The Data Conversion Cycle – Now Available on

My new book, “The Data Conversion Cycle: A guide to migrating transactions and other records, for system implementation teams,” is now available on in both Kindle format for $4.49 and paperback for $6.99. If you buy the paperback version, you can also buy the Kindle version for 99 cents in what Amazon calls “matchbook” pricing.

When asked for the most common sources of problems for software system implementation projects, experienced system implementers and consultants always list data conversion among their top three. Converting from one production record-keeping system to another is a challenge because you not only have a moving target; you also have a moving origin, as records are created and updated each day while the project is in progress. This book expands on a series of blog posts on The Practicing IT Project Manager website. Originally written for my project manager following, I extensively revised the content for a general business audience.

This book was designed to be a resource for project teams comprised of not just project managers and IT specialists, but the people working in the business areas who own and maintain the data records and will use the new systems. The goal was to provide a clear model expressed in a common language for a cross-functional team.
The first six chapters explain data conversion as an iterative process, from defining the scope to mapping source system records to the target system, to extraction and loading, to validation. This methodology works well with Agile methods, especially those involving iterative prototyping. However, it can also be used with more traditional planning-intensive approaches.

I also include a chapter on incorporating data conversion into the project planning process and a chapter on risk management. The risk management chapter starts with the basics and goes into considerable detail in identifying risks applicable to data conversion. The book includes an Appendix with an example output of a risk identification meeting and the types of information to include in a risk register. There is also a chapter on measuring progress when using this iterative approach, and a Glossary.

As always, thanks for reading my stuff.

New PM Articles for the Week of February 27 – March 5

New project management articles published on the web during the week of February 27 – March 5. And this week’s video: Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris show us how selective attention works. Just over a minute, safe for work unless you keep playing it over and over.

Must read!

  • Mike Cohn reminds us that a cross-functional team is one where the members have different skills—not one where every member has all the needed skills.
  • Dave Nicolette points out that, while Scrum is an excellent solution for some problems, it doesn’t fit every situation. Lean Thinking might be what’s next.
  • Nir Eyal and Chelsea Robertson explain how the brain focuses and eliminates distraction (they are different functions), and give us some clinically proven ideas for enhancing each.

Established Methods

  • The Women Tester’s Magazine January 2017 edition is now available to download. Not just about testing, and not just for (or by) women—highly recommended.
  • Henny Portman alerts us to a new project management methodology, coming from Denmark: Project Half Double. As in half the time, double the impact.
  • Elizabeth Harrin lists the essential project management competencies we need to be successful in 2017 and beyond.
  • Harry Hall bullets 37(!) practical actions you can take to improve your project communications.
  • Glen Alleman explains what you need to know to make decisions under conditions of uncertainty, to achieve project success.
  • Michael Wood explores the critical success drivers for managing global projects.

Agile Methods

  • Stefan Wolpers curates his weekly round-up of all things Agile, including Agile middle management, the role of QA in Agile teams, and more contrarian ideas.
  • Ryan Ripley interviews Natalie Warnert and Amitai Schleier on the Women in Agile discussion, and why we should all support it. Just 47 minutes, safe for work.
  • Dave Prior and Marty Bradley consider the question: when embracing Agile methods, should the PMO go away? Just 28 minutes, safe for work.
  • Shipra Aggarwal explains how to create release plans for feature-driven projects and date-driven projects.
  • Nicholas Malahosky coaches us on how to introduce Agile methods to teams outside of IT.
  • Tamás Török explains why software developers are like pro football players.

Applied Leadership

  • Esther Derby provides two examples where changing the point of view led decision makers to realize they were trying to solve the wrong problems.
  • Art Petty says the Big Fix doesn’t work, but incremental behavior changes can work wonders.
  • Michael Lopp traces the “New Manager Death Spiral.” Read, ye experienced manager, and cringe. I certainly did.

Technology, Techniques, and Human Behavior

  • Geoffrey Bock updates us on the acceptance and application of smart data for Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning in the enterprise.
  • Tom McFarlin announces his upcoming e-book, “Where Do I Start with WordPress?” Since roughly 19% of the internet is run on WordPress, I thought this might be of interest.
  • Nick Pisano briefly defines business intelligence, business analytics, and knowledge discovery in databases, and points out their growing convergence.
  • Belle Cooper confronts burnout: what it means, what it does to us, and how to overcome it.

Working and the Workplace

  • Brian Wagner and James Kittle get Steve Potter to talk about interview questions and styles. Just 34 minutes, safe for work.
  • Lisette Sutherland describes the Remote First company, and what you should expect when you run into one. Just over nine minutes, safe for work.
  • Alyse Kalish gives us the up-to-date standard for what to include in the header of your resume.


New Post at AITS: Decision-Making Under the Influence

My latest article for AITS was published today: Decision-Making Under the Influence: SME, HiPPO, and BOGSAT.

Good decisions require accurate, timely, actionable information and good decision-makers try to gather a variety of viewpoints. The influence of the subject matter expert is usually all three, while the highest-paid person’s opinion may be an undue influence, and peer opinions may be counter-productive. That’s not to say that you should dismiss them out of hand – far from it. You simply need to have a realistic expectation of what value they add. If you have comments on this topic, please leave a comment at AITS. If you have suggestions for future topics, please leave a comment here.

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