Tuesday, February 21, 2017

50 PM blogs




I was honored to find this blog among a list of the "50 Great PM Blogs for 2017"

Among these are a number of blogs that I follow, so I say the list is a good list of stuff to read.

But one not listed that I'll add for your list is Critical Uncertainties, authored by Matthew Squair. From down under in Australia, Squair writes eloquently about safety, risk, and failure management in projects and systems.



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Friday, February 17, 2017

More on technical debt


I'm not shy about recommending the other guy's stuff. Here's two postings worth the read on things you can do to deal with technical debt:

Phillipe Krutchen
Concrete things you can do about your technical debt

Scott Adler
11 Strategies for Dealing With Technical Debt



Read in the library at Square Peg Consulting about these books I've written
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Monday, February 13, 2017

PM as Fiduciary?


Consider this explanation of a fiduciary:
In a fiduciary relationship, one person, in a position of vulnerability, justifiably vests confidence, good faith, reliance, and trust in another whose aid, advice or protection is sought in some matter.

In such a relation good conscience requires the fiduciary to act at all times for the sole benefit and interest of the one who trust
So, what are we to make of that?
Certainly, the project manager is, or should be, is vested with confidence, good faith, reliance, and trust. So, that makes the PM a fiduciary watching out for the vulnerable.

And, in a project situation, who is vulnerable?
  • The client or customer?
  • The sponsor?
  • Other project staff 
And, the PM is to hold all their interests in hand and find the best solution that optimizes interests for each of them? Good luck with that!

At some point, some ox is going to get gored. And then who blames the fiduciary? And to what risk is the fiduciary held?

The answer is: it's different in every project, depending on whether the client or sponsor is most supreme. And, of course, how does the PM get measured?
  • Business satisfaction re the project scorecard
  • Client satisfaction re business relationship
I think this why they pay the PM the big bucks!




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Friday, February 10, 2017

Flocking to quality


Ever wonder how you know you're impressing people; doing a good job; producing a good project outcome?

Watch the flocks
"People know quality and flock to it"
David brooks

No flocks? Hmmm, that sucks. Assessments are needed; perhaps even root-cause analysis, etc
Here's the important point:
If people are not flocking, it's not their fault. If they don't get it, it's your job to fix it so they do. The heavy lift is yours!



Read in the library at Square Peg Consulting about these books I've written
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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Gambling leadership


Every [leader] is a gambler
Admiral John McCain 
 (the senator's father)
Admiral Halsey's air commander, WW II in the Pacific

And, so what do we make of that idea?*
  • To exert leadership, do we layer a propensity to gamble on top of the usual uncertainty that goes along with projects? Is it additive, or compounding?
  • As a gambler, should we expect certain rules to apply ... as in poker?
  • Should we put aside reserves since "the house always wins ... in the long run"**
  • What if we are naturally risk averse ... can we be an effective leader nonetheless?
  • Are managers just leaders who are not gamblers? (Ouch! if you're a manager)
To the first point, it's situational, but certainly risks compound, though you won't see that in a traditional risk impact-likelihood matrix which considers each risk independently. Compounding makes risk management in the real situation much more an "adult" manager's task
To the second point: No! The rules that govern probability examples in textbooks and games in the casino don't really apply to project management. Why? Because in projects, coins aren't fair (see: politics), they have more than two sides, and projects are not stationary over long periods (see: stuff happens!)
To the third point: "It's reserves, stupid!". Of course you need reserves. If you need an explanation, you're really not managing a project, you're hoping
To the fourth point: That's actually hard. Yes, some can adopt a "professional" risk profile different from their natural profile, but it's exhausting and hard to maintain over time
And, to the last point: Not exactly. See the fourth point.


*Admiral Halsey, as a WWII Pacific fleet commander, was perhaps the greatest naval gambler America had -- he even gambled with typhoons; and, he lost his share of bets
**The Las Vegas strip is financed by losers


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Friday, February 3, 2017

Shared values or power relationships?


John Traphagan has a different idea on organizational culture.
"A common set of shared values" has always been my working definition, though I admit that, like multiple "identities" at home and work, there is a culture at work and there is a culture at home, and they may not be the same, and thus the "sharing thing" may have -- likely has -- borders.

But Traphagan goes further. He asserts that trying to impose or enforce a sharing of values thus to make a common culture is possibly a divider rather than a unifier. (There's a rebel or a rogue in us all)

Have a read from an essay he wrote:
Fundamentally, a culture is not a set of (marginally) shared values; it’s a web of power relationships in which people are embedded and that they use to meet both personal and collective goals but that can also restrict their ability to achieve goals.

Those power relationships can function to pull people together, but they also can pull them apart because they are the product of differential access to resources. And differences in power influence how we respond to and think about values espoused as being shared by members of a group.

That's certainly different than the way I've thought about organizational culture. Doesn't sound like sharing, commonality, or other attributes are present, or certainly not dominant.

Of course, Traphagan works in an academic environment. It's been my experience that on the teaching side -- different from the university business -- such is somewhat feudal and not at all common.

Which is not to say that there's not value competition within projects and the business generally -- to be sure there are. And power webs certainly exist. But my experience is that there is an arching culture even over the largest organizations that sets tone, ethics, morality, etc for the organization.



Read in the library at Square Peg Consulting about these books I've written
Buy them at any online book retailer!
http://www.sqpegconsulting.com
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