When someone is partially right

I run a lot or workshops, so I get into a lot of arguments. Of course, we like to call it robust discussion when we do so.  And of course I am generally facilitating rather than debating. So I need to know how to keep conversations “robust enough to be valuable” and “respectful enough to build relationships rather than strain them”.  I therefore employ a range of conflict management techniques when facilitating other people’s discussions. But sometimes my problem is that I am running a presentation or training course and someone objects to one of my points in a way that … Continue reading When someone is partially right

Estimating the cost impact of risks

We all know that managing risk is important.  In fact, Graham Downes recently suggested (in a comment on this blog) that the best way to stop eager young project managers from being “blown up” is  to teach them to better manage risk. But even when they manage risk actively, I see a lot of teams rating the cost of a risk blowing up on them as “TBA” (ie – to  be advised … ie we don’t know). Some projects even end with a whole pile of risks listed as high impact with a dollar impact of TBA. If this is the … Continue reading Estimating the cost impact of risks

Talking at the SDC next year

I have been quoting my grandma in Agile workshops recently. She probably thought that “lean” was fat free meat and that “kanban” was probably a type of cake.  But she did understand one of key concepts in successful projects: “Never mistake activity for progress”. In other words, writing and deploying a lot of code quickly is not the same as solving business problems or improving the assets and capabilities of the organisation.  So I am basing my talk on her insight when I speak at the  Software Development Conference. I believe that on many projects there is often a gap around: … Continue reading Talking at the SDC next year

Why do the good project managers doubt themselves?

I was coaching a project manager last week and we worked through several of the issues he is facing. He was probably hoping that there were some cool new Lean or Agile tools that he could use to deal with some seemingly really difficult problems.  In fact I always hope the same thing – it makes coaching and work easier. Sadly, and predictably, he didn’t need cool new techniques.  He was already applying common sense, accountability and a real focus on getting the best outcome for the project (best for the team, the organisation and the customer).  He was also … Continue reading Why do the good project managers doubt themselves?

Lifting organisational and individual capability

Rather than just rolling out various changes and reflecting on how they went, we want to continuously grow our teams and our own capability as well. I am happy to work with you to develop a capability in any of the areas I work in.  This can be as simple as sharing the techniques I use or as sophisticated as planning and implementing an initiative across your whole team to build specific capabilities over the longer term. I am particularly passionate about integrating the different aspects of capability growth.  These  include setting up internal mentoring, reading, training, coaching and process … Continue reading Lifting organisational and individual capability

On reflection

Action without reflection soon turns into panic, yet I don’t know anybody who has serious time to reflect each day at work. For example, I know of several teams who run small iterations on IT projects and still haven’t had time to sit down and think through how they plan their releases.  So in addition to having the team properly trained, I now run a training game called The Agile Release Planning Game. The game helps people to experience the process of planning releases and iterations without getting caught up in the detail of their own projects.  So let me … Continue reading On reflection

Help with implementation of change and projects

Even when you have an understanding of what the organisation needs, it can be difficult to implement the right solution effectively while so many other things are going on. I specialise in supporting your team in effective implementation of a range of initiatives.  Where projects are large and complex, I also recommend trusted partners who I know have a track record of delivering the projects that I have seen others struggle with. The specific support I can provide to you is: Change management action and communication plans. Change management delivery. The rollout of integrated (or “blended”) learning solutions. Assistance with … Continue reading Help with implementation of change and projects

Investigating issues and opportunities

Problems and opportunities probably abound in your environment.  What you probably don’t have is the time to really investigate what they mean. By bringing in outside help you gain the benefit of  having someone with both the time and the experience to help you understand the essence of the problem or opportunity rather than just the symptoms. You may have an obviously festering problem, opportunities that are laying dormant, or a situation that has everybody in your organization baffled. Whatever the case, give me a call. I’ll help you tailor the investigation process for your specific situation Typical approaches I use … Continue reading Investigating issues and opportunities

(re) Launching an online forum

The innovative among us would love to run online forums in the areas that interest us.  But the old and jaded among us have seen many communities (online forums, communities of practice, centres of excellence) rise up, hover for a moment and then disappear from sight. So I was interested to see the following link someone sent me, where someone is relaunching their online forums. I particularly like the way they share their lessons with their clients by openly admitting where they stumbled. http://culturedcode.com/things/blog/2009/08/introducing-forums-20.html Continue reading (re) Launching an online forum

Modelling the choices we make

It’s a scary concept when you think about it, but advertisers and others are spending a lot of time and money to understand how we make choices. It’s scary for two reasons.  The first is related to the evolution of predators and prey.  Every ecosystem continually evolves as the prey learn to evade the predator in new ways and the predators learn new ways of capturing the prey.  So the advertisers are seeking new ways to influence us as we build up immunity to older tricks. The scary part here is that advertisers are spending millions of dollars to get … Continue reading Modelling the choices we make