Squaring the Triangle

Topics and trends in the world of program and project management

Time-traveling back to the 1995 software development industry

1995-on-Back-to-the-Future-style-flipboard

Remember the heady days of 1995? Toy Story was released, Jagged Little Pill was the album of the year, The Grateful Dead disbanded, this time for good. For the tech industry, eBay was founded (“an online flea market”), and Windows 95, Java 1.0, and JavaScript (no relation) were all released. There was also a book published, Software […]

How to break the Iron Law of Megaprojects

Sydney-Opera-House-close-up

Have you ever been across the Brooklyn Bridge? Or flown in through Denver? Or visited the Sydney Opera House? If so, you were experiencing the results of a “megaproject” — and one that had failed in its original intent. The Brooklyn Bridge was completed 100% over budget. Denver International Airport was completed 200% over budget. […]

Want to improve job performance? Take a walk, take a hike … no, seriously

hikers-on-trail

The International Labour Organization estimated in 2012 that 50% to 60% of all workdays lost were caused by factors associated with work stress. Improvements in technology, and especially mobile technology, may not be helping this. Stress is not always bad. For example, it can provide drive, energy and focus. However, too much stress or the […]

Learn to ‘Manage with Power’ from these historical examples

executive-leading-strategy-session

Walking, talking and managing with ‘Power’ is not an innate ability. It is a skill that can be learned and practiced. It can help us deliver on our projects and programs. Here are some examples: General Patton General George S. Patton (1885-1945) was one of the most decorated military officers in World War II.  A […]

Project management: How conflict can be used to improve team performance

team-whitewater-rafting

Forming, storming, norming and performing is a well-known team building process. But can we harness the disruptive power of conflict to produce better outcomes for our business? The answer, surprisingly, is yes. There are legitimate ways to use conflict. The 4 types of conflict We know from academic research that there exist four types of […]

It’s time to get certified (and get recognised) in project management

rubber-stamp

With the Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act signed into law in the U.S. and the awarding of a Royal Charter to the Association of Project Management, there has never been a better time to get certified within the project management industry. Recognition within our PM practice can be hard and sometimes daunting. Getting certified […]

Managing information flow: How much is enough?

waterfall

Controlling the flow of information for projects, programs and portfolios is a key core competency of a program manager. Too much information, and tasks can spiral out of control, meetings can cascade down rabbit holes and deadlines can recede into the distance. Too little information, and team members can start to feel isolated, decisions need […]

A parable for failed project management, and how to find success

elephant

Working with a team, managing a successful one, and leading for success all have at their core a similar problem. How do we ensure that all team members view the project — the drawbacks and the benefits — with the same insights and understanding? This is the Blind Men and their elephant problem. In the […]

Applying Nobel Prize winning economic theory to program and project management

nobel prize

Congratulations to Richard Thaler on winning the Nobel Prize in Economics (also known as the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences) earlier this month. Thaler was recognized for his ground-breaking work in behavioral economics, which led to the bestselling book Nudge, about how organizations and governments can use these new techniques to bring about better […]

How great project management could lead to a great sales cycle

man-at-white-board

The project management and sales lifecycles have much in common. Consider the main attributes of great program and project managers. Problem solving and time management skills, abilities to hit deadlines and motivate teams — these are all vital in the sales cycle. The ability to respond to an RFP in a timely fashion, with all […]