Friday, April 28, 2017

Enlightenment

Traditional thinking about project resources has centered on human resources, the members of the project team, including the project manager himself. But this post is focused on the project manager’s inner resources, which is about enlightenment.  

Understanding how other people behave takes intelligence, but to know ourselves takes enlightenment. The poor project manager tries to use force to get the other team members to do what he wants. But to manage ourselves takes true power.  

The Way  
The wise project manager is content with what he has. He can live simply and enjoy prosperity and free time. If our goals are clear, we can achieve them without fuss.

The Tao  
Lao Tzu tells us:  

He who understands others is wise,  
He who understands himself is enlightened.  
He who masters others has strength,  
He who masters himself is strong.  

To recognize enough is to be rich.  
He who acts forcefully has ambition.  
He who stays where he is endures.  
He who dies but is not forgotten, is long lived. 


Friday, April 21, 2017

Rules and Regulations

Poor project managers go in for fancy theories, which end up distracting the team from what is happening and saps their energy. Where rules and regulations are applied to the work of the team it breeds dissatisfaction. The project team will start to split into fractions and infighting will start to develop between them. The wise project manager must know when to stop.  

On the other hand, where there are no fancy theories or prejudices to split the team into fractions, there will be harmony. Where the work of the team is grounded in an obvious and natural righteousness, there will be no need for rules and regulations.  

The Way  
The way cannot be defined, it just is. It is the single principle responsible for every event or thing. The wise project manager has regard for this principle and as a consequence the team will trust him.  

The wise project manager returns to an awareness of what is happening and the single principle that lies behind it. Focusing on this single principle is the most potent aspect of leadership. From this the wise project manager will learn how things happen 

The Tao  
Lao Tzu tells us:  

The Tao is eternally nameless.  
Its simplicity, although imperceptible, cannot be grasped.  
If kings could grasp it,  
The ten thousand things would follow them.  

Heaven and earth cause sweet dew to fall,  
Not just on the worthy but on all alike.  
Men will not need to force it,  
All things would take their course.  

Once the whole is divided, the parts need names.  
There are already enough names,  
One must know when to stop.  
Knowing when to stop, thus avoiding danger.  

The existence of Tao in the world,  
Is like a river flowing home to the sea.  

Friday, April 14, 2017

Intervention

It's good to see that (son) David's book: Scrum is easy steps is now out on Kindle, print version to follow shortly. He managed to get it written while finishing off his MBA and working full time as a Business Analyst/Scrum Consultant, no mean feat.

Meanwhile I plod on with EVA in easy steps, I reckon I'm about half way with the text but still lots of graphics to do. I'll probably take a break from it this (long) weekend and watch a bit of rugby. 

Intervention
This weeks subject is intervention and that's a characteristic of a poor project manager. They interfere in the work of the team and insist on things being done their way. The team members begin to feel their work is not valued and the team will be weakened. What may, at the time feel like a victory to the project manager, is actually a failure. Team members who have been bruised in this way will become less open, more defencive and resentful.  

The Way  
The wise project manager does not interfere. He knows that a special awareness is called for if intervention does become necessary. Facilitation is the way of the project manager.  

The Tao  
Lao Tzu tells us:  

Weapons are tools of misfortune,  
They are not the wise man’s tools.  
He uses them only when necessary,  
With calm and detachment.  
Victorious but without glory.  
Those who glorify, 
Are delighted in the killing.  
Those who delight in killing,  
Cannot achieve their ambitions in the world.  

Friday, April 07, 2017

Interfering

The Project
I'm getting into the heart of the matter now for Earned Value Management in easy steps and realising that it does have some good points after all. When I had to use it (as the client insisted on it) I just thought of it as an unnecessary overhead. I've set myself a challenge to add a chapter on Agile EVM, which should be really interesting as it's almost an oxymoron!

I'm not getting to spend as much time on it as I would like at the moment as I've a lot to do on the day job. It's the end of the club's financial year and on top of everything else I need to get the gift aid claim in but it means an awful lot of typing. The good news is that a couple of new volunteers have stepped up and they are able to take on some of the stuff I've had to do up until now. As ever I need to let them get on with things but be there if they get stuck and need any help or encouragement, which brings me nicely onto today's topic.

Not Interfering
Some project managers just have to interfere in their team members’ work. It might be due to their own insecurity or a lack of trust in their team members. Maybe they are selfish, think they know best or just want to take the credit for everything. The result is that the team members will start to react against it. If the project manager then tries to use force, conflicts and arguments will follow. The project team will begin to disintegrate and the climate will become hostile.  

The Way  
The wise project manager understands the way, does not interfere and uses as little force as possible.  He guides the team without pressurising people and without fighting to have things done his way.  He has a light touch and neither defends nor attacks.  By leading selflessly and harmoniously he will grow and endure

The Tao  
Lao Tzu tells us:  

When you use the Tao to advise a ruler,  
Military force is not the right way to rule.  
This will tend to cause resistance.  
Goodness will bear fruit enough.  

Achieve results, not the victor’s laurels.  
Achieve results, but not through aggression.  
Achieve results and not arrogance.  
Achieve results, but not through acquisition.  
Achieve results, but not through violence.  

Force is followed by loss of strength.  
This is not the way of the Tao.  
That which goes against the Tao soon ends.

Friday, March 31, 2017

The Paradox of Trying

If a project manager tries to use too much pressure or force to get things done it is sure to backfire on him. By constantly intervening and interfering with the work of the team any team spirit will soon be destroyed and the quality of the work will go with it.  

The poor project manager tries to control the team rather than nurturing and encouraging them. By trying too hard and pushing the team they are blocking progress rather than encouraging it.  

The Way  
The wise project manager stays centred and grounded and encourages the team to function well by assisting them and dealing with any issues they may have.  He knows he is there to support the team and encourage them, not to interfere.

The Tao  
Lao Tzu tells us:  

He who would take over the world and change it,  
Will not succeed.  
The world is sacred,  
It cannot be done.  

He who would try to change it, will suffer defeat.  
He who would try to seize it, will fail.  
Some creatures act, some follow.  
Some snort, some praise.  

Some are strong, some are sick.   
Some bully, some destroy.  
Therefore the sage dismisses,  
The excessive and the extravagant.  

Friday, March 24, 2017

Setting an Example

The Project
I've just had the go ahead from the publisher to start work on "Earned Value Management in easy steps" and I've given myself a three month deadline, so here we go again! Apologies to everyone I told I had retired, but I couldn't resist it. 

I've mapped out the chapters and topics and started on the text but there is going to be a lot of work to get the charts and other illustrations right. I might try generating them from MS-Project but it might be easier to hand build the in Adobe InDesign (the editing tool we use).

Even though I'm right at the start of the project I find that today's post is about the middle to late stages of a project, when there are often battles to be fought by the project manager. At the same time there will also issues and problems to be resolved and some team members may need help and encouragement.  

The Way  
The wise project manager needs to act as both a warrior and as a healer.  As a warrior, showing power and decision, he displays the Yang or masculine aspect of leadership.  But most of the time the project manager acts as a healer in an open, receptive and nourishing way.  Providing assistance and encouragement to the team members is the feminine or Yin aspect of leadership. 

The Tao  
Lao Tzu tells us to:  

Know the strength of man,  
But protect the feminine.  
Be as an example to the world.  

Know the honour, protect humility.  
Be as a valley in the world.  
As a valley in the world,  
The eternal virtue shall be sufficient.  

Return to the state of the uncarved block.  
When the block is carved, it becomes useful.  
This for the sage is the example of adulthood.  
A great tailor cuts little,
And does not destroy.  

Friday, March 17, 2017

Subtlety

Happy St Patrick's Day to all those with Irish blood/Guinness flowing in their veins (I think I count under both qualifications) and good luck to Ireland in Dublin tomorrow when they attempt to spoil England's party. If they can beat the All Blacks in New York they can surely beat England in Dublin, especially with Jack Nowell left on the bench! Meanwhile Topsham RFC still face an uphill struggle to avoid relegation but if they can match last week's performance they could still do it. So that's the important stuff out of the way, and talking of the Way this weeks subject is subtlety

The Way  
Poor project managers knows that they need members of the team to carry out the work on the project, but they fail to recognise that they also need to serve these people. If there is no mutual need and mutual respect they are missing the point and will not see how things happen on the project.  

The wise project manager has an awareness of everything that needs taking care of on the project; he misses nothing.  In return the members of the project team need the project manager to steer them in the right direction and facilitate their work, and this he does willingly.

The Tao  
Lao Tzu tells us:  

A good walker leaves no footprints.  
Good speech is free of flaw and fault.  
Good calculation needs no tally or writing.  
Therefore the sage takes care of others,  
And does not abandon them.  
This one might call enlightenment.  

The good man provides a model for the bad man.  
The bad man a student for the good man.  
No matter how clever one is,  
If the teacher is not respected,  
Or the student not cared for,  
There is a great potential for error.  
This might be called an important subtlety.