New Post at AITS: Status Reports News and Information

My latest article for AITS was published today: Status Reports: Separating Information from News.

Cartoon News ReadersIt’s important to think like a journalist when writing status reports: be clear, concise, and engage the reader by creating a narrative. Tell a story that the reader wants to finish. But not everything in your status report should be news—you also need to mix in information, showing trends and data in a digestible format. The goal should be to help your stakeholders have a better understanding of the work planned, completed, and in progress so they can make better decisions and help to champion the project.

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

New PM Articles for the Week of April 9 – 15

New project management articles published on the web during the week of April 9 – 15. And this week’s video: Daniel Engber examines the history of the progress bar—a visual narrative that keeps us engaged and sane, even when it’s not a precise measure of progress. 4 minutes, safe for work.

Must read!

  • Angela Chen interviews Edward Tenner, author of The Efficiency Paradox: What big data can’t do, on the trade-offs inherent in machine intelligence. 8 minutes to read.
  • Christopher Durr brings up the CLOUD (Clarifying Overseas Use of Data) Act signed by President Trump in March, which may have a significant impact on our privacy. 5 minutes to read.
  • Greg Satell recaps IBM’s list of five technologies in development that it expects to impact the world in the next five years. As you might expect, 5 minutes to read.

Established Methods

  • Dmitriy Nizhebetskiy shares a starter list of technical terms for new software development project managers. 7 minutes to read.
  • Michel Dion expounds on the importance and key elements of project governance. 3 minutes to read.
  • Jerry Mulenburg describes the concept and practice of distributed authority—pushing decision making to the level closest to the work being performed. 9 minutes to read.
  • Alexandra Cote curated the opinions of 13 project management practitioners and bloggers (including me) on what makes project management software useful. 10 minutes to read.
  • John Goodpasture contemplates the combination of technical debt and social debt as the wasteful friction that bogs down our projects.
  • Andy Silber dons his Star Trek uniform to point out that we learn more from failure than we do from success. Or at least, we can learn more. 3 minutes to read.

Agile Methods

  • Stefan Wolpers curates his weekly list of Agile content, from the manager role in a Scrum team to Agnostic Agile to time spent in product discovery. 7 outbound links, 3 minutes to read.
  • Lev Barbalat tells the story of how his organization adopted a stripped-down version of Scrum to quickly deliver a high-priority project. 4 minutes to read.
  • Ron Jeffries clarifies who is responsible for resolving issues and problems in Scrum. Yeah, it’s who you think it is. 2 minutes to read.
  • Tamás Török summarizes key insights from the Coding Sans State of Software Development 2018 report. 5 minutes to read, but lots of graphs to study.
  • Henny Portman reviews The Age of Agile, by Stephen Denning. 4 minutes to read.
  • Kiron Bondale considers the art and science of backlog prioritization. 2 minutes to read.

Applied Leadership

  • Alexander Maasik curates his weekly list of leadership articles, from self-delusion to the power of no to whether it’s really “OK to fail.” 5 outbound links, 3 minutes to read.
  • Leah Fessler shares the three interview questions that General Motors CEO Mary Barra asks to test for integrity. 2 minutes to read.
  • Schaun Wheeler describes the Fence Paradox and how it applies to regulating ethical behavior. 8 minutes to read.
  • Susan Mazza distinguishes between collaborating for greatness and colluding for mediocrity. 4 minutes to read.

Technology, Techniques, and Human Behavior

  • Maria Korolov summarizes Verizon’s Data Breach Investigations Report, as massive, in-depth analysis of 53,000 security incidents from around the world. 6 minutes to read.
  • Nishi Grover Garg describes a simplified (but comprehensive) Agile test strategy for cross-environment testing. 6 minutes to read.
  • Laura Lopez offs a few tips on writing, for all you folks who mistakenly think you aren’t writers. 6 minutes to read, then as much time as you need to go write something.

Working and the Workplace

  • Safford Blake makes the case for bringing a portfolio of your past projects to your next project manager job interview. 5 minutes to read.
  • Dorie Clark shares what she learned from rigorously (30-minute increments) tracking how she spent her time for a month. 5 minutes to read.
  • Mike Clayton presents his approach to personal time management, called OATS, which is useful to a manager of other people’s time. 8 minutes to read.

Enjoy!

New PM Articles for the Week of April 2 – 8

New project management articles published on the web during the week of April 2 – 8. And this week’s video: Bones and a full reconstruction of the largest pterosaur (flying dinosaur) ever found are now on display at the Altmuehltal Dinosaur Museum, in a suburb of Stuttgart, Germany. Hey, even if you are tired of Jurassic Park sequels, this is cool!

Must read!

  • Greg Satell explains how General Electric got disrupted—by getting better and better at delivering things their customers needed less and less. 5 minutes to read.
  • Tim Fernholz notes the huge difference between getting good at mass production (Tesla) and getting reliable at reusability (SpaceX). Transitioning to production can be the biggest business risk of all. 5 minutes to read.
  • Graham Kenny clarifies the relationships between objectives, strategies, and actions. 4 minutes to read.

Established Methods

  • Elizabeth Harrin provides the questions you need to ask about GDPR implications before starting a new project. 8 minutes to read.
  • Dmitriy Nizhebetskiy points out the ways in which software development projects are managed differently from other types of projects. 4 minutes to read.
  • Karin Hurt shares the INSPIRE model for project management accountability conversations. 4 minutes to read.
  • Mike Clayton tutors us on project procurement management, as described in the PMBOK and practiced in the public and private sector. 10 minutes to read.
  • Jigs Gaton begins a series on creating custom reports in Microsoft Project, beginning with changes to a delivered report. 7 minutes to read.
  • The folks at Redbooth explain how to conduct a project pre-mortem and post-mortem. And your project doesn’t even have to be dead! 6 minutes to read.

Agile Methods

  • Stefan Wolpers curates his weekly list of Agile content, from the Scrum master end game to the way Scrum and DevOps fit together to the cost of decision making. 2 minutes to read, 5 outbound links.
  • Johanna Rothman makes a distinction between being data-driven and data-informed. Good decision makers should note the difference. 2 minutes to read.
  • Cassandra Leung points out the problems with limiting work in progress (WIP) with creative work—in her example, writing. But it has other applications. 6 minutes to read.
  • Renee Troughton provides a decision tree on when to move to a different format for retrospectives. 2 minutes to read.
  • Luis Goncalves makes his recommendation for an Agile retrospective format, based on Esther Derby and Diana Larsen’s book on the subject. 7 minutes to read.
  • Kent McDonald posts an overview of Liftoff: Start and sustain successful agile teams, by Ainsley Nies and Diana Larsen. Just over a minute to read.

Applied Leadership

  • Alexander Maasik curates his weekly list of project leadership articles, from statistics to servant leadership to expressing your team’s feelings. 3 minutes to read, 5 outbound links.
  • Adam Grant interviews Daniel Coyle, author of The Culture Code: The secrets of highly successful groups. He says that trust is built in a way you wouldn’t expect. 4 minutes to read.
  • Sam begins a series on the way we define “purpose” to achieve alignment within the organization. Part 2 expands that to the customer. Each around 2 minutes.

Technology, Techniques, and Human Behavior

  • Rich Rogers explores two testing cultures: testing as an adaptive investigation and testing as a factory process, or confirmation culture. 6 minutes to read.
  • Simon Schrijver does a deep dive into the details of pair testing. 7 minutes to read.
  • Paul Seaman talks about alternatives to the “given, when, then” acceptance criteria format, specifically conditions of satisfaction. 4 minutes to read.
  • Thomas Redman notes that machine learning tools are only as valuable as the quality of your data. Garbage in, algorithmic garbage out. 5 minutes to read.

Working and the Workplace

  • Eric Torrence examines the ways that Detail-oriented People and Big-picture People need to communicate with each other. 4 minutes to read.
  • Farah Mohammed tries to answer the rhetorical question: What makes a company worth working for? 3 minutes to read.
  • Karen Bridges reviews research linking sleep deprivation to reduced productivity and health problems and then suggests some positive sleep habits. 5 minutes to read.

Enjoy!