My Job

Aside

Pulling on the RopeMy job as the project manager is to get everyone pulling on the same end of the rope. That includes those who think the rope should be pushed, those who insist that the rope is inadequate, those with objections in principle to using rope, and the rope vendor. Over the years, I’ve come to accept that it’s OK if some folks just watch everyone else pull, as long as the watchers don’t try to coach the pullers.

New PM Articles for the Week of April 11 – 17

New project management articles published on the web during the week of April 11 – 17. And this week’s video: Crazy Russian Hacker explains that we’ve been splitting firewood wrong all these years. “Safety is number one priority.” Spasibo, moy drug …

Must read!

  • Donald Charles Wynes suggests an interesting way to identify risks: pretend the project is over, and you’re trying to analyze why it failed.
  • Mike Clayton recommends eight techniques for identifying risks. I especially like Brainwriting and Pre-Mortem.
  • Andy Jordan points out another source of risk: a change in leadership.

Established Methods

  • Harry Hall shares a checklist that should help you understand your project, which is the first step in managing it.
  • Glen Alleman presents the Project Breathalyzer: should your project even be on the road?
  • Women Testers has released the April edition of their quarterly online magazine.
  • John Goodpasture contemplates managing schedule slack, based on a TED talk by Tim Urban on procrastination. Just 14 minutes, safe for work.
  • Elizabeth Harrin reviews Simon Moore’s book, “Strategic Portfolio Management.”
  • Elise Stevens interviews Emma Arnaz-Pemberton on how PMO’s can become trusted partners to the business. Just 16 minutes, safe for work.

Agile Methods

  • Alistair Cockburn gives an excellent talk, “The Heart of Agile.” Just 50 minutes, safe for work.
  • Joshua Taylor makes a good point: designers shouldn’t focus on code – they should focus on the business.
  • Henny Portman returns from class with a nice summary of Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) 4.0.
  • Emanuele Passera begins a series on Kanban, with a brief introduction to the terminology.
  • Angela Wick explains the difference between use cases and user stories, and why you should use one or the other but not both.
  • Sandeep Paudel posts a brief user story FAQ. Part one of two.

Applied Leadership

  • Cameron Conaway gets a few ideas about vision from Patti Sanchez, Chief Strategy Officer at Duarte, Inc, a “visual storytelling company” in Silicon Valley.
  • Suzanne Lucas, the Evil HR Lady, explains why hiring is so much more difficult than you might expect.
  • Liane Davey tells us how to deal with chronic complainers.
  • Art Petty explains how to succeed in high-pressure conversations.
  • Allen Ruddock contemplates the nature of motivation.

Pot Pouri

  • Bruce Harpham gives us a comprehensive approach to winning that next promotion.
  • Project Journal has rounded up 30 of the best interview questions to ask of applicants for a project management position.
  • Derek Huether explains how to triage meeting requests.
  • Thomas Carney summarizes six highly regarded productivity systems, and identifies roles that they might work best for (and not).
  • Seth Godin makes the (quality) case for not using free software.

Enjoy!

New PM Articles for the Week of April 4 – 10

New project management articles published on the web during the week of April 4 – 10. And this week’s video: the first stage of the SpaceX Falcon 9 successfully lands on a recovery ship.

Must read!

  • Elizabeth Harrin walks us through her checklist for taking over a project already in flight.
  • Rich Maltzman reports on a project in Colorado that is taking food waste out of the land fill and converting it to energy, compost, and liquid fertilizer, by emulating digestion.
  • Harry Hall recaps each of the risk response strategies for positive and negative risks.

Established Methods

  • Anna Krachey, Nicole Nagel, and Jonathan Lewis extol the virtues of designing in a “War room,” a la Dr. Strangelove.
  • John Goodpasture sticks tongue in cheek to examine our evolving attitude toward failure.
  • Angela Wick looks at two sources of project pressure: tight timelines and a pre-determined solution.
  • Tejasvi Addagada explores ways to integrate risk management principles with data governance.
  • Colin Ellis debunks the notion of “best practices” in project management.
  • Elise Stevens interviews Naomi Caietti on managing stakeholder expectations. Just 15 minutes, safe for work.
  • Bruce Benson on automation: “Every key piece of management and decision-making software I ever developed and used was first a manual process that I personally did.”
  • Glen Alleman copies us on his systems engineering reference book list.

Agile Methods

  • Dave Prior interviews the coolest man in the Agile community – Woody Zuill – on mob programming. Almost an hour, safe for work.
  • Johanna Rothman explores some Agile solutions for geographically distributed teams.
  • Mike Cohn has some recommendations for the Sprint summary document, from content to audience.
  • Nick Schaden answers the question, “How do you structure your design team?”
  • Shalu Tyagi recounts how selected Agile methods were implemented for business functions with a regular operating rhythm: HR, administration, and so on.
  • Craig Smith and Tony Ponton conduct random vox pop interviews at Agile Australia. Just 31 minutes, safe for work.

Applied Leadership

  • Suzanne Lucas makes the case for emotional intelligence being more useful than a high IQ.
  • Alfred Stallion outlines the steps to take in improving your public speaking skills.
  • Michael Girdler reviews some basic approaches for overcoming resistance to change.
  • Eduardo Binda Zane, author of “Effective Decision Making,” looks at applying creativity in business and tells us that brainstorming is overrated.
  • Seth Godin reminds us that we are more powerful than we realize.
  • Adam Shostack explains why the information security slogan, “Think like an attacker,” isn’t actionable.
  • David Barrett interviews Roy Osing, author of “Be Different or Be Dead,” on strategic planning. Just 40 minutes, safe for work.
  • Jeff Collins recommends his five favorite project management podcasts.

Enjoy!