Drunken PM

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Drunken Boxing for Project Managers “The main feature of the drunkard boxing is to hide combative hits in drunkard-like, unsteady movements and actions so as to confuse the opponent. The secret of this style of boxing is maintaining a clear mind while giving a drunken appearance.” Yeah... just like that… but with network diagrams and burndown charts… and a wee bit less vodka.
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Letting Go of the Concrete Liferaft

An article I wrote for the Scrum Alliance about the challenges PMs face when trying to embrace Agile has been posted here on the Scrum Alliance Site. Here is an excerpt...

 

On my first day of work on a job where my very official job title was listed as "Project Manager", a stressed out, old, bearded guy took me and the other newly minted PM into a room to teach us how to do our job. The first thing he said was, "When I am done with you, everything you do will be a project. You'll be unable to look at the world any other way." Truer words were never spoken. Looking at the world as a series of smaller tasks, with dependencies, a baseline, and a critical path invaded every corner of my brain. I stopped brushing my teeth and started executing a series of steps, which had dental hygiene as a measure of success. A few years later, after months of study, I passed the PMP exam and began trying to impose my "enlightened" approach on the rest of the world with results that were occasionally successful, but mostly, not so much.

If you'd like to read the rest, you can find it here

Posted on: December 31, 2010 01:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Project Potion Special Interview with Thushara Wijewardena

Working With an Agile Offshore Team

Posted on: February 27, 2010 11:28 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Art of War - Chapter 1 - Part 4

---------- MACWORLD PM MEETUP ----------

Having defined that which is to be measured, Sun Tzu provides examples of things to be considered when examining the five measures. He recommends determining which leader has captured the cultural mindset:

"Which leader
Has the Way?"

And, which has the poitical and organizational advantage:

"Which side has
Heaven and Earth?"

Who has the strength and rigorous enough approach to discipline to follow the processes they have defined as their path to success.

"On which side
Is discipline
More effective?"

"Which army
Is the stronger?"

According to Sun Tzu, understanding these will help you "know" victory and defeat. This is an important point to spend some time on. The idea is not that if you study these things, you'll win; but that if you study these things, you will be able to foresee who will win... which leads to a principle introduced later that is (simplified) never take on a battle you have not already won.

Following this thought, if you stick with Sun Tzu, follow his rules, he promises to lead you to victory. If you follow his guidelines, the Art of War will get your back and keep you from harm. However, this is going to include knowing when to back down, when to back away and when to take action in a way that is decisively final. In the workplace, my experience has been that the last part if often more difficult for people to adopt than the backing down. (But there will be much more on this later.)

Sun Tzu also goes on to explain that if you don't adhere to these rules, whether you use the Art of War or not, you've already ensured you will fail. This is another critical point in the Art of War. What Sun Tzu has essentially done is stated that if you stick with him 100%, he'll guarantee success, anything less than that, and you are not using the Art of War and you will fail.

For those familiar with Scrum, this would be "The Art of War, but..." and it has about the same chances of success as "Scrum, but..." more on Scrum, but

This level of commitment is something that appears a number of times throughout the book. It can seem a bit severe when put into practice, but it is something that (IMHO) truly differentiates practitioners of the AOW from those who merely dabble in it. Because war is such nasty business, once you have committed to it, Sun Tzu demands total commitment. At times, this means backing down and at times it can mean pushing further than you might normally. Even taking the time to determine, for yourselves, where the line is in terms of what you are willing to do in order to help the project succeed, can be helpful. As Sun Tzu says, we must know our opposition and ourselves. Often, trick for us as PMs, is to make sure there is a difference between the two.

Quotes listed in this entry are taken from John Minford's Penguin Books Great Ideas translation "Sun Tzu The Art of War (Strike with Chaos)" published by Penguin books in 2006. The passage covered in this entry can be found on pages 2 and 3 of the book. If you'd like to purchase a copy, you can do so here.
Posted on: February 05, 2010 10:20 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
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