Week of the Elephant

I'm not sure of the origin, but as I was watching an adventure race years ago, I heard an awesome quote.  One of the contestants was asked how he was able to trek a 300 mile course, navigating so many obstacles through so much adversity.  His reply was "even an elephant can be eaten, if you do it a bite at a time".   Though I try not to whip that quote out every time one of my colleagues appears stuck on a project, I do like to bring it out for special occasions.  I think this may be one of them. 3 things happened this week, that rate the reference:  Work during the day, school, and work during the night.

By day, I'm an adviser to a Federal Project Management Office.  I'm not in a position to tell government employees what they should or should not do.  It's my job to advise and support them in any way I can.  This week, they asked me to attend an invoice meeting.  This wasn't a surprise.  Upon reviewing the vendor's invoice from last month, I wasn't satisfied the Billing of Materials (BOM).  There was a lot of stuff ordered and I am very particular about asset management.  I recommended a 7 figure short pay.  I don't think it's important to be specific about the amount.  My client decided to do a 6 figure short pay.  At the 2 hour meeting, we went line by line and the vendor offered corrective actions for items I recommended not be paid.  I accepted some of their proposed corrective actions but they still need to deliver on some promised if they want all of the invoice paid.  One month down, another to go.

Our son started Kindergarten this week. We weren't sure how he was going to take to it.  Until Monday of this week, we were convinced he was going to be crying at the bus stop, wanting to say home with Mommy.  We figured he'd come around in time.  Monday arrive and so did the bus.  He ran aboard almost before we could give a hug and a kiss goodbye.  He returned some 8 hours later and ran off the bus with a big smile on his face.  The adventures that boy had!  Here it is Friday night and he's fast asleep.  One week down, 16 years to go.

At night, I find myself reading the PMBOK® or project management blogs and writing PHP, CSS, and JavaScript. Back in March of 2009, I realized I wanted to create something to help project managers on a grand scale.  That's when I started doing mockups and wireframes for what was to become the HueCubed engine and PMPrep Flashcards.  One year later we launched version 1.0.  This week I worked on 2 new jQuery elements and tonight deployed v1.2.12.  The web application has been progressing nicely and both customers and affiliates are signing up.  Though I never thought we'd get to v1.0, I now do an iterative build and deployment at least once a week.

For those interested, I still have plans for a PMPrep Exam Simulator web app and Prince2 Flashcard web app.  And yes, we're going to be doing an iPhone application.

Graphic: South African Tours and Travel

Looking for Partnerships in Project Management

We are happy to announce, upon partnering with a London-based project management firm, that we launched the future site for Prince2 Flashcards.  Currently, there is just a sign up form, for those who wish to be informed when our product is about to launch.  Additionally, we launched the future site for our PMP Exam Simulator. Again, sign up if you want to be informed when our product is about to launch.  Both the Prince2 and the PMP Exam Simulator sites are project management exam preparation websites that should help us expand our reach in the market. So, what makes this blog post different from others?  Back in March, we launched our PMP Flashcards site.  This was the first site to use our HueCubed flashcard engine.  We've gone through several iterations of the engine and it just gets better and better.

What we're looking for now are some affiliate partners for the PMP Flashcard website.  Do you like what we have created? Want to make some extra money, along with us?

Sign up as a HueCubed affiliate!  As we launch each of the sites, we'll make affiliate links and buttons available.  All affiliate accounts will paid by HueCubed.

Disclaimer:  The Critical Path, HueCubed, and all of the mentioned product sites were designed and developed by me and my development team.

Thank you to everyone for your support,


Graphic from Flickr: Spring Stone

Giving Back to the Project Management Community

To give a little back on Friday, June 24, we're giving away ten (30-day) promotional PMP flashcard memberships. These will be fully functional memberships. You'll have access to all 2,000 PMP exam flashcards. You'll have access to real-time progress. The only drawback is it will only be a (30-day) promotional membership. But, if you're preparing for the ®PMP, this is your chance to save 10 bucks! (the cost of unlimited access at PMPrepFlashcards) We all know, with the cost of a PMI membership, the PMP exam, and other preparation materials, you're going to need it. Since Twitter has been so instrumental in our success thus far, we're limiting this promotion to Twitter account holders only.

3 Simple steps Get 1 of the 10 promotional memberships

  1. Have a Twitter Account
  2. Log into PMPrepFlashcards with your Twitter Account
  3. Send us an email identifying your Twitter Account Name and we'll flip the switch

Let us know if you want us to tell others that you got a FREE 30-day membership.

3 Simple steps Get a free unlimited account or money

  1. Create a PMPrepFlashcards account (Does not require Twitter login but it's easier)
  2. Get someone else to sign up for a Premium account ($10)
  3. Have them send us an email with your account name.

Think of it as a referral fee. If you get others to sign up, and you have a PayPal account, we'll start sending you $5 for each. Don't forget, they have to send us an email with your account name.

Graphic source:

Doing AB Testing

So, as you can see, we're getting a little better at graphic development.  I guess you get what you pay for.  So, if given the choice, which would you click?  We're finally at a point where the PMPrepFlashcards product is stable at version 1.1.1 and we're very happy to introduce it to new customers.  But, how do you do that?  How do you get people to a new website?  One way is to get potential customers to have ads.

Here are 2 ads that have appeared here on The Critical Path.  Through recommendation, I added my name to the ads.  Nobody knows who HueCubed or PMPrepFlashcards are.  I'm doing some A/B testing to see which is more clickable.  Is it the flashy ad or the plain ad?

Do me a favor, choose one!  By selecting number 1 or number 2, Google Analytics should tell me which is the most popular.  Who needs a poll when I can just review the Analytics?

If you want to let you feeling known publicly, I welcome comments below.

Know who you are and what you represent

Who am I?The other day I met Scott Simko, who I "knew" through This Week In Startups and Thomas Kiblin, CEO and Founder of Virtacore.  I met them as the founder of HueCubed, a web startup company offering a flashcard engine that we plan to scale like Weblogs, Inc. or Stackoverflow. (Create a niche product and then scale it in other vertical markets)  Our flagship product, PMPrep Flashcards, was released in March and I wanted to meet the people who are hosting our product(s). Up to this point, I have introduced myself as Derek Huether, Project Management Professional® and adviser.  But these people don't know me as that.  They were meeting me as Derek Huether, entrepreneur and founder of a web startup.  As a result, I stumbled when it was time to introduce myself.  Don't make this mistake!

If you wear multiple hats in your organization, you may need to know who you are to different stakeholders.  Is your specialty in Waterfall, Agile, or Kanban?  Take a moment and imagine you are being introduced to someone.  What are you going to say?  This is part personal branding and part stakeholder management.  What I needed was a solid 30 second elevator pitch.  What's the takeaway from this post? Know who you are and what you represent.  It may be different, based on the company you keep.