Dr. Dobb’s Journal Shutting Down

For those of us who started out as programmers, Dr. Dobb’s Journal has long been a touchstone. Beginning as a newsletter, then a monthly magazine, and finally a web site, it has been a revered source of design principles, algorithms, and sample code demonstrating excellent practice for nearly forty years. But United Business Media is “sunsetting” DoctorDobbs.com. It certainly wasn’t due to a decline in the relevance or quality of the content. Editor Andrew Binstock’s farewell makes it clear that advertising revenues were sinking below the point necessary to survive, even in a year with a record number of page hits. It was a business decision that reflects what’s happening across the internet: vendors moving their spending from website ads to more fruitful options.

The Dr. Dobb’s site will still be up, and all of the links will still work, but no new content will be generated after the end of 2014. A tip of the hat goes out to all of the programmers who shared their knowledge for so many years, just for the joy of coding and the bragging rights of a DDJ by-line, and the editors who kept it all together. I won’t say that you were doing God’s work, but you sure made my work easier. Peace be with you.

New PM Articles for the Week of December 8 – 14

Ballon Over the TreesNew project management articles published on the web during the week of December 8 – 14. We give you a high-level view so you can read what interests you. Recommended:

PM Best Practices

  • Elizabeth Harrin interviews author Jeff Furman on what’s changed in the second edition of “The Project Management Answer Book.”
  • Allen Ruddock reminds us that project problems are nearly always people problems.
  • Kelsey van Haaster explains the hierarchy of laws, theories, and hypotheses, and thus why Conway’s Law is no such thing.
  • Bruce Harpham addresses a persistent form of workplace evil: reports. Well, the ones that no one ever reads are evil, if you have to prepare them.
  • Nick Pisano refines the thoughts on extracting and analyzing data across projects that he expressed in a recent post.
  • Michael Ipsaro identifies three key knowledge resources for those engaged in either procuring or delivering IT services to the U.S. federal government.
  • Ryan Ogilvie points out the need to begin a service level management initiative with the development of a service catalog.
  • Saar Bitner demonstrates the problems of using Excel for data analysis, and proposes BI software as the more sustainable alternative.

Agile Methods

  • Mike Cohn notes that, although the team needs to select their own sprint duration, sometimes the Scrum Master has to step in and make the decision.
  • Johanna Rothman suggest that there are times when you need to move away from iterations, and toward flow. Insert Kanban and Scrumban advocacy remarks here.
  • Charles Settles summarizes three popular team collaboration products, for non-traditional projects.

Looking Ahead

  • Paul Baumgartner speculates on how project management, as a practice and a profession, will evolve over the coming years.
  • Jelani Harper identifies the business drivers for the Internet of Things in 2015.
  • Brad Egeland shares his “wish list” for project management in 2015.

Risk Management

  • Glen Alleman explores managing in the presence of uncertainty, as expressed in Tim Lister’s statement, “Risk Management is project management for adults.”
  • Kailash Awati defines internally generated risks, and explains why they make risk management more difficult.
  • John Goodpasture shares the mixed metaphor of Black Elephants.
  • Eric Anderson summarizes the diplomatic aspects of enterprise risk management, as outlined in an article by Lawrence Quinn.

Being Effective

  • Adriana Girdler lists her guiding beliefs, and argues that our beliefs drive our decisions and behavior.
  • Harry Hall notes the common reasons that people avoid goals, and tells us why we should set new ones and try once again to reach them.
  • Smita Mishra advises other women: forget about a mentor, and find yourself a sponsor.
  • Rich Maltzman shares a discovery: TuneIn.com, a site which allows you to discover and listen to radio content and podcasts from anywhere in the world.

Pot Pouri

  • Scott Berkun notes that what you say is more important than what you think.
  • Adam Shostack addresses a pernicious trend: “It’s easier to snark than to contribute.”
  • Adrian Fittolani recalls how he learned to work long hours. And how he learned not


New PM Articles for the Week of December 1 – 7

Just OverheadNew project management articles published on the web during the week of December 1 – 7. We give you a high-level view so you can read what interests you. Recommended:

PM Best Practices

  • Dominika Chambon provides the “how-to” for preventing scope creep and other profitability failure modes on a fixed-price project.
  • Glen Alleman puts systems engineering the in the enterprise IT domain into context, with examples of capabilities that drive the effort.
  • Kathleen O’Connor explore the difference between a project and a strategic initiative.
  • Michael Lopp on why so many software bugs are discovered in the wild, rather than in the QA lab: “Humans do strange shit to software …” Still, the QA mentality has value.
  • Ron Rosenhead notes that lesson learned are only valuable to the extent that we actually do something to implement what we’ve learned.
  • Harry Hall illustrates the strategy of risk avoidance with an embarrassing story.
  • Ryan Ogilvie takes a lesson from Star Trek on managing the risk of exceeding your scheduled maintenance down time window.
  • Nick Pisano reviews our current state of fragmented digitized project information management tools and describes what the integrated future state should be.
  • Gus Lawson shares an anecdote about helping a team improve their ability to collaborate with others, and summarizes the lessons learned.
  • Robert Martinez outlines an approach for building effective teams.

Agile Methods

  • Mike Cohn makes the case for Scrum Master and Product Owner being two different people, not just different roles.
  • Johanna Rothman asks an interesting question: Who removes your obstacles?
  • John Goodpasture gets philosophical on the relationship between retrospection and management.
  • Sameer Patil reviews several alternative models for ordering your product backlog.
  • Sam Barnes provides the transcript of a Q&A he gave on managing digital projects.

Podcasts and Videos

  • Samad Aidane interviews Todd Williams on how to buy project management consulting service. Just 35 minutes, safe for work.
  • Dave Prior sits down with Personal Kanban guru Jim Benson to talk about matching work in progress (WIP) with capacity. Part 1 is just 11 minutes, all are safe for work.
  • Cornelius Fichtner interviews Joseph Flahiff on getting your team to be a rock band! Or at least, one that rocks. Just 28 minutes, safe for work.
  • Mark Phillipy and his two brothers compare notes on the practice of leadership in their respective industries. Just 54 minutes, safe for work.

Being Effective

  • Cheri Baker ditched her Outlook, Kanban board, Evernote, Toodledo, and Onenote for … uh, a paper planner. Hey, organization is about the skills, not the tools!
  • Peter Saddington shares an infographic on how set a daily routine that will improve your effectiveness.
  • Seth Godin clarifies the relationships between goals, strategies, and tactics.