The March article did pretty well. Much better than last month’s. Even though it may not appear to have done better,  not listed here are some future publications for the article that sites and magazines are planning to do in the next 3-4 months.

One thing about this effort (and also not listed) are the sites that want me to write specific articles for their audience. As these general article continue to go out, requests for specific articles has gone up. Which of course I plan on doing as many as I can.

In addition to the article links, I also thought it might be nice to provide some additional details on the sites that published my article.

 

“Shared Services & Outsources NetworkNews Site

03-24-2014

Unique visitors to its site per month: 2,662. Article, titled “Can Project Management Take Short Cuts to Save Time?”: http://www.ssonetwork.com/business-process-management/articles/can-project-management-take-short-cuts-to-save-tim/

 “Young Upstarts” News Site

03-26-2014

News web site covers small businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs; discusses the latest news, book reviews, highlights young professionals in the field, as well as offers product information, ideas and services. Unique visitors per month: 227,416. Article, titled “Can Project Management Support High Growth Companies?”: http://www.youngupstarts.com/2014/03/26/can-project-management-support-high-growth-companies/.

“Clarizen” LinkedIn Post

03-27-2014

News web site provides articles written by experienced practitioners from the shared services and outsourcing industry, including case studies based on real-life situations; serves as an excellent resource for anyone looking for answers to some of the day to day services delivery challenges. Article, picked-up from YoungUpstarts.com post: https://www.linkedin.com/company/clarizen

 

Posted by: ThePMOView | March 24, 2014

Some lesson’s learned

After January’s article, I thought I had a good understanding of how publishing was working. Unfortunately that was not the case. As it turns out, not everything you do in this area is always a success.

I always wanted to do an article discussing using Matrix teams on projects and using the movie, The Matrix, as a basis for this discussion. For obvious reasons. So I did that and had the article sent out. What a difference from January. Only a few sites picked it up. These are listed below.

http://www.networkedwealth.com/the-matrix-project-management-edition/

http://upmymind.com/the-matrix-project-management-edition/

Although a print magazine is looking at publishing this in their June/July issue as well. But still not along the lines of what I have done previously. No Inc magazine here.

While the article was creative and addressed the topic, it turns out it was too creative for the editors involved. This has been duly noted. Future efforts will still be creative, but not too creative.

So there is a boundary for publishing in the Project Management area. Too technical and dry is one and too creative is the other. So the article that is sent out for March will fall solidly between these two points and the results will be posted here. Hopefully my efforts will be back on track.

Posted by: ThePMOView | March 3, 2014

Made it into the Print Media

An amazing thing has occurred. My article last month, Five ways to be a more effective Project Manager, has made the headline on the front page of a national print magazine !!!!. The magazine is called Survey and here is the link to the online version of the magazine. The article itself is on pages 46-49. http://viewer.epaperflip.com/Viewer.aspx?docid=aef12f78-762e-44fb-acd3-a2dc00c2996e#?page=0 (No that is not my picture on the cover unfortunately lol)

One interesting thing about publishing these articles is that a lot of times they are used but you may never find out where. Or they may be used months after they are sent out. So the listings of where they are published that I have listed in my previous posts, are just the locations I know about. So there could easily be a lot more publications/websites that have used these.

Posted by: ThePMOView | February 4, 2014

January 2014 Article

My article was sent out on the 24th and received an amazing number of responses. Below is a listing of all the sites that picked it up. Pretty amazing.

In addition, I have had several sites contact me for writing original content for them. Which obviously I am willing to do.

My current plan is to send out one article a month. It will be interesting to see where all of this ends up, but it is a fun experience regardless of where it ends.

FullStart
Blog site nationally distributed online and driven through WeWork. Unique visitors to its site per month: 5,396.
http://fullstart.com/knowledge/five-ways-effective-project-manager/
This one has 98 Likes on Facebook and 4 shares on LinkedIn 

Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP)
AITP is the leading worldwide society of professionals in information technology
http://www.aitp.org/news/153969/..

Information Executive
News web site headquartered out of Chicago, IL and nationally distributed online. Unique visitors to its site per month: 42,540.
www.aitp.org/news/153969/

S Son
News web site nationally distributed online. Unique visitors to its site per month: 2,662.
http://www.ssonetwork.com/communication-culture/articles/five-ways-to-be-a-more-effective-project-manager/

Cold Chain IQ
News web site nationally distributed online. Article posted in ‘Tools & Templates’ – ‘Articles’ section of site.
http://www.coldchainiq.com/tools-templates2/articles/

IDGA
News web site nationally distributed online. Article posted in ‘Articles’ section of site.
http://www.idga.org/tools-templates2/articles/

AZRE
Magazine headquartered out of Phoenix, AZ and nationally distributed online. Circulation: 25,000.
http://aznow.biz/featured/5-ways-effective-project-manager

Wax Marketing Blog
Blog site nationally distributed online and driven through WeWork. Unique visitors to its site per month: 5,396.
http://blog.waxmarketing.com/

PaperBlog
Blog site nationally distributed online and driven through Self Expression Magazine.
http://en.paperblog.com/five-ways-to-be-a-more-effective-project-manager-780594/

BusinessNewsDaily
News web site nationally distributed online. Unique visitors to its site per month: 277,776.
http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/5837-5-tips-for-better-project-management.html

Mother Nature News
News web site headquartered out of Atlanta, GA and nationally distributed online. Unique visitors to its site per month: 354,491.
http://www.mnn.com/money/sustainable-business-practices/stories/5-ways-to-be-a-better-leader#

Posted by: ThePMOView | December 23, 2013

A new article published at Strategy Driven

I hope everyone is having a great holiday. I have a really nice early Christmas present in that the Strategy Driven web site (http://www.strategydriven.com/) has published the article below in the Blog section. The article is dated 21 December so you may need to scroll down to get to it. One other nice touch is that they include a link to my blog here.

I hope you enjoy the article and I plan to have more published sometime in January 2014.

    Picasso and Project Management

For those that may not know, Picasso is a famous artist. Like others similar to him in related fields, his art has made an impact on the world. But art, like many other things, is relative to the observer, i.e. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” (This saying first appeared in the 3rd century BC in Greece). So while many people may like Picasso, many others may like Jackson Pollack, Thomas Kinkaid, etc. instead and not care about Picasso at all.

Of course art extends way beyond just painting. Films, books, etc. all have their impact on society. And everyone has their personal preference as to which type of art they prefer over other. This just means that if they love films, they may still read a book. It is just their preference to like one better than the other.

This means that artists will cater to the type of art their audiences want. They do this by starting with an idea or concept. This can be from something they saw or imagined, real or not. It can be a new creation or based off of a different from of art, book to movie or vice versa for example. Or even a simple enhancement, like a book’s re-release with extra chapters or a film’s Director’s cut.

Obviously each of these different ways of creating art has very different levels of difficulty. Creating a Director’s cut is much easier than creating the original film from scratch for example. Even within the same type of art, like painting, the differences between artists and their creations are huge. From painting by numbers to the Sistine Chapel there is a massive gap. Both create something, but one obviously has more of an impact than the other.

So what does any of this have to do with Project Management? The common theme from the above is with projects themselves. Just like art, there are projects that have major impacts on society, like the Sistine Chapel (Pyramids, Moon landings, etc.). While other types of projects are more the paint by numbers type.

The art field has many different ways to express art. Projects (and Project Managers) also have many different ways to reach the end goal. As in art, just because someone uses Microsoft Project instead of Primavera does not mean that the end result will not be realized. Both can create the desired result just like one artist can paint in oils, while another likes watercolors. Both paintings could be considered great works of art, just as both projects could be ones that helped improve society.

Also like art, each project is unique, even if the same desired end result is exactly the same. As an example, I worked for three different companies that all wanted the same exact end result for their projects. Each one used vastly different processes, different tools, etc. but they all got the desired end result.

The point of all of this is that project managers are really artists and not scientists. Projects are works of art and not scientific theory. Just like different artists, there are really great people in their field. However generally speaking someone that is a great Project Manager in road construction (painter) is not going to suddenly be a great project manager in a major software project (author). However, it is likely that they could also be a great Project Manager in a dam project for example (water colors versus oils).

If projects were able to be managed like science labs, then why would you ever need a project manager? If Y is needed, you do X and you get Y. The scientific world is looking for Y each and every time you do X. However, in my example above with the three projects, the different companies all needed Y but each of them did A, B, and C to get the same result. This is nowhere even close to the scientific method!

This is why there are so many different project tools, methodologies, etc. The community is trying very hard to convince everyone that project management as a field is a scientific one. We keep looking for some formula or scientific theory that will allow us to get projects done with less effort and better quality. This is an admirable goal to be sure, but not a very realistic one.

The fact that with all the study and effort, this had not happened (and I doubt it ever will), I see no reason not to accept that we are just another form of art and continue to create the great art works our sponsors want. Whether they just want a paint by number picture or the Sistine Chapel, the project managers of the world can certainly create the paintings they want. Are your paint brushes ready?

Posted by: ThePMOView | November 15, 2013

A public Thank you

I would really like to thank all the people who have recently expressed an interest in my blog and writings. It is pretty amazing. Between this interest and my current job search, things are really looking up for me.

I would also like to thank Erik Sherman at Inc (inc.com) for using my Three Myths article as the basis for his article. I also appreciate his quoting me and mentioning me by name in the article as well. For those that are interested, Erik’s article is located here

http://www.inc.com/erik-sherman/the-3-best-practice-fallacies.html

Feel free to leave any comments or suggestions as I would definitely be interested in any feedback.

Posted by: ThePMOView | November 13, 2013

Three Myths of Best Practices

One of the key principles of using best practices is that multiple organizations can use them as a reliable way to achieve the best results. Internal and external organizations can apply the same best practices and ‘hopefully’ get the same results.

Some industries, like project management, turn to external organizations, like the Project Management Institute (PMI) that define or have major influence in determining what the best practices in their areas of expertise are.

So why is this a bad idea in many cases?

The PMI determines the best practice standards by looking at the entire field of knowledge, trying to weed out ‘false paths’ and providing what is the current ‘best practice’ to follow. Current thinking is re-evaluated and standards updated as the project management field and world evolve. Following their lead in how to manage projects and project/program management offices (PMOs) allows a standardized way of doing things.

Myth 1: Allows companies to innovate with reduced risks

Many people use best practices as a defense against innovation or change. “’We can’t do it that way because it goes against our best practices.” is a familiar response to a request to do something different. This is because using best practices, especially if suggested by an external non-affiliated body like the PMI, is safe. Doing anything outside of those parameters is considered non-safe, or risky.

Using best practices this way is going against innovation, being a leader, etc. Just because company A did a project that was successful using ‘best practices’, does it really mean that if company B does the same project too using the same practices, it will be as successful?  Of course not.

Myth 2: It is too risky to do something no one else has done before

A real world example of a complete departure from any best practice: Apple changing from a Motorola CPU for their PCs to one from Intel, in 2005:

According to best practice theory, this was not something that should be done. After all a major PC manufacturer had never successfully done anything like this. Since no ‘best practice’ even existed, this was a huge risk. The following chart shows the results of this ‘non-best practice’. 

 

Source: Gartner, International Data Corporation                                                          Date: 8/24/2012

Between 2000 and 2005 Apple’s market share of PCs increased by only 0.3 percent. In five years! After the switch to Intel, in four years Apple’s share of the PC market doubled. It has continued to increase after that point. An argument could be made that this increase in sales of Apple’s PCs, along with sales of the iPod, is what helped give Apple the resources to develop the iPhone.

Apple is also the only company to successfully change CPUs. The others that tried failed. So best practice principles would dictate this should never be done. Where Apple would be today if best practices had been followed in 2005 is anyone’s guess, but it most likely would not be where they are now. This is a good example of ‘I would rather risk failure than not try to be successful’.

Myth 3: If best practice guidelines are followed then success will automatically follow

Any best practice should be used only if it makes sense for the business needs. If a best practice stifles innovation or delays speed of development, stop using it. Create something unique that will improve/enhance a company’s future. How can a business leap ahead of the competition if the business is using the same best practices as everyone else? The answer is it cannot.

This creates a lot of risk, especially in the Project Management field. If non-standard project practices are used and something goes wrong, then the Project Managers and PMO leaders risk censure and repercussions.  But is not that the real ask of PMs and PMO mangers? To be leaders?  To find the best way to manage a project versus being ‘safe’ by following best practices? Especially if the project would be better off by not following them?

A quote from William G. T. Shedd comes to mind that reflects the dangers of blindly using best practices, A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for,’ To paraphrase, a project manager using best practices is safe, but that is not what Project Managers are for. If Project Managers are not willing to lead, then who else will?

Sponsors look at project managers to get projects done the most efficient way possible. If using best practices can do that, then by all means use them. If they cannot, then the question is do you want to stay in the harbor and be safe or brave the seas and find the rewards that are possible?

Posted by: ThePMOView | September 4, 2013

My own Byline

As you know from my previous post, I am now writing project management articles for Dice.com. My newest article was published today and is located here.

Dice is also kind enough to want me to continue to write articles for them (Yea!) and to help this process, provided me with my very own Byline to write under. Pretty nice huh?

So again, comments on any of this can be left either here or on Dice’s site. I’ll definitely see them either way J.

Posted by: ThePMOView | July 23, 2013

A Reawaking

Well it has been a while since I last posted anything here. Just like many online endeavors, job, family, etc. all interfered with my continuing this effort. So why am I starting up again?

Based on my writings here, Dice.com and I started discussing writing articles for Dice’s online newsletter. I currently have my first article for Dice published here. My second article is planned to be published on 9/5 and I have a third planned after that.

Rather than copying the same text in both places, Going forward, I will just be providing the links to the articles directly on Dice on this blog. Of course comments of can be left either here or at Dice’s site. I hope you enjoy it.

Posted by: ThePMOView | October 12, 2012

Intermission

Viewers will notice there has been a gap between my earlier posts and this one. The reason for this is simply due to the nature of blogging. Blogging I realized is not a sprint but a marathon. So what this means is that posting every week, at least in my opinion, has the danger of diluting the quality of both the writing and the topics.

I do enjoy writing about project management and the trials and tribulations of the field. However, this blog started to become more like work versus something that I started out enjoying. I actually thought about just letting the blog die because it became ‘not fun’. To put this into perspective, while the following is several years old, I feel if it was done again today the results would be pretty close to the same.

According to a 2008 survey by Technorati, which runs a search engine for blogs, only 7.4 million out of the 133 million blogs the company tracks had been updated in the past 120 days. That translates to 95 percent of blogs being essentially abandoned, left to lie fallow on the Web, where they become public remnants of a dream — or at least an ambition — unfulfilled.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/07/fashion/07blogs.html?_r=0 , 5th paragraph

As I would rather not fall into the 95% group, I realized that I needed to get back to the enjoyment of writing versus trying to meet a goal that no one else cared about but me. In order to do that, I stepped back and re-analyzed why I started this blog in the first place. In business terms, I looked at my business needs and re-evaluated what was going on and took a different direction based on that information. So many people, both in business and their personal lives, start off in a particular direction and, when difficulties occur, try to force themselves down the same path because it is the one they are used to. Without taking the time to look around and see if doing something different would be better or easier. Or better AND easier. :) .

Of course many times changing direction or focus is much harder and even painful than trying to keep going in the current direction. So either the pain and/or the difficulty has to reach a point where change is forced rather than planned which, in the majority of cases, does not end well. This explains why 95% of the people who start blogging stop. It was difficult to continue to write when very few people were reading it. Caused pain because no one cared about what they were writing, usually something the blogger is passionate about. So they changed direction by stopping. While a valid decision, this is not what I wanted to do.

So I will continue to post on an irregular basis. Of course if my readership explodes then I will do the same thing as I did here and re-analyze the situation and adjust accordingly.

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