Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Points to Bas

Editing the new episode of Project Potion. Points to @projectshrink (Bas de Baar) for coming up with a reason to actually use Flipbook - to catch up on recent tweets into a specific hash tag.

The new episode includes a look back at how our use (as project leaders) of social media tools has evolved over the past 12-14 months. It should be up in a day or so.

Monday, September 19, 2011

25 Incredibly Useful iPad Applications
Check out Andrea McDougal's blog post on 25 Incredibly Useful iPad Apps  at Masters in Project Management 

The site is geared towards helping people find a great graduate program for PM (cough - University of Texas at Dallas - cough), but her recent blog post on iPad apps has some great ideas in it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Agile and Project Management Talks at SXSW 2012

Last year I attended SXSW for the first time. While I had intended to spend my days basking in the onslaught of music and film that it is known for, what I actually spent my time doing was focusing mostly on the talks that centered on Agile and Project Management. Each of the presentations on PM and Agile were very well attended. In some cases there was a line waiting to get in, so there is a definite hunger for information at the event. Unfortunately, with the exception of one talk (given by Brett Harned and Pamela Villacorta) the content presented in most of the PM and Agile talks was disappointing.

SXSW 2012 is right around the corner and they’ve opened the area where people can vote on proposed topics. If you’ve got a few minutes, follow the links below to become an SXSW 2012 Panel Picker, search for Agile and PM presentations vote Thumbs Up for the ones you think look interesting.  This Spring, there will be another crowd of PMs in Austin who are interested in learning about project management and how to do it better.  Help make sure the talks they get to choose from are going to help them raise their game. Who knows… you may end up working with some of them someday.

SXSW 2012 Interactive Panel Picker  http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/index/10
SXSW 2012 Music Panel Picker http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/index/12
SXSW 2012 Film Panel Picker http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/index/11

And while you’re voting, you may want to consider…

Project Leadership Through Personal Branding
(ProjectShrink Bas de Baar and Dave Prior)

Developing Music and Software Across a Distance
(Dave Prior with Panda Transport’s Kathy Compton and Thierry Holweck)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I've been very slack about keeping this blog up to date since the Spring. What can I say,  "I ran out of gas. I... I had a flat tire. I didn't have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn't come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake. A terrible flood. Locusts! IT WASN'T MY FAULT, I SWEAR TO GOD! "

I'm working on it though and within the next few days I'll have all the ProjectShrink videos updated along with links to some other things I am working on, like my new Projects@Work blog which is called "The Reluctant Agilist".

And next week... NYC! to teach a Merlin class and a 3-day CSM class. Very psyched for that.

More to come...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Presentations on the Mac, iPads and Project Management

Over the past few weeks I've been able to give a few presentations about doing project management on the Mac and on the iPad. I had a few requests so I thought I would post them.

The first is the presentation I gave in the Philadelphia Walnut St. Apple Store on how to manage projects using a Mac.
Managing Projects on a Mac

The second is the one I gave at the PMI Lehigh Valley Professional Development Day on how to use the iPad as a Project Management tool.
The iPad and Project Management

Friday, March 11, 2011

The iPad 2 and Project Management

Last year when Apple unveiled the iPad, I, along with countless others were overcome with that all too familiar craving for new gear from Cupertino. Having tried and quickly abandoned several tablets running the other operating system, I was hopeful that the iPad would gain the acceptance it has rightfully earned, but as a project manager, I was mostly curious about how this new device would fit in with my job. The Windows tablets I had tried in the past always seemed to make my job harder. So, when I purchased it, I wasn't exactly sure what I was going to do it… but like I said… The craving…

Since then I've found a number of ways the original iPad enables me in managing projects and best of all, I'm able to use it with Merlin.

So last week when the new iPad was introduced, I was mostly focused on trying to figure out how this new model would enable project managers in a way the first generation didn't. The increase in speed, the lighter form factor are all very cool, but as a PM, those aren't really problems for me when I use the first version. The two enhancements I see in the new model that I think will have the greatest impact on project management, and the workscape in general are the HD video connection and the cameras. Here's why…

The first version of the iPad is a strictly personal device. When I first got it, I spent a lot of time trying to work out how it could be used in a collaborative way. With it's size, ease of use and connectivity, it seemed like it might be viable as a shared device. I was originally thinking it might serve as a great replacement for an Agile task board, and instead of standing around a board, Agile teams could pass it around the war room when they were together, and then, with the connectivity, it could serve virtual teams as well. But, there's not an App for that. The closest viable thing I found was Google' chalkboard - which was cool, but too small to be of any real use. With the new video out and the ability to show the whole screen, we have something even better. In meetings, rather than standing and working at a whiteboard, or a flip chart, we can work on the iPad and have the video show up on a screen. This will give us the same capability to work freehand by using any one of the apps that lets a user write and draw with their finger tip. When we're done, we can store the file in the cloud and share it with whomever we need to.  This may not seem like a big deal at first blush, but think about all the time you spent (or have spent) typing up or otherwise capturing information from a whiteboard of flip chart. This would completely remove that step. Yes, we can take pictures of what ends up on the whiteboard or flip chart in a  meeting, but it isn't as easy to recall those and update them later when we need to. As soon as someone creates an App that will also record audio and tie it back to the graphic file we create, the iPad will begin solving the same need that both Livescribe and Papershow solve. If the Gen 1 iPad gave us new options, the Gen 2 has the potential to deliver an easier way to work. Given the volume of work most PMs carry nowadays, this could be very significant. (Plus, we could end up with a lot less conference room doubling as storage for those electronic white board that always seem to be broken.)

The new cameras brought me back to something I have been thinking about since the set up was first introduced in the iPhone 4. Project Managers spend a lot of time writing, (editing, correcting, explaining, etc.) status reports. Our job is primarily one of communication and status reports are a critical part of that. However, we now have another option. It may take awhile to become accepted, but it would enable us to communicate far more effectively, in less time, than what we do now.  With the self-facing camera it is easy to shoot a quick video and export it to email or iMovie. With the new iPad (or iPhone) PMs could record video status reports in short video status segments, tag them so that it is clear to anyone watching what the relevant topics are, and then post those. (In Merlin, you could even store them in the project file as elements.) Once we have all our snippets done, we could use iMovie on the iPad to assemble a full status report and post that as well. So, for those who want just the pieces relevant to them, they are available. For those who want the full report, we have that too. The argument against this is likely to be that it is faster for a consumer of our status report to just scan through ti quickly if it is written. That may be true, but writing is a limited form of communication when you compare it to video. Think about how many status reports, emails, etc. have been misinterpreted because all the reader had to go on was text. With video, you get facial expression, vocal tone and all those other nuances that can help someone get a clearer picture of when the PM is trying to convey serious concern, or even just make a joke. Think about all the communication struggles we continue to have in working with geographically spread teams and how much of that could be addressed if we were simply able to add additional layers of communication through voice and facial expression. Yes, scanning a text document may be faster, but the question is, does that quick read really provide an effective enough method of information consumption? This one may take a little while to catch on, but it would be hard to argue that increasing the depth of information it offers could do anything other than benefit a project and the people involved.

In both of the above examples, the new iPad has the potential to change how we handle our day to day work as project managers. It may not be Angry Birds, but if it can save you time and help you collaborate and communicate more effectively then it may be as magic as they claim.
Potion 21 - Dave Goes to Macworld... Again

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lessons from the Yurt Part 2 - Interview with Kathy Compton

Part 2 of my interview with Kathy Compton from Panda Transport

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Lessons From The Yurt  - An Interview with Kathy Compton from Panda Transport

This is one of my all time favorite interviews. Last fall I had the great fortune to meet Kathy Compton and Theirry Holoweck from Panda Transport at the Øredev 2010 conference. One of the really unique things about Panda Transport is that this two person band exists 1/2 in the US and 1/2 in France. In talking to them I realized that those of us who struggle with offshore have a lot to learn from the music world. Kathy has focuses in using vocal techniques and body language as ways  of making herself a more effective performer - to me, this ties directly back to a PMs ability to utilize body language, emotional intelligence, etc. to be more effective in our jobs.

This part one of the interview. Part 2 will be posted in a week or so.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Macworld 2011 for Project Managers - Day 1 Recap

It has been a busy couple of days for ProjectWizards. Earlier this week Frank Blome and I taught a Merlin class here in San Francisco and it was a great success. We had Architects, Marine Biologists, folks from Apple, Google and a number of other companies. After some meetings yesterday we got set for the 2011 Macworld Expo to start today.

Since the departure of Apple from Macworld, the event has continued to scale down, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. This year it was held in a smaller hall in the Moscone Center than in previous years, but the space seemed to be pretty full with a variety of booths. The show still seems to be moving in a more consumer driven direction in that the lion’s share of exhibitors were there to demonstrate products that would be available and appealing to the general public. There are still lots of cases, skins and products that are more about accessorizing devices than actually using them. There is a large area devoted to devices and software that will be more appealing to musicians and the App Area, while smaller than last year, is still filled with a lot of new exhibitors and products.

My main goal was to seek out products that would be valuable to project managers and business. I plan to spend more time on the floor tomorrow and I will hopefully be able to get a few interviews in, but here are the things that stick out for me at the end of one day on the expo floor…

Both ShowWX+ and Papershow by Canson were back from last year. ShowWX+ is a laser pico projector capable of 848x480 resolution. It is about the size of an iphone and weighs only 4.3 oz with the batter. According to the rep I spoke with briefly, it is capable of projecting up to 61 inches of video goodness. However, in their booth, they were projecting video into a small section of an 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper. The form factor of the projector would be a great thing for anyone who travels and teaches or gives presentations, but I would want to see it on a large screen before hand.

Papershow, on the other hand, actually gave me chills. It looked cool last year, but didn’t seem totally realized. What I saw today was quite different. If you have been reading books like Visual Meetings, by David Sibbet or Back of the Napkin by Dan Roam this is definitely something you’ll want to check out. Papershow comes with a pen, a special USB dongle and special paper. As you draw on the paper with the Papershow pen, what you put to paper appears on your screen and can be projected onto a surface. The writing on the pages is tracked by the camera built into the pen, which records position on the paper by tracking against tiny pixels that you can’t see unless you look very closely. You can change the color od the ink, the width of what you are drawing, etc. Once you are done creating your document, you can simply create a PDF of your work and email it out. I’m going to try to get to spend some time in a one-on-one interview with them tomorrow, but so far, Papershow is my favorite so far.

LiveScribe was there with the new Echo SmartPen and I’m still of the mind that if you are a project manager, you need this pen as badly as you need coffee, aspirin or oxygen. The LiveScribe technology also works on the pixelated paper premise, but the pen records what you write on the page while it is also recording audio. So, if you are taking notes in a meeting, you will have a record not just of what was said, or your written notes of what was said, but they are tied together. So, when the meeting is done, if you tap on the page, it plays back what was recorded while you wrote that particular text. This has saved my butt on more than one occasion and I HIGHLY recommend it.

There is much more I have to write about, but right now I’ve got to head out to the Greatest Party in the World, Cirque du Mac, which ProjectWizards is proud to sponsor. I will have another blog entry, and hopefully a few video snippets posted tomorrow.