New PM Articles for the Week of September 24 – 30

New project management articles published on the web during the week of September 24 – 30. And this week’s video: Mike Clayton defines projects and project management, in case your grandmother asks what you do for a living. 5 minutes, safe for work and for family gatherings.

Business Acumen and Strategy

  • Lila MacLellan summarizes a paper arguing that societal ills may have been exacerbated by using the Harvard Business School case study in business education. 10 minutes to read.
  • Kerry Jones explains “North Star” metrics—chosen to focus on some business result. Ultra-alignment requires excellent aim and the willingness to iterate. 8 minutes to read.
  • Gabor Nagy reports on an intriguing trend: companies are creating their own co-working spaces to expose their employees to other approaches. 7minutes to read.

Managing Projects

  • Cornelius Fichtner asks ten project management thought leaders what business management skills are essential for strategic projects. Podcast, 19 minutes, safe for work.
  • Leigh Espy shows us how to get the voice of the customer to be sure our project is on the right track. 8 minutes to read.
  • John Goodpasture provides alternatives to the evil % Complete OK, so it isn’t evil; merely misleading and maintenance-intensive. 2 minutes to read.
  • Glen Alleman extracts a key lesson on decision-making from Ralph Keeney’s new book, Value-Focused Thinking. 2 minutes to read.
  • Dmitriy Nizhebetskiy explores five effective communication channels and explains when to use them. 5 minutes to read.
  • Satya Narayan Dash shares a high-level overview of the differences between the PMBOK 5th Edition and the 6th Edition released last year. 9 minutes to read.
  • Elizabeth Harrin continues her Women in Project Management, interviewing Koviljka Lukic as she transitions from sales to project management. 5 minutes to read.

Managing Software Development

  • Stefan Wolpers curates his weekly list of Agile content, from Toyota Scrum to preventing product failures to the Sunk Cost Fallacy. 7 outbound links, 3 minutes to read.
  • Kiron Bondale discourages us from asking the Scrum master to perform multiple roles. 2 minutes to read.
  • Johanna Rothman argues that product orientation requires high quality standards. 3 minutes to read.
  • Mike Cohn does a deep dive into the concept of potentially releasable. 5 minutes to read.
  • Andreas Prins points out four software delivery mistakes that negatively impact continuous delivery. 6 minutes to read.
  • Scott Kirkwood interviews Bonnie Jarvie, VP of User Experience Research at the Wall Street Journal on how the craft has changed in the last 20 years. 6 minutes to read.

Applied Leadership

  • Alexander Maasik curates his weekly list of leadership articles, from rallying employees to embrace change to the upside of boredom to communication in the design process. 5 outbound links, 3 minutes to read.
  • Linky van der Merwe selects seven skills that women (and men) aspiring to leadership positions need to consciously develop. 3 minutes to read.
  • Stephanie Ray provides a detailed description of holacracy, which carries the notion of self-organizing teams to its logical conclusion. 5 minutes to read.

Research and Insights

  • Yomi Kazeem updates us on work to get zinc-air batteries down below the $100 / kilowatt-hour price point for use with solar cells in developing countries. 2 minutes to read.
  • Nick Heath summarizes three key takeaways from a presentation by Demi Hassabis, co-founder of Deep Mind, on where AI might be taking us. 5 minutes to read.
  • Julien Laloyaux, Frank Laroi, and Marco Hirnstein debunk the myth that women are better multi-taskers than men. We all suck at it. 3 minutes to read.

Working and the Workplace

  • Kayla Matthews identifies four common problem work environments and offers ideas to optimize each of them for productivity. 4 minutes to read.
  • Guarav Kaushik shares a rant on the dubious use of “hot desks.” If you don’t know what that is, thank your deity of choice. 5 minutes to read and laugh nervously.
  • Hillary Jackson advises us on handling grief when a co-worker dies. 5 minutes to read.


Thanks for the feedback!

Thanks to everyone who took the time to take my weekly round-up satisfaction survey. Over half of you read the round-up at least 3 times a month, and most of the rest at least monthly. Most of you are either EMail subscribers or have the site in your RSS reader.

Your responses confirmed some things that I suspected and produced a couple of small surprises. For example: while everyone found the Business Acumen and Strategy and Managing Projects section to be at least somewhat valuable, over a third skip Managing Software Development altogether. I knew that I had a lot of readers who don’t manage software projects, but this was more than I thought. Perhaps the content I’m linking to isn’t valuable to you—if so, please leave a comment below and let’s get a conversation started.

About two-thirds of the readers find Applied Leadership and Working and the Workplace very valuable and nearly everyone finds Research and Insights at least somewhat valuable. If someone wants to see more (or less) of a particular area of interest within those sections, please leave a comment.

As expected, the vast majority find the “minutes to read’ estimate useful. For those who don’t, consider adjusting my estimate to match your reading speed. It’s probably not going to be as precise as Celsius to Fahrenheit, but at least you won’t start reading a long article when you only have a couple of minutes to spare.

About 82% of you watch at least some of the videos I link to. Many of you like the diverse mix although about a quarter think I should stick to project management topics. Going forward, I think I’ll link to the business stuff a little more often than the goofy stuff like Independence Day videos with guys blowing up anvils and performances by obscure bands. But not entirely.

And for those of you who don’t get the visual pun in that photo on the right, click here.


New PM Articles for the Week of June 4 – 10

New project management articles published on the web during the week of June 4 – 10. And this week’s video: Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen perform “Rock That Boogie” somewhere in Europe. I reference a line from this song in one of my comments below, so I figured some of you under age 60 might want to hear it in context. Less than 3 minutes, more-or-less safe for work.

Must read!

  • Mike Murphy reports the details of Microsoft’s $7.5B deal to buy GitHub. 2 minutes to read.
  • Adrien Book examines the impact AI-driven content might be having on our children. Case in point: Youtube for kids. 5 minutes to read.
  • Elad Sherf reports on research that indicates overworked managers treat their employees less fairly, to the detriment of the organization. 6 minutes to read.

Established Methods

  • Robert Wysocki describes Hybrid Project Management—a mix of traditional, Agile, and Extreme methods. 5 minutes to read.
  • Walter Stinnett offers some tips on how to ensure the project status data you get from Microsoft Project is as accurate as possible. 3 minutes to read.
  • Adam Knight explains why testers and management have very different perceptions of risk to software under test. 7 minutes to read.
  • Andy Silber explains how to assess project risks using a Failure Mode and Effects Analysis. 6 minutes to read.
  • Glen Alleman reviews some of the principle biases that impact our decision making and how that affects our projects and estimates. 4 minutes to read.
  • Mike Clayton tells us how to hand over the project to the operational team when it comes to an end. Video, 4 minutes, safe for work. When Mike mentions “snagging list,” US project managers should think “punch list.”

Agile Methods

  • Stefan Wolpers curates his weekly list of Agile content, from using graphics to improve your facilitation skills to organizational analysis to Kanban Cadences. 7 outbound links, 3 minutes to read.
  • Dave Prior interviews Agile heretic and thought leader Jim Benson on why Agile is going off the rails and what should be done about it. Podcast, a little over an hour.
  • Valerie Senyk shares her notes from a presentation by Esther Derby: six rules for driving complex change, as an Agile coach. 2 minutes to read.
  • Radoslaw Orszewski answers your questions about Kanban Cadences, a more structured approach. 5 minutes to read.
  • Neil Killick lists eight ways to implement the Agile mindset and methods without putting the organization through an “Agile Transformation.” 4 minutes to read.
  • Luis Goncalves defines Agile project portfolio management. 5 minutes to read, plus a 2-minute video.

Applied Leadership

  • Alexander Maasik curates his weekly list of leadership content, from innovation programs to pushing back against shame and failure to acting when your employees are losing focus. 5 outbound links, 3 minutes to read.
  • Guy Itzchakov and Avraham Kluger explain the powerful that listening plays in helping people to change their behavior. Your listening, not just theirs! 8 minutes to read.
  • Mary Jo Asmus imagines how it would work if we valued good questions as much as knowledge. 2 minutes to read.
  • John Goodpasture passes along some good advice on staying prepared for the opportunity to speak to a group about your project. 2 minutes to read.

Technology, Techniques, and Human Behavior

  • Erik Dietrich identifies the seven sins of unit testing. Be aware of these worst-practices and ask the right questions. 6 minutes to read.
  • Erin Wildermuth expounds on science proving the benefits of talking to yourself. 4 minutes to read. “Sittin’ on a bench down in the park, talkin’ to myself alone in the dark.”—Billy C. Farlow
  • Julie Giulioni shares a strategy for enhancing your ability to learn and succeed over time. 3 minutes to read.

Working and the Workplace

  • Poornima Vijayashanker interviews Holly Cardew on how to recruit and interview remote workers, and why you should. Video, 13 minutes, safe for work.
  • Aytekin Tank explains the difference between a manager’s schedule and a maker’s schedule. You can mix both into your day if you understand the difference. 7 minutes to read.
  • Elizabeth Harrin shares some ways to stay motivated and productive at work during summertime, when you’d rather be outside. 6 minutes to read.