This week in Project Management, Leadership and Productivity (28 Jan-2 Feb 2013)

Analogy of creation of the movie "Life of Pie" with program management

At PMI blog - Voices on Project Management, Roger Chao has drawn analogical similarities between making of a movie 'Life of Pie' and the program management discipline. The article states how uncertainty in project deliverables is similar to that of making a movie; the specific instance covers what (resources) film-maker was required to make an effective movie but he had to work with production house, studio, artists, etc. And despite of previously failed attempt of making this movie (delivering project), right approach (artistic and pragmatic) and effective project stakeholder management by Ang Lee has made the movie successful.

Author has specifically focused on

  • How Ang Lee (program manager) effectively communicated project requirements - resources, deliverables, etc. and got buy-ins from stakeholders/sponsors
  • Once sponsors had allocated fund for the movie, how the movie-maker worked creatively within the budget to ensure that excellent movie is made (quality delivery)
  • How Ang Lee was able to create synergies between the production house (studio) and local government body for mutual benefits

Project Success and Joint Accountability- Fostering Joint Accountability.

Roger Kastner, has written this excellent article for PM Hut. He has articulated how joint accountability can be beneficial for project delivery, how to achieve and foster joint-accountability. He states it clearly, joint accountability is bi-directional affair and it is not about pointing figures at another when somebody makes mistakes (or performs something) rather it is about informing others when they do not conform to accountability practices. He has shared two important questions to build and re-focus team on, "how did I contribute?" and "what can we do to move forward?"

The important benefit according to Roger's is: such practice infuses cultural and behavioral changes to strengthen team -understanding, work-dynamics and enhance productivity. Please read more here.

Fed turned to agile development as budget cut loom?

The Computerworld article has uncovered how budget problems in public sector organizations in US have forced them to use agile development methodology and use it to justify development efforts m stakeholders.

Multi-year project delivery contracts and big ticket transaction deals in public sector companies in US are the stories from the past. And the increasing awareness and usefulness this methodology has reflected in increasing adoption of agile development methodology. The Computerworld article has quoted Veterans Affairs' CIO, Roger Baker who said, "we are huge fans of agile, and are using it in our most critical programs." Please read more here.

Leadership

1. Procrastination And Productivity: What Helps And What Hurts

Sarah Klein at huffingtonpost.com has shared few interesting research findings and enlists few productive ways to procrastinate. After all procrastination isn't a bad thing, if you procrastinate a bad thing! e.g

  • Instead of browsing through youtube, watch your favorite funny video
  • Call your friend instead of browsing through your social network
  • Procrastinate watching a TV program and instead take a nap

To read further please click here.

2. How Productivity Tools Can Waste Your Time

It is a good article that burst the myth about productivity tools. It is true that there are plenty of productivity tools available in the market but working on each one and then syncing are major challenges. Among various hurdles, one is the ease of use of these productivity tools. If the tool is complicated to use, it eats up your valuable time; if the tool does understand the way you think or work, it sucks lot of your time; most commonly, people are interrupted because of emails. There are few methods which are famous among practitioners of productivity improvement methods. One such is Getting Things Done or GTD, another one is Pomodoro Technique that trains practitioners to focus on tasks uninterrupted for 25 minutes.

Finally the article mentions one such practitioner Mr. Brokamp who has shared learn a key lesson, "Improving your productivity isn't about searching for a better app or finding the right software. Ultimately it comes down to managing yourself." Please click here to read more.

3. Waiting for Productivity from "Productivity Tools"

Similar to above post, Craig Roth at Gartner has criticized some of the new generation of productivity tools which cannot deliver any significant improvement in productivity. Productivity improvement is a vaguely large topic; it covers anywhere from word processing, spreadsheets, e-mail, ppt software, project management, To-Do list and various time-management software. Author is unsure of the value-add by these latest tools - though productivity tools are available on mobile also, which can synchronize among multiple devices has.