New PM Articles for the Week of April 10 – 16

New project management articles published on the web during the week of April 3 – 9. And this week’s video: Kerry Goyette tells us that our employees are already motivated—the key to success is unleashing the power of their motivation. Just 17 minutes, safe for work.

Must read!

  • Julie Bort reports on how Jeff Bezos and the Amazon leadership team make risky business decisions. In short: decide quickly, based on the question, “So, what if you’re wrong?”
  • Scott Berkun debunks several common clichés about creativity. Telling people to think outside the box doesn’t change their behavior any more than telling them to jump higher.
  • Tamás Török shares a comprehensive guide to creating user stories, as a vehicle for communicating the value users will find in your app.

Established Methods

  • Elizabeth Harrin lists twenty things that might go into a project plan and provides three templates and a PDF file you can download with the entire list.
  • Geraldine O’Reilly picks up where Elizabeth left off with a list of nine essential project documents, from business case to lessons learned.
  • And Tony Adams anthropomorphizes a group of project management documents to demonstrate why the work breakdown structure is the coolest guy at the bar.
  • PMI announces the formation of a committee to update the Practice Standard for Scheduling. If that’s a special area of expertise, you should consider volunteering.
  • Harry Hall tells us how to “catch” those big project risks by using three straightforward techniques.
  • Elise Steven interviews Naomi Caietti on stakeholder engagement and driving change by becoming a trusted partner.
  • Gina Abudi shares three critical actions needed to engage employees in cross-functional projects.

Agile Methods

  • Stefan Wolpers curates his weekly roundup of all things Agile, from lipstick Agile, Tragile, and Wagile to distributed Agile and how Jeff Bezos plans to keep Amazon relevant.
  • Jerry Doucett and Valerie Senyk argue for the practice of subversive Scrum in workplaces that haven’t decided to embrace such things.
  • Johanna Rothman does the math to show why team size matters.
  • Mike Cohn points out specific value elements of getting to “done” at the end of a sprint, as opposed to just making progress.
  • Shazir Mucklai makes an excellent case for applying project management processes at startups.
  • John Goodpasture answers a student question about IT project stage gates and Agile methods.

Applied Leadership

  • Art Petty contemplates the critical question: what’s it like to be you? As he says, cognitive diversity is a thing.
  • Suzanne Lucas reports on an April Fool’s joke at Reddit that morphed into a demonstration of the power of those who step up to lead.
  • Angela Chen interviews neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett on the science of emotions, and why we don’t all “feel” the same things.

Technology, Techniques, and Human Behavior

  • Ilan Hertz explains why chatbots will be the next evolutionary step in business analytics. “Why don’t people buy our products, HAL?”
  • Mary Shacklett summarizes five recommendations from Big Data project leaders that might help you avoid the 60% failure rate reported by the Gartner Group.
  • Conner Forrest reports on recent research that found your smartphone fingerprint scanner may be a lot easier to spoof than you might think.

Working and the Workplace

  • Leigh Espy explains why we should look past project management conferences for excellent opportunities to learn, meet interesting people, and develop face-to-face relationships.
  • Jason Dana reports on research which demonstrated that free-flowing job applicant interviews do not predict success and can actually overshadow more valuable information. Watch Kerry’s video above before you read this one!
  • Kara Swisher interviews Code2040 CEO Laura Weidman Powers on moving from diversity to inclusion. Just 48 minutes, safe for work.


Exposure Draft for the PMBOK Guide – Sixth Edition

PMBOK Guide 5th EditionPMI is updating the PMBOK Guide, once again. As they have done with prior updates, an exposure draft is available from now through April 6, 2016 for comment by PMI members in good standing.

Key changes to this edition are:

  • The inclusion of more detailed information on agile and other iterative practices including:
    • Information about agile and other practices often used in an adaptive environment in each Knowledge Area section (Sections 4–13)
    • An appendix to The Standard for Project Management on agile and other iterative practices
  • A new chapter on the role of the project manager which discusses the PMI Talent Triangle, including greater emphasis on the strategic and business knowledge aspect of project management

It seems that each release of the PMBOK Guide includes a bit more input from advocates for Agile methods. It’s good to see the Standard keeping pace with current notions of best practices.

New PM Articles for the Week of July 13 – 19

Over DinnerNew project management articles published on the web during the week of July 13 – 19. Pull up a chair and let’s talk. Our theme this week is applied leadership. Recommended:

Must read!

  • Cornelius Fichtner interviews Jeff Furman on the second edition of “The Project Management Answer Book.” Just 35 minutes, safe for work, and well worth your time.
  • Paul Ritchie presents evidence that hiring managers are putting more emphasis on leadership, strategy, and business skills when hiring PM’s.
  • Steven Levy recounts the story of a tour boat operator who had to intervene when one of his guests decided to swim with the alligators. Are you this cool when the unexpected happens?

PM Best Practices

  • Carol Dekker outlines the key steps to a better software development performance measurement program.
  • Michel Dion expounds on monitoring, measuring, and reporting as the core of project governance.
  • Glen Alleman adds more diagrams to his ongoing explanation of the role of estimating in economic analysis.
  • Marco Behler takes a practical approach to improving the accuracy software development estimates.
  • Harry Hall assembled thirty(!) risk evaluation principles while preparing to teach a course on PMI’s Practice Standard for Project Risk Management.
  • John Goodpasture summarizes Tim van Gelder’s description of the elements of critical thinking.
  • Dave Wakeman covers three keys to achieving organizational alignment for your project.
  • Braden Kelly continues his series on applying the Six Sigma DMAIC methodology to drive innovation.
  • Ryan Ogilvie reports from the Calgary Stampede, where not everyone was stampeding toward ITIL. Yes, the conversation was over beer …
  • Kerry Wills follow up on his eight fundamental guiding principles for managing programs with an analysis of what happens when one is missing.
  • Allen Ruddock argues that communications is a key PMO responsibility.
  • Gina Abudi notes that key roles should be defined and people assigned to them, throughout the project.
  • Bruce Harpham continues his series on finding a summer project at work.
  • Joe Caprara thinks it’s a good thing to earn the PMP credential. Just don’t make it the basis for any of your claims.

Agile Methods

  • Michael Dubakov proposes the Minimum Action Energy Principle in user interface design. Yes, physics matters even to software engineers.
  • Johanna Rothman describes the responsibilities commonly assigned to three common roles: product manager, product owner, and business analyst.
  • Kyle Viele experiments with the Candle Problem, as described by Dan Pink, to demonstrate that diverse teams get better results than homogeneous teams.
  • Henny Portman reviews “The Lean Startup,” by Eric Ries. Did you know that this book influenced the development of the PRINCE2 Agile Framework?

 Pot Pouri

  • Elizabeth Harrin lists 15 ways to celebrate success with your team.
  • Mike Cohn encourages us to take a moment to celebrate with our team, even if it’s just by exchanging paper plates.
  • Adam Shostok takes umbrage with the “word nerds.”
  • Seth Godin: “An amateur memorizes. A professional looks for metaphors.”