New Post at AITS: Simplicity

My latest article for AITS was published today: Simplicity: What’s Left When You Ignore Everything Else.

One of the great trends of the last decade has been the consumerization of virtually everything. You no longer have to know anything about the technology you are using to meet your needs. From retail self-service to manager dashboards to (soon) autonomous automobiles, our products are becoming ever less demanding of us, as we have become ever more demanding of them. And as project managers delivering those products to impatiently waiting end users, we have to understand the relationship between that expected simplicity and the hidden complexity in order to keep our projects within scope and on track.

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

New PM Articles for the Week of May 15 – 21

New project management articles published on the web during the week of May 15 – 21. And this week’s video: a short clip from “Mr. Blandings Build His Dream House,” where Cary Grant learns what happens when you make a decision when you don’t understand the alternatives and don’t bother to ask for clarification. Just a minute, safe for work, as long as you aren’t standing under the lintels.

Must read!

  • Bertrand Duperrin casts a critical eye on ROI, business cases, and lying with numbers.
  • Martin Seligman and John Tierney report on recent research that indicates the human mind is built to spend a lot of time considering the future—planning if you will.
  • Ian Whittington explores the history of managing complexity in projects from the Iron Bridge constructed in the 18th century to today’s software systems with emergent behaviors.

Established Methods

  • Glen Alleman explains measures of effectiveness and measures of performance as different points of view when examining a proposed product capability.
  • Dmitriy Nizhebetskiy digs into the details to tutor us on managing stakeholder engagement, in a strategic way.
  • Elizabeth Harrin interviews Kate Morris—convener of the PMI Australia Conference 2017 and practicing project manager—on managing a project manager’s conference.
  • Michel Dion outlines the project closure report.
  • Mike Clayton explains the Project Goal, a simple concept with profound implications. Just over two minutes, safe for work.
  • Harry Hall suggests some effective ways to improve our communication skills.
  • Elise Stevens shares lessons learned from alienating a key stakeholder in their first meeting.

Agile Methods

  • Stefan Wolpers curates his list of Agile content with a focus this week on team building, plus observations on the relationship between product discovery and product delivery.
  • Mike Cohn describe four possible career paths for the accomplished Scrum master.
  • Eli Woolery recaps five key insights gained from the inaugural Design Leadership Camp.
  • The Clever PM conducts one of his “ten questions” interviews with Paul Jackson—product manager, user-centered design practitioner, and newsletter publisher.
  • Renee Troughton describes the three patterns she has seen used for Agile delivery pipeline management at scale.

Applied Leadership

  • Jeff Collins lists a half-dozen qualities of strong project leaders.
  • Pat Weaver describes practical wisdom, “working out the right way to do the right thing in a particular circumstance.”
  • Krister Ungerboeck reflects on the toxic legacy of Steve Jobs and his “wretched asshole” leadership style.
  • Alex Puscasu describes Connie Gersick’s punctuated equilibrium model of group development. There’s more than just forming-storming-norming-performing-adjourning.

Technology, Techniques, and Human Behavior

  • John Goodpasture points out the complexity that is inevitably required to enable simplicity.
  • James Sanders shares the smart person’s guide to ransomware.
  • Paramita Ghosh lays out the currently expected use cases for artificial intelligence.

Working and the Workplace

  • Art Petty critiques IBM recent announcement that it is ending remote working arrangements.
  • Grace Windsor reminds us that until recently, leisure time was a marker of success. Then we decided that constant busyness indicated professionalism.
  • Tom McFarlin reflects on managing the tension between work and vacation. As my Dad used to say, “You don’t own the business; the business owns you.”

Enjoy!

New PM Articles for the Week of May 1 – 7

New project management articles published on the web during the week of May 1 – 7. And this week’s video: Samantha Fish tears up the slo’ blooz with “Either Way I Lose,” in NOLA at Jazz Fest May 5, 2017. Eight minutes, safe for work unless you turn it up to eleven.

Must read (or Hear)!

  • Lesley Alderman reports on the trend of prioritizing our smartphones over human interactions. Phubbing (phone snubbing) and technoference are now words, and that can’t be good.
  • Nancy Settle-Murphy explains how to make introverts happy (and crazy) and how to make extroverts crazy (and happy).
  • Carol Stewart debunks some common myths about introverts as leaders.

Established Methods

  • Naomi Caietti interviews Andy Silber on his new book: “Adaptive Project Management: Leading complex and uncertain projects.”
  • Harry Hall frames communicating risks as an extension of stakeholder management.
  • Kathleen O’Connor interviews Dan Kushner, lead project manager at MBX systems and adjunct professor at Northeastern University on managing opportunities as positive risks.
  • Adam Shostack introduces the concept of “threat modeling,” with a glance at the internet of things.
  • Tamás Török explains how to minimize risk when outsourcing software development.
  • Brendan Toner reviews Rational Plan, a low-cost (the Linux version is free) alternative to Microsoft Project.

Agile Methods

  • Stefan Wolpers curates his weekly Agile content roundup, including the 11 essential laws of product development, “disagree and commit,” and why developers don’t water the plants.
  • Rich Mironov explains why you may need a Chief Product Officer, which he refers to as Head of Product.
  • The Clever PM warns us not to reward behavior we don’t want. It’s an obvious concept, but it’s all about alignment between incentives and goals
  • Craig Brown challenges the idea of the product owner writing the user stories. When the team adds their thoughts, the stories can only get better.
  • Dave Prior interviews Gene Bounds, former member of the PMI Board of Directors and current Chair of the Scrum Alliance Board of Directors. Just 18 minutes, safe for work.

Applied Leadership

  • Natalie Warnert notes that diversity isn’t just about appearance—it also refers to diverse opinions and working styles.
  • Lew Sauder explores categorization based on correlation and the ramifications for leadership.
  • Elise Stevens interviews Leisha Boyle on stakeholder engagement communications. Just 21 minutes, safe for work.
  • Gina Abudi makes a case for the employer supporting social involvement by employees to better engage them at work. And not just the younger ones!

Technology, Techniques, and Human Behavior

  • Steve Vassallo says we need to expand design thinking to include the concepts and tools of systems thinking.
  • Bertrand Duperrin says the critical factor in getting user acceptance of analytics is trust in the data and how it’s processed.
  • Matthew Colford introduces us to ten US federal agencies that you should know about if you’re producing technology products.
  • Nir Eyal reflects on the nature of addiction, and how technology companies that make their products more engaging also make them more addictive.

Working and the Workplace

  • Alison DeNisco reports that the main reason people leave technology jobs is mistreatment and perceived unfairness, and it’s costing employers $16B per year.
  • Olivia Goldhill expounds on the virtues of wasting time. Or, if you prefer, not being at 100% utilization, 24 hours a day.
  • Belle Cooper notes that “We’re more likely to complete boring tasks that we’ve been putting off when we’re in a good mood.”

Enjoy!