New PM Articles for the Week of July 1 – 7

New project management articles published on the web during the week of July 1 – 7. And this week’s video: every year, Cy Swan and Scott Wadsworth celebrate Independence Day in the traditional Oregon pioneer way by packing black powder between two anvils and launching one of them into the air near their homes in Medford. Cy is in his 80’s, still working every day as a blacksmith, and if he ever wrote his autobiography, it would have to be published in three volumes. 2 minutes, safe for work.

Business Acumen and Strategy

  • Sarah Todd examines the departure of Apple design chief Jony Ive to show why it can be dangerous to allow burned out star employees to stay in their role. 5 minutes to read.
  • CISOMag shares statistics showing that phishing and ransomware are the most reported types of cyber-attacks, but GDPR-ready firms have suffered fewer data breaches. 2 minutes to read.
  • Matt Hilbert looks at the growing influence of the GDPR in other countries and suggests an approach for ensuring compliance with developing legislation. 5 minutes to read.

Managing Projects

  • Harry Hall explains SWOT analysis: what it is, how to engage stakeholders, and how to conduct one. Or watch his video; 3 minutes to read or watch.
  • Cornelius Fichtner shares a free ebook, Managing Smaller and Medium-Sized Projects, by Dr. Jim Young. Download link in the PDU Tip box. Podcast, 10 minutes, safe for work.
  • Mike Clayton explains what external dependencies are and how they can impact your project. Video, 4 minutes, safe for work.
  • Robin Nicklas demonstrates resource leveling using MS Project and resource smoothing using MS Excel. Different techniques with different objectives. 7 minutes to read.
  • Linky Van Der Merwe continues her series with how to transition into the agile project management role. 4 minutes to read.
  • Henny Portman reviews Flawless Consulting: A guide to getting your expertise used, by Peter Block. 3 minutes to read.

Managing Software Development

  • Stefan Wolpers curates his weekly list of Agile content, from fixing Scrum with working agreements to the rhythm of Design Thinking to mob programming patterns. 7 outbound links, 3 minutes to read.
  • Ron Jeffries looks at applying Agile methods to contracts with a fixed-scope, fixed-delivery, and fixed-price. 11 minutes to read.
  • Erik Rutkens and Jasper De Vries present a comprehensive analysis of current and developing trends in application security testing. 9 minutes to read.
  • Gábor Zöld gives us a comprehensive guide to technical debt, from what and why to preventing and managing, with case studies. 11 minutes to read.
  • Rahul Jain shares 35 statistics you need to know to plan for cross-browser testing. 2 minutes to read.
  • Kristin Jackovny follows last week’s article on testing databases with a look at query methods for relational and non-relational 3 minutes each.
  • Amyra Sheldon identified the nine most popular cross-platform tools for mobile application development. 8 minutes to read.

Applied Leadership

  • Dan Rockwell: “Stupid teams consist of smart people who engage in stupid behaviors.” But smart teams engage in a few specific, smart practices. 2 minutes to read.
  • Art Petty notes that too much feedback can be destructive. Good leaders are alert to causes of stress. 6 minutes to read.
  • Thomas Oppong explains how learned helplessness makes it difficult to change our circumstances. 5 minutes to read.

Research and Insights

  • Robert Roy Britt recaps recent research into how the brain makes short-term and long-term memories. 7 minutes to read.
  • Johnny Wood briefly describes the top ten emerging technologies expected to significantly impact society and the global economy. 4 minutes to read.
  • Hemant Kakkar reports on his research into dominance and prestige, showing why some leaders are more likely to be punished for their mistakes. 6 minutes to read.

Working and the Workplace

  • Kat Boogaard shares actionable advice and information on business travel from two Road Warriors. 9 minutes to read.
  • Suzanne Lucas answers the question: can you switch a full-time worker into a contractor? 3 minutes to read.
  • Stav Ziv coaches us on talking about our strengths and weaknesses in a job interview. 8 minutes to read.


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.