New PM Articles for the Week of January 18 – 24

New project management articles published on the web during the week of January 18 – 24, and we’re just sittin’ on top of the world. Recommended:

Must read!

  • Aaron Smith identifies ten strategy execution trends that will impact the way we manage projects in 2016.
  • Bruce Harpham retrieves six principles for success from Ashlee Vance’s biography of Elon Musk. If you’re going to admire a billionaire, this might be the guy.
  • John Goodpasture analyzes the idea that we should make mistakes early and often. Not all mistakes are created equal!

Established Methods

  • Aaron Smith summarizes three critical questions posed by Patrick Stroh, author of “Advancing Innovation,” to assess which ideas are worth pursuing.
  • Henny Portman reviews “Executive Sponsor Research Report,” from The Standish Group.
  • Glen Alleman describes capabilities-based planning, for software-intensive systems to be built for government customers, using Agile methods.
  • Gene Gendel points out the limitations of Red-Amber-Green status reporting.
  • Harry Hall details the operational risk management plan and the various sources of operational risk.
  • Ryan Ogilvie examines the part of IT that faces the customer, the service request system, from both the customer perspective and the IT perspective.
  • Women Testers Magazine for January 2016 is available for download. Not just for women and not just for testers – highly recommended.

Agile Methods

  • Renee Troughton considers a critical question for hiring a Scrum Master: what is the minimum viable Agilist?
  • Mike Cohn addresses the rationale behind the frequent question, “Does a Scrum team need a retrospective every sprint?”
  • Vikram Singh describes the most common methods used to gauge the level of effort required for each story in sprint planning.
  • Bart Gerardi describes the role of the Agile executive in changing the organization’s culture.
  • Kaushik Saha analyzes Kanban as a queue, using Little’s Law.

Applied Leadership

  • Elizabeth Harrin interviews Sarah Coleman, co-author of “Project Leadership.”
  • Cesar Abeid interviews Don Smith, “The Speech Wiz,” on the life and career value of developing your public speaking and communication skills. Just over an hour, safe for work.
  • Liane Davey explains how to create a sense of accountability in the people who report to you.
  • Kailash Awati shares his presentation on improving decision-making in situations with high ambiguity, using IBIS notation for issue mapping. About 48 minutes, safe for work.
  • Art Petty notes that leading drains the spirit, and offers some ideas on how to refuel.
  • Gina Abudi proposes creation of a team charter, articulating the purpose, mission, and goals of the team.


  • Jamie Condliffe lists the 25 most popular passwords, gleaned from over two million stolen and leaked on the internet.
  • Thor Olavsrud reports on efforts to apply artificial intelligence to problems where not all of the information is visible. For example: Heads-up No-limit Texas Hold ’em poker.
  • Brad Rach extols the virtues of a paper notebook. His choice: Moleskine.
  • Johanna Rothman shares a few tips on the process of writing.


Get Ready to Manage an Autonomous Vehicle Project

Google Driverless Car

Google prototype

The same people who funded the research that led to the Internet, the U.S.government, are about to invest $3.9 billion in research on autonomous vehicle development. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx appeared at the Detroit Auto Show to announce a budget proposal that will spread the funding over ten years, and “accelerate the development and adoption of safe vehicle automation through real-world pilot projects.”

“We are on the cusp of a new era in automotive technology with enormous potential to save lives, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and transform mobility for the American people,” said Secretary Foxx. And everyone else, since consumer technology developed in the U.S. will be sold all over the world, as it always has been.

Autonomous Tech

Take a moment to think about the technologies that are converging to produce a vehicle which drives itself, reliably and efficiently, safely and affordably. From visual and auditory recognition (not just speech, but sounds) to machine learning, continuous risk assessment and management to efficient route selection. GPS is about navigation; extend that to lane-selection strategy. And then there’s peer-to-peer networking, based on location, direction, and velocity. If debris falls onto the road, nearby cars will caution other vehicles headed toward it, well before they can see it, and alert a specialized vehicle that will automatically remove it, quickly and safely, without interrupting the flow of traffic.

Changing When Things Get Done

Rush hour traffic will be reduced, because more activities will become asynchronous. Cars will top off their own gas tanks while you’re sleeping, schedule their own maintenance, drive to Jiffy Lube, and return. Retail stores and supermarkets will have their stock delivered and gas stations will have their storage tanks topped up off-hours, with no humans involved. Your car will coordinate with the vehicle delivering your groceries, so it arrives at your home at the same time you do. Residential snail mail and package delivery will occur overnight. Airport parking lots will be re-purposed. Uber will need a new business model.

The Opportunities for Project Managers

This isn’t just about auto manufacturers. There will be boundless opportunities for technology project managers who understand these applications and how they will be used by everyone from the military to school districts, trucking firms to fire departments, construction companies to emergency medical services companies. We understand the potential information security issues and how to non-destructively test software-intensive systems. We get the complexities of scheduling, issue and risk management, and reporting progress on developmental systems. We know how to engage stakeholders and deal with compliance across multiple jurisdictions. We understand how the economics, the ethical issues, and the organization’s strategic goals need to drive the decisions we present to our sponsors. This is just an extension of what we’ve been doing for some time now, but the impact of this work will be global.

Someday soon, you may have a chauffeur named Watson. Let’s help him get to work.

New PM Articles for the Week of December 21 – 27

SightseersNew project management articles published on the web during the week of December 21 – 27. We give you a high-level view so you can read what interests you. Recommended:

Must read!

  • Rich Maltzman reports on some notable progress in achieving a shift to sustainability, by multi-national corporations. Start 2016 with green eyes!
  • Matthew Heusser interviews Tara Nicholson on IT program and project management at Scripps Network, home of HGTV and other lifestyle media outlets. Ask This Old House is Agile?
  • Penelope Trunk summarizes research into negotiating strategies. Lots of links, so be prepared to Pocket them for later. You use Pocket, right?

Established Methods

  • Bruce Harpham interviews Joanne Hohenadel, senior project manager at University Health Network in Toronto. They won the 2015 PMI Award for Project Excellence – North America.
  • Dave Prior interviews Shane Hastie, John D. Cook, and Troy Magennis on a range of Agile and project management topics. Just 42 minutes, safe for work.
  • Wanda Curlee uses concentric circle diagrams to illustrate a portfolio management decision. Excellent – simple graphics that clearly show a complex comparison!
  • Glen Alleman: “Like value, waste is rarely defined by those performing the work. It’s defined by those paying for the work.”
  • Jeff Collins provides executive-level input to the activity of reducing risk to projects.
  • Mark Lukens makes the case for incremental improvements as less destabilizing than huge, sweeping initiatives.
  • Robert Charette shares a lesson learned from pulling together a report on a decade’s worth of failed projects: We don’t do post-mortems very well.
  • Ryan Ogilvie uses an Indiana Jones metaphor to point out that root cause analysis isn’t all that’s required to get to a solution.
  • Thomas Carney covers the state of the art in cross-browser testing.

Agile Methods

  • Dmitri Khanine continues his series on moving from gathering requirements to user experience engineering.
  • Mike Griffiths not only updated his PMI-ACP Exam Prep book, he updated the sample test questions. Here, he shares 20 of them.
  • Johanna Rothman is asking for reader input before updating her book, “Manage Your Project Portfolio: Increase your capacity and finish more projects.”
  • Judith Mary Khan lists nearly two dozen things to not do when moving to Agile methods.
  • Vishal Venkatesan outlines how they scaled Agile at Spotify.
  • Renee, Tony, and Craig get together for a wide-ranging discussion on Agile in Australia, Etsy, Feedly, Sanjiv Augustine’s new book, and much more. Just over an hour, safe for work.

Applied Leadership

  • Art Petty reminds us that results are not directly related to effort.
  • Seth Godin notes that exceptional results come from abandoning the need for the approval of our peers. Try not to think of Donald Trump when you read that …
  • Michael Lopp opens up the draft “Management Glossary” for the forthcoming third edition of Managing Humans.
  • Bertrand Duperrin opens a discussion of employee experience, the consumerization of worklife, engagement, and productivity. Yes, “the employee as a customer” is a thing.
  • Betcher Robert says that we can reduce the number of code defects by 50%, by holding developers and the business accountable.