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Project Management Basics – Chapter 15 – Agile Rituals – Shu Ha Ri

“Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.” Bruce Lee “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle I first heard of Shu Ha Ri in an Aikido Dojo. I was taking Taekwondo under Master Choi in a small school in Augusta, GA. My friends and I were consumed by the sport for several years, training constantly and regularly competing in local tournaments. I was attending a tournament in Columbia, SC, where I m

Project Management Basics – Chapter 14 – Agile Rituals – The Daily Scrum

“The human soul can always use a new tradition. Sometimes we require them.” Pat Conroy, The Lords of Discipline “We are our culture and tradition; if there is no culture or tradition we are no one.” Tamerlan A Kuzgov The rituals of agile matter. Several weeks ago there was a survey posted on LinkedIn that asked about the daily scrum. It specifically asked if the daily scrum was necessary for agile development. I can’t recall the survey results, but one my colleagues commented

Project Management Basics – Chapter 8 – Predictive, Iterative, Incremental, Adaptive

"Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning." Winston Churchill "Plans are worthless. Planning is essential." Dwight D. Eisenhower I think this is one of the topics that the PMBOK® makes unnecessarily complicated. Here is a quote from page 19 of the PMBOK, 6th Edition: “Project life cycles can be predictive or adaptive. Within a project life cycle, there are generally one or more phases that are associated with the development of the product, service, or r

Project Management Basics – Chapter 6 – The Benefits Management Plan

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” Sun Tzu “Strategy is a commodity; execution is an art.” Peter Drucker Organizations should have a strategic planning process and use that to identify threats and opportunities. The threats and opportunities are used to develop a “to be” state, and a gap analysis should be conducted to identify the delta between that and the current state. Projects are then initiate

Project Management Basics – Chapter 4 – Product Metrics

“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts” Albert Einstein “What gets measured, gets managed.” Peter Drucker Last week I asked the question “Can I have a well-run project that delivers an unwanted product?” Sadly, the answer is “yes”. It happens all the time because organizations either don’t know project management basics or because management intentionally rejects good practices. Project should be initiated because someone has

Chaos isn’t a pit, it’s a ladder

“Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is the ladder, and the climb is all there is.” Petyr Baelish, Game of Thrones “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.” Sun Tzu How many of you have people in your lives that thrive on chaos? I know that I do! They seem to create disruption and turmoil everywhere they go, and they seem completely unaware of what they are doing. But they are aware. Why do they create chaos? As a project manager, I love predictability! In fact, predictability

The Importance of “framing” Part 5 – Getting it Wrong – The Challenger

“After the Challenger accident, NASA put in a lot of time to improve the safety of the space shuttle to fix the things that had gone wrong.” Sally Ride “In 1986, the space shuttle Challenger exploded and crashed down to Earth less than two minutes after takeoff. The cause of that crash, it turned out, was an inexpensive rubber O-ring in the booster rocket that had frozen on the launchpad the night before and failed catastrophically moments after takeoff.” David Autor I can

Friction changes things

“Friction changes everything” Scott Adams periscope broadcast “It's not the work which kills people, it's the worry. It's not the revolution that destroys machinery it's the friction.” Henry Ward Beecher The other day a friend of mine called to complain about how things were going in his organization. He works in a completely different organization and normally the conversation turns to tales of bureaucratic ineptness. On this particular call he told me that “leadership” iss

Management Lessons from Movies, Chapter 7: Resident Evil

“You’re all going to die down here!” Red Queen “I'm not sure I want to remember what went on down here.” Alice Resident Evil is a 2002 movie based on a wildly popular first shooter video game of the same name. The plot begins by informing us that the Umbrella Corporation is a huge multinational corporation that has the public image as a consumer goods manufacturer, but really makes most of its profits on weapons, including biological warfare. Espionage occurs in an undergroun

Project Communications Part 2 – Assessing Key Stakeholders Temperament

“Invariably, micromanaging results in four problems: deceit, disloyalty, conflict, and communication problems.” John Rosemond “Team members need to feel trusted and valued, and micromanaging communicates the opposite. Founders who are prone to manage every detail of their businesses will ultimately kill themselves as well as lose the support of team members. Learn to delegate key tasks and give credit.” Martin Zwilling In my last post I began a series on project communication

Project Communications Part 1 – Assessing Key Stakeholders as a Function of Project Length

“Don't use words too big for the subject. Don't say infinitely when you mean very; otherwise you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.” C.S. Lewis “If you can't convince them, confuse them.” Harry S Truman I thought it would be interesting to do a series on project communications. A disclaimer for anyone who is prepping for the PMP® exam. My thoughts in this area differ from PMI® in several areas, so make sure you know and understand the

Standing up the Portfolio Management Office (PfMO) Part 12 – Bringing it all Together

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” George Bernard Shaw “A mass of data is not the same as a report.” Simon Moore In my previous blogs I described what a portfolio was and the need to explain Portfolio Management to the leaders of your organization. I described the types of PfMO’s and we analyzed the usefulness of a Results Management Office, the PfMO’s role in resource allocation and we spent several posts discussing “measur

Standing up the Portfolio Management Office (PfMO) Part 11 – Measures (Part 4)

“Consistency is the hallmark of the unimaginative.” Oscar Wilde “It's not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It's what we do consistently.” Anthony Robbins With all due respect to the great Oscar Wilde, when it comes to Project Management consistency of process is everything. The project itself can be innovative, cutting edge and incredibly complex, but it is the responsibility of the Project Manager to ensure that processes are followed and that the work is go

Standing up the Portfolio Management Office (PfMO) Part 10 – Measures (Part 3)

“Lots of folks confuse bad management with destiny.” Kin Hubbard “Management by objective works - if you know the objectives. Ninety percent of the time you don't.” Peter F Drucker The management genius Peter Drucker certainly has this right! How many times do we begin an activity without knowing what we are actually doing, what it will cost or how long it will take? In my last post I discussed measures as they relate to the PfMO. I stated that developing measures should be o

Standing up the Portfolio Management Office (PfMO) Part 8 – Measures (Part 1)

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker “The first rule of management is delegation. Don't try and do everything yourself because you can't.” Anthea Turner Developing measures will most likely be one of the easiest activities in standing up the PfMO from a technical perspective, but one of the most difficult politically. And make no mistake, the politics will be extraordinarily challenging! The basis of the PfMO’s measures shou

Standing up the Portfolio Management Office (PfMO) Part 7 – Resource Allocation

“I have no money, no resources, no hopes. I am the happiest man alive.” Henry Miller “Managers today have to do more with less, and get better results from limited resources, more than ever before.” Brian Tracy How does your organization strategically allocate resources? I am sure you have a planning process where budgets are developed and resources are assigned to various sub organizations, and those organizations also have planning processes where resources are deployed at

Standing up the Portfolio Management Office (PfMO) Part 6 – Do you need a Results Management Office?

“A leader must have the courage to act against an expert's advice.” - James Callaghan “Never forget that only dead fish swim with the stream.” - Malcolm Muggeridge We are discussing the Results Management Office (RMO) and comparing that to the functions of a directive Portfolio Management Office (PfMO). This is part of a broader discussion in my series on how to stand up a PfMO. Because the topic of a RMO has come up in several questions, I thought it deserved a short discus

Standing up the Portfolio Management Office (PfMO) Part 5 – Do you need a Results Management Office?

“Management cares about only one thing. Paperwork. They will forgive almost anything else - cost overruns, gross incompetence, criminal indictments - as long as the paperwork's filled out properly. And in on time.” Connie Willis, Bellwether “Superficial knowledge is potentially more dangerous than ignorance. It gives a false sense of security encouraging an ignorant man to persevere in his efforts that can result in huge damage.” Eraldo Banovac Both quotes are simultaneously

How to Stand Up a Portfolio Management Office Part 2 – Making the Case Unsuccessfully

“Philosophers are people who know less and less about more and more, until they know nothing about everything. Scientists are people who know more and more about less and less, until they know everything about nothing.” Konrad Lorenz “Experts in any fields can be always hired. Yes, money can do it.” Sampath Kumar Several years ago I was an executive lead on a complex international effort that had a short deadline, high visibility and a significant funding shortfall. It co