New PM Articles for the Week of November 28 – December 4

New project management articles published on the web during the week of November 28 – December 4. And this week’s video: children narrate a Museum of London video of a man demonstrating how to cast an axe head using Bronze Age technologies. Just four minutes, safe for work, and far more thought-provoking than anything on television.

Must read / view / listen!

  • Sathappan Chinnakaruppan reports on teaching project management terminology, processes, and skills to sixth-grade kids – including his daughter.
  • Elizabeth Harrin recommends eleven must-have gadgets for the office worker on your holiday gift list.
  • Mike Cohn makes the case for standards of excellence in Agile and stimulates a whole lot of comments.

Established Methods

  • Women Testers Magazine October 2016 edition is now available for download, and it includes a variety of excellent articles. Yes, I know – it’s December …
  • Scott Matteson details ten (non-mutually exclusive) ways to kill a zombie IT project. No edged weapons required.
  • John McIntyre explains why the US government’s Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act is a big deal.
  • John Goodpasture quotes John LeCarre in asserting that part of assessing the quality of data is identifying the source.
  • Kerry Wills demonstrates the value of managing expectations when failure is a distinct possibility.
  • Nick Pisano updates us on progress toward producing a user experience completely under user control.

Agile Methods

  • Stefan Wolpers shares his weekly round-up of all things Agile, from Scrum to Kanban, and from teams to customers.
  • Johanna Rothman explains why both pushing work (i.e. Scrum) and pulling work (i.e. Kanban) may be right for your team.
  • Dave Prior interviews Derek Huether on the Triangle of Productivity, his new theory on what makes us effective. Just 30 minutes, safe for work.
  • Ben Linders explains the Agile Self-Assessment Game, an interesting way for teams to discover how well they’ve embraced Agile methods.
  • Henny Portman reviews “The Product Samurai,” by Chris Lukassen, which maps the seven principles of the Samurai to product management. But no swords.
  • Shay Peleg debunks a half-dozen myths that senior management frequently believes about Agile methods.
  • Moira Alexander provides the smart person’s guide to Agile project management. Dummies need not apply.

Applied Leadership

  • Michael Wood identifies the critical “people realities” of project management, and the people skills we need to hone to deal with them.
  • Dmitriy Nizhebetskiy lists the “do’s” and “don’ts” of successfully managing your project team.
  • Laura Barnard deconstructs the instruction, “Be more strategic.”

Technology and Techniques

  • Jennifer Zaino reports from the Dataversity Enterprise Data World 2016 conference on the existential question: Is NoSQL the future of databases?
  • Jeff Boehm explains the notions behind NewSQL, which attempts to bridge the gap between traditional relational databases and NoSQL.
  • Nir Eyal tells how “multiple discovery theory” explains why great minds think alike, at about the same time.

Working and the Workplace

  • yawn-for-coffeeRebecca Knight provides a detailed course of action in getting your manager’s respect.
  • Leigh Espy talks with Bruce Harpham about how to get project management experience through volunteer work.
  • Nina Semczuk points out three signs your communication skills might need some work.

Enjoy!

Major Update to my Home Office!

I addition to writing and blogging, I’m a project management consultant working from an office in my home. Many of my clients supply a laptop that they want me to use when accessing their network. Up until recently, I just spread everything around on my U-shaped desk – laptop, monitor, monitor, laptop, monitor – and tried not to knock anything over. Then a few months ago, I started looking at standing desks. I just don’t have room in my home office for another table or desk – if I did, I’d add a woodworking bench. For a while, it looked like I was going to have to ditch what I had in order to be able to start over. Not my idea of a positive solution. So I asked my daughter-in-law for her recommendation.

Home office sitting configuration

Sitting configuration, sans mug

Like me, Nancy works with multiple monitors. She has been using a gadget from Varidesk for several months. It sits on the tabletop and lets you raise and lower your monitors, keyboard, coffee mug, and so on with minimal exertion. Her experience has been positive, although she is considering a product from another company with an electric motor to handle the lifting. Since I need the exercise, I opted for the manual version of the desk. But that really only solved half of the problem.

Home office sitting configuration

Standing configuration, avec mug

I found a dual monitor KVM switch from StarTech, which allows me to toggle between the laptops. Then I ordered a Vivo laptop stand so I could mount the client laptop above my Dell, which lives in a docking station. I now have the two laptops “stacked” vertically next to my standing desk and I can work on one computer while monitoring the other for activity. I can toggle both monitors, keyboard, and trackball with a single button on the right side of the StarTech KVM box, located between and beneath the monitors. The third 1920 by 1200 monitor is sitting in the corner, pending other uses.

The Vivo mount is stable enough to type on when logging in or when I want to respond to an Email or IM without switching to that laptop. It never moves, even when raising and lowering the VariDesk. I considered mounting the pole in an existing hole in the desktop return at the base of the U, but by using the C-clamp on the edge of the return behind the other laptop, I was able to reclaim that space for other uses. And when I need to remove the lower laptop from its docking station, the Vivo arm swings the upper laptop out of the way.

At this point, I’m sold on the health benefits and relative comfort of using a desk that lets me alternate between sitting and standing – when I say I’m an Agile project manager, I really mean it! My next purchase will likely be one of those soft padded mats to stand on and maybe an IV pole to supplement my coffee mug. If I ever decide to mount my Macbook, I’ll use that return desktop hole for another Vivo mount. They have one that supports both a laptop and a monitor, at standing height. And I still have space under the hutch on the left side of the desk for other gadgets.

Final note: I don’t have any relationships with any of these vendors, and I didn’t even add them to the Practicing IT PM Bookstore, although maybe I should. This is just my personal product review.

New PM Articles for the Week of August 22 – 28

New project management articles published on the web during the week of August 22 – 28. And this week’s video: the late designer Bill Moggridge explains interaction design, one of the concepts used to design application software for the first laptop computer, the GRiD Compass. John Ellenby, who founded GRiD Systems in 1979, passed away this week. I was proud to work in GRiD’s federal systems division back in the 1980’s.

Must read!

  • Elizabeth Harrin interviews Ellen Maynes, 2016 Global Peace Fellow and project management educator. Attention, Dos Equis: Ellen is The Most Interesting Woman in the World.
  • Mike Cohn explains story points as an estimating tool, taking into account the amount of work to do, complexity, and uncertainty or risk. An excellent, thorough explanation!
  • John Goodpasture shows how game theory can be applied to external threats. Remember: your SWOT analysis is just the beginning.

Established Methods

  • Cornelius Fichtner interviews Lindsay Scott on the Arras People Project Management Benchmark Report 2016. An interesting analysis by the recruiters – just 31 minutes, safe for work.
  • Deanne Earle reflects on the Arras People Project Management Benchmark Report 2016. Why can’t organizations find the talent that they need?
  • Bertrand Duperrin describes the pros and cons of the Fourth Industrial Revolution – end-to-end digitization and integration of partners into the value chain.
  • Dmitriy Nizhebetskiy recommends five project management blogs that you should follow (including this one).
  • Amber Lee Dennis presents a primer on Data Lakes.
  • Shuba Kathikeyan shares two excellent infographics: the impact of poor software quality in business and a set of data center industry statistics and projections.
  • Pramod Jaiswal presents an infographic on developing a practical IT disaster recovery plan.

Agile Methods

  • Stefan Wolpers curates his weekly Food for Thought list of recommended Agile posts, articles, and so on.
  • Mike Griffiths describes some of the ways you can incorporate risk management into Agile methods.
  • Ryan Ripley interviews Agile coach Don Gray in a wide-ranging conversation that covers Agile transformation, models, and sources of insights. Just 40 minutes, safe for work.
  • Bart Gerardi debunks the notion that Agile is a way to eliminate a layer of management.
  • Belle B. Cooper explains the idea behind a personal hackathon, and uses Brian Nelson’s recent experience as source material.
  • Sam Sinha shares his tips for grooming the backlog.

Applied Leadership

  • Coert Visser recaps research into when positive feedback is more motivational, and when negative feedback moves us more.
  • Michael Lopp has just published the third edition of Managing Humans, in paperback and Kindle editions.
  • Bruce Harpham shares recommendations on twelve books for your reading table (or Kindle).
  • Peter Landau recommends another sixteen leadership and management books. Fortunately, there’s still nothing good on TV.

Working and the Workplace

  • Garland Coulson wants us to plan our day to accommodate those “low energy” periods, by scheduling the right tasks.
  • Harry Hall also recommends that we need to manage our energy, not just our time.
  • Brendan Toner reviews the best new Getting Things Done features of Zendone 2.0. Did you know they now have both iOS and Android apps?
  • Suzanne Lucas tells how five well-known companies help their employees work from home.
  • Lisette Sutherland answers an interesting question: how does a virtual team celebrate together? Just 7 minutes, safe for work.

Enjoy!