Friday, May 26, 2017

Doing Little

Walking Rugby

Walking rugby really seems to be taking off, we had ten people again last night, so 5-a-side on a 20 x 40 pitch worked well. And everyone is enjoying it! But I digress as I was really going to talk about doing little.

The Way  
Some people get confused when a project manager appears to be doing very little and yet things still seem to get done. But the wise project manager knows that is how things work. The Tao does nothing, yet everything gets done.  

The poor project manager appears to be too busy, always rushing about so nothing actually gets done. When the wise project manager finds himself getting too busy, he takes a step back, returns to selfless silence and centers himself. Being centred creates order and when there is order, there is little to do.

The Tao  
Lao Tzu tells us:  

Tao abides in non-action,  
Yet nothing is left undone.  
When kings are able to conform to this,  
The ten thousand things will develop naturally.  
Transformed, yet wishing to achieve,  
I shall repress them with the simplicity of the nameless.  
The simplicity of the nameless,  
Acts without desire.  
Without desire,  
The world will be at peace.  

Friday, May 19, 2017

Subtle Insight

Walking Rugby
The games is starting to gather momentum! We had 10 of our walkers turned up last night for a coaching session and game run by Jason Luff (former Exeter Chiefs player and now Regional Development Officer for Devon RFU). Lots of pics taken for publicity and we should get a write up in the local paper and Estuary magazine. And we are going to keep on training and playing through the summer. Much better than cricket!

As we get further into a project it is not unusual to find out that we don’t have enough human resources or budget to achieve everything that we would like to accomplish. A poor project manager might try and push the team to achieve more that they are capable of and they will probably fail. A wise project manager will work out the available options and take them to the business for a decision on which to take.  

The Way  
All behaviors contain their opposites: a show of strength suggests insecurity and what goes up must come down. The wise project manager knows that if he wishes to prosper he needs to be generous. Pushy, bullying project managers often have disastrous projects. As they say: be nice to people on the way up as you are likely to meet them again on the way back down. 

The Tao  
Lao Tzu tells us:  

Strength ensured,   
Weakening may be considered.  
Prosperity ensured,  
Ruin may be considered.  

This might be called a subtle insight.  
Weakness conquers strength.  
And a country’s weapons,  
Should be hidden from the people.  

Friday, May 12, 2017

Keep It Simple

As a project manager I always tried to keep things simple. Yes I had a detailed project schedule for myself but I created a simplified high-level version for the project stakeholders and extract detailed deliverables lists for the project team to work from. That way it keeps things simple and easy to follow. 

Poor project managers get caught up in the drama and excitement of new ideas. They always want to try something new and different. They fail to observe what is going on around them, so they don’t see how things happen. They confuse the people around them and there is a loss of harmony in the project team. 

The Way  
The good project manager stays with the single principle and understands the team process. He keeps away from chaos and conflicts. He keeps things simple and clear for the team and so the work of the team progresses smoothly. When the project ends, the team are in good spirits and say “we did it!”, for indeed they did.

The Tao  
Lao Tzu tells us:  

Hold the great image,  
All under heaven will come.  
They come without harm,  
In happiness and peace.  
Passing strangers might stop for music and food.  

Trying to describe the Tao, insipid!  
As if without taste.  
Look, it cannot be seen.  
Listen, it cannot be heard.  
Use cannot exhaust it.  

Friday, May 05, 2017

The Single Principle

The Project
I'm now on the first draft of the last chapter of EVM in easy steps. If anyone out there fancies reviewing it for me (particularly if you've used it) please let me know.

The Way  
Good project managers spend a lot of time communicating with their project stakeholders. Keeping them in the picture by explaining what the project team are doing and listening to them to make sure the project delivers what the business needs. This is in line with the single principle. 

The single principle is found everywhere and everything works according to it. You cannot own the single principle and it does not own you. It is great because it is universal and all-inclusive. The way benefits all without return and without prejudice.  

The wise project manager follows this principle and does not act selfishly. He works with everyone, not just the people he likes. He does not seek to control people and knows that true leadership is not about winning. He works to create an awareness of what is happening on the project and in the business. He gives a selfless service to all .

The Tao  
Lao Tzu tells us:  

The great Tao flows everywhere,  
The ten thousand things rely upon it,  
But it allows them to act freely.  

It achieves its work, but takes no credit.  
It clothes and nourishes the ten thousand things,  
But demands no sovereignty.  

Can it be called insignificant?  
The ten thousand things return to it,  
But it does not rule them.  

Can it be named for this greatness?  
It does not regard itself as great,  
Therefore it can achieve greatness.  

Friday, April 28, 2017


Traditional thinking about project resources has centered on human resources, the members of the project team, including the project manager himself. But this post is focused on the project manager’s inner resources, which is about enlightenment.  

Understanding how other people behave takes intelligence, but to know ourselves takes enlightenment. The poor project manager tries to use force to get the other team members to do what he wants. But to manage ourselves takes true power.  

The Way  
The wise project manager is content with what he has. He can live simply and enjoy prosperity and free time. If our goals are clear, we can achieve them without fuss.

The Tao  
Lao Tzu tells us:  

He who understands others is wise,  
He who understands himself is enlightened.  
He who masters others has strength,  
He who masters himself is strong.  

To recognize enough is to be rich.  
He who acts forcefully has ambition.  
He who stays where he is endures.  
He who dies but is not forgotten, is long lived. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Rules and Regulations

Poor project managers go in for fancy theories, which end up distracting the team from what is happening and saps their energy. Where rules and regulations are applied to the work of the team it breeds dissatisfaction. The project team will start to split into fractions and infighting will start to develop between them. The wise project manager must know when to stop.  

On the other hand, where there are no fancy theories or prejudices to split the team into fractions, there will be harmony. Where the work of the team is grounded in an obvious and natural righteousness, there will be no need for rules and regulations.  

The Way  
The way cannot be defined, it just is. It is the single principle responsible for every event or thing. The wise project manager has regard for this principle and as a consequence the team will trust him.  

The wise project manager returns to an awareness of what is happening and the single principle that lies behind it. Focusing on this single principle is the most potent aspect of leadership. From this the wise project manager will learn how things happen 

The Tao  
Lao Tzu tells us:  

The Tao is eternally nameless.  
Its simplicity, although imperceptible, cannot be grasped.  
If kings could grasp it,  
The ten thousand things would follow them.  

Heaven and earth cause sweet dew to fall,  
Not just on the worthy but on all alike.  
Men will not need to force it,  
All things would take their course.  

Once the whole is divided, the parts need names.  
There are already enough names,  
One must know when to stop.  
Knowing when to stop, thus avoiding danger.  

The existence of Tao in the world,  
Is like a river flowing home to the sea.  

Friday, April 14, 2017


It's good to see that (son) David's book: Scrum is easy steps is now out on Kindle, print version to follow shortly. He managed to get it written while finishing off his MBA and working full time as a Business Analyst/Scrum Consultant, no mean feat.

Meanwhile I plod on with EVA in easy steps, I reckon I'm about half way with the text but still lots of graphics to do. I'll probably take a break from it this (long) weekend and watch a bit of rugby. 

This weeks subject is intervention and that's a characteristic of a poor project manager. They interfere in the work of the team and insist on things being done their way. The team members begin to feel their work is not valued and the team will be weakened. What may, at the time feel like a victory to the project manager, is actually a failure. Team members who have been bruised in this way will become less open, more defencive and resentful.  

The Way  
The wise project manager does not interfere. He knows that a special awareness is called for if intervention does become necessary. Facilitation is the way of the project manager.  

The Tao  
Lao Tzu tells us:  

Weapons are tools of misfortune,  
They are not the wise man’s tools.  
He uses them only when necessary,  
With calm and detachment.  
Victorious but without glory.  
Those who glorify, 
Are delighted in the killing.  
Those who delight in killing,  
Cannot achieve their ambitions in the world.