Musings on Project Management

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 161

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 229

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 161

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 237

Innovation: Five Signs You Might Be Faking It

Every company wants to be a leader in innovation, but how can you tell if your company is really innovating or just going through the motions? See the 5 signs you might be faking innovation and what to do if you are.

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

2019 161

Hub and spoke project architecture

Musings on Project Management

On the HBR Blog Network, Andrew Shipilov has a eye-catching post on "hub and spoke" project networks, or alliances between project partners, as he describes them. Say "network" to me and I always jump first to a mind's-eye image of a "mesh", but actually that's one of several general ways to think of networks, and in most situations not a good general model for governance.) Shipilov posits.

2019 161

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.

2019 241

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 170

Value stream mapping

Musings on Project Management

Value stream mapping seems to be a new label on old wine. But nevertheless, the wine ages well. In the old days, we simply called it process mapping. Value stream mapping derives from the Lean community, where of course the focus is on leaning out non-value add. So, in value stream mapping, each activity, to include the workflow of authorization and other governance, and ancillary activities, process

2019 161

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?

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

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

2019 200

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 161

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 170

Managing The Project Budget - Developing Your Project Management Skills

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

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

Risk 184

Someone says 'calculus' and you think.

Musings on Project Management

Someone says 'calculus' and you think. Yikes! Get me out of here! Calculus doesn't belong in the PMO I took it in high school. enough already! Actually, some things are simpler than they appear: Speedometers and directionYou're driving. Got a smooth curve to go along (which could also be a straight line)? Want to find out which direction you're going at a particular point? Or, if you. Project Management system engineering

2019 161

Riding a dead horse?

Musings on Project Management

The code of tribal wisdom says that when you discover you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount. In the [project office], we often try other strategies with dead horses, including the following: Buying a stronger whip; Changing riders; Saying things like ‘this is the way we’ve always ridden the horse; Appointing a committee to study the horse; Arranging a visit to. Project Management

2019 170

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

2019 179

Top 5 Project Management Report Templates

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

Anti-fragile -- surviving shock

Musings on Project Management

A good system is one in which the risks are visible Nassim Nicholas Taleb Nassim Nicholas Taleb, most famous for authoring "The Black Swan: the impact of highly improbable fragility", also has a just-as-interesting book: "Antifragile: things that gain from disorder" Taleb's objective for this book is to be the definitive explanation of the spectrum of fragile (read: Black Swan, Risk Management system engineering

2019 170

Knowing more or less

Musings on Project Management

I had thought that the magic of the information age was that it allowed us to know more, but then I realized the magic of the information age is that it allows us to know less It provides us with external cognitive servants silicon memory systems, collaborative online filters, consumer preference algorithms and networked knowledge. We can burden these servants and liberate ourselves David. Project Management Quotations

2019 161

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

Risk 204

Burn-down chart: an analogy

Musings on Project Management

It seems that there is always confusion the first time someone rolls up on an agile methods burn down chart: What are we burning? How much is there to burn? How long does it take? What is the starting point? When does it end? An analogy Think of a burn down chart in the same way you regard the fuel gauge in your car: You fill up the tank You drive around, consuming fuel Eventually, it agile

2019 170

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 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.

Loosen the coupling

Musings on Project Management

Looking for schedule success? Loosen the coupling! Remember the "shift right" phenomenom in scheduling? If two or more events are tightly coupled to a milestone -- meaning no slack -- then a slip of any event pushes the milestone, to wit: shift to the right And, the risk is exponential with the number of events: The risk of two events is the risk-squared (where risk is probability of. Risk Management schedule

2019 185

Quantitative risk for the new guy on the street

Musings on Project Management

Repetition and review are good--Malcom Gladwell says it takes 10,000 hours to be expert at anything--so here's a few words that will take a few minutes on three important quantitative concepts every risk manager should know: Concept 1: Centrality Most phenomenon of interest to projects, particularly naturally occurring phenomenon, tend to cluster around a central value, given enough samples. risk Risk Management

2019 204

Burning up the team

Musings on Project Management

Are you on one of those death march projects about to burn out. Want some time off? Perhaps it's in the plan Google among others -- Microsoft, etc -- are well known for the "time off, do what you want toward self improvement and personnel innovation" model; formulas like you suggest lend objectivity to the process (not playing favorites, etc). Losing productivity Of course, the real issue is Teamwork

2019 196

Agile and the V-and-V thing

Musings on Project Management

Have you thought much about this? Two of the conceptual conundrums of the hybrid methodology project are: How do you verify that which is incomplete and. How do you validate the efficacy of that which is yet to be conceived? Verification and validation (V-and-V) are traditionally held to be very important project practises that are difficult to map directly into the Agile domain. agile

Agile 213

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?"

Measure the measurable

Musings on Project Management

Without Metrics you're just another guy with an opinion - Stephan Leschka, Hewlett Packard* I get it; and mostly, I agree with Mr. Leschka BUT, there are a few other rules: Don't measure -- meaning: don't invest the effort to collect and analyze -- that which you don't manage Don't measure the unmeasurable -- meaning, don't assign false values and dimensions to that which is fundamentally. estimate Strategic Plan

2019 200

Some stuff you need quickly

Musings on Project Management

Robert Gates, the former United States Secretary of Defense, in a September 2008 speech, said: “Our conventional modernization programs seek a 99% solution in years. Stability and counterinsurgency missions—the wars we are in—require 75% solutions in months. The challenge is whether in our bureaucracy and in our minds these two different paradigms can be made to coexist”. Since that. acquisition Project Management

2019 170

Against the Gods -- a review

Musings on Project Management

"Against the Gods, The remarkable story of Risk" by Peter L. Bernstein is an excellent read and ambitious premise well delivered. Perhaps the best general history of risk -- and presentation of the major concepts of risk -- that is understandable by all practitioners at any level. The content is presented in a general historical order in major sections by epoch. The first being from the. books Risk Management

2019 170

Just changed, or transformative?

Musings on Project Management

Change: things are different, or will be. Often a matter of process and function Transformation: Change + values or philosophy that are changed as well Some say that we still don't get it, some 12 years after notable John Kotter wrote his seminal article "Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail." Some say 30% or more fail. Of course, this begs the question: what is failure, or. change

2019 170

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.

So, who's responsible for Customer?

Musings on Project Management

One of my students offered this strategy for establishing, maintaining, and leveraging relationships with the customer. I thought it was pretty good, so here's the idea: 1. Customer Account Responsible (ACR) -- who. is the Account Manager. for the domain, market or dedicated to the customer (big accounts) responsible for: Account relationships, Opportunity identification, Commercial. human factors marketing

2019 170

Looking for stuff on PM?

Musings on Project Management

You say: "I've got to give a presentation about [some] topic in Project Management. Where do I find the stuff I need?" I say: Look no farther than slideshare.net/jgoodpas. There you'll find some 45 presentations available for free download. Attribution: If you use my stuff, please do me the courtesy of an attribution and a reference to the material on slideshare.net The most viewed is this. Project Management

2019 179

The project balance sheet -- not for accountants!

Musings on Project Management

If you follow this blog you've read several references to the project balance sheet. So, is this about accounting? Yes, and no: Yes, it's about a double entry tool to keep track of "mine" and "yours", but no, it's not the accountant's tool used in your father's accounting office. Take a look at this figure: What have we got here? First, the business and the project; but. Risk Management

2019 170

Agile and R/D

Musings on Project Management

I was recently asked if Agile and 'R/D' go together. The issue at hand: how do you reconcile agile's call for product delivery to users every few weeks with the unknowns and false starts in a real R/D project? Good question! I'm glad you asked. Let's start with OPM. Other people's money. And the first question: What have you committed to do? There are two possible answers: (1). agile

Agile 179

Meet Your Goals with a Practical Product Strategy

Speaker: Nils Davis, Principal, NPD Associates

Whether you manage a feature, a product, or a whole suite of products, you likely have some goals that you're trying to meet. But do you have a strategy? Strategy and goals are different. It's your strategy that allows you to make decisions that help you meet your goals in the first place. For example, if you want grow your revenue, your strategy may be to enter a new market - and you may decide to make your product stand out in that market by adding analytics. If you want to have an articulated strategy that you can use to make decisions, stay on-track, and meet your product goals, this is the webinar for you! Join Nils Davis, author of The Secret Product Manager Handbook, as he explains how you can get your team aligned to a practical product strategy.