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A Team of Your Own

 In a recent microblog Pauline Nist suggests having your own team. “The best project in my career was back at DEC in building the VAX 6200. It was the first SMP system to use microprocessors. Here I had the luxury in building my own team from scratch. As an executive sponsor if you can build your team, recruit the right people with the right skills you will have an advantage. This is where you… Read more

Tale of Two Books

The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business WinBy Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, and George Spafford(Portland, OR: IT Revolution Press, 2016)The DevOps Handbook: How to Create World-Class Agility, Reliability, and Security in Technology OrganizationsBy Gene Kim, Jez Humble, Patrick Debois, and John Willis(Portland, OR: IT Revolution Press, 2016)By Jim JohnsonIt’s always nice to see another book out by an author you enjoyed. I had reviewed The Phoenix Projecton the May 10, 2016, CHAOS… Read more

Is Normalized Systems the Next Big Agile?

We just finished reading Ron Jeffries’ latest post on “Bad Agile,” titled “Developers Should Abandon Agile.” It put us in mind of what the late Jim Gray said after he joined Microsoft: “The only thing that good developers need is to create product that people use.” Yes, developers want the freedom to create code—but management wants command and control. And when Agile is subverted to give more command and control to management, Agile loses its… Read more

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

Recently a vice president of engineering asked for a recommendation for an agile tool. We will call her Sally.  We just finished reading Ron Jeffries’ latest post on bad agile, titled “Developers Should Abandon Agile”.  Sally has a small team of 10 engineers hoping to grow to 20 in a couple of years. Sally was interested in managing and detailed insight into workflow, epic/story/task, people allocation, Slack integration and many other micro managing features. Our reply was that you do… Read more

Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast!

    by Jim Johnson Culture also eats tools for lunch and processes for dinner. After looking at over 120,000 software projects I have come to the conclusion there is only one thing that matters between successful projects and non-successful projects.  The one thing is a good culture.  PM tools and processes may actually cover up a bad culture and fool you, but over the long run they will only increase your costs, reduce the value of project… Read more

A Simple Definition of Complexity

By Jim Johnson…The other day, two of my master students at the Antwerp Management School asked me for a simple definition of complexity.  My first answer was, “Complexity is like porn—you just know it when you see it.  And I think it depends on the individual’s perspective.  For me, brain surgery is complex, but chewing gum and walking at the same time is easy. For some brain surgeons I know, chewing gum and walking at… Read more

Probing the Enigma of Project Sponsor-Saboteur Dualism

By Professor Jim Johnson We were recently having a discussion with a colleague about some recent research. Our colleague raised the notion that a project sponsor might also be a project saboteur.  Our first reaction was: How can that be possible?  A project sponsor is a person who supports the successful resolution of a project; a project saboteur would be someone who tries to kill the project.  These two personas are opposites! However, the conversation got… Read more

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