Friday, September 28, 2007

Back to the basics - Project Tasks part 2: WHY?

(link to part 1:

WHY? Why do we put effort (aka cost) into task management? Because our boss tells us to? PMBOK demands it? What else would a PM do? I think the reason is to reduce risk to the overall project AND if the effort in managing the task(s) is not equaled or exceeded by the benefit (reduced risk) then they should not be tracked. An example of this is managing tasks around putting computers on everyday so programmers can do their work...seems pretty meaningless to track this - right? (hopefully all agree) - HOW MANY TASKS of similar nature do we actually have in our plans? What if our team, by nature, tests code to a point where it's a very high level of quality prior to reaching QA - ALL THE TIME. Do we need to enter a task for unit testing? The time to enter, update, time to discuss with developers, etc. could be substantial (a 3 month project with bi-weekly project meeting where 15 minutes is spent on this for 5 people adds up to about $3,000) for a task with no real benefit.

So, my answer to WHY is simple: To reduce risk. Task management:
  • ensures understanding of deliverable scope and benefit
  • understanding of effort/resources to deliver
  • helps in tracking and communicating delivery timeline
  • uncovers predecessors that may not have been identified prior
  • allocates people
Task management reduces risk (reduces cost) - delivery/completion of the task delivers value - different sides of the track.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Ubuntu - new Beta
I am totally sold on Ubuntu, great operating system, great approach (open source), solid product overall!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Back to the basics - Project Tasks part 1: WHAT

(click for full view)
Let's take a step back to the basics - what is a project task. From 1 a: a usually assigned piece of work often to be finished within a certain time b: something hard or unpleasant that has to be done

National Direction - ?

What are we doing and where is our leadership?

MARYLAND 38970459
MICHIGAN 9061441050
MINNESOTA 48356539
MISSOURI 65168719
MONTANA 21021231
NEBRASKA 21943262
NEW JERSEY41967486
NEW MEXICO25431285
NEW YORK13121641476
OKLAHOMA 46161522
OREGON 44964513
PENNSYLVANIA 11811751356
PUERTO RICO 18032212
TENNESSEE 53482616


His mentor turns on bin Laden............

After Osama bin Laden reappeared on the world's television screens on the sixth anniversary of 9-11, commentaries focused on his newly blackened beard and his changed message. But more important was the reaction of a Saudi cleric.

In an open letter, one of bin Laden's most prominent Saudi mentors, the preacher and scholar Salman al-Oadah, publicly reproached bin Laden for causing widespread mayhem and killing.

"How many innocent children, elderly people, and women have been killed in the name of Al Qaeda?" asked al-Oadah in a letter on his Web site,, and in comments on an Arabic television station.

"How many people have been forced to flee their homes, and how much blood has been shed in the name of Al Qaeda?"...................

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tim Lister

I had the GREAT PLEASURE of attending a IT Conference (CAI sponsored) today in which Tim Lister presented Risk Management - Project Management for adults. Excellent presenter....provided excellent information regarding risk management.....his (and Tom DeMarco's) Waltzing with Bears book is a must read for any PM.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Project Management Tool Review

Just wanted to track tools I've looked at and reviewed:
I'll provide updates as I review more

Google Apps- websites are now officially a commodity

Curiosity - based on an article in either or - got me to look at Google Apps. I've always found that the best way to learn something is to actually use it - on an actual site - Google apps is basically the 'selling' of the same tools with different limitations based on the model that you are looking at: Small Business, Enterprise, School, Personal and within each some are free and some at a cost. Apps include web home page, web site hosting/development, gmail, calendar, chat, etc. (and support). The home page gets created by default, as well as the gmail, the website and docs are all driven by your content. The min. cost to you is a domain registration fee ($10). My overall impression:
  • tools are not really integrated - just grouped
  • website development via page maker is still not for the faint of heart (aka non-technies)
  • the help you get is the help you seek (you're on your own)
  • gmail is good, but not as good as yahoo mail (probably the only thing yahoo has going for it)
OVERALL though....I'm impressed with the direction being taken - a tool box of integrate'ible very effective web site development/team-communication tools.

THE MOST IMPORTANT learning I got from the exercise I received was: websites are now a commodity - just as PC's become in the late 1990's. In the very near future tools will be available to allow EVERYONE to develop and have a substantial website of their own without the need for a techie's help or support.....developers beware.......the base website development market is now officially closed.

MY RECOMMENDATION: Go and try Google Apps - a $10 education on the near future.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

John Stewart - oh my

Sad but true............what a disgrace. It also gives a good look at questioning that is actually more about making statements (Sr Management meetings?)

Friday, September 14, 2007

@task - WOW!

All I can say (after a quick review of the functionality) is WOW! I think someone finally built a PM system that includes everything someone would want. Take a look at the feature list:
Pretty impressive and VERY EASY to use. Clean interface. I did get lost a bit, but that's to be expected with any tool at this level. You're able to track issues and costs/benefits at a task level (great), review resource utilization, access to an incredible number of reports, update information via single records or table/grid approach....etc. I plan on spending some more time playing around and will provide more info later on......Ria R. thanks for the opportunity in reviewing this product.


Logistics is the art and science of managing and controlling the flow of goods, energy, information and other resources like products, services, and people...(from Wikipedia:
Starting a project, resource planning, migrating servers, you:
  • have the room
  • the workstations
  • pens, paper clips, white boards
  • contacts with agencies........etc.........???
Things just don't fall from the sky or grow on trees (?? well they do, but I'm making a point).
Part of any major (or minor) solid project plan needs to include consideration for logistics. As some great general (Alexandr?) said 'Logistics doesn't win a war - but it sure could lose one'.

Found some interesting reading here:

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
they shall run, and not be weary;
and they shall walk, and not faint.

Isaiah 40:31

Friday, September 7, 2007

When you become a Master - your moves appear very basic

Interpersonal Communication

Some good reading from WikiPedia regarding interpersonal communication:

It really helps to read do read....especially the barriers to effective communication (emotions? do people get emotional?? no........

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

John Keegan - Mask of Command

Just reading 'The Mask of Command' again (2nd? 3rd? time) - and thought I'd say something about the Duke of Wellington - the leading general during the Napoleonic wars. According to Keegan, Wellington would often use his visual and hearing senses to understand the current state of battle, determine weaknesses in his/his-opponents line, etc. For instance, seeing troops 'lean in' to the advance might indicate the level of fire coming at them as well as their spirit of advance. Shouldn't we be doing the same with our teams/people? Turn off the email, put down the memos, put aside the time lines, etc. and listen what the people are saying watch how they work, their intensity, attitude, etc. these indicators will tell you more about the state of the project then anything else. If people are saying the dates won't be met - listen to them - the message is clear and action needs to be taken to make a change.....