New PM Articles for the Week of February 19 – 25

New project management articles published on the web during the week of February 19 – 25. And this week’s video: Doug H. shows us how to create a dynamic dropdown list in Excel using the Indirect function. Validate a cell based on the value contained in another cell! 6 minutes, safe for work.

Must read!

  • Maria Korolov reports that the global cyberwar is heating up and businesses should be worried about it. Why launch a nuke when you can devastate an entire economy? 10 minutes to read.
  • Dmitriy Nizhebetskiy explains the overlap in skills and responsibilities between a project manager, Scrum Master, and product owner. 8 minutes to read.
  • Hal Gregersen suggests a new approach: brainstorm for questions, rather than answers. New questions beget new insights. 15 minutes to read, but well worth your time.

Established Methods

  • Leigh Espy tutors us on how to create and maintain a project assumptions log. 8 minutes to read, with examples and a downloadable template.
  • Kiron Bondale introduces us to Randomized Branch Sampling, an estimation technique borrowed from orchard managers and adopted by software teams. 2 minutes to read.
  • Jonathan Browne separates rigorous problem definition from similarly rigorous solution definition. 5 minutes to read.
  • Vanita Bhoola considers scope creep in projects and how we can apply critical thinking to deal with volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and uncertainty. 10 minutes to read.
  • Melissa Eaden advocates for an aggressive approach to clearing defects. 6 minutes to read.

Agile Methods

  • Stefan Wolpers curates his weekly list of all things Agile, from corporate Agile failure to Agile metrics to three indicators of a waterfall team. 7 outbound links, 2 minutes to scan.
  • Juliet Lara offers some ways to tell if user your stories suck, and how to improve them. 7 minutes to read.
  • Johanna Rothman begins a new series on challenges encountered in Agile transformations. 3 minutes to read. Part 2 will take 4 minutes.
  • Mike Cohn insists that all team members should be in all team meetings. Filtering people out because of their role fragments the team. 4 minutes to read.
  • John Goodpasture notes that Agile teams can be virtual and backs it up with details on what adjustments are necessary. 2 minutes to read.
  • Brian Crofts differentiates between the product manager and the product leader. 4 minutes to read.
  • Renee Troughton imagines several Game of Thrones characters as product owners. 6 minutes to read.

Applied Leadership

  • Glen Alleman summarizes the leadership lessons from Ernest Shackleton’s failed exploration of Antarctica in 1915. 10 minutes to read.
  • Dave Prior and Mika Trottier talk about the mental shift required to stop thinking of people as resources. Video, 33 minutes, safe for work.
  • Mary Jo Asmus tells of a client who was frustrated because his employees had adopted his lack of curiosity. Engagement starts at the top! 2 minutes to read.

Technology, Techniques, and Human Behavior

  • Nick Heath reports on new research that allows simulated robots to independently learn skills like walking—you know: like babies do. 2 minutes to read, plus a 6-minute video interview.
  • Hanne Tidnam, Adam Bry, and Chris Dixon discuss the evolution and state of the art of autonomous drones—in this case, the self-flying camera. Podcast, 23 minutes, safe for work.
  • Katrina Clokie walks us through the process of deciding how to automate testing, based on factors that have nothing to do with code. 7 minutes to read.

Working and the Workplace

  • Suzanne Lucas points out five really hard things that successful people do. 3 minutes to read.
  • John Yorke reflects on the active nature of feedback and the requirement for a sense of empowerment in order for feedback to work. 3 minutes to read.
  • Kerry Wills observes several persistent types of interaction in meetings, which he characterizes as roles. Worth a smile and you can read it in a minute or so.
  • Francisco Sáez examines intensity of focus as a contributor to productivity. 2 minutes to read.

Enjoy!

New PM Articles for the Week of February 5 – February 11

New project management articles published on the web during the week of February 5 – 11. And this week’s video: Mike Clayton explains organizational change management, as a complement to project management—we need to be able to work in both areas. 3 minutes, safe for work.

Must read!

  • Scott Galloway makes the case for busting up Big Tech—Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google—the way earlier generations busted up Big Oil, Big Railroads, and AT&T. A long read, upwards of a half hour, but worth your time.
  • Gabriel Weinberg alerts us to the impact that Google and Facebook have on our privacy—76% of websites contain hidden Google trackers. 5 minutes to read.
  • Ben Tarnoff presents the case for and (mostly) against de-regulation of data collection, as advocated by Google, Facebook, and other tech giants. 5 minutes to read.

Established Methods

  • John Goodpasture observes that we may soon be managing project budgets denominated in cryptocurrencies. It’s time to figure out what that means! 2 minutes to read.
  • Dmitriy Nizhebetskiytutors us on creating a project communications plan. 6 minutes to read.
  • Kiron Bondale points out that the Kotter model for leading change benefits from continually injecting a sense of urgency.
  • Richard Paterson does a deep dive on writing a useful test plan, including one unusual observation—you might not need one. 9 minutes to read.
  • Michael Bolton tells us how to report progress on testing, as a story woven of three strands. 5 minutes to read.
  • Brad Egeland reminds of us the variables to account for when planning projects—even if it’s a similar project for the same customer as the last project. 5 minutes to read.

Agile Methods

  • Stefan Wolpers curates his weekly list of Agile content, from habits of organizations vulnerable to disruption to Jeff Sutherland’s Scrum@Scale Guide to creating a product wall. 3 minutes to scan, 7 outbound links.
  • Pavel Kukhnavets gets deep into the differences between a Scrum daily stand-up and a Kanban daily stand-up. 6 minutes to read.
  • Ramakanth Vallur explains how personas—a generalization of a customer segment— add value to user stories. 3 minutes to read.
  • Henny Portman reviews How to Lead Self-Managing Teams, by Rini van Solingen. 2 minutes to read.
  • Doug Arcuri finds more wisdom in his third read of The Mythical Man-Month: it is important for the team to track decisions made, as close to the code as possible. 7 minutes to read.
  • Roman Pichler describes product leadership as a collaborative pursuit of a chain of shared goals. 5 minutes to read.

Applied Leadership

  • Gustavo Razzetti describes the shift from right decisions to safe to try “Perfectionism is the enemy of change.” 5 minutes to read.
  • Leigh Espy follows up on her recent book, listing three critical reasons to run effective meetings. 3 minutes to read.
  • Derek Huether explains key performance indicators, lagging indicators, and leading indicators for product and services teams. 4 minutes to read.
  • Julie Giulioni notes that leaders who are too helpful can leave their staff helpless—or at least stunt their professional growth. 3 minutes to read.

Technology, Techniques, and Human Behavior

  • Bob Tarne has started applying Crew Resource Management techniques, which originated in the airline industry, to help Scrum teams become more effective. 3 minutes to read.
  • Dan Birch and Neal Murray identify some project planning, risk and issue identification, and status reporting analytical opportunities that might benefit from AI. 4 minutes to read.
  • John Felahi expounds on the risks inherent in data management, from ingest through usage. Data integrity should be a big part of our thinking. 3 minutes to read.

Working and the Workplace

  • Traci Duez interviews Cesar Abeid, team lead at Automattic, the globally distributed company behind WorPress.com, on leading remote teams. Podcast, 52 minutes, safe for work.
  • Craig Brown updates on the Allen Curve—a finding from the 1970s that the further away someone is, the less likely they will initiate communication. 1 minute to read.
  • Stephanie Vozza lists some don’t-dos that could be making your to-do list less effective. 5 minutes to read. Yes, that was a cheap witticism, but admit it—you liked it.

Enjoy!

New PM Articles for the Week of January 22 – 28

New project management articles published on the web during the week of January 22 – 28. And this week’s video: Harry Hall explains the concept of risk velocity—the relative amount of time you have until an identified risk manifests as an issue—and how to include it in your qualitative risk assessment. 4 minutes, safe for work.

Must read (or Listen)!

  • Connor Forrest describes Amazon’s new retail artificial intelligence technology, called Just Walk Out. It’s the brains behind Amazon Go—a convenience store with no checkout line. 3 minutes to read.
  • Devin Coldewey reports on the surveillance technology behind Amazon Go. 6 minutes to read.
  • Dan Smiljanic reveals the results of Binfire’s analysis of the status of project managers and the profession, with global statistics and a survey of 1080 PM’s in the USA, UK, Europe, Israel, India, and Japan. 7 minutes to read and very enlightening.

Established Methods

  • Glen Alleman tutors us on physical percent complete—also called, “Are we done yet?” in the context of an integrated master plan and integrated master schedule. 8 minutes to read.
  • John Goodpasture answers a key criticism of Monte Carlo simulations: you don’t really know what distribution should apply. 3 minutes to read.
  • Dmitriy Nizhebetskiyoffers a practical guide to identifying project risks. 6 minutes to read.
  • Mari Rengarajam Deenadayalu tutors us on managing project scope in the presence of complexity and uncertainty. 5 minutes to read.
  • Mike Clayton curates an excellent list of the best books about communication skills (and there are several types of skills represented) for project managers. 10 minutes to read.

Agile Methods

  • Stefan Wolpers curates his weekly list of Agile content, from the state of Agile engineering to SWARMing to why the velocity of experimentation is worth measuring. 3 minutes to scan, 7 outbound links.
  • Gojko Adzic says that tools like Kanban and Scum boards are only mirrors—they reflect where you are. To make them actionable requires context and experience. 8 minutes to read.
  • Johanna Rothman shares some ideas for helping your team finish all of their work inside a sprint. 4 minutes to read.
  • Vrushali Umbarkar coaches us on why, when, and how to make the move from Scrum to Kanban.
  • Renee Troughton lists the seven habits of highly effective Agile sponsors. 9 minutes to read.
  • Pete Houghton describes the gamification of automated software testing. 5 minutes to read.
  • Kate Paulk lists ten bad reasons to not hire additional software testers. Some of these are funny because they’re both terrifying and common. 8 minutes to read.

Applied Leadership

  • Walter Frick describes three ways to improve your decision making. 4 minutes to read.
  • Scott Berkun says that there are several ways to say “no,” and as leaders and decision-makers, we should master all of them. 5 minutes to read.
  • Ryan Ogilvie correlates a shift in the weekday with the number of reported software incidents with a shift in the weekday that changes are moved to production. 4 minutes to read.
  • Art Petty points out the liberating power of accountability. 2 minutes to read.

Technology, Techniques, and Human Behavior

  • George Krasadakis describes the ways in which the economy—from transportation to insurance—will be impacted by autonomous cars and trucks. 6 minutes to read.
  • Fergus from TechRogers created an infographic that shows all of the sensors and other components that make up a self-driving car.
  • Seth Godin describes four postures to consider when working with a good designer, from “I know what I want” to “I’ll know It when I see it.” Just over a minute to read.

Working and the Workplace

  • Leigh Espey takes us through the steps for dealing with a difficult team member. 4 minutes to read.
  • Tom Cagley helps you to decide whether you need a coach or a mentor. 3 minutes to read.
  • Elle Griffin shares a nifty flowchart to help you decide whether to have a meeting. Maybe 2 minutes to read, if you don’t stop to giggle.

Enjoy!