Monday, March 31, 2008

Time is NOT on your side....


Well, in the world of project management, time is not on your side. I'm sure you've all read/heard/experienced the effects of adding resources to late, realizing that something is missing to late, that required delivery date have changed to late, etc.......my recommendation - increasing gains:
  • make sure the focus/pressure is present at the START of the project
  • don't give in to any delays - resist the urge to take the easy way out
  • don't let resources sit idle, there's always something that could be done, even in start up phase
  • take advantage of any external delays, don't let your rhythm/dates be affected by external frictional sources.
Keep your project time lines real, aggressively complete tasks and keep any gained time to the side.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Getting Mrs. Clinton - Peggy Noonan

By PEGGY NOONAN





Getting Mrs. Clinton
March 28, 2008; Page W18

I think we've reached a signal point in the campaign. This is the point where, with Hillary Clinton, either you get it or you don't. There's no dodging now. You either understand the problem with her candidacy, or you don't. You either understand who she is, or not. And if you don't, after 16 years of watching Clintonian dramas, you probably never will...........

http://online.wsj.com/article/declarations.html#

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Cooking a crab!


There's an ole' tale about how you cook a crab by putting them in cold water and heating it up a little at a time until they're ready to eat...so they don't know what's happening. Well, for all my experience in IT, managing projects, etc. - I'm finding myself confirming that theory and being near well cooked. It all started on a cool sunny morning when I was asked to provide a quick small request, something that should take no more then 2-3 hours for a large client. Well, one month later and a lot of heating up - the small request has become a good size project about 1/4 of the way complete. Just a warning to all you potential cooked crabs out there - if you're in water that's seems to be getting a little warm - well it's time to see if you're in a pot or not.

(crab photo from: http://flyingfishshop.com/seacritter.html)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Friday, March 21, 2008

Flip!

  • Know who you are
  • Do it exceptionally well
  • Keep it simple
  • Be cost effective
  • and being pretty doesn't hurt (Mohammad Ali)

Those simple, easy to follow guidelines has served many product and A LOT OF PEOPLE very well. Here's another example, the Flip (write up in The New York Times).

Ning on the move!

I've had two Ning networks for some time: http://itprojectmanagement.ning.com/
and even though there's few in the network (yes, I do take it personally...and it makes me sad), the tool (Ning.com) itself is GREAT! Here's a recent article about it in TechCrunch: http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/03/20/ning-all-our-charts-point-up-and-to-the-right/

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Median Isn't the Message by Stephen Jay Gould


A must read......... http://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/gould

Heart and head are focal points of one body, one personality.

(image from http://www.stephenjaygould.org)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Training your staff

One of the few sports I'm into is boxing....the sweet science. I've always felt that the most important responsibilities of any manager is to help her/his staff (aka people) advance and grow....even after a failed project, if you people have grown (and hopefully stayed), you've provided value to your company. My View from the Corner is about a master trainer (Ali's trainer/corner man) - Angelo Dundee. Not only is it a great read and contains a lot of old boxing stories, it also contains a wealth of general training advice that any manager would benefit from.

  • everyone is different/an individual
  • understand their natural strengths and don't change them (fine tune, but don't damage)
  • don't put the person in a position where the probability of failure is high
  • know your job - and never stop learning - so you can properly support and 'fix' them
  • where you are weak in supporting your people - get others to fill the gaps
  • and much more.......
overall a great read with great insight

(photo from :http://www.heavyweightcollectibles.com/Photos.htm)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

New Training/New Help


I've been seeing more and more demo/help/training videos out there - many of them very effective:
http://www.drupaldojo.com/files/screencasts/drupal-dojo_lesson42.mov
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gW2YVBrNVA&eurl=http://code.google.com/apis/opensocial/

What benefit would there be to creating video like training specific to projects, for new hires, use of PM tools (specific to the project), how to communicate risks, etc.......???

Effective web design = Effective project presentation

Here's a link to effective web design: http://www.smashingmagazine.com/index.php/2008/01/31/10-principles-of-effective-web-design/

the same concepts could (should) be used for effective project materials presentation:
  1. Don't make team members think - presented information should be clear
  2. Don't squander the team's patience
  3. Manage to focus their attention (focus on high risk/high value areas)
  4. Strive for feature/tool exposure (let them know/understand available tools to help manage the project)
  5. Make use of effective writing
  6. Strive for simplicity
  7. Don't be afraid of white space (quiet time...between heavy sessions)
  8. Communicate effectively with a “visible language” - Organize/Economize/Communicate
  9. Conventions are our friends (standards provide stability/comfort)
  10. Test early/Test often - test how the team is working, their effectiveness and YOUR ability to communicate the right message(s)
Yes - more or less a direct copy from the article, but the same basics apply to many areas

Monday, March 10, 2008

You can't teach experience


I am unwritten, can't read my mind, I'm undefined
I'm just beginning, the pen's in my hand, ending unplanned

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

Natasha Bedingfield - Unwritten

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Prioritize you deliverables

If you're like any other PM, you realize early on that prioritizing deliverables is a very political effort......sometimes it helps to provide an objective approach to the process. Here's a link to a dashboard that could provide some help: http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=puDAkq4iYr86v-YU_igLLYg
and a link to the excel file for your use: http://itprojectguide.org/?q=node/98

It divides the audience into:
  • users who provide a view on quality desires
  • developers who provide a view on risk
  • effort and sponsors who provide a view on value

Ethics - in coding


Intentional or not...sometimes confidentiality and security are compromised - this article is probably more typical of coding errors then intent:
http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/001072.html

(image from: allegheny.edu)

As a PM, we have a responsibility to ensure that some level of ethics are being followed AS WELL as ensuring that some effort is put into securing those items considered confidential. What ever information is being gathered or communicated be sure to put some thought behind the potential impacts and risks.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

IE8??

huh? MS IE8 out? Was I sleeping..is Microsoft revving up it's competitive engines going after FireFox and Google (Microsoft Live)...??? Is this a new era...
http://on10.net/blogs/larry/First-Look-Internet-Explorer-8/

Adrenaline Junkies and Template Zombies


WELL.....not real sure how to put this...but I'm a bit disappointed. After pre-ordering the book and pre-reviewing it...it's not what I would have hoped for. Basically it's a collection of stories, experiences, etc...many of which have been written about before. If you want some good PM insights from the PM Masters (Tom DeMarco, Tim Lister) then this book is GREAT! if you're looking for new info, structurally delivered for reference or deep insightful humor......(my hopes)....it's not happening. To me, PM would not be where it is today without Tom DeMarco andTim Lister (to name two of my PM heroes)...so it's difficult to write this......below are three books I would highly recommend

Sunday, March 2, 2008

MS Office moving to the web..?? - is that news?


http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/03/01/microsoft-office-online-and-attacking-the-innovators-dilemma/
SO? Is this something that anyone didn't think would happen? MS Office 2007 is a mess - probably pushing something out in order to make the last hat pass for $ prior to moving online and looking for other revenue generating avenues (aka Yahoo). It's the end of the desktop as we know it..and I'm OK. Next steps: (my predictions)
  • Desktop OS's become less relevant (only a platform for browsers and widgets)
  • Mobile - complete shift from web to mobile happens in 2008 (in the same way the web exploded, heck, I'm even thinking about getting an iPhone)
  • Web sites are abandoned in mass....specific, centralized sites (mobile focuses) are developed with capacity to develop unique tools for them (aka OpenSocial II)
  • SEO disappears (let's hope) - real usage/value takes over the 'tweaking' of search results (which disappear since since web sites disappear)
  • major media takes a firm hold of the web and transforms it back into the TV (another reason for the move to mobile for innovators)