The Data Conversion Cycle – Now Available on Amazon.com

My new book, “The Data Conversion Cycle: A guide to migrating transactions and other records, for system implementation teams,” is now available on Amazon.com in both Kindle format for $4.49 and paperback for $6.99. If you buy the paperback version, you can also buy the Kindle version for 99 cents in what Amazon calls “matchbook” pricing.

When asked for the most common sources of problems for software system implementation projects, experienced system implementers and consultants always list data conversion among their top three. Converting from one production record-keeping system to another is a challenge because you not only have a moving target; you also have a moving origin, as records are created and updated each day while the project is in progress. This book expands on a series of blog posts on The Practicing IT Project Manager website. Originally written for my project manager following, I extensively revised the content for a general business audience.

This book was designed to be a resource for project teams comprised of not just project managers and IT specialists, but the people working in the business areas who own and maintain the data records and will use the new systems. The goal was to provide a clear model expressed in a common language for a cross-functional team.
The first six chapters explain data conversion as an iterative process, from defining the scope to mapping source system records to the target system, to extraction and loading, to validation. This methodology works well with Agile methods, especially those involving iterative prototyping. However, it can also be used with more traditional planning-intensive approaches.

I also include a chapter on incorporating data conversion into the project planning process and a chapter on risk management. The risk management chapter starts with the basics and goes into considerable detail in identifying risks applicable to data conversion. The book includes an Appendix with an example output of a risk identification meeting and the types of information to include in a risk register. There is also a chapter on measuring progress when using this iterative approach, and a Glossary.

As always, thanks for reading my stuff.

New PM Articles for the Week of February 13 – 19

New project management articles published on the web during the week of February 13 – 19. And this week’s video: Jochen Menges explains how charismatic leaders speak to our emotions, and why we defer to them. Just 18 minutes, safe for work.

Must read (or Hear)!

  • Vicki Wrona concludes her four-part series on project management obstacles with her reflections on unrealistic expectations and micro-management.
  • Mike Griffiths explains how to apply Lean Thinking precepts to your PMO, to deliver the most value with the least waste and highest utilization of available talent.
  • Cornelius Fichtner extracts the answer to one question he asked in each of 14 interviews at the PMI Global Congress 2016: Which is the interpersonal skill that you attribute the most of our success in your career to? Just 24 minutes, safe for work.

Established Methods

  • Leigh Espy provides a complete, concise, and actionable tutorial on software project requirements.
  • Mark Mulally contemplates project management as a service function, and what that means to stakeholders, sponsors, and project managers.
  • Elise Stevens interviews Michel Dion on rescuing troubled projects with a brutal assessment and a new plan, followed by execution and intense monitoring. Just 24 minutes, safe for work.
  • Barry Hodge explains how to tailor Prince2 to each project. And yes, that’s an integral part of the method!
  • Harry Hall identifies seven common quality management failure modes.

Agile Methods

  • Stefan Wolpers curates his weekly list of Agile content, from Agile tribes to the learning value of prototyping, to the Goldilocks product development timeframe.
  • Johanna Rothman shows how to maintain visibility over the work you postpone with a Parking Lot.
  • Ryan Ripley interviews Bryan Beecham on the importance of simplicity, psychological safety, and continuous improvement. Just over an hour, safe for work.
  • Jay Melone addresses the big question on Design sprints: how do you get from validation to execution?
  • Tamás Török links us to the best Slack integrations for distributed software teams.

Applied Leadership

  • John Goodpasture ruminates on the fiduciary nature of the project manager role.
  • Art Petty catalogs some of the awkward moments—the ones that trigger our negative emotions—and advises on how to handle them.
  • Grace Windsor explores ways to apply emotional intelligence techniques to enhance team collaboration.

Technology and Techniques

  • Mordaxus starts a series where he will complain about information security practices with a short didactic on security models.
  • Cathy Nolan reports on the growing use of Internet of Things technology by retailers, as they watch us shop and try to understand (and influence) our behavior.
  • Joe Wynne starts a series on managing robotic process automation projects for CRM applications. The fact that I can type this, you get what it means, and we both treat it as A Thing astounds me to no end.
  • Bill Gates wants us to tax the robots who take human jobs. Even the ones shaped like paper clips? OK, maybe that’s an obscure reference …

Working and the Workplace

  • Brendan Toner touts OneNote as the ultimate tool for blogging (I use it for just about all of my writing and note taking these days).
  • Bertrand Duperrin points to recent studies that found needlessly complex processes kill productivity and reduce employee engagement.
  • Elizabeth Harrin shares a long list of the small strategies that help her to be efficient in her multiple roles.
  • Lolly Daskal reminds us that time management is only one piece of the productivity and effectiveness puzzle.
  • Lisette Sutherland focuses on maintaining our health when working remotely by being mobile. Just 9 minutes, safe for work.

Enjoy!

New PM Articles for the Week of January 30 – February 5

New project management articles published on the web during the week of January 30 – February 5. And this week’s video: Eduardo Briceño talks about how to most effectively move between the performing zone and the learning zone, using Diogenes and Beyonce as examples. Just 11 minutes, safe for work.

Must read (or hear)!

  • Soma Bhattacharya encapsulates some ideas about neuroplasticity and suggests some brain-boosting activities. Includes a link to an excellent TED talk by Lara Boyd.
  • Cornelius Fichtner interviews Wanda Curlee on how situational awareness and emotional intelligence are intertwined. Just 23 minutes, safe for work.
  • Angelica Larios summarizes research into the dimensions of cultural differences by Robert House into short, clear definitions and a useful table. Even if you’re not managing global teams today, this knowledge is important!

Established Methods

  • Mike Clayton coaches us on ways to engage our project sponsor.
  • John Goodpasture shares his FAQ on systems engineering. Only slightly
  • Leigh Espy tutors us on the scope management plan.
  • Harry Hall uses his new FitBit as a metaphor for project financial management.
  • Bruce Harpham helps us take our questions from good to great.
  • Nick Pisano critiques a list of project management trends for 2017, compiled by Atif Qureshi.

Agile Methods

  • Stefan Wolpers curates his weekly list of Agile content, from team building and the need for dissent to guerilla research and The Bad Product Fallacy.
  • Mike Cohn shares an agenda for the Sprint Review – a ceremony designed for soliciting actionable feedback.
  • Dave Prior interviews Mike Cottmeyer on the State of Agile in 2017 and addresses the question: Is culture really the issue? Just 48 minutes, safe for work.
  • Alison Wood made a new eBook from Knowledge Train available for download: “The Challenges with Agile.” Six Agile practitioners, 12 pages, many excellent insights.
  • Elise Stevens interviews Melanie Franklin on the evolution of the PMO in adopting Agile methods. Just 19 minutes, safe for work.
  • Tom McFarlin addresses the tension between “It’s good enough,” and “It could be better” when deciding to ship your product.

Applied Leadership

  • Andy Kaufman interviews Nick Petrie and Derek Roger, authors of “Work Without Stress,” on… well, stress and pressure. Just 55 minutes, safe for work. Plus a couple of minutes for the clip from “Bridge of Spies” that puts it all into perspective.
  • Beth Spriggs depicts a difficult but necessary conversation with someone who needed to hear some very negative feedback.
  • Rich Maltzman summarizes the sustainability trends driving business in 2017, based on a report by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership.
  • Seth Godin notes that, just as you don’t heat your office with coal anymore, you will eventually abandon the employee performance review system you’ve used for thirty years.

Technology and Techniques

  • Cade Metz updates us the recent poker tournament where an AI program beat four of the world’s best poker players at no-limit Texas Hold ‘Em.
  • Tom Randall reports on three new lithium-ion battery storage plants in California, any one of which would have been the largest such facility ever built. Focus on the description of the construction project.
  • Nick Bilton reports on the death of Hollywood, as technology reshapes filmmaking the way it has everything else.

Working and the Workplace

  • Lisette Sutherland edits several old interviews to extract four insights in establishing camaraderie in remote teams.
  • Conner Forrest explains how to determine whether President Trump’s suspension of immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries will impact your company.
  • Suzanne Lucas reports on some fascinating research – extensive international travel and exposure to different cultures can desensitize you to what is right and wrong.

Enjoy!