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Monday, June 30, 2014

Projects that Sneak Up on You

Jim the Newsman
     Back when I was a newspaper editor, I got into a monumental special edition, our self-congratulatory recognition of the paper’s 150th anniversary. It made a lot of money, but our management of it failed to match the grand expectations in other respects.
     The organization mostly treated the matter as a replication of what we all did every day, only bigger and with a more extended schedule. We news folks figured there had to be loose bits of time in our schedules, and story ideas and photo subjects lying around. No big deal, just somewhat burdensome.
     We did it one step at a time. There was no master plan, and there was zero meaningful consultation among the major stakeholders. We made no attempt to do anything other than leave it to each department: Gear up for a big effort. That’s the only way we knew how to do it.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tesla, Musk & Projects without Precedent

      Elon Musk is something else – sort of a Paul Bunyan of project managers. You can read it all on Wikipedia.
     We’ve heard about dreamers, daredevils, winners and those incredibly focused people who get serious at a young age and achieve great things.
     Musk is all that. The work breakdown structure of his career includes work packages that have made him a multimillionaire while he tackles very big challenges. He continually diversifies and multiplies success.
     As a South African kid, he taught himself computer code and made $500 at the age of 12 selling a video game. He came to the U.S., did PayPal and made a bundle when Amazon bought it.
     He took Space X in seven years from nothing to the Falcon 9 rocket and the Dragon space freight vehicle. The Falcon9/Dragon combo was the first commercial space vehicle to dock with the International Space Station. He is visionary, a technical wizard and no slouch at sales and marketing, in-person and online.

Monday, June 9, 2014

PMP: The Eye of the Beholder

. . . Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man
That he didn't, didn't already have. . . .

     Among the many charms of the wonderful 1939 movie, “The Wizard of Oz” is the salvation scene for the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Man and the Scarecrow.
     The three characters bemoan their perceived lacks through much of the story: courage for the lion, a heart for the woodsman and a brain for the scarecrow.
     Near the end of the tale, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz eventually solves the problems in a most magical way. He ceremoniously bestows a medal on the lion, a fake heart on the tin man and a diploma on the Scarecrow.