Thursday, December 31, 2009

Much Catching up to do before end of 2009

Less than 24 hours from now I will be done serving on the Board of the IT&T SIG - which is huge for me because I started in 2002.

And I still have a number of things to post before the year ends.

So, to get things started, some video updates:

Social Media and Personal Branding - Part 3 - with @genexerjv (John Vajda)

Project Potion Episode #1 - The @ProjectShrink (Bas de Baar) and I try to figure out what exactly Green PM is all about

Project Potion Episode #2 - The 2009 Lessons Learned with yours truly and @ProjectShrink

Monday, November 23, 2009

Social Media and Personal Branding - Part 2
The interview I shot with Brett Pohlman, Social Media Coordinator for the PR firm Schneider and Associates has been posted to the IT&T SIG website and in iTunes. Brett has a lot of good advice about using Social Media - and a great story about how he got his job at Schneider.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Project Potion Episode Zero

This is a new project that the Project Shrink, Bas de Baar and I are working on. We've received some feedback from folks since we shot the initial video last week and will be shooting a new episode today with a focus on Green Project Management.

If you have any feedback, or suggestions for topics, please let us know by posting a comment here or emailing me at, or Bas at

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Updates on the Personal Branding Front...

I just finished watching the Project Shrink's new podcast with Dave Garrett (CEO of Gantthead) talking about Personal Branding. Very cool.

In my own personal efforts on the Personal Branding front, I stumbled a bit this summer. work, the IT&T SIG and P2P 2009 took up most of my "free" time recently, but I'm working on getting back into it. Which brings up another, maybe more common question. When you start working on your personal brand, and you end up going silent for a bit - how do you recover any lost momentum.

I've got the 2nd Personal Branding video ready to go and it should be live this week.

With respect to brand recovery efforts, as a follow up to his manly-man shirtless horseback riding pictures this summer, Vladimir Putin is now also working on developing his cred with the Russian Hip Hop crowd as a way to re-establishing his approval rating. I'm not sure if I am just in awe of it, or if it is more like my weird need to stares out the window at a horrible traffic accident as I drive by - either way - it is worth a quick read.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

P2P 2009, Cairo Egypt
P2P 2009 kicked off today with opening presentations by a number of keynote speakers including Brisk Consulting CEO and event organizer, Emad Aziz, Dr. Gamal Nassar, Chairman of PMI MENA Chapter; Philip Diab, the immediate past Chair of PMI; current PMI Chair, Ricardo Viana Vargas and former Managing Director of the Scrum Alliance, Jim Cundiff. This year P2P is significantly larger than last year. It is being held under the auspices of H.E. Dr. Ahmed Darwish, Minister of State for Administrative Development and H.E. Dr. Hatem El Gabaly, Minister of Health and includes tracks on Technology, Agile and Scrum, Construction, and Oil and Gas.

"Egypt is wonders of the past and investment in the future"

During the opening presentation by Dr. Darwish this morning he talked about the growth of project management in Egypt and the need to develop talent internally so that as Egypt completes the current five year plan in 2012 and moves into the five year plan that will end in 2017, there are PMs who are trained in their craft and experienced and skilled enough to get the work done. PMI Chair, Ricardo Vargas spoke about PMI's commitment to developing PM best practices and awareness in the African region and talked about the work the Project Management Institute Educational Foundation (PMIEF) is doing to promote Project Management training for high-schools. In a presentation on the work of PMIEF, PMI Immediate Past Chair Philip Diab, gave an expanded view into all the great work they are doing to develop scholarships and expanded educational offerings for the underprivileged as well as emerging markets.

After the coffee break, incoming PMI Board Member, Frank Parth, gave a presentation of PMI Standards, how they are defined and developed. Frank was the project manager on PMI's Standard for Program Management, 2nd Edition.

We're only part of the way through Day 1, and I have to get back to the hall to attend the rest of the day's sessions. Over then next three days, sessions will be held by several IT&T SIG Board Members including, IT&T SIG Chair, Petra Goltz; VP of Strategic Marketing, Bob Tarne; VP Professional Development, Marisa Oldnall; VP Operations (and incoming Vice Chair), Andy Maxymillian as well as myself. PMI Agile Community of Practice founder Jesse Fewell will be giving a number of presentations over the next few days as will Jim Cundiff.

If you'd like to follow the events, we are using the hash tag #p2pconf in Twitter.

More to follow

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Premature Tweetage

An interesting story on the Social Engineering Through (un)intentional Manipuation of Social Media front...

An article on Obama calling Kanye West a "jackass" for being, well, a "jackass" at the MTV awards showed up online this morning. Apparently it was an off the record comment that was made, and then tweeted by ABC's Terry Moran. Here is the article about it:

ABC news then issues an apology for premature tweeting of an off the record story. The tweet is no longer on Terry Moran's twitter page

Now I'm wondering how long it will be before people start "accidentally tweeting" stuff that they delete and apologize for as soon as the meme has leaked and begun to work its' viral damage.

Social Media and Personal Branding - Episode 1
Interview with Brian Flatow, President of The AdStore

I’ve posted the first of three podcasts in a series on Personal Branding and Social Media. This one is an interview with Brian Flatow, President of the Ad Store. I’ve known Brian a long time and it was great to get the opportunity to get to sit down and hear his thoughts on how to use Twitter, the other social media tools and how it can help/hurt personal brand.
You can find the video on the IT&T SIG website ->

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Shrunken drunkenPM and the Portuguese Sessions

Last week I had the great honor of being video interviewed by my favorite shrink, Bas de Baar on This time, the topic was Personal Branding. The video went up today.

I'm also very happy to report that I put up some new video interviews from the Portugal Chapter Congress this past Spring. I've posted interviews with Alexandre Rodrigues, President of PMI Portugal, Gabriela Fernandes, who also serves on the PMI Portugal Board and was the organizer of the event, and Theofanis Giotis, the President of PMI Greece.
You can find the videos on the PMI IT&T SIG site.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Video Podcast Update

Posted a new IT&T SIG video podcast – one of the best yet.

This is an interview that was shot in Amsterdam at the PMI Congress with Björn Granvik from Jayway. The Swedes in PMI are, as a rule, pretty awesome folk and sharp as hell. In the interview we talk about Jayway, Øredev (one of the best conferences I’ve ever been to because of the diversity present) and Scrum. The twist on Scrum in this podcast is that Björn tells the story of how he started using Scrum in his marriage, making his wife the Product Owner. Pretty soon, the kids took to it as well and began assigning themselves tasks so that their Dad would get to the stuff they wanted to do. It’s a great story.

You can access the video on the IT&T SIG website which also has a link to iTunes where you can subscribe to the podcast if you like. I’ve still got a lot from Amsterdam, Portugal and some of the branding and social media stuff I’ve been working on, so I’m trying to put up one a week.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Link to Gantthead article on branding your projects

This link is to a Gantthead article that was written by Andy Jordan. It makes a case for the importance of branding your projects:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bridging the Gap to Agile: Scrum Status Reporting in a Waterfall Organization

Here is a link to the whitepaper I wrote while I was at EMC, "Bridging the Gap to Agile: Scrum Status Reporting in a Waterfall Organization".
Personal Branding for Project Managers

Almost out of the woods…

I’ve been quiet, well, not quiet. I’ve been (re)learning some lessons about over commitment. Not out of the woods yet, but close enough that I can hear the cars out there on the highway waiting to run me down when I break through the trees.

The research on PM Mashups has proven to be really interesting. Maybe it is an indicator that the meme hasn’t fully reached the PM world yet, maybe people in this profession need to waste more hours surfing You Tube or watching Towers Under Fire (which makes so much more sense to me now that it did when I rented it from TLA back in college.) In general though, what I’ve found is that there are folks who do mashup techniques and tools from outside PM, but they don’t think of it as a mashup. There are others who have completely different ideas about what a PM Mashup would be.

Either way, the paper for PMI Congress is done and I’m really looking forward to giving the presentation and, more importantly, hearing what the folks who attend have to share about how they are mashing it up.

The best part about the research for this paper was that it led me back to an idea that had been stuck in my head since the Scrum Gathering in Orlando. The idea of Personal Branding and how people in PM or IT use it (or not) and what impact it can have on their world. I got kinda deep into it and was sidetracked from the mashup idea for a few weeks. (Nothing like creating a new project when you already have stuff spilling off the plate.) But now, I’m back at it and this is my new topic. I’m going to put together an article on it, I’ll be posting here in the blog and I’ve already got a few video interviews to post.

What I’ve found so far though is that personal brand is an idea that PMs in general should probably spend a lot more time thinking about it than they do. I still believe that trust and transparency are the currency of PM, but personal branding seems to be that missing piece that can be used to tie some of the other pieces that lay out there, impacting us, but we don’t think about, or just generally aren’t aware of.

I have a few hours of video to edit still from Poland and Amsterdam – I’m going to have it all posted within the next few days. Once it is up, the Personal Branding of Project Managers will be the main focus of this blog.

So, if you are reading this, and you are working in IT or PM, and you actually spend time thinking about and working on Personal Branding, please let me know. I’m hoping to spend awhile on this topic.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I've posted the video interview that Luis Garcia did with Bas De Baar, the Projectshrink, while were in Amsterdam for the 2009 PMI EMEA Global Congress.

Lots more to come from Amsterdam still, plus I have a bunch from the PMI Portugal Chapter event.



Also, Tobias Mayer, who I had the pleasure of interviewing at the Scrum Gathering in Orlando has an excellent new project that is definitely worth checking out... Welfare CSM

and... (drumroll)

The Certified Scrum Master for Project Managers course is online for registration. The course is being built by Stacia Broderick, Michele Sliger, Mitch Lacey, Jesse Fewell and I. So if you know any one who is a PM and wants to become a Scrum Master, this course is specifically designed to help experienced PMs get their CSM and understand how a seasoned PM can incorporate that into their toolset.

Certified ScrumMaster for Project Managers
Burlington, MA
July 22-24

Friday, June 05, 2009

PMI Portugal Chapter Event
5 June, 2009 - 6 June 2009, Lisbon, Portugal

Right now they are finishing up the last presentation of Day 1 of the PMI Portugal Chapter Event. The event is very well attended, with over 50% of the members of the chapter present. The presentations today started out in English and switched to Portuguese just before lunch. After the opening session this morning which was led by Prof. Alexandre Rodrigues, PMP, who is the President of the PMI Portugal Chapter and the Conference Chair, along with Gabriela Fernandes, PMP, Director of the PMI Portugal Chapter and the Conference Project Manager and Dr. Jose Pinto, PMP, Director of the PMI Portugal Chapter and the Conference Director. (For those of you keeping score at home, Dr. Pinto also serves as the EMEA Regional Director for the IT&T SIG. The IT&T SIG recently posted interviews that Jose shot with PMI Chair Ricardo Vargas from the PMI EMEA Congress in Amsterdam. The interviews were done in both English and Portuguese. - watch them here and here.)

After the kickoff, Rachel Hammer, the EMEA Component Relations Liaison from the PMI EMEA Service Center gave a presentation on PMI in the EMEA Region and I followed up with a presentation that centered around the idea that if our profession is going to continue to grow and evolve, we (the PMs) are the ones who need to start having at developing new tools and paradigms in order to get us into a new stage of maturity for our profession.

After that, they transitioned over to Portuguese. Sadly,my ability to understand Portuguese is about on par with my ability to understand the game of cricket. However, what was related to me about the presentation that was given by Eng. Julio Moreno from HP Portugal made me quite jealous of the others in the room who are not as language challenged as I.

Since I missed out on the Portuguese sessions I'm going to try and shoot some video this evening on impressions from the first day and I'll try to post them as quickly as possible. (Tonight if I can find a power convertor for my mac because I foolishly left all my adapters at home.)

For the Agile minded, I mentioned it a few times in my presentation and a number of people came up to talk about it further after the session. Which gave me a great opportunity to promote the new Scrum Master for PMPs class that is being developed by the Scrum Alliance, and which I will be writing on in great length later this weekend.

One person in particular had questions about using Lean with, or alongside a traditional PMBOK based approach, if anyone who reads this can comment on that, it would be greatly appreciated.

I will be tweeting from the event tomorrow under @pmiittelecom and both PMI Chair Ricardo Vargas (@rvvargas) and I will be using the hash tag #PMIPC

More later...

Sunday, May 31, 2009

PMI 2009 EMEA Congress Podcast Interviews with PMI Chair Ricardo Vargas, and more...

Got the first of many new video podcasts from Amsterdam up in iTunes and on the IT&T SIG Vimeo site. These were both shot at the 2009 EMEA Congress in Amsterdam.


What I posted today were the videos of IT&T SIG Regional Director Jose Angelo da Costa Pinto interviewing PMI Chair Ricardo Vargas. We've got one interview in English and another in Portuguese.

Earlier in the week I posted a link to Ricardo's podcast on Scrum. He was a presenter at the 2009 Latin America Scrum Gathering a few days before the PMI Congress in Amsterdam. Ricardo is an amazing guy and he is very enthusiastic about the efforts being made by the IT&T SIG, PMI and the Scrum Alliance to help build a bridge between the Scrum/Agile community and the PMI community.

I've got a lot more to post in the coming days including an interviews on P2P 2009 with Emad Aziz; an update on Project Wizard's Merlin from Frank Blome; an interview that PMI Agile Forum/CoP founder Jesse Fewell shot with Scrum Alliance Managing Director, Jim Cundiff; and an interview that IT&T SIG VP of Tech, Luis Garcia shot with the Project Shrink himself, Bas de Baar; and more...

Also, for those of you who haven't been following Bas's posts about social media, here is a link to one of his recent posts -> ProjectShrink. Bas gave a great talk on using social media at the PMI Congress in Amsterdam.

I hope to post them within the next few days before heading to Lisbon to speak at the PMI Portugal 4th Annual Project Management Conference. I am really looking forward to the event in Lisbon. It should be very cool.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Update on Updates

My summary and videos from PMI Leadership and Congress in Amsterdam last week should be up within a day or so.

In the meantime, PMI Chair, Ricardo Vargas has a new website and has posted a podcast on Scrum and Agile. Ricardo spoke at the Scrum Gathering in Latin America just over a week ago before making the trip to Amsterdam for PMI Congress. His level of enthusiasm for building the bridge between traditional Project Management and the Agile world is a wonderful thing.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Day Two of the 2009 PMI EMEA Global Congress.

After tweeting almost the entire time at PMI’s Leadership Institute Meeting we started at the Global Congress yesterday. Unfortunately the service is weak and expensive, so I’ve fallen behind in my posts.

Some quick Agile highlights….

The most significant event at PMI’s GC this year (IMHO) was the Agile Pecha Kucha sessions. This has been a long time coming and I hope we see a lot more of it. For those who are unfamiliar, the format is 20 slides, 20 seconds per slide. So, rather than watching someone read slides to you for 60 minutes. He now get to watch a much more vibrant presentation in 6:40 seconds. The style also focuses heavily on slides featuring large images or small amount of tax. The lightweight slide format forces the presenter to carry the show instead of the other way around. This is an alternative that has been greatly needed for some time at PMI Congress and Leadership events. With each of the presentations focusing on Agile it made the sessions even more cutting edge. While Agile is certainly not new in the technology space it still represents an innovative approach for the traditional project management crowd. There were four agile sessions over all during Global Congress. Each of them was well attended and the information presented was well received. The last agile session of the Congress was a roundtable discussion featuring Juliette Andrew from EMC, Mattias Petrén from Leadway and PMI Sweden, Excella Consultant and PMI Agile Forum Founder, Jesse Fewell and myself with Bob Tarne, IT&T SIG VP of PR and former Chair as moderator. We had a great crowd with some lively discussion. There is a definite spark within the PMI Community that is picking up on Agile as an important way of adding to the toolset that enables you to solve project problems.

Quote of the day: “It’s really easy to pick the Agile people out in the crowd. They are the ones who don’t look stressed out.”

There is a lot more to tell, but I have to head downstairs for the Taste of Holland reception.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

PMI Leadership Institute Meeting

It is Day 3 of the PMI LIM. Rather than blogging each day, I've been tweeting under @pmiittelecom and @mrsungo.
Jesse Fewell, founder of the PMI Agile Forum has been posting Tweets under @pmiagile

Sessions have been good and I will post a wrap up later.

I have posted a video podcast interview on the Virtual Communities Project with Dan Tuten. You can view it here:


This is a big deal for me because I've been trying to post video from LIM/Congress for the past two years and this is the first time I've been able to get anything live from the event.

The Agile folks who will be presenting during the Pecha Kucha sessions will arrive today and I'm looking forward to getting to hang out with them this evening.

Also, Frank Blome (Project Wizard's Merlin - will be arriving today, can't wait to see him again. Tomorrow I am hoping to meet up with (and interview) Bas de Baar. Bas is the creator of ProjectShrink If you are a PM and aren't reading his blog, you need to start.

Oh - and in the way of shameless self promotion, Gantthead posted the video we shot of my Scrum in the Waterfall presentation. Go see ->

More to come...

Friday, May 15, 2009

PMI Leadership and Global Congress in Amsterdam

I'll be tweeting from PMI meetings in Amsterdam under @pmiittelecom and using #pmi beginning later today.

Blog posts and video podcast interviews will also be forthcoming.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ken Schwaber Interview from the Scrum Gathering in Orlando 2009

One of my favorite parts of the Scrum Gathering in Orlando this Spring was getting to spend a few minutes talking with Ken Schwaber about Scrum, PMI and "Scrum, but..."

Here is a link to the IT&T SIG Video Podcast on iTunes
Here is a link to the IT&T SIG Videos on Vimeo

Next stop, Amsterdam! Look for blog postings, tweets and video interviews from the PMI EMEA Leadership Meetings and Congress.

I'm especially psyched to see what happens when PMI takes on Pecha Kucha... should be quite the mashup.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Where's My New New Thing?

If this is a reasonably valid historical timeline of the evolution of Project Management

1950's The birth of modern project management, Gantt Charts, Critical Path, PERT
1960's EVM, PMI Founded
1970's Waterfall coined as a term referring to a flawed, non-working model
1997 Critical Chain

Am I missing anything? It seems like we're due for a new model.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Scrum Gathering 2009 Videos

I’ve started posting the video interviews from the 2009 Scrum Gathering in Orlando. You can watch PMI Agile Forum’s Jesse Fewell interview Ansley Nies about the Open Space she ran at the Gathering, see an interview with Alistair Cockburn (founder of Crystal and one of the original authors of the Agile Manifesto) and an interview with AgileThinking’s Tobias Mayer.

If you’ve not been following the story, leading up to the Gathering Tobias was pretty critical of PMI being involved. The video interview was shot not long after PMI CEO Greg Balestrero’s Keynote speech and a separate conversation between Greg and Tobias shortly afterward.

You can access the videos in iTunes
or in Vimeo

You can also read up on it in the AgileThinking blog and in Greg Balestrero’s PMI blog.

More videos will be posted in the coming days….

Follow me on Twitter

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Scrum Gathering – Day 3

Day 3 of the Gathering started out with the follow up to Open Space. Around the room, participants shared their impressions of the Open Space and the gathering as a whole. There were a number of people who spoke up as being supportive of, or cautiously optimistic towards the PMI presence.

When PMI Agile Forum leader, Jesse Fewell gave his presentation exploring the differences between Scrum Masters and Project Managers, people were spilling into the hall. And this time, the attendees extended beyond the small cadre of folks who attended the Day 2 sessions and included folks like Jeff McKenna and Tobias Mayer. It was a lively discussion and raised a number of interesting ideas that seemed to center around the role of the PM/Scrum Master as an agent of change who is there to transform an organization, and enable them to become more “healthy”. If the PM/Scrum Master is to play that role, what is the best way to go about it? The session definitely helped bring to light the fact a lot of people are trying to figure out how to make sense of the whole idea of PMI and Scrum co-existing and how that impacts the person who is responsible for “leading” the effort.

After lunch there was a panel discussion with Ron Jeffries, Mike Cohn, Jim Coplien, Alistair Cockburn and Ken Schwaber. (For those of you keeping score at home, that is 3 of the original signatories of the Agile Manifesto.) This was a very special gathering of some of the brightest thought leaders in the software world. They held court, debating and answering all the questions thrown at them. One of the best lines of the afternoon came from Ron Jeffries “There is no really good idea that can be measured by the number of people who adopt it.”

Once the panel was over we had a chance to do some video interviews that will be showing up in video podcasts very soon.

From the moment I arrived I felt challenged by the people I got to speak with and the ideas that were shared. It was my second Scrum Gathering and I find that it truly is a very organic moment of really sharp people who aren’t afraid to push each other. The only real complaint I heard the whole time was from one attendee who just wanted to be pushed even harder than he had been.

In a week or so I will have the video podcasts edited and posted. Until then, I want to say thank you to Greg Balestrero, Mark Langley, the IS SIG, the IT&T SIG, the steering committee of the PMI Agile Forum. We did well. People seem to be thinking it is okay to talk about PMI in the context of the Scrum Gathering. It may not entirely make sense yet, but the message that it was okay to try and figure it out was clearly heard.

I also want to thank the folks from the Scrum Alliance – especially Ken Schwaber, Mike Cohn, Jeff Sutherland, Jim Cundiff, Jodi Gibson and Stacia Broderick. I hope that we will be able to return the support and hospitality shown to the PMI community over the past few days.

I’m not sure how I am going to dry out from my recently developed Twitter addiction, but I will probably have to keep posting messages to @msliger, @mcottmeyer and @jessefewell until I can shake it off.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Scrum Gathering - Day 2

Day 2 at the Scrum Gathering is about Open Space. If you’ve not been to one before, it is a very organic experience. There are very few rules, but one of them is that the attendees propose topics at the start of the day.

Jesse Fewell and I both stood up to propose topics. Jesse held a session for all the folks interested in PMIAgile and I held one that was intended to be a place where anyone who had issues or concerns with PMI attending the Scrum Gathering could come and talk about their issues with it. My hope was to capture the concerns and take them back to PMI.

There was a good turnout in the room and it was a very lively debate about the different ideas/concerns around the topic. These will all be posted to the wiki on the Scrum Alliance site as soon as I get home, but there were a few things that struck me today around the whole PMI and Scrum Alliance topic.

The first thing I noticed was that people keep getting hung up on the language issues and concerns about how to map which process to what in the other. This presents a significant hurdle for a lot of folks. “If I do X in your process what is that represented in my process?” The problem with this is that the real issue is not a semantic one, or a mapping one. The real problem is the fact that there is no focus on intent for the people in this conflict. Both approaches want to solve the project as quickly and efficiently as possible. There are different ways, but sadly, a lot of people are too busy making sure they are firmly planted in one camp or the other to understand that it really just does not matter because it is about doing the work.

Having typed all this, I should confess that I do have one concern coming out of day 2. I have had discussions with a number of folks about the role of a project manager in Scrum, or the role of a Scrum Master in project management. Each has a pure approach and for me, in what I do, I blend them together whenever and however I need to in order to get the work done. I do not feel compelled to take up for one side over the other and I don’t believe either is better than the other. I think it depends entirely on the people doing it. Two concerns here: 1) Most people are too caught up in semantics to worry about the intent to deliver and 2) How much of a threat is my approach to the purists? There are a lot of people worried about how PMI might impact the Agile space. There isn’t really anything in place to prevent something bad from happening beyond the people involved.

Anyway, I had some great conversations today, especially with Tobias Mayer, the folks who attended the Scrum Sessions and Michele Sliger.

One more day. I’m looking forward to getting some interviews tomorrow.

You can follow my twitter feed @pmiittelecom
Pictures will be posted to
Or you can see both on the IT&T SIG website:

Scrum Gathering… Day 1
It was a very good day and I’ve been twittering under @pmiittelecom for most of it and will do so on Tuesday as well.
Some of my favorite moments from today…
Jim Coplien and Jeff Sutherland presenting “Not your Grandfather's Architecture: How MVC has evolved into the Agile world”. I walked in a few minutes late… just in time to hear Coplien say that any member of any scrum team should be able to explain the architecture on demand at any time. He said, if you can’t your team is sub-optimal. I think any time you can go to a conference where, within 15 seconds of walking into your first talk, someone has challenged the way you manage your work and look at the world, it is a very good thing.
Throughout the morning, there were a number of us twittering about the presentations. This led to a sub-conversation that rode underneath the actual presentations being given. Later, in the halls, we got to talking about whether or not it was rude for us to be typing in session, while people were talking. The general consensus was that it is. But, what if someone is twittering about your presentation? It is, basically promoting you – and giving you free PR. The consensus here, was that if the speaker didn’t know whether or not you were answering email or twittering, then they would perceive it as rude and that is why it is not a good thing (which none of us stopped doing all day). So, I’m wondering if it matters that the driver of good behavior, in this case, may not be the desire to be present and focus on the speaker and engage in their presentation, but simply to not appear rude to them.
Last year, I came to the Scrum Gathering as a kind of emissary on behalf of the IT&T SIG. I wanted to see if we could build a bridge between the IT&T SIG and the Scrum Community. Today, Greg Balestrero, the CEO of PMI gave the lunchtime keynote presentation. He did a very good job of engaging the crowd and conveying the message that PMI is an evolving organization that is interested in learning how to work with the Scrum Alliance. The response was very largely positive. People seemed generally hungry for things to move forward. The best part of his talk was the end where he paraphrased a conversation he and Ken Schwaber had held the night before. The basic message they wanted to jointly get across today was to tell everyone in both camps to “stop whining” and that they “have permission to move forward”. From my perspective, this is a very, very good thing.
One thing I saw today, that is something I’ve never seen at a PMI conference, was when one of the CST’s left lunch early because he was so worked up about what he’d been running through in his mind that he needed to leave the lunch to go put it down. It is very energizing to be around folks who are genuinely turned on by what they do.

The only drag so far was that Michele Sliger and Gabrielle Benefield both spoke at the same time I did. I would have like to have seen both of them present.
I’ll be posting more tomorrow and will be shooting some video interviews as well.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Greg, Mark, Ken, Mike, Jeff, Jodi, Teresa, Jesse, Michelle, Stacia, Gabrielle, Bob, Laurentiu, the Board of the IT&T and IS SIGs, the PMI Agile Forum Committee, everyone at the Scrum Alliance, all who attended the special event this evening and most of all,

Jim C…

Thanks. There were two amazing launches this evening. I am quite proud to have witnessed both!


Friday, February 20, 2009


I'll be hosting a webinar today with Ken Schwaber, co-founder of Scrum.

The webinar will take place at 12 PM Eastern.

Please join in if you are free - here are the details:



Monday, February 16, 2009

Done Done and the Bag of Oranges
[BEGIN DISCLAIMER] This concept is not mine and I take no shame in having “borrowed” it because it works good enough to get a gig managing lighting on a Christian Bale movie. I first heard it referred to several months ago in an EMC training session that had veered off topic into deep Agile waters. James Shore uses it in his book “The Art of Agile Development” and I’ve seen postings online referring to Mike Cohn using it in his training classes. [END DISCLAIMER]
While it isn’t mine, it is something I’m using with increasing frequency on my projects and it has proven to be incredibly helpful in communicating with both the clients and the guys doing the development work on my projects. Here is a basic rundown of how “Done Done” works.
The Setup
1. Developer says the work on given backlog item is “Done”.
2. PM tells Client that Developer is “Done” working on the item.
3. Client checks to see “Done” work, finds out that it has not been implemented.
4. Client fills bag with oranges, which are then forcefully and repeatedly applied to the stomach of the PM. (According to the late great Jim Thompson, a bag of oranges to the gut provide massive bruising without too much internal bleeding... if you do it right. If you don't... bad things.)
5. PM, doubled over with pain, questions Developer and determines that, from the Dev’s standpoint, “Done” meant he/she/it was no longer working on said item.
So, how do you protect yourself from ending up like Lillie in The Grifters?
The Fix
Implement “Done Done”, which works like this: You bring all team members into a room and explain that all work will henceforth be categorized as existing in one of the following states:
1. Not Done – No one is doing anything at all with this right now.
2. In Process – Someone is doing something about this.
3. Done – Someone feels that they have completed working on something and has implemented it in a way that can be shown to someone who will have something to say about it.
4. Done Done – Work has been completed, implemented, checked, confirmed and approved. And throughout the valley, there is much rejoicing at the verified completion this amazing item.
In the Wild
On my current project, we have “Done”, which means the Devs declared, (usually at some point after 2 AM) that they had completed their work on said item. “Done Done” means that they have not only “Done” the work, but they have shown it to Damon. (Damon is the guy on the client side that we’ve designated as the Zuul of “Done Done”.) So, without Damon’s blessing, they are forbidden from declaring anything to be “Done Done”, unless they want to experience the bag of oranges.
Steering Clear of Bobo Justus
If you happen to be suffering from repeated encounters with the aforementioned bag of oranges, then I’d highly recommending giving “Done Done” a try.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

For the past year, the IT&T SIG has been working together with the Scrum Alliance with the aim of fostering a stronger relationship between the PMI project management community and the Scrum and Agile communities. We started out by holding a series of Scrum and Agile webinars, and last fall we followed up with a special networking reception in Denver at the 2008 PMI Global Congress that celebrated the work we’ve been doing with the Scrum Alliance

The work we’ve done so far has been very successful in beginning to build a bridge between the two communities. But now we have even better news!

This Spring, at the Scrum Gathering in Orlando, Florida, top thought leaders from the Scrum and Agile community will meet with thought leaders from PMI to discuss ways in which we can continue to develop the relationship and increase the awareness on both sides of the fact that each of the approaches has benefits which can be realized across the others.

Here are the official details:
2009 Orlando Scrum Gathering - Scrum Alliance

March 16, 17, 18th, 2009 at The Gaylord Palms Resort, Orlando, Florida, USA

Featured Speakers include: Scrum co-founders: Ken Schwaber & Jeff
Sutherland, along with Mike Cohn, Jim "Cope" Coplien, Ron Jeffries, Alistair
Cockburn, Gregory Balestrero (PMI), Chet Hendrickson plus many more industry

Space is limited, and the expectation is that it will SELL OUT very soon, so if you are interested, please sign up as soon as possible.

Because of the significance of the event, the Scrum Alliance is offering a special discount to members of PMI. If you are a member of PMI and register for the Scrum Gathering, you’ll get the same discount that you’d receive if you were a member of the Scrum Alliance. Click here to receive the discount:

If you would like additional information on the event, please visit:

Monday, January 12, 2009

MacWorld Roundup

I’m just back from MacWorld and ready to get back to work. While I was there I had an opportunity to spend the week helping out in the ProjectWizards booth, showing folks some of the new things that Merlin has to offer.

While I spent most of my time in the booth, and didn’t see much of the other exhibitors, there were a few products there, which won awards, that I’ve already been using to help me manage my projects... so I thought I’d focus on them.

The Livescribe Pulse is a pen... oh, no wait... it’s a smart pen that costs almost $200. Which sounds insane, until you use it. Available on the PC for awhile, it only recently became available to Mac users. What makes it worth the price is the fact that when I am in a meeting, then pen records all the audio. At the same time, I capture notes in a special paper notebook. After the meeting, the pen can by synch’d up with a computer so that the notes and the audio are transferred to your computer for later review and storage. I’ve only been using this for a few weeks, but it has already proven its’ worth by allowing me easy access to critical information. I had a team member on a project who claimed he had not known about a particular action item which was assigned to him. I merely pointed the pen at the note I jotted down in the meeting, tapped the pen to it and it played back the audio of him saying “Ok, I’ll take that as an action item.”

I’ve written in here before about my continuing efforts to get better at using some version of GTD to manage all my work. There are a lot of products out there. Some of which are really good, some, not so much. Things, which has been receiving a lot of attention lately went to version 1.0 last week and is now able to sync with the desktop client on the Mac. Between the easy interface, the level of detail it lets you get to and the fact that I can now work off of either my desktop or iphone (or ipod touch), it is definitely my app of choice for managing the onslaught of tasks I am still not quite able to get done each day.

The last thing I want to mention today, is Merlin. I’m a huge Merlin fan and have been for a number of years. If you use a Mac, and do serious project planning, it is the most robust client available. For me, the line in the sand was the ability to separate work and duration. None of the competing products allow that level of planning. For a while now, the desktop has also allowed you to imbed things like register items and documents (project plans, change requests, etc.) right into the plan, making them available right from the client. It also lets you read and write MS Project files. But Merlin is making another huge leap with the ability to share to the web and iPhone (or iPod Touch) that allows a real time update back to the client or server version of the project plan. This means I can serve my project file from the desktop or server and have my Windows and Linux users update their tasks from the browser window and I can see updates the moment they make them. There is no check in process - it feeds directly in over the internet. With the iPhone (or iPod Touch) I can not only look at my Gantt Chart on the device, but I can make the same updates and they push across the internet back into my plan in real time. I can even view the documents I’ve embeded into my project schedule on the iPhone (or iPod Touch) if the file type is one the device can read (like PDF). 

It has been a few years since I’ve looked at trying to get Project Server implemented anywhere, but the last time I checked, the cost to get it set up for testing in an enterprise environment was upwards of $100K (US). With the new Merlin capabilities, I can get all that set up and running, including the cost of a new machine (it will run on anything that has 1 GB of RAM and can run 10.4.9 or higher) for under $2K (US).

Friday, January 02, 2009

My New Year's Resolution
A few weeks ago I was at P2P in Cairo, speaking with Philip Diab, the 2008 Chair of PMI. We were both about to give brief speeches at a conference and he brought up the idea of developing a consistent theme and using it as a sort of guiding idea when preparing for presentations over a period of time. It was great advice, and I have decided that I am going to start off by applying it to the blog.

In Lawrence Lessig's new book "Remix", he devotes a fair amount of time early on, to explaining how kids today are creating mashups with music and he goes on to detail what the legal ramifications are with this and the book goes on from there. If you like Lessig's work, or are at all into reading up on copyright law and intellectual property rights, I highly recommend it.

While I was reading it, I found that I kept drifting back to the idea of mashups and other places that they occur in modern life. The basic premise is that you take two existing things and push them together to create something new and (ideally) better. The site has a great video explanation of it in the upper right corner of their homepage.

Depending on your taste in music, this could be a good or a bad thing. But, in coming back to it, I started to think more about the other places in my life that this takes place - especially work.

So, jumping back to the whole consistent theme thing... for 2009 my focus is going to be on PM Mashups, or, bringing different (pm related or not) ideas and practices, etc., together in one's approach to project management with the end goal of coming up with a more cohesive, adaptive and ideally, creative way of managing work. My plan is to develop a series on the idea and hopefully, I'll be able to find a bunch of folks along the way who are also mixing their chocolate and peanut butter and don't mind talking about it.

PM Mashup #1 

For about 18 months I have been primarily using Scrum to manage my projects. For most of what I do, it works very well. It's adaptive, lightweight, and is great for developing trust with the clients. However, I have found that it for it to work best, I need to add some components from other approaches.

Traditional PMBOK type documentation is something I tend to get lazy about, so I am always trying to find ways to make it easier to get through. I do, however, think it is critical to have those artifacts and I am a very firm believer in keeping a historical record so that you can learn from your mistakes. It would be easy to get away without doing this in Scrum, but, as I mentioned above, I think that historical artifacts are critical and, even if there are no defined requirements at Go, I do think that they need to be locked down by the end of the project. (Always leave the room nicer than you found it.)

So now, when I'm working on Scrum projects, I generally try to make sure we have a wiki set up so that we can provide the client with documentation that will be current by the time we leave and which they will hopefully maintain as a living, organic version of the requirements doc. Now, I know that the requirements doc should be created up front, but the simple fact is that most of the time, what is being asked for initially, is not entirely definable and will probably change during development. I also know that once we create the initial requirements that I, as the PM am responsible for keeping it current. Unfortunately, in practice, what I've found is that the requirements doc becomes something that is either A) gathering dust the moment it leaves the printer or B) something I work furiously on updating so that it can gather dust the moment it leaves the printer.

My goal is to have a place to capture whatever we initially know in an informal, plain language manner and then build on it as we move forward. We usually start out by entering whatever use cases we have and we work with the product owner until they reach a level of comfort entering directly into the wiki themselves. Over the development cycle, the use cases are updated by the team as they evolve into a sort of post development explanation of what is in place. We evolve, with the product owner, from the initial need, to the realized product, which is documented in plain, simple language. It is not traditional requirements and may lack a lot of the structure that a traditional requirements doc includes, but if the objective of the traditional requirements doc is to define what is requested to a level of detail that can be executed and litigated against, then the wiki reqs, or Requirements 2.0 is intended to be easily digested by humans who may have a need for the information.

This mashup doesn't fit perfectly into Scrum or a PMBOK type approach. But, it does enable the workflow process and meets the informational needs of the client in a way that does not place an undue burden on the team.

I'll post more in about a week, but if you have any mashups of your own, I'd love to hear about them.

Happy New Year!