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.