New PM Articles for the Week of March 3 – 9

NewsboyNew project management articles published on the web during the week of March 3 – 9. We read all of this stuff so you don’t have to! Recommended:


  • Cheri Baker explains why most of her consulting customers are social enterprises (and why that’s really cool).
  • Linky van der Merwe examines PMI’s recent survey on the global growth of project management to understand what it means to us practitioners.
  • Peter Taylor expands on a statement by J. LeRoy Ward regarding the ever-evolving practice of project management.
  • Susanne Madsen exhorts us to become project champions.

Risk Management

  • Steven Levy follows up on his series on risk management, with recommendations on how to apply the principles he described to a legal practice.
  • Andy Jordan continues his series on managing risks across the organization, through collaboration and common processes.

PM Best Practices

  • Glen Alleman takes the point of view of the people who pay for a software development project to explain why estimates are needed.
  • Henny Portman summarizes the Management of Value approach.
  • Elizabeth Harrin reviews Ann Pilkington’s new book, “Communicating Projects.”
  • Dave Wakeman tells why integrity, adaptability, and judgment are absolutely required by all project managers.
  • Martin Webster tells us how to create a shared vision across the project team.
  • Allen Ruddock explores a tough scenario on managing up.
  • Michael Nir exposes the basics of stakeholder management, as told in a children’s book.
  • Brett Beaubouef shares a technique for conducting an organizations fit/gap.
  • Jennifer Lonoff Schiff collects twelve suggestions from data management and disaster recovery experts on how to design for data survival.


  • Shim Marom describes the Cynefin model for problem domains, and finds a domain where #NoEstimates actually seems appropriate.
  • John Goodpasture considers alternatives to complexity.
  • Kailash Awati tells the fable of an architect and the conscience he argues with, to tell why you can’t just gather your requirements at headquarters.
  • Matthew Squair explores the evolution of initial designs, from obvious to plainly unworkable.

Agile Methods

  • Kelsey van Haaster unpacks her thoughts about whether making an exception to the team’s Scrum timeline is Agile.
  • Soma Bhattacharya asks whether managers are a benefit or a hindrance to Agile, and explains why a Scrum Master should not be a decision maker.
  • Francesco Attanasio describes what he calls “Scrum Master 2.0.”
  • Adam Zuzanski explores different ways to present information as a burn-down chart.

Podcasts and Videos

  • Mark Phillipy hosts a Google Hangout to follow up on the second PM FlashBlog, Project Management Around the World. Just 54 minutes, safe for work.
  • Peter Saddington shares a recent TED talk by Rosalinde Torres on the three questions that great leaders contemplate in the 21st century. Just nine minutes, safe for work.


Project Management: Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Las Vegas Ferris Wheel

Las Vegas Ferris Wheel

This post is part of the second world-wide #PMFlashBlog event, “Project Management Around the World.” Each of us is writing about the current state of project management in our own locale, published on a staggered schedule over the next few weeks. This is my contribution, Project Management: Las Vegas.

Last year, Project Management Institute (PMI) tasked the Anderson Economic Group to follow up on a set of forecasts originally developed in 2008, in an attempt to project the worldwide growth of the project management profession. Their study identified seven industries – construction, utilities, manufacturing, business services, finance and insurance, oil and gas, and information services – that will drive rapid growth. The report estimates that this decade will see the creation of over 15 million new project management roles globally, and annual growth in U.S. demand for qualified project managers by over 12%. The PMI study expects there will be over six million workers in project management roles in the United States by 2020, managing trillions of dollars in projects each year. Of course, Nevada has a slightly different mix of businesses, and consequently a slightly different outlook.

Project Management: Las Vegas

Las Vegas has never been a center for manufacturing, finance and insurance, information services, business services, or oil and gas. Prior to the Great Recession, Nevada had three primary industries: mining, gaming and hospitality, and construction. The growth in gaming and hospitality over the last sixty years also drove the growth in our population, and most of the heavy construction. Our population grew from 285 thousand in 1960, to 1.2 million in 1990, to 2.7 million in 2010. Consequently, residential housing, public utility, and civil engineering construction continued, even through the downturn. Today, planned expansions and renovations of casino resorts are in the news, as is the ongoing renovation of downtown Las Vegas, led by Zappos and a few other visionary local companies. We’re once again seeing a lot of demand for project managers with construction and civil engineering experience, in addition to those with experience in corporate IT and the gaming and mining industries.

There’s one other expected growth segment in the United States: health care projects. Whatever you might think of the Affordable Care Act, it is proving to be a driver for employment among those prepared to help drive costs out of health care delivery. PMI expects the annual growth rate for health care project manager positions to be about 30%. Here in Las Vegas, we have a mix of software vendors, hospitals, and managed care providers with over twenty open requisitions for project managers. We often say that to get the best medical care in Las Vegas, you have to go to the airport, but it looks like these folks are serious about driving change.

Our Evolving Processes

As for our processes: it’s been interesting to watch the growth of Agile methods in software and manufacturing industries. We’ve embraced Scrum, Kanban, and various other approaches, with greater or lesser success, and the trend shows no sign of abating. Of course, we’ve also gotten much better at stakeholder management and change management in general. Another interesting trend is a focus on measuring ROI as a part of project portfolio management, rather than simply estimating it in order to get funding. I’ve recently seen two local projects cancelled because the ROI wasn’t going to warrant completing them. We’re also getting better at risk management, but not in all industries. We’re still trying to figure out what to do with the Harmon Hotel, which is uninhabitable due to construction errors, but impossible to either repair or implode without risking other billion-dollar buildings.

Looking Ahead

Ivanpah Solar Plant

Ivanpah Solar Plant

I have a lot of hope for the continued growth of project management in Las Vegas. The local PMI chapter has an excellent mix of folks from different employers, including government and industry. We have a young, diverse work force, and a lot of visionaries like Tony Hsieh of Zappos and the folks behind the Ivanpah solar power site. And of course, we have over 40 million visitors every year – thank you for supporting our economy!

PMI Publishes Navigating Complexity: A Practice Guide

Navigating ComplexityLast week, PMI announced availability of a new publication on managing complexity in projects, programs, and project portfolios. Called “Navigating Complexity: A Practice Guide,” it is now available for download in PDF format at no cost, for a limited time. The print version will be available in mid-March.

The Guide organizes the causes of complexity into three categories, including human behavior, system behavior, and ambiguity. The need to align people, programs, and projects to manage complexity is addressed through organizational support structures, and useful practices in four areas: scope, communications, stakeholders, and risk. Principles are demonstrated via several scenarios, each with suggested actions. Key considerations in developing, implementing, and managing an action plan are included. An extensive literature review is included as an appendix, along with a glossary.

The PDF file is 113 pages, and includes an assessment questionnaire. The questionnaire is available as a separate download, along with a companion resource gap analysis and skills assessment. Additional resources, including white papers and case studies, are available on the same complexity program page as the downloadable files.