New Post at AITS: Status Reports News and Information

My latest article for AITS was published today: Status Reports: Separating Information from News.

Cartoon News ReadersIt’s important to think like a journalist when writing status reports: be clear, concise, and engage the reader by creating a narrative. Tell a story that the reader wants to finish. But not everything in your status report should be news—you also need to mix in information, showing trends and data in a digestible format. The goal should be to help your stakeholders have a better understanding of the work planned, completed, and in progress so they can make better decisions and help to champion the project.

As always, thanks for taking the time to read my stuff.

New PM Articles for the Week of March 19 – 25

New project management articles published on the web during the week of March 19 – 25. Daylight Savings Time began in Europe and the UK this weekend. And this week’s video: Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students who survived the massacre on Valentine’s Day were among the activists who spoke at the “March for Our Lives” rally Saturday in Washington, D.C. Speakers at the event, which drew hundreds of thousands of people, included Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg and Yolanda Renee King, the granddaughter of Martin Luther King Jr. 3 minutes, safe for work; in fact, schools should be this safe.

Must read!

  • Andreas Sandre reports on the calls for regulating Big Tech in the wake of the revelations involving Cambridge Analytica and Facebook. 4 minutes to read. Side note: Amazon has replaced Google as the best place to work in the US, per LinkedIn. Yet in 2015, we were aghast at their work culture. Adaptation or PR?
  • Kristen Duke summarizes recent research that found the mere presence of your smartphone impacts your cognitive ability. Even face down with the alerts turned off! 5 minutes to read.
  • Steve Ragan recaps the high points from a Symantec report on the shifting security threats and tactics used in cyber attacks during 2017. Expect more evolution this year. 3 minutes to read.

Established Methods

  • Rich Maltzman and Dave Shirley examine the latest PMI Pulse of the Profession The criteria for a successful project is getting a lot more nuanced. 3 minutes to read.
  • Mike Clayton provides detailed instructions on how to close down your project. 10 minutes to read.
  • Glen Alleman shoots down the notion that fixed price contracts remove risk—they just move it around a bit. 4 minutes to read.
  • Leigh Espy points out the benefits of aligning IT strategy with business strategy and goals. 2 minutes to read.
  • Philippe Husser describes three practices for a successful value-driven PMO. 5 minutes to read.
  • Elizabeth Harrin lists a few ways to engage your project sponsor. 5 minutes to read.
  • Brian O’Malley explains how to use org charts to make governance of complex projects and programs easier to communicate. 4 minutes to read.
  • Nick Smarto finds ten project management lessons in the Zen art of stacking stones. 7 minutes to read.

Agile Methods

  • Stefan Wolpers curates his weekly list of Agile content, from failure patterns in organizations to dealing with unexpected work to the decline and fall of Yahoo. 7 outbound links, 3 minutes to read.
  • Tom Cagley explains the Toyota production system concepts of Muda (wastes), Mura (variability), and Muri (overburdened) as used in Lean Programming circles. 8 minutes to read all three.
  • Marlena Compton does a deep dive on effective pair programming tips. It’s all about taking turns. 6 minutes to read.
  • The Clever PM interviews Greg Hartrell on the craft of product management. 10 minutes to read.
  • Will Fanguy explains the difference between a wireframe and a prototype. Yeah, it’s a commercial for InVision, but it’s an important distinction. 4 minutes to read.

Applied Leadership

  • Alexander Maasik curates his (new!) weekly list of leadership articles from improving your team’s digital skills to ensuring that they are communicating their needs. 5 outbound links, 3 minutes to read.
  • Michael Lopp explains how to avoid getting into a performance management process with one of your direct reports. Call it direct conversation. 6 minutes to read.
  • Lisette Sutherland interviews Johanna Rothman on organizing your geographically distributed team. Podcast, 33 minutes, safe for work.

Technology, Techniques, and Human Behavior

  • Scott Helmers shows how to connect a Visio diagram to data and make a diagram into a business dashboard—very cool! 4 minutes to read.
  • Adam Shostack begins a weekly series that will review threat models. This week, he explores the Synopsys threat model. 5 minutes to read.
  • Timothy Butler makes the business case for monetizing the edge data collected by the Internet of Things (IoT). 4 minutes to read.

Working and the Workplace

  • Dylan Walsh interviews Jeffrey Pfeffer, author of Dying for a Paycheck, on the role of the workplace in our declining health. New term: social pollution. 7 minutes to read.
  • Corinne Purtill reports on changes in PWC’s culture, driven by Millennial employees who spoke up and older generations who agreed with them. 8 minutes to read.
  • Faisal Hoque suggests four questions rooted in empathy to ask when you’re struggling to listen. 4 minutes to read.

Enjoy!

New PM Articles for the Week of March 12 – 18

New project management articles published on the web during the week of March 12 – 18. And this week’s video: Mike Clayton provides an excellent explanation of Lean Project Management, as it arose in the context of the Toyota production system. 5 minutes, safe for work.

Must read!

  • Maura Thomas quotes an early (1890) psychology textbook to show how long we’ve been struggling to control the distractions in our life, and what we’ve learned. 6 minutes to read.
  • Chris Clearfield examines a few cases studies that illustrate good and bad handling of a crisis that couldn’t be predicted. 6 minutes to read.
  • Carlos Bueno asks the rhetorical question: Can an artificial intelligence break the law? There are significant legal hazards ahead for machine learning algorithms that can’t “explain” their reasoning. 10 minutes to read.

Established Methods

  • John Goodpasture explores a way to make the familiar qualitative risk matrix more rigorous with iso-risk contours and relative scales. 3 minutes to read.
  • Harry Hall explains the new risk strategy cited in the Sixth Edition of the PMBOK, Escalate. 3 minutes to read.
  • Elizabeth Harrin lists eight free or low-cost resources for PM training, templates, and other valuable content. 3 minutes to read.
  • Cornelius Fichtner interviews John Kleine, Global Manager, Product Strategy & Delivery, at Project Management Institute about the current rules for CCRs and PDUs. Podcast, 18 minutes, safe for work.
  • Jeanne Achille promotes the value of a pilot program when validating the business case for a new solution. 2 minutes to read.
  • Elise Stevens interviews project portfolio management specialist Helen Hull on leading a team of project managers. Podcast, 16 minutes, safe for work.

Agile Methods

  • Stefan Wolpers curates his list of Agile content, from continuous product discovery in practice to the futility of introducing Agile via command and control to avoiding customer resistance to product changes. 7 outbound links, 3 minutes to scan.
  • Chris Matts starts a series describing the Cotswold Way—an Agile approach to business analysis. 2 minutes to read.
  • Johanna Rothman concludes her six-part series on Agile transformation, with links to all posts at the bottom. 3 minutes to read each, on average.
  • Andy Jordan analyzes a new role: a hybrid of product manager and project manager. 7 minutes to read.
  • Roman Pichler describes two product manager styles to avoid: feature broker and product dictator. 5 minutes to read.
  • Maarten Dalmjin shares seven common mistakes when starting your first Scrum sprint. 7 minutes to read.

Applied Leadership

  • Neil Younger tells about pairing with his recruitment manager—what each of them learned made them more productive and efficient. 5 minutes to read.
  • Ken Blanchard captures the practical essence of servant leadership—lead with your ears. 2 minutes to read.
  • Cody McLain describes President and Five-star General Dwight Eisenhower’s proactive approach to task management. 5 minutes to read.

Technology, Techniques, and Human Behavior

  • Parth Shrivastava gives us a quick overview of GDPR. PwC reports that 92% of U.S. companies consider GDPR a top data protection priority. 6 minutes to read.
  • Alex Schladebeck explains why unscripted, exploratory testing is usually a valuable prelude to scripted testing. 6 minutes to read.
  • Pete Houghton makes the case for not always creating a test when a problem is encountered, even in production. 2 minutes to read.
  • Scott Helmers shows a couple of neat tricks that let you associate tabular data and icons with the shapes in a Visio diagram. “This is the software development life cycle …” 4 minutes to read.

Working and the Workplace

  • Larry Rosen suggests a few ways to reduce the impact of your smartphone (or tablet) on your mental and physical health. 3 minutes to read.
  • Ari Farrow explores three ways to manage work by keeping a sustainable pace. 3 minutes to read.
  • Corrinne Purtill explains the difference between a snafu, a shitshow, and a clusterfuck. No, I’m not making this up and apparently, neither is she. 4 minutes to read.

Enjoy!