New PM Articles for the Week of September 21 – 27

SightseersNew project management articles published on the web during the week of September 21 – 27. We give you a high-level view so you can read what interests you. Recommended:

Must read!

  • Kevin Coleman identifies five technologies that will drive a trillion dollars in spending by 2020. Just the Internet of Things and 3D Printing are enough to revolutionize entire industries.
  • Jinesh Parekh describes microservices, an emerging architecture model for software development that leverages language-independent API’s. Picture a network of black boxes …
  • Bertrand Duperrin decries the triumph of “content” over “information,” and the abandonment of journalism in favor of attracting attention. Clicks rule? Not for the audience!

Established Methods

  • Elizabeth Harrin reports the results of her survey on how we use collaboration tools.
  • Nick Pisano suggests a framework for better project metrics and indicators, using direct and indirect measurements.
  • John Goodpasture summarizes four “big ideas” or movements in product and process quality in a Slideshare presentation.
  • Steven Levy introduces a series on “failure plans” with a great example: Bruce Springsteen’s concert sound system.
  • Glen Alleman provides an overview of software engineering economics.

Agile Methods

  • Neil Killick tries to find the common ground between the #NoEstimates advocates and the folks who insist that estimates are needed.
  • Johanna Rothman concludes her series on balancing resource efficiency and flow efficiency, with parts 4 and 5.
  • Mike Cohn notes that upfront analysis and design is like insurance: the trick is to buy just enough to avoid excess re-work.
  • Pankaj Srivastava explains the fundamentals of test-driven development.
  • Alena Kuzniatsova shows an online Ishikawa diagram used to facilitate brainstorming in meetings and retrospectives. You might know it as a fishbone diagram or mind map.
  • Derek Huether shares a link to the Leankit Lean Business Report Survey. A little benchmarking is a good thing!

IT Management

  • Shim Marom criticizes the way companies in Australia are using temporary work visas to keep labor costs low.
  • Kerry Wills proposes a practical manifesto, principles to consider when implementing any methodology.
  • Ryan Ogilvie examines an opportunity: actively managing constraints. We manage risks and issues, don’t we?
  • Rob England points out that all software eventually becomes a legacy system, and once it does, agility will no longer be a value-add.

Work Isn’t a Place You Go

  • Suzanne Lucas suggests some strategies for working with people you dislike.
  • Bruce Harpham outlines the process to onboard yourself in five days.
  • Michael Girdler recommends we focus on our health, in order to maximize our productivity.
  • Art Petty starts a new series on career advice for us over-50 leaders. “How do I detox from my 30-plus years of corporate life and regain my energy, fitness and sense of adventure?”


  • Elise Stevens interviews John Hinwood on why we should embrace excellence, rather than perfectionism. Just 27 minutes, safe for work.
  • Cornelius Fichtner interviews Dr. Emad Rahim, on the value of becoming a thought leader in project manager. Just 25 minutes, safe for work.


Non-Utilitarian Metrics

My new post at AITS was published this morning. After my usual wise-ass opening, I provide three examples of poor project management metrics and how they were presented, and conclude with a few summary principles for collecting actionable data and presenting it clearly. I’m pretty sure I can squeeze out a few more articles like this, but it would be great to have some input from other project managers and portfolio managers. Leave a comment here or at AITS, and share a story I can repeat. With attribution, of course.


Special Mention: Nick Pisano’s Post at AITS

Nick PisanoI normally include references to articles and blog posts in my weekly round-up, but in this case, I wanted to go into more depth than my usual one or two sentences. Nick Pisano’s article at AITS this week looks like the capstone of his argument that IT project failure is less about unknown and unknowable risks than about poor management processes. His analysis runs from Black Swans to Babe Ruth, and from studies by Rand and McKinsey to his previous posts on the physics and economics of software development.

Nick concludes with nine very specific principles that should be the basis of every software development project selection and execution process. His underlying theme: improving the success rate of software projects lies not in the cryptozoology of unforeseeable events, but in the application of modern management techniques and evidence-based decision making. Projects should not be begun without clear objectives and success metrics, and they should be terminated when evidence of impending failure is identified.

It’s a long read, but well worth your time. Great job, Nick.