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Things every young person needs to know about money - Chapter 4 – The Time Value of Money

“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it ... he who doesn't ... pays it.” Albert Einstein “If you understand compound interest, you basically understand the universe.” Robert Breault A dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow. Those simple words are a core principle of finance, and without it your possessions would be limited to what you could pay cash for at any given moment. What is your home worth? Did you have that

Project Management Basics – Chapter 16 – Agile – Product Roadmap

“Always plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.” Richard Cushing “A good plan is like a road map: it shows the final destination and usually the best way to get there.” H. Stanley Judd The product roadmap is a recurring source of confusion for students aspiring to the Project Management Institute Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification. I believe it is because we describe the roadmap as a document that describes the vision and strategy, helps align

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 13 – Change Control

"It's a bad plan that admits of no modification." Publilius Syrus "A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow." Proverb I've taught thousands of students who were preparing for a variety of different PMI® certifications, and one of the topics that is often a challenge for them is integrated change control. Let’s see if I can simplify that topic. Predictive projects have several core principles, but the cornerstone is establishing a baseline. We gather requiremen

Project Management Basics – Chapter 11 – Occam’s Razor

“Occam’s razor uses the least energy; it is the most economic solution. Nature always operates this way, and it does so because it is mathematical. If it were not mathematical, it could never do what it does and would degenerate into instability and chaos.” Thomas Stark, Extra Scientiam Nulla Salus: How Science Undermines Reason “If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself.” Albert Einstein What is Occam’s razor and why am I discussing it in th

Project Management Basics – Chapter 9 – Core principles of predictive projects

“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near one.” J.R.R. Tolkien “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Abraham Lincoln A predictive approach is used when you know how to deliver the stated business benefits of the project. This is “traditional” project management. A charter establishes high level scope, cost and schedule and the project manager (with the project team) develops a detail

Project Management Basics – Chapter 7 – The Business Analyst

“To think or not to think? That is the new question.” Nadina Boun, The Thinking Man, Paralysis by Analysis “The only people who see the whole picture are the ones who step outside the frame.” Salman Rushdie, The Ground Beneath Her Feet A project has a start, a finish, and a unique outcome. The project manager normally helps to write the Charter, and that document sanctions the project and allows the organization to expend resources. The project manager then develops and exec

Project Management Basics – Chapter 5 – Product Metrics Part 2

“That which cannot be measured cannot be proven.” Anthony W. Richardson, FULL-SCALE: How to Grow Any Startup Without a Plan or a Clue “What science has failed to notice is that the measurement has become more real than the thing being measured.” R.A. Delmonico In my last article I discussed the importance of differentiating between product and project metrics. I specifically made the point that only focusing on the success of the project could lead to a product or deliverabl

Project Management Basics – Chapter 3 – Project Metrics

“If the metrics you are looking at aren't useful in optimizing your strategy - stop looking at them.” Mark Twain “We are what we measure, and we measure what we see”. Bill Holmes Can I have a well-run project that delivers an unwanted product? There is a difference between project scope and product scope. When I use the term “product”, I am applying it broadly to include the deliverable as described in your scope statement, even if it isn’t a retail product. The “project” is

Project Management Basics – Chapter 1 - Overview

The best way to predict the future is to create it.” Peter Drucker, Management Consultant and Author “Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming.” – Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group Why do we start projects? The PMBOK® tells us that a project is a “temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service or result.” But why do we do them? The PMBOK® answers that question by stating that projects are done to drive change, enable b

The pandemic got you down? Look to Maslow!

“Overthinking is not a disease; it is due to the underuse of your creative power.” Amit Ray, Meditation: Insights and Inspirations “Your feelings might seem overwhelming but they are not your entirety: you are more and beyond what they can overwhelm.” Dr. Jacinta Mpalyenkana, PhD, MBA I have a confession to make. My stomach hurts all the time and I am beginning to have trouble sleeping. I should be thriving during this pandemic! I am resilient by nature and my employer has do

Project Communications Part 6 – Communication Methods - Interactive

“The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn't being said.” Peter F. Drucker “To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” Anthony Robbins When thinking about communication methods, you need to consider who you are communicating with and what you want to achieve. In our personal lives our primary communication method is the inter

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

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

Agile and Waterfall Living in Harmony

“Out of clutter, find simplicity.” Albert Einstein “Everything harmonizes with me, which is harmonious to thee, o Universe. Nothing for me is too early or too late, which is in due time for thee.” Marcus Aurelius I find it fascinating how people become attached to things. Old cars, t-shirts and boats are examples we are all familiar with. Several years ago, I was involved in a procurement focusing on a large data warehouse we were developing. I began the process by talki

This Has Been Done Before??

“Study the past if you would define the future.” Confucius “If you don't know history, then you don't know anything. You are a leaf that doesn't know it is part of a tree.” Michael Crichton I was in a meeting a few days back with some extraordinarily smart individuals who were trained in some highly technical areas, and we were discussing the best way to govern something. I made the comment that we didn’t really need to come up with anything new. While the fact pattern was