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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
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.”
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!