book reviews if asked and occasionally post new practitioner articles on topics I haven’t already covered. If you have suggestions or feedback, please leave me a comment or drop me an Email.

As always, thanks for reading my stuff.