Posted by: kerrywills | July 22, 2016

Pokemon Go

Well with the craze of this new game I just had to make a posting here. I do admit that I have been playing the game with my kids and nothing says family bonding like walking around a cemetery trying load up on “Pokeballs.” In this game, there are Pokemon everywhere and you need to capture and secure them. Relating this to our work we can think of Pokemon as risks, issues and actions that pop up all around the program and it is our responsibility to gather them all up and inventory them.

Better contain that issue...

Better contain that issue…

If we do not contain these risks, issues and actions there are consequences which could mean lost time, missed commitments, additional cost or impacts to quality. So it is in our best interest to perfect our approach of looking for them, identifying them and capturing them so that they do not cause us more problems. Oh, and make sure to look up so you dont walk into the street or fall off of a cliff!

Posted by: kerrywills | July 15, 2016

Turning rhetoric into action

It seems that everyone has opinions and sometimes it feels that everyone needs to voice them at work and especially during meetings (compounded in larger meetings). But the question is how to make these views actionable. Just showing up and having an opinion is not sufficient. Teddy Roosevelt said it well below..


So, people need to come with recommendations or an approach to help progress work forward. They also need to be sensitive to time management, the agenda of the meeting, the audience and whether or not their views will derail the conversation. The focus should be on how to help problems and move actions, and not just get your turn to talk. This posting counts as my turn to talk so I am ending now…



Posted by: kerrywills | July 8, 2016

Vacation or “working from another location”

It is summer time which means vacation time for many. As Project Managers, our projects do not slow down just because it is summer (in fact they always seem to be the craziest during this time for some reason). While it is important to rest and take vacations, there are differing views on whether or not to work.

On one hand, there is value to disconnecting and “recharging” with time away from work. On the other hand, work can pile up, progress can slow and anxiety can build by being away for too long. My approach is what I call “working reactively” which means that I check messages and read documents but will not “do” work over vacation. This way I stay close to the work, can provide guidance when needed and do not have to worry about the pile of work when I return. I will also take a phone call or two if this matter is critical but may not even introduce myself.


Of course this is a personal decision and generally I do this work before the family gets up or during downtime on vacation so it does not impact too much. I also am sensitive to others and when my team members leave, I do not bother them when they are away.

What do others think? Do you really take vacations or is it just “working from another location?”

Posted by: kerrywills | July 1, 2016

Collecting Shark Teeth

This week the family took a vacation in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. We had heard this was a great location to collect shark’s teeth so the kids were excited to look around for them. The first day we walked all along the beach at 6am and came back with some great shells, but no teeth. We did not really have a plan or know what to look for (beyond something that looked like a tooth). We then did a little more research to come up with a plan. We learned that if you look after low tide in areas with debris and shells, you can find them and they would be pointy and black. We had our plan and then executed it properly which meant Diligence in finding the right spots and Attention to Detail in looking for them and sorting through the piles (two of the principles in my Guiding Principles book).


In the end, we found over 100 teeth during the week including one from a Great White Shark which was about 4 inches long. The morale of the story is that we do need to have the right plan and then execute on it properly if we want to meet our goals. Otherwise it becomes luck whether we find a tooth, or just handfulls of sand.


Posted by: kerrywills | June 24, 2016

Be like Meghan Trainer

Meghan Trainer has a new song out called “no” where she keeps saying this to fend off the advances of men. Programs should take a similar approach to fend off the likes of change controls, additional scope and other distractions which impact the ability to complete work. Too often, we try to be good stewards and take on additional work, late requests or changes to please our customers but the end result is missed dates or increased cost. At the end of the program these same people do not remember the kindness of the team in bringing on more work and will just look at the results.


So we should respond the way Meghan would…

  • The scope is “no”
  • The change is “no”
  • The late requirement is “no”


This sounds like taking a hard line, but it will allow the team to stay focused and deliver on existing commitments instead of taking too much on and then nothing gets delivered.

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