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Cinda's Musings 
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The Dark Arts of Project Management 
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October 24, 2013, Sponsored by RMC Project Management, Inc.

From the Editor

Psst. Hey, you. Yeah, you. Come here. I've got a secret to tell you. You know those supernatural project managers you've read about? Maybe you even know someone who knows one of them. Didn't Bob in Accounting say that his sister's brother-in-law's cousin used to work with one of those miracle makers? You know the kind. Supposedly, they can walk on water, leap tall Gantt charts in a single bound, and they always, always make the customer happy. They have x-ray vision that sees straight through an issues list, and they can see the future too. Well, here's the secret…

They're not really magicians.

No, wait a minute, hear me out. You've heard the quote from Arthur C. Clarke? "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic," right? Well, this is the same thing. They may look like they're reading tea leaves, but they're actually doing some pretty mundane stuff behind all the amazing performances. Here, let me show you…

Cinda's Musings

Editor's Note: You wouldn't believe some of the conversations we have around the office. (Well, if you're reading this newsletter, you might.) Many of them never make it into our lengthier Project Practitioners blog. Cinda has finally been convinced to air and share some of her more casual thoughts, questions, ahas, encouragement, good books, funny stories, or even rants. Her new "Musings" blog is designed to be thought-provoking, encouraging, entertaining, inspiring, and collaborative. Check it out!

Multi-Tasking Is Evil! - That's how I feel today, and many days. We've become used to it as a fact of life, a normal expectation. So much to do, so many valid projects and tasks that must all make progress. I say we need to not be afraid to challenge that assumption…

Spreading the wealth of our experiences and lessons-learned - This past week, for the third year, I was one of a bunch of parents who spoke at College Awareness Day at the high school my daughter attended. The goal of the program is to get high school freshmen excited about the possibilities and thinking ahead…

Featured Article

Facebook, Twitter, and Teams
By Geof Lory

Geof Lory Unfortunately, I have been exposed mostly to the immature side of social media: bad pictures, long blogs from people who need to get a life, and all-too-public displays of a side of the human psyche that might be better left hidden. I can say that I felt pretty comfortable in my self-righteous condemnation of the whole movement. However, I am hopeful that like most social changes, this one will also eventually grow up and achieve its potential: the power of creating community.

By community I'm not referring to LinkedIn groups or to following, liking, or other methods of sharing among people of common interests. For me, that is not community; that's just social interaction. There's nothing wrong with social interaction (I'm changing my tune already), but I'm talking about creating true community based on trust and collaboration toward a common goal or purpose, like a team.

Social media could help us build great teams (if we can get past all the lolcatz) »

PM LightTM Fast Ramp

PM Light Fast Ramp Make It Work without Make-Work

Our PM LightTM Fast Ramp is designed to help you understand, adapt, and use "lightweight, just-enough" PM practices to manage and successfully complete even challenging projects. We focus on fast fundamentals, practical tools, and situational application. Two-hour virtual sessions allow you to maximize learning without living the office, and immediately turn around and apply it to your own projects! This course has been very popular with our corporate clients, and now we're making it available to the public. We can't wait!

This session is almost sold out, and won't be offered again until February. Reserve your spot today.

Premium How-To Course

Make My Project Disappear!
Presented by Cinda Voegtli

Premium Co The team is dragging into the office daily, with less and less enthusiasm every day. The project is untouchable, but the product may be unbuildable. Can you save this project? Should you even try? In this mini-course, Cinda Voegtli helps you spot the signs indicating whether a project should be scrapped or salvaged, and plan to handle it gracefully once the choice is made. 1 PDU Learn more »

The Dark Arts of Project Management

Look Into the Crystal with Me - Project Risk ChecklistMEMBER
The best way to see the future on your project is to consider every possible outcome. But drafting a risk list can be a daunting proposition. How do you even know where to start, when you've never done a project like this before? This checklist prompts your team to consider common risks across a wide variety of categories, to help you come up with a more complete list of potential roadblocks. From there, you're in a much better position to calculate probabilities and "predict" the project's future.

Hold Very, Very Still… - Resource Leveling GuidelinePREMIUM
Resource leveling is one of the trickiest scheduling tasks around. All too often, PMs take the easy way out and just cut their resources in halves or even quarters. That's a cool trick on stage, but half of a person usually isn't going to get a whole job done. That's why we level our schedules, insuring that no one person or department is overloaded, especially not with critical tasks. This guideline walks you through one of the true "dark arts" of project management -- a task the "magic" PMs generally excel at.

Did Anyone See the Straight Pins? - Daily Hot-List MeetingsSPECIAL
This Premium resource is free to registered Members until November 7, 2013
It may be tempting (and even emotionally satisfying) to keep voodoo dolls representing your main project team members, but you're not going to move things along by sticking pins in dolls at your desk. (And sticking pins in the employees at their desks may get you arrested.) Here's an idea we think you'll like better: Instill and reinforce a sense of urgency in your team with fast, productive daily meetings that keep everyone in sync. Cinda's guideline explains how. It's one of those subtle but effective tricks of good PMs that seems to work like magic.

This Won't Hurt a Bit - Coding Review GuidelinesPREMIUM
Getting a team member to accept constructive review and feedback is an almost mystical art form. Not many people can pull it off, and let's be honest -- lots of people don't even know how to give it. Maybe that explains why code reviews are so rare as a universal practice. Oh, sure, some of your coders probably get some of your other coders to have a look-see at something once in a while, but what percentage of your code gets a real review? Yeah, thought so. This is another one of those wunderkind PM secrets. It can be yours too. This guideline provides a look at the entire landscape of a good code review process, including advice on conducting a constructive review, checklists, and forms for capturing what's found.

Everyone Please Remove Your Tinfoil - How To Implement and Develop PM Procedures and SkillsPREMIUM
So you're sold, and you'd like to get project managers in your organization to implement one, or all, of these nifty PM "tricks" of the trade. Great! But… how? After all, direct brainwave transmission is still pretty unreliable, and they're all pretty suspicious of "process" stuff. This step-by-step guideline explains how you can introduce new PM procedures and develop related skills without causing a revolt or scaring people that you're just creating an army of zombie paperwork minions.

Bonus Trick: Making Agile Work Almost Anywhere - Scaling Software Agility: Best Practices for Large EnterprisesMEMBER
All well and good, you say, but we've got a different problem -- making small processes work in big organizations. Have no fear, we have your back. (You knew we would.) This richly detailed presentation explains how to use Agile practices "at scale" for larger enterprises and their complex programs, and why you'd want to.

Project Practitioners

Brian Irwin confronts the suffocating fear of running project retrospectives in his latest entry, along with a unique way to confront that discomfort with your team. Note: Post includes a 3-minute video that's on auto-play Ð you have been warned. (It's a good video, though.)

When did you last acknowledge someone? DeAnna Burghart chimes in this week with a review of Grateful Leadership by Judy Umlas. If you're looking for ways to motivate and acknowledge your team, or just to understand why you feel so unhappy in your current position, this book may leave you nodding your head and thinking, "Yes, that's it exactly."

Where's ProjectConnections?

Morley Selver is running his three-day "Fundamentals of Project Management" workshop in Houston on October 23-25 and in Calgary on November 20-22. He'll also be offering 2-day workshops in 2014. For information & enrollment please go to www.peice.com.

Carl Pritchard will be at PMI SeminarsWorld in New Orleans October 30-31, leading a two-day workshop on "How Project and Portfolio Managers Can Dramatically Improve Communications." Carl is also planning ahead for his April 2014 PDU cruise (PDF). Remember, to sell the boss, start in Omaha. (It's probably a good pitch for the Agile conference in Las Vegas and the PMI Congress in New Orleans, too.)

Not to be left out (as if they ever could be), Randy Englund and Alfonso Bucero will both be presenting papers for the PMI Global Congress in New Orleans on October 28. Randy will speak on "Influencing Others: Negotiating and Achieving Desired Results with Stakeholders," and Alfonso will coach attendees on "Developing Your Humor Skills for Project Success." Both papers are based on their work about The Complete Project Manager. Randy goes on the following week to present at PMI chapters in Washington, DC, and Las Vegas.

Cinda Voegtli will be at the PMI Congress in New Orleans October 27-29. Plus, of course, she's leading our PM LightTM Fast Ramp starting November 1. We did mention that, right?

Kent McDonald will be at Building Business Capability in Las Vegas November 14. His session will cover "Analysis in Agile: There's More to it than User Stories."

Corporate Subscriptions and Licensing

Want your team members to have their own access to templates and how-to resources for their project work? Need to share documents and deliverables beyond your project team? We make it easier with affordable corporate subscriptions and licensing. Detailed information regarding corporate options is available online. Give your whole team, or even the entire organization, cost-effective access to our comprehensive online library of resources. You already know how helpful it's been for you. Now it's time to share with everyone else. Find out more »

Not sure if corporate terms apply to you? Check out our licensing terms at the top of our Terms of Service page, in refreshingly ordinary, everyday English.


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