New PM Articles for the Week of March 13 – 19

New project management articles published on the web during the week of March 13 – 19. And this week’s video: Julia Galef uses the metaphor of soldiers and scouts to help explain why we think we’re right—even what we’re wrong. Just 12 minutes, safe for work.

Must read!

  • Elizabeth Harrin lists five common failure modes for planning and executing our project schedules, and what we should be doing instead. Bookmark this page!
  • Harry Hall proposes having the team write their own Constitution, or list of shared values, to drive unity and make expected behaviors explicit. Includes another short video.
  • Tamás Török presents a software development practitioner’s guide to code quality, as processes and tools. Brief, comprehensive, actionable, and an apropos panel from XKCD.

Established Methods

  • Mike Clayton posts another video in his Project Management in Under 5 series: this one explains the RACI chart and compares it to the linear responsibility chart. Under 5 minutes, safe for work.
  • William Davis introduces his free Excel template, Statistical PERT. I’ll post a detailed review here in a few days.
  • Glen Alleman reminds us that the customer values process and governance, and thus their notion of value at risk includes those things, even if you think they’re overhead.
  • Nick Pisano makes the case that cost, schedule, and technical achievement are insufficient metrics—we should incorporate sociological and psychological factors.
  • Barry Hodge explains how his company takes a project from proposal to Go document, to execution.
  • Andrew Conrad lists the top five paying industries for those project managers holding the PMP.

Agile Methods

  • Stefan Wolpers curates his weekly round-up of Agile topics, from the nature of coaching to user stories to the limits of product manager authority.
  • Johanna Rothman posts an extensive series on becoming an Agile Leader. Here are parts 2, 3, and 4.
  • Chris Matts continues his series reflecting on the difference between executive and practitioner visions of Agile methods, in terms of dragon slayers and farmers.
  • Ben Linders summarizes “The Great Scrum Master,” by Zuzana Šochová, in 15 tweets.
  • Romy Misra interviews former Microsoft product manager Erik Kennedy on techniques for effectively working with visual designers.
  • Alok Kumar and Suganthi Subramanian recount their experience in applying Scum to data warehousing environments.

Applied Leadership

  • Tim Clark, the author of “Leading with Character and Competence,” tells the story of the dog who only bites occasionally. Like the boss who is only a tyrant when he’s upset.
  • Leigh Espy reviews “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion,” by Robert Cialdini. The review was certainly influential—I added it to my Kindle.
  • Gina Abudi begins a series that presents a case study in getting buy-in for a large project.
  • Claire Karjalainen convenes a panel of women in technology to address the question: how can the leadership team empower the women in your company?

Technology, Techniques, and Human Behavior

  • Grace Windsor summarizes some of the common cognitive biases that impact our decision making.
  • Justin Talbot-Zorn and Leigh Marz report that the busier you are, the more you need quiet time.
  • Coert Visser considers the question: if the Dunning-Kruger effect makes the incompetent feel confident, is confidence indicative of incompetence?

Working and the Workplace

  • Lisette Sutherland extracts dialogs from prior interviews that address how to effectively provide feedback on virtual teams. Just 25 minutes, safe for work.
  • Naomi Caietti reviews the key strategies for leading virtual teams, based on the work of Penn Pullan and Evi Prokopi.
  • Suzanne Lucas reports on the growing trend of “forced praise” in the workplace, from apps like HeyTaco and Growbot to simple excess niceness. It’s not all good.

Enjoy!

The Data Conversion Cycle – Now Available on Amazon.com

My new book, “The Data Conversion Cycle: A guide to migrating transactions and other records, for system implementation teams,” is now available on Amazon.com 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 March 6 – 12

New project management articles published on the web during the week of March 6 – 12. And this week’s video: in honor of St. Patrick, Cait O’Riordan leads the cast of “Straight to Hell” in a rendition of Danny Boy. Less than two minutes, but timeless. Side note: The US and Canada converted to Daylight SavingsTime on March 12, but the rest of the world doesn’t convert until March 26. Schedule your meetings accordingly!

Must read (or Hear)!

  • Christof Ebert presents a detailed view of the costs, benefits, risks, and opportunities available in managing globally distributed projects.
  • Nancy Settle-Murphy provides a checklist for the ideal virtual meeting space. Distributed teams benefit from virtual meetings designed to facilitate collaboration and inclusion.
  • Andy Kaufman interviews Emily Luijbregts on helping your geographically distributed, virtual team collaborate and thrive. Right at an hour, safe for work—even from home.

Established Methods

  • Cornelius Fichtner interviews Jamal Moustafaev, author of “Project Portfolio Management in Theory and Practice.” Just 38 minutes, safe for work.
  • Barry Hodge explains how Knightstone Housing practices project portfolio management.
  • Harry Hall continues his short video series, 10 Things Successful Project Managers Never Tolerate. This one is just 3 minutes, safe for work—watch the whole series!
  • Elizabeth Harrin shares the results of her stakeholder management survey, and she’s created a stakeholder management master class based on what she’s discovered we need most.
  • Leigh Espy lists the essential qualities of great project managers.
  • Andy Jordan explains how he manages remote workers he’s never met, from understanding how much workload they can reliably handle to establishing a management proxy.

Agile Methods

  • Stefan Wolpers curates his weekly round-up of all things Agile, including ways to make frameworks suck less, distributed Agile teams, ruthless prioritization, and more.
  • Chris Matts notes the places where executive beliefs frequently diverge from Agile values and beliefs.
  • Craig Brown shares the slide deck he used at his Agile India presentation, “Improve Together.” If you use it, he only asks you to give him credit and share the results.
  • Dave Prior interviews two educators from Grandview Prep, where they have implemented Scrum for both students and school administration. Just 27 minutes, safe for work.
  • The Clever PM aims for a more rigorous definition of a Minimum Viable Product.

Applied Leadership

  • Claire Karjalainen presents the case for mentorship as a key strategy for closing the tech gender gap.
  • Alison DeNisco describes the Economic Dividends for Gender Equality (EDGE) Certification, and how leading companies are pursuing sustainable diversity in the workforce.
  • Lynda Bourne lists eight ways the chair can make a meeting ineffective.
  • Beth Spriggs guides us in examining our own response to change so we might improve our ability to lead organizational change.

Technology, Techniques, and Human Behavior

  • Yaniv Yehuda argues that integrating the database into the DevOps tool chain will enhance information security.
  • Ryan Ogilvie explains how we can leverage knowledge management to minimize the impact of service disruptions.
  • Kailash Awati reflects on the role of uncertainty and ambiguity in decision making.
  • Olivia Goldhill notes that humans evolved to deal with deep uncertainty, and thus our irrationality is beneficial when embraced selectively.

Working and the Workplace

  • Elise Stevens interviews Terri Cooper, who explains why project managers should attend all kinds of networking events, not just PM. Just 12 minutes, safe for work.
  • Stephanie Bryant recounts the final retrospective after the contract was canceled and her team was laid off. Teams need closure, especially when they involuntarily disband.
  • Stacy Lastoe shows us how to become better writers by editing a particularly error-filled Email.

Enjoy!