Oh the Places You'll Go!

My nephew just graduated from college. As I enjoyed a bottle of "Graduation Ale" home brew, at his graduation party, I noticed a quote from Dr. Seuss printed on the label.  This quote is applicable to so many of us.  Are you a new graduate or a long-standing member of an empowered team? Give it a read.

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...

Image Source: Pictofigo

Project Management Joke

beerSo the NCI Research Fellow and the PM Blogger are having beers.  The Fellow turns to the Blogger and begins to describe the structure and function of viral RNAs and their interactions with proteins with a focus on the identification of new targets and the development of novel anticancer/antiviral strategies.  The Fellow asks the Blogger if he had ever heard of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The  blogger says no, and then received a high level summary of what PCR was. After a few beers, the the Blogger turns to the Fellow and begins to describe different methods of project managers and leaders and how they may interact differently with a team, depending on the project.  The Blogger asks the Fellow if he had ever heard of Agile practices or approaches. The Fellow says no, and then received a high level summary of what Agile was.

So, that is where the joke ends.  This really was not a joke.  After a short discussion about fast zombies versus slow zombies, Dr. Legiewicz and I found ourselves talking shop.  We talked about recent conferences we spoke at and about how things have changed in our jobs.  We started our careers following one set of practices and have watched how techniques have developed, matured, and evolved.

Dr. Legiewicz stated, when PCR was developed in 1983, nobody saw its value.  But, it is now a common and an often indispensable technique used in medical and biological research labs for a variety of applications.  I told him that Agile techniques sound like they may take a very similar path.  Being Agile just celebrated 10 years of the Manifesto, I have seen a lot of acceptance in just the last few years.  Could it be that it to shall become common and an often indispensable technique used on projects for a variety of applications?

Or, did Michal and I just have too many beers?

Like the drawing?  You can get it free from Pictofigo

Measuring Success in NYC

When you have a project, you need to find out from the customer how they will judge the success of the project.  Don't go off giving the team high 5's and leave the customer scratching their head looking at the bill.  At the inception of the project and at the identification of each deliverable, get agreement from the customer as to success criteria. I just returned from a trip to New York.  Let's use that trip to illustrate my point.  My wife and I will represent the customers.  Both of us had a different measurement of success.

For my wife, the trip would be a success if we made it to the Gershwin on time to see Wicked.  For me, the trip would be a success if I got to have dinner at John's Pizzeria.

We identified contingency plans, so we could have different levels of success.  [1] Drive almost an hour and a half to Union Station in Washington DC.

Milestone 1 - Success

[2] Take the train to Penn Station in New York.

Milestone 2 - Success

[3] Get to the W Hotel in Time Square and check in.

Milestone 3 - Success

[4] Get to the Gershwin Theater

Milestone 4 - Success (Customer #1 is 100% satisfied)

The show was really good.  If you haven't seen it, I would recommend it.  It was odd seeing some people not dressed up.  Call me old fashioned but if you're going to the theater, it wouldn't hurt you to dress up.

[5] The next milestone was get to John's Pizzeria.  I just wanted a pie and a beer.

Milestone 5 - Success (Customer #2 is 100% satisfied)

After dinner, we returned to the hotel and then spent the evening in Time Square.  Last time we were in there, I proposed.  Not a coincidence, our hotel room was right over the spot where I popped the question. Since I take everything so seriously, we then went to a toy store, where I was promptly attacked by a Transformer.  Needless to say, that was not on my risk register.

Thank you to my wife for allowing me to check in via Foursquare and Gowalla.  I didn't do it a lot.

How was your weekend?