New PM Articles for the Week of August 17 – 23

Cape MearsNew project management articles published on the web during the week of August 17 – 23. We give you a high-level view so you can read what interests you. Recommended:

Must read!

  • Ezra Klein analyzes last Sunday’s New York Times’ expose of the demands of white-collar life at Amazon, and finds the evidence less than compelling.
  • Suzanne Lucas counters the New York Times Amazon profile with her observation that many people are looking for exactly that sort of demanding, big-league career.
  • Sarah Greene Carmichael reviews the research: those long hours are counterproductive for both the employee and the company.

Established Methods

  • Glen Alleman on anecdotes and statistics: “An anecdote is a statistic with a sample size of one.”
  • Elizabeth Harrin describes “Advances in Project Management,” as edited by Darren Dalcher. Sort of a PM Reader’s Digest …
  • Kailash Awati summarizes Russell Ackoff’s type classification of managerial attitudes toward planning. And it’s not necessarily about dysfunction.
  • Coert Vissar reviews Richard Nisbett’s, “Mindware: Tools for Smart Thinking.”
  • Seth Godin notes that the first step in addressing a complex problem is agreeing on the definition of the problem and how it impacts us.
  • Robert T. reflects on the science supporting the value of intuitive decision-making.
  • Bruce Harpham collates eight habits of highly effective communicators.
  • Art Petty helps us overcome our fear of sharing feedback.
  • Harry Hall reviews the core principles and terminology of scope management.
  • Alex Lu-Pon profiles Adam Wright, who manages the construction of personal submarines, one boat at a time.

Agile Methods

  • Mike Griffiths looks into a problem with Agile methods: resistance to innovation and change, among some of the thought leaders!
  • Johanna Rothman follows up on her recent post, explaining how to use continuous planning.
  • Len Lagestee lists seven characteristics that sum up what an increasingly Agile organization should “feel like.”
  • Derek Huether has identified an amusing divergence: the Big Design Up Front of Agile2015 seems less valuable than informal gatherings, e.g. Emergent Design.

Work Isn’t a Place You Go But Something You Do

  • Thomas Carney gets the skinny on working remotely, from eleven project management thought leaders.
  • Patrick Gray shares some tips for the traveling IT worker, also known as the migrant computer worker, road hog, and so on …
  • A.W. also known as Gulliver the business traveler, trots out the unhealthy consequences of a life spent on the road. Now you tell me …
  • Tom Barnett looks at what should drive our decision to move on to the next opportunity.

Podcasts and Videos

  • Cesar Abeid interviews Errette Dunn on his journeys to become the Lean influence at Wrike. Just 53 minutes, safe for work.
  • Cornelius Fichtner continues his recent interview of Susanne Madsen, with a deeper dive into coaching techniques. Just 25 minutes, safe for work.
  • Elise Stevens interviews Dan Galorath on the fine art of estimating. Just 15 minutes, safe for work.



Special Mention: Nick Pisano’s Post at AITS

Nick PisanoI normally include references to articles and blog posts in my weekly round-up, but in this case, I wanted to go into more depth than my usual one or two sentences. Nick Pisano’s article at AITS this week looks like the capstone of his argument that IT project failure is less about unknown and unknowable risks than about poor management processes. His analysis runs from Black Swans to Babe Ruth, and from studies by Rand and McKinsey to his previous posts on the physics and economics of software development.

Nick concludes with nine very specific principles that should be the basis of every software development project selection and execution process. His underlying theme: improving the success rate of software projects lies not in the cryptozoology of unforeseeable events, but in the application of modern management techniques and evidence-based decision making. Projects should not be begun without clear objectives and success metrics, and they should be terminated when evidence of impending failure is identified.

It’s a long read, but well worth your time. Great job, Nick.

New PM Articles for the Week of July 20 – 26

Ballon PassingNew project management articles published on the web during the week of July 20 – 26. We give you a high-level view so you can read what interests you. Our theme this week is Agile software development. Recommended:

Must read!

  • Johanna Rothman shares a few tips for product owners faced with ranking features in a backlog. This needs to be a checklist!
  • Neil Killick shares a twelve-point decision tree (which only looks like a questionnaire) that will help you determine whether your team is actually developing software using Agile methods. And no, it’s not a twelve-step program – just a coincidence.
  • Aaron Smith interviews Thomas Wise, co-author of the new book, “Agile Readiness: Four Spheres of Lean and Agile Transformation.”

PM Best Practices

  • Elizabeth Harrin: “The biggest challenge facing project management today is that project-related work and jobs are growing too quickly for our approaches to professionalism to keep up.”
  • Adam Shostak points us toward a good, long read at CIO on real lessons learned from the dubious rollout of
  • John Goodpasture quotes John LeCarre (for the second time in a week) on the need for facts to have a credible source.
  • Kailash Awati continues his series introducing us to R, the open source statistical analysis package.
  • Kerry Wills walks us through his analytical process for Issues.
  • Bruce Benson leverages a story in Bloomberg Businessweek to introduce the radical idea of skepticism, as a tool for issue prevention.
  • Kenneth Darter observes that some issues only crop up after the project is (nearly) completed. That doesn’t make them non-issues!
  • Matthew Squair reports on a demonstration of how to take control of a car via the internet. “My new car has Wi-fi!” Far out, Dude …
  • Lynda Bourne covers the elements of stakeholder engagement, including a bit of history.
  • Paul Ritchie addresses a tough recruiting question: how do I interview for soft skills?
  • Nick Pisano looks at the economics of data through the lenses of public sector economic and Moore’s Law.
  • Rex Homlin explains that successful projects are successful on three levels.
  • Ryan Ogilvie covers the basics of software asset management.

Agile Methods

  • Mike Griffiths posts an infographic and some statistics and analysis on a topic we sometimes avoid: the down side of open space office plans.
  • Mike Cohn provides an alternative to user stories, for when your users aren’t really part of the story.
  • Glen Alleman explains why deadlines still matter, even in an Agile world.
  • Bob Tarne explains Lean, from a mountain climber’s perspective.
  • Alhad Akole share best Scrum practices for getting to zero defects.


Podcasts and Videos

  • Cesar Abeid interviews the all-around wonderful Dorie Clark, on how to be better and how to be noticed for it. Just 55 minutes, safe for work.
  • Harry Hall shares a short video, where Shane Hastie explains the discipline of business analysis. Three minutes, safe for work.
  • Ruairi O’Donnellan shares a micro-video on issue management using Sharepoint. Less than two minutes, safe for work.