New PM Articles for the Week of June 15 – 21

Three BaloonsNew project management articles published on the web during the week of June 15 – 21. We give you a high-level view so you can read what interests you. Recommended:

Must read!

  • Susanne Madsen suggests a few things to do during your first month on a new job or project to set yourself up for success.
  • Richard Lepsinger reviews three leadership tactics that work fine in a hierarchic bureaucracy but usually fail in a matrixed organization.
  • Naomi Caietti briefly explains the key behaviors and skillsets of three key roles: project sponsor, project manager, and business analyst.

PM Best Practices

  • Dave Wakeman has some suggestions for ensuring your project retains its strategic focus.
  • Elizabeth Harrin points out three common mistakes that project managers make, even when they know better.
  • Henny Portman reviews “The Abilene Paradox and other meditations on management,” by Jerry B. Hervey. Looks interesting.
  • Mike Clayton reviews “Transforming Business with Program Management,” by Satish Subramanian.
  • Matthew Squair reviews the history of nuclear reactor failures in explaining how the choice of a risk response can be influenced by uncertain estimates of the severity of a failure.

Agile Methods

  • Mike Cohn hypothesizes a couple of situations where the product owner should be able to drive technical decisions.
  • Sally Elatta answers questions posed during her webinar, “Scaling Agile Metrics and Measuring What Matters.”
  • John Goodpasture addresses the need for preserving and accessing the knowledge created during the project, after it concludes.
  • Johanna Rothman has some advice for managers who want to reward individuals, rather than teams.


Podcasts and Videos

  • Dave Prior interviews Agile coach Derek Huether on how he uses Personal Kanban. Just 33 minutes, safe for work.
  • Cornelius Fichtner interviews Kim Wasson on the peope and relationships side of project management.
  • Samad Aidane interviews Wellpoint VP of Business Solutions Sarina Arcari, leader of PMI’s PMO of the Year Award winner. A little over an hour, safe for work.
  • Margaret Meloni tells a story of a project that needed a planning session, but in order to do that, needed to hit the Pause Just two minutes, safe for work.

Outside the Lines

  • Lynda Bourne summarizes the scientific research into the relationship between happiness at work, productivity, and health.
  • Bruce Harpham outlines a strategy for expanding your job, as an approach to building your career.
  • Evil HR Lady Suzanne Lucas makes the case for not working on the weekend. It’s now summertime here in the northern hemisphere – enjoy it!
  • Ron Rosenhead tells how to solicit feedback as input to your personal development plan.
  • Venkatesh Rao introduces a series on the theories and teachings of John Boyd, Air Force strategist and father of the OODA Loop.
  • Linky van der Merwe summarizes the four pillars of emotional intelligence.



My Presentation at the CAMP IT Portfolio Management Conference

CAMP IT PresentationOn Friday, I presented my case study, “Getting From 23 to One: Merging Systems after the Mergers” at the CAMP IT Portfolio Management conference here in Las Vegas. The two day conference drew attendees from 15 states and Canada, with titles ranging from Executive Director of Execution and Governance to EPMO and PMO Directors. Many of the folks I met were with public sector organizations and higher education, although there were a lot of corporate types, too.

The case study analyzes the transformation of the HR and Payroll systems portfolio during my tenure at MGM Resorts International, following several intense years of mergers and acquisitions, while constructing three new resorts. I described how we applied a portfolio management approach to aligning with the business strategy, selecting and sequencing projects, managing enterprise risk, and reacting to major events. In addition, I talked about getting and maintaining stakeholder alignment, partnering with the procurement team, and lessons learned. I’ve made the slide deck available for download here.

Dave and Randy at the Coffee TableIf you’re sorry you missed it, organizer Randy Wimmer tells me they expect to repeat next year, here in Las Vegas. CAMP IT conducts conferences throughout the year, on a variety of IT subjects. Note: that enormous pastry on the left is actually a frosted hub cap. I backed away slowly, so it wouldn’t attack.

New PM Articles for the Week of May 4 – 10

Sydney Opera HouseNew project management articles published on the web during the week of May 4 – 10. We give you a venue for discovery of new ideas, so you can find what interests you. I took this picture on my recent business trip to Sydney, during a short respite from the rain. Recommended:

Must read!

  • Lynda Bourne explains the difference between change and transformation. And yes, they are as different as waterfall and Agile.
  • Don Kim preaches a little heresy: the more an organization needs effective project management, right now, the less ardently they should pursue it.
  • Penelope Trunk presents some shortcuts to apply when reinventing yourself. The key is to change the context and presentation, rather than your essential identity.

PM Best Practices

  • Michel Dion challenges the traditional “triple constraint” perspective in defining project success, with a new trinity of considerations that look outside the project.
  • Elizabeth Harrin shares the slide deck from her PMXPO talk, “Ten Ways to Market Your Project.” Great stuff on connecting with your stakeholders.
  • Rich Maltzman presents the story of coffee roaster Equal Exchange as an example of the purpose-driven approach that project managers should emulate.
  • Paul Ritchie advocates for imbedding benefits realization in the project plan, and links to a great old Hoyt Axton song, “Where Did the Money Go?”
  • Nick Pisano lays the groundwork for a generalized theory of managing software development and acquisition, with a supporting rebar web of physics and economics.
  • John Goodpasture introduces a presentation by Matthew Squair, “Software Partitioning Integrity.” Even if you aren’t a software development manager, the vocabulary is worth developing, from a risk management perspective.
  • Harry Hall reviews the key knowledge elements of risk identification. Educate your project team and stakeholders, and they will embrace risk management.
  • Bill Nichols argues for documenting requirements, despite Agilista claims. Just because they’re emerging doesn’t mean we shouldn’t capture them.
  • Ray Frohnhoefer on Extreme Planning. “As we’ve learned from projects like gov, Agile isn’t always the best method to follow for software development.”
  • Paul Baumgartner describes the project manager’s role of “knowledge broker,” redirecting inquiries to the right expert, as essential to the success of complex projects.

Agile Methods

  • Mike Cohn shares his thoughts on whether it is better for team members to commit to specific tasks, or the entire team to commit to the sprint plan.
  • Mike Griffiths points out the abundance of non-traditional knowledge sharing on Agile projects, with a focus on Extreme Programming practices.
  • Neil Killick examines some of the motivations for a decision maker to request an estimate, with an eye toward producing better answers.

Management Without the Pointy Hair

  • Venkat Krishnamurthy proposes a novel approach: instead of trying to replicate success, study and learn from companies who failed.
  • Susanne Madsen reviews Hertzberg’s theory of hygiene and motivators and a bit of self-determination theory to make an important point: you can’t buy retention.
  • Suzanne Lucas recommends five actions you can take to improve retention of your best employees.
  • Glen Alleman notes that in order to use data from past performance to project future results, you need to be able to make some quantified adjustments.
  • Bruce Harpham applies David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” personal productivity principles with a weekly review.