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 Post at AITS: Make or Buy

My latest article for AITS was published yesterday, Make or Buy: The Blacksmith and the Toothpick.

The BlacksmithThis little parable illustrates the internal conflict that can arise when considering alternatives to internally developed solutions. Over the last few years, the decision alternatives have only gotten more complex—Software as a Service (SaaS) has added a third option for many business needs. But in the end, the choice should be driven by life-cycle cost and time to value rather than internal politics.

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

Survey: State of Software Development

Survey TakerI don’t normally promote surveys, even those pushed by PMI. But Tamas Torok and the folks at Coding Sans are collecting data for the 2018 update to their State of Software Development report. Last year’s report was probably the most interesting of the 40 or so I read in 2017, in that it included both utilization and aspirational data on technologies and methods and practices for recruiting and retention. However, it was hampered by the fact that their responses were heavily weighted toward Europe. I suspect that if they can get more responses from the Americas, India, and Oz / NZ, the results will be even more accurate and actionable.

So even if you don’t manage software development projects, please pass this link along to one of your colleagues who manages development teams. The list of questions is comprehensive but it shouldn’t take more than 7 minutes to complete, assuming you don’t ruminate over “What have you done about it?” I believe they will close the survey around March 9. When they publish the report, I’ll include it in the weekly round-up.