Musings on Project Management

Feasibility and risk assessment guide

Musings on Project Management

A posting from Matthew Squair put me onto a nice one page pdf template for requirements feasibility and risk assessment. The chart links compliance, achievability, and technical consequences.

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Micrometers, chalk, and axes

Musings on Project Management

On a recent aircraft restoration project I learned this 3-step process of. mechanics (who knew? You can't make this stuff up!), which in three short statements illustrates the axiom that a process, viewed end-to-end, is not better than it's worst component, and also. Precision and accuracy, no matter how diligent, are wasted on the poorest resolution of the process. Measure with a. Project Management

2019 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?

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Kanban, WIP, etc

Musings on Project Management

Kanban, WIP, and three others are what I frame as "five tools for managing" I've put it together in this slideshare.net presentation (*): Five tools for managing projects from John Goodpasture. (*) See: slideshare.net/jgoodpas for all of my online stuff. free for download, but an attribution would be appreciated Buy them at any online book retailer! Project Management

2019 174

Make an Impact with Analytics and Journey Maps

Speaker: Kirui K. K., Co-founder and CEO of Tanasuk Africa

If you want to offer a better user experience, it can be tempting to track each and every data point in your product. However, this can quickly get complicated and overwhelming as you collect more and more data. How do you know which metrics will help you improve? Kirui K. K., Co-founder & CEO Tanasuk Africa, wants you to know that analytics don't have to be complicated to make an impact - no matter the size of your company. Join him as he explains how to create a customer journey map, then use that map to figure out the metrics you need to know - and how to use them.

Soccer for 3 year-olds

Musings on Project Management

Ever been to a soccer match with 3 year-olds on the field? All go for the ball all the time; it's just a herd moving around the field (*), more or less with ball the center of attention. But, little is done except to kick at the ball. And certainly no one is ready for the breakout. And this applies to project management how? The best example is email with the dozen addressees. Everyone gets. communication human factors

2019 163

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

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A historical perspective

Musings on Project Management

The future may not repeat history, but it rhymes Anonymous No linearity Another way to understand the opening witticism is that activities guided by people aren't amenable to linear -- that is, straight line -- projections and forecasts. But they are often close Fair enough. most would agree. Experience keeps us between the lines, as it were. The upshot is that using the facts of. Project Management

2019 163

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

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4th of July

Musings on Project Management

This office is closed on 4 July due to circumstances beyond our control Sign on British Consulate in the USA Bookmark this on Delicious. Buy them at any online book retailer! Quotations

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Build Product Progress with a Strong Data Culture

Speaker: Nima Gardideh, CTO, Pearmill

Have you ever thought your product's progress was headed in one direction, and been shocked to see a different story reflected in big picture KPIs like revenue? It can be confusing when customer feedback or metrics like registration or retention are painting a different picture. No matter how sophisticated your analytics are, if you're asking the wrong questions - or looking at the wrong metrics - you're going to have trouble getting answers that can help you. Join Nima Gardideh, CTO of Pearmill, as he demonstrates how to build a strong data culture within your team, so everyone understands which metrics they should actually focus on - and why. Then, he'll explain how you can use your analytics to regularly review progress and successes. Finally, he'll discuss what you should keep in mind when instrumenting your analytics.

Sacred but not immutable

Musings on Project Management

There are a lot of project principles, and processes built on those principles, we think of as immutable: stationary--and proven--with time, experience, context. Somewhat like the speed of light: Every observer or practitioner in any frame would see them the same way Not so fast! Sacred indeed! To be respected? Defaults that are best practice? Absolutely But immutable? Unlike the. Project Management

2019 163

Decisions on auto-pilot

Musings on Project Management

[Some decision analysis'] have been going on for long enough that they've built up their own speed and force. We call them decisions, but they really aren't. They are] the sum of so many previous events and determinations that they have a weight that feels like a layer of time David Ignatius. "We We call them decisions but they really aren't". The worst variety of such auto-pilot decisions. decision leadership

2019 163

I've got to write a RFP

Musings on Project Management

Ever been asked to write an RFP (request for proposal)? It may not be as easy as you think. My metric is about 2-3 hours per finished page, exclusive of specifications. Specs are normally just imported. So, it could take you the best part of a week to put an RFP in place.

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"Open" risk management

Musings on Project Management

To be open Every text and paper I've read describes risk management like many other project processes: open, transparent, available to any on the project team. Risks are identified, evaluated, ranked, made subject to some form of risk reduction paradigm; and everyone is made aware. Oh, but if it only were! Most of us can handle the text book process. It's more will than capability But, on. Risk Management

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What Is (and Isn’t) Product Management?

Speaker: Steve Johnson, VP of Products, Pragmatic Institute

Product Management is one of the most exciting - and most misunderstood - functions in technical organizations. Is it strategic or tactical? Is it a planning role or a support role? Many product professionals are unclear about what is (and isn't) product management. After all, product management spans many activities from business planning to market readiness. In this session, we’ll examine many product activities and artifacts for product strategy, planning, and growth, and introduce a simple tool that you can use in your organization to clarify the roles of product management and others. Steve Johnson explores the many roles of Product Management in this fun talk focused on why product managers should obsess on problems instead of solutions.

Who calls anymore?

Musings on Project Management

Who calls anymore? Some, but many fewer than before. unless it's a robo call It's surely not news that a lot of business communication has moved to the text and email. Fair enough But, that leaves much more communication open loop and unacknowledged than is/was the case with the telephone call. That may not end well. Such open loop communications violates basic control-loop theory. To wit Project Management

2019 163

Understood. misunderstood

Musings on Project Management

The blog at herdingcats provided this little bit of wit: Don't write so that you can be understood, write so that you can't be misunderstood. William Howard Taft Taft has a good point there: Not only to be understood (meaning + context) But to not be misunderstood (meaning + context + motivations or expectations) Not so fast! It's often not that simple. You want not to be misunderstood communication Quotations

2019 163

Manage the white space

Musings on Project Management

You've got a team to manage; until you don't Keeping the team together promotes cohesiveness, intra-team loyalties, and productivity (no investment required to introduce new players and relationships). But, if there's too much slack -- i.e. downtime or "whitespace" -- you might lose your team. But, keeping you team begs the question: How to keep everyone busy all the time so as to fend off. Project Management Teamwork

2019 163

Project Bulls**t

Musings on Project Management

Many fine books have been written about 'bull' and its excrement, 'bulls**t' (*). Indeed, such may go back to at least the 17th century, if not before, as written into plays and documents of the era. And so, is it any surprise that, four centuries on, many in the PM profession pride themselves as good bulls**t detectors, having the cultural training to recognize such that comes from a lifetime human factors Project Management

2019 174

Your Post-Launch Toolkit for Understanding Your Users

Speaker: Brittney Gwynn, former Director of Product, Simple Health

If you've ever launched an MVP, you know that the journey has only just begun. How do you figure out what to do next? You know that you need to look at how different user segments react, but how do you quickly distinguish signal from noise so you can iterate and improve? Join Brittney Gwynn, former Director of Product at Simple Health, as she explains how you can use early customer feedback, usage data, and continuous experimentation to optimize your journey to product-market fit. Whether you're at a brand-new company, or looking to innovate within a more mature organization, or anywhere in between, you'll come away with a new skill set, ready to make the most of your launches.

Risk: the second thing you do

Musings on Project Management

Managing risk? Can you imagine there's risk to manage? Here's the second thing you do: Evaluate the slack. What's to evaluate? You might think the most important thing about slack is how much is there; what do I have to work with? Nope Whatever you've got, the most important thing is sequence and position. Where in the course of events are you going to position slack so that it works to Risk Management

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Performance; experience; wisdom; track record

Musings on Project Management

“You do not write your life with words.You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do.” (*) Patrick Ness . What you do adds up Getting promoted? Hopefully not to your level of incompetence! Want to get promoted? Most do. What's needed: a personal track record; as Ness would say: a record of what you do. Personal performance over time An. human factors Project Management

2019 163

Agile for Project Managers: an analogy

Musings on Project Management

It's been a few years since I wrote the material for the presentation below, but I find it timeless. It's all about an analogy It's all about how a self-directed team working on a mission of top-down importance and specification -- these imperatives coming from executive leaders -- get the job down sufficiently well (in Agile speak: well enough) to succeed. Agile for project managers - agile

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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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The Magic of Intent: Start Knowing The Goals of Your Users

Speaker: Terhi Hanninen, Senior Product Manager, Zalando, and Dr. Franziska Roth, Senior User Researcher, Zalando

It's important to know your users - what are their preferences, pain points, ultimate goals? With user research and usage data, you can get a great idea of how your users act. The tricky part is, very few users reliably act the same way every time they use your product. Join Terhi Hanninen, Senior Product Manager, and Dr. Franziska Roth, Senior User Researcher at Zalando, as they explain how they were able to reach a new level of user understanding - by taking their user research and segmenting their users by point-in-time intent. You'll leave with a strategy to change how your product team, and organization at large, understands your users.

Executive leadership -- the big three

Musings on Project Management

Want to be a leader? Think you are a leader? Admire someone who is a leader? These three attributes better be in place, and obvious: Be able to recruit the right people. Recognize talent; get the talent fitted to the task, considering not only experience, but temperament and judgment; toughness and stress tolerance. if you make a boo-boo here, have the strength to relieve the untalented. leadership

The core of knowledge

Musings on Project Management

statistics is what tells you if something is true, false, or merely anecdotal; it is the instrument of risk-taking Statistical and applied probabilistic knowledge is the core of knowledge; Nassim Taleb You got to hand to the guy: he is passionate about his subject. Of course, he's also the first person to tell you that his most infamous invention, the "Black Swan", is. Risk Management

2019 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

2019 183

Showing confidence

Musings on Project Management

Making a presentation? Speaking to a large group? Are you confident? Good show! Hopefully, your audience will think so also. Mike Clayton has a helpful posting about behaviors during your presentation that will go along with projecting confidence to your audience. Helpfully, Clayton says it takes less than 2 minutes to read it. Here are two ideas I like, especially the first on about. human factors

2019 163

A Simple Framework for Complex User Goals

Speaker: Hannah Stegen, Customer Service Manager, Crescendo

How can you measure and affect your users' behavior if they're not doing something that's easily measurable? You can monitor usage, activation, retention, and more, but those metrics don't always align with every one of your goals for your users. Hope is not lost, however: with the right framework, you can still make sure your users are on track. Join Hannah Stegen (she/her), Customer Success Manager at Crescendo as she explains how you can monitor even the most complex user journeys by breaking them up into Attitude, Intention, and Behavior.

The first thing you do to reduce risk.

Musings on Project Management

The first thing you do to reduce risk. is: loosen the coupling between sources of effects. Create buffers; remove dependencies; install redundancy. This is a concept from System Engineering (buffers, dampers, redundancy; but also loose tolerances; fuses; barriers and walls. anything that inhibits propagation of effects) This is a concept from scheduling (Critical Chain by Goldratt; Risk Management

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Mystery, secrecy, and privacy

Musings on Project Management

This blog is not about politics, so we'll keep to the knitting and wax on about mystery, secrecy, and privacy in the project management domain. For today's screed, I took a few thoughts from an unlikely source of PM advice I found in an 2013 article by Jill LePore entitled "The Prism" (a term in the news of that time) I, for one, had not thought a lot about the subtle but substantive. Project Management

2019 163

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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Trust and loyalty

Musings on Project Management

From time to time, a profound thought strikes here at Musings. Today, it's these questions: Is it necessary for there to be trust in order that there be loyalty? Can there be loyalty and simultaneously mistrust? Spoiler alert: there's no right answer. It's a matter of your values and beliefs, for which there is no proof, validation, or algorithm. So, where did this come from? In my agile. leadership

2019 174

Your 2-Part Metrics Audit for High-Value Products

Speaker: Sam McAfee, Product Development Consultant, Startup Patterns

You know what they say: what's measured improves. As product managers we're in a golden age of being able to get all sorts of metrics and run all sorts of experiments. But what are your measurements and analytics focused on? Are they really truly objective? Do they contribute to the ultimate vision of your product? And is everybody clear on that vision? Join Sam McAfee, Product Development Consultant, as he takes you through a two-part measurement audit. First, you'll learn how to make sure your measurements actually align with your product strategy. And second, you'll learn how to evaluate your culture of using measurements, so future experiments will more consistently provide high-value results.

About that coordination thing.

Musings on Project Management

We're all supposed to coordinate. That's written somewhere in the PM literature and taught in bureaucracy school everywhere. And so I was impressed with this bit of wit(*): "Successful coordinating mechanisms depend on mutuality. The greatest chance of success derives from mutual benefit tied to sufficiently high priority programs Lesson learned: you haven't coordinated if the other person. Project Management Strategy

2019 163

No points in projects!

Musings on Project Management

There should be no points in projects That is, there should be no single-point estimates -- old news to be sure, but timeless But also there should be no single points of simultaneity, like events finishing "at the same time". But what about "now", as in "right now on the clock"? Is "now" not often a point in the PMO schedule? Not exactly. A somewhat startling observation is that scientists. estimate Project Management schedule

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It's as easy as 1-2-3!

Musings on Project Management

Counting, positioning, or measuring: what's in a number? Remember pre-school or kindergarten: we all "learned our numbers". but did we? Want to count something? Just use the integers, starting at 0 and going in familiar step: 1, 2, 3. The count takes on the dimension of what you are counting: dollars, inches, meters, liters, etc You can do arithmetic on count, but because of the. Project Management Risk Management system engineering

2019 163

A paradox of motion

Musings on Project Management

Can't get off the dime? Not motivated? Putting things off? Perhaps Parmenides's clever disciple, Zeno of Elena, has the perfect proof that it's not your fault! He wrote four paradoxes of motion. Consider his "dichotomy paradox" which addresses the infinite divisibility of space: "In order to complete any journey, you must first travel half the distance. But before you can do that, you must Project Management Quotations

2019 174

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?