Musings on Project Management

Some risks aren't manageable

Musings on Project Management

Ideas about extreme risk management have been around a long time. No news there, so let's press on. Here's a working definition: Extreme risks are those for which the consequences are nearly irreversible, and the impact is near-catastrophic.

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Risk management: hierarchy v. mesh

Musings on Project Management

Almost anyone who's been around projects for a few years has experienced hierarchy: it's like a pyramid, with one person at the apex and a number of layers spreading out below, interconnected, for the most part, top-down. On the other hand, another structure is like a mesh, wired for the most part peer-to-peer, and mostly flat -- few hierarchical titles and few top-down controls, and lots of. Risk Management

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Risk management: what's to know?

Musings on Project Management

If you only know one thing about Risk Management, know this: Schedule slack is your most powerful tool Poorly developed instincts and skills in the use of this most powerful tool are leading causes of poor risk management If you are a Systems person a strategic thinker; an integrator; a "it all has to work" person -- you'll translate schedule slack into to "loose coupling" Loose. Risk Management system engineering

Risk 174

The biases come out

Musings on Project Management

Under stress, the biases come out Not only do the risks change, but risk attitudes change as well The stakes may be higher; the consequences greater. Now is the time to revisit the best book ever written on risk management -- in my opinion "Against the Gods, The remarkable story of Risk" by Peter L.

2020 212

Task Management For Project Managers

How can project planning that stretches over months or years remain relevant and account for new ad-hoc activities that arrive every day?

Game theory in risk management

Musings on Project Management

In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing. Theodore Roosevelt Actually, that's Teddy's version of cousin FDR's famous "Try something!" But what if it's all about a threat -- something external -- for which you have no experience? Call in your PMO team and brainstorm? Perhaps game theory Risk Management

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The oldest technique in risk management

Musings on Project Management

The oldest technique in the book, indeed before there were even books, is "acceptance" To drive a car is to accept the risk that the other driver isn't too drunk, too sleepy, too unskilled, too distracted, too whatever To take on debt is to accept the risk that you'll have the means to repay without bankrupting yourself To take on unsecured credit is to accept the risk (trust, really) that. Risk Management

2020 163

Virtual agile teams?

Musings on Project Management

Somebody asked: can a virtual team do Agile? 20 years ago, at the dawn of Agile, the answer might have been no. 15 years ago, more less at the peak of the AOL texting app Instant Messenger and the dawn of the smart phone and smart-phone personal networking and conferencing, the answer might have been yes, but with reservations. Now, the answer is "Of course", with some adjustments. agile Virtual teams

2020 174

There's a new tension in town.

Musings on Project Management

There's a new tension in town. Remote v Local 30M+ Americans have jobs and are working from home (the Remotes) 60M+ Americans can't work from home (the Locals), and 50% of them may not have jobs. If that's not enough to amp the tension between the haves and have-nots, then consider the risk management regime of each: The Remotes have a much lower risk environment from Covid-19, but also. human factors Project Management

2020 163

Natural stupidity

Musings on Project Management

"We study natural stupidity rather than artificial intelligence" Amos Tversky Tversky--now deceased--was a partner with Daniel Kahneman, who together wrote some of the most influential papers about biases in our observations and the biases that affect decision making under uncertainty. If you're a project manager or business manager, then you encounter these influences routinely. human factors Risk Management

2020 163

Managing The Project Budget - Developing Your Project Management Skills

This eBook describes the process of managing the project budget and its associated costs.

Stage gates and Agile?

Musings on Project Management

Stage gates and Agile? To some, that might sound horrifying! Not exactly! One of my Agile Project Management students asked me about stage gates and agile. My first response was this: Agile is not a gated methodology, primarily because scope is viewed as emergent, and thus the idea of pre-determined gate criteria is inconsistent with progressive elaboration and emergence. Agile does. agile

Agile 237

State of the practice: Agile

Musings on Project Management

I was looking back at some prior essays on Agile and came across the April 2012 PMNetwork magazine. Specifically I was attracted (again) to page 58 for an interview with some agilists on the state of the practice. Here are a couple of quotes from Jim Highsmith worth tucking away: Agile project management embraces both “doing” agile and “being” agile—and the latter is the hardest. agile

2020 163

Agile -- what it means

Musings on Project Management

Dilbert: We need 3 more programmers. Boss: Use agile programming methods. Dilbert: Agile programming does not mean doing more work with less people. Boss: Find me some words that do mean that and ask again Dilbert is a creation of Scott Adams And so, you might ask: what does agile mean?

Agile 227

The collision of risk and politics

Musings on Project Management

There have been a lot of very high profile examples that demonstrate what seems like the evitable progression of the collision of risk and politics. The narrative seems to always fit this frame: Conventional risk management processes identify a risky situation and assess the unfavorable outcomes Mitigations are designed and briefed up the chain Such mitigations are immediately clamped from. Risk Management

2020 174

Top 5 Project Management Report Templates

These FREE most popular templates will help you perform your role more efficiently.

Agile down the ages

Musings on Project Management

In the beginning, there was pre-history Agile, almost prehistoric era: Before 2000 and the meeting in Utah that birthed modern Agile Rogue developers trying various "light weight" and "rapid" prototyping and coding practises.

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Who said 'hybrid Agile'?

Musings on Project Management

What's the hybrid thing? It's agile coexisting in the same project with a traditional methodology, presumably for the swim lanes that are not software. Some call hybrid agile as: agile in the waterfall Are hybrids practical? After all, the traditional is top down planned, most requirements up front, much system testing at the end, etc. Agile is the not-traditional. Can you fashion a hybrid. agile

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Virtual conferencing. a lot in the market

Musings on Project Management

Yikes: the products and services for virtual conferencing and teamwork are jumping out of the woodwork: Here's a nice comparison of Zoom and Blue Jeans Microsoft TEAMS which is integrated with Office 365 now has a home version as well And, of course, there are the established WebEX, Skype, etc Google is not to be left out, nor is Slack Here's a collection of 10 articles on collaboration tools Project Management

2020 163

Stressed leadership

Musings on Project Management

Well, here in the Spring of 2020, leaders are stressed; and circumstances are somewhat chaotic (meaning not only disorganized and counterproductive, but small effects are highly leveraged by exponential responses) And so one wonders: are our best leaders in crises and chaos likely to have been trained in the military where the 'fog of war' is all too real? Yes, but no. Our military schools. leadership

Business Agile: A Roadmap for Transforming Your Management & Adapting to the VUCA Environment

Speaker: Peter Taylor, Speaker/Author, The Lazy Project Manager

Businesses everywhere are trying to “get business agile”—but it’s not easy to adapt to becoming this adaptive. How can conventional organizations succeed in this transformation? In this webinar, Peter Taylor will walk through the change process step by step, and look at a tried and tested transformation roadmap: benefits are outlined, solutions to common challenges offered, and tried and tested methods and tools provided. It will be a guide towards a decentralized and management style that offers more successful decision making through collaboration.

Job done?

Musings on Project Management

Agile Principle 5: Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done. Trust them to get the job done. What job? Is it the job described in the business plan and in subsequent project plans, albeit lean plans consistent with the Agile Manifesto? Is it the job that has been estimated and scheduled? Is it the job. agile

Lean 163

When leadership is autocratic

Musings on Project Management

Autocrates and autocratic leadership -- on the one hand -- and the classic risk management on the other hand. is the latter pointless in the context of the former? And we ask this because: From essayist Eric Grill writing in the leadership blog of St Thomas University we learn that: Autocratic leaders typically make all major decisions on their own, with little or no input from others. leadership Risk Management

Small data is the project norm

Musings on Project Management

I've written before that the PMO is the world of 1-sigma; 6-sigma need not apply. Why so? One-time projects don't generate enough data for real statistical process controls to be valid. To wit: projects are the domain of small data. Usually) And so, small data drives most projects; after all, we're not in a production environment. Small data is why we approximate, but approximation is not. Bayes estimate Statistics

2020 163

So, you need a System Integrator -- SI

Musings on Project Management

You've got a big (big!) project with a lot of moving parts (different contractors doing different stuff). You've been told: Get yourself an SI! The questions at hand: what is a System Integrator (aka SI), and what do they do?

2020 195

Plan for Product Launch Success with Data and Analytics

Speaker: Piyanka Jain, President and CEO, Aryng

When you launch new feature (or an entirely new product), there are many questions that you'll need to answer. Is the feature being adopted? Do your customers like it, or does it need to be improved? Was the launch successful? Well, that all depends on how you define success. Join Piyanka Jain, President and CEO of Aryng, as she explains why - and how - you should use data and analytics to define and track a successful launch.

Excel is watching you!

Musings on Project Management

If you've ever managed a project with a really large data set, say the payroll for a bunch of 1099 developers, or the sales records that you're trying to translate and import to a spreadsheet, you may need to watch a couple of important cells to let you know what's really going on: Summary totals; error codes; record totals, etc.

2019 212

Can you beat a checklist?

Musings on Project Management

Can anyone image doing serious risk management without a checklist? The answer, of course, is No. or, it should be!) Actually, any procedural management can benefit from a checklist. There's been whole books written about checklists. In fact, one of the more prominent books -- "The Checklist Manefesto" by Dr. A. Gawande -- entitles Chapter 1: "The Problem of Extreme Complexity", Project Management

2019 243

8 Administrative Professional Conferences You Can’t Miss in 2018

Musings on Project Management

8 Administrative Professional Conferences You Can’t Miss in 2018. Have you ever noticed the amazing ideas and inspiration that come from connecting with other like-minded people who have the same profession as you? We want administrative professionals to feel that invigorating spark again and again!

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Who said 'evidence'?

Musings on Project Management

Did you see this witicism at herdingcats? A skeptic will question claims, then embrace the evidence. A denier will question claims, then reject the evidence. Neil deGrase Tyson. Think of this whenever there is a conjecture that has no testable evidence of the claim. And think ever more when those making the conjectured claim refuse to provide evidence. When that is the case, it is. estimate Project Management Quotations

2020 163

Driving Discovery and Experimentation in your Organization

Speaker: Teresa Torres, Product Discovery Coach, Product Talk, David Bland, Founder and CEO, Precoil, and Hope Gurion, Product Coach and Advisor, Fearless Product LLC

If you want to build what matters, you can't move forward blindly. But to make progress, you can't let things slow to a crawl while you focus resources on gathering data. This is where continuous discovery and experimentation come in. Join Teresa Torres (Product Discovery Coach, Product Talk), David Bland (Founder, Precoil), and Hope Gurion (Product Coach and Advisor, Fearless Product) in a panel discussion as they cover how - and why - to build a culture of discovery and experimentation in your organization.

Risk un-management

Musings on Project Management

Risk un-management? Perhaps the largest task within risk management, and requiring the greatest judgment, is "risk un-management" On any project there are going to be dozens, perhaps hundreds, of unmanaged risks. These comprise the population to be un-managed. I doubt this is news to anyone, but these are, as a group, more numerous than those selected for the usual risk management paradigm. Risk Management

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Two doors: risk and decision managers

Musings on Project Management

A narrative* Imagine two doors to the same room: One labeled risk manager; the other labeled decision maker. Though the risk manager's door, entry is for the inductive thinker: facts, experience, history looking for a generality or integrating narrative Through the decision maker's door, entry is for the deductive thinker: visionary with a need to articulate specifics for the vision Risk Management

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Alice, the Cat, and Agile

Musings on Project Management

I've heard it many times that this little ditty is the essence of why Agile is problematic with its dearth of plans, estimates, etc: "Would you tell me, please which way I ought to go from here? That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said the Cat. 'I I don't much care,' said Alice. Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' said the Cat. 'So So long as I get SOMEWHERE,' Alice. agile

Agile 183

The many flavors of scope creep

Musings on Project Management

Can there be scope creep in Agile? Doesn't agile define creep away in a stroke: "Scope is whatever is prioritized in the backlog that fits within the budget (OPM, other people's money) and the time. The backlog changes all the time, but that's not creep, it's just backlog management."

2019 212

Encouraging Innovation in an Established Product Culture

Speaker: Richard Cardran, Chief Creative Officer and VP Strategy, HIA Technologies

Innovation is both a process and an outcome. The best way to begin innovating your products is by innovating your internal process. We'll explore the challenges, solutions, and hands-on techniques for becoming a successful "agent of change" within a well-established product culture. We'll examine the importance of UX and user-centric feature analysis, the adaptation of Agile Methodologies to the creative process, as well as a way to drive successful culture change for setting expectations and winning approvals with cross-functional stakeholders. Innovation and Leadership go hand in hand. Join Richard Cardran, Chief Creative Officer and VP Strategy, HIA Technologies, as we assess some case studies to see how to lead with a clear strategy well-defined tactics, and an unbiased understanding of the fundamental question: "why are you innovating?"

The unfolding course of events

Musings on Project Management

"It is not given to human beings -- happily for them, for otherwise life would be intolerable -- to foresee or predict to any large extent the unfolding course of events" Winston Churchill Of course, project management can modify such a bit to tolerate some of the intolerable: Simulations can add to the extent of foresight of unfolding events Systems tests can reveal unforeseen hazards in. Risk Management

2020 163

Two doors for risk managers

Musings on Project Management

A narrative* Imagine two doors to the same room: One labeled risk manager; the other labeled decision maker. Though the risk manager's door, entry is for the inductive thinker: facts looking for a generality or integrating narrative Through the decision maker's door, entry is for the deductive thinker: visionary with a need to connect specifics to the vision And, consider this: Pessimists. Risk Management

Risk 150

Siberian dilemma

Musings on Project Management

The Siberian dilemma has been around a long time. The narrative goes like this: It's a seriously sub-zero day on a frozen lake You're walking across the lake and fall through a weak spot in the ice If you stay in the water, you'll die in 5 minutes; If you get out the water, you'll die in 2 minutes. The dilemma: stay in the water and live longer, or get out and die sooner? Damned if you do; Risk Management

2020 163

Mixing Agile with oil and gas

Musings on Project Management

There comes a point where more planning can not remove the remaining uncertainty, instead execution must be used to provide data and remove uncertainty. This quote comes from a nicely argued case -- from the agile blog 'leading answers' -- for mixing agile methods in rather traditional businesses, like the oil and gas exploration/production business If ever there was a business that. agile

Agile 183

Embedding Operational Reports: Everything Product Managers Should Know

Speaker: Dean Yao, Sr. Director of Product Marketing, Logi Analytics

Businesses are run with analytics - but companies continue to struggle with interpreting, analyzing, and distributing data. Operational reports help get information to the people who need it most, in formats they understand, and in a timeframe that matters. Join the webinar to learn how embedding operational reports can give your users a precisely formatted, ready-to-analyze view of their operational activities. World-class software teams are embedding operational reports to empower end users with interactive data visualizations, detailed information, and highly precise formats that can be shared via email, PDF, print, or online.