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jerryking : project_management   28

Work smarter, not harder. Here’s how
July 29, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | by KIRA VERMOND, SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL.

Suzanne Andrew, a freelance writer in Vancouver, took stock of her growing number of deadlines. One client wanted her to complete 26 profiles – articles that describe an individual or organization – in one month.

“I love writing profiles, but when I looked at the amount of work, it felt crushing,” she says.

Rather than brace herself for 18-hour days, all-nighters and inevitable burnout, Ms. Andrew took a different approach. She paused and then came up with a game plan.

“I’d worked as a project manager in the past and found that what worked best when managing other people was to create work-back schedules and milestone deadlines,” she says. “As a freelancer I was used to simply working to deadline, but realized I could make things easier and less stressful if I acted as my own project manager.”.....Ms. Andrew created a work-back schedule that outlined exactly how many interviews she had to conduct, plus a daily writing quota to meet the overall deadline. Once she met her daily target, she could stop work for the day and rest.

Here are a few pointers.....

1. WORK WITH YOUR ATTENTION LEVELS
Not every moment of the day is created equal when it comes to feeling sharp and productive. Our brains can only handle so much focused work time. Everyone has three levels of attention: proactive, active and inactive.

Feeling proactive? You’re in the zone: Take advantage of those times each day. Active times are best spent on less focused tasks like addressing emails or making a phone call.

And those inactive times? “Your brain is cooked,” You should probably be taking a mental break, going for a walk or getting a cup of coffee. Even just doing low-priority, repetitive work like filing is a good idea.”
Work with your brain’s energy levels. Don’t fight them and push yourself through those inactive times.

2. PLAN THE NIGHT BEFORE
Don’t allow your inbox become your to-do list. Instead, take 10 minutes at the end of the workday and create tomorrow’s action plan. What’s most important? What must get done? The next morning, look at that list and work on the most vital tasks before even thinking about firing up e-mail.

3. THINK LIKE A SMOKER
Pay attention to the way smokers take their breaks: They leave the building, go outside and even socialize.
“I’m a big believer in quality breaks,” she says. “How you take your break is as important as [taking] a break.”Get up. Move. Take in some fresh air and talk to people. You’ll come back more refreshed and proactive.

4. TRY THE POMODORO TECHNIQUE
....a productivity method, developed by a business consultant named Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s. (Pomodoro means “tomato” in Italian, a nod to old-school, plastic timers shaped like tomatoes.) The method dictates that you set a timer for a short amount of time – say, 25 or 30 minutes – and then focus on one task without interruption. Once the timer goes off, take a short break. Then, if needed, you do it again. Commit to going deep for 25 - 90 minutes (jk: sustained inquiry),” “It’s amazing when we consciously choose to do one thing, and one thing only, how much we get done.”
action_plans  attention  attention_spans  best_practices  focus  lists  monotasking  Pomodoro  preparation  priorities  productivity  project_management  slack_time  sustained_inquiry  thinking_backwards  thinking_deliberatively  timeouts  timing  to-do  work-back_schedules  work_smarter 
july 2019 by jerryking
The Pop-Up Employer: Build a Team, Do the Job, Say Goodbye -
JULY 12, 2017 | The New York Times | By NOAM SCHEIBER.

Two Stanford biz profs, Melissa Valentine and Michael Bernstein, have introduced the idea of “flash organizations” — ephemeral setups to execute a single, complex project in ways traditionally associated with corporations, nonprofit groups or governments.....information technology has made the flash organization a suddenly viable form across a number of industries.....intermediaries are already springing up across industries like software and pharmaceuticals to assemble such organizations. They rely heavily on data and algorithms to determine which workers are best suited to one another, and also on decidedly lower-tech innovations, like middle management......Temporary organizations capable of taking on complicated projects have existed for decades, e.g. Hollywood, where producers assemble teams of directors, writers, actors, costume and set designers and a variety of other craftsmen and technicians to execute projects with budgets in the tens if not hundreds of millions.....Jody Miller, a former media executive and venture capitalist, a co-founder of the Business Talent Group, sets up temporary teams of freelancers for corporations. “We’re the producers,” Ms. Miller said. “We understand how to evaluate talent, pick the team.”.....
Three lessons stand out across the flash-type models. First is that the platforms tend to be highly dependent on data and computing power....Second is the importance of well-established roles. ...Third, there is perhaps the least likely of innovations: middle management. The typical freelancer performs worker-bee tasks. Flash-like organizations tend to combine both workers and managers...........Flash organizations have obvious limits....they tend to work best for projects with well-defined life spans, not continuing engagements....“The bottleneck now is project managers,” ... “It’s a really tough position to fill.”.....even while fostering flexibility, the model could easily compound insecurity. Temporary firms are not likely to provide health or retirement benefits. ..... the anxiety is legitimate, but these platforms could eventually dampen insecurity by playing a role that companies have historically played: providing benefits, topping off earnings if workers’ freelance income is too low or too spotty, even allowing workers to organize.
pop-ups  freelancing  on-demand  ephemerality  producers  execution  Hollywood  project_management  teams  data  algo  lessons_learned  Business_Talent_Group  Gigster  Artella  Foundry  Slack  pharmaceutical_industry  Outsourcing  contractors  job_insecurity  middle_management  gig_economy  ad_hoc  dissolutions  short-term  short-lived 
july 2017 by jerryking
What Hollywood Can Teach Us About the Future of Work - NYTimes.com
MAY 5, 2015 | NYT |By ADAM DAVIDSON.

the “Hollywood model.” A project is identified; a team is assembled; it works together for precisely as long as is needed to complete the task; then the team disbands. This short-­term, project-­based business structure is an alternative to the corporate model, in which capital is spent up front to build a business, which then hires workers for long-­term, open-­ended jobs that can last for years, even a lifetime. It’s also distinct from the Uber-­style “gig economy,” which is designed to take care of extremely short-­term tasks, manageable by one person, typically in less than a day....With the Hollywood model, ad hoc teams carry out projects that are large and complex, requiring many different people with complementary skills. The Hollywood model is now used to build bridges, design apps or start restaurants. Many cosmetics companies assemble a temporary team of aestheticians and technical experts to develop new products, then hand off the actual production to a factory, which does have long-­term employees...Our economy is in the midst of a grand shift toward the Hollywood model. More of us will see our working lives structured around short-­term, project-­based teams rather than long-­term, open­-ended jobs...the Hollywood model is a surprisingly good system for many workers too, in particular those with highly-sought-­after skills. Ask Hollywood producers, and they’ll confirm that there are only a limited number of proven, reliable craftspeople for any given task. Projects tend to come together quickly, with strict deadlines, so those important workers are in a relatively strong negotiating position. Wages among, say, makeup and hair professionals on shoots are much higher than among their counterparts at high-­end salons. Similarly, set builders make more than carpenters and electricians working on more traditional construction sites....It’s probably not coincidental that the Hollywood model is ascendant at a time when telling stories, broadly speaking, is at the heart of American business.The Hollywood system offers another advantage for workers: Every weekend’s box-­office results provide new information about which skills in their field are valuable. ....The Hollywood model isn’t good news for everybody. It clearly rewards education and cultural fluency, which are not distributed evenly throughout the population.
trends  Hollywood  storytelling  teams  project_management  market_intelligence  automation  Communicating_&_Connecting  Managing_Your_Career  gig_economy  ad_hoc  dissolutions  short-term  on-demand  short-lived 
may 2015 by jerryking
The Value of Project Management
Define the ROI. “Every project plan should begin with an explanation of the business value that project brings
to your organization,” says Mr. Kasabian. That measure can be
used to decide first whether the project should move forward and
later as a metric to determine whether the project brought strategic value to the business.

Manage what’s measured. The way to get the most value out of a project management methodology is through metrics, says Mr. Brodnik. “Focus on measures and processes tied to
business goals, collect the data and make it available to everyone,” he says. “When people know what’s being watched, they put more time and focus on it.”
project_management  McKinsey  WaudWare  measurements 
april 2014 by jerryking
Master these 10 processes to sharpen your project management skills - TechRepublic
we're going to focus on 10 basic areas:

Define the project
Plan the work
Manage the workplan
Manage issues
Manage scope
Manage risks
Manage communication
Manage documentation
Manage quality
Manage metrics
communicating_risks  detail_oriented  project_management  WaudWare 
april 2014 by jerryking
The Question Every Project Team Should Answer
Fall 2013 September 11, 2013 | | MIT Sloan Management Review |by Karen A. Brown, Nancy Lea Hyer and Richard Ettenson
project_management 
april 2014 by jerryking
Basecamp ID
WaudWare Incorporated
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This Basecamp account (WaudWare Incorporated) is now linked to your Basecamp ID. nn

Your Basecamp ID username is:
...
passwords  Waudware  project_management  Basecamp 
march 2014 by jerryking
A radical rethink of ‘decision factories’
Nov. 17 2013 | The Globe and Mail | HARVEY SCHACHTER.

In regular factories, employees are consumed by repetitive daily tasks. But in decision factories, the focus is on project work. Whether it’s developing an advertising campaign or preparing a budget or coming up with a new product, knowledge workers operate in project mode. “You often hear in organizations the rhetoric that a project is taking away from the job. But most white-collar work is projects,” he said in an interview.

However, that isn’t recognized by companies or their staff. Instead of organizing work around projects, it is organized around jobs. Essentially, each job is based on the amount of work a person faces at their busiest moment – on projects, actually. But when that project is completed, workers aren’t immediately transferred to a new venture, since the just-finished project is seen as something they took on for a time. They return to their normal work, now quite reduced, between projects.

Mr. Martin drawns an analogy to power plants, which are built to handle peak demand on the hottest day in July, even though for much of the year they operate at much lower demand. “Organizations do that with people: They staff to peak load. Since people don’t want to seem not busy in slack periods, they fill it up with various initiatives. That’s why the day before the 10,000 people are let go, it seems like you need them all. But you really don’t,” he said .

In his article, he cited the example of a marketing vice-president, who is busy during the launch of an important project or when a competitive threat arises. But between those events, she will have few decisions to make, and may have little to do . The same is true throughout the knowledge factory.

The key to breaking the binge-and-purge cycle in knowledge work and making more efficient use of employees, Mr. Martin argues, is to redefine the employment contract and hire people for project work rather than specific jobs. He believes that in such a framework, we would need only 70 per cent of the people we currently have in a given decision factory.

So instead of being hired to handle a specific job for 52 weeks of the year, people would be hired for a specific level of work. They would still be working for the full year – they aren’t freelancers or contract workers – but would be scheduled to different projects and work with different leaders.
Harvey_Schachter  Roger_Martin  HBR  projects  knowledge_workers  project_management  project_work  employment_contracts  freelancing  gig_economy  peak_load  peak_demand  busywork  binge-and-purge_cycles  on-demand 
november 2013 by jerryking
Technology Implementation and Project Risk
You have to make sure your whole team understands what scarce resource you’re optimizing.
implementation  execution  R&D  testing  risk-assessment  project_management  frameworks 
july 2012 by jerryking
5 Ways I Manage Projects Using Basecamp | Robb Bailey | The Official Blog
You have to make sure your whole team
understands what scarce resource you’re optimizing.
project_management  Basecamp 
february 2012 by jerryking
Legal Rebels - 5 Business Model Innovations Solos Need to Truly Compete with BigLaw
With the financial crisis of 2008-2009, every part of this old model has come under scrutiny, even in a traditionally high-end field like IP litigation. Specifically:

Leverage. Leverage, or the associate-to-partner ratio within a firm or practice, is good for reportable profits per partner. But it is not necessarily good for clients. As clients push to cut litigation costs, leverage declines. This trend favors solos and less-leveraged practices.

Within One Firm. Historically, the transaction costs associated with assembling a team of lawyers not located under the same roof made it prohibitive to build a competitive litigation team from a network of solos. But the rise of Web 2.0 is changing that. With my LinkedIn/Facebook/Outlook network of colleagues, I can identify, customize and assemble a team in less time than it used to take to walk the halls of my old BigLaw firm. But we need innovation in the areas of contractual arrangements and the laws governing lawyers to fully deliver on the promise of the ad hoc, Web 2.0, virtual law firm.

Customized. In most areas of law practice, as the field matures, more and more aspects of the discipline become standardized.

Off the shelf. The opposite of build-it-by-hand-from-scratch-every-time [JCK: *bespoke*] . Compared with some other fields of law, IP litigation has been fairly slow to progress in this manner. It has therefore remained—relatively speaking—profitable custom work. But we are starting to see some indications that aspects of IP litigation are being made more routine, even standardized. This is a good development for the solo IP litigator. As formerly labor-intensive-but-routine pieces of IP litigation evolve into off-the-shelf modules, we are freed up to apply our creativity and good judgment to the more strategic aspects of the case, with a diminished need to spend time supervising large teams as they custom-polish a third set of interrogatories or research for the nth time how to apply the Brown Bag Software case to a two-tiered stipulated protective order. Innovation in off-the-shelf litigation modules is starting to arrive, and more is needed.

Billable hours. It has been proclaimed and repeated that the billable hour is dead. Well, maybe not quite. But it is certainly open to competition from alternative fee arrangements. We have enough data and experience now that we can start to accurately predict IP litigation costs. And we can bill a la carte, charging fixed fees for different pieces of litigation. A menu might include one fixed fee for pleading-through-pretrial conference, a per-deposition fee, a per-custodian document discovery fee and so on. Models continue to evolve. Clients want their lawyers to share the risk—to have some “skin in the game”—and to have incentives for efficiency. Innovative billing models are coming.
ad_hoc  bespoke  Big_Law  billable_hours  business_models  competitive_landscape  dissolutions  Facebook  gig_economy  JCK  law_firms  leverage  LinkedIn  Michael_McDerment  networks  patent_litigation  project_management  off_the_shelf  on-demand  risk_sharing  short-lived  short-term  skin_in_the_game  solo  standardization  teams  transaction_costs  
october 2010 by jerryking
Understanding change in a business
The Globe and Mail. Seventy per cent of big changes in a company fail; John Kotter explains why

The Kotter model

In the 90s Harvard-professor John P. Kotter had been observing this process for almost 30 years. In his book Leading Change he argues that to make big changes significantly and effectively, there are generally eight basic things that must happen:

INSTILL A SENSE OF URGENCY. Identifying existing or potential crises or opportunities. Confronting reality, in the words of Execution-authors, Charan and Bossidy.
BUILD A GUIDING COALITION. Assembling a strong guiding coalition with enough power to lead the change effort. And make them work as a team, not a committee!
CREATE A VISION AND SUPPORTING STRATEGIES. We need a clear sense of purpose and direction. In less successful situations you generally find plans and budgets, but no vision and strategy; or the strategies are so superficial that they have no credibility.
COMMUNICATE. As many people as possible need to hear the mandate for change loud and clear, with messages sent out consistently and often. Forget the boring memos that nobody reads! Try using videos, speeches, kick-off meetings, workshops in small units, etc. Also important is the teaching of new behaviours by the example of the guiding coalition
REMOVE OBSTACLES. Get rid of anything blocking change, like bosses stuck in the old ways or lack of information systems. Encourage risk-taking and non-traditional ideas, activities, and actions. Empowerment is moving obstacles out of peoples' way so they can make something happen, once they've got the vision clear in their heads.
CREATE SOME QUICK WINS. This is essential for creating momentum and providing sufficient credibility to pat the hard-working people on the back and to diffuse the cynics. Remember to recognize and reward employees involved in the improvements.
KEEP ON CHANGING. After change organizations get rolling and have some wins, they don't stop there. They go back and make wave after wave of other actions necessary for long-term, significant change. Successful change leaders don't drop the sense of urgency. On top of that, they are very systematic about figuring out all of the pieces they need to have in place before they declare victory.
MAKE CHANGE STICK. The last big step is nailing big change to the floor and making sure it sticks. And the way things stick is through culture. If you can create a totally new culture around some new way of managing, it will stay. It won't live on if it is dependent on one boss or a couple of enthusiastic people who will eventually move on.

Kotter.gif

We can divide these eight steps in three main processes. The first four steps focus on de-freezing the organization. The next three steps make change happen. The last step re-freezes the organization on the next rung on the ladder.

Kotter avoids any discussion re how this high level approach ties into Project Management. Anderson & Anderson (The Change Leaders Roadmap) adopt a similar high level approach however do tie it into the lower level by adding in a lot of trad. PM items.
backlash  John_Kotter  organizational_change  change_management  urgency  Communicating_&_Connecting  roadmaps  change_agents  risk-taking  obstacles  obstructionism  entrenchment  quick_wins  non-traditional  shared_consciousness  momentum  operational_tempo  project_management  action_plans  eels  emotional_commitment  buy-in  resistance 
october 2010 by jerryking

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