New Post at AITS: On Being Intrepid as a Project Manager

My latest article for AITS was published today: On Being Intrepid as a Project Manager.

The word “intrepid” comes from Latin and means “not alarmed.” I often say my primary contribution to a project is being a calming influence. Intrepid behavior – the ability to perform effectively under conditions of uncertainty in complex environments and difficult circumstances – is often what the team needs most from the leads, project manager, and sponsor. Practical applications include risk management, stakeholder engagement, and of course, dealing with financial and other resource constraints. If you have comments on this thought, 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 August 1 – 7

New project management articles published on the web during the week of August 1 – 7. And this week’s video: Dennis Nally, Chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers International Ltd. introduces the key findings from PwC’s 19th Annual Global CEO Survey. Less than six minutes, safe for work, and valuable for understanding your organization’s global operating environment.

Must read (or hear)!

  • Dave Prior interviews psychologist Krista Pierce and PM Carson Pierce on ways to deal with the pressure, angst, and anxiety that come with the PM job. Just 42 minutes, safe for work.
  • Elizabeth Harrin takes a moment to reflect on the stresses in her career and balance with her family life. Naturally, she has a plan.
  • Conner Forrest reports on actions that US Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is taking to secure electronic voting systems in the 9,000 jurisdictions around the country.

Established Methods

  • John Goodpasture examines extreme risks: those for which the consequences are irreversible, and the impact is near-catastrophic. Fortunately, the probability is usually low.
  • Andy Jordan introduces the concepts of enterprise risk and portfolio risk distribution.
  • Harry Hall has assembled a list of diagnostic questions to ask when a project is troubled.
  • Helena Liu maps out the steps to take when a project starts to go wrong.
  • Ron Rosenhead points out one possible reason for “zombie projects:” a widespread management belief in inevitable success.
  • Binfire has just published their project management software buyer’s guide. It’s about the process of selecting what you need and makes no product recommendations.
  • Seth Godin reminds us what’s at stake when reviewing a contract.

Agile Methods

  • Stefan Wolpers shares his curated reading list of Agile content for the week. Like this one, but focused on Agile methods.
  • Henny Portman reviews the second edition of Andrew Craddock’s “Agile Project Management and Scrum.”
  • Jeff Collins decomposes the introduction of Agile project management processes into existing organizations into five key steps.
  • Erich Orozco makes the case for not sharing people across teams.
  • Shuba Kathikeyan explains the Six Sigma DMAIC framework, certification sources, and the various Lean Six Sigma belts.

Applied Leadership

  • Joel Peterson, chairman of JetBlue, shares some suggestions for creating an organizational culture in which trust is secured by accountability.
  • John Carroll takes a Taoist look at servant leadership.
  • Nancy Settle-Murphy focuses on the end of the meeting: action assignments and next steps.
  • Gina Abudi completes parts four and five of her series on leading teams through Tuckman’s four stages of team development.
  • Jesse Lynn Stoner explains some of the causes for smart people to make dumb decisions.

Working and the Workplace

  • Johanna Rothman makes the case for hiring older workers. Hey, Dos Equis hired Jonathan Goldsmith to portray The Most Interesting Man in the World at age 67.
  • Margaret Meloni explains why a respect for organizational culture is necessary to prevent failure on a new job.
  • Cornelius Fichtner interviews Niraj Kumar on the wide range of benefits to achieving the PMP credential. Just 31 minutes, safe for work.
  • Sarah White shares some insights on how you can maximize the impact of your resume, based on current recruitment practices and trends.
  • Art Petty: “Seeking next is the new state of normal for most of us in our careers and almost all of us in our businesses.”


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.