New PM Articles for the Week of April 10 – 16

New project management articles published on the web during the week of April 3 – 9. And this week’s video: Kerry Goyette tells us that our employees are already motivated—the key to success is unleashing the power of their motivation. Just 17 minutes, safe for work.

Must read!

  • Julie Bort reports on how Jeff Bezos and the Amazon leadership team make risky business decisions. In short: decide quickly, based on the question, “So, what if you’re wrong?”
  • Scott Berkun debunks several common clichés about creativity. Telling people to think outside the box doesn’t change their behavior any more than telling them to jump higher.
  • Tamás Török shares a comprehensive guide to creating user stories, as a vehicle for communicating the value users will find in your app.

Established Methods

  • Elizabeth Harrin lists twenty things that might go into a project plan and provides three templates and a PDF file you can download with the entire list.
  • Geraldine O’Reilly picks up where Elizabeth left off with a list of nine essential project documents, from business case to lessons learned.
  • And Tony Adams anthropomorphizes a group of project management documents to demonstrate why the work breakdown structure is the coolest guy at the bar.
  • PMI announces the formation of a committee to update the Practice Standard for Scheduling. If that’s a special area of expertise, you should consider volunteering.
  • Harry Hall tells us how to “catch” those big project risks by using three straightforward techniques.
  • Elise Steven interviews Naomi Caietti on stakeholder engagement and driving change by becoming a trusted partner.
  • Gina Abudi shares three critical actions needed to engage employees in cross-functional projects.

Agile Methods

  • Stefan Wolpers curates his weekly roundup of all things Agile, from lipstick Agile, Tragile, and Wagile to distributed Agile and how Jeff Bezos plans to keep Amazon relevant.
  • Jerry Doucett and Valerie Senyk argue for the practice of subversive Scrum in workplaces that haven’t decided to embrace such things.
  • Johanna Rothman does the math to show why team size matters.
  • Mike Cohn points out specific value elements of getting to “done” at the end of a sprint, as opposed to just making progress.
  • Shazir Mucklai makes an excellent case for applying project management processes at startups.
  • John Goodpasture answers a student question about IT project stage gates and Agile methods.

Applied Leadership

  • Art Petty contemplates the critical question: what’s it like to be you? As he says, cognitive diversity is a thing.
  • Suzanne Lucas reports on an April Fool’s joke at Reddit that morphed into a demonstration of the power of those who step up to lead.
  • Angela Chen interviews neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett on the science of emotions, and why we don’t all “feel” the same things.

Technology, Techniques, and Human Behavior

  • Ilan Hertz explains why chatbots will be the next evolutionary step in business analytics. “Why don’t people buy our products, HAL?”
  • Mary Shacklett summarizes five recommendations from Big Data project leaders that might help you avoid the 60% failure rate reported by the Gartner Group.
  • Conner Forrest reports on recent research that found your smartphone fingerprint scanner may be a lot easier to spoof than you might think.

Working and the Workplace

  • Leigh Espy explains why we should look past project management conferences for excellent opportunities to learn, meet interesting people, and develop face-to-face relationships.
  • Jason Dana reports on research which demonstrated that free-flowing job applicant interviews do not predict success and can actually overshadow more valuable information. Watch Kerry’s video above before you read this one!
  • Kara Swisher interviews Code2040 CEO Laura Weidman Powers on moving from diversity to inclusion. Just 48 minutes, safe for work.

Enjoy!

New Post at AITS: Managing Transitions Between Outsourcing Vendors

My latest article for AITS was published today: Managing Transitions Between Outsourcing Vendors.

An experienced project manager is used to leveraging influence in the absence of direct authority. What most of us are not used to is influencing people who are about to lose their jobs, when we want them to work with their replacements. It isn’t just about the need for emotional intelligence, but the need to preserve the dignity of the employees of the departing incumbent. If you have comments on this topic, please leave a comment at AITS. If you have suggestions for future topics, please leave a comment here.

As always, thanks for taking the time to read my stuff.

New PM Articles for the Week of April 3 – 9

New project management articles published on the web during the week of April 3 – 9. And this week’s video: Art Petty tell us to find the opportunities lurking in situations characterized by ambiguity and uncertainty. Less than 4 minutes, safe for work.

Must read (or Hear)!

  • Michael Wood offers some career counseling for those considering a move to project management consulting.
  • Greg Satell says that looking for a good problem will lead us to find a great idea.
  • Bertrand Duperrin observes that there are no more technology companies—only companies using technology. Just ask Tesla Motors, now calling itself Tesla, Inc.

Established Methods

  • Elizabeth Harrin explains how to hold people accountable, in her weekly Project Management Café Facebook Live session. Join the group! Just 18 minutes, safe for work.
  • Harry Hall walks us through creating a project human resource management plan.
  • Moira Alexander tutors us on RFIs and RFQs from the perspective of both the potential customer and the vendor.
  • Anna Murray explains the nature of complex projects, using the assembly of an Ikea desk as a metaphor. If you’re thinking “schedule risk,” I think you get the idea.
  • Glen Alleman tutors us on interpreting a probability distribution, using the measured similarity in two very different climates to illustrate.

Agile Methods

  • Stefan Wolpers curates his weekly list of Agile content, including posts on how many teams a Scrum Master should handle and whether they should work themselves out of a job.
  • Jimeque Turner counts the soft skills that allowed her to transition from teacher to project manager, to Scrum Master.
  • Johanna Rothman contrasts an iterative approach with a cadence-driven approach.
  • The Clever PM debunks five common myths about “iteration.”
  • Pulkit Agrawal explains why a start-up firm chose to re-design their product, choosing growth and sustainability over short-term customer retention.
  • Coray Seifert reflects on lessons learned from using Hansoft for Agile project management on his most recent game development project. And more widely applicable than that.

Applied Leadership

  • John Goodpasture summarizes “The Right Kind of Crazy: A true story of teamwork, leadership, and high-stakes innovation,” by Adam Steltzner and William Patrick.
  • Michael Lopp extends Kim Scott’s model for Radical Candor into one of Radical (communication) Efficiency.
  • Margarita Mayo notes that, although humble people make the most effective leaders, we keep following charismatic narcissists.

Technology, Techniques, and Human Behavior

  • Nancy Settle-Murphy and Elise Keith list the criteria to decide whether a face-to-face meeting is necessary or a virtual meeting will work as well.
  • Matt Weinberger looks out a decade to the end of the smartphone, and maybe new models for being human.
  • Seth Godin: “Technology destroys the perfect and then it enables the impossible.”
  • Peter Vishton argues that to break our own bad habits we should use the same training techniques that work on dogs.

Working and the Workplace

  • Ryan Ogilvie shares an anecdote that illustrates the need for excellent metrics when pursuing excellence.
  • Lisette Sutherland interviews Frank Cottle, CEO of Alliance Virtual Offices, on the virtual office movement and “third place” working. Just 45 minutes, safe for work.
  • Michael Hyatt uses Elon Musk as a counter-intuitive example to illustrate why the 100 hour work week is counter-productive.
  • Tom McFarlin shares a lesson from “Essentialism,” by Greg McKeown, on separating the vital few from the trivial many.

Enjoy!