New PM Articles for the Week of April 17 – 23

New project management articles published on the web during the week of April 17 – 23. And this week’s video: Carl T. Bergstrom and Jevin West introduce their new 1 credit hour course at the University of Washington on Calling Bullshit. Eight minutes, and I could say it was safe for work, but I’d be full of shit.

Must read!

  • Joseph Kelly makes the case that the role of the Entrepreneur is to create new Truths. And along the way, some of these Truths may not be absolute. It’s about creation, not morality. Read this with an open mind and be prepared to come back to it later.
  • Will Knight points out a problem with Deep Learning artificial intelligence applications: since they learned by observing human behavior, we can’t explain how they make decisions.
  • Michael O’Brochta explains how sunk costs, groupthink, escalation of commitment, and conflicts of interest make failing projects so hard to kill.

Established Methods

  • Robert Wysocki elaborates on the co-manager model for complex projects, where a product manager and a process manager collaborate to lead a combined team.
  • Harry Hall catalogs some actions we can take to recognize and reward our project teams.
  • Elise Stevens interviews Hans Arnbjerg on how the PMO can help project managers engage with their stakeholders.
  • Mike Clayton a list of 22 excellent project management podcasts—“[some] extinct, some dormant, and some highly active.”
  • Alex Puscasu looks at the potential upside of integrating Scrum into Prince2.
  • Lew Sauder uses the Fitbit as an introduction to measures of project health: one metric does not tell a meaningful story.

Agile Methods

  • Stefan Wolpers curates his weekly round-up of Agile content, from the C-suite’s fondness for Big Bangs to what we can learn from the customer service debacle at United Airlines, to the Museum of Failure.
  • Jordan Koschel explains how to deal with design debt. Like technical debt, only more visible to your user community.
  • Anurag Prakash takes a critical look at the way burn-downs are used in practice. Let project structure drive your choice of metrics.
  • The Clever PM interviews one of his mentors, Rich Mironov. Based on this interview, I’m now following Rich’s blog.
  • Jesse Fewell addresses the question: where is the project manager role in Agile methods? Just 7 minutes, safe for work.
  • Ryan Ripley interviews Lisa Crispin and Amitai Schleier on the fine art of co-presenting at conferences, co-writing books, and Agile testing. Just 44 minutes, safe for work.

Applied Leadership

  • Glen Alleman identifies seven key behaviors that can be found in a weak leader.
  • Coert Visser examines the difference between (benign) admiration and (malicious) envy and how each motivates us.
  • Jayath Jayarathna guides us through managing subject matter experts.
  • Elizabeth Harrin interviews Karen Chovan, project manager and advocate for clean, lean, and green solutions.

Technology, Techniques, and Human Behavior

  • Naomi Caietti explains the six emotional intelligence behaviors and skill sets necessary for project and program managers.
  • John Goodpasture shares his FAQ on systems engineering.
  • Brendan Toner lists his ten most useful iPad apps. I have five of them on my iPad and similar apps for four of the others. And we both drink Bushmills, so there’s that.

Working and the Workplace

  • Ron Rosenhead notes a survey of workers in various professions that found only the legal profession is more boring that project management. Statisticians and journalists didn’t make the list, which makes it somewhat suspect …
  • Andy Kaufman interviews author Amy Blankson on the strategies we can use to stay productive and happy when surrounded by interactive tech. Just 49 minutes, safe for work.
  • Lisette Sutherland interviews Jerry Koch-Gonzales on the practice of Sociocracy in group meetings. Just 38 minutes, safe for work.

Enjoy!

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.

New PM Articles for the Week of February 20 – 26

New project management articles published on the web during the week of February 20 – 26. And this week’s video: Jason Fried lays out his theory of why the office isn’t a good place to get work done, and some suggestions that address the cause of that conundrum.

Must read!

  • Bryan Menegus reports on the latest massive leak of passwords and personally identifiable information. Change all of your passwords and then read the details.
  • Mark Rice and Timothy Korson explain how to apply Malcolm Gladwell’s “thin slice” expert opinion approach and Planning Poker to estimate timeline and budget.
  • Michael Lopp tells how to win the “Successfully deliver hard news” merit badge.

Established Methods

  • Johanna Rothman suggests several scenarios that let you report defects based on the risks that arise from them.
  • Matthew Heminger illustrates the consulting power of Why with a story about a hole in the ground.
  • Rob England explains that #NoProjects doesn’t mean there won’t be any projects, just that it won’t be the primary mode of operation in IT.
  • Harry Hall links quality of requirements to quality of the outcome with a simple anecdote.
  • Dmitriy Nizhebetskiy provides a short textbook and video on creating a robust work breakdown structure. Even the full online course is free.
  • Mike Clayton tutors us on the project business case. Even if you’re not using Prince2, this is a great explanation of an important business practice.
  • Eamonn McGuinness just published the second edition of The Collaborative Project Management Handbook.
  • Karthik Subburaman lists eight excellent books on project management and related skills.
  • The nice folks at Smartsheet posted The Complete Glossary of Project Management Terminology.

Agile Methods

  • Stefan Wolpers curates his weekly links to Agile content, including the brilliant jerks who make Agility impossible, slicing user stories, prototyping, and more.
  • Ryan Ripley interviews Tom Cagley on the role and impact that certifications have had on the Agile movement.
  • Paul Culmsee reports from Creative Melbourne, where he was one of the inaugural speakers. Sounds like an interesting group of smart people being fascinating.
  • Max Ogle interviews Irene Au, design partner at Khosla Ventures and former head of design at Google and Yahoo, on the need to base designs on what people actually do.

Applied Leadership

  • Magi Graziano defines three tenets of leadership IQ: self-awareness, executive brain function, and response agility.
  • Seth Godin explains why we do what’s urgent, rather than what’s important.
  • The Clever PM contemplates the human factors that make people resist behavioral change.
  • Leigh Espy interviews Kane Hadley, who says that his foundational experience in project management came from playing Dungeons and Dragons.

Technology and Techniques

  • Kailash Awati tutors us on the basics of machine learning. Yes, there’s more to it than regression analysis.
  • Conner Forrest summarizes a recent report on the technical hurdles facing artificial intelligence based on machine learning.
  • Paramita Ghosh reports on one of Hitachi’s machine learning initiatives: the Robot Boss. Hitachi claims an 8% productivity increase in enterprise IT functions. No word on how much of that was attributable to fewer meetings.
  • Hussain Bandukwala begins a short series for the first-time PMO leader on setting up the PMO.
  • Elizabeth Harrin reviews a new on-line training course created by Philip R. Diab, a former Chair of PMI, called RapidStart PMO.

Enjoy!