Friday, October 17, 2014

PMI Netherlands Summit

I was pleased once again to be invited to join the PMI Netherlands Summit blog team for 2015. In the immortal words of the song: "This could be the last time."

This year's PMI Netherlands Summit 2014 was again a success for the PMI Netherlands Chapter and CKC Seminars and, based on this, they are already preparing for the next edition on:

Thursday, June 11th 2015 
Conference Center Spant! in Bussum, The Netherlands

The central theme of the 2015 edition is: The secret of Project Management; next practices demystified (and I am all for demystifying project management).

Conference Themes 
The 2015 Summit will be looking ahead to Project Management circa 2025. What is the secret of successful project management, what are those next practices we need to adopt? During the Summit they will demystify next practices from a scientific and real-life perspective on the basis of: excellent organizations; excellent (virtual) teams; excellent project managers; and next practices deployed.

Call for Papers
The program committee are inviting practitioners to become a part of this leading conference on Project Management by submitting an innovative best practice or workshop in line with the above themes. Duration of each session to be 40 minutes (including questions). 

If you would like to submit a suggestion, take a look at the conditions on their web site and submit your paper before October 30th 2014. The program board will review the papers and submitter’s will receive a notification of acceptance no later than November 6th 2014. 

If you do not plan to submit a paper, but are interested in attending the conference, there is an early bird discount of €50 available and PMI members also qualify for a special discount (see the registration form).

In either event visit for full details and I hope to see you at the conference. I may even submit a paper myself.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Ending and Beginning

Last week’s blog (81) was a reflection on the last chapter of the Tao so we have come to the end of the cycle, but out of the ending comes a new beginning.  Life, learning and project management are very much like the four seasons:  

We are born and try things out to see what happens and through this we begin to understand how things work.  

We continue to develop, ripen and blossom into maturity.  

We grow older, wiser and start to reflect on our experiences.  

We have fulfilled our purpose so we wither and die.  But out of death comes rebirth and the cycle is repeated.  

The Way  
Lao Tzu encouraged his followers to observe and seek to understand the laws of nature. Over the years I tried to pass that wisdom on through the project management courses I developed and ran, but without much success.  I now understand that the Way cannot be taught in the same way as project management methodology, it can only be observed and understood by someone who is willing to open their mind.  Hopefully, reading this blog has helped you to open your mind, observe and perhaps understand a little more.  For me winter is approaching, now it is your turn to pass on that wisdom to others.  The Way is in front of you, be confident:  

The Way is not complex:  
Follow the simplest path for it is The Way.  

Be open with your team,  
And they will be open with you.  
Be one with the universe,  
And the universe will be one with you.  

The wise project manager is humble,  
He knows the team does the work.  
He respects and acknowledges the team, 
And they in turn respect and acknowledge him.  

The poor project manager seeks fame,  
The wise project manager seeks inner peace.  
With fame come problems,  
With inner peace comes understanding.  

The poor project manager worries about what to do next,  
The wise project manager relishes not doing.  
When nothing needs to be done,  
Do nothing, for this is the way of the project manager.  

One or two of you have been kind enough to say you hope I will continue this blog.  I will not repeat the cycle but I will put out the occasional post for as long as I am able.

Friday, September 26, 2014

81: The Reward

Chapter 81 is the final chapter in the Tao and likewise this blog.  

The Project
Having just completed Project Program and Portfolio Management in easy steps, I particularly enjoyed saying thank you to the friends and colleagues who helped me along with the publisher, who as ever added some nice touches with their illustrations on the chapter heading pages.  Despite some problems along the way, the project was successful and the whole team can take the credit for that as they did it.  The next project is to plan and execute an update to Agile Project Management in easy steps with David Morris (who will be taking it over after this update).

The Way  
Poor project managers try to claim they have a string of successful projects to their credit (whether they really were successful or not).  Wise project managers don’t try to claim anything, instead they help others to find success.  In sharing success with others they are successful in line with the single principle, which teaches us that true benefit blesses everyone and diminishes no one. 

Truthful words are not beautiful.  
Beautiful words are not truthful.  

Good men do not discriminate.  
Those who discriminate are not virtuous.  
Those who know are not learned.  
The learned do not understand.  

The sage does not store things up.  
When he helps others, he lives better.  
The more he gives to others, the greater his power.  

Friday, September 19, 2014

80: A Simple Life

Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS) is one of my favourite acronyms.  As project managers, if we want to be free we must act and live simply.  

The poor project manager tries every new tool that appears and reads every new project management book that comes out, hoping it will give him the edge.  The world is always full of new and exciting things, so what?  

The Way  
The wise project manager is happy to use whatever he has and is content with wherever he is. There is no point in trying to solve a problem by moving somewhere else, changing employers or friends.  He knows the grass is not greener on the other side of the fence.  The good project manager keeps everything simple and makes space for spending time with the team.  

A small country has fewer people.  
Though they have skilled men,  
They are not needed.  
The people take death seriously,  
And do not move far away.  

Though there are boats and carriages,  
There is nowhere they want to go to.  
Though they have armour and weapons, 
They have no need to one display them.  

People return to knotting of rope,  
And using it.
Savour their food, admire their clothes,  
Their homes are tranquil,  
Their ways pleasurable.  

Friday, September 12, 2014

79: Delivering

The Project
I finally received my author’s copies of Project Program and Portfolio Management and I must say it looks good.  The publishers have added some nice images on the chapter header pages and made very few changes to my text.  However, the delivery service by Hermes was awful, they promised it early last week and it only arrived (via another courier) yesterday and the packaging was damaged.

Looking back at the notes from my last major project I see that I was disappointed that I hadn’t been able to deliver everything I would have liked.  But on the positive side, the project team were good and they felt, rightly, that they had done a good job with what we were able to achieve, so maybe it was a success after all.  While noting the things we hadn’t been able to achieve, I wrote it up their way, it was their project after all.  

The Way  
The wise project manager yields his position gracefully and returns to facilitating what is happening.  We are all one; there are no sides to take.  The wise project manager goes along with what is happening anyway.  

After a bitter quarrel is resolved,  
Grievance must remain.  
How can this be considered good?  

Therefore the sage keeps his half of the bargain,  
And yet does not exact his tally from the other.  
A man of virtue performs his part,  
But a man without virtue exacts his due.  

The Tao of heaven has no favourites,  
Constantly approving mankind.  

Friday, September 05, 2014

78: Opposites

The Project
Well Project Program and Portfolio Management in easy steps is now out in print and the publishers have sent me my author’s copies but I haven’t received them yet. I was going to crack a bottle of bubbly to, celebrate but it will have to wait until they arrive. I will just have to make do with a couple of pints at the Bridge Inn instead. I need it as I’ve wasted the whole day sorting out my email accounts, which both seemed to go mad at the same time. Losing all the header information, delivering the text as raw HTML or just refusing to send or receive. It would be nice to have an IT support group rather than being it! One minute the world is rosy the next it’s all gloom, it’s all about opposites.

The Way  
The wise project manager is like water, soft and yielding, yet water can wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield (living in Topsham we witnessed it ripping apart the Goat Walk and two stretches sea defence walls).  As a general rule, whatever is soft and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard.  

The wise project manager knows that yielding overcomes resistance and gentleness melts rigid defences.  He does not fight the force of the project team’s energy, but flows and yields and absorbs and let’s go.  This ability to be soft makes the wise project manager a good leader.  This is another paradox: what is soft is strong and what is hard is weak.  

Nothing in the world is as soft and weak as water.  
But to attack the hard and strong,  
Nothing can beat it.  

Weak conquers strong,  
Soft conquers hard.  
Everything in the world knows this,  
Yet none can put it into practice.  

Therefore the sage says:  
He who takes upon himself the humiliation of the people,  
Might be called ruler of the village.  
He who takes upon himself the country’s misfortunes,  
Might be called ruler of the world.  
True words represent their opposites.  

Friday, August 29, 2014

77: Letting Go

The Project
Still no news from the printers but Project Program and Portfolio Management in easy steps should be out any day now. It’s available to pre-order on Amazon and I just checked their web site and it says 31 August 2014 so it should be available on Monday! I always feel the tension building up at this stage so it will be nice to get the book in my hand and let all the tension go (once I’ve checked there are no errors :o)

Natural events are like the drawing of a bow.  First being drawn taunt, then the energy is released and redistributed.  To fill what is empty and to reduce what is overflowing.  But in our materialistic society those who have a lot want even more, which means that those who have little get less and less.  

The Way  
The wise project manager follows the natural order of events and does not take the consumer society as a model.  By serving the project team and being generous, the wise project manager knows abundance.  By being selfless, he helps others realize themselves. By being a disinterested facilitator, unconcerned with praise or reward, he becomes potent and successful.  

The wise project manager’s behavior works because it is based on this understanding.  His behavior may seem strange to those who do not understand.  He does what has to be done and moves on without looking for recognition.  

The Tao of heaven resembles the drawing of a bow.  
The top is lowered and the bottom is raised.  
Excess is diminished, deficiency is filled.  
The Tao of heaven diminishes surplus and fills up deficit.  

The way of man is not thus.  
He takes from those who do not have enough,  
To give to those who already have too much.  

Who having more than enough can offer it to the world?  
One who follows the Tao.  

Therefore the sage acts but makes no demands on others.  
Work done he moves on.  
He has no wish to appear virtuous.