New PM Articles for the Week of March 20 – 26

New project management articles published on the web during the week of March 20 – 26. And this week’s video: Art Petty tells how to start each day by preparing your attitude. Less than three minutes, safe for work.

Must read (or Hear)!

  • Max Ogles interviews Jane McGonigal, author of Reality is Broken and Superbetter, on the future of habit-forming technology.
  • Ned Johnson thinks the model of the project manager as project CEO might be the reason so many projects become death marches.
  • Darragh Broderick performs a failure analysis on three of the worst decisions of the 20th

Established Methods

  • Pat Weaver makes the point that your project controls—tailored to your delivery strategy—must be both useful and maintainable.
  • Michelle MacAdam tells how to assess whether your project or program is ready to deliver the benefits it was launched to capture.
  • Mike Clayton explains the project checklist in just under three minutes. Safe for work, of course.
  • Dmitriy Nizhebetskiy talks us through the steps in identifying project stakeholders. Just over two minutes, safe for work.
  • Glen Alleman clarifies the math underlying a commonly quoted quality rubric for software project estimates.
  • Jenn Livingston describes the key elements of successfully outsourcing software development.
  • Keith Foote provides a “Cliff’s Notes” history of database management for those who wonder what some of those acronyms mean.

Agile Methods

  • Stefan Wolpers curates his weekly list of Agile content, including Scrum, Lean, risk-taking and experimentation, and even the Seven Day weekend.
  • The Clever PM explains why we need to measure what matters—just say no to vanity metrics.
  • Peter Borsella and Hubert Smits identify the mix of skills needed by cross-functional teams when producing hardware products.
  • Johanna Rothman concludes her series on becoming an Agile Leader.
  • Tamás Török extracts some stunning statistics from The State of Software Development 2017, Startup Edition. Not your corporate software development experience.
  • Mike Cohn introduces yet another installment of his free training videos: this one is on adding just the right amount of detail to user stories.
  • Ryan Ripley interviews author Geoff Watts on his new book, Product Mastery. Just 47 minutes, safe for work.

Applied Leadership

  • Harry Hall makes a case for the caring leader.
  • Alankar Karpe explains why ethics is more important than ever and how to foster an ethical culture in your organization.
  • Henny Portman reviews The Agility Shift: Create Agile and Effective Leaders, Teams, and Organizations.
  • John Goodpasture reflects on a hard question: in your domain, who can say “yes” and make it stick?
  • Gina Abudi continues her case study on getting buy-in for a large project.

Working and the Workplace

  • Michelle Symonds explains a coming development in the UK: a project management apprentice scheme.
  • Alison DeNisco reports on a survey of more than 1,400 US tech workers—48% said that the 2016 election made them care more about diversity and inclusion.
  • Rob England rants about Hot Desks and the dehumanizing policies that remove our team identity and sense of place. We should not be arriving at work early just to get a good seat.


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.