Planning to Build vs. Building the Plan

June 24, 2007 by · Comment
Filed under: Project management, Teamwork 

Apparently, Dwight D. Eisenhower once said “In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” Read more

Practicing Safe PM

April 29, 2007 by · Comment
Filed under: Process, Project management 

Inevitably, if we build our project schedule based on reasonable expectations of how long it will take to do the work and an initial cut at dependencies between activities, the resulting overall duration will be well beyond our hopes, goals, and promises. This is a challenge that will not go away, and there are different ways to deal with the issue. Read more

Use The Force

March 4, 2007 by · Comment
Filed under: Process, Project management 

Way back, about 20 years ago (OK, perhaps a bit further back…), I started my career working on embedded systems. At one point, I recall debugging a serial protocol between two devices. There was one particularly nasty problem, one that for quite a while simply refused to be solved. More about that nasty bug and the lessons learned next week. Read more

Fostering a Project Along

February 11, 2007 by · Comment
Filed under: Project management, Teamwork 

I was working with a team in a technology company this week, going over some of the soft skills and hard practices of project management. This is a team from a variety of disciplines that works together on projects. They had recently completed a project that people in the organization characterized as a ‘train wreck’. On the surface, one would think there would be opportunities to improve on their performance. Read more

Shaping Your Projects

February 4, 2007 by · Comment
Filed under: Leadership, Project management 

When it comes to getting a great deal of work done, there’s nothing like defining a project as a means of collecting your thoughts, organizing the activities and understanding the expected outcomes for your efforts. This is true if you are building a fence or a software product, but it also applies when the end result is far less tangible as well. The same approach can be very effective in building a competitive position in the marketplace, or systematically evolving your perspective on a topic. Read more

Getting In the Groove

January 14, 2007 by · Comment
Filed under: Process 

These days, we are hammered with more information than ever, and expected to get more done in less time. For most of us, this drives up the pressure to juggle a number of tasks simultaneously, in a frail attempt to meet expectations. We are busier than ever, and there is no end in sight. Read more


December 31, 2006 by · Comment
Filed under: Leadership, People 

It’s that time of year again, when many of us resolve to start exercising (again), stop smoking (again), lose some weight (again), or get back in touch with people we have lost contact with (again). Give most of us a week, and we’ll return to our old ways. Read more

Putting a Finger on Rework

October 8, 2006 by · Comment
Filed under: People, Process 

I gave a couple of presentations at a conference this week. In both talks, I dropped the oft-quoted industry statistic (appropriately prefixed with the dreaded “Studies show…”) that in software teams, 30-40% of all their time is spent in rework. Reference to the same stat was used by at least 2 other speakers at the conference as well. Read more

Divide and Conquer

August 27, 2006 by · Comment
Filed under: Process, Project management 

In the ideal situation, the process of software development should consist of a series of appropriately selected steps, each of which clarifies some aspect of the system as you proceed from inception to delivery. Done properly, there should be no “and then a miracle happens” steps along the way, as can occur when you dive into the code right after throwing together some concepts on the back of an envelope. Read more

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  • What’s Happening

  • On The Road Again

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

    Contact Jim if you would like to connect around any of the upcoming dates:

    • Blissfully at home in Vancouver, BC over the summer!
  • What People are Saying

    Another excellent article – we were just discussing this very subject in a course I recently taught. I forwarded your article to everyone in the class, so you might expect a few more subscribers soon…

    — Bruce Butler, PEng, Senior Systems Engineer, Modular Mining Systems Canada