New Post at AITS: Why Staffing Your Projects Will Get Harder

PMI Talent TriangleMy latest article for AITS was published today: Why Staffing Your Projects Will Get Harder.

Long-time readers of my weekly round-up have noticed that I’ve gradually aligned the sections to the PMI Talent Triangle: the Must Read section typically references content critical to strategic thinking and business management, while the Established and Agile Methods sections pursue technical project management topics and (Applied) Leadership has its own section. This article would fall into that first category.

Project and program managers need to develop business acumen and an awareness of their industry to the same degree that line managers do if they expect to be considered for advancement. This article analyzes current and developing conditions in the labor market as it will impact the availability of highly skilled workers. If you are able to hold up your end of strategic conversations about staffing, finance, and business trends, you’ll earn a lot more respect from the senior folks you’ll need to influence in order to keep your projects on track.

As always, thanks for taking the time to read my stuff.

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 February 9 – 15

Elephant in the RoomNew project management articles published on the web during the week of February 9 – 15. We give you what you need to talk about the elephant in the room. Recommended:

Must read!

  • Hamza Shaban looks at the potential for the Internet of Things to kill personal privacy over the next few years.
  • Doug Laney of Gartner Group shares three Big Data trends that predict for how we’ll apply business intelligence over the next few years.
  • Joel Bancroft-Connors and his invisible gorilla, Hogarth, give us the run-down on how to prepare for your next unanticipated job search.

PM Best Practices

  • Wanda Curlee gives us a quick overview of project portfolio management, as a practice and as a career.
  • PMI has published the results of their annual Pulse of the Profession survey, “Capturing the Value of Project Management.”
  • Beth Ouellette looks back at her experience in helping to birth PMI’s latest credential: the PMI Professional in Business Analysis.
  • Joachim Ahlstrom shares some recommendations for those thinking of implementing a continuous improvement process in their organization.
  • Elizabeth Harrin reviews Jack Riso’s new iBook, “Ace the PMP Exam.”
  • Andy Jordan reflects on his recent consulting experience, helping an organization focused on operations, rather than projects, build a PMO.
  • Glen Alleman shares some authoritative sources of reference class data for IT projects, for developing your next set of estimates.
  • Harry Hall presents a short video on evaluating risks with expected monetary value analysis. Just 5 minutes, safe for work.
  • Nick Pisano continues his look at using data from multiple sources to improve our ability to manage projects.

Agile Methods

  • Michael Dubakov shares his practical experience in implementing the concepts of Minimum Viable Feature and Minimum Marketable Feature.
  • John Goodpasture considers a conundrum – fidelity to user expectations, or fidelity to user specifications?
  • Neil Killick gives a detailed view of how he manages the inception of a project.
  • Venkat Krishnamurthy invokes the “Ikea Effect” to make the point that Scrum teams benefit from having dedicated testers.

Soft Skills

  • Johanna Rothman explains how to create an environment where everyone on the team can lead.
  • Pawel Brodzinski give his take on participatory leadership and decision-making.
  • Bruce Harpham makes the case for humility, as a vehicle to improve your effectiveness.
  • Randy Hall looks at the mechanics of how we break old habits. Especially old leadership habits.
  • Bertrand Duperrin believes that using the web as a way to access information is about to become passé.
  • Paul Ritchie makes a point about why practice is so important, using the last big play of Super Bowl 49 as an example. Guys, we need to move on …
  • Peter Saddington condenses a few key points about how really smart people think, from Michael Michalko’s book, “Creative Tinkering.”