project+management category archives

I see a lot of projects within business support organizations that look like "implement this tool." And then the organization is surprised when the project takes much longer than expected and the tool doesn't get used to the extent expected.
Clarke Ching's "Rolling Rocks Downhill" is a great business novel, primarily about TOC and Agile. I like how it combines a number of perspectives and shows how real value can be obtained in surprisingly short time horizons. That said, it helps when there is outside pressure.
A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time. - Annie Dillard
A quick article with opinions from six people on project killers: 6 Experts Share the #1 Thing That Derails a Project | Smartsheet. Of course, there are six different things listed as "the #1 thing." And there are a few more listed in the comments.
A quick anecdote from Realization's newsletter on "There is no such thing as good multitasking" and some thoughts around the idea.
In 7 Wastes That Impact Business Growth Jon Terry, one of the founders of LeanKit, presents a nice way of thinking through the Lean / Toyota Production System idea of waste and how one my think about it in the context of business growth in any type of organization.
The latest HBR Ideacast interview with Erin Reid talks about Why We Pretend to be Workaholics (based on a related HBR article). I enjoyed the discussion, but what really got to me is this idea of "pretending to be busy."
I came across the video from the University of Texas 2014 Commencement address by Admiral William H McRaven in which he describes his training and draws ten life lessons. The story is engaging, and while the lessons out of context sound odd, they make sense in the way he puts it together.
"The CIO's Guide to Breakthrough Project Portfolio Performance: Applying the Best of Critical Chain, Agile, and Lean" by Michael Hannan, Wolfram Muller, and Hilbert Robinson is a good, short description of how to take ideas from several disciplines and apply them to an overall portfolio management approach.
Rather than describe the solution - a description that is always going to be lacking - understand what problem the customer is trying to solve. What limitation or barrier do they need to overcome? And why do they want to do that?
Clarke Ching has posted a chapter of his ever-in-beta book on Agile / TOC in software developmetnt. His comments ring true and remind me of things that Dave Snowden talks about frequently.
Rob Newbold of ProChain held a session, diving into one of the big themes of his book, The Project Manifesto. It was good listening to him talk about it, as I picked up some things I hadn't appreciated from reading the book alone.
Interesting video from Mary Poppendieck on The Tyranny of "The Plan". It's full of good anecdotes and a couple of great examples of how planning could really work, instead of they way it usually (doesn't) work today.
Rob Newbold's latest book takes the reader further down into how to run projects (with CCPM). This book will be something to talk about with my colleagues and friends who are running these kinds of projects.
When planning a project, are you more interested in the dates every activity happens, or are you more interested in how all the activities are connected together?
I re-read Goldratt's book on the TOC approach to project management, Critical Chain. Some interesting food for thought here, even for a guy who does quite a bit of CCPM work.
I picked up Steve Tendon and Wolfram Muller's Tame the Flow: Hyper-Productive Knowledge-Work Management shortly after the TOCICO conference in June, and every time I pick it up I glean a different take on the embedded ideas. I enjoyed the thinking here, particularly since I am seeing more and more project management that is all about managing the flow of knowledge work.
"Were you reading a business book written as a graphic novel?" Yep. It was _Commitment_ by Olav Maassen, Chris Matts, and Chris Geary. It is an interesting take on project management with a focus on real options, a topic that I've been obliquely aware of.
After the TOC ICO conference, I picked up Yuji Kishira's Wa - Transformation Management by Harmony, based on a conversation with him and other attendees. It is a fun take on Theory of Constraints, change management and other topics.
Is Agile at all compatible with project management? Should we even try to make them talk to each other? Wolfram Müller talked through his views on Agile, and on how some of the TOC applications could be thought of as working together with the Agile mechanisms.
Avraham Mordoch presented his thoughts on an organizational maturity model for project management environments, and specifically related to Critical Chain Project Management. It was very interesting to listen to in relation to my recent experiences with project management work.
How about this for advocating Theory of Constraints? The opening keynote from Mazda at the TOC ICO conference ended with the statement, "Made with TOC." They even had a couple cars in the parking lot to show off.
Ihab Sarieddine has a nice overview of CCPM in his blog on project management, "Improving Scheduling Using Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM)."
I've had the Stop Starting, Start Finishing brochure / comic from Arne Rock and his team sitting in my briefcase ever since the Lean Kanban conference last spring. It's a fun read about how Justin (Time) does a Kanban implementation.
Working with clients on project management, as I do, I see a familiar theme come up over and over again. People have a difficult time separating the creation of an idea from starting to work on that idea.
Project management and knowledge management are about getting things done. I attended and spoke at the Center for Business Information (CBI) 6th Annual Forum on Knowledge Management this week in Philadelphia. Rather than talk about knowledge management directly, I opted to speak about managing projects - whether they are KM or other types.
Philip Marris, who I met at this year's TOC ICO conference in Chicago has published a nice case study of Critical Chain, focused on problems common to the pharmaceutical industry.
It seems obvious to say some of these things, but not everyone knows how to use email better. Here are some basic hints.
Portia Tung has a choose-your-own adventure version of a business novel, this time about going into a client as an Agile Coach (consultant) with five days to turn things around.
The Boston Globe had an article on "How to make time expand" this weekend. Interesting research suggests that giving away time creates the perception of having more time.
I attended an interesting talk by Dan Vacanti last week at the monthly Agile New England meeting. I enjoyed the talk overall, and I particularly enjoyed his emphasis on the Cumulative Flow Diagram as a key diagnostic tool - it's predictive.
The second half of the day today was devoted to breakout sessions on each of the TOC application areas. The stated goal was on having people familiar with these applications discuss opportunities for improvement. I decided to sit in on the projects (CCPM) discussion.
Thought without action is a dream. Action without thought is a disaster.
Tuesday opened with a fun, story-filled keynote from Gregory Howell of the Lean Construction Institute. He had some interesting things to say about commitment and collaboration in the context of projects.
Tony Schwartz has a great piece on "The Magic of Doing One Thing at a Time" that has inspired a lot of comments and additional conversation. Multitasking - and eliminating it - is an important topic to doing well as an individual as well as in organizations that want to get stuff done.
There is a new research survey out there on Critical Chain Project Management implementations. If you have ever participated in or run a CCPM implementation, please go take the survey.
How often do initiatives get bogged down with the introduction of shiny, new tools instead of the meat of the change?
I breezed through Jim Benson's short and informative Why Plans Fail: Cognitive Bias, Decision Making, and Your Business. As you can see from the subtitle, it isn't about blaming someone else for why plans fail. It's about helping us see how our own thinking gets us in this mess.
A local paper has a great quote that is takes four times longer to complete two tasks effectively than to do each one individually.
Great find by Michael Krigsman on project management lessons in an academic paper. Nice reminder that idleness is only a problem when it is attached to value in the organization: idle projects / products.
Don't use milestones to manage your projects. Use buffers at key integration points and a project buffer at the end. This is a much more reasonable way to manage your project and the natural variability of execution.
Yesterday doesn't mean much when I want to know the status of the project and whether there are any bumps on the path to getting to done.
Pay attention to what you are doing. Think beforehand, and then take action. And of course, check that your actions are taking you in the right direction and correct course as needed.
Recent research suggests that (IT) projects are ticking time bombs, but does it have to be this way? CCPM can help.
Interesting commentary from Bruce Benson on protecting imperfect data and plans. He suggests and I agree that we should give as much as possible to people, so they can take action.
Overview of Larry Leach's "Lead Project Leadership" in which he blends CCPM with other improvement perspectives and straight up Project Management skills.
Andreas Scherer's business novel, Be Fast or Be Gone, was a very fast read for me. I thought it did a great job of describing how Critical Chain Project Management might be introduced to an organization without going into the gory detail of what-is-CCPM.
Geoffrey Moore talks about reaching your escape velocity in a Stanford Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders podcast. I took away another version of the dangers of multitasking - at the team level.
Fun with workload limits from Scott Adams and Dilbert.
I've been added to a list of "best project management blogs." Nice.

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