Saturday, 31 December 2016

New Year Countdown 266315374264

So what is this number and how cannot help?

Try this one 155274263153. Still not sure?

The first one is the first Monday in each month for 2017, and the second?

Correct! The same for 2018.

So what use is that? Well if you learn this number (or keep a note of it handy) and know the number of days in a month* you can easily work out the dates of any day in any month for that year without needing to refer to a calendar.

So when you are stood in front of your whiteboard, marker in hand, with your team trying to work out those pesky milestone dates, BOOM! you can quickly work it out.

*If you can't remember the song use your knuckles take a look here.

Have a marvellous New Year's Eve and a productive 2017.

The Sunday Lunch PM

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Thursday, 24 November 2016

#blackfriday - 5 days free book

So whilst I have moaned about Black Friday having no relevance to anyone else people in the US it appears to have become a global sale period, so it you can't beat join em!!!

Free copy of When I Were a Project Manager starting Friday :-)

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Social Project Management

An interesting sounding event well worth a look.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

What Am I Doing?

Well at the beginning of the year I promised a new publication, mmmmmm not progressed too well. The target was March and it was a collaboration. Both of us taken over by our day jobs and a little concern about copyright stuff.

So I have decided you finish off the bits that I had done and publish as a part works............. FOR FREE.  Yes! For free :-).

End of October is my target so keep you eyes open and be ready to smile oh and groan.

See you soon


The Sunday Lunch PM

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

This week I have mostly been getting Scrum certified

Brilliant! I passed my Professional Scrum Master 1 exam. Aren't exams brilliant? Eh? No?

I am not sure if it is my age or the difficulty of the exams but the last two exams, APMP was the other one, have been the most stressful have had, I was right up to the wire time wise, did not get a chance the review all my bookmarked questions and in the APMP I did not answer all parts of all 10 questions.  Maybe I am a bit more invested in getting the result because I value my time more than I did when I was younger.

Anyway here are the tools I used
  • Two day training course for QA Training, really good grounding in the Scrum principles and as it was a instructor lead course the real life experience from the other attendees allowed you to put the framework in context. Here's a link to their course
  • Audio version of the Scrum guide, with an hours drive for me it is idea prep. Here's a link
  • Practice assessments - I took them till I got near a 100% as recommended by a colleague and printed out my results to refer to if needed here's the link
  • A couple of Mind maps people have constructed here's the link to one
  • The html version of the scrum guide, saved locally
And here are a few tips
  • You have to have registered on first so don't all revved up and sat at you PC ready to take the exam - register in advance
  • Have all of the above tools open to you, I have 4 computers involved 
    • one taking the exam
    • one with previous assessments results
    • one with the scrum guide on
    • one with the mind map on
  • Only have one of your PCs connected to interweb
  • Reboot your PC that you are going to take the course on - mine did an update which could have kicked in part way through the exam
  • Switch off phone so it is not consuming bandwidth
  • Ask others in house to leave Facebook and Netflix alone too
  • Use the bookmark feature it will help you check back
  • Bookmark any your are not quite sure, you might kcik youself if you can't find it
  • Be prepared to have book marked more than you thought
  • Because you booked marked so many, assume you will not get to go through all your book marked ones
  • Have glass of water to hand, oh and a wee before you start
I am no exam expert, so trawl the internet for advice and good luck to anyone taking the exam.


Monday, 18 July 2016

It's Sunny Have a Free Book

To celebrate a sunny day in the UK  I am making When I Were a Project Manager free for one day only on the 19th July.

Grab a free copy and let me know what you think.



Been a bit 'busy'

So as you will see I have not posted anything for a while I have been 'busy' and not on any of my book projects.

What does busy mean, well we all seem to be busy and wear it a bit like a badge, but as I heard on a podcast called IM Talk if you are too busy to meet any commitments you have made that means you have weighed up priorities and given something else higher priority.

We make priority decisions big and small every day. "Shall I check Facebook or chat to my partner", "watch a soap or do exercise"......

Write my book or put extra effort into the job. 

I apologise to anyone eagerly waiting for the book, it will come, honest. In the mean time I will finish off the one I started in Jan and publish before the end of the year. You will be happy to hear this one will be a free ebook.

Got to go now, bit busy.


Thursday, 28 May 2015

I have finally published something

So I have been a little remiss in writing either the blog or the book but I have not been entirely idle.

Yesterday I published my first "book". I say book as it is available on kindle but is only 8 pages long and is a play based on the 4 Yorkshireman sketch made famous by Monty Python.

For UK readers it can be found here

For the US here

It should be available in other territories too but I have not yet worked out how to get the links.

Hopefully you will find it amusing.



Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year : Are you a three day monk?

With the new year approaching and the inevitable resolution discussions and thoughts about setting some new goals and then by the 6th of January enthusiasm seems to wane. This article talks about what you can do to keep going: The Three-Day Monk Syndrome by +Leo Babauta at Zenhabits.

Happy New Year and may it be filled with joy, prosperity and keeping goingness.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Ever found yourself not doing what you know needs to be done

This article really does explain why we all, in most facets of our life avoid things we know we should do.

As a PM is it working out you EAC because you think it think give your a number way above your budget. It bring your plan up to date cause you have a feeling that you are going to have to ask people to work the holidays to get back on track.

Have a read then I endorse the do 2 minutes. I just did writing this and feel better for it.

The Do Plan, or Why We Know But Don’t Do

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

5 Ways to Deal with Stress - Fresh Air - from DEG Consulting

This article from Jeremy Roberts at DEG consulting makes a lot of sense, when the pressures in the office build up what release mechanisms have you got? Today flinging my keyboard down at the desk was one I used (Not the most mature I know).  Getting out and stomping around the car park is another I have used. That helped, a bit, even then thought of kicking a car helped :-) (I know!Still not mature).

Jeremy takes the walk one step further and turns it into a more positive direction, focussing on releasing the tension that has built up,  allowing you to think more creatively in solving the problem rather than reacting to it.

Have a read, I think it might help, it will save some keyboards in my office at least.

5 Ways to Deal with Stress - Part 1: Fresh Air

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Seth Godin explaining why the number is not important but the opportunity cost

I think that the point made here by Seth is very relevant to looking at business cases for you organisations projects.

If you have a project than costs £100k and pays back in 3 years then great.....but what else could you have done with the £100k, could you have spent a small part of it doing something that motivates the whole organisation improve productivity 1% give £1m extra profit, who knows.

They say that the numbers never lie, but they do not  tell the whole truth about a decision.

Making big decisions about money

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Email Tip 3: Do not use the reply all option

Here's the logic, 
  • We all get too many emails!
  • We all send too many emails!
  • We all speak of email as we do about traffic when we are stuck in it!
What do I mean? Well when we are in a traffic jam we refer to the traffic being bad as if we are not part of it , but actually we are part of that collective term of traffic, if we were not there ourselves there would be less traffic.  The same can be said for email, if we sent one less email there would be less "traffic" for the recipient.

So what's the suggestion? If every email we receive, that we need to reply on, we look at the recipients and the people copied on it and assess whether they need to be copied on our reply. Sometimes people are included by the originator to show that they are doing something, so once copied the goal is accomplished and the copied recipient does not need to see the rest of the conversation because they know the conversation is going on.

There is a feeling sometimes that we have to respond in kind and make sure the same level of management is copied from our team, this means you have told your boss that you cannot handle this alone, and have entered into a "my dads bigger than yours" scenario, which sometimes has to be done, but does it in this case?

If you need to let your boss know or one of the recipients know that you are dealing with the email, send the a copy of your response separately and say "For information only no action required" (yes bold the no action) they will know you have it in hand but will not be exposed to a deluge of traffic they do not need.

Great so that helps everyone else but not me I here you cry! 

I disagree, and here is why 
  • it will reduce the number of people in the conversation therefore less traffic on that subject
  • if we do this and get everyone else to through feedback to our team overall traffic will reduce
  • if we got the world to do it, life would be a bed of roses
A non scientific formula  to back my view up 
  • Number of reply all emails sent on average per day = X = 2 (low number)
  • Number of recipients copied average per email that could be removed = Y = 2 (low number)
  • Number of email users in your team / company  = Z = 2000 
X * Y * Z = emails saved per day 
 2 * 2 * 2000 = 8,000 per day 
 2 * 2 * 2000 * 5 = 40,000 per week 
 2 * 2 * 2000 * 5 * 4 = 160,000 per month
 2 * 2 * 2000 * 5 * 4 * 12 = 1,920,000 per year
Average time to deal with that email = 3 minutes
Annual time saving =  5,760,000 minutes / 96,000 hours / 12,000 mandays / 60 full time equivalent (FTE)

This is a crude calculation but probably on the low side and but he number staggered me the equivalent of 60 people to do something different. Also bear in mind this does not take into account the exponential nature of an email reply all everyone reply-all-ing to all reply all has potential for greater savings.

If you think from a project management point of view if you have a average project team of 50 people instilling this could save you 1.5 FTE, how many of invest a large amount of time trying to get one or two people approved and assigned to our project or team?  

To help be do this I changed my email program to move the position of the REPLY ALL button to be away from the REPLY button so that it makes me think before doing reply all. Since then we moved to Outlook 2010 but cannot figure out how to do it yet, so if anyone out there knows how then let me know.


Thursday, 16 February 2012

Email tip 2 Switch off email alerts now!!!!!

Turn off the alerts. The hosts of the Manager Tools podcast Mark and Mike call the outlook pop up toast and as they say if you leave it on you are toast. Every time the email alerts you, you are distracted, even if for a second and this destroys focus on the task at hand.
Switch it off, switch it off now.
But when will I deal with email? I hear you cry. Simple answer whenever you schedule it in your calendar. 30 mins in the morning and in the afternoon, 1 hour at the end of the day whatever suits you. Just don't deal with email when everyone else wants you........which is when they send it you. Take control of your own time.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Email tip 1. Don't read your email........well not all of it.

This coming week I am on leave and want to enrich my blog a bit, email is my target for a few days.
Do you always feel the all you do is read email and attend meetings then try this?
in your email app create a folder under you inbox called copied or CC'd,
setup a rule to move any cc mails to that folder,
only read when you have dealt with your to emails in your main inbox.
Tell your team, tell your boss, tell your peers, tell anyone who might email you. Then if they copy you on an email they know you may not read it for sometime, if at all. If they want your attention or action they should put you in the to box.
Now there are risks for you, someone senior might copy you and you not see it, I add another rule for key senior people to pop up in my face.
Finally when you CC people, if you think they will do the same, how about not copying them at all and save them a few precious minutes.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Is there anyone listening

Seth's point made here make me think am I any of these things to people.

Award winner? Er No.
Sent from a trusted source? Who knows.

So I wonder how do I get traffic to my blog and hence someone to buy my book. If you read this can you be my trusted referrer? If you can then thanks.  If not the thanks for considering it, even if for a fleeting millisecond.

How do they know you're not a flake?

Monday, 28 November 2011

Plans, plans everywhere, and not a gantt to be seen

Archtects use drawings. Coders use a program. Accountants use spreadsheets. Sales and marketing use PowerPoint.u
Why are there so many different ways to pull together a plan and why do we as project managers get twitchy if it is not in a gantt chart? Does if matter?
I say NO. Why? Because as long as all the stakeholders and team members are happy with this form of communication and it includes the key info, i.e.who does what by when and who needs it done. If this is the case then who cares.
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