Project Management Articles > Geof Lory

Geof Lory

Geof Lory Geof Lory, PMP, CSM is a Partner for GTD Consulting, an information technology consulting and training firm based in St. Paul, Minnesota. Through daily practice leading information technology projects, experiential training and on-site consulting and coaching, Geof helps organizations develop best practices for successful project delivery. His special emphasis is helping project managers improve team productivity by focusing on the people and processes rather than technology. Geof maintains project management certifications to deliver curriculum for the Microsoft Solutions Framework, Fissure Simulations for Project Management, multiple Agile curricula, and several supporting project tools. He has co-authored one book on MSF and numerous articles, papers and presentations on a wide range of project management topics. As a Practical Project Management coach, Geof develops customized workshops that integrate common sense project management principles and disciplines with an organization's specific culture, processes and tools. Through these workshops and his seasoned consulting background, Geof helps clients maximize project performance through appropriate integration of practical and adoptable best practices.

Geof has worked with numerous formal industry accepted and internally developed methodologies from highly structured to very informal. His strength is his ability to compare, contrast and integrate the inherent principles and project disciplines of project management to diverse environments. With 25 years of project management experience, Geof clearly reveals a passion for his craft in all settings and applies his experiences in a fashion that is productive, educational, and motivational. He is the father to two adult daughters who have provided the material for most of his articles.

Your Personal Board of Directors
Get a new perspective on yourself and your goals with a personal advisory team.
There are lots of reasons to have a personal board of directors, but the simplest reason is that none of us knows what we don't know or can see ourselves from a perspective other than our own. Read more ...
Archived articles -- Accessible to All

The Do Over
Conventional wisdom is that you don't get a second chance, but it can't hurt to ask.
We didn't realize it at the time, but we were exercising a rapid learning cycle. Practicing the same plays over and over again, improving each time until it became second nature. Read more ...

People Before Work
By starting with the work to be done, you may be diminishing the talent available to do it. Try reversing your approach.
To set the stage for commitment, I find it important to think first about the people who will do the work before you plan the work itself. Read more ...

The Bozo Bit Dilemma
The #1 rule of good communication is actually Rule #7 – Don't flip the Bozo Bit!
Whether you know it or not, you have a Bozo Bit in your brain for everyone you know or come to experience in some way. Read more ...

Say Yes to the Communication Mess
The key to better meetings is better communication.
There are lots of structural things we could do to improve the usefulness of meetings, like the knee-jerk reaction to make every meeting have an agenda. Unfortunately, agendas are not the answer. Read more ...

Creating Alignment
To create an aligned, autonomous team, start by focusing on the incremental finish lines and on how and when you communicate those to the team.
When I think of tactical alignment, I think about keeping the people and the work directionally correct to the goals, as opposed to staying "on plan." Read more ...

How Guided Team Autonomy Drives Successful Agile
High-performing teams know where they are headed and have the power to get there independently.
Most organizations will not admit that they are not supportive of self-organizing teams and in fact most pride themselves in strong teamwork, at least verbally. But when you ask the individuals on those teams how they feel about their level of autonomy, most will express quite the opposite. Read more ...

Planning Horizons
Your plan makes your project look predictable, but looks can be deceiving.
In order to give something your focus and your attention, you necessarily have to take your focus and your attention away from everything else. The ability to unplug from the noise and focus on the important is a defining attribute of successful teams, especially in project work. Read more ...

Which Shark Are You?
What's your default mode at work? Are you matching it to the situation?
I think that some of the energy from the Sharks was floating through the walls and into my psyche and attitude. I found myself picking apart their app as if they were asking me to invest in it, not judge it. Read more ...

Festina Lente
Sometimes the team really does need to work quickly, but mind the comma.
I have to admit, I have a fickle relationship with speed. At times I find it exciting and invigorating, other times it can feel dangerous and irresponsible. Read more ...

Practice Compassionate Listening
How often do you engage in these five practices for compassionate listening?
As time and technology have changed, the methods and means of interrupting have increased. Now it feels more like regular work is an intrusion to a steady stream of managed interruptions. Read more ...

Behavioral Traceability: Values to Principles to Practices
Team Operating Agreements are more than busywork or warm-and-fuzzy manifestos. Clearly articulating your team's values and principles can have profound effects.
The TOA, also referred to as the Rules of the Road or Code of Conduct, is unfortunately often heavier on the rules than the underlying values and principles. Why do we struggle so much with articulating fuzzy concepts values and principles, when it's so easy to document the rules? Read more ...

Minimizing Work, Maximizing Energy
Since energy cannot be created or destroyed, we have to make the most of what we have available.
As project managers, we are uniquely positioned to tap the potential energy of the team, transforming latent energy into usable energy and increasing the team's capacity for work. Read more ...

Teams and Thermodynamics
How wasted energy is destroying your teams, and what you can do to stop it.
All this forming and disbanding and reforming of teams got me thinking about the art and the science of creating high-performing teams, which naturally led me to thermodynamics. Read more ...

Percent Complete? Are You Kidding?
Is there a way to calculate percent complete that won't leave your status reports feeling like a lie?
This is supposed to provide some comfort to our stakeholders about how we are doing? It doesn't make me feel comfortable and I'm the project manager! Read more ...

Facebook, Twitter, and Teams
Initial thoughts on how social media could help us build great teams (if we can get past all the lolcatz).
What if we could make work as compelling as following Facebook, checking in, or tweeting? What would change if people were following or liking someone's assignment? Read more ...

Agile and Improv
There are no rules, and nine other rules your agile team can learn from improv classes.
Teams can get stuck in thought patterns and processes that keep them from achieving their potential or delivering any real business value. Improv can be a way to get unstuck. Read more ...

Assessing Readiness for Speed — Project Management
Speed requires paying attention to the human aspects of your project--both within the team, and outside it.
The primary focus of Project Management is to maximize the productivity of the team. It's really that simple. However, it's rarely that easy. Read more ...

Assessing Readiness for Speed — Execution Management
Help crowdsource a checklist to determine whether your team is ready for speed and agility.
Execution Management aims to get the ideas of Product Management into a usable product as quickly as possible with the highest level of quality at the lowest cost. The disciplines of execution are all about throughput: more, faster, better, lower cost. Read more ...

Assessing Readiness for Speed
Help crowdsource a checklist to determine whether your team is ready for speed and agility.
I do think that in the early stages of team development, adherence to some tried and often true behaviors, sometimes referred to as "best practices," can provide the necessary boundaries and guide posts by which a team can empirically gauge its readiness for speed. Read more ...

Decide and Conquer
Speeding up your decision making will allow the team to get more done faster, and you can do it without marginalizing anyone.
We need to focus our attention on what we can deliberately do to improve the way we work and behave together. The stakes are too high to just leave this to time and luck, both of which are in limited supply on every project. Read more ...

Goals Enable Speed
Geof explains the second key factor in preparing for speed, and four indicators that you are getting there.
Without a strong sense of where you are going it is certain you will stop and start, change directions or even go in circles. I've worked with many teams that lack this direction and all the "managerial encouragement" in the world does not prepare these teams for speed. Read more ...

Speed Kills
Before you push the "Turbo" button on your schedule, make sure your team is ready to go.
In the last ten to fifteen years, I don't know if I have worked for a company where schedule hasn't been the primary driver on the project. Read more ...

Pipe Dreams and Agile Teams
Is your team struggling with agility? Remember, the only way out is through.
"Dr. Jung," I begged, "I need your help. I don't know what to do. We say we are agile, but I'm not feeling it. Let me give you some examples." Read more ...

Decide to Decide
Options have value, but so does progress.
The ability to make solid decisions, both business and technical, is one of the most important skills teams and organizations can cultivate. Read more ...

Shopping for Requirements
What really matters: the menu, or the meal?
The minute documentation even feels like a CYA, you are dead. Read more ...

Did You CYA in That Email?
"I would have written less, if I had more time."
No one would ever deny the importance of effective communication, yet overall, most projects at some point suffer from lack of communications more than from insufficient technical skills. Read more ...

Transitions and Retrospectives
Geof shares the Lessons Learned from one of the biggest projects of his life.
Ceremonies bring structured witness to major life events. Without ceremony or celebration, there is no formal acknowledgment of what was, what is, and what might be. Read more ...

Learning from Building
An unusual class provides an exceptional model for collaborative learning on projects.
I'd like to share some things I learned from a specific young construction crew about project management, teambuilding, and leadership that I think you will enjoy. Read more ...

Leading with your Weakness
Is detailed budget planning making you crazy? Geof proposes a safe-and-sane alternative.
I actually like to plan. I just don't place that much stock in the plan itself. Read more ...

Focusing the ADHD Organization
Do you recognize these common productivity killers in your organization? If so, Stop, Look, and Listen.
In companies where ADHD behaviors are tolerated -- or even implicitly condoned -- that tolerance can create an organizational predisposition that results in an overall ADHD culture. This culture can have a negative impact on the focus, communication, and efficiencies of project teams. Read more ...

FAD and the ADHD Organization
Is your team suffering from Fractional Attention Disorder? Here's a powerful tool to fight it.
At any given moment their attention—and therefore the communication connection—is in flux, ramping up or ramping down, but not fully engaged. The more people in this mode, the less likely everyone is engaged on the same thing at the same time. Result: communication breakdown. Read more ...

Are You Ready for Speed?
Before speeding up your effort, make sure the team and their environment can sustain it.
Speed can be good. Speed gets things done, sometimes. Speed also has prerequisites. Ignore them and speed can kill. Read more ...

Checklist? Check!
If your project management procedures are gathering dust on a shelf, it might be time to downscale to a few simple checklists.
When it comes to simplifying a process, more often than not I have found that a simple checklist will fulfill 80% of the process governance requirements with a fraction of the effort and frustration. Read more ...

Lego My Schedule
Sometimes, a more experiential approach to communication can help the pieces fall into place.
E-mails, meeting minutes, schematics, diagrams, and even dialog can be enhanced by the richness of a physical experience. The look on our stakeholders' eyes as they glanced at the Gantt chart said they needed something else: Legos. Read more ...

Packaged for Consumption
Can art be boiled down to a recipe? Geof explains how and when to dole out the whys of project management.
The student is looking for the recipe, but you know they need to understand all the variables and nuances because there is no recipe. To you, it really isn't that difficult once you understand how all the pieces fit together. Read more ...

Get Comfortable With Uncertainty
Sure, fear will get your team moving. But will it move them in the right direction?
Fear may mobilize, but it mobilizes away from the perceived danger. Unfortunately, "away from" is usually whichever direction someone is facing when that primal instinct screams Run! Read more ...

Let's Get Real
Testing often gets short shrift. Geof encourages us to view testing as a project roadmap, not a roadblock.
The reasons for insufficient testing are more than just not having enough time in the schedule to test. There is something more primal at work here—FEAR. Read more ...

Where Do You Listen From?
Geof Lory approaches listening as a discipline, and encourages us to treat listening less as a competitive sport and more as a learning activity.
I would suggest that, in addition to learning the "how", it is important to consider the "where" when developing the discipline of listening. The position or place you emotionally come from when listening will enable and support the behaviors of good listening. Read more ...

A Few Closing Words
Changing the way we talk about our projects or our jobs can change the way we feel about them too.
This year, I�m going to watch what comes out of my mouth rather than what goes in it. I plan to recommit to using words that are open, internal, and reflect choice. Read more ...

Canceling Noise
We don't need fancy headphones to combat project noise. Three simple questions will do.
Here are just a few different types of noises and suggested approaches you may find valuable as your own personal project Bose headphones. Read more ...

The Team Refrigerator
What's under your team's magnets?
There isn't a single aspect of any project involving more than one person that wouldn�t be improved by better communication. So, as project managers, anything we can do to improve communication will directly enhance the performance of the team and its productivity.Read more ...

Who Am I To Judge?
It's easy to let snap judgments color our interactions, but a generous mindset can help us see the blues and reds in the trees.
How do you write an article on suspending judgment without sounding like you are judging anyone who doesn�t? Sounds like a catch-22, but I�ll give it a try if you will read along with a generous mindset. Read more ...

From Process to Discipline
Process isn't all or nothing; but when less is more (as it often is) your team had better be disciplined.
Somewhere along the curve, for every project, lies the point where process enables productivity. That�s the sweet spot a project manager needs to find and apply. Read more ...

Measure What Matters
We spend a lot of time measuring things like schedules, budgets, and requirements. But is that really what's most important to our projects?
"Lately, it is almost impossible for me to have a conversation with a company or potential client without talking about a Project Office of some sort. Everyone is looking for that organizational magic bullet that will assure projects are done well—whatever that means." Read more ...

Every Plan is Wrong
The plan is not reality. We're not that lucky.
I have yet to see a project follow a plan, so what is the value in creating one? Wouldn�t the time be better spent just doing the work? Read more ...

Speaking in Absolutes and Demands
Are you still speaking in absolutes? A simple (though not easy) change in vocabulary could open up a whole world of possibilities for you and your team.
"It is a common human trait to want to see things in black and white, without the uncomfortable gray space of uncertainty. Speaking in demands reinforces this absolute mindset, solidifying personal assumptions." Read more ...

Making Trust Personal
The abstract value of trust is easy to understand. But there's nothing abstract about the fear that's involved in truly trusting someone.
At this [abstract] level, trust is easy to understand. However, in this article I would like to speak more to the subjective or heart-oriented value of trust, specifically as to how it feels to trust. Read more ...

Extending Trust Wisely
When it comes to trust, we get in our own way far more often than we think we do.
The challenge is extending trust and exposing our underbelly in a wise and judicious way. To do that, we must understand how we stand in our own way of taking the calculated risks and managing them to the desired outcome. Read more ...

Be Credible To Build Trust
Why a common understanding of deliverables is critical to developing trust.
We may have good intentions, but others cannot read our minds. So, how do we go about building trust? Read more ...

Vulnerability-Based Trust
Trust isn't about knowing the other will get it right. It's about letting them do it anyway.
In general, I consider myself a trusting soul. When reasonable and prudent, I am pretty free in trusting others. But what constitutes reasonable and prudent? Read more ...

Agile Parenting: Focus on the Environment
Surprise! Evaluating your team's psyche really is part of your job (but probably not for the reasons you think).
Just as the creation of a safe environment is necessary for children to learn and grow, it is required for teams. As a project manager, I have a similar obligation to foster an environment that is wonderfully safe and supportive if I want the teams I work with to maximize their potential. Read more ...

Agile Parenting: Progress Through Practice
How does a team get to Carnegie Hall?
From an early age to pre-adulthood children spend a large portion of their time in school, but they spend almost all of their time learning. Their exposure to new ideas and the time spent developing new skills is greatest during these early years. Academic progress is measured with grades and scores, but how do we assess the progress made in other areas? Read more ...

Agile Parenting: Compassionate Courage
True leaders can't risk the easy route of complacency or social compliance.
The first two values of Agile Parenting set a solid foundation for execution. Leadership and parenting that emphasize goals, purpose, curiosity and adventure will properly position children and teams for success. However, without courage there can be no execution, and in the end, we are all looking for results. Read more ...

Agile Parenting: Curiosity and Adventure
Assumptions may turn out to be your most valuable tools, as long as you challenge them regularly.
Project management, like parenting, requires no specific industry knowledge. People from every walk of life do both. You can learn project management theory in a classroom, and most of these PM classes are like Lamaze classes for new parents: The real learning is in the doing. So, how can we stay in a state where we can optimize the learning while doing? Read more ...

Agile Parenting: Purpose over Process
The first principles of the Agile Parenting Manifesto, and an invitation to contribute.
In preparation for this series of articles on Agile Parenting and the creation of an Agile Parent's Manifesto, I thought about the many conversations I have had with seasoned project managers. Many have asked me, "What's the big deal with the eXtreme/Agile movement?" Read more ...

Agile Parenting
An invitation to contribute to the Agile Parenting Manifesto.
Over the past several years, there has been an increasing emphasis on a diversion from the traditional approaches to project management in favor of something less rigid and more adaptive. This continues while membership in PMI and PMP® certification are at an all time high. Read more ...

Goal-Driven Communication
Why am I telling you this? Improving communication by sharing your goals.
We often hear how a project manager's job is 80% communication and as such, communication is the most important skill of successful project managers. I couldn't agree more. Read more ...

Your Favorite Radio Station: WIIFM
Everyone has an inner voice that will motivate them better than you ever could. Are you tuned in?
In the last article I talked about providing motivation, along with creating commitment and instilling confidence. These three elements of leadership need to tap into the personal drivers if people are going to bring their best to the team. In this article I will explain further what I believe motivates team members and some techniques for providing that motivation. Read more ...

Confidence, Motivation and Commitment
High-performing teams need Confidence, Motivation and Commitment. Here's how effective leaders provide and guide them in order to better prepare their teams for success.
Three things leaders can do to better prepare the team, and thereby improve the conditions and likelihood of creating high performing teams, are: instilling confidence, providing motivation and creating commitment. An in depth explanation of how effective leaders do this will hopefully give you some techniques for increasing the fertility of the environment in which you lead. Read more ...

Readiness—A Framework for Leadership
When leaders understand readiness (ability and willingness) it is easier to apply a positive and productive approach that fits the situation.
Throughout a project life cycle, teams and people will vary considerably in their collective and individual states of readiness. This readiness will govern the approach or style of leadership and to a large degree the success of the leadership experience for both the leader and those being led. Read more ...

Leadership Styles through the Team Stages
PMs (and parents) must learn to shift leadership styles as teams (and children) mature. The catch? The right style for the situation may not be the one that comes naturally.
To keep the team on track and moving from one stage to the next, some level of leadership, either from within or outside the immediate team, is required. If this leadership is absent, the work group may become effective, but will never reach its potential as a team. Read more ...

Learning and Feedback
Learn how to give constructive, forward-thinking feedback by playing The Perfection Game, and find out what it takes to "get a 10."
In my last article I referenced a protocol to create a learning environment and provide structure to the review process. This protocol, called the PerfectionGame, ... is part of a larger set of team protocols presented in the book Software for your Head by Jim and Michele McCarthy. Read more ...

Lessons Learned
A conscious approach and safe environment can move any milestone review -- even the dreaded parent/teacher conference -- from a blame-game to a time of deliberate learning.
The dynamics of creating and presenting a status report to executive management reveals interesting insights into the organization's culture and people. As different as the presentations are, several things are common in almost all status reports. Read more ...

Practice versus Experience
Experience isn't the best teacher. Evaluated experience is.
We all have experiences that would qualify as practice. All we need to do is take the time to interject the evaluation that allows us to learn from them. Read more ...

Why Ask Why?
Why "why" should be a four-letter word.
It surprises me how many project team members perform tasks, follow processes, fill-out forms or templates and create reports that provide no apparent value. With most people having more on their plate that they can handle, why are we willing to spend energy on things when we don't understand the reason behind them? Read more ...

Common Sense Governance
Rules can seem logical, but logic is not always applicable when talking about governance.
It seems that this time of the year more Project Managers are on vacation leaving teams without anyone to nag them about schedules and budgets. Perhaps that is why I have recently been having a lot of conversations about governance on projects. Read more ...

Portfolio Parenthood
Geof Lory outlines his critical questions for getting data that's actually useful at the portfolio level, so you can concentrate on managing the portfolio (rather than the projects).
... don't ask for information you don't need, won't use, will be out of date by the time you get it, or is excessively burdensome to obtain. More data is not better, it just creates data-clutter. Most project data is truly useful only at the project level. That's why it is called project data. Read more ...

Learning By Layering
Instructor-led training is rarely the end of the learning process. Patient practice and feedback on applied skills allows you to have your cake and eat it, too.
Some of the work I do with companies is straightforward training; learning in the academic environment where I, as the instructor, am expected to know everything, or at least a whole lot more than they do, and then crack open their brains and pour my infinite knowledge in for hours or even days. There may be some skills that can be learned this way, but I believe they are few and far between. Read more ...

Make It Personal
Are you a PM consultant in name only? Columnist Geof Lory shares his thoughts on the necessity of personal engagement in your projects, and why "going native" isn't necessarily a bad thing.
No question, there is no substitute for practice and experience in anything we attempt to excel at. This is true for both project management and parenthood. I believe that is why most parents struggle with their first child but then seem to have fewer problems with subsequent children. I know that I have. Every experience the first child goes through is not only the first time for him, but also the first time for the parents. Sometimes we guess right, sometimes it is a learning opportunity, and sometimes we aren't even aware of what is going on. If that doesn't sound like project management, I don't know what does. Read more ...

Improv Your Team
A game of charades illustrates the need for dynamic, multi-dimensional communication in our teams (starring Colonel Mustard, in the library, with a stick of celery).
No, this is not a typo, I'm referring to comedy improvisation, á la Second City or Saturday Night Live. Last week I watched my oldest daughter, Jenna, perform at a team comedy improv competition. Jenna is really into the whole theatre and drama scene (like we don't get enough drama with two teenage girls in the house, one of them has to go cultivating it, deliberately) and she is quite good at it. Read more ...

A New Year's Resolution to Review
Creating resolutions that look ahead rather than behind.
This year I have the honor of writing the first article of the New Year and I feel a certain obligation to write about making resolutions for project management practices in 2004. After all, there are many things we could be resolving to do, or do better, as project managers. Read more ...

A Thanksgiving WBS
A parable of preparation for holiday togetherness: starring a reluctant manager, a skeptical project team, and the elimination of FUD.
I love the flavors of Thanksgiving, yet I don't deliberately recreate them any other time of the year. Therein lies what I like most—the anticipation. The gradual imbuing of the house with the smell of sweet potatoes, turkey and homemade pumpkin pie evokes a Pavlovian response that is worth the 364-day wait. Read more ...

Time and Estimates are Relative
It only seems like missed project deadlines are taking years off your life. Lory's Corollary to Einstein's Theory of Relativity: You're only as late as you feel.
For a few years during my childhood, my father taught math and science at a vocational tech school. He had a great love for the hard sciences, and particularly enjoyed physics, something we share even today. Read more ...

Accountability
Winning the Laundry Lotto puts a shared vision to the test: nothing teaches accountability like living the consequences of your actions.
Many of the organizations I work with are developing cross-functional teams that require a level of group and personal accountability that may not have been a part of their culture under a more traditional control based team structure. Developing accountability is difficult if we have been culturally trained and conditioned conversely. Read more ...

Ownership of Outcomes
Ownership means putting your name on the by-line. What do you deliver on projects that you "own"?
Recently I have been working with a group of project managers and software developers trying to settle on a lean yet effective team and process model. They want a framework that guides the activities of the different roles on the team throughout the project without becoming too prescriptive. Read more ...

Family Sync-Meetings
Sometimes the very best project management tools at your disposal are (nearly) free.
One of the key elements of highly effective teams is clearly defined roles and responsibilities. In many books, articles and talks covering the topic of teams, this is a recurring theme. Read more ...

Project Management Pubescence
PM/client relationships go through awkward phases, too. The rewards of working through the pain are worth it.
In all of my articles I make references to the many analogies that can be drawn between project management and parenthood. Usually the relationship focuses around a specific topic or situation where lessons learned or behaviors practiced in one area can be applied to the other. With so many similarities in specific situations, it is impossible not to notice the relationship between the general maturing of the parent/child relationship with that of the project management/client maturity in the IT industry. Read more ...

Premortems
The best decisions employ the collective knowledge of the team -- even those pesky customers or users -- in the decision-making process.
I'm sure that most project teams are familiar with the concept of a postmortem. It is a deliberate review at a critical stage of a project, a milestone or the completion of the project. Postmortems are effective in raising the consciousness of a team and are essential to the creation of a learning organization. Read more ...

Stuff the Ego with Purpose
On project management, ego, and the stifling of creativity; humbly featuring Geof's Corollary to the Peter Principle.
I have a problem. I mean it, I have a problem and it is me, or at least a part of me, according to Sigmund Freud. I continually struggle to act with egoless intent. It affects the quality of leadership I can provide and interferes with effectively building great teams. Read more ...

Reframe for Clarity
"Let me understand this..." Inserting a small dose of reality in your project communications.
... When we see things exclusively from our own perspective, looking at it from someone else's perspective can be surprisingly humorous, disarmingly ridiculous or perhaps even insensitive. Regardless, someone else's perspective is not typically the same as your own. Read more ...

Practice Patience for Productivity
With patience, project managers and team leaders can often do their best work by encouraging learning rather than by coaxing or coaching desired behaviors.
I recently read a quote from General Norman Schwarzkopf: "Great leaders never tell people how to do their jobs. Great leaders tell the people what needs to be done and establish a framework within which it must be done. Then they let the people on the front lines, who know best, figure out how to get it done." Read more ...

Are We Having Fun Yet?
Are you serious about learning from project mistakes and improving the next effort? Here's how to prove it.
This article is about closure. Bringing things full circle. Finally being done. Punishing the innocent and promoting the guilty. However it works at your organization, success or failure, something can be celebrated and learned from every project. Read more ...

Go with the Flow
Managing project teams successfully means maintaining Consciousness of your choices, and the Courage to exercise them.
Recently I was having lunch with a friend and fellow project manager and we talked about why people, ourselves included, don't do the things we know need to be done on projects to make them successful, and why we do things we know should not be done. Many a retrospective (I prefer this term to "postmortem") has revealed opportunities for improvement that we vow to do on the next project but somehow forget during the next project. Read more ...

Just Do It!
No one knows more about managing deliverables and risk than a seasoned PM - a 2nd grade teacher, for instance.
When my daughters were in second and third grade, parents were invited to a class Poetry & Punch event a couple times a year. At Poetry & Punch, each student read their literary creation in front of about 40-50 classmates and parents. After the presentations, cookies and punch were served. In a micro-business way, I guess you could call it a product launch of sorts. Read more ...

A Man with a Plan
How much planning is enough? That depends on why you're creating the plan or schedule in the first place.
OK, I confess. All my 35mm slides are sorted, cataloged and cross-referenced by person, date and category. Organizing is just something I like to do. ... I don't do it because I'm obsessive, I do it because I hate wasting time hunting for photographs. Read more ...

Are We There Yet?
Does your team even know where "there" is, or is it just anywhere but here?
I've recently seen a commercial for a certain SUV where the children in families of different cultures continually pester their parent with the age-old question, "Are we there yet?" I had to chuckle as I let that thought rattle around in my head. Read more ...

CPM - Conscious Parenting Mindset
Balancing structure and freedom is a delicate art for a parent, or a project coach.
Many who have read my articles or listened to me speak snicker at the thought that I would actually employ project management practices in my role as a parent. They may laugh just because they find what I say humorous, but they don't usually believe that I really do think and behave that way. Read more ...

Who's In Charge Here?
Exposing the two great myths of project management: you're never in control, and you can't force an infant to eat peas.
Welcome to parenting, a state where in spite of your size, power and knowledge, you are helpless to get the simplest things done if your child is an unwilling participant. Read more ...

Project Parenthood
Need real-world training in risk management and mitigation? Try raising two teen-aged daughters.
Some twenty years ago, I was minding my own business, happily writing code and designing systems for a consulting company when the project manager on a critical project for a high profile customer resigned. I drew the short straw and got the job as his replacement. Read more ...




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