project management

If Your Boss Doesn’t Want You Preventing Problems, What Is Ethical To Do?

Lighthouse at night, (c) 2009 Martin Belam. Via flickr. (CC BY SA 2.0)

Last time I recommended that if you are in an environment where the management rewards “firefighter” project managers rather than PMs who prevent them from ever occurring, you need to let some fires start. (“You Have To Let the Project Break So You Can Prove Yourself By Fixing It”) I wasnt saying start them on your own but simply don’t take the steps that the firm doesn’t reward to prevent them.

You Have To Let the Project Break So You Can Prove Yourself By Fixing It

Men of Fort Story operate an azimuth instrument, to measure the angle of splash in sea-target practice. 1942. (reversed)

Why do project managers have to create crises on projects to prove that the risk management steps you took are paying off? It’s very common in project environments. The project manager who scrambles to get things done, who stays late to get things fixed, who has problem after problem that gets the attention of management but who then gets things accomplished, albeit a bit late seems to get t…

Why Your Boss Won’t Kill His Pet Project

Tranquility. Lonely Pier towards Tahaa Island

People fall in love with what they work on, or so research by Michael Norton, Daniel Mochon and the ubiquitous Dan Ariely reports. They discovered that when people have to work to create something — like an IKEA bookshelf — they see it through rose-colored glasses. It’s not that you do what you love but that labor leads to loving what you do. It becomes part of your self-esteem.

IT Models as Transitional Objects

Belgian royal conservatory's dome, interior with sun. (c) E. Forrest Christian

David Wastell, who was Senior Lecturer in information systems at University of Manchester, points out that information systems development (ISD) projects are learning endeavors, a movement from one state to another. This learning therefore creates organizational anxiety.

He says that models and other IT project deliverables can function as emotional transitional space, using the Tavistock us…

Replacing Management With Project Management Is Disastrous

Traffic signal at Tamil Nadu. (c) 2011 Thamizhpparithi Maari (CC BY SA 3.0)

CIO (Australia) Magazine had an interesting article last month by Sue Bushell on Information Technology (IT) organizations and their spectacular failure to the business [“Just Deserts”, 2005 May 5]. Bushell quoted Kathryn Cason of Requisite Organization International Institute on the problems of IT being caused by the organizational structure itself:

The fact that IT has primarily been…

Coordinating Work Is Harder Than The Tasks Themselves

Man drawing complex diagrams on whiteboard. (c) alphaspirit. Shutterstock.

This complexity level of the real business, the coordination of other people’s efforts, is the essence of management.

Project Management vs. Getting Something Done

New York-to-Paris automobile race: [Automobile stuck in snow]

When Project Management goes sour, it does so because it becomes more about completing the items on the list rather than accomplishing the end goal. Software engineers have made this such a regular lament that you have to believe it has entered into folklore as a song cycle.

The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning… and project planning, too

Candle in stump holder. (c) J. Samuel Burner (CCA-2.0)

Mintzberg makes some scathing remarks about the Strategic Planning industry. A lot of it seems to come down that the planners are (A) taking the power away from managers and (B) it doesn’t work in practice. I’m wondering if a similar argument can’t be made about software project management.

How to Break Through the “Impermeable Clay Layer” of Middle Managers

Marine Sgt. at New Orleans, La. By Howard R.Hollem. Library of Congress collection via Flickr.

In the last post on implementation, APFG commented that the middle layer in the company is where you have most of the problems. Since almost everyone says this, let’s take a look at why.

Let’s admit that it is not always true: the middle layer in a company isn’t always the source of the problems. There are often people at the top who are resistant to change and there are people at the bottom…

Bibliography of articles on project risk management and escalation of commitment

I wanted to note some interesting articles that I found useful in my work with IT over the past few years, including Risk Management and Escalation of Commitment.

These articles deal with Project Risk Management. Admittedly, I focus on RM for IT projects, so this is heavily skewed towards development and implementation projects that ar…

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