My Interview and Book Review at Project Bliss is Live!

Leigh EspyLeigh Espy and I had a great time, talking for over an hour last week. The original plan was to do an interview over Skype, but we had technical difficulties so we switched to a regular phone call. I was worn out from getting up at 4:30 AM for a conference call, and I was getting somewhat incoherent. But Leigh is a fabulous interviewer and one of the nicest people you could ever meet, so we talked about everything from Sociology to Agile adoption. Since she lives in Memphis, I explained Elvis Presley’s connection to the origin of the ZIP code. We even talked a bit about my book. And then she wrote an article that makes me feel very appreciated!

Leigh is a wonderful writer, with excellent story-telling skills that come through in her articles. I hope you take the time to visit her site, Project Bliss. She also has some great downloads available – I recently used her project scope statement template on a new project. Highly recommended!

The interview is here. Thanks, Leigh!

 

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.

Enjoy!

New PM Articles for the Week of March 27 – April 2

New project management articles published on the web during the week of March 27 – April 2. And this week’s video: Ward Cunningham reflects on the history, motivation and common misunderstanding of the “debt metaphor” as motivation for refactoring.

Must read (or Hear)!

  • John Le Drew curated extracts of interviews with Agile thought leaders and statistics to tell a very NPR-sounding story about safety from abusive work environments, and why we need it. Just 37 minutes, safe for work.
  • Natalie Warnert contemplates how technical debt contributes to the cost of delay in future changes, and why we should talk about that future cost before incurring additional debt.
  • Johanna Rothman shares a few anecdotes that describe how servant leadership works in practice.

Established Methods

  • Laura Barnard describes the activities that should happen in the Discovery phase before the project is approved and the charter created.
  • Susanne Madsen bullets six things to do when starting up a new project.
  • Dave Prior interviews Don Kim on his new book, “I Think, Therefore I Plan.” Just 32 minutes, safe for work.
  • Nick Pisano defends the analysis of historical data to identify and act on trends as more than just “telling them history they already know.”
  • Glen Alleman lists five principles of project success and then ties them to the processes needed to implement them and practices that have been proven to be widely applicable.
  • Jeff Collins gives us a tutorial on earned value management.

Agile Methods

  • Stefan Wolpers curates his weekly roundup of Agile content, including the Agile mindset, the neuroscience of trust, structured conversations, experimentation, and more.
  • Dmitriy Nizhebetskiy has a truthful conversation with a prospective client about Scrum: how it works, what it demands of the product owner, and why they’re called “sprints.”
  • Esther Derby describes experimentation as a method of driving incremental organizational change.
  • The Clever PM provides a recommended reading list for product managers – also applicable to project managers, Scrum masters, and anyone else leading people.
  • Bart Gerardi describes three kinds of dependencies that would make a Scrum team want to align their sprint calendar with that of other teams.
  • Margaret Kelsey interviews Misael Leon of Nearsoft, who shares his insights on how to understand your users’ motivations. Just 37 minutes, safe for work.

Applied Leadership

  • Harry Hall identifies four common reasons we get stuck and suggests corrective actions that can get our teams moving again. Plus a three-minute video, safe for work.
  • Michael Greer describes five critical conditions that have to be present in order to enable team success.
  • Mike Girdler lists four key actions needed to change a toxic corporate culture.
  • Gina Abudi concludes her series on getting buy-in for a large project.

Technology, Techniques, and Human Behavior

  • Mike Clayton gives us a solid tutorial on persuasion and influence.
  • Gavin Martin links us to a table from the National Conference of State Legislatures, with links to the security breach notification laws in each state.
  • Teena Maddox reports on the successful recycling of a SpaceX booster rocket—just one more step on the way to 4,425 satellites delivering internet service to the entire globe.

Working and the Workplace

  • Bertrand Duperrin notes that the young are virtuoso users of technology that they don’t understand and don’t care to learn about. So how will we find enough geeks?
  • Leigh Espy explains what project managers really do in terms of roles and responsibilities. This is an excellent resource for coaching an “accidental project manager.”
  • Coert Visser collates a checklist of questions to support your professional development.

Enjoy!