New PM Articles for the Week of September 17 – 23

New project management articles published on the web during the week of September 17 – 23. And this week’s video: an animation featuring the late Studs Terkel, as he ruminates on the comforting sound of the human voice, in a story about the machine-generated voice of the tram at the Atlanta airport. 3 minutes, safe for work.

Business Acumen and Strategy

  • Dave Gershgorn reports that some US Senators are asking whether AI algorithms could violate civil rights laws by perpetuating biases. 2 minutes to read.
  • Stephen Blyth notes that big data and machine learning won’t prevent the next financial crisis. The principal driver is irreducible uncertainty. 4 minutes to read.
  • Kasia Wezowski notes that while body language varies significantly across cultures, microexpressions are remarkably consistent. Just a minute to read but study the photos.

Managing Projects

  • Glen Alleman does a deep dive into Monte Carlo simulation and includes a truly massive list of references. 11 minutes to read.
  • John Goodpasture contrasts Monte Carlo simulations with PERT. 6 minutes to read.
  • Jory MacKay tutors us on stakeholders and how to identify and engage them. 11 minutes to read.
  • Elizabeth Harrin speaks out on allocating resources to tasks: “Availability is not a skill set!” 4 minutes to read.
  • Nenad Trajkovski addresses the question: do we need to assign a resource to a milestone task? If so, under what conditions? 3 minutes to read.
  • Johanna Rothman philosophizes on the differences between project work and product work. 3 minutes to read.

Managing Software Development

  • Stefan Wolpers curates his list of Agile content, from whiteboarding skills to Monte Carlo forecasting to a new survey. 7 outbound links, 3 minutes to read.
  • Mike Clayton presents a complete guide to the bewildering list of credentials available to Agile practitioners. 12 minutes to read.
  • Chee-Hong Hsia explains why architecture will emerge and evolve, even though you should take the time to start with a good design. 3 minutes to read.
  • Andy Makar describes three real-world Agile team challenges and recommends ways to deal with them. 5 minutes to read.
  • David Bernstein shares some pointers on pair and mob programming. Great minds don’t always think alike; sometimes they fill in each other’s gaps. 3 minutes to read.
  • Kristin Jackvony describes the critical elements to consider in localization testing. 4 minutes to read.

Applied Leadership

  • Alexander Maasik curates his list of leadership articles, from failing at your goals to protecting from human errors to choosing which advice to follow. 5 outbound links, 3 minutes to read.
  • Art Petty describes a presentation to senior managers that could have gone badly but benefitted from a calm response to strong objections. 6 minutes to read.
  • Pawel Brodzinski extols the virtues of flat organizations and distributed decision-making in the context of autonomy. 5 minutes to read.
  • Kerry Wills notes that there is a formula for transparency. Just a minute to read.

Research and Insights

  • Thomas Hornigold reports on MIT research: robotic arms that taught themselves to pick up objects the way people do. 5 minutes to read.
  • Mark Wilson cites research into career peaks—it seems that you can do your best work at any time in your professional career, and “hot streaks” are a real thing. 3 minutes to read.
  • Tom Van De Ven and Steven Van Dalen explain the impact of dedicated chips like the Bionic A12 in the new iPhone which are only engaged for specific tasks. Video, 6 minutes, safe for work.

Working and the Workplace

  • Dominic Price shares some vital signs that can help you determine whether your office culture is healthy. 3 minutes to read.
  • Maura Thomas examines the impact of Email on company culture. Some ground rules are needed! 5 minutes to read.
  • Geoffrey Morrison shares some advice on simple things to pack along on any business trip. 4 minutes to read.

Enjoy!

New PM Articles for the Week of September 10 – 16

New project management articles published on the web during the week of September 10 – 16. And this week’s video: Elizabeth Harrin recommends three books for project managers who are new to Agile methods. Two and a half minutes, safe for work.

Business Acumen and Strategy

  • Paul Mee describes some of the ways that a cyber attack could cause the next financial crisis. 4 minutes to read.
  • Greg Satell clarifies four key things we should know about the business use of Artificial Intelligence and Big Data. 5 minutes to read.
  • Alessandro Di Fiore opines that strategic planning doesn’t have to be the enemy of agility. There is a sweet spot in the Venn diagram to aim for. 6 minutes to read.

Managing Projects

  • John Goodpasture notes that the more detail we add to an item on the risk register, the more specific the event, thus lowering the probability of it happening. 3 minutes to read.
  • Leigh Espy shows how to create a SIPOC (suppliers / inputs / processes / outputs / customers) model to facilitate process improvement. 5 minutes to read.
  • Gina Abudi tells us how to identify key stakeholders for business process improvement projects. 2 minutes to read.
  • Kiron Bondale addresses an interesting question: are projects requiring non-discretionary compliance with external requirements a good fit for adaptive methods? 2 minutes to read.
  • Donna Fitzgerald explains why you need project management discipline—not just Agile methods—in order to go fast. 4 minutes to read.
  • Glen Alleman recaps the principles of the Beyond Budgeting movement. Just a minute to read.

Managing Software Development

  • Stefan Wolpers curates his list of Agile content, from the Agile Industrial Complex to continuous product discovery to agile sensemaking. 7 outbound links, 3 minutes to read.
  • Alan Page helps us get to the right question for a Scrum stand-up: “What needs to be done to move this task to the right?“ 3 minutes to read.
  • Dave Prior interviews Bas Vodde on Large-Scale Scrum at the 3rd annual LeSS conference. Podcast, 30 minutes, safe for work.
  • Mike Cohn explains why Agile teams should estimate both the product backlog and the sprint backlog but in different units. 6 minutes to read.
  • Erick Dietrich looks at the way we manage regression defects—the ones we introduce to a system already in production. 5 minutes to read.
  • Paige Watson shares his notes from David Scott Bernstein’s talk on unit tests as specifications, in the context of TDD. 3 minutes to read.

Applied Leadership

  • Alexander Maasik curates his weekly list of leadership content, from making yourself unnecessary to getting past fear to OKRs within the team. 5 outbound links, 3 minutes to read.
  • Mike Clayton gets into the differences between project manager and project leader. 12 minutes to read.
  • Andy Kaufman contemplates whether indecision is worse than no decision. Video, 3 minutes, safe for work.
  • Simone Stolzoff reports on Melinda Gates’ coalition to bring more women of color into STEM fields. 2 minutes to read.

Research and Insights

  • Linus Chang shares several ransomware scenarios that demonstrate there’s more than just encryption to worry about. 6 minutes to read.
  • Alison DeNisco Rayome identifies the ten countries with the most patents per capita, an excellent metric for innovation. 2 minutes to read. Also, a 5-minute video on the impact of the tariff wars on technology firms.
  • C. Pan gives us the history of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, as described in Merve Emre’s book, The Personality Brokers. 10 minutes to read.

Working and the Workplace

  • Oliver Staley reports that Microsoft has replaced feedback with “perspectives,” a system of soliciting opinions from peers in a structured way. Terminology matters in this case. 2 minutes to read.
  • Seth Godin offers some tips that will help us be more effective on video conference calls with more than three people. Just 1 minute to read.
  • Lisette Sutherland tells how to set boundaries with the other people in the house when working from home. Podcast, 9 minutes, safe for work.

Enjoy!

Thanks for the feedback!

Thanks to everyone who took the time to take my weekly round-up satisfaction survey. Over half of you read the round-up at least 3 times a month, and most of the rest at least monthly. Most of you are either EMail subscribers or have the site in your RSS reader.

Your responses confirmed some things that I suspected and produced a couple of small surprises. For example: while everyone found the Business Acumen and Strategy and Managing Projects section to be at least somewhat valuable, over a third skip Managing Software Development altogether. I knew that I had a lot of readers who don’t manage software projects, but this was more than I thought. Perhaps the content I’m linking to isn’t valuable to you—if so, please leave a comment below and let’s get a conversation started.

About two-thirds of the readers find Applied Leadership and Working and the Workplace very valuable and nearly everyone finds Research and Insights at least somewhat valuable. If someone wants to see more (or less) of a particular area of interest within those sections, please leave a comment.

As expected, the vast majority find the “minutes to read’ estimate useful. For those who don’t, consider adjusting my estimate to match your reading speed. It’s probably not going to be as precise as Celsius to Fahrenheit, but at least you won’t start reading a long article when you only have a couple of minutes to spare.

About 82% of you watch at least some of the videos I link to. Many of you like the diverse mix although about a quarter think I should stick to project management topics. Going forward, I think I’ll link to the business stuff a little more often than the goofy stuff like Independence Day videos with guys blowing up anvils and performances by obscure bands. But not entirely.

And for those of you who don’t get the visual pun in that photo on the right, click here.