The Lazy Project Manager

by
Peter Taylor is the author of two best-selling books on ‘Productive Laziness’ – ‘The Lazy Winner’ and ‘The Lazy Project Manager’. In the last 4 years he has focused on writing and lecturing with over 200 presentations around the world in over 25 countries and has been described as ‘perhaps the most entertaining and inspiring speaker in the project management world today’. His mission is to teach as many people as possible that it is achievable to ‘work smarter and not harder’ and to still gain success in the battle of the work/life balance. More information can be found at www.thelazyprojectmanager.com – and through his free podcasts in iTunes.

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The makings of a legend (possibly) ...

Technology Challenges

The Complex World

The Uncertain World

The Volatile World

The makings of a legend (possibly) ...

“It was an explosive meeting of minds at an international project management conference in Athens, Greece, in 2018, when two intellectual goliaths came together by chance only to realise that their paths were always destined to align in order to bring about a new brighter future for their chosen profession…”

“Bollocks” interrupted Susie.

“What?” responded Peter “I was just getting into my flow then, why did you stop me?”, he questioned.

“That was all bollocks wasn’t it” Susie sighed in an exasperated way, “intellectual giants, and alignment of destiny, explosive meetings and brighter future, all bollocks, totally and utterly”.

“So, what was it then?” asked Peter.

Susie quietly sighed and then explained, in a calm controlled tone, “We happened to be at the same conference, you lied on stage about winning an award, I called you out on it by subtly indicating I had actually won a real award, and you generally sulked for the rest of the morning and most of lunch if I remember correctly”.

“My memory is unclear on the actual details or timings” responded Peter, absolutely not sulking “but I know it was the point in time when ‘The Lazy Project Manager’ met ‘The Lesbian Project Manager’ (in your words) and the outcome of this meeting is this very book, so something happened for sure”.

“Now that isn’t bollocks” agreed Susie.

“Good, we are agreed” Peter smiled.

“Yes, we are” agreed Susie.

“The earth moved” Peter declared.

“No, it didn’t!” Susie rejected.

__________________________________________________________

 

And so was born a very special book, ‘Project Management: It’s all bollocks: The complete exposure of the world of, and the value of project management’ where two people who vaguely know each other and barely like each other will pick over the sadly inadequate and sometimes pathetic naked body of knowledge that is project management, and generally challenge just about everything, whilst openly laughing at some of the odder body parts.

It was all done in the best possible taste of course, with the intention of bringing a realistic understanding to current and future practitioners of change delivery about what it means to be a project manager today, next Tuesday and the future beyond even that.

‘Best possible taste’ is of course completely subjective but we are both sure the only reason you might be actually brave enough to pick up a copy of this book would be because a) it had a naughty word on the cover, b) it was bright pink, and c) you actually want to be both entertained and see your profession picked on mercilessly (just because you are, deep down, a rebel rousing project deviant even if your life exists in a world of ‘business casual’ and corporate compliance).

Even more than that we also live in the hope that you really want to learn what is actually important and what, to quote someone who shall remain absolutely nameless because she really doesn’t need any more encouragement on that front, is ‘bollocks’.

We are glad that we are all on the same page and that there is a beautiful alignment on the purpose of us writing this book and you, dear would-be reader, avidly consuming the contents of the same and making sure you tell each and every one of your work colleagues and friends about it. Hell, just slap it all over social media without a care in the world – we will live with the consequences (and hopefully royalties and speaking opportunities in exotic parts of the world) don’t you worry your little cotton socks about that at all.

On that bombshell of serendipitous happening the fun (and abuse) can begin!

__________________________________________________________

 

“Do we need a collective name?” asked Peter.

“A what?” exclaimed Susie.

“A collective name” Peter replied, “You know, a portmanteau if you like”.

“If you are going to use stupid long words in this book then I’m off, and most of the readers will probably join me” Susie declared in a grumpy tone.

“I just mean like ‘Brangelina’, when Brad and Angelina were together or when Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez got it on and became ‘Bennifer’ to the world at large” explained Peter.

“No” Susie instantly replied, “We don’t”.

Peter continued regardless “Like ‘Suspet’ or maybe ‘Petsu’, I quite like Petsu…”.

“No, let me repeat, we don’t” countered Susie in a much stronger tone “We are just writing a bloody book together and not entering some weird long-term relationship in any way, shape or form – clear?”.

“Clear” agreed Peter, “it is just that we will be in this book for quite a long time. I’m hoping for at least a second edition”.

“No” Susie glared, “we do not need a collective name now or ever, move on please”.

“OK” Peter sighed.

Susie and Peter (2019)

 

AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER NOW: https://www.routledge.com/Project-Management-Its-All-Bollocks-The-Complete-Exposure-of-the-World/Palmer-Trew-Taylor/p/book/9780367140908

 

 

SHIPPING FROM 20th DECEMBER 2019

Posted on: December 08, 2019 05:17 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Technology Challenges

Now that you know you are in the ‘VUCA’ world can technology help in any way?

The VUCA world challenges an organisation by:

  • Presenting boundaries for planning and policy management
  • Confounding the ability to make decisions in an accurate, relevant and timely manner
  • Confusing the recognition of issues that impact, as well as the consequences of such issues and any associated actions, along with their variables
  • Clouding the true interpretation of opportunities to grow

As we have already noted, Bill George, a senior fellow at Harvard Business School, puts the argument forward that VUCA demands a new leadership response which he calls VUCA 2.0: Vision, Understanding, Courage and Adaptability.

These are the basic foundations of a Business Agile world.

Equally there is an argument that to achieve this VUCA 2.0, or to Un-VUCA the VUCA world and enjoy the benefits of a world of Vision, Understanding, Courage and Adaptability, we can’t do it all on our own.

Technology is a major advantage in this world to grab that data, identify gaps and variabilities, to connect people all over the world to help make insightful suggestions and ultimately decisions, and bring about the power of the many.

These are also the basic foundations of a Business Agile world.

At which point we arrive back at the start by asking ‘What can my businesses do today to prepare for challenges of tomorrow and the future?’. The answer is ‘plenty’ but primarily ‘Get Business Agile’.

 

Webinar

Join myself and Neil Derbyshire from Clarizen on the morning of 5th December where we will address the 4 main challenges of VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) and how working in a business agile mind-set can bring the rewards of stability, certainty, simplicity and clarity to your day-to-day work.

Join this free webinar to learn first-hand how:

  1. VUCA can be used as a catalyst to bringing change in your day-to-day world
  2. How a business agile mind-set will help bring stability, certainty, simplicity and clarity to your role
  3. How technology can help you overcome challenges in a VUCA world
  4. What can businesses do today to prepare for challenges in the future

Register your interest today to avoid VUCA now and in the future!

https://mkt.clarizen.com/webinar-register-how-to-become-business-agile-in-a-VUCA-world.html

Let’s Un-VUCA the VUCA world!

 

Peter Taylor is a change expert who has advised many other organisations on Change and Project strategy.

He is also the author of the number 1 bestselling project management book ‘The Lazy Project Manager’.

More information can be found at www.thelazyprojectmanager.com

Posted on: November 30, 2019 08:13 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Complex World

Is your business life ‘Complex’?

Well don’t panic, you are certainly not alone, but you should accept that you are part the ‘VUCA’ world today!

C = Complexity: the multiplex of forces, the confounding of issues, no cause-and-effect chain and confusion that surrounds organization.

Meaning: Consisting of many different and connected parts - not easy to analyse or understand; complicated or intricate.

In a Forbes article ‘What Does VUCA Really Mean?’ Jeroen Kraaijenbrink writes: ‘Complexity refers to the number of factors that we need to take into account, their variety and the relationships between them. The more factors, the greater their variety and the more they are interconnected, the more complex an environment is. Under high complexity, it is impossible to fully analyze the environment and come to rational conclusions. The more complex the world is, the harder it is to analyze’.

The key here is whole messy interconnectedness of, it seems, everything to everything else.is not, necessarily, that any one point of connection is, in itself, complicated but that by connecting that point to another point, and both those points to each other, and then doing that over and over again many, many times that what you end up with a very scary looking piece of perceived ‘complexity’.

Harvard Business News noted, in an article called ‘Learning to Live with Complexity’ by Gökçe Surgut and Rita Gunther McGrath that there are two major problems of complexity (and you do need to know the difference between complicated and complex by the way). They said, ‘We’ve observed two problems commonly faced by managers of complex systems: unintended consequences and difficulty making sense of a situation’.

·       Unintended consequences: In a complex environment, even small decisions can have surprising effects.

·       Making sense of a situation: It is very difficult, if not impossible, for an individual decision maker to see an entire complex system. This is essentially a vantage point problem: It’s hard to observe and comprehend a highly diverse array of relationships from any one location.

So, the first concern is along the lines of ‘impact any one point and who knows what this might lead to’, which is a very worrying situation many would agree.

The second is that ‘nobody can actually see the big picture’ even though we have all been trained for years to ‘look at the big picture’, which is fine until now, because the picture itself cannot be seen in its entirety or ‘complexity’.

And so, the question has to be ‘How can we understand what can’t, apparently, been viewed?’.

Which leads us naturally to the appreciation that alone, we can’t. But in the company of the many, in the land of true collaboration, the impossible becomes more than possible thanks to our colleagues and compatriots at work.

 

Webinar

Join myself and Neil Derbyshire from Clarizen on the morning of 5th December where we will address the 4 main challenges of VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) and how working in a business agile mind-set can bring the rewards of stability, certainty, simplicity and clarity to your day-to-day work.

Join this free webinar to learn first-hand how:

1.    VUCA can be used as a catalyst to bringing change in your day-to-day world

2.    How a business agile mind-set will help bring stability, certainty, simplicity and clarity to your role

3.    How technology can help you overcome challenges in a VUCA world

4.    What can businesses do today to prepare for challenges in the future

Register your interest today to avoid VUCA now and in the future!

https://mkt.clarizen.com/webinar-register-how-to-become-business-agile-in-a-VUCA-world.html

Let’s Un-VUCA the VUCA world!

 

Peter Taylor is a change expert who has advised many other organisations on Change and Project strategy.

He is also the author of the number 1 bestselling project management book ‘The Lazy Project Manager’.

More information can be found at www.thelazyprojectmanager.com

Posted on: November 25, 2019 04:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

The Uncertain World

Is your business life ‘Uncertain’?

Well don’t panic, you are certainly not alone, but you should accept that you are part the ‘VUCA’ world today!

U = Uncertainty: the lack of predictability, the prospects for surprise, and the sense of awareness and understanding of issues and events.

Meaning: Not able to be relied on; not known or definite.

In a Forbes article ‘What Does VUCA Really Mean?’ Jeroen Kraaijenbrink writes: ‘Uncertainty refers to the extent to which we can confidently predict the future. Part of uncertainty is perceived and associated with people’s inability to understand what is going on. Uncertainty, though, is also a more objective characteristic of an environment. Truly uncertain environments are those that don’t allow any prediction, also not on a statistical basis. The more uncertain the world is, the harder it is to predict’.

The key here is predictability, or the lack of it more to the point. We are creatures of habit and whilst we might demand change and expect change, we sure don’t want to have to change ourselves and that is all part of the uncertainty model in the VUCA world. The (almost) complete disappearance of any normality or certainty in what we do on a week by week, month by month, basis.

The optimistic would argue that when nothing is sure, everything is possible, which is true, but even the most extremely positive people can tire of constant uncertainty and continuous change that is not under their control.

The right, and only sane, approach to this I instead of trying to fight against it is to assess how we can embrace it. Because in uncertainty there is opportunity and not accepting such uncertainty will limit such opportunity.

The difficulty we, as humans, have is that our brains are wired to react with fear when we’re faced with uncertainty. It is just in a DNA; it is the fight or flight overrides that have always been with us. As uncertainty in a situation increases, then the brain shifts control over to the limbic system where our inbuilt emotions, such as fear, are generated. Basically, change worries us and uncertain or unplanned change worries us even more.

And so, the question has to be ‘How can we prepare ourselves to accept uncertainty and to move this towards certainty?’.

Addressing our core and natural reaction against uncertainty is a good place to begin, and then to identifying the positives, the opportunities through the cloud of uncertainty can bring us to a more stable and certain place.

It is about feeling that you are, in actual fact, in some sort of ‘control’.

Webinar

Join myself and Neil Derbyshire from Clarizen on the morning of 5th December where we will address the 4 main challenges of VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) and how working in a business agile mind-set can bring the rewards of stability, certainty, simplicity and clarity to your day-to-day work.

Join this free webinar to learn first-hand how:

  1. VUCA can be used as a catalyst to bringing change in your day-to-day world
  2. How a business agile mind-set will help bring stability, certainty, simplicity and clarity to your role
  3. How technology can help you overcome challenges in a VUCA world
  4. What can businesses do today to prepare for challenges in the future

Register your interest today to avoid VUCA now and in the future!

https://mkt.clarizen.com/webinar-register-how-to-become-business-agile-in-a-VUCA-world.html

Let’s Un-VUCA the VUCA world!

 

Peter Taylor is a change expert who has advised many other organisations on Change and Project strategy.

He is also the author of the number 1 bestselling project management book ‘The Lazy Project Manager’.

More information can be found at www.thelazyprojectmanager.com

Posted on: November 21, 2019 06:22 AM | Permalink | Comments (7)

The Volatile World

Is your business life ‘Volatile’?

Well don’t panic, you are certainly not alone, but you should accept that you are part the ‘VUCA’ world today!

V = Volatility: the nature and dynamics of change, and the nature and speed of change forces and change catalysts.

Meaning: Liable to change rapidly and unpredictably, especially for the worse.

In a Forbes article ‘What Does VUCA Really Mean?’ Jeroen Kraaijenbrink writes: ‘Volatility refers to the speed of change in an industry, market or the world in general. It is associated with fluctuations in demand, turbulence and short time to markets and it is well-documented in the literature on industry dynamism. The more volatile the world is, the more and faster things change’.

The key here is speed of change and the variability of that change.

The days of nice 3, 4, 5-year plans are long, long gone, yes, there might be some long-term strategy associated to a vision but not at a detailed planning level. The days of starting a project or program and having a clear view of the business landscape that you have to lead that change across is also long gone. Who knows what might suddenly be needed by the organisation? Change in speed and direction driven by competitors, by the market, by the government, even by the people?

Despite the dictionary meaning of ‘Liable to change rapidly and unpredictably, especially for the worse’ such volatility should not be seen as a bad thing and that it automatically leads to a ‘worse’ situation. Instead that volatility, and associated change, is caused by a real need. It should also be considered that only not keeping pace with the volatile demand is what causes any business situation to worsen.

And so, the question has to be ‘How can we prepare ourselves to move at the speed required and to be flexible in our approach in order to meet volatility with stability?’.

Understanding the dynamics of change is a great start. What is it that makes change happen, what or who initiates this, and who or how can you overlay that change of the current business activities – in a rapid and realistic manner?

Having a change orientated culture and people ready to behave in a collaborative and business agile way is another.

Achieving true stability is probably beyond the possible in the modern business day but accepting a degree of volatility as the ‘norm’ is a very good way to view the world as relatively ‘stable.

Webinar

Join myself and Neil Derbyshire from Clarizen on the morning of 5th December where we will address the 4 main challenges of VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) and how working in a business agile mind-set can bring the rewards of stability, certainty, simplicity and clarity to your day-to-day work.

Join this free webinar to learn first-hand how:

1.    VUCA can be used as a catalyst to bringing change in your day-to-day world

2.    How a business agile mind-set will help bring stability, certainty, simplicity and clarity to your role

3.    How technology can help you overcome challenges in a VUCA world

4.    What can businesses do today to prepare for challenges in the future

Register your interest today to avoid VUCA now and in the future!

https://mkt.clarizen.com/webinar-register-how-to-become-business-agile-in-a-VUCA-world.html

Let’s Un-VUCA the VUCA world!

Peter Taylor is a change expert who has advised many other organisations on Change and Project strategy.

He is also the author of the number 1 bestselling project management book ‘The Lazy Project Manager’.

More information can be found at www.thelazyprojectmanager.com

Posted on: November 16, 2019 05:41 AM | Permalink | Comments (9)
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