Podcast with Cesar Abeid Posted

Cesar Abeid interviewed me, Project Management for You with Johanna Rothman. We talked about my tools for project management, whether you are managing a project for yourself or managing projects for others. We talked about how to use timeboxes in the large and small, project charters, influence, servant leadership, a whole ton of topics. I hope you listen. Also, check out Cesar’s kickstarter campaign, Project Management for...

Agile Bootcamp Talk Posted on Slideshare

I posted my slides for my Agile 2014 talk, Agile Projects, Program & Portfolio Management: No Air Quotes Required on Slideshare. It’s a bootcamp talk, so the majority of the talk is making sure that people understand the basics about projects. Walk before you run. That part. However, you can take projects and “scale” them to programs. I wish people wouldn’t use that terminology. Program management isn’t exactly scaling. Program management is when the strategic endeavor¬† of the program encompases each of the projects underneath. If you have questions about the presentation, let me know. Happy to answer...

Job Search Tip: Timebox Everything

In Manage Your Job Search, I suggest the job hunter timebox everything. But what does that look like? Here are some examples. Imagine you want to research companies to put on your target list. I say you need 25 companies on your target list in the networking chapter. You roll your eyes and you are overwhelmed. You think to yourself, “How do I even start?” Timeboxing this activity is a great way to start to manage your overwhelm. You start this at 10am. You decide to spend 30 minutes on this task. That’s your first timebox. You set your alarm clock (on your phone, on your computer, somewhere) for 30 minutes. You start to research companies. You get involved. You take notes. All of a sudden, rinngg! Your alarm clock goes off! Your 30-minute timebox is up. By definition, this task is over. You are done, for now. You breathe a sigh of relief. Let’s review what this timebox looks like: You started at 10am, you finished at 10:30am. You decided which ToDo to select, your task. Here, it was researching target companies. You decided how long your timebox would be. Here, it was 30 minutes. In Manage Your Job Search, I’m a big fan of work that takes you under two hours to complete. I recommend you timebox your work to less than two hours. If you don’t know how to start something, start with a timebox of 10 minutes, so you start and don’t make yourself nutso. See what a timebox looks like? You complete the work in a defined period of time. You define that period...

Job Search Trap: Too Much to Do

Today’s job search trap is something we can all identify with: biting off a big chunk of work and not getting it to done fast enough. I suspect we have all been there and done that! How do you avoid this particular trap? I like to assess each of my tasks on my board and ask, “Do any of these look as if they will be more than two hours long?” Two hours is not a lot of time. Two hours is long enough for me to make progress on something and get it to done. It’s also long enough that I’m likely to complete it. And that’s the key. You know what the problems are in a job search: you have interruptions, such as phone calls; your family needs you to drive them or do laundry or something else; you want a perfect resume. The list goes on and on. Instead, think of ways to make your tasks smaller. Here are some approaches: What’s the first thing you do? Is this a series of tasks, where you have glommed things together? For example, “Write resume” is really at least three tasks: Draft resume, ask several people to review it, send it out for review. You might even decide that “Draft resume” is “Timebox draft resume to 60 minutes.” How can you make your tasks independent? Are you researching a job fair? Or researching companies? Look at the job fair and decide if you want to go. That’s the first decision. If you do, that’s the trigger event for all the other research for the job fair. Same thing...

Fixing—or Not—Healthcare Dot Gov

Did you see Dwayne Phillips’ post today, Adding People to a Late Project? Dwayne says: Adding people to a late project only makes it later. We have known this for decades. Especially in the article he refers to, it seems as if there might be no end to the number of people added. Did anyone ask the people on the project if they needed more people? Maybe they needed to know which requirement is top on the list. Maybe they needed acceptance criteria for each feature. Maybe they needed each feature to stay put for more than a nanosecond. There is more than enough blame to go around for this particular project. Most of the blame has nothing to do with the developers and testers. Now, if they had asked me what I would do, here is my plan. What is the most important thing people need to do to sign up for health care? Get a cross-functional team to work on that, get it to done, and make sure it works. Use reviews, acceptance criteria, release criteria, whatever it takes to finish the work. Timebox that work to one week. Make sure you have performance tests. Roll it out. (Oh, do not let people work overtime. Make sure they can keep to a sustainable pace.) What’s the next most important thing? Do that in the second week. What’s the third most important thing? Do that in the third week. Now you have a shot of understanding the architectural needs. Go fix the underlying architecture. Make sure you have unit tests, integration tests, database tests, performance tests, and oh...