New PM Articles for the Week of January 27 – February 2

Pete Carroll

New project management articles published on the web during the week of January 27 – February 2. Congratulations to Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks! Recommended:

The Future Starts Tomorrow

  • Daniel Burrus notes that the ever-advancing portable phone is going to change our lives (even more) over the next decade.
  • Lyndsey Gilpin reports on alternative energy developments that may influence how we power our technology, including solar-powered laptops and phones.


  • Gideon Kimbrell shares four project management lessons we can learn from Steve Jobs.
  • Martin Webster explores the critical differences between leadership and management.
  • Cheri Baker tells how to confront a slacker co-worker. You guys know that they’ve legalized marijuana in Washington, right? Seattle is going to get interesting …

PM Best Practices

  • Kalash Awati deconstructs the fallacy of technique-based project management, by examining the way in which we handle ambiguities.
  • Andrew Makar shares a few status reporting anecdotes on adapting the message to the stakeholder, project by project.
  • Steven Levy recounts an old lesson learned from the late Pete Seeger – don’t forget the small stuff. Especially the obvious small stuff.
  • Shaun Russell explains what a data integration hub is, and why you need to establish a data privacy model before you start to build one.
  • Scott Berkun tells how to overcome the unexpected in public speaking.
  • Allen Ruddock prompts us to prepare for negotiations, by determining what we ideally want, what we intend to actually get, and what we must have.
  • Alina Vrabie explores the Peltzman Effect, risk compensation, and the need to nurture our team’s ability to take risks.

Project Governance

  • Mike Clayton has some suggestions on how to conduct project governance properly. Part one of two.
  • Deanna Earle characterizes good and bad project governance, with an eye toward organizational culture.
  • Aaron Smith interviews former PMI CEO Gregory Balestrero on his new book, “Organizational Survival,” sustainability, social responsibility, and driving positive change.
  • Lynda Bourne reminds us that we need to select our KPI’s carefully, or risk unintended consequences.
  • John Goodpasture reacts to an assertion that there exists an “asymmetrical understanding of the risk” between customer and supplier.

Podcasts and Videos

  • Cesar Abeid interviews Klaus Falbe-Hansen, PM of the Øresund Bridge construction project. Just over an hour, safe for work, and a nice break from IT projects.
  • Mark Phillipy hosts a meeting with five project managers who took his “project management challenge” via a Google+ Hangout. Just over an hour, safe for work.

Agile Methods

  • Pawel Brodzinski reviews some of the literature on the optimum size for a team, and decides that maybe it doesn’t matter.
  • Bruno Collet gives his thoughts on the value and meaning of his PMI-ACP credential.
  • Ajay Kabra explains why the Scrum product owner needs to be good at strategic thinking.

Pot Pouri

  • Elizabeth Harrin recaps the news in the world of project management, for January.
  • Kevin Simler contrasts the underlying differences between western and Chinese worldviews, to get to a better understanding of technical debt. No, really!


New PM Articles for the Week of August 12 – 18

New project management articles published on the web during the week of August 12 – 18.  We read all of this stuff so you don’t have to!  Recommended:

  • Tim Lister and Tom DeMarco have published the third edition of their classic, “Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams.”  Here’s an excerpt.
  • Elizabeth Harrin reviews Pernille Eskerod and Anna Lund Jepsen’s book, “Project Stakeholder Management.”
  • Craig Brown reports from the second LAST conference, including lessons learned.
  • Derek Huether shares a quote from Dennis Stevens, delivered at the Agile 2013 conference.
  • Samad Aidane interviews Cornelius Fichtner on how to achieve the PMI-ACP credential.
  • Glen Alleman identifies the real root cause of IT project failure: failing to base all budgeting on the desired capabilities.
  • Mike Griffiths gives his take on the methodology wars.
  • Kailash Awati consider how a decision support system is used in Cricket, and by extension, how they should be used in business.
  • Bertrand Duperrin considers two approaches to designing a digital workplace.
  • Shim Marom examines the recent Queensland Health payroll project mega-failure, and suggests it might be about escalation of commitment.
  • Kevin Korterud has some tips for your first global project.
  • Kenneth Darter shares some tips for crafting a useful project charter.
  • Andy Jordan looks at strategies for requirements management.
  • Scott Berkun explains how to manage multiple stakeholders.
  • Martin Webster notes that there is more than one approach to building relationships at work.
  • Bernardine Douglas hits the high points of recovering troubled projects.
  • Bruce Benson explains why we should plan to fail.  Also known as planning for contingencies, in case you thought he was kidding.
  • Kerry Wills and his brother climbed Mount Washington, and found a metaphor for project management.  Wonder who dropped it?


For Selfish Reasons

Earlier this year, I made the decision to upgrade my “functional credential” to the Global Professional in Human Resources, and upgrade / supplement my PMP with PMI-ACP.  I passed the GPHR exam yesterday, and in a couple of weeks, the HR Certification Institute will be sending me something to frame.  I’ll start wading through Mike Griffith’s book, “PMI-ACP Exam Prep,” after I catch up on my sleep.  But before I do, I wanted to capture some thoughts about why I’m doing this.

Last month, I wrote about the GPHR exam prep class I attended in Seattle.  As I noted at the time, I was in a room with two dozen heavy hitters.  We spent three days preparing for the exam by reviewing everything from financial models for expatriate compensation, to sociological models of cultures, to workforce development models, to relevant legislation in the US, Canada, Mexico, the UK, the EU, India, China, and Brazil.  We considered multiple models for building and managing businesses across borders, and went into details on a dozen or so organizations from the WTO to the ILO that lead thinking and practice in that space.  We even looked at key aspects of project management, risk management, team building, and collaboration in multicultural groups.  As someone mentioned in class, it felt like a three day MBA program.

The HR Certification Institute reports that there were 2,888 GPHR credential holders as of August, 2012, out of a population of 127,439 HR credential holders.  As you might expect from the range of subject matter, the exam is extraordinarily difficult.  HRCI offers the exam in two windows, spring and fall.  The average pass rate in the last four exam cycles has been 55%.  When I took the exam yesterday, even after 100+ hours of preparation and well over a decade of professional experience in this specialty, they still stumped me on a few questions.  It was the intellectual equivalent of an Iron Man Triathlon, and I survived.  And then went home and slept for four hours.

Earlier this week, Mike Griffiths did a “state of the credential” review of the PMI-ACP.  He notes that there are now around 2,600 credential holders, out of a PMI credential total of half a million or so.  The number of credentialed Agile practitioners is growing at a much faster rate than earlier PMI credentials exhibited at their introduction, with lots more room to grow; Mike explores some of the market drivers in his article.  But because the PMI-ACP is based on material from eleven primary sources, and covers elements of all of the major Agile frameworks and methods, it’s not an easy exam to prepare for.  I imagine the actual exam will be a bear.  I doubt the credential numbers will ever approach that of the PMP.

So, why go through all of this?  Certainly not for career advancement. is a job board aggregator, so any keyword search results you see are likely to include a lot of duplicates.  The 157 hits I got for GPHR probably equates to around 40 actual jobs; the 125 hits for PMI-ACP might be a little over 30.  But these aren’t credentials you pursue to qualify for a job; Hell, you have to be well established in your career to even sit for them.  No, these credentials are career capstones.  We pursue them for selfish reasons; for our own gratification.  We put them on our business cards, not because people will be impressed, but because we can.  Like getting a tattoo after through-hiking the Appalachian Trail, it’s about marking the way the incredibly long, expensive journey has changed you.  Selfish?  You bet.  My wife says she’ll at least confirm that much.  But she’s smiling when she says it.