Posted by: kerrywills | August 28, 2015

Drafting my fantasy team

Well it’s almost football season again and that means picking my fantasy football team. This is where you to an online website and along with 9 other people pick a team of football players one at a time and hope that these are the best players that give you points when they perform each week.

I wish we could do this on projects where we get to pick the best players at every position (BA, Architect, Developer, Tester) and put together a ‘fantasy’ team. The reality is that it is more like you showed up late to the draft and it is already in the sixth round and the top 50 players have already been picked.

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So since, for the most part, we are handed our teams on projects the key is figuring out how to work with each team member (player) to understand their strengths and leverage those. This may mean moving people around, adding support where needed or changing roles to optimize the team dynamic. Your team can still be a fantasy one if the players compliment each other and play well together. Oh yeah and if your key players don’t suffer season-ending injuries.

 

Posted by: kerrywills | August 21, 2015

Find the Mayor

I have found at every company that I have worked at there is the one person who has been there for 30+ years and therefore knows every organization, process, key person and secret in the company. I call this person “the mayor” of the company since they pretty much unofficially run the place. It is very important to get in with them as they can be extremely helpful (or make your life extremely difficult).

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I find there are a few strategies which can be used…

  • Step 1 is figure out who is the mayor, which won’t take long to figure out – they will be the vocal one and the one that most people will say to go to for help
  • Build a relationship with them – this will not be easy as you will probably need more from them than they will from you so figure out ways to build credibility. This can include helping them with a project
  • Show them respect. These people are proud of their heritage and deserve to be respected

So the key to longevity with any company is to figure out who the mayor is, build a relationship with them, and then maybe some day you will be the mayor of the company.

Posted by: kerrywills | August 14, 2015

Climbing trees

Last week, my family was on vacation in Lake George. We decided to try out an adventure course which required being cabled into lines and crossing obstacles that ranged from 30 feet to 80 feet off of the ground as well as ziplining down between trees. Some of these obstacles moved as you walked across them including floating logs, cables and swinging poles.

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This was challenging and required balance, upper body strength and, at times, teamwork. My 10 year old son came with us (and outdid most of us on the obstacles). This course was very similar to many projects that I am on – filled with obstacles that need to be overcome and the best way to do them is to tackle them one at a time and work together.

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Like any good project, once we finished the course and succeeded at our goal we came away with a great sense of pride and happiness to have conquered the obstacles. Now as I write this post a few days later, I am still sore from it so I probably won’t be playing in trees again any time soon!

 

Posted by: kerrywills | August 7, 2015

The evolution of programs

Increasingly companies are having more and more large programs that they are investing in. While many of them are called “programs” they are really “portfolios” of programs. That is, they are made up of several programs under them with projects under each program. It is important to recognize this fact as it is more than just semantics.

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Portfolios need to be managed differently from programs in several ways…

  • Portfolio reporting should be an aggregation of programs and then the respective projects
  • Stronger PMs will be needed to run the underlying programs since they are made of other projects
  • Portfolios are much larger than programs and need to have the right portfolio management functions
  • Programs generally have related projects under them; portfolios may include programs that are not necessarily related or have dependencies

So as IT investments are increasing along with the complexity to deliver them, the structure of programs continues to evolve and the PMs on them need to recognize them and structure their portfolios/programs properly to allow for success.

Posted by: kerrywills | July 31, 2015

One way phones

There is a global problem happening with technology today and it is impacting our project teams. I have found that many co-workers have phones that can only receive calls but they can not make any. This has to be the case as evidenced by the lack of collaboration and ability to speak to dependent stakeholders and teams. So my only conclusion has to be that their phones can not dial out.

 

Mine doesnt dial out

Mine doesn’t dial out

This technical problem is not just with one team or person but seems to be a pervasive problem where, unless someone gets people in a room to talk, there is the inability to communicate between people. I hope these phones get fixed fast. But then how do so many people dial into my conference calls? Maybe they can only dial 1-800 numbers.

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