New PM Articles for the Week of March 31 – April 6

Cartoon NewsboyNew project management articles published on the web during the week of March 31 – April 6. We read all of this stuff so you don’t have to! And Elizabeth Harrin was kind enough to give me a guest spot on her blog, PM4Girls – thanks, Mum! Also recommended:

PM Best Practices

  • Glen Alleman explores the clever phrase, “Do it right or do it twice.”
  • Gary Nelson notes that there is an appropriate window of opportunity for change. After that, everything gets expensive or impossible.
  • Bruce Benson sings the praises of arguments, disputes, and debates.
  • Barry Hodge argues that Nozbe is the best “to do” list app for project managers, and gives five excellent reasons. I’m still not ditching Trello, though …
  • Dick Billows notes the advantages of using a software-based project scheduling tool, and shoots down the arguments against it.
  • Marian Haus recaps the three “traditional” techniques for overcoming project schedule constraints.
  • John Goodpasture shares a challenge question he puts to his risk management students, on how to assess the impact of a new technology, process, or vendor.
  • Tony Adams traces the link between the project charter and the engagement of the project sponsor.
  • Henny Portman links us to some great how-to videos for Excel – the project manager’s Swiss Army Knife.
  • Sue Geuens notes that incorrect data records can lead to some pretty serious consequences.

Agile Methods

  • Jeff Pierce addresses requirements gathering for those development projects with a lot of constraints.
  • Johanna Rothman continues her series on designing your own Agile project, with a look at dealing with the unknowns.
  • Cheri Baker looks into the post-success bounce, and why success is so often temporary.
  • Soma Bhattacharya talks about what to do once you’ve succeeded, and your Scrum team is successful, productive, and stable.
  • Dave Prior reflects on how he’s using (and benefiting from) his personal Kanban, as a follow-up to his interviews with Jim Benson.
  • Paulo Dias looks at the down side of starting a Sprint on a Monday.

Strategy and Governance

  • Martin Webster asks an interesting question: “Does strategy emerge or is it planned?”
  • Elizabeth Harrin reviews Georg Vielmetter and Yvonne Sell’s new book, “Leadership 2030: The Six Megatrends You Need to Understand to Lead Your Company into the Future .”
  • Michael Wood notes that the maxim “simpler is better” also applies to project portfolio management.

Your Career

  • Dennis McCafferty shares a slide deck that shows compensation and career prospects for experience project managers are looking very good, indeed.
  • Linky van der Merwe links us to a few resources for project managers looking to make a career move.
  • Michel Dion provides some tips for those preparing for a job interview.


PMI Publishes Navigating Complexity: A Practice Guide

Navigating ComplexityLast week, PMI announced availability of a new publication on managing complexity in projects, programs, and project portfolios. Called “Navigating Complexity: A Practice Guide,” it is now available for download in PDF format at no cost, for a limited time. The print version will be available in mid-March.

The Guide organizes the causes of complexity into three categories, including human behavior, system behavior, and ambiguity. The need to align people, programs, and projects to manage complexity is addressed through organizational support structures, and useful practices in four areas: scope, communications, stakeholders, and risk. Principles are demonstrated via several scenarios, each with suggested actions. Key considerations in developing, implementing, and managing an action plan are included. An extensive literature review is included as an appendix, along with a glossary.

The PDF file is 113 pages, and includes an assessment questionnaire. The questionnaire is available as a separate download, along with a companion resource gap analysis and skills assessment. Additional resources, including white papers and case studies, are available on the same complexity program page as the downloadable files.

New PM Articles for the Week of January 6 – 12

News boy in bootsNew project management articles published on the web during the week of January 6 – 12. We read all of this stuff so you don’t have to! Recommended:

Ripped from the Headlines!

  • Patrick Gray wonders about the impact revelations of spying by the NSA will have on the IT industry in the United States.
  • Wally Bahny lists the top ten tech blunders of 2013.

PM Best Practices

  • Niel Nickolaisen gives the CIO perspective on integrating Cloud and data center legacy apps.
  • Nick Hardiman has put together a nice little dictionary of “Cloud” terminology.
  • Andrew Makar shows a governance pyramid diagram that can demonstrate how your stakeholder analysis led to your communication plan.
  • Tony Adams tells of a software deployment where the participants and stakeholders were treated like the audience to a performance.
  • Allen Ruddock quotes Bananarama, “It ain’t what you do, it’s the way you do it.”
  • Elizabeth Harrin shares an infographic on how to balance development of your hard and soft skills.
  • Chuck Morton extols the benefits of constructive conflict.
  • Chris Tomich tells how he uses the issue-based information system (IBIS) diagramming technique to organize requirements (and so much more).
  • Dick Billows demonstrates how to develop a work breakdown structure, starting from high-level deliverables.
  • John Carroll: “The wise project manager understands the purpose of methodologies, tools and techniques and knows if and when to use them, but he allows them to fade into the background.”

Decision Making

  • Kailash Awati looks into how objectivity and ethics really work in organizational decision-making.
  • Luis Seabra Coelho explores choice architecture. Not a group of buildings, but the way you present alternatives to influence the decision. You know – marketing.
  • Ron Rosenhead presents an interesting scope change process, where the person who wants the change is required to arrange a “challenge” meeting.
  • Kenneth Darter talks us through building a business case for our project.
  • Glen Alleman explains what you have to be able to do in order to have a seat at the table when the important decisions are made.
  • Martin Webster shares his daily practices for time management (and actually getting things done).
  • Shim Marom reminds us that chaos is in the eye of the beholder, not (necessarily) the participant.

Agile Methods

  • Michiko Diby describes an experiment in clarifying user requirements, by re-stating them as features.
  • Jesse Fewell says we need to stop collecting requirements the way we’ve always failed at collecting them.
  • Dave Prior interviews David Anderson on how to apply Kanban as an evolutionary approach. Just 37 minutes, safe for work.
  • John Goodpasture looks at scaling Agile down – all the way down to one or two.


  • Lindsay Scott notes that, after experience and sector knowledge, hiring managers selected project managers based on personality and personal approach. Not in your resume? Well …
  • Michael Morrell explains how Big Data is impacting recruiting.