Project Management Operational Problem Solving Implementation & Change Management Strategy & Alignment

Frank Patrick's Focused Performance Business Blog
This Focused Performance Weblog started life as a "business management blog" containing links and commentary related primarily to organizational effectiveness with a "Theory of Constraints" perspective, but is in the process of evolving towards primary content on interactive and mobile marketing. Think of it as about Focusing marketing messages for enhanced Performance. If you are on an archive page, current postings are found here.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Good Commentary Going On -- Be sure to check out the excellent commentary/conversation going on related to my question the other day about how many projects are too many for a project manager.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2004

On the Source of Progress --
"Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something."
    -- Robert Heinlein, Time Enough For Love -- US science fiction author (1907 - 1988)
From The Quotations Page

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Sunday, November 21, 2004

How Many Projects? -- A while back I got an email asking my opinion about how many projects a PM could effectively manage. I blew off answering it because the answer I was coming up with was rife with so many instances of "it denpends..." that it was feeling meaningless. Instead, I'm planning to turn my attention to identifying symptoms of having too many projects on one's plate. Consider this post a "call for comments" on the topic before I dig deeper into it.

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Yet Another Post on Multi-Tasking -- It's a shame that this topic is still necessary, but Tony Rizzo provides a good description of something so obvious, but so misunderstood.
"So, why is multitasking such a big problem? The answer to this question is explored best in two steps. First, imagine that youíre a customer at a bank. As you wait in an unpleasantly long line, for your turn with the teller, you notice that the teller is doing something unusual. Rather than completing each customerís transaction, the teller is beginning the transaction of the second customer and even that of the third customer. Then, she is task-switching, from one transaction to another, without completing any transaction. Before long, the teller has four or five open transactions, with none of them close to being completed. The teller is multitasking.

"Would you expect to complete your banking any sooner, given the tellerís multitasking paradigm? Obviously not! In fact, you can probably expect to be delayed further, by the mistakes that the tellerís frequent context switching is sure to create.

"Of course, bank tellers donít multitask. In such an environment, multitasking is obviously damaging. So, workers simply donít do it." [read the whole thing]
It's obvious for the bank teller example. Why is it not obvious in other environments? Are the pressures for attention pulling people in different directions for different tasks that strong? Why are they that strong? Is it because things are late and out of control? Why are they late and out of control? Perhaps it might be because of all the little bits and pieces of work that are only partially done. Why do we leave some things partially done and go on to other things? Because of pressure to switch gears and address other tasks...

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Thursday, November 18, 2004

Google Scholar -- One of the things that we TOC aficionados have been known to whine about has been the dearth of academic papers legitimizing the topic. There may be more out there than we know about. And there may be a new way of finding them...

Google has launched a new beta service -- Google Scholar -- that is aimed at digging into the "hidden" assets of the web. Academic and professional papers, many if not most in pdf format, along with cited books and web resources are what you'll find in a scholarly search. This is very cool, from a search technology standpoint, said to be developed by a Google engineer on his "20% time," as well from access to non-commercial content. Very cool. [FAQ here]

And for ["critical chain" project], here's what they've got. (Without adding "project" to the search keyword, you also get stuff on critical chains of DNA.)

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Friday, November 12, 2004

Friday Fun - Hijacked -- Since I now work in the world of online advertising, this swipe at some traditional offline agencies is on the mark.

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Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Do Less, Have More -- Regarding one of my favorite themes, Joyce Wyckoff asks...
"...what are you doing or what could you do as an individual to create thinking time for your self and for the people who work with or for you?"
Create slack!

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Saturday, November 06, 2004

Some New Reading Material -- While I work on getting over my current bout of writer's block (maybe I should have some jeez with that whine), I've come across a couple new books based in Theory of Constraints thinking...
The Cash Machine: Using the Theory of Constraints for Sales Management
by Richard Klapholz, Alex Klarman

Viable Vision: Transforming Total Sales into Net Profits
by Gerald I. Kendall

Management Dynamics: Merging Constraints Accounting to Drive Improvement
by John A. Caspari, Pamela Caspari
I personally know Caspari, Klarman, and Kendall. All are serious TOC thinkers, and I can't believe I missed the launch of these books. I knew Kendall's and Caspari's were coming, but Alex's book on sales management is a pleasant surprise. I'll be picking these up. Maybe they'll get my juices flowing again.

By the way, many of you also know Gerry Kendall as the author of Advanced Project Portfolio Management and the PMO: Multiplying ROI at Warp Speed, a popular book among readers around here.

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Thursday, November 04, 2004

A Lesson From a Donkey -- Passed along from Mike at work...
An old man and a young boy were traveling through their village with their donkey. The boy rode on the donkey and the old man walked. As they went along they passed some people who remarked it was a shame the old man was walking and the boy was riding. The man and boy thought maybe the critics were right, so they changed positions.

Later, they passed some people that remarked, "What a shame, he makes that little boy walk." They then decided they both would walk! Soon they passed some more people who thought they were stupid to walk when they had a decent donkey to ride. So, they both rode the donkey.

Now they passed some people that shamed them by saying "How awful to put such a load on a poor donkey". The boy and man said they were probably right, so they decided to carry the donkey. As they crossed a bridge, they lost their grip on the animal and he fell into the river and drowned.

The moral of the story?

If you try to please everyone, you might as well kiss your ass good-bye.
So you may as well please yourself first. I had so much fun writing about my vacation over on Unfocused, it's tough to come back to this serious stuff. It's starting to feel like work. There's only so many variations I can come up with on my basic themes. If you're new to my blog, you might want to peruse the self-defined "best of" over in the list on the right.


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Tell Me How You'll Measure Me and Ah, But What to Measure?

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Why Can't We All Just Get Along?

Why TOC Works
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Defining Project Success (But for Whom?)

Down 'n Dirty w/TOC and PM (Part 1 of 5 consecutive posts)

End of Project Review

If Project Management is the Answer, What's the Question?

In Defense of Planning

It Ain't the Tools

Lessons Learned, Revisited

Predicting Uncertain Futures

Project Conflicts

Project Determinism (and other myths)

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Promises, Predictions, and Planning

Removing Bottlenecks - A Core Systems Design Principle

Stage Gates and Critical Chain

Ten Top Sources of Project Failure (The Executive Version)

The Meaning of "Schedule"
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Invisible Dogma - Perpetuating Paradigms

Nothing But Value

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Personal Productivity - An Excuse?

The Psychology of Change Management

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