Project Management

Pictofigo Promotion

I've been working with Pictofigo for a few months now.  I give them ideas for drawings I think others would find helpful.  In turn, I get access to some pretty cool (and original) stuff.  It's quid pro quo at its best. There are currently over 900 drawings available for free on the Standard Pictofigo site.  In addition to those, there are 13 Premium items.  These items range from a few free desktop wallpapers to Scrum posters and traditional project management posters.  What's the difference and why pay for stuff?  The standard site has drawings at 72 dpi resolution, perfect for a blog, website or presentation.  The Premium site has drawings at 300 dpi resolution, suitable for print or products.  Yes, I do offer links from my site to CafePress, if you want printed posters.  But, the actual high resolution drawings are available if you want to print out a few posters at a lower overall cost.  I got a notice today that Pictofigo is going to run a half off promotion on their premium content.  Because I like to encourage and support entrepreneurs, I wanted to write this quick post.  If you're in the market for some original drawings, look them up.  They are constantly iterating on the site so check back often.  If you have an idea for a drawing or poster, give them a shout.  If you want, you can send me the request and I'll forward it along.  To be clear, I am not Pictofigo.  I merely love what they do and want to see them succeed.

HT: Pictofigo

One of My Resolutions

When PM Bistro asked if I would write a blog post for them, I was happy to oblige.  You can read the original post here.  For a little background, I was asked to write about a particular work-related goal I have for 2011.  I actually have several (goal) resolutions for 2011.  I keep them on my Personal Kanban so I can be reminded of them daily.  Because they are so big, I consider them Epics.  I then break them down into "actionable" stories.  Anyway, here is the blog post.  I hope you enjoy.

When asked to think about a particular work-related goal I made for 2011, I knew it would be easy to list but harder to explain. It’s common to say “how” or “what” you’re going to do. It’s a whole other thing to say “why” you’re doing it.

The goal I have is: To articulate the values, principles, and methods of the agile community to the traditional project management community.

Why: I’ve been working in the Industry for some 15 years. I’ve seen and been involved in the best of projects and the worst of projects. Over time, I’ve seen more and more methods defined and practiced. I’ve seen people in our profession leverage these methods in the hopes their projects would be successful. It is my fundamental belief that all project managers and leaders should know all of the options available to increase the probability of project success.

How: About 5 years ago, I read the Agile Manifesto. Though it was written for software development, I discovered I could leverage some of the principles it defined in other areas. I then discovered the agile community. These progressive thinkers spoke less of maintaining the status quo and more of introducing new ways of doing things or refinement of the old. Though there are “agile” processes to follow and disciplines to uphold, many in the traditional project management community seem to be unaware of them.Some still think agile lacks both process or discipline. I hope to change that. I plan to tweet, blog, publish, speak, and mentor at every opportunity.

What: I had the pleasure of attending the PMI North American Congress in Washington DC this last year. Though I saw a very strong visual representation from the Agile Community of Practice, when I spoke to the random attendee, they had no idea what Agile was about. As I interact with both new and seasoned professionals of our Industry, I want them to know how agile can work in concert with their traditional methods. I want to see more projects succeed.

Like the image? Find it at Pictofigo

Domain specialty is good in project management

Shortage of specialized project managersIf you're a general project manager, and you're looking for work, you're probably not finding as much available work or noticing people are not willing to pay you as much as they used to.  With an increased amount of people choosing project management as their profession, you need to find a way to stand apart from them.  If you focus on a niche market or vertical or refine your skills in a particular knowledge area, you may find yourself in great demand and commanding a much higher rate.

Lindsay Scott asks some excellent questions.

  • Think about your own situation and circumstance; if you were to market your own specialism what would it be?
  • What areas of business and industry are looking for your particular specialism?
  • How can you work the current marketplace demands to your advantage?
  • To get more on this topic, read more from Arras People and Lindsay Scott.

    Listen to your Customer on her Birthday

    In celebration of my wife's birthday, I figured I would make her a homemade birthday cake.  I haven't done that since before we got married 5+ years ago.  This time, however, I actually asked her what she wanted.  That's right.  The first birthday cake that I made for her, I didn't even ask what she would like.  If you were the customer, wouldn't that kind of tick you off?  Thanks for the cake but... I don't like that kind. Getting input (and listening) to your customer goes a long way.

    Sure, I could have ordered a cake from the local (and now famous) Charm City Cakes but she didn't ask for that.  She wanted a chocolate cake with butter cream frosting.  So, last night, our 4-year-old son and I made her a chocolate cake with butter cream frosting.  We even cleaned up the mess after!  But, it wasn't completely uneventful.  All I can say is I'm glad there were well documented instructions.

    Me: Are we a pair of knuckleheads or what? My son:  I think we're a pair of clowns, Daddy.

    Here is my Project Management Spin

    1. Find out what your customer wants.
    2. Deliver what your customer wants, not what you want.
    3. You'll spend more money if you want a chef to bake and decorate your cake.
    4. You'll save more time if you want a chef to bake and decorate your cake.
    5. Even a pair of clowns can bake and decorate a cake (if instructions are good).
    6. You should expect lower quality from a pair of clowns.

    Product Delivery

    • Both cake and frosting passed unit testing. (Mmmmmm)
    • We did a little beta testing last night before the final build.
    • The final build was successful.
    • We delivered on time.
    • We delivered below budget.
    • The good news is, I'm pretty sure we'll pass user acceptance testing.

    Happy Birthday to my beautiful and wonderful wife!

    Green Eggs and Ham are…

    Green Eggs And HamLast night I read Green Eggs and Ham to my Son.  Because nothing is sacred in my world of blogging and project management, I drew a parallel between Sam and myself. If you don't know the story, Sam offers Green Eggs and Ham to an unnamed character.  This character adamantly states he does not like them.

    Sam looks for different opportunities and scenarios where the character may enjoy the green eggs and ham.  Every time, he's dismissed.  I will not eat them here or there.  I will not eat them anywhere!

    Still, Sam persists.

    You do not like them.  So you say.  Try them!  Try them!  And you may.  Try them and you may, I say.

    The character finally laments and tries the green eggs and ham.  Guess what?  He likes them.  He likes them a lot!  All of a sudden, he realized all of the scenarios Sam recommended really are perfect opportunities to enjoy green eggs and ham.

    So, what are green eggs and ham?  I think they are ideas and opportunities. Yes, the same ones your colleagues had that got shot down.  The same ones you had but were also dismissed.  It's Agile, Scrum, Kanban, or some other approach the customer has never tried before, therefore, they don't even want to try it.

    Next time someone has an idea or opportunity, try it!  Try it! And you may.  Deliver value in that way.

    Image courtesy of themouseforless

    If you liked this post, check out Compassion is the “Killer App” over at the Guerrilla Project Management website.

    I also recommend reading Chug, Chug, Vroom, and Expectancy Theory, a blog post by Todd Williams, who explains its applicability in The Little Engine That Could.