I’m about to embark on an uncontrolled rant. and it’s NOT about project management. It is rather about politics.

Like many around the world I’ve been watching the unfolding events in the Middle East, as thousands of people got the courage to march in the streets, demanding to get back that small piece of liberty we (well actually not all of us) – at least those of us living in that side of the world colloquially known as the WEST – seem to take for granted.

With the forces of liberation in Libya on a major retreat and the regimes in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia taking concrete measures to crush any further popular uprising, one cannot but wonder what value system do “our” leaders follow, one that prevents them from taking some concrete, measurable and decisive actions, all in line with that value system.

That none of the Europeans countries has embarked on any tangible measures is not surprising. The real surprise is the lack of leadership from the United States. A country whose very existence is a living symbol of freedom, human rights, freedom of speech, etc. cannot afford to be indecisive when matters of core values need to be addressed.

One has to wonder whether America has lost its way. This great nation which once led the free world on its battle with tyranny is now nothing but a shadow of its past greatness.  Unless Americans and American policy makers take corrective action and show that decisiveness and determination, once so prominent in American foreign policy, we in the countries still called the “West”, will have no further moral ground nor would we be able to demand high moral ground from those countries whose governments and regimes shamelessly subjugate their citizens in the most cunning and brutal way.

PLEASE, THINK ABOUT IT!

Like other project management related blogs, I take the time to post articles on my blog not just to feel important but also because I believe in the need to ‘enable’ information and provide my readers with the opportunity to extend their knowledge with yet another view-point.

I am a strong advocate of personal growth through the on-going acquisition of knowledge and information.

It is in the above context that I am happy to recommend The Project Management Telesummit which will take place 8-10 march, 2011. This event, coordinated by Samad Aidane from http://www.guerrillaprojectmanagement.com/, will provide opportunities for attendees to learn from fifteen of today’s dynamic and engaging thought leaders how to deliver successful projects and stay ahead despite today’s challenging and turbulent business climate.

Attendees can join the event from the comfort of their home, office, or anywhere in between. Even better, all Telesummit presentations will be recorded. If participants are unable to attend the live sessions as they happen, they can watch the recording when it is most convenient to them.

Here’s a glimpse at some of the Telesummit speakers and topics:

• Rick Morris: Stop Playing Games! A Project Manager’s Guide to Successfully Navigating Organizational Politics
• Tres Roeder: A Sixth Sense for Project Management
• Dr. Steven Flannes: Recognizing and Resolving Project Conflict
• Dr. Margery Mayer: Global Communications; what does it means in today’s business?
• Traci Duez: Change is Impossible Unless You Change Your Mind
• Todd Williams: Improving Project Inception
• Richard B. Sheridan: Agile and the Business Value of Joy
• Dana Brownlee: The Secrets to Running Project Status Meetings that WORK!!
• Jason Fair: Agile in large Enterprise System Integration projects
• Steve Martin: Consulting Secrets for Project Managers
• Geoff Crane: The Soft Skill Salsa: An Examination of Destructive Behaviors in Project Managers
• Patricia Garofano: Look before you Leap: Managing the Successful Vendor Transition Project
• Bernardo Tirado: How Does Understanding Human Behavior Increase Your Project Success Rate?
• Brian Munro: A methodology for rescuing troubled projects
• Peter Taylor: The art of productive laziness

This is an ideal opportunity to get a conference experience without all the cost and hassle of travel (no hotel, rental car, or wasted time). 

Space is limited so I encourage you to register as soon as possible.

Register online here:

http://pmtelesummit1.eventbrite.com.

Click on this link to get information on Registration, Speakers, and Agenda.

http://www.pmtelesummits.com

Related Post

My weekly contribution to Project Management relat... As mentioned in an earlier post I've taken upon myself to become an active player in Project Management related discussions, primarily by being involv...
WBS Coach helps deciphering the secrets of the WBS Deciphering the  complexities associated with a well constructed Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) could be well hidden from the uninitiated. After all, ...
My favourite posts of the week These are the posts (in no particular order) I found to be most intereting this week: 9 Things we learned about us in 2009 - LiveScience.Com has pub...
The Donny Ryder story If you live anywhere else in the world but Australia there is very little chance you will have heard of Donny Ryder. Comes to think of it, even in Au...

Related Post

My weekly contribution to Project Management relat... As mentioned in an earlier post I've taken upon myself to become an active player in Project Management related discussions, primarily by being involv...
WBS Coach helps deciphering the secrets of the WBS Deciphering the  complexities associated with a well constructed Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) could be well hidden from the uninitiated. After all, ...
My favourite posts of the week These are the posts (in no particular order) I found to be most intereting this week: 9 Things we learned about us in 2009 - LiveScience.Com has pub...
The Donny Ryder story If you live anywhere else in the world but Australia there is very little chance you will have heard of Donny Ryder. Comes to think of it, even in Au...
Wreaths of artificial poppies used as a symbol...

Image via Wikipedia

With all the hustle and bustle of modern life we shouldn’t forget that today is Remembrance Day, the day on which 92 years ago WWI ended.

What a better opportunity to put everything else in perspective and ask ourselves whether or not we’ve learned the necessary lessons required to advance the human race one notch higher.

Think about it!

Related Post

My weekly contribution to Project Management relat... As mentioned in an earlier post I've taken upon myself to become an active player in Project Management related discussions, primarily by being involv...
WBS Coach helps deciphering the secrets of the WBS Deciphering the  complexities associated with a well constructed Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) could be well hidden from the uninitiated. After all, ...
My favourite posts of the week These are the posts (in no particular order) I found to be most intereting this week: 9 Things we learned about us in 2009 - LiveScience.Com has pub...
The Donny Ryder story If you live anywhere else in the world but Australia there is very little chance you will have heard of Donny Ryder. Comes to think of it, even in Au...

imageIf you live anywhere else in the world but Australia there is very little chance you will have heard of Donny Ryder.

Comes to think of it, even in Australia, you might have some difficulties remembering where and how you have come across his name.

I never met Donny Ryder. I live in Melbourne, which is (for those of you living in the Northern Hemisphere) in the southern part of Australia. Donny used to live in the Alice Springs area, which is in the Northern Territory of Australia.

‘Used to live’ is the operative word here. Donny was killed in July 2009 by five drunk, white Australians, who took it upon themselves to abuse and terrorize the local Aboriginal community.

I was hoping to be able to introduce these fine gentelmen to the world by publishing their photos on display here but alas their photos are no where to be found. Their names, however, are:

  • Glen Swain – a trainee pest exterminator
  • Tim Hird – a cabinetmaker
  • Joshua Spears – an animal lover (?!)
  • Scott Doody – an air-conditioning mechanic
  • Anton Kloeden – a boilermaker

It is interesting to note that in delivering the sentences (of 12 months to six years), the Northern Territory Chief Justice Brian Martin in the Supreme Court in Alice Springs, made the following ludicrous statement, when he described Ryder’s death as at “the lower end of seriousness of the crime of manslaughter”.

I was hinting in an earlier post at the prevailing problem of intolerance, impatience and narrow mindedness that seem to occur, on a small scale in project spheres, but on a much larger scale in the general population.

We can’t change it but we damn sure can say we don’t like it.

And this is my small  and insignificant contribution to the fight against intolerance and racial injustice.

Cheers mate.

Epilogue: The ABC’s Four Corners dedicated a program, titled “Dog Act” to Rony Ryder’s senseless killing. Thanks to that program I can now publish the pictures of Rony’s killers:

Check out the following articles for additional information:

  • Alice Online » Unexplored corners – Last night’s Four Corners episode on the death of Donny Ryder and the subsequent trial and imprisonment of the five young Alice Springs men responsible for his death was riveting and moving television. In gathering interviews with “the …
  • The Tale of Denis Donohue… and Donny Ryder at slackbastard – The sale of the merchandise follows the July 25 death of Donny Ryder, an Aboriginal trainee ranger, aged 33. Mr Ryder was walking home along an Alice Springs back street when a group of five white youths aged 19-24 allegedly alighted …
  • Trouble at Alice – Donny Ryder, who was found with a fatal head wound near Todd River in Alice Springs. The arrests of five young white men over the death of Donny Ryder have battered Alice Springs’s reputation for racial tolerance, reports Helen Womack. The lives of five young white men have been ruined.

As mentioned in an earlier post I’ve taken upon myself to become an active player in Project Management related discussions, primarily by being involved in and commenting on other bloggers’ posts.

In line with the above, I’ve had a very productive week, having commented on 18 fellow posts, with the most intriguing ones being the following:

  1. Pat Weaver – The illusion of control: dancing with chance
  2. Christopher Butcher – Successful Software Projects Are Miraculous
  3. Glen B. Alleman –  Using Social Media to Help Manage Projects?
  4. Glen B. Alleman – Seven Deadly Sins of Project Scheduling
  5. Craig Brown – local optimization
  6. Samad Aidane – The “Chaos Report” Myth Busters
  7. Glen B. Alleman – PM 2.0 ? Agile, But What Is PM 2.0?
  8. Josh Milane – The Myth of Project Managementthis one is a real funny one!!!
  9. Barney Austen – Keeping an eye on the big three
  10. Geoff Crane – Garbage In, Garbage Out. Haven’t We Learned That Yet?
  11. Todd C. Williams – Process Stifles Creativity

Hope you enjoy reading the above articles and contribute to some of the hottest debates in PM blog-land.

Related Post

Letter to a Young Project Manager Dear L.J. We have barely met and had only the brief and passing opportunity to exchange a mere few words before a daunting and sombre thought enter...
The First Ever PM FlashBlog is Coming to a Blog Ne... Over the past couple of weeks I have been in touch with dozens of project management related bloggers to organize the first ever coordinated blogging ...
The Ten Commandments of Project Management Over the years I've seen many attempts to construct the "10 commandments of project management". I believe there is an element of cheekiness in this a...
The Secret to Clearing the PMP Certification Exam ... The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) The PMBOK, published by the PMI, is a compilation of the project management guidelines to be adopted...

I have recently read a blog contribution by Craig Brown from BetterProjects, titled “On Project Management Blogging“. Craig was discussing the recent explosion of Project Management related blogs and the value of continuing blogging in  this, seemingly, over crowded environment.

Excellent question.

Having been wandering about this very question myself, and further looking for a value proposition justifying the time and effort in maintaining a viable, constructive and (hopefully) interesting blog I’ve reached the following conclusion. The purpose of publishing a blog is to advance the cause of project management by increasing or contributing to the advancement of the knowledge area of this domain. This cause can only be achieved by communication and discussion. I therefore made the following personal blogging resolutions:

  1. I will become actively involved in discussions taking place in other blogs, elaborate on my opinions and respond in detail to other comments and questions.
  2. I will keep on using Twitter to promote other blog posts on the strict condition that any recommendation I make to other posts will be done after I have read the post and decided that this post is worth my RT recommendation.

Over the past week I contributed to and commented on a number of blog discussions:

The PM 2.0 debate

Geoff Crane of Papercut Edge published a post regarding a Twitterview he was involved with, alongside two other project managers. This post grabbed the attention of Glen Alleman who went on to question to logic behind conducting an interview using this medium. His conclusion was that “Serious adult communication seems to require a wider channel.” What really turned the heat up was the apparent connection between this interview, limited in scope as it was, and the PM 2.0 debate. From the discussion in Glen’s site, and a subsequent one carried on in Papercut’s site it became obvious that the issue wasn’t quite the twitterview event in itself as much as the conceptual implications that could arise from it.

My view is that the use of a limiting tool like Twitter to conduct an interview is an indication to a generational philosophy according to which the tool makes up the end (as opposed to being the means to an end). From the point of view of ‘let’s have some fun and explore another technology for conducting an interview’ perspective (as highlighted in a number of comments to Geoff’s post), it seems like a non-issue, as these comments were taken from the narrower perspective of the issue.

From my perspective (which I believe was also shared by Glen Alleman) there is a bigger fish to fry here, as it is sympathetic on a bigger issue, namely the propagation of the PM 2.0 idea, based on a desire to make use of social tools, irrespective of whether or not these tools are fit for purpose. This discussion is far from over and I expect more will be written about it in the months to come.

PMP Certification

Eric Brown discussed the value in having a PMP certification and more specifically the importance of having a PMP certification when looking for a Project Manager candidate. My two cents, when looking at PM candidates, my selection criteria (amongst other things) will be:

1. Relevant experience and PMP
2. Relevant experience and no PMP
3. Just having a PMP – mmm…not good enough.

The Chaos Report

Richard Patrick (The Hard-Nosed Project Manager), based on data collected from recent Standish Chaos reports, concluded that projects’ success rate has flat lined over the years. In my comment on his article I made the point that “I’ve been struggling to understand the Standish Chaos report for quite some time now. It seems to me that something fundamental is wrong with this report, even without taking the scientific approach used by Glen to explain why this report is lacking from the statistical analysis point of view. From my simplistic perspective things are much clearer. In any human endeavor there will always be a line over which further improvements will require infinite levels of resources to attain.

The Standish report (at least as far as I understand the psyche behind it) assumes that we as human being, given our limited resources, can achieve much higher success rates than currently obtained. Given your observation (which I tend to agree with) that the success rate has flat lined over the years, I conclude that we have reached that level beyond which far greater resources will be required in order to get that line any higher. Having said that, the problem with the Standish report is not that it is statistically or methodologically incorrect, the problem with it is that it assumes that we are lacking in our project delivery, whereas the truth is that in the main our delivery methods are valid given our limited capacity to do any better.”

In all honesty, Richard thought that my approach, as stated in the last sentence in the previous paragraph, was somewhat defeatist, as we can do better, as demonstrated in space exploration projects. My response (to this justified query) was that “in the main most projects are not run as space exploration projects, the reason being that in most traditional projects the cost of failure will not necessarily translate to massive explosions or costly loss of human lives. In that respect the point I was trying to make is that in most projects there is an acceptance of potential failure by the virtue of limiting budgets. So its not that we can’t do better (as I stated earlier), it is just that in the main we look at our opportunity costs and make a decision to take the risk of failing. Had our level of tolerance been adjusted to that applied to space exploration projects we would not have nearly as many ‘failed projects’ as we seem to experience now.”

Project Failures

Steve Romero from the CA Community wrote an interesting article about Common IT Project Management Mistakes. One point in his article that really caught my eyes is where he argues that when it comes to determining the project’s success factor then out of the Schedule, Cost and Performance factors, it is OK to determine the success based on two of these factors only. That’s a bold and brave statement (one I haven’t quite seen before). This requires a serious mind shift as for most project managers (and this is also reflected in the Standish Chaos Report) a success means meeting all three factors; Schedule, Cost and Performance. Clearly, this is unattainable as nothing is life is achievable 100%, and projects (despite all other claims) are just part of life! So thumbs up to Steve on his article.

More comments…next week.

I value your comments, if you have any thoughts on the above please join in and share with others!

Related Post

The Secret to Clearing the PMP Certification Exam ... The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) The PMBOK, published by the PMI, is a compilation of the project management guidelines to be adopted...
Collaboration is an attitude not a a tool One of my biggest issues with the 'Project Management 2.0' concept is that it is conceptualized around other '2.0' concepts like 'Web 2.0' and 'Enterp...
Project Management 2.0 – a fool with a tool is sti... Many years ago I worked with an Information Engineering guru who specialised, amongst other things, in the delivery of high quality data models. Those...
Earned Value Management (EVM) for Dummies – Part 1... You are planning some major renovations around the house and having discussed your plans with a local building consultant you realize that renovating ...

Deciphering the  complexities associated with a well constructed Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) could be well hidden from the uninitiated. After all, what can be so complex about listing a number of activities that need to be followed in order to achieve a particular objective. Well, herein lies the problem. Despite the popular belief a WBS is not a task list and its primary constituents are not mere activities.

The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) expands a lot of effort on emphasizing the importance of the WBS. The importance and criticality associated with creating the WBS can be deduced from the fact that it is an activity that is carried out in closed proximity (from a PMBOK process perspective) to the identification of the stakeholders’ needs and the development of a detailed description of the project and product (the project’s scope).

imageHaving been created, the WBS gets further utilized as part of subsequent activities associated with a number of Process Groups including Time Management, Cost Management, Quality Management, etc.

It is in the above context that I reviewed a product called “WBS Coach” (Click here to visit WBS Coach), produced by Josh Nankivel from pmstudent.com. It is aimed at providing guidance and help in establishing best practice approach for creating and maintaining WBS in a correct and effective way. Recognizing the fact the people are different in their learning preferences, the WBS Coach consists of a combination of learning tools including video, audio and text; all combined in a way that delivers the information in the most effective way.

The package I reviewed covered all aspects of creating a good WBS and provided the necessary details to explain the methodological background associated with it. With a current price tag of $39.99 this product is an excellent value for money, so if you are an aspiring project manager, preparing for the PMP Exam or in an urgent need for polishing up and fine-tuning your WBS creation skills then this product is for you.

These are the posts (in no particular order) I found to be most intereting this week:

  1. 9 Things we learned about us in 2009 – LiveScience.Com has published a list of 9 scientific discoveries made during 2009. One of the discoveries mentioned in the article is (surprise, surprise) the realization that multitasking, when executed by less disciplined individuals, can cause an extrapolated loss of time due to focus on irrelevant and unproductive information. Those who are mildly familiar with the Theory Of Constraints and the rationale behind this theory wouldn’t need this scientific evidence to substantiate their understanding, but it is, nevertheless, nice to see that science is finally catching up!
  2. Dilbert strip – re. Action Points – just in case you haven’t caught up yet on the importance of documenting and following up on decisions made during your meetings, this Dilbert Comic Strip will help you look at this issue from the right perspective.
  3. Deconstructing the PM 2.0 Description – Glen Alleman is relentless in his efforts to demystify, or more correctly clarify, myth from reality regarding on-going PM 2.0 claims. This article is a must for anyone wondering what the fass is all about. Glen’s bottom line is that if you are a seasoned PM who’s been doing things right, then there is nothing new for you in the PM 2.0 band wagon. And if you’re not doing it right now, PM 2.0 will not save you either.
  4. Not sure how to title this one – but it’s a sharp Papercut, do I need to say any more?
  5. Project Management Certifications Compared- A Preliminary Comparison – a beautifully researched article reviewing the various program/project management certifications and providing, for the first time as much as I can ascertain, a method for comparing them with each other.
  6. The Decade in Management Ideas – A few HBR editors have elected in this post their most influential management ideas of the millennium (so far).  My pick off their list would be the proliferation of Open Source.

I’ve read many other good posts but these ones, I believe, worth mentioning specifically.

Related Post

Letter to a Young Project Manager Dear L.J. We have barely met and had only the brief and passing opportunity to exchange a mere few words before a daunting and sombre thought enter...
The First Ever PM FlashBlog is Coming to a Blog Ne... Over the past couple of weeks I have been in touch with dozens of project management related bloggers to organize the first ever coordinated blogging ...
The Ten Commandments of Project Management Over the years I've seen many attempts to construct the "10 commandments of project management". I believe there is an element of cheekiness in this a...
The Secret to Clearing the PMP Certification Exam ... The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) The PMBOK, published by the PMI, is a compilation of the project management guidelines to be adopted...
%d bloggers like this: