New PM Articles for the Week of April 14 – 20

NewsNew project management articles published on the web during the week of April 14 – 20. We read all of this stuff so you don’t have to! Recommended:

Disaster and Recovery

  • Steven Levy finds project management lessons in the heartbreaking Korean ferry disaster.
  • John Goodpasture examines the way small teams deal with sudden disasters.
  • Nick Pisano points out that much of the criticism of the Obamacare website misses the real lessons.

PM Best Practices

  • Duncan Haughey tells us how to be effective coaches for our project teams.
  • Martin Webster argues that “winning” is great for sports, but lousy for teams at work. A cooperative style gets more done.
  • Andrew Filev presents some strategies for establishing good habits in your teams’s group behavior.
  • Alina Vrabie tells how to facilitate creativity within your team, using those soft skills we all like to talk about.
  • Luis Seaba Coelho shares some amazing data on the affect the “default” has on the decisions we make.
  • Philip Smith notes that many projects get off on the wrong foot, failing in requirements gathering and engaging senior executives.
  • Kerry Wills explains why it’s so important for your project team to establish the right pace.
  • Mike Clayton finds some great insights in the origins and evolution of the term “stakeholder.”

Agile Methods

  • Roman Pichler elegantly describes how we build a product that the users will actually want, using a Vision Board. Highly recommended!
  • Rich Karlgaard gives twelve reasons why your project team should be small enough to feed with two pizzas, and twelve tips for creating two-pizza teams.
  • Kevin Aguanno shares case studies of three Canadian banks that took different approaches to adopting Agile methods. Highly recommended!
  • Pawel Brodzinski says that if you want higher productivity metrics, just throw out the low numbers in your planning poker deck. I think that was humor …
  • Vijaya Kumar Bandaru has put together a great Scrum Master resource, for those who want to take servant leadership up a notch.

Governance

  • Glen Alleman finds himself explaining that yes, we can know the (approximate) value of what we’re building. Egad …
  • Kailash Awati tells a Holmes and Watson story of the PMO manager who was faced with a horrible truth – the dysfunctions of his organization.
  • Mike Donoghue proclaims the power of the user in guiding the evolution of technology.

Podcasts and Videos

  • Dave Prior interviews Kanban coach Frank Vega, who advocates for using workflow management for a variety of activities. Just 11 minutes, safe for work.
  • Cesar Abeid explains how to leverage the web to gain exposure and build your reputation. Just 50 minutes, safe for work.
  • Margaret Meloni tells us how project portfolio management fits into our working lives. Just 12 minutes, safe for work.

Enjoy!

A Rhetorical Question

Several times over the last few years, I’ve seen the same question asked in forums ranging from LinkedIn to various blogs, and most recently, on Reddit: “Is Project Management a skill-set or a profession?” Here’s my answer:

Project manager is a role.

Project management is a body of knowledge, skills, and common practices. It is also the application of that intellectual capital.

Those working in a project manager role who pursue the study of project management and work at achieving competence in practicing it, and expect to make a career of managing projects, while following ethical practices and mentoring others, can reasonably call themselves professionals.

But, project management is not a profession, in the classic sense. Project managers are not subject to malpractice suits, in that capacity. Hence, they are not regulated in the same way as practitioners of a learned profession, such as a doctor or lawyer. The New York State Education Department operates the Office of the Professions, charged with licensing practitioners in a lengthy list. From medical, dental, pharmacy, and related fields, to engineers, architects, and even interior decorators, New York maintains standards for licensing a number of professions. Project managers didn’t make the list. I haven’t checked the other 49 states, but I suspect the story would be similar.

So, how can those who do not practice a profession reasonable call themselves professionals? Because the dictionary says they can: a professional is one “following an occupation as a means of livelihood or for gain: a professional builder.”

Reasonable people can disagree, as can unreasonable people and even disagreeable people. If you are any of these, please add your thoughts in a reply, below.

New PM Articles for the Week of April 7 – 13

NewsboyNew project management articles published on the web during the week of April 7 – 13. We read all of this stuff so you don’t have to! Recommended:

If It Heartbleeds, It Leads

  • Rusty Foster explains the HeartBleed clearly enough for just about anyone to understand.
  • Brian Leach adds his thoughts to the stream of news on Heartbleed.
  • Mashable has compiled the Heartbleed Hit List: those major sites affected and not impacted. My recommendation: change your passwords, anyway. Just wait until those sites who admit to a problem have announced a solution, before you change that password. Meantime, don’t log in!

PM Best Practices

  • Chad Baker recounts a recent lessons learned session where the team explored what went well, and found a useful recommendation for future projects.
  • Bart Gerardi continues his series on “watermelon projects” with an ounce of prevention.
  • Elizabeth Harrin reviews “Trust in Virtual Teams,” by Thomas P. Wise.
  • Scott Berkun enumerates the ways in which remote work improves diversity.
  • Lynda Bourne reveals the potential impact of differing cultural perceptions of the relative importance of past, present, and future.
  • Roberto Toledo explains how to reduce the time required to plan a project, with a Project Planning Acceleration Project.
  • Ireti Oke-Pollard reminds us to give the operations folks “a seat at the table” during our project, so we don’t deliver something that they can economically support.
  • Zach Watson gives the elevator pitch for five Open Source project management alternatives.
  • Mike Clayton sings the praises of spreadsheets, and recommends a great resource for creative solutions using Excel.
  • Bruce McGraw gets back to the basics with project communication.
  • Joe Crumpler has found a gap in his skill set – call it business storytelling.

Agile Methods

  • Johanna Rothman continues her series on designing your Agile project, with a look at how the team will interact with management.
  • Pawel Brodzinski makes the case for unscaling Agile. That’s right: think smaller!
  • Nick Pisano refutes Neil Killick’s assertion that “traditional software development contracts” are the problem.

Strategy and Governance

  • Cornelius Fichtner interviews John Donahoe, SPMO Director at the Star Alliance, on the nature and value provided by the Strategic PMO. Just 24 minutes, safe for work.
  • Kevin Kern on PMO success: “The ultimate [PMO] is a model of defined and aligned processes, with results tracking and transparency to match.”
  • Allen Ruddock observes that a PMO has to be close to the action in order to be effective. Not off-shored, or shared services, but an actual participant!
  • Glen Alleman applies an IT governance and decision rights mindset to the #NoEstimates movement, referencing a book by Peter Weill and Jeanne Ross.
  • John Goodpasture notes the difference between a cost and an investment, and between maturity and decline.
  • Rich Maltzman and Dave Shirley trot out statistics that demonstrate strategic alignment has a significant impact on the probability of a successful project.

Podcasts and Videos

  • Cesar Abeid interviews Patrick Snow on growing a passion into business, while keeping your day job. Just 36 minutes, safe for work.
  • Michel Dion adds his comments to that new slice-of-death video, “The Expert.” Less than seven minutes, safe for work, and more depressing than a week’s worth of Dilbert.

Enjoy!