New PM Articles for the Week of November 17 – 23

Balloon BeyondNew project management articles published on the web during the week of November 17 – 23. We give you a high-level view so you can read what interests you. Recommended:

PM Best Practices

  • Seth Godin considers how the project scope is a bit like a bushel of apples. I guess Forrest Gump already did the “box of chocolates” routine.
  • Adriana Beal explores the Peter Drucker notion that, if you keep doing what made you successful, you will eventually fail.
  • Don Kim explains the relationship between Kaizen, an operations management incremental improvement process, and Kaikaku, a project delivering radical change.
  • Bruce Benson notes that groups get better over time, only by learning from their experience – including the negative experiences.
  • Ron Rosenhead recounts an anecdote that illustrates how stakeholder engagement can lead to real improvements.
  • Nick Pisano points out the pivotal role of the integrated master plan in complex programs and project portfolios.
  • Kenneth Darter shares his checklist for preparing to begin a really big project.
  • Pat Weaver summarizes an article he contributed to, on the topic of governance versus management.
  • Harry Hall recommends an approach to selecting and initiating projects.
  • Elizabeth Harrin reports from the Synergy 2014 conference, summarizing three presentations and some audience participation music-making.
  • Ryan Ogilvie looks at the details of implementing that IT department holiday tradition: the production change freeze.

Agile Methods

  • Pallavi Kelapure and Vikas Gupta detail their approach to applying rapid deployment principles in an ERP implementation.
  • Johanna Rothman offers some practical approaches to breaking your near-epics into smaller stories.
  • Deepak Joshi walks us through a simple example of user role modeling, to show why the technique is so useful.
  • Derek Huether proposes an innovation in backlog grooming: Progression Workshops, using a subset of the team, referred to as the Product Owner Team.


  • Glen Alleman provides links to eight resources for methods to estimate non-trivial software projects, based on historical metrics.
  • Mike Cohn disputes the dissing of so-called “vanity metrics.”
  • John Goodpasture explains what a “figure of merit” is, and how it can be useful.
  • Rich Maltzman leverages an old post by Mounir Ajam to show that project success includes things you can’t measure until well after the project is complete.

Podcasts and Videos

  • Cornelius Fichtner interviews Jack Ferraro on the competencies required to drive strategic initiatives. Just 30 minutes, safe for work.
  • Paul Ritchie contemplates how the way we name our projects influences the way our stakeholders and team feel about them. Just 16 minutes, safe for work.

Human Behavior in Groups

  • Lynda Bourne summarizes the Cohen-Bradford “Influence without Authority” model.
  • Pawel Brodzinski provides a leader’s view of the movement to reduce the role of management, and shares Lunar Logic’s two rules that govern their approach.
  • Peter Saddington notes the holes in the “personality testing” model of candidate selection.
  • Bruce Harpham lists some proactive methods to manage project conflict, and your reactions to it.


New Article at AITS on Why Perfection Sucks

AITSBloggingAllianceI’ve joined forces with the Accelerating IT Success (AITS) Blogging Alliance. I’m really happy to join them – they have a great site and a growing number of great authors. I expect to contribute one article per month; the first one just went live.

There’s Nothing Good About Perfection in Software Quality

Naturally, I’ll still publish my weekly round-ups and other content here at The Practicing IT Project Manager. I’ll post a note here and in all the usual places when each article comes out. Thanks for giving it a read, and I hope you also take a look at the articles by Bruce, Harry, Michel, Nick, and Ryan.

Get My Free e-Book: MS Project Hacks

ToolsI’ve released my new e-Book, MS Project Hacks in PDF format, along with sample files for MS Project 2007 / 2010 and MS Project 2013, available for download under the My Books top level menu. It’s a compilation of polished versions of seven articles previously published here, including various improvements suggested by readers just like you. So if you’ve ever wondered whether it was worth your time to leave me a comment or send me an EMail, the answer is yes! Be sure to post your review or suggestions with a comment on the My Books: Microsoft Project Hacks page.

Here are the chapters:

  1. Add Holidays to the MS Project Calendar – Start by accounting for all of your non-working days. It’s embarrassing when someone points out that a key task is scheduled to complete on a national holiday.
  2. Crafting Formulas for Calculated Fields – You use Excel because you can calculate values from what is in other cells. Project is useful in the same way.
  3. Add a Current Tasks Flag – I originally created this to be able to extract a list of tasks in progress or about to begin, for review at team meetings. It has since proven to be incredibly useful.
  4. Add a Status Indicator to Detail Tasks – Show a calculated Red / Yellow / Green indicator on tasks in progress. This is by any measure the most popular article I’ve ever written.
  5. Add a Negative Total Slack Flag – If you have a task with a fixed end date, you probably need this in order to debug your critical path.
  6. Track Qualitative Risk – Most risks are retired during the course of a project. This approach incorporates elements of your risk register into your schedule.
  7. Add a Cutover Weekend Calendar – Is your team performing one or two tasks over a weekend? Here’s how to represent it in Project without distorting the schedule for tasks that follow.
  8. Additional Resources

After you read the first two chapters, you’ll have the background needed to skip to whatever other chapters interest you.