New Post at AITS: Managing Transitions Between Outsourcing Vendors

My latest article for AITS was published today: Managing Transitions Between Outsourcing Vendors.

An experienced project manager is used to leveraging influence in the absence of direct authority. What most of us are not used to is influencing people who are about to lose their jobs, when we want them to work with their replacements. It isn’t just about the need for emotional intelligence, but the need to preserve the dignity of the employees of the departing incumbent. If you have comments on this topic, please leave a comment at AITS. If you have suggestions for future topics, please leave a comment here.

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

New PM Articles for the Week of April 3 – 9

New project management articles published on the web during the week of April 3 – 9. And this week’s video: Art Petty tell us to find the opportunities lurking in situations characterized by ambiguity and uncertainty. Less than 4 minutes, safe for work.

Must read (or Hear)!

  • Michael Wood offers some career counseling for those considering a move to project management consulting.
  • Greg Satell says that looking for a good problem will lead us to find a great idea.
  • Bertrand Duperrin observes that there are no more technology companies—only companies using technology. Just ask Tesla Motors, now calling itself Tesla, Inc.

Established Methods

  • Elizabeth Harrin explains how to hold people accountable, in her weekly Project Management Café Facebook Live session. Join the group! Just 18 minutes, safe for work.
  • Harry Hall walks us through creating a project human resource management plan.
  • Moira Alexander tutors us on RFIs and RFQs from the perspective of both the potential customer and the vendor.
  • Anna Murray explains the nature of complex projects, using the assembly of an Ikea desk as a metaphor. If you’re thinking “schedule risk,” I think you get the idea.
  • Glen Alleman tutors us on interpreting a probability distribution, using the measured similarity in two very different climates to illustrate.

Agile Methods

  • Stefan Wolpers curates his weekly list of Agile content, including posts on how many teams a Scrum Master should handle and whether they should work themselves out of a job.
  • Jimeque Turner counts the soft skills that allowed her to transition from teacher to project manager, to Scrum Master.
  • Johanna Rothman contrasts an iterative approach with a cadence-driven approach.
  • The Clever PM debunks five common myths about “iteration.”
  • Pulkit Agrawal explains why a start-up firm chose to re-design their product, choosing growth and sustainability over short-term customer retention.
  • Coray Seifert reflects on lessons learned from using Hansoft for Agile project management on his most recent game development project. And more widely applicable than that.

Applied Leadership

  • John Goodpasture summarizes “The Right Kind of Crazy: A true story of teamwork, leadership, and high-stakes innovation,” by Adam Steltzner and William Patrick.
  • Michael Lopp extends Kim Scott’s model for Radical Candor into one of Radical (communication) Efficiency.
  • Margarita Mayo notes that, although humble people make the most effective leaders, we keep following charismatic narcissists.

Technology, Techniques, and Human Behavior

  • Nancy Settle-Murphy and Elise Keith list the criteria to decide whether a face-to-face meeting is necessary or a virtual meeting will work as well.
  • Matt Weinberger looks out a decade to the end of the smartphone, and maybe new models for being human.
  • Seth Godin: “Technology destroys the perfect and then it enables the impossible.”
  • Peter Vishton argues that to break our own bad habits we should use the same training techniques that work on dogs.

Working and the Workplace

  • Ryan Ogilvie shares an anecdote that illustrates the need for excellent metrics when pursuing excellence.
  • Lisette Sutherland interviews Frank Cottle, CEO of Alliance Virtual Offices, on the virtual office movement and “third place” working. Just 45 minutes, safe for work.
  • Michael Hyatt uses Elon Musk as a counter-intuitive example to illustrate why the 100 hour work week is counter-productive.
  • Tom McFarlin shares a lesson from “Essentialism,” by Greg McKeown, on separating the vital few from the trivial many.

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!