New Book: How to Be a Good Project Manager

The idea for this book came to Rogerio Manso after reading a post at that listed the TOP 123 influencers in project management industry in 2016. He knew some of us personally, but the majority only by following their personal website. As a project manager, he felt it would be very interesting to know what these professionals have to share about their experience in being a good project manager. So he decided to contact all of the 123 project managers to ask the following question:

In your opinion, what is your best advice to be a good project manager?

He didn’t expect to get many answers, but thirty of us responded with priceless advice and expertise. So he compiled the responses into an eBook and made it available to each of us, as well as his students at The Project Management Academy. As Rogerio says, “This eBook shows not only advice about how to be a good project manager but shows that the best way to learn is by sharing our knowledge. I hope that when you finish reading this eBook, you also decide to share your knowledge with someone. Teach someone….coach someone…. mentor someone…. add value to someone. Knowledge should not be propriety. Knowledge should be shared to create more knowledge.”

In that spirit, please feel free to download the book. If you have a feedback, please share with us. Leave a comment here or Email your comments to Rogerio at Or reach out to the project manager whose advice you want to respond to.

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Major Update to my Home Office!

I addition to writing and blogging, I’m a project management consultant working from an office in my home. Many of my clients supply a laptop that they want me to use when accessing their network. Up until recently, I just spread everything around on my U-shaped desk – laptop, monitor, monitor, laptop, monitor – and tried not to knock anything over. Then a few months ago, I started looking at standing desks. I just don’t have room in my home office for another table or desk – if I did, I’d add a woodworking bench. For a while, it looked like I was going to have to ditch what I had in order to be able to start over. Not my idea of a positive solution. So I asked my daughter-in-law for her recommendation.

Home office sitting configuration

Sitting configuration, sans mug

Like me, Nancy works with multiple monitors. She has been using a gadget from Varidesk for several months. It sits on the tabletop and lets you raise and lower your monitors, keyboard, coffee mug, and so on with minimal exertion. Her experience has been positive, although she is considering a product from another company with an electric motor to handle the lifting. Since I need the exercise, I opted for the manual version of the desk. But that really only solved half of the problem.

Home office sitting configuration

Standing configuration, avec mug

I found a dual monitor KVM switch from StarTech, which allows me to toggle between the laptops. Then I ordered a Vivo laptop stand so I could mount the client laptop above my Dell, which lives in a docking station. I now have the two laptops “stacked” vertically next to my standing desk and I can work on one computer while monitoring the other for activity. I can toggle both monitors, keyboard, and trackball with a single button on the right side of the StarTech KVM box, located between and beneath the monitors. The third 1920 by 1200 monitor is sitting in the corner, pending other uses.

The Vivo mount is stable enough to type on when logging in or when I want to respond to an Email or IM without switching to that laptop. It never moves, even when raising and lowering the VariDesk. I considered mounting the pole in an existing hole in the desktop return at the base of the U, but by using the C-clamp on the edge of the return behind the other laptop, I was able to reclaim that space for other uses. And when I need to remove the lower laptop from its docking station, the Vivo arm swings the upper laptop out of the way.

At this point, I’m sold on the health benefits and relative comfort of using a desk that lets me alternate between sitting and standing – when I say I’m an Agile project manager, I really mean it! My next purchase will likely be one of those soft padded mats to stand on and maybe an IV pole to supplement my coffee mug. If I ever decide to mount my Macbook, I’ll use that return desktop hole for another Vivo mount. They have one that supports both a laptop and a monitor, at standing height. And I still have space under the hutch on the left side of the desk for other gadgets.

Final note: I don’t have any relationships with any of these vendors, and I didn’t even add them to the Practicing IT PM Bookstore, although maybe I should. This is just my personal product review.

New PM Articles for the Week of November 14 – 20

New project management articles published on the web during the week of November 14 – 20. And this week’s video: a quick tutorial on Yogic Coffee, a breathing exercise designed to wake you up in the event of carbohydrate-induced slumber (for those of us who still eat lunch). Less than three minutes, safe for work, but practice outside the immediate view of your boss.

Must read / view / listen!

  • Eamonn McGuinness gives us a layman’s overview of five neurotransmitters and their impact on our attitudes, health, and productivity.
  • Sanket Pai recommends we encourage gratitude among the people in our project teams. See Eamonn’s article for the scientific reasoning, but it’s Thanksgiving in the US this week, so the timing is right!
  • Benjamin Hardy relates an old parable that demonstrates a basic truth: those who take the initiative, who initiate, will be successful. Agito, ergo sum.

Established Methods

  • Elizabeth Harrin reviews “Stakeholder-led Project Management,” by Louise Worsley.
  • Rich Maltzman interviews Moira Alexander on her new book, “Lead or Lag: Linking Strategic Project Management & Thought Leadership.”
  • Tomas Laurinaviciusinterviews Paymo CEO Jan Lukacs, who opines that the key to project success is appointing the right person as project manager.
  • Dmitriy Nizhebetskiy gets us back to basics and beyond on the risk register. He also provides a sample/ template for download.
  • Harry Hall tutors us on the inputs to the project charter, as described in the PMBOK. Just five minutes, safe for work.
  • Art Petty reflects on lessons learned from managing three risk-filled projects, each of which required hard governance decisions.
  • Nick Pisano argues for a reduction in project information asymmetry, using insights from economics.

Agile Methods

  • Stefan Wolpers posts his weekly round-up of Agile articles, blog posts, and other content.
  • John Goodpasture shares an interesting image of five levels of planning in Agile methods and reflects on how scaling methodologies started to become mainstream.
  • The Clever PM riffs on the phrase, “Humans are hard.”
  • Priya Yannam unpacks the phrase “self-organized teams” to look for characteristics of Agile at work.
  • Joel Bancroft-Connors and his invisible gorilla, Hogarth, make the case for tracking team issues the same way we track deferred technical issues. Call it “team debt.”

Applied Leadership

  • Leigh Espy explores the science behind emotional intelligence and how we can develop our EI skills and apply them to leadership. Insight: TalentSmart found that those with better EI skills earn significantly more.
  • Abhinav Kaiser shows how we can apply emotional intelligence to the PMBOK Guide knowledge areas.
  • Lisette Sutherland shares some tips for working with a team spread across multiple time zones. Just ten minutes, safe for work.
  • Elise Stevens interviews Jenny De Lacy on how to facilitate great meetings. Just 18 minutes, safe for work.

Technology and Techniques

  • David Cotgreave lays out the operating fundamentals you need to establish before you can hope to gain any benefit from new project portfolio management software.
  • Technavio shares their report on the nine leading vendors in the global online project management software market, and twelve to keep an eye on.
  • Priyanka Chakraborty updates us on the state of project portfolio management in 2016.

Working and the Workplace

  • Alison DiNisco reports that women in the tech industry make 94% of what men in the same jobs make.
  • Coert Visser says the research is clear: interruptions reduce the quality of your work.
  • Sara Hutchison tutors us on how to decode recruiter Emails in the modern, LinkedIn Age.