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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.

Friday, March 30, 2007

On Time In Your Day -- Johanna Rothman asks How Much Time is in Your Day?

10 hours? 8? 6?

And how many of these days exist in your typical week?

Your answers will impact your estimates.

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Task Fragmentation -- A good clarification of multitasking as "task fragmentation" by Jack Vinson.


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On Time --
"The sooner you fall behind, the more time you'll have to catch up."
   - Steven Wright

"There is never enough time, unless you're serving it."
   - Malcolm Forbes

"It's not the time it takes to take the takes that takes the time; it's the time it takes between the takes that takes the time."
   - Steven Spielberg
That last one really rings true.

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Two Reasons People Say No -- From Seth's Blog...
"It's been done before"
"It's never been done before"

Even though neither one is truthful, accurate or useful, you need to be prepared for both.
Slick (as one comes to expect fro Seth Godin), but a little simplistic, since there's also "We don't need to do that." (Layer 1 of resistance), and "That won't solve our problem." (Layers 2, 3), "But if we do that, we'll have a problem with..." (Layer 4) and "We could never make it happen." (Layers 5, 6)

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Gotta Love Those Unintended Consequences -- From a $sub$cription-only piece by Jim Cramer...
"A soon to be disastrous energy policy based on raising chicken and beef prices to sell more ethanol, coupled with Rest of World demand for all metals, will make it so we will not get good inflation numbers."
We'll be able to drive to the grocery store...just won't be able to afford anything there.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Lessons Unlearned -- Derry Simmel asks a good question about "lessons learned": Why donít we learn from them?. He puts forth two possible reasons...
1) We think the lessons don't apply to us, and
2) We want to get things done.
We may learn, but the trick is putting the learning into practice by changing processes and procedures...and following those processes and procedures.

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Karma Korrection -- I just realized why the idea of priority conflict avoidance as a cause of multi-tasking came to me so easily yesterday.

I probably subconciously stole it from Jack Vinson's The pernicious thinking behind multi-tasking and Johanna Rothman's response to it, Multitasking is Conflict Avoidance.

There...I feel better now.

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Monday, March 26, 2007

Slow Down, Brave Multitasker, and Donít Read This in Traffic -- Regular FP readers can probably ignore yet another article on the evil of multitasking...
In a recent study, a group of Microsoft workers took, on average, 15 minutes to return to serious mental tasks, like writing reports or computer code, after responding to incoming e-mail or instant messages. They strayed off to reply to other messages or browse news, sports or entertainment Web sites.

"I was surprised by how easily people were distracted and how long it took them to get back to the task," said Eric Horvitz, a Microsoft research scientist and co-author, with Shamsi Iqbal of the University of Illinois, of a paper on the study that will be presented next month
....from the New York Times.

But then with all the evidence, why do we persist in it? It's probably all about the inability to set priorities which is in turn based in the desire to avoid conflicts about those priorities.

In an effort to keep everyone happy, everyone suffers.

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Interplanetary Supply Chain --
While "supply chain" usually refers to the flow of goods and materials in and out of manufacturing facilities, distribution centers and retail stores, de Weck said that a well-designed interplanetary supply chain would operate on much the same principles, with certain complicating factors. Transportation delays could be significant--as much as six to nine months in the case of Mars--and shipping capacity will be very limited. This will require mission planners to make difficult trade-offs between competing demands for different types of supplies.
Read the rest...

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Friday Fun: WKRP is Coming to DVD -- WKRP in Cincinnati: The Complete First Season (3 Discs)

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Monday, March 19, 2007

300 Is Not A Training Film -- From The Cranky Middle Manager...
Just a couple of weeks ago, I was sitting on a conference call, like so many mornings, listening to a senior executive address her glassy-eyed direct reports.

She gave us the state of her particular union, complete with visions of a glorious future full of happy shareholders, delighted customers and employees who wouldn't really miss those co-workers who'd just been right-sized.

But she sounded completely inspired when she started on the new blockbuster movie "300", about how 300 Spartans held out against impossible odds Ė citing it as proof of what a few dedicated people could do when they really tried.

This, I suppose, was to let us know that they didn't really need their "bloated" staff and if properly motivated, their teams would perform just like those Spartans.

What she actually managed to do was to get me to clean out my sinus cavities with coffee as I choked and spat it out my nose...
Read the whole thing.

(Spoiler: The 300 all end up "on their shields", not carrying them -- not really a viable strategy for on-going growth of a business.)

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Top 5 Things That Should Be Taught In Every School - Wasn't sure whether this post belongs here or in Unfocused, until I realized that the list...
1. [Personal] Finance
2. Communicating Effectively
3. Social Skills
4. Sales
5. Time Management
Bonus - Health
...also sounds like basic requirements for any [project] management role.

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Collaboration -- The 100% guaranteed easiest way to do Enterprise 2.0 from Euan Semple -- DO NOTHING -- along with the second -- GET OUT OF THE WAY -- and third -- KEEP THE ENERGY LEVELS UP -- easiest ways. He suggests we already know the hardest way.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

More on Flow -- From Signal vs. Noise, summary and a good collection of links.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Wish I Was There -- Guess I'll just have to wait for the podcasts.

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Enjoyment in Performance of Tasks -- From Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience...
Eight Components of Enjoyment
1. Confronting tasks that we have a chance of completing.
2. Concentration.
3. Concentration is possible because the task has clear goals.
4. Task provides immediate feedback.
5. A deep, effortless involvement removes from awareness the worries and frustrations of everyday life.
6. Enjoyable experiences allow one to exercise a sense of control over oneís actions.
7. Concern for self disappears, yet paradoxically the sense of self emerges stronger after the flow experience is over.
8. Sense of time is altered - hours pass by in minutes.
It's about focus/concentration on a reasonable task, preferably in the form of a series of sub-tasks that provide a sense of accomplishment along the way.


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Monday, March 05, 2007

Something New: Focused Performance 2.0 -- A new social network. Taking the Focused Performance Blog and, hopefully, the Critical Chain Yahoo Group boldly into Web 2.0, via Ning.

Hope to see you there.

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Strategic Prioritization -- A comment from Glen in a recent post on prioritization triggered some of my memory cells, resulting in recall of a few older posts and essays addressing the subject of the role of strategy in portfolio management (including the old chestnut of a graphic included below), "enterprise PM", and the pain of making the "first cut."

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Friday, March 02, 2007

Pull This -- From Joe Ely at Learning about Lean, a nice example of pull replenishment minimizing the need to predict.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

There is No Such Thing as Percent Complete -- From Johanna.

'Nuf said, but read it anyhow.

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How to Always Be On-Time -- Contributed to Slacker Manager by Rob Crawford, this list includes advice like the following...
"Donít try to squeeze in one more phone call or one more game of Minesweeper before departing for your meeting ó better to leave early and arrive on-time with a relaxed frame of mind. Then, you can play Minesweeper on your Palm Pilot while you wait for all the late people to arrive."
The latter part of this tip helps address the problem that when one is punctual, there's usually no one there to appreciate it.

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FP's Recommended Reading
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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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