New Post at AITS: Simplicity

My latest article for AITS was published today: Simplicity: What’s Left When You Ignore Everything Else.

One of the great trends of the last decade has been the consumerization of virtually everything. You no longer have to know anything about the technology you are using to meet your needs. From retail self-service to manager dashboards to (soon) autonomous automobiles, our products are becoming ever less demanding of us, as we have become ever more demanding of them. And as project managers delivering those products to impatiently waiting end users, we have to understand the relationship between that expected simplicity and the hidden complexity in order to keep our projects within scope and on track.

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

New PM Articles for the Week of May 22 – 28

New project management articles published on the web during the week of May 22 – 28. And this week’s video: The Allman Brothers Band, live at the Beacon Theatre in New York in 2003, performing “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More.” Rest in peace, Gregg.

Must read!

  • Eric Garton makes the case for managing human capital as carefully and rigorously as we manage financial capital (which is cheaper and far more plentiful).
  • Robert Austin and Gary Pisano report on the growth of neurodiversity—actively recruiting candidates and accommodating employees with autism and similar conditions—in the corporate world.
  • Brandon Vigliarolo reports that stolen (and exploitable) data from every single Fortune 500 company has been found on the DarkNet.

Established Methods

  • Elizabeth Harrin summarizes the high-level changes coming in the Sixth Edition of the PMBOK. To be released in 3Q17, with exam changes in 1Q18.
  • Mike Donoghue identifies the characteristics that make a project complex, from technical to financial to … well, lots of stuff.
  • Lynda Bourne reviews the various biases and political influences that may apply when using reference classes to calculate management reserves.
  • Mike Clayton explains how the linear responsibility chart connects work breakdown structure to resources. Just six minutes, safe for work.
  • Leigh Espy defines, compares, and contrasts Waterfall and Agile.
  • The Clever PM makes the case for managing to data, as opposed to going with your gut or best guess.

Agile Methods

  • Stefan Wolpers curates his weekly list of Agile content, from resilient teams to Agile at scale, to Reddit for product managers, to revisiting Deming’s 14 points.
  • Johanna Rothman starts a series of articles to define “Scaling Agile,” so we all have a common vocabulary to argue with.
  • Scott Sehlhorst gives his thoughts on achieving Agile at Scale, focusing on product management.
  • Rex Lester lists what he believes to the three most important Agile practices. Actually, these are applicable to just about everything from retail to medical care.
  • John Yorke notes the difference between a deliberate culture and a reflective culture. You can’t change the behavior (and culture) of the group simply by changing processes.
  • Bob Tarne reflects on the nature of estimates, as he waits for the airline to resolve an unspecified technical issue.

Applied Leadership

  • Harry Hall shares some techniques for improving your presentations.
  • Elise Stevens interviews Dr. Ginger Levin on embracing and exploiting change. Just 28 minutes, safe for work.
  • John Goodpasture notes that those driving change won’t get much support from the people who will benefit from the change because they have experienced it yet.
  • Seth Godin shares an insight: people resist change because they are rewarded for being competent, and change brings the risk of incompetence.

Technology, Techniques, and Human Behavior

  • Brendan Toner reviews Hyper Plan, a two-dimensional task manager. Looks interesting, but no mobile option.
  • Lee Munroe gets us started on user testing as a component of UX research.
  • David Schlesinger gives us the high points on implementing encryption for network assets, including an allowable exception for executives and their admins.

Working and the Workplace

  • Maddy Osman shares her collected practices for maintaining productivity when working from home.
  • Lisette Sutherland talks with Ralph van Roosmalen about a way for remote teams to make decisions on the fly, using a shared document. Just 12 minutes, safe for work.
  • Art Petty suggests we think of career planning as an adventure into parts unknown.


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.