TimeCamp Lists the Top Project Management Influencers

The folks at TimeCamp took some time out from developing and supporting their cloud-based project time tracking and invoicing solution to compile a list of the top project management influencers. The list includes academics and practitioners, coaches and consultants, bloggers and authors, working from locations on five continents.

If you use an RSS reader to keep track of your favorite content sources (I use Feedly), it’s worth scanning their list in order to see if there’s someone else you should follow.

Thanks for including me on your list,TimeCamp! And thanks to all of the other folks who take the time to share what they’ve learned.

Get Ready to Manage an Autonomous Vehicle Project

Google Driverless Car

Google prototype

The same people who funded the research that led to the Internet, the U.S.government, are about to invest $3.9 billion in research on autonomous vehicle development. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx appeared at the Detroit Auto Show to announce a budget proposal that will spread the funding over ten years, and “accelerate the development and adoption of safe vehicle automation through real-world pilot projects.”

“We are on the cusp of a new era in automotive technology with enormous potential to save lives, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and transform mobility for the American people,” said Secretary Foxx. And everyone else, since consumer technology developed in the U.S. will be sold all over the world, as it always has been.

Autonomous Tech

Take a moment to think about the technologies that are converging to produce a vehicle which drives itself, reliably and efficiently, safely and affordably. From visual and auditory recognition (not just speech, but sounds) to machine learning, continuous risk assessment and management to efficient route selection. GPS is about navigation; extend that to lane-selection strategy. And then there’s peer-to-peer networking, based on location, direction, and velocity. If debris falls onto the road, nearby cars will caution other vehicles headed toward it, well before they can see it, and alert a specialized vehicle that will automatically remove it, quickly and safely, without interrupting the flow of traffic.

Changing When Things Get Done

Rush hour traffic will be reduced, because more activities will become asynchronous. Cars will top off their own gas tanks while you’re sleeping, schedule their own maintenance, drive to Jiffy Lube, and return. Retail stores and supermarkets will have their stock delivered and gas stations will have their storage tanks topped up off-hours, with no humans involved. Your car will coordinate with the vehicle delivering your groceries, so it arrives at your home at the same time you do. Residential snail mail and package delivery will occur overnight. Airport parking lots will be re-purposed. Uber will need a new business model.

The Opportunities for Project Managers

This isn’t just about auto manufacturers. There will be boundless opportunities for technology project managers who understand these applications and how they will be used by everyone from the military to school districts, trucking firms to fire departments, construction companies to emergency medical services companies. We understand the potential information security issues and how to non-destructively test software-intensive systems. We get the complexities of scheduling, issue and risk management, and reporting progress on developmental systems. We know how to engage stakeholders and deal with compliance across multiple jurisdictions. We understand how the economics, the ethical issues, and the organization’s strategic goals need to drive the decisions we present to our sponsors. This is just an extension of what we’ve been doing for some time now, but the impact of this work will be global.

Someday soon, you may have a chauffeur named Watson. Let’s help him get to work.

Dr. Dobb’s Journal Shutting Down

For those of us who started out as programmers, Dr. Dobb’s Journal has long been a touchstone. Beginning as a newsletter, then a monthly magazine, and finally a web site, it has been a revered source of design principles, algorithms, and sample code demonstrating excellent practice for nearly forty years. But United Business Media is “sunsetting” DoctorDobbs.com. It certainly wasn’t due to a decline in the relevance or quality of the content. Editor Andrew Binstock’s farewell makes it clear that advertising revenues were sinking below the point necessary to survive, even in a year with a record number of page hits. It was a business decision that reflects what’s happening across the internet: vendors moving their spending from website ads to more fruitful options.

The Dr. Dobb’s site will still be up, and all of the links will still work, but no new content will be generated after the end of 2014. A tip of the hat goes out to all of the programmers who shared their knowledge for so many years, just for the joy of coding and the bragging rights of a DDJ by-line, and the editors who kept it all together. I won’t say that you were doing God’s work, but you sure made my work easier. Peace be with you.