Agile Outside, it's a thing

TSR No. 11, Big data can help the PM, how to get past that project due yesterday, ethics and morals, and phishing the PM.

Welcome to the Eleventh Issue of TSR. This week was kind of a mess with email, 'eh? Sorry about that. With new tools comes a learning mountain that I'm still climbing. On a different note, this week's issue brings about an updated format, more streamlined, and less essay-ish. Please, give me your feedback on the new way of doing things. Should we keep it or go back to the old?

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Using big data to your advantage

I am a big fan of the average project manager who can read and understand analytics; it can truly make the difference between a good PM and an awesome PM. If you're interested in becoming that "awesome" PM, you might be interested in reading How Big Data Impacts Project Management.

How does it exactly impact the craft? To summarize: with a good understanding, it'll limit inefficient processes, keeps your costs lower, assist with resource management, and helps mature your team via a skills analysis.

"And it's not done because... ?"

There's nothing better in the world of project management than someone other than you, as the PM, telling the sponsor that something will be done on day X. Especially when it isn't or can't be done. Liz Column gives us a hint as to how we should handle the project that was due yesterday, "There are also ways to help your sponsor successfully honor commitments they have made through scope management."

((Ethics) + (Morals)) / (Responsibilities) = no easy answers

"...but by carefully interrogating these three dimensions, leaders can move forward with confidence that the decisions they make reflect the best possible balance among their different principles." I have a thing for ethics. I consider myself an ethical person, and I enjoy the study of the subject. However, no matter how confident one may feel in their ability to do the right thing, there will come a time when doing so won't feel like the right thing... who's it right for?

Eric Pliner, writing for the Harvard Business Review, talks about the difficulties of doing the right thing, for the right reason, and how to prepare for the next ethical dilemma decision ('cause you're an ethical project manager, right?).

Flaws and Phish

I guess it was only a matter of time before some of the more popular tools we use daily were being exploited. Honestly, I'm somewhat shocked that it's taken this long. The two that showed up in the news this week were Basecamp and Jira.

Basecamp has two hits against it; the first is it's been linked to loading the BazarLoader trojan, and the second is a phishing campaign using Basecamp domains.

Our second worry this week comes via Jira. "Security experts have unearthed a vulnerability within a system that is itself used for bug tracking and project management. The error could allow hackers to extract sensitive information relating to users of the software." However, if you're up to date, you should be good as the flaw has been patched.

Using Agile outside the server room

Yes, I know you wouldn't really use Agile anything in the server room (unless that's your workspace...). However, what do you think about using Agile or Adaptive Management to lead humanitarian aid efforts? It's fantastic if you ask me. While I'm sure it's not the first time Agile management practices have been used in the field (in fact, I can say it's not the first as my own Emergency Management teams have used Agile to work dynamic response operations), it's rather nice to see it documented for us to all soak in some lessons learned.

You'll find the "Guide “Agile or adaptive management,” 2020" not all that difficult to read and well worth the short time it'll take you. Once I get around to publishing my recommended reading list, that'll be on it.

The mystery of the invisible Google Project Management Certificate

This week was a cheat week concerning my weekly essay. I fully admit that studying for my PMI-ACP exam takes a little more of my after-work time than I anticipated. Thus, this week's "essay" isn't really an essay as a reminder that the PM certification that Google got everyone excited about at the beginning of this summer still isn't here. However, I have a theory about that.

Parting Shot

While copyrighted in 2012, it seems the old adage is true: "What's old is new, again."