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.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Bigger Agency -- I thought I joined a Top 50, 200+ person agency when I started at Rosetta Marketing this week. Turns out it just announced the acquisition of Brulant, so we're now Top 10, 600+ people.

Somehow it seems more comfortable to be on the buying end of such a deal rather than my recent experience on the "bought" side.


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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Curmudgeons --
"I have decided Iím not going to waste my time anymore with lazy, rude, self-important, self-delusional, intellectually dishonest, closed-minded curmudgeons who bark against the full moon of change."
...from Jeff Jarvis, on A Cure for Curmudgeons.


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Friday, July 18, 2008

Where I'm Going and What I'm Doing -- Starting Monday, July 21, where I'm going...

A rapidly growing marketing agency serving pharma (it is in New Jersey, after all) and other industries...

What I'm Doing...
Program Manager - Responsible for assuring PMO methods and practices implemented within assigned Client programs. Responsible for overseeing all work activities leading to the delivery, assurance, certification and acceptance of project deliverables and solution components each assigned program. In coordination with assigned Project Managers, interface with client regarding high-level issues of project scope, status, and risk mitigation. Works closely with client to identify and assure delivery against key business objectives. Helps define and refine company standard PMO methods and practices. Primary responsibility for program-level knowledge management.

Oversees large complex e-Marketing programs consisting of multi-discipline and mixed resource (company, client, and third party) teams. Responsible for defining scope and content of programs in coordination with Account Management. Assists in contract negotiations. Assures program knowledge capture. Ensures program profitability.

May manage up to 4 client teams. Primary interface with client regarding program process/progress. Responsible for assigning and directing work in compliance with proposal or statement of work. Maintains overall program plan and coordinates high-level aspects of program activities with client and team. Acts as development Manager for 3-5 Project Managers. Performs project level and annual reviews with assigned PMs. Reviews and approves staff reviews performed assigned PMs.
The sense I get from the interviews is that the Princeton/Hamilton office culturally feels like a 100-person version of the 25-person DigitalGrit I joined in 2004 - smart, caring, dedicated people trying to do good work and strongly supported by its leadership. If my suspicions are correct, this should be fun.

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From Dell to Taco Bell -- Here we go again. A few years ago, Jeff Jarvis kicked off the Dell Hell meme. This time it's Taco Bell Hell.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Focused Performance in Wordle --
A graphic representation of Focused Performance blog wordage.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Good Conversation Starts With Listening -- From Business Week's Blogspotting column - a long-time denizen of my feed collection - Time to Start Whacking Away At Conversational Marketing...
"...this is a moment of decadence in online marketing and the next turn of the screw will root out this baroque, extraneous set of contortions around conversation. Marketing should be dialogic. True dat. But the goal isnít conversation...

"...whatís so powerful about going online, you can talk back. But it feels like what some marketers are taking away from this is that they should talk to us in conversational tones and should do product placement by getting the video podcasters we listen to to pitch to us in their own voices. It feels like they still want to talk at us and still keep tight control of the messageóbut just hide that theyíre doing it."
[my added links] As in everything new, it's a learning process, and many will take longer to understand and adapt.

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Evidence of Critical Chain in the Wild -- One of the heartening things I've discovered during my job search is that of the two firms that I've had sufficiently successful conversations that they might be in my future, one manages their multi-project organization "the TOC way" and the other is seriously considering doing so. I knew about the first going in, the second was a pleasant surprise sprung upon me in an interview.


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Monday, July 07, 2008

No Respect -- Scott Berkun has written a great piece in Why project managers get no respect, on the perceived roles of PMs - perceptions that are created and reinforced by all the bureaucratic trappings with which many PMs surround themselves with as proof of their value.
"This lack of respect creates a huge opportunity for people who open minds: their expectations of you are low. If you take the time to find out what it is that the people on the project need from you, or value from you, and make that as large a part of your job as possible, you'll get more respect than you expect. And you may find that people start referring to you as a different kind of PM - one who has changed their opinion of what PMs can do for a team - and youíll earn not only their respect, but their trust and best work too."
This is so very much in sync with how I have tried to perform the PM role and something I've had to think about carefully for interviews in my current job search.

Project Management - the way I try to do it - is 1) about serving/leading the team (worrying about the process not to keep the team in line with it, but rather so the team doesn't have to worry about it), 2) about helping the people who do the making understand what they are making, defining (for communication purposes) the boxes, and more importantly (for modeling the effort for them), the arrows between those boxes, and 3) assuring that the promises being made are both feasible and realistic at the outset, and protected along the way (especially working with other project managers to avoid/minimize cross-project interference).

In my last four years at an interactive agency, one of the things I am most proud of is that while in the beginning, I had to horn my way into certain projects to get to know the business and its processes, in the end, teams were asking for the support of myself and other project managers in the firm. I like to think that I didn't change their opinions of project managers as Berkun talks about (because project management was not all that mature in the agency four years ago), but rather taught them by example how to rely on our project managers to help everyone do their best work building our marketing programs and web sites.

It wasn't out plans and schedules. It was our communication supporting our dedication to helping the team and the client meet their goals.


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Saturday, July 05, 2008

Critical Chain, ca 2003 -- Clarke Ching points out that a pdf of a Cutter Journal issue devoted to Critical Chain is available from the Prochain site.

Thanks to Rob, Bill and the others at Prochain for passing this on.

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

Social Media How To -- The "Where's my Jetpack" blog provides the following excellent summary of "doing" social media...
Blog. Do it daily. Link to other blogs. Make comments on other blogs that link back to your blog. Ask other bloggers for link exchanges. Write interesting posts that have a unique voice. Don't just be a link farm to a bunch of bullshit that you didn't have anything to do with. Be original. Use technorati or any of the other tag services you prefer. Create interesting titles for your posts. Use pictures - they're fun. Use relevant labels. Don't be a corporate voice. Allow comments. Moderate them when they start to get offensive. (This is the "conversation" part you will hear so much about at your conference.) Try a podcast. Give up on it. Try a webcast. Give up on it. Give up on creating a viral video before you even try it. Viral happens naturally - you don't unleash it with a marketing plan. MySpace is NoPlace for your business and you will gain nothing from it other than people hating you. Same goes for Facebook, Second Life and Livejournal. Twit if you want, but the Twitter backlash is coming. For now, it's a good monitoring tool. Oh, one other thing: Customer Service is not a phrase to be tossed about in your Mission Statement. It's a practice. When you suck at it, expect your business to suck.
Essentially - just do it.

[via Make the Logo Bigger]

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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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