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“Influence” of a Good Project Sponsor

Early in my career I was appointed IT Project Manager at a large retail chain responsible for implementing a new storewide computer aided ordering system (CAOS).  The project sponsor was the executive vice-president who chaired a kick-off meeting where individuals were introduced and their expected participation and commitment defined.  At this meeting the EVP stressed the importance of this project to the organization and reaffirmed my role to lead all IT services within the project.Shortly… Read more

Book Review: PreparedU

PreparedU: How Innovative Colleges Drive Student Success by Gloria Cordes Larson. As president of Bentley University, Gloria Cordes Larson is in a good place to study how best to prepare millennial college students to join the workforce. Larson had observed that employers were giving the typical millennial a “C” grade in their preparations for a working career. For their part, the students were beginning to feel that the cost of a college degree did not… Read more

Past and Future

On September 28, I went to two meetings and presentations that were totally orthogonal to each other.  The first meeting was at the Boston CTO Club. The speaker was Bruce Welty. Chairman at Locus Robotics Corporation. Locus Robotics builds robots focused on the distribution industry. Bruce's talk was "Robots: the Good, the Bad, and the Hype". The Second meeting was at the Cape Cod Writers Center (CCWC).  The speaker was John Cumbler, professor of history, University… Read more

Chaos Monkeys

Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley is an autobiography written by Antonio García Martínez. When you get to the end of the book you might think to yourself that Martínez is an asshole. That is what the voice in my head said to me. In my opinion that might be the author’s intended reaction. He certainly did much mudslinging at many of the people highlighted in the book. On the other… Read more

It's About Time To Get Up

It’s About Time to Get Up (amazon) is an autobiography of Gary Slemaker. The book chronicles Gary’s life through early childhood in Washington, D.C., to growing up in the Dust Bowl of Texas, moving to Albuquerque, and settling as an adult in Los Angeles. It also journals Gary’s work history, starting with menial jobs of his youth, to wiring printed circuit boards in a computer job lot factory, and then programing early computers. Gary’s work… Read more

The Little Pie Chart that Could

 At the XP 2002 conference in Sardinia I presented a little pie chart on the percentage of features and functions that were actually used. It was a last-minute addition to a presentation that was mostly about the CHAOS Research on project delivery. At the time, I thought the data was mildly interesting and was looking forward to gaining some feedback from the group. The research on features and functions started in 1996 with a set… Read more

Price of Success

In the last few days two interesting things occurred. First, some notable major project failures came across my desk. Second, we prevented two major projects from failing before they got started.A number of the project failures that came across my desk ended up in court; an example is the Pennsylvania unemployment compensation system. And while not in court yet, the Scottish police system failed after spending almost $60 million. In our Big Bang Boom report… Read more

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