New Post at AITS: Managing Globally Distributed Project Teams

My latest article for AITS was published today: Managing Globally Distributed Project Teams.

I’ve been managing projects with globally distributed teams for a lot of years. Between the scheduling problems, the communication issues, and simply keeping everyone aligned on priorities in order to stay on schedule, it can be a handful. I’ve included several links to useful resources, as well as my usual suggestions for solving some of the common problems. But entirely aside from what’s in this article: become knowledgeable about different cultures. Call it a part of business acumen, call it being a citizen of a larger world. Just realize that the jobs at the upper end of the pay scale require a global mindset today and that requirement will spread downward in the years to come.

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

Commonly Observed National and Religious Holidays 2018

As I remind everyone each year: if you haven’t already done so, it’s time to update your project schedules with non-working days for 2018. Below is a list of commonly observed national and religious holidays, and the dates they are commonly observed. Naturally, you’ll need to confirm which holidays apply to your project team.

And here are instructions for updating the working calendar in MS Project.

Holiday Weekday Celebrated
New Year’s Day Monday 1/1/2018
Martin Luther King’s Birthday (US) Monday 1/15/2018
Republic Day (India) Friday 1/26/2018
Ash Wednesday Wednesday 2/14/2018
Chinese / Vietnamese New Year Friday 2/16/2018
President’s Day (US) Monday 2/19/2018
Holi (India) Friday 3/2/2018
Good Friday Friday 3/30/2018
Beginning of Passover Saturday 3/31/2018
Easter Monday (UK) Monday 4/2/2018
May Day (China: Labor Day) Tuesday 5/1/2018
Early May Bank Holiday (UK) Monday 5/7/2018
First day of Ramadan Wednesday 5/16/2018
Shauvot Sunday 5/20/2018
Victoria Day (Canada) Monday 5/21/2018
Spring Bank Holiday (UK) Monday 5/28/2018
Memorial Day (US) Monday 5/28/2018
Eid al-Fitr Friday 6/15/2018
Canada Day Sunday 7/1/2018
Independence Day (US) Wednesday 7/4/2018
Pioneer Day (Utah, US) Tuesday 7/24/2018
Independence Day (India) Wednesday 8/15/2018
Eid al-Adha / Festival of Sacrifice Wednesday 8/22/2018
Summer Bank Holiday (UK) Monday 8/27/2018
Labor Day (US and Canada) Monday 9/3/2018
Rosh Hashanah Monday 9/10/2018
Yom Kippur Wednesday 9/19/2018
Sukkot Monday 9/24/2018
National Day (China) Monday 10/1/2018
Mahatma Gandhi’s Birthday (India) Tuesday 10/2/2018
Columbus Day / Indigenous People’s Day (US) Monday 10/8/2018
Thanksgiving (Canada) Monday 10/8/2018
Dussehra (India) Friday 10/19/2018
Veteran’s Day (US) / Remembrance Day (Canada) Sunday 11/11/2018
Diwali (India) Saturday 11/17/2018
Thanksgiving Day (US) Thursday 11/22/2018
Day after Thanksgiving (US) Friday 11/23/2018
First day of Chanukah Monday 12/3/2018
Christmas Eve Monday 12/24/2018
Christmas Day Tuesday 12/25/2018
Boxing Day (UK, Canada) Wednesday 12/26/2018
Kwanzaa Wednesday 12/26/2018
New Year’s Eve Monday 12/31/2018


New PM Articles for the Week of October 23 – 29

New project management articles published on the web during the week of October 23 – 29. Note that Daylight Savings Time ended in the UK and much of Europe on October 28, but will drag on for another week in North and Central America. And this week’s video: Destiny Cross makes the theme music from “The Munsters” haunting in a way you never expected. 8 minutes, safe for work.

Must read (or Listen)!

  • David Clinton tutors us on the vocabulary and concepts of high-availability server networks. Absolutely the best explanation I’ve read in years—highly recommended! 9 minutes to read.
  • Johanna Rothman takes a principled stand against harassment and abuse of power. “When the people suffer, the product suffers. It suffers in development and it suffers in release.” 3 minutes to read.
  • Adam Shostack considers the question: what do we need to do to create software that lasts as long as the new refrigerator that will connect to your network? The internet of things will change the timescale of software product life cycles. 3 minutes to read.

Established Methods

  • Michael Clayton curates a list of project management surveys and reports, from a variety of sources. 21 outbound links, 7 minutes to read.
  • Michel Dion observes that the most common failure mode for labor-intensive projects is insufficient resources, and that’s usually by design. 4 minutes to read.
  • Joe Wynne identifies several tactics to resolve resource constraints when managing a portfolio of projects (and BAU). 3 minutes to read.
  • Henny Portman links us to ten “canvas” models for structuring, explaining, and summarizing complex collections of information. Just a minute to scan, 10 outbound links.
  • Harry Hall shares eight tips designed to help you answer difficult questions during presentations. 2 minutes to read.
  • Jason Westland has compiled a list of 15(!) free project management training videos, by Jennifer Bridges, Susan Madsen, and Devin Deen.

Agile Methods

  • Stefan Wolpers curates his weekly list of Agile content, from matching Agile approach with context to lessons learned from electoral politics to the Third Scrum Wave. You thought Scrum was a particle? 7 outbound links, 2 minutes to scan.
  • Soma Bhattacharya describes five different kinds of Scrum Masters, based on what there were doing before they assumed the role. Insightful and thought-provoking! 2 minutes to read.
  • Peter Pito compares Kanban and the Theory of Constraints, beginning with their origins and intended purposes. 6 minutes to read.
  • John Yorke explains Little’s Law and how it applies to work in progress limits, but not velocity. 2 minutes to read.
  • Dave Prior interviews Declan Whelan on how the definition of technical debt has evolved to something more akin to technical health. Podcast, 37 minutes.
  • Dan Mirabella points out three advantages of an Agile release plan. 3 minutes to read.

Applied Leadership

  • Elizabeth Harrin tells us how to manage a team member with a negative attitude. 5 minutes to read.
  • Scott Berkun answers the question: why do so many managers have poor people skills? 4 minutes to read.
  • Vicki Wrona notes that organizations that recognize and reward fire-fighting need to be on the lookout for poor planners and procrastinators. You know: arsonists. 3 minutes to read.
  • Roopak Jain provides an Agile practitioner’s view of the Learning Organization, as described by Peter Senge.

Technology, Techniques, and Human Behavior

  • Kim Brushaber explains how to get started on complying with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Webinar, just over an hour.
  • Cathy Nolan tutors us on Privacy Impact Assessments, an analysis of how personally identifiable information (PII) is collected, used, shared, and maintained. 3 minutes to read.
  • Elyse Bogacz notes key factors and decision points in the design process for reports. Data visualization is not just in the eye of the beholder! 5 minutes to read.

Working and the Workplace

  • Leigh Espy lists 20 behaviors that we should develop as assertive communication skills to gain confidence and respect. Just over 10 minutes to read.
  • Geoff Crane presents scientific evidence that as stress accumulates, the body anticipates additional stress. Not a good cycle—we need to break it to help others deal with their stress. 4 minutes to read.
  • Suzanne Lucas triumphantly tells us why we need to tell rude people to knock it off—because it works! 4 minutes to read, a lifetime to confront all the jerks.