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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, May 31, 2006

Definitive CCPM Book Updated -- This might be a bit of old news, but I've just noticed that Larry Leach's excellent book, Critical Chain Project Management, has been updated with a second edition.



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Some Items I'll Write More On Someday -- How to Make a Decision in 30 Days or Less and getting things done with Structured Procrastination.


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Friday, May 26, 2006

Friday Fun: The Cult of Mac -- With no intention of inappropriate comparisons, the well known zealotry of my fellow Mac users, combined with the recent panorama pic (Quicktime required) of the throngs at Apple's NYC store opening reminded me...
...of a more traditionally religious pilgrimage.


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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Holistic Hummings -- My feedreader has recently been humming with holistic thinking. From Sig...
So I ask myself - what's the difference between "brand management" and "process management"?


Both is all about "what value are you going to deliver to what customer and how are you going to use your resources to attain that and keep some of it for yourself?"
From Hugh...
The gap that seperates "making" from "selling" is artificial.
If you do have to break the typical processes into functional departments, I've always felt that instead of the typical reporting structure of production being organizationally close to engineering or product devlopment (in something usually called "operations") and sales joined at the hip with marketing, it should be production and sales for supporting today's business and marketing and engineering for tomorrow's.

And from Jason...
Product development, marketing, PR, support, design, programming, etc ó itís all the same thing.
One way of putting all this into context is that everything needs to subordinate to a constraint-based strategy, recognizing that the market is constraint #1, even if it feels like the bottleneck to growth has slipped inside temporarily, and that everything that is done in a business is done for the customer current and future.


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Thursday, May 18, 2006

If I Knew Then What I Know Now...I might have done better at using this blog to help keep my consulting practice alive during the downturn. Adding to what I've since learned about internet marketing working at DigitalGrit, a piece in BusinessWeek addresses the question, "Does Your Small Business Need a Blog?"

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Critical Chain and Agile Development -- I've recently had reason to review some of the things I've written about Critical Chain Project Management and Agile Development over the past few years of this blog. Highlights include...
Project Portfolio Management

Critical Chain-based Project Management and (not or) XP/Agile Development

Agile/CCPM - Non-Meaningful Distinctions


Dependencies - Violent Agreement

Requirements Churn -- A Question of Ends or Means?
They still hold up pretty well, if I say so myself.

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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Reminder: Mother's Day is Sunday -- An apropos quote...
"You know, it's at times like this when I'm trapped in a Vogon airlock with a man from Betelgeuse and about to die of asphyxiation in deep space that I really wish I'd listened to what my mother told me when I was young! . . . Why, what did she tell you? . . . I don't know, I didn't listen!
   -- Douglas Adams, From The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe.

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Please Remain Seated Until Your Row is Called for Boarding -- A Wired News article on airplane boarding strategies, reports on an industrial engineering research study, comparing the long-standing back-to-front zone boarding method to window-middle-aisle, "reverse pyramind" (a combination of the two), and Southwestern's unassigned by group approaches. Anazing that people haven't considered the alternatives to this bottleneck sooner, but I guess as pressures grow to turn around planes on the ground sooner, pressures to think a little deeper grow as well.

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Thursday, May 04, 2006

Those Bottlenecks Will Get You Every Time --
...or is it the idiots who ignore the bottlenecks. Be careful out there.

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Critical Chain Makes BusinessWeek - Almost -- Yeah, almost BusinessWeek, via its blog, and almost Critical Chain...
"The press covers news, stocks, companies and personalities. But try pitching a cover story on operations. People think it's ... boring. Trouble is, if we want to know where things are going, we have to understand how they work. And when the process is transformative, as it often is in OR, there's nothing boring about it. The winner of the annual Informs Franz Edelman award, by the way, was the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center. They overhauled the maintenance of jumbo C-5 transport aircraft, reducing repair time by 33%. This means that these monsters, which cost taxpayers $2.3 billion each, spend more time in the air and less time in the shop."
Note the link in the quote above...It goes to a summary that says...
"WR-ALC used an O.R. technique called Critical Chain to reduce the number of C-5 aircraft undergoing repair and overhaul in the depot from twelve to seven in just eight months."
Anyhow, good point about the business press, which is apparently like all the other flavors of the press, going for the headlines, numbers, and horseraces on the easy stuff but shying away from the guts of issues.


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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Search War is Now an Arms Race -- That's what Greg Linden suggests regarding Microsoft's plan to spend a couple billion in its effort to catch Google in search. Maybe I've been watching too much Cramer, but the immediate question that came to my mind is who in the storage and switching industries that will be spending that chunk o'change with, and what their ticker symbols are.

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Average -- Seth Godin reminds us that half of any population is below average, and that...
"...It matters because if succeeding in a project requires exceptional effort, you better realize that not just any team member is going to make it work--actually less than half of the pool might."
Unless, of course, your project pool consists of the children of Lake Wobegon, "where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average."

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Open Source Governance -- Hmmmmm...
"There's only one force strong enough to hijack the American political system, and that's the American people. The stage is set for open source governance, which is the only political dynamic interesting enough to work on."
...from Britt Blaser. Before scoffing at what seems like a flying pig proposal ("That'll happen when..."), read the whole thing.

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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Cause-and-Effect or Correlation? -- Pop Quiz!

Is this an example of cause-and-effect or correlation?

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Whatever... -- Came across a great line today...
"The sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament." - Austin Powers
(never saw it - a hole in my pop culture education - this quote may send me to it)

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Monday, May 01, 2006

Global Virtual Classroom 2005/06 Contest Results -- After working together for the last 5 months, approximately 1,500 students from 63 schools, representing 20 countries around the world unveiled 22 websites as part of the Global Virtual Classroom Contest 2005/06. Today, contest winners in both the primary and secondary school categories have been announced.

Award Winners:

With subjects that range from students' heroes to cultural comparisons of their respective countries, and from ecological concerns to types of national governments, sites from participating teams show the kind of creativity that can come from putting children from different cultures together in a collaborative endeavor. Their efforts were judged for content, presentation, and collaboration.

The Grand Prize winner in the younger primary school category, Different Countries, Different People, Same Dreams, put together by a team from Israel, the USA, and India, provides a look into who the students look up to. National leaders, sports heroes, humanitarian inspirations, and "great thinkers" are profiled in this online "museum," along with individual students' essays on their "personal heroes" from their family and everyday life.

Primary School Category
Grand Prize - 01: Different Countries, Different People, Same Dreams

Second Prize - 02: In a World of Tales

Third Prize - 10: One World - Yours, Mine, Ours

Special Merit Awards
03: We Are Your Chlldren Planet Earth

04: Who is the Boss

07: Space - Our Final Frontier
In the older secondary school category, the Grand Prize went to a team of students from Japan and the USA for their site, Holidays/Festivals/Events. This site contains an extensive collection of special days in the two countries, supported by essays, graphics, and animation highlighting the history, significance, and practices associated with them.

Secondary School Category
Grand Prize - 16: Holidays/Festivals/Events

Second Prize - 13: Elements of Desctruction: Can Man Prevail?

Third Prize - 18: It's a Small World

Special Merit Awards
14: Teens and Drugs

19: Woodstock Planet

20: One Planet
The value of the program is not so much in the contest format or the awards or prizes, but in the cross-cultural interaction and in learning about collaboration and communication necessary to accomplish things as a group. Tristan, a student from Illinois who worked on Holidays/Festivals/Events, summed it up by saying "What I have learned about working with other students is that they can create the most amazing things and that they expect to see the same out of you."

The division of labor that the best teams use to develope these sites - with some students doing design and graphics, some writing, and some handling the technicalities of putting the pieces together - allows all of them to contribute "the most amazing things."

All Primary School Team Site Links

All Secondary School Team Site Links

Give Something Back International, the sponsoring organization behind the Global Virtual Classroom, would like to thank the students, teachers, judges, and the folks at Nicenet for helping to make this relaunch of the GVC Contest program a great success, and is looking forward to the next contest, for which the application period is now open.

(And to the readers of my blog and feed, a little "blog love" for this project that I've been involved with for 3 years now would be greatly appreciated. We're accepting applications for the 2006/07 program now.)

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Strategic Thinking and Improvement

Enterprise PM - It Starts with Strategic Interdependence

Face Reality

How to Think With Your Gut

Hugger-Mugger and Helter-Skelter

Managing for Murphy, Satan, and Yourself

More of the Same (Local/Global)

PMI Congress Notes: Using Risk Management for Strategic Advantage

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

What's in Your Strategy?

Why Can't We All Just Get Along?

Why TOC Works
Project and Multi-Project Management
Critical Chain and (not or) XP

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)

Project Portfolio Management

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"
Leadership and Change Management
Consistent Leadership Behavior

Invisible Dogma - Perpetuating Paradigms

Nothing But Value

On Assumption Busting

Personal Productivity - An Excuse?

The Psychology of Change Management

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