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November 2006
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January 2007

Prioritized Reading List

Prioritized_reading_list_1Jim Highsmith recently posted a reference to a CIO Magazine article entitled “30 Books That Can Make You a Better Leader”.

Jim was floating the idea of an APLN recommended reading list which I think would be a great resource and discussion point for the group. I hope it happens and have volunteered to help get it started.

In the mean time, it got me thinking about what books I would recommend. The CIO Magazine’s recommended list was...

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Verifying Motivators

Demotivated_2Yesterday I attended a great presentation on Team Leadership given by Robin Robertson of RCR Consulting. The presentation covered the topics of self-knowledge and emotional intelligence but then moved onto leadership techniques for different age demographics.

Robin outlined 5 commonly referenced groups:

Traditionalists – who lived during war times and experienced scarcity and loss
Baby Boomers – who grew up after the war and lived to work
Generation X – who saw their parents live to work and decided they would work just to live
Generation Y – the new workers, expecting benefits and have not experienced adversity
Millennium Kids – yet to enter the work place

Obviously classifying people based on just when they were born is a flawed model. (I know some young immigrants to Canada who have experienced great loss and adversity in their lives already.) However, where Robin took these generalizations was interesting and valuable.

She spoke about a study by Glenn Tobe into expectations and motivations between managers and team members from different generations. A manager from the baby boomer generation was asked to rank what they believed the Top 10 motivators they had at their disposal to encourage their team.

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Agile Project Management Assessment Quiz

Measure So, you think you are an agile project manager? Or, you want to assess how agile your projects’ manager is? If so, try the following Agile Project Management Assessment Quiz.

Inspired by Guy Kawasaki’s Venture Capitalist Aptitude Test (VCAT) I thought it would be fun to create an Agile Project Management Assessment Quiz (APMAQ).

Answer the questions listed in the five categories below and total your scores for each category using the values listed in square brackets after the question. Remember, answer honestly, describing what you actually do, not what you would like to do!

On to the test...

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PM Controls: Low-Tech/High-Touch vs. High-Tech/Low-Touch

HandAgile teams are picky when it comes to the adoption of high-tech tools. On the one hand they seem positively geeky in the adoption automated build and testing tools. Yet on the other, absolute “luddites”, spurning technology, when it comes to project scheduling and tracking tools; favouring cards and poster sized graphs over computer based tools.

Why the schizophrenia over tools? When you dig deeper behind the reasons for these choices, some interesting facts emerge. Rather than relying on Work Breakdown Structures and Gantt Charts it is more common to see agile projects tracking work and progress via Big Visible Charts and task boards to track projects.


Work Breakdown Structures and Gantt Charts have many technical advantages over cards and corkboards. They can illustrate very deep hierarchies of tasks, support task dependency integrity checks, and allow the calculation of interesting metrics like slack, sub-assembly costs, and resource utilization. Yet, therein lies part of the problem, and the principle reason agile methods avoid these techniques. The math, statistics and reports that can be produced with these tools belies the volatile nature of what is being analyzed: tasks and estimates.

When we use tools that perform scheduling calculations and forecasting two problems arise...

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