Posted by: kerrywills | May 27, 2016

People don’t leave companies

I once heard a quote that “people don’t leave companies; they leave managers” which I believe wholeheartedly. I have had some pretty bad managers in my career and these are generally the times that I wanted to leave my role, organization or company. People want to feel motivated, appreciated and supported and when they don’t they will look elsewhere.

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So, as managers, we need to consider this belief. If we treat our employees with respect, support and appreciation they will be more productive, more motivated and more willing to put up with the day-to-day crap that we all have to deal with.

So we should all look to be good managers….or if not we will have to work at being good recruiters because we will spend a lot of time doing that (and BTW this will be hard too since disgruntled employees tend to talk to other people).

 

Posted by: kerrywills | May 20, 2016

The resource game

Many companies use resource management tools to allocate people to projects and work. This forces management into a game of “supply and demand.” The demand side are the projects who need resources and need to ensure that they will be ready when needed. The supply side are the resource managers who need to manage capacity and ensure that each team member is allocated to work.

What often happens is that large shared organizations tend to spread their resources to projects to cover the costs but it is more based on the need to be allocated than on the work and can lead to unplanned financial variances on projects.

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Project managers need to be diligent with the planning and tracking of resources to ensure that these surprises do not creep up. This means looking at who is charging the projects and making sure that they are planned resources with legitimate work. While these organizations may not be trying to run up costs, they are incented to have  their people charging to work.

So we need to play the game where we find the hidden resources and move them out….only for them to be moved to someone else’e project and for them to find them. Play on players…

Posted by: kerrywills | May 13, 2016

New Book: Establishing an Enduring IT Program

A few weeks back I created a blog posting called “the Parthenon of Programs” where I used the metaphor of the Parthenon in Athens as a way to set up a program; with a foundation, pillars and ceiling. This metaphor and approach has led to the publishing of my fourth book on project management and program management.

This book reviews what is needed to set up a long lasting program structure in today’s business landscape.

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I decided to self publish this time for several reasons, one of which was to keep the cost down as my other books seemed expensive (the price is set by the publisher). If anyone is interested, click on the Lulu icon below.

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

 

Posted by: kerrywills | May 6, 2016

When is dinner ready?

Even as a child I was a planner. I needed to plan out my day, when I would do homework and when it was time to play outside.So I would ask my mother when dinner was ready so I would know how much play or homework time I would need. The answer was always “dinner is ready when it is ready.” While this was true, it didn’t really help me plan.

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With the trend towards moving to Agile delivery, I am reminded of these conversations with my mother. Many times Agile projects can not tell us when work will be delivered so much as say “it is ready when we finish it.” In the world of business commitments and the need for planning this is a challenge.

There are ways to create plans in Agile based on velocity and priority and so I would encourage teams to use these to manage expectations. So rather than saying “we are done when we are done” say something like “based on our prioritized backlog and pace here is when we are working towards.” This will help our business customers to plan and determine if they can wait until dinner or if they need a snack beforehand to hold them over.

Posted by: kerrywills | April 29, 2016

I don’t swing the bat much, but when I do…

Spending most of my time in meetings I am very conscious of behaviors in them. I find that in many meetings many people have opinions and want them to be heard. This generally leads to long dialogues and debates over nearly every topic. While it is important that people feel heard, I think there should be some discretion used.

The way I approach meetings is using a baseball metaphor; I don’t swing the bat a lot but when I do I tend to get hits. This means that, during meetings, I don’t tend to interject my thoughts on every topic but rather only talk when I think I have something valuable to add to the conversation which will progress the outcomes of the meeting. Conversely, the strategy of swinging the bat every time may get a few hits but generally leads to more strikeouts.

Batter Hitting Baseball

So my advice is to pay attention and only swing the bat when you think you will get a hit. This may mean taking some topics offline but the result will be more robust and valuable conversations and you may even win the baseball game.

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