Dear Friends and Colleagues,
A few years ago, an allPM piece by Frank Saladis, PMP® referenced an interesting Fast Company article, “Balance is Bunk!” I read through it and hit upon something that has kept me “balanced” since then, although at times balance could be defined more in roller coaster terms (up and down) than in an easygoing, stable state of equilibrium. That element the article addressed was happiness about what we are doing, not so much balance. It also addressed passion, with the implication that if we experience passion in both life and work, things will self-adjust. Here is a link to the post I made on the PMI Blog, Voices on Project Management, on this topic: http://blogs.pmi.org/blog/voices_on_project_management/2010/10/does-work-life-balance-really.html
So, this edition of allPM Today will give you some great perspectives on different ways to balance life and work, from a variety of excellent authors, including Dr. Harold Kerzner. I love it when he writes about the “soft stuff” as well as KPIs, metrics and dashboards (great stuff, too). I think you should really take this edition of the newsletter home with you, share it with your spouse over a glass of wine, and get his or her input on the different perspectives and approaches as well! How’s THAT for work/life balance? Let us know how it turns out, okay?
We are so pleased to have a contribution from Steve DelGrosso, PMP who is the Director of IBM’s Project Management Center of Excellence. He has written a first class article, entitled “Ensuring Excellence in Delivery,” about IBM’s Delivery Excellence Team and how they achieve great results. It’s very exciting reading and a model for other companies to follow.
We would like to announce the winner of last month’s contest, which was on your best coaching stories: she is the Rev. Laura A. Neff, Minister, Project Manager and Administrator of the Covenant of Hope Ministries, and writer for Poetic-Expressions, who told her great coaching results story to us:
Coaching through a project is something that usually starts with a plan of action. A short while ago we were working to help create a plan of action for the ministry and its membership. The necessity came that we would have to not only make major changes to our website, but also work with researching various alternatives for communications and more. All were vital for survival. Email and broadcasting of sermons only takes care of part of the problem. We work solely online, through blogs, streaming video, instant messaging, email and internet telephony technologies. We must work with various platforms, including four separate methods that must work together in order to provide all that is needed, where it is needed, as far away as India, Kenya, Canada and, of course, the US. The work took putting heads together, coaching people to do what they could while make the greatest contribution possible, and I was thankful to have my project management training to do everything necessary. I didn’t say a word as to what was going to go on; the process seemed to almost be automatic. The different ministries and members sent photos, biographies, and contact information as though by rote. All of these little elements helped us to create an awesome website with interactive capacity and still more to come. We’re still tweaking the little things involved, but we’re getting there. It took a coordinated effort to help create the site, get the various platforms to interact properly, and be able to bring all of the different locations together, but we did.
Thanks, Rev. Laura, and I’m sure your Ministry will benefit from your prize: a Kindle that has been fully loaded with IIL Publishing books that we are giving you! Congratulations! Rev. Laura has been a long and loyal fan and contributor to allPM.com. I remember the emails she used to send me after we published one of these Publisher’s letters I write for each edition. This brings me to an invitation I want to extend to each of you, after I give you a little history. In the old days of allPM.com (early to mid 2000’s), I used to hear from a lot of people each time a newsletter went out. One day, when I didn’t get any response to the newsletter, I started my Publisher’s letter this way: “I’m depressed, and it’s your fault,” I told 30,000 allPM.com members all over the world at the time (now we have over 125,000 members). I told them how NOT FUN it was to put so much into creating each edition, and then not hear from anyone about anything – either what they loved, hated or just preferred to ignore. I said I didn’t feel like “playing” anymore if people didn’t want to play with those of us on our editorial team.
Well, about three minutes after we hit “send” for the distribution, responses started to POUR in – I received hundreds of emails of apology, of promises to contribute and to give feedback, and I was in heaven. Nowadays, it is harder to send a letter like that one I sent, even if I feel like it at times, because our worlds of technology and communications are so different, and there is so much more competing for your attention. All of this is my polite and slightly less dramatic way of telling you that I really value your feedback and participation. Write me a note telling me how much you HATED something in the newsletter, or LOVED it, or give me your ideas for a theme for a future one. ANYTHING!!! Just talk to me, and to Nicolas Gauch, my wonderfully talented and charming (and delightfully French) editorial partner. He deals with IIL trainers all over the world, begging and bludgeoning them into writing for you, or fending off contributions that may not be up to the allPM.com standard or that we simply don’t have room for at the time. We are always looking for authors to write a week’s worth of tips of the day though, too, so you can become a published author via that simple feature. Whatever you do, please play with us – we really value it. Even if you just feel like writing to us and telling us what and how you are doing, we are all ears.
Now Rev. Neff is also a poetry writer, which reminded me that we used to have a heck of a great time publishing Project Management Poetry! It was such fun. Here’s the very first one that came in, in order to make me wrong for my statement in a newsletter that I didn’t think project managers appreciated poetry (woe was me over that one – so many people wanted to show me the error of my ways, that they actually started writing poetry themselves):
The Rime of the Project Manager
by Nikitas J. Kalantjakos
Adapted from "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"
Samuel T. Coleridge, 1798
Along comes the Project Manager,
A meeting of the minds you see.
For it's time to report, time to reflect,
Time to climb the decision tree.
All are at hand,
All want to know,
How are we doing?
How does it go?
With steady voice and forever alert,
He begins his discourse and tale;
"Whatever the cost, whatever the effort,
This project, of course, can not fail!"
His audience now at the end of the rope,
Wondering what has gone astray,
Not another creep, such as scope,
Not one more again today!
He often imagines the day,
When this curse will be broken.
When value will be earned
With even a trivial, SPI-like token.
Now, look here, pay attention he declared,
Critical as this path may be.
I wonder if these new requirements,
Are making it forever harder to see.
Undecided, all hands remain,
As to whether we're ahead, behind or on track.
We must be off-course, they declared,
How can we bring such a variance back?
On to uncertainty and risk they proceed.
Not knowing why there is so much exposure.
Can we do this? Should we ask others?
To this, he had to bring closure.
For a brief twinkle of time, he imagines the day,
When this curse will make leave of creation.
When strong winds will blow, and confidence will abound,
With impressive and acceptable standard deviation.
Near or far,
He will come to a crossing,
Where lessons still learned
Will come to a passing.
There will be a time,
When he'll reach his destination.
When he'll announce "victory's at hand,"
With sheer exhilaration.
All hands now know, how it does go.
All have approved the final motion.
The Project Manager stronger and wiser,
Eagerly sets sail for another unconquered ocean.
© 2012 allPM.com
Nikitas, thank you for starting us on this wonderful project management poetry journey – and I hope you are still a member of allPM.com. We got so many project management poems in those years, that we printed a small “booklet” of them. Now that we have IIL Publishing at our disposal, and since we have an “in” with the Publisher (aka Judy Umlas), we could do a real book of them, if you submit about 50 or so more! To whet your creative juices, we are including all of the PM Poems that we printed previously, as a feature of this newsletter. They are a real hoot! Please enjoy them and give us your feedback on them. So in closing, TALK TO US!!! We are not some automatically generated newsletter that gathers articles from a bunch of available sources and slaps them together. No, each article is lovingly solicited, received, edited, proofread (okay, we miss a few typos here and there), and we are always trying to be creative, original and…FUN! So please help us!
Until the next time…
Judy Umlas (