Best Project Management Consulting Laptop Ever!

Disclaimer: this is an honest summary of my opinion of a product I bought myself. It is not sponsored content, I don’t get any compensation from anyone, and when I just looked for this again on Amazon to link to it, I see that it’s no longer available. But that’s OK, there are similar machines out there.

You should definitely consider a gaming laptop for your next working machine.

I recently retired the Dell Lattitude E6500 laptop I’ve been carrying for the last three years in favor of a new HP Pavilion 15 gaming laptop. No, I’m not following Peter Saddington into video gaming as a profession – this is the computer I’m using for my project management consulting work and writing. Note that I’ve been carrying laptops since 1987: GRiD, HP, Compaq, Toshiba, Dell, IBM, Apple, Lenovo, even ASUS. After seven weeks behind the wheel, I can truly say that this is the hands-down best I’ve ever had. 

It has an Intel quad core i7-6700HQ processor, 32GB of RAM, and two drives: a 512 GB solid-state drive for software and a 2 TB drive for my files. But the reason I went for a gaming laptop is the 15.6″ UHD (3840 x 2160) IPS anti-glare WLED touchscreen display.

I spend my whole working day with spreadsheets, MS Project, and other forms of tabular and graphical data. I routinely have two documents open side by side, updating one from content in the other. At my standing desk, I have two 1920 by 1200 monitors, but when I’m away, this laptop has all the space I need. Sure, I appreciate the fast booting experience from an SSD drive and a rocket-to-Mars processor, but that 3840 by 2160 display is like Elvis as the fifth Beatle. The widely variable display brightness and backlit keyboard just make it that much better for use in dodgy workspaces like aircraft and dingy offices.

As a product category: highly recommended.

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.


New Post at AITS: Decision-Making Under the Influence

My latest article for AITS was published today: Decision-Making Under the Influence: SME, HiPPO, and BOGSAT.

Good decisions require accurate, timely, actionable information and good decision-makers try to gather a variety of viewpoints. The influence of the subject matter expert is usually all three, while the highest-paid person’s opinion may be an undue influence, and peer opinions may be counter-productive. That’s not to say that you should dismiss them out of hand – far from it. You simply need to have a realistic expectation of what value they add. 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.