The Reluctant Agilist

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Recent Posts

Edward Kay - Making Agile work in Digital

Justin Handler - Implementing Agile in Digital At O3 World

Making Agile work in a Digital Agency w/ Darren Petersen

Agile 2017 - Agile Practice Guide w/ Johanna Rothman and Mike Griffiths

Making Agile work at Digital Agencies w/ Jack Skeels

Don Kim - I Think, Therefore I Plan

A few weeks ago Don Kim put up a blog post challenging the value of certifications. I reached out to Don in hopes of doing an interview about it and found out he’s also written a new book “I think Therefore I Plan”. In this interview we discuss the pros and cons of different certifications, taking an artisan approach to managing projects as well as Don’s new book.

You can find Don’s book here: http://amzn.to/2n7VEHu

You can find Don’s blog post about certifications here: http://bit.ly/2okDUZA

 

 

Show Notes:

00:07 Interview Start

00:30 What is a Human APEE

03:38 What is an Artisan approach to Project Management

05:15 Don’s Philosophy of Project Management

07:22 Trying to slow down and do less

08:21 Don explains his way of approaching project work and the reason for the book

10:56 How has the traditional vs. Agile debate changed over the past few years

12:53 Seeing the value in every project you work on  - regardless of how you got it

16:15 The downside of certifications

17:29 The positive aspects of certifications

18:03 There is more to project management training than just PMP certification

19:48 Making the case for the value certifications can provide and how it can be misunderstood

23:22 Does it make sense for people to want to have a way of gauging their professional achievement?

23:55 What Don expected from PMP certification and how he went deep with the Kerzner to get the most learning out of it (instead of just passing the test)

26:41 Is it the certification that is an issue, or the way people interpret it as an end point rather than a beginning

27:50 An overview of the approach Don’s book takes towards the art of Project Management

30:56 Where you can find Don’s book and how you can reach him with follow up questions

31:54 Podcast Ends

You can reach Don Kim on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/donkim/

Feedback/Comments: drunkenpm@gmail.com

Posted on: March 26, 2017 06:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Project Managers, Stress and PTSD

Click here to download the podcast

On the Digital PM Slack channel there was some discussion recently about Project Managers' having PTSD. In this podcast, Carson Pierce, Senior PM at DDB Edmonton and Registered Psychologist, Dr. Krista Pierce (who is also Caron's wife) and I got the chance to discuss the topic of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the stress PMs' experience at work and the relationship between the two.

Click here to download the podcast

Show Notes:

Krista and Carson Introductions 0:15

Introduction to the topic of Mental Health and Project Management 1:58

The Stress Project Managers Experience vs. actual PTSD 3:30

Living with failure but expecting success 5:30

Are we making too much of it 6:19

We are a dysfunctional bunch 8:00

The role experience plays in helping you cope 9:55

Lacking self-awareness 12:40

How to cope with being assertive 13:42

Bringing the bad news and being at ease15:58

Role playing the tough conversations18:26

Personal risk management 19:39

Recommendations for coping with the stress of being a PM 21:00

Setting boundaries for yourself (and sticking with them) 24:15

Carving out the self-care space  and finding balance 25:55

Mindfulness 28:42

Talking with your client (and team) about personal boundaries 29:49

Owning the burden you choose to carry 32:32

Letting go of the things you can do (Inbox 1,708) 33:03

Parting advice for coping with stress 36:45

Getting in touch with Carson and Krista 39:50

The Digital PM Summit 2016 40:28

 

Contact Info:
Getting in touch with Carson and Krista

Kristi can be reached at http://kristapiercepsychologist.com

Carson can be reached at carsonpierce.com or via email at carson@carsonpierce.com

If you'd like access to the Digital PM Slack Channel, just email Carson

The site for the 2015 Digital PM Summit  can be found here: http://bureauofdigital.com/summits/digital-pm/

 

Posted on: August 01, 2016 03:14 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Gender Bias in Project Management (Podcast)

Episode 4 of DrunkenPM Radio focuses on the impact of Gender Bias in the Project Management space. This episode consists of two interviews. The first is with a group of women who work in Digital Project Management (Larissa Scordato, Tera Caldwell Simon and Patrice Colancecco Embry). The second interview features Agile Coach Natalie Warnert. Warning - there are a few expletives in this one... 

 

Show Notes:

Interview 1 : Gender Bias in Digital Project Management - with Patrice Colancecco Embry, Tera Caldwell Simon and Larissa Scordato

00:05 Intro
01:18 Women in Digital Project management Interview start and guest introductions
04:42 Meet the Dexters
05:25 Being a PM comes with challenges, does being a female PM carry additional challenges
9:38 Reaching out to your team for validation and support
12:08 Getting support may not fix the actual problem
13:50 How much does experience factor in
14:35 Does having a commanding presence only come with experience and how does gender impact your ability to take the room
16:46 Larissa is not sorry for interrupting
17:41 Letting your team take the floor
18:28 Note Taking
20:20 Generational gender bias
22:50 An apology is nice, a public apology is better
23:00 Advice for young women who are new to Project Management
24:05 Having difficult conversations and owning your role
24:40 The power of being knowledgable about your topic
26:00 The importance of assigning a notetaker
26:45 Getting a mentor
27:19 Know that you are good at what you do
27:35 How gender bias has an impact on your use of the phrase “I don’t know.”
29:30 When you get caught now knowing
30:09 Pretending to be brave enough / Imposter Syndrome
32:00 Taking care when you act “As if…”
33:30 “You’re either emotional, or your’e a bitch…”
35:20 Putting on the dominant female role and protecting your team
38:00 The “Sorry” thing
44:20 Advice for Men
46:10 Contacting Tera, Larissa and Patrice
46:40 Closing

All the participants in the above interview are "on the Twitter"

Larissa Scordato: twitter.com/larissascordato
Patrice Colancecco Embry : twitter.com/patrice108
Tera Caldwell Simon: twitter.com/tcaldsimon

 

Interview 2 - Gender Bias in Agile - with Natalie Warnert

47:07 Intro to the Interview with Agile Coach Natalie Warnert
47:50 Natalie’s involvement with Women in Agile
48:42 Women in Agile events are not just for women
49:27 Is it more difficult for a young woman to break into Agile
50:40 Behavior at a conferences
51:33 An example of differing standards
52:27 Gender bias, age bias and the Agile Coach
53:30 Women attendees at conferences
54:06 Advice for women entering the Agile space
55:35 Carrying yourself with confidence and owning it
56:00 Being more mindful of gender bias
57:31 What is an Aspiring Feminist?
60:10 Is the bias as significant in Agile as it is in waterfall?
61:20 Proving yourself
62:30 Support among women in Agile and at Agile conferences
65:00 Fighting over the slice of pie|
65:39 Not tracking gender at conferences
66:00 Tracking down Natalie

Natalie can be reached via her website at nataliewarnert.com

Posted on: May 24, 2016 05:10 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Digital PM Summit 2013 - Day 1 Recap

Day 1 of the inaugural Digital PM Summit is in the books and it was impressive. The event is being held in Philadelphia and is billed as "The first conference for a community of people who manage all things digital". I've attended and spoken at a lot of IT and PM related conferences in the past and there is definitely something unique going on here. There are a lot of conferences that focus on design and a lot that focus on development, and what they offer covers a wide range of subject matter and are delivered in a variety of formats. There are also a lot of PM conferences that focus on project management from the more formalized approach to managing work. And there are the Agile conferences which cut a slice across those areas. However, those conferences don't really speak to the audience that is present here in Philly this week. For the folks who manage projects at digital agencies, there is a different need. The agencies tend to be small to medium sized businesses with projects that can last anywhere from a month to a year (on average). The teams tend to be smaller in nature and many of them are caught in a space where a "just do it" can work for awhile, but it brings a lot of the pains you'd expect (stress, marathon last minute efforts, and technical debt). They could go the route of moving towards a more formal approach (like PMI), but the process burden doesn't really fit with the needs of the client or the work culture. They could also address a lot of their challenges with Agile, but this is not an ideal fit for many of their clients who are often more traditional minded and aren't compelled to change. So, what they end up with are a need to be able to manage work using a variety of approaches based on the needs of each specific project and client. At a larger organization (upwards of 50), it might be possible to bear the overhead of staff who are expert in different areas and approaches, but most of these organizations have a more lean approach that requires them to be able to develop a broader range of options in how they manage work. Coupled with that is the fact that the medium they work in is in a constant state of flux and they are expected to always be on the edge of what is the new, best way of designing things that leverage the latest tech.

The PMs in this space have to have one eye on design (maybe one and a half) and the other eye on technical practices. And somewhere in the middle, they still need to develop PM skills. Going back 10-20 years, my experience in this space was that the project management side of things involved a lot of floundering around, establishing a new approach every time things went really side-ways. The agencies that garnered all the attention back in the boom were places like Razorfish that kept a keen eye on the design side of the medium. That was, and remains, a valid approach, but this field has grown and evolved and is hungry for a better way. Unfortunately, none of the primary options can holistically solve the challenges they face.

What I have found to be truly unique about this event is the programming and the attendees. The way yesterday began offers a great example of what I believe makes this event a valuable and interesting alternative. The day started with Jeffrey Zeldman giving a talk that was rooted in design and UX standards. It was followed by Jared Ponchot that also skewed towards design as well, but dealt a lot with the creative process and how to approach creative work. The third speaker was the Conference Chair, Brett Harned, who gave talk called "How to be a Better Project Manager". Each of these talks would be at home in a variety of separate conferences, but putting programming like that together for this sold out event is what set the tone. These are not PMs who want/need to spend an hour learning about a better way to do Earned Value or, Critical Chain or managing projects that deal with Sarbanes-Oxley, CMM, ISO or (insert process here). These are design centric PMs who are deeply involved in the creative process who, while they may not self-identify as servant leaders need an approach that enables and supports their creative and technical leaders. Agile has a place here, but these folks are not Agilists. Traditional practices have a place here, but these folks are not PMPs (mostly). They are also not (mostly) designers or developers. They are creative PMs in the digital space. While it would be great to be able to develop expertise in each individual area (design, development, traditional PM and Agile), the years of work that could take would definitely be at odds with the realities of serving their clients. 

One of the things I found most impressive yesterday morning was that for during the first 3 talks, there was the level of attentiveness and engagement of the people present at the conference. That is not to say that people who attend other conferences aren't engaged and attentive, but this was different. My experience has been that at a traditional PM event, career PMs look for a few new ideas and go to validate what they think they know. At an event like Øredev, technically savvy knowledge workers who are more on the advanced end of the spectrum go to be challenged with new ideas and ways of working that are often a few years ahead of the curve. At an Agile Conference or Scrum Gathering practitioners of Agile get together to work on how to get better at applying Agile. What I saw yesterday was a room full of people who were all there to find better ways to help the work that are fully respectful and supportive of the creative and technical process. They were not so much looking for ways to change how others work, but more for ways to change how they approach their own work. 

Five or ten years ago, I'm not sure if something like this would have sold out so quickly to an audience that includes attendees from all over the US and some from Europe as well. But this community of Digital PMs is a segment of the PM community is definitely hungry for the opportunity to share and hone their unique spin on the field of project management.

Kudos to Greg Hoy, Brett Harned, Allison Harshbarger and the folks at Happy Cog for having the vision to create this event and for having done such a great job with it. #bigdamnheroes

Posted on: October 15, 2013 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
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