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 January 9 – 15

New project management articles published on the web during the week of January 9 – 15. And this week’s video: the Jon Spear Band celebrates risk management (sort of) with “The Second Mouse Gets the Cheese.” Just 3:16 of jump blues, safe for work. Turn it up …

Must read!

  • Michael Lopp contemplates the illusion of productivity, the mindset of busy, and (his proposed cure) the Builder’s Mindset. Think of this as an intervention.
  • Liane Davey advises on managing a team that has been tasked with unrealistic targets. Ethical failures at Wells Fargo, Volkswagen, and so on arose from pressure to deliver, at all costs.
  • Nancy Settle-Murphy makes the case for proving that you are trustworthy and then tells you how.

Established Methods

  • Harry Hall gets us back to the basics of cost management. Great example, real life actions.
  • Elizabeth Harrin calendars the project management conferences planned for 2017, including some too far in the future to describe the content.
  • Mike Clayton lists fifty great project management blogs we should be following in 2017, including many new to me.
  • Frederic Lardinois reports that Atlassian Software (Jira and Confluence) is buying Trello in yet another round of consolidation in the project management software market.
  • David Robins points out the downside of online project management and collaboration software: empowering the uninitiated. Think “Jurassic Park.”
  • Glen Alleman goes into deep, technical detail on the Cone of Uncertainty, which is a metaphor for the process of reducing cost and schedule risk on projects.
  • Thomas Carney gives us a detailed course on quality assurance in software engineering.

Agile Methods

  • Stefan Wolpers shares his weekly Agile roundup: Scrum turns 21, product ownership (not just the role), and whether “priority” can be plural.
  • Cornelius Fichtner interviews NK Shrivastava on his PMI Global Congress presentation, Warning Signs that Agile Isn’t Working. Just 30 minutes, safe for work.
  • Marty Bradley addresses the new Agilista question: should the PMO go away?
  • Matteo Tontini describes learning to work as a team using Scrum, without a full-time product owner. Failure in three, two, one …
  • Moira Alexander posts a beginners FAQ on Agile project management. You almost certainly have a stakeholder that would benefit from this, so pass it along.

Applied Leadership

  • Seth Godin translates a sign at LaGuardia Airport from pompous bureaucratic to conversational English. Yes, you have permission to communicate like an actual person.
  • Coert Visser explains the Mother of All Biases: naïve realism. Includes a “count your fingers” exercise demonstrating how our perception is sharp in only a very narrow field.
  • Elise Stevens curates a list of resources for developing effective leadership skills.
  • Andy Kaufman reflects on influencing through questions. Just over six minutes, safe for work. A bit loud, but if you clicked on the Jon Spear Band tune …

Technology and Techniques

  • Jenna Hogue directs us to a presentation on cognitive computing (51 minutes, safe for work) but mercifully gives us an overview of the content.
  • Carnegie Mellon University has lined up four of the world’s best professional poker players to compete against an AI program. Sounds like “Her” meets “Casino Royale.”
  • Nilanjan Kar tutors us on creating an impactful PMO dashboard using Powerpoint. More interesting for the examples than the techniques, but worth reading.

Working and the Workplace

  • Kathleen O’Connor interviews Anna Schlegel, author of “Truly Global: The theory and practice of bringing your company to international markets.”
  • Ryan Ogilvie recounts a conversation with a colleague who was asked to ‘drop the hammer’ on people more often in her new role. Ryan’s counsel: choose your battles wisely.
  • Suzanne Lucas shares demotivating job descriptions penned by the people who do them. “I try to convince people in another time zone to talk to the person two cubicles away.”

Enjoy!