New PM Articles for the Week of August 31 – September 6

SightseersNew project management articles published on the web during the week of August 31 – September 6. We give you a high-level view so you can read what interests you. Recommended:

Must read!

  • Julie Bort summarizes the myths and science of lies, liars, and a few ways to identify when someone is hiding something.
  • Scott Adams lists some of the “tells,” or involuntary actions, for cognitive dissonance, the human reaction to facts that conflict with one’s beliefs. Be careful, because you won’t be able to un-read this.
  • Coert Visser describes a 2 by 2 matrix, modest /arrogant and ignorant / knowledgeable, and suggests some strategies for dealing with the arrogant-yet-ignorant state of mind.

Established Methods

  • Moira Alexander shares her strategic alignment checklist for project managers, because it’s not just about being on schedule, on budget, and on the quality target.
  • Gary Nelson uses a woodworking metaphor for getting a project completed without cutting corners (or sanding them off).
  • Phil Weinzimer reflects on his interviews of Proctor and Gamble’s CIO, Filippo Passerini, who was so impressive that he rates an entire chapter in Phil’s new book.
  • Glen Alleman makes the case for using source lines of code as a measure of system and project performance.
  • And in response, Nick Pisano argues the case against using SLOC as a measure of performance. I agree with Nick on this one.
  • Matthew Squair looks at technical debt through his safety engineering and risk management lens.
  • BrenDt imagines the perfect project management tool; it’s just not commercially available, yet.
  • Kathleen O’Connor interviews Brian Manning, co-founder of Centric Digital, on the balance between project management and creativity.
  • Parag Tipnis finds the intersection of scope management and stakeholder management, where diplomacy is required to keep perfection from preventing progress.
  • Neel Patel reports on what the AI and security communities say about the prospect of software beating hackers in the near term: not likely.

Agile Methods

  • Pawel Brodzinski explains the effect that the Zeigarnik Effect has on context switching – one more reason to limit work in progress.
  • John Goodpasture notes with approval the role of the enterprise architect in Disciplined Agile Delivery.
  • Mike Cohn makes the case for budgeting, as an alternative for teams that don’t feel capable of estimating well.
  • Neil Killick argues for product management, as a long-term replacement for project, program, and portfolio management. He didn’t convince me, but it’s worth a read.

Work Isn’t a Place You Go

  • Alia Crum and Thomas Crum describe a three-step process for leveraging stress.
  • Michael Lopp wakes up in a panic at 4:00 AM to review his deadlines, work in progress, and commitments. Time to delegate! Well, after everyone else is in the office…
  • Bruce Harpham interviews podcaster Jeff Sanders, who focuses on early mornings, productivity, healthy habits, and personal development.
  • Elizabeth Harrin reviews “Growing Software: Proven Strategies for Managing Software Engineers,” by Louis Testa.


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.