Universal Principles

June 12, 2017 by · Comment
Filed under: Leadership, People, Teamwork 

Way back in 1687, Sir Isaac Newton published Principia Mathematica, where he described the concept of gravity. It’s been said that he discovered gravity then, but it’s a pretty safe bet that apples fell in the downward direction from trees before 1687, and they will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Gravity is a universal principle. Read more

Statics and Dynamics

February 16, 2017 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Process, Teamwork 

Way back, about 35 years ago, I vaguely recall an Engineering course in Statics and Dynamics that was particularly difficult. I’d be lying if I said I could recall any of the formulas from the course, and the textbook is long gone, but I do remember that, well, static analysis was pretty lightweight compared to the sophistication of the dynamics half of the course. Read more

Stay Humble

December 16, 2015 by · Comment
Filed under: Leadership, People, Teamwork 

We all suffer from a variety of cognitive biases, faulty assumptions that screw up our ability to make decent decisions. One of my favourites is the Dunning-Kruger effect, where those that are unskilled tend to overestimate their abilities. Apparently the study of this bias was inspired by a bank robber who smeared lemon juice on his face (you may have used lemon juice as invisible ink when you were a kid) to hide from surveillance cameras. Read more

Transactions and Connections

May 28, 2015 by · Comment
Filed under: People, Project management, Teamwork 

When we stumble on our projects and seek ways to improve our experience and results, there is a strong tendency to establish a clear approach for future projects, based on what hurt us in the past. This might look like a particular approach, a set of templates to ensure something doesn’t fall through the cracks anymore, perhaps a collection of checklists to guide the way. These become ‘our new standard approach’, but can actually get us into more trouble than before. Read more

Breaking Through Glass Ceilings

October 29, 2014 by · Comment
Filed under: Leadership, Teamwork 

In the workplace, there has been a long-standing issue around a “glass-ceiling”, typically described as a limit beyond which it is difficult for women to rise in a male-oriented business environment. This may manifest itself as lower salaries (no karma jokes here) or challenges in advancing through the ranks. My experience is that this is a far more nuanced issue than simply a gender-based bias in the workplace, and has roots that can be traced back through a gender imbalance in many business and engineering programs in schools, and biases and choices made in raising our children, cultural biases, and how we all manage our relationships in life. Read more

How to Motivate a Team

February 27, 2014 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Leadership, Project management, Teamwork 

I was following a thread on a LinkedIn group recently about how to motivate a team, and I felt compelled to join the group and reply. Not surprisingly, I had a few things to say. Read more

Sensitive Leadership

December 4, 2013 by · Comment
Filed under: Leadership, People, Teamwork 

As we gain more responsibility in the workplace, there comes a time when that new responsibility changes from ‘getting more complex tasks’ to ‘being in charge of others’. Whether or not we are prepared for it, there comes a time when we are asked to take on a leadership role. Read more

A Social Endeavour

October 15, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: People, Quality, Teamwork 

A friend of mine has gone back to school to do some research into cognitive biases and how to mitigate them in the context of technology projects. As part of his research, he is reproducing an experiment that looks at the drivers surrounding particular tasks in projects – in this case, estimation. While the results are not yet comprehensive enough to satisfy the statistical gods, there is a trend coming out of the data that is interesting to ponder. Read more

Expertise vs Humility

September 11, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Leadership, Teamwork 

There is no shortage of steps you can take to demonstrate your expertise in the world. It starts with basic degrees and diplomas, then you can add letters after your name at grad school, get more letters with professional programs, and collect a pile of certificates from, well, pretty well anywhere. Read more

All Shapes and Sizes

January 16, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Project management, Teamwork 

I spent a few years facilitating an award winning PM Certificate program in Vancouver, up to about a year ago. One of the things that astounded me in that program (and I’m sure the scenario plays out elsewhere as well) is that on the first day, most of the students were looking for a standard set of templates and a recipe for project success.

I guess I astounded them right back when I said “Nope, sorry”. Here’s my reasoning. Read more

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    January, 2018 – A workshop series to help you develop resilience in the workplace and in your life!

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    Jim frequently travels across Western Canada for engagements, and welcomes opportunities to meet, run a workshop, Diagnostic or Lunch and Learn session.


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  • What People are Saying

    Jim was the head instructor for the Certificate Program in Project Management at Sauder School of Business, UBC. I had the privilege of benefitting from his vast experience and great patience as he guided us to the successful completion of this challenging program. Jim was able to de-mystify the sober and precise task of project management creating a fun learning environment based on constructive collaboration and interaction.

    — Philippe Antes