Friday, April 25, 2014

61: Conquest through Submission

Some project managers always have to get their own way.  They force the team to accept this by overpowering the other team members.  But by forcing the team members into submission they are losing the potential creativity of the team.  

The Way  
A poor project manager may think he is superior to the team.  Even a great project manager should not believe that he is better than the rest of the team.  A good project manager is prepared to be the servant of the team and give way to the wishes of the team.  This way the team will become great and so too will the project manager.  The wise project manager understands this.  

A great country is like a low river.  
A meeting place in the world,  
The mother of the universe.  
The female overcomes the male with stillness,  
Lying low in stillness.  

Thus if a great country gives way to a smaller country,  
It will conquer the smaller country.  
And if a small country submits to a great country,  
It can conquer the great country.  

Thus a country conquers through submission,  
A country conquers because it submits.  
The great country wishes to unite with and nourish the small.  
The small country only wishes to enter and serve the great.  
Each gets what it wants.  
It is fitting for a great nation to yield.  

Friday, April 18, 2014

60: Stirring Things Up

At long last we are getting some sunshine and spring is definitely here. The Topsham outdoor swimming pool opens tomorrow and I’ve got my first early morning stint at 05:30 Easter Monday morning! I have vivid memories last year of struggling to get the pool cover off in the dark and in the pouring rain. I wonder what this year will bring.

The Project
Silence from the publishers, which could be good or bad. I try not to pester them at these times as they will get back to me soon enough if they find any problems. The last thing I want to do is stir things up as my book is but one of many projects they have on the go.

A project manager needs to run his project delicately and allow the group process to emerge naturally.  A poor project manager will stir things up and release strong feelings and unwarranted pressure, which can result in the wrong things being done.  

The Way  
The wise project manager does not push, he allows things to emerge when they are ready and the time is right.  When hidden issues and emotions emerge naturally, they also resolve themselves naturally.  They are not harmful.  In fact, they are no different from any other thoughts or feelings.  

All energies arise naturally, take form, grow strong, come to a new resolution and finally pass away.  This is the cycle of life, processes, projects and everything else and the wise project manager understands this.  

Ruling the country as if cooking a small fish.  
Using the Tao in the world,  
And evil will have no power.  
Not that evil is not powerful,  
But its power will not harm men.  
Not only will it not harm men,  
But the sage himself will not harm men.  
As neither hurts the other,  
So virtue merges and refreshes both.  

Friday, April 11, 2014

59: Restraint

The Project
So at long last my final content for “Project Program and Portfolio Management in easy steps” has been uploaded to the publishers.  Now the waiting begins!  Will they like it?  Will they find any errors or typos?  There is always a strange sort of empty feeling when I finish a book or any other project, but in my case I have one or two more things in the pipeline, so watch this space.

As project managers, we need to be aware of what is happening and how things happen on our projects, so that we can act accordingly.  Poor project managers tend to bludgeon their way through a project, organizing everything and running everything.  They try and stamp their authority on the project and the project team.  But the project manager is no different from anything or anyone else, which means that he is ordinary.  Only by knowing and understanding this can he become a wise project manager.  

The Way  
The wise project manager uses restraint in his approach to everything.  He does not try and force his ideas onto the team.  He encourages the team to evolve their ideas and he nurtures these.  This way he can help to steer the project away from trouble and be effective.  

In governing men and serving heaven,  
Nothing equals restraint.  
Restraint begins with giving up one’s own ideas.  
Giving up one’s own ideas depends on preparedness.  
When you are prepared then nothing is impossible.  
If nothing is impossible, then there are no limits.  

Friday, April 04, 2014

PMI Netherlands Summit 2014

3rd edition PMI Netherlands Summit
Once again I find myself on the bloggers team for those good PMI folks in the Netherlands and following on from their very successful events in 2012 and 2013, the PMI Netherlands Chapter & CKC Seminars are organizing the 3rd edition of PMI Netherlands Summit on: 

Thursday, June 12th 2014 
The PMI Netherlands Summit is a unique event for Project, Program and Portfolio professionals to inspire and to be inspired. The central theme of this event is “The thin line between project success & failure”, something very close to my heart.  The full program is now available at:

The program provides a full range of topics addressing the central theme, presented by national and international thought leaders and experts. I picked out the following sessions that particularly appealed to me:

Making the Impossible Possible: Is there sanity and success in the midst of chaos?
The presentation will look at a current large successful project in an environment of many objectives to achieve with stringent deadlines to get to market. Amy Andrade will explore the elements inherent with this project which allowed it to be successful – though by best practice standards it was impossible.

Project governance Project Sponsor: Cross the Line Challenge
The project sponsor is an extremely important success factor for projects, in order to obtain better results, to improve teamwork and to ensure that the energy put into the project is effectively deployed and that the project remains focused to realise the benefits for the organisation. In this lecture, Bart Hoitink challenges you to cross the line towards excellent project sponsorship.   

How to recover a derailing project
Derailment is a subtle or sneaky process. Its symptoms are rarely visible in the standard project reports. Its causes are a combination of rational and irrational behavior. It is the irrational side of derailment which escapes the attention of project management standards. Learn how to recognize early and late symptoms of project derailment and how to deal with the dilemmas involved in setting up a recovery from Peter Storm.  

Control in a changing world
Studies show that in industry, more than half of all projects do not deliver on the promises they set out to achieve. Failure of such a project can sink a company. So what happens? Dick Wynberg will discuss the role of project managers in a complex project. Do they really manage HSSE, cost, schedule, quality, or are these merely the outcome of a failure to manage risk? 

What every waterfall PMP needs to know about agile but was afraid to ask
In this workshop it will be explained that Agile Project Management differs from conventional waterfall and that it should be regarded as a different PM method. The concept of the Agile PM life cycle is introduced and the consequences of it will be discussed. Finally Frank Hendriks introduces PMI’s PMI-ACP certification as a way to manifest oneself a competent Agile Project manager.

Taming Tigers
Finally Jim Lawless (author of Taming Tigers) will give a unique presentation based on his experience of carrying out an “impossible” change twice to prove that his principles work. Taming Tigers is Jim’s metaphor and he will present his Ten Rules as practical tools to overcome any barrier. As a bonus delegates will receive a free copy of his book during the Conference.

Do check out the full program and if you go enjoy the event. Unfortunately I am not able to attend this year’s event due to other commitments but I’m sure it will be great.