New PM Articles for the Week of January 11 – 17

New project management articles published on the web during the week of January 11 – 17. This week’s favorite video: what happens when you reply to Spam – thanks, Garry, for the link! Recommended:

Must read!

  • Jeff Hawkins and Donna Lubinsky (remember the Palm Pilot and Treo?) explain the nuances of different approaches to machine intelligence and learning.
  • Bernard Marr introduces us to the future of short-range, wireless networking technology. Called LiFi, it’s essentially an LED that can transmit 224 GB per second. The mind boggles …
  • Coert Visser summarizes three phenomena which have ramifications for self-assessment: the Dunning-Kruger effect, the curse of knowledge, and the raised bar.

Established Methods

  • Brad Rach explains the bus rule: “Being a good project manager means I could get hit by a bus tomorrow and no one would notice.”
  • Cornelius Fichtner interviews Risk Doctor David Hillson on his presentation, “Weight Loss for Risky Projects.” Just 17 minutes, safe for work.
  • Harry Hall lists the topics to include in a risk management plan.
  • Emily Sue Tomac shows us two lists: then ten most frequently researched project management tools on TrustRadius, and the ten top rated. Note the lack of correlation.
  • John Goodpasture draws our attention to John Higbee’s “Program Success Probability Summary,” a colorful dashboard with trend indicators. Mental wheels are turning …
  • Elizabeth Harrin starts her new series, Inspiring Women in Project Management, by interviewing Caroline Crewe-Read. Stonehenge – seriously?!?
  • Cesar Abeid interviews Adam Nesrallah, a former spy, on applying intelligence gathering skills to communication. Just 39 minutes, safe for work.
  • Elise Stevens interviews Andrew Pearce on establishing and maintaining engagement with your stakeholders. Just 21 minutes, safe for work.
  • Nick Pisano continues his ruminations on materiality and prescriptiveness, as they apply to contractual relationships.

Agile Methods

  • Bob Tarne summarizes the concepts of divergence and convergence (as they apply to generating and selecting ideas) from Tim Brown’s “Change by Design.”
  • Neil Killick explains why MYOB plans to hire full-time Agile coaches in Melbourne, Sydney, and Auckland, and how they plan to leverage them.
  • Henny Portman shares his Prince2 Agilometer, an interesting tool for assessing the balance between structure and agility.
  • Craig Smith interviews Tom and Mary Poppendieck on Agile, Lean, rapid feedback, culture, and leadership. Just 43 minutes, safe for work.
  • The Clever PM tells how to get organizational alignment with the product road map.

Applied Leadership

  • Art Petty has begun a new series, called the manager’s guide to understanding strategy. This looks very good, even by Art’s standards.
  • Johanna Rothman concludes her series on how to leverage certifications in the hiring process without drowning out the more important stuff.
  • Suzanne Lucas gets us up to speed on a new trend in recruiting: No Resumes. Candidates are assessed on the quality of what they produce when given an assignment.
  • Colin Ellis explores the balancing act between leadership, organizational cultural, and project management methods.
  • James Clear explains how to cure Akrasia (what the ancient Greeks called procrastination).


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.

New PM Articles for the Week of January 4 – 10

New project management articles published on the web during the week of January 4 – 10. Recommended:

Must read!

  • Bruce Harpham shares part of his reading list from the last year, and urges us to make reading a key part of our professional development program in 2016.
  • Bob Tarne has been reading “Change by Design,” by Tim Brown. He’s found some interesting insights on the nature of constraints: feasibility, viability, and desirability.
  • Gurjeet Singh gives us some background on machine learning: what it is, what it can do, and what we should expect for the next few years.

Established Methods

  • Michel Dion notes that not every project is an IT project, even when they involve software.
  • Deb Schaffer starts every project with the same question: “What does project success look like?”
  • Johanna Rothman questions the value of certifications and credentials in hiring.
  • Steve Olson extracts project management insights from his long experience in contract management.
  • Brad Rach points out a source of risk we might not have considered: the project manager.
  • Nancy Settle-Murphy shares some techniques for establishing a compelling presence in conference calls, where they can’t see your body language.
  • Mario Trentim has prepared a list of questions to ask for those organizations that want to start a PMO.
  • Tim Wasserman looks into the causes and effects of the gap between organizational strategy and executing on that strategy.
  • Cornelius Fichtner interviews Peter Monkhouse on preventing failure by communicating based on how the project fits into the organization strategy. Just 16 minutes, safe for work.

Agile Methods

  • The Clever PM reviews the twelve guiding principles listed in the Agile Manifesto.
  • Jonathan Schneider presents two scenarios for Agile transformation: one based on compliance, and one based on empowering teams in a pilot.
  • John Gilroy interviews Jesse Fewell on how Agile methods are being adopted by U.S. federal government agencies. Just 42 minutes, safe for work.
  • Tom McFarlin recommends a pragmatic approach: don’t over-engineer your solutions.
  • Angela Wick brings a business analyst’s eye to Agile methods.

Applied Leadership

  • Gurpreet Singh presents an interesting metaphor for leadership: The Listening Tree.
  • Mike Clayton tutors us on influence and persuasion, including a list of persuasion tactics from his book, “How to Influence in Any Situation.”
  • Art Petty suggests we start a business revolution – by fighting corporate bureaucracy to eliminate obstacles.
  • Susanne Madsen coaches us on how to handle a demanding workload, by sharing it.
  • Lynda Bourne points out the signs that a project manager is on the path to becoming a great team leader.

Trends and the New Year