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.


New Post at AITS: There’s More to a System Design Than Requirements

My latest article for AITS was published today: There’s More to a System Design Than Requirements.

Acme Tornado KitIn addition to meeting the current needs of the users, a good design (and a good implementation of a good design) has to be capable of being supportable once it makes the transition to production. We have to be cognizant of both the history of the legacy system we’re replacing and the potential for evolution of user requirements over time. Both technical debt and Lehman’s Law come into play here and good project managers help the designers keep past, current, and future needs in mind.

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

New PM Articles for the Week of January 30 – February 5

New project management articles published on the web during the week of January 30 – February 5. And this week’s video: Eduardo Briceño talks about how to most effectively move between the performing zone and the learning zone, using Diogenes and Beyonce as examples. Just 11 minutes, safe for work.

Must read (or hear)!

  • Soma Bhattacharya encapsulates some ideas about neuroplasticity and suggests some brain-boosting activities. Includes a link to an excellent TED talk by Lara Boyd.
  • Cornelius Fichtner interviews Wanda Curlee on how situational awareness and emotional intelligence are intertwined. Just 23 minutes, safe for work.
  • Angelica Larios summarizes research into the dimensions of cultural differences by Robert House into short, clear definitions and a useful table. Even if you’re not managing global teams today, this knowledge is important!

Established Methods

  • Mike Clayton coaches us on ways to engage our project sponsor.
  • John Goodpasture shares his FAQ on systems engineering. Only slightly
  • Leigh Espy tutors us on the scope management plan.
  • Harry Hall uses his new FitBit as a metaphor for project financial management.
  • Bruce Harpham helps us take our questions from good to great.
  • Nick Pisano critiques a list of project management trends for 2017, compiled by Atif Qureshi.

Agile Methods

  • Stefan Wolpers curates his weekly list of Agile content, from team building and the need for dissent to guerilla research and The Bad Product Fallacy.
  • Mike Cohn shares an agenda for the Sprint Review – a ceremony designed for soliciting actionable feedback.
  • Dave Prior interviews Mike Cottmeyer on the State of Agile in 2017 and addresses the question: Is culture really the issue? Just 48 minutes, safe for work.
  • Alison Wood made a new eBook from Knowledge Train available for download: “The Challenges with Agile.” Six Agile practitioners, 12 pages, many excellent insights.
  • Elise Stevens interviews Melanie Franklin on the evolution of the PMO in adopting Agile methods. Just 19 minutes, safe for work.
  • Tom McFarlin addresses the tension between “It’s good enough,” and “It could be better” when deciding to ship your product.

Applied Leadership

  • Andy Kaufman interviews Nick Petrie and Derek Roger, authors of “Work Without Stress,” on… well, stress and pressure. Just 55 minutes, safe for work. Plus a couple of minutes for the clip from “Bridge of Spies” that puts it all into perspective.
  • Beth Spriggs depicts a difficult but necessary conversation with someone who needed to hear some very negative feedback.
  • Rich Maltzman summarizes the sustainability trends driving business in 2017, based on a report by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership.
  • Seth Godin notes that, just as you don’t heat your office with coal anymore, you will eventually abandon the employee performance review system you’ve used for thirty years.

Technology and Techniques

  • Cade Metz updates us the recent poker tournament where an AI program beat four of the world’s best poker players at no-limit Texas Hold ‘Em.
  • Tom Randall reports on three new lithium-ion battery storage plants in California, any one of which would have been the largest such facility ever built. Focus on the description of the construction project.
  • Nick Bilton reports on the death of Hollywood, as technology reshapes filmmaking the way it has everything else.

Working and the Workplace

  • Lisette Sutherland edits several old interviews to extract four insights in establishing camaraderie in remote teams.
  • Conner Forrest explains how to determine whether President Trump’s suspension of immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries will impact your company.
  • Suzanne Lucas reports on some fascinating research – extensive international travel and exposure to different cultures can desensitize you to what is right and wrong.