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 February 27 – March 5

New project management articles published on the web during the week of February 27 – March 5. And this week’s video: Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris show us how selective attention works. Just over a minute, safe for work unless you keep playing it over and over.

Must read!

  • Mike Cohn reminds us that a cross-functional team is one where the members have different skills—not one where every member has all the needed skills.
  • Dave Nicolette points out that, while Scrum is an excellent solution for some problems, it doesn’t fit every situation. Lean Thinking might be what’s next.
  • Nir Eyal and Chelsea Robertson explain how the brain focuses and eliminates distraction (they are different functions), and give us some clinically proven ideas for enhancing each.

Established Methods

  • The Women Tester’s Magazine January 2017 edition is now available to download. Not just about testing, and not just for (or by) women—highly recommended.
  • Henny Portman alerts us to a new project management methodology, coming from Denmark: Project Half Double. As in half the time, double the impact.
  • Elizabeth Harrin lists the essential project management competencies we need to be successful in 2017 and beyond.
  • Harry Hall bullets 37(!) practical actions you can take to improve your project communications.
  • Glen Alleman explains what you need to know to make decisions under conditions of uncertainty, to achieve project success.
  • Michael Wood explores the critical success drivers for managing global projects.

Agile Methods

  • Stefan Wolpers curates his weekly round-up of all things Agile, including Agile middle management, the role of QA in Agile teams, and more contrarian ideas.
  • Ryan Ripley interviews Natalie Warnert and Amitai Schleier on the Women in Agile discussion, and why we should all support it. Just 47 minutes, safe for work.
  • Dave Prior and Marty Bradley consider the question: when embracing Agile methods, should the PMO go away? Just 28 minutes, safe for work.
  • Shipra Aggarwal explains how to create release plans for feature-driven projects and date-driven projects.
  • Nicholas Malahosky coaches us on how to introduce Agile methods to teams outside of IT.
  • Tamás Török explains why software developers are like pro football players.

Applied Leadership

  • Esther Derby provides two examples where changing the point of view led decision makers to realize they were trying to solve the wrong problems.
  • Art Petty says the Big Fix doesn’t work, but incremental behavior changes can work wonders.
  • Michael Lopp traces the “New Manager Death Spiral.” Read, ye experienced manager, and cringe. I certainly did.

Technology, Techniques, and Human Behavior

  • Geoffrey Bock updates us on the acceptance and application of smart data for Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning in the enterprise.
  • Tom McFarlin announces his upcoming e-book, “Where Do I Start with WordPress?” Since roughly 19% of the internet is run on WordPress, I thought this might be of interest.
  • Nick Pisano briefly defines business intelligence, business analytics, and knowledge discovery in databases, and points out their growing convergence.
  • Belle Cooper confronts burnout: what it means, what it does to us, and how to overcome it.

Working and the Workplace

  • Brian Wagner and James Kittle get Steve Potter to talk about interview questions and styles. Just 34 minutes, safe for work.
  • Lisette Sutherland describes the Remote First company, and what you should expect when you run into one. Just over nine minutes, safe for work.
  • Alyse Kalish gives us the up-to-date standard for what to include in the header of your resume.

Enjoy!