Transparency Allows Better Discovery

PMI Agile Community of PracticeMy friend and colleague Sameer Bendre and myself are currently serving as Co-Product Owners for the PMI Community of Practice (CoP) blog. Like any challenge I accept, I like to eat my own dog food.  What that means is if we're going to have a blog about Agile, we should take an agile approach to its creation.  Though I wouldn't say the following is exclusively Agile, I am listing some content from a Product Owner training deck. There will be three things I guarantee: Transparency, Inspection, Adaptation

Transparency - Honesty about progress & problems Inspection - Feedback will come from real customers & users Adaptation - Tweaking of blog based on feedback & goals

Because we're initiating a project, Sameer and I are going through some discovery.  First up is project orientation.   We're doing process analysis, we're understanding scope and objectives, and we're creating the initial product backlog.

But, are we ready to start blogging?   To do so, we need to ask ourselves Why, What, and How.

Why? What are the stakeholders’ goals?
What? What is the Outcome Vision?  What is the end result?
How? What is the Implementation strategy?

Yesterday I heard an awesome quote, as I sat in on a Product Owner class.  My colleague Arlen Bankston quoted Peter Skillman.

Enlightened trial-and-error succeeds over the planning of the lone genius

I've never been one to silence that inner voice.  If I have a problem, I share it and have faith in the collective minds of my readers to propose a solution.  I'm not saying I don't have vision.  I do.  What I'm talking about here is an impediment or a problem.  When I looked at the web address of the Agile CoP blog, I noticed that it was deep in the PMI website.  There was no link from the homepage.  The Agile CoP blog can only be viewed by (logged in) PMI members.  So, the question I have to the CoP members is, how do we get the word out?  How do we blog about things that others (outside of our immediate group) will actually read?

My short term solution is to repost here, on the Critical Path blog.  The next thing I would propose is someone convince PMI to allow more people to post on the Voices blog.  It's the only PMI blog that appears to be open to the world.  If PMI wants Agile readers, they need to open the blogs to more readers.

In closing, I'm not lambasting PMI.  I'm bringing attention to both an issue and an opportunity.  I want more visibility to what our CoP has to say.  I want to have our voices be heard.

HT: Pictofigo for the drawing

Evernote Site Memory

Evernote Site MemoryIf you're like me, you're getting older and your memory is starting to slip.  So, to combat that, I added a new feature to The Critical Path site.  It's call Evernote Site Memory. I've been a long time Evernote user.  They just created this new product called Site Memory, which allows you to clip an blog post or web page.  I hope you find it useful.

To start, get yourself a free Evernote account.  Click on the Elephant icon on my page that is labeled "clip".  It will grab the blog post or page and add it to your Evernote account.


How to Thank a Managed Camel

How to Manage a CamelMy post today is an easy one.  I was informed I am the winner of the very first Freedom of Speech February (FOSF) giveaway from How to Manage a Camel.  My comments last week on a blog post by Gary Holmes earned me a free copy of the Method123 Project Management Methodology (MPMM™) Professional from their partners at Method123. All I did was pass praise in my comments on a Holmes post regarding common courtesy and the little things candidates should do beyond merely sending in a CV.

Reading his post inspired me to write a post of my own, THE most important thing is the customer.  I sometimes get a little worked up over the need (not the want) for common courtesy or being polite.  What else is free to you but can carry so much value to others?

So, thank you to the team over at Arras People and How to Manage a Camel.  You provide wonderful insights on your blog and I enjoy reading it while having my first cup of coffee every morning.

My advise to people out there is to get involved in the conversation.  Your thoughts and opinions are important and they should be heard (or read). I didn't post a comment because I thought I could win a contest.  I did it because I thought Gary wrote a great piece and he should be recognized for it.

If there is one thing you do today, recognize someone for the work they do.  You never know how you may be rewarded for that selfless act.

My Big Fat Greek Project

Today my wife looked at me and said, "ya know, you're like that guy on My Big Fat Greek Wedding. We talk about something, anything, and you tell me how it relates to Project Management."  You know what?  She's right!  We talk about snow removal...Agile. We talk about getting through the honey-do list...Kanban.  I asked her what I should write this post about.  She said, My Big Fat Greek Wedding. The person she was referring to was Gus Portokalos. He  said, "Give me a word, any word, and I show you that the root of that word is Greek." Oh Gus, you wise man.  Recently, I decided I was going to write a lot more.  That leaves me with a bit of a challenge.  I don't want to produce garbage just for the sake of publishing something.  I see people like James Rich, a blogger I follow, push a volume of product but his quality hasn't gone down.  As a result, I find myself not only internalizing project management but also verbalizing it at every turn.

Yes, I absolutely believe if you give me a topic, any topic, and I will show you how that topic relates to project management.  So, if by chance you read my blog one day this next week and I'm ranting about how a particular restaurant could offer better service if they employed Agile Methods instead of following a Waterfall Process, you'll be forewarned.

Remember, there are two kinds of people - Project Managers, and everyone else who wish they were Project Managers.