Must-read Articles, on PM for the Masses Podcasts

Garage BandI’ve been listening and linking to Cesar Abeid’s Project Management for the Masses podcasts for some time now. Last summer, he invited me to be a part of his “Project Management for You” interview series, and I invested in his Kickstarter campaign, to fund the writing of his book by the same name. So when he asked me to act as a “correspondent” for his podcasts, reporting on the must-read articles for the past week, I naturally agreed!

Each week, I send Cesar a recording to include at the end of his podcast, describing the three articles that most deserve your attention. I go into a bit more descriptive detail in the recording than I do in the blog posts, because I have a bit more time available. And because I’m a wise-ass, I include audio snippets from films and television that add a bit of color commentary. All of this over a low-volume Memphis blues riff. Typically two minutes or so, and safe for work. I’m sure Dr. Demento would approve.

I hope you enjoy this new outlet for my creativity, and take a moment to give me some feedback, in comments either here or at PM for the Masses.

New PM Articles for the Week of February 2 – 8

Just OverheadNew project management articles published on the web during the week of February 2 – 8. We give you a high-level view so you can read what interests you. Recommended:

Must read!

  • Erik Sofge canvasses AI researchers to see if there is any potential for malevolent super-intelligent machines. Isn’t this like asking Henry Ford if he’s worried about climate change?
  • Cynthia Zieman details the project management plan, which is not the same thing as the project plan.
  • Margaret Meloni argues for maintaining a high profile when working remotely. Just two minutes, safe for work.

PM Best Practices

  • Howard Baldwin ignores the hand-wringing failures sagas and seeks out stories from big-data projects that seem to have succeeded.
  • Michel Dion believes that the way to manage complexity is to have a flexible model that will guide monitoring your project’s health.
  • Stacey Barr suggests an approach to measuring results, rather than just activity.
  • Michael Wood proposes a structured approach to measuring the quality of the project management process.
  • Elizabeth Harrin reports from the Women in Technology Awards banquet in London.
  • John Goodpasture distinguishes between organizational change and organizational transformation.
  • Allen Ruddock notes that “best practices” for the PMO are only valuable if tailored to the needs of the organization.
  • Glen Alleman give a couple of examples of value at risk modeling.
  • Andy Jordan covers the basics of how a project manager should get to know the people on her project.
  • Ryan Ogilvie uses a football metaphor for service delivery.

Agile Methods

  • Johanna Rothman is so over the cone of uncertainty for software development estimation.
  • Ron Jeffries offers his thoughts on estimating software projects.
  • Amit Sarkar considers the importance of release planning in making Agile methods successful.

Soft Skills

  • Cesar Abeid interviews Matthew Turner on what he learned in writing his new book, “Successful Mistake.” Just over an hour, safe for work.
  • Seth Godin channels Maslow, constructing a Productivity Pyramid.
  • Cheri Baker tells us how to apply first aid for the psychological wounds suffered by teams, at the hands of abusive managers.
  • Coert Visser shares an anecdote about the challenge of helping a manager clearly communicate their expectations to the team.
  • Bertrand Duperrin says that Big Data, natural language process, and other advanced techniques might not change recruiting (and resume processing) as much as we think.
  • Scott Berkun extracts two key paragraphs about limited value of expert opinion, from an unclassified CIA study.
  • Mark Phillips expands on a criticism by George Orwell, of writers who use catch phrases and buzz words to express themselves – and do it poorly. PM’s take heed!
  • Nick Pisano explores the potential for a not invented here mindset to affect projects, organizations, and even entire societies.


New PM Articles for the Week of January 26 – February 1

Grand CanyonNew project management articles published on the web during the week of January 26 – February 1. We give you a high-level view so you can read what interests you. Recommended:

Must read!

  • Elizabeth Harrin explains in detail how to determine project success criteria, how to communicate the criteria, measure, baseline, track, and report on progress.
  • Brian Jackson introduces us to Ross, a super-intelligent attorney powered by IBM’s Watson computing system. A cloud-based lawyer may review your next contract!
  • Jason Hiner sketches out three trends that are going to define the next decade, not just in technology but the way our societies work.

PM Best Practices

  • Bruce Harpham outlines the practice of risk management, for program managers.
  • Ron Rosenhead returns from delivering a course for project sponsors with some insight on the lack of unity in some organizations on who is a sponsor.
  • Harry Hall gives us a detailed view of what a risk management plan should contain.
  • Jennifer Lonoff Schiff identifies the biggest (or most common) problems that project managers can anticipate, avoid, or mitigate.
  • Glen Alleman dismantles one of the business cases for iterative development.
  • Kevin Coleman makes the case for telecommuting, and offers some guidelines for making it work.
  • Pawel Brodzinski explores the economic value of slack time. Maximizing utilization is not the way to maximize value – queuing theory applies!

Agile Methods

  • Neil Killick follows up last week’s analysis of the Scrum Master role’s responsibilities, behaviors, and goals with a similar look at the Product Owner role.
  • Mike Cohn strips Scrum down to three clear, elegant sentences, and warns us to add only those elements that actually work in our environment. Excellent advice!
  • Michael Barone subjects Agile to a little psychoanalysis.
  • Boon Nern Tan explains the case for and benefits of pair programming.
  • John Goodpasture contemplates Big Agile, and the limited benefits of additional process and structure.
  • Don Kim sees parallels between the Structured Agile Framework (SAFe) and the Bill Murray classic, “Groundhog Day.” You can say that again …
  • Johanna Rothman contemplates the roles of development manager and test manager in Agile organizations.
  • Seth Godin distinguishes between optimism and honesty, and our ability to commit and deliver.
  • Han van Loon proposes a replacement for the estimation Cone of Uncertainty. Check out his video on YouTube and try not to think of a snake swallowing its prey.

Podcasts and Videos

  • Cornelius Fichtner interviews Maria Kozlova on building and maintaining high-performing teams. Just 19 minutes, safe for work.
  • Dave Prior interviews Mike Vizdos and Peter Green, on the values and techniques of Nonviolent Communication. Just 24 minutes, safe for work.
  • Tony, Craig, and Renee interview a variety of attendees at the Scrum Australia conference in Sydney. Just 35 minutes, safe for work.

Pot Pouri

  • Jyothi Rangaiah has published the January edition of Women Testers magazine. If you haven’t discovered this wonderful resource yet, take this opportunity.
  • Ruairi O’Donnelan on wishes: “A software engineer, a hardware engineer, and a project manager find a magic lantern …”
  • Nick Heath reports on the growing call for IT to set aside some jobs for women. Not certain jobs, but a certain fraction of the positions.