The Esoteric Techie

It’s the Documentation, Stupid

Posted by in Blog, Project Management

Project management is often more of an art than a science. While I do believe that statement is true, the particular turn of phrase can be very misleading. Many times, people use it to excuse general disorganization or a lack of discipline. But every good artist knows that without preparation, honed skill, and hard work, any piece is bound to fail. According to Michael O’Brochta, a senior project manager at the CIA, the art of project management is “about applying common sense with uncommon discipline.” In 1992, Democratic political strategist…read more

What is the Point of Your Project?

Posted by in Blog, Project Management

It seems like a simple question, but you would be surprised how many project managers can’t answer it when someone asks. A well reasoned and thought out business case is often neglected by even the savviest of organizations. As project managers, it is our responsibility to ask these questions and make sure that we understand what need the project is fulfilling. Whether we are talking about market demand, technological advances or simply a customer request, the important thing is to get to the root of the cause. Without this simple…read more

The Stubborn Stakeholder

Posted by in Blog, Project Management

A favorite quote of mine from the great Mark Twain is: “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” One of the hardest things about managing projects is dealing with stakeholders that do not understand what, often times, is a complex and nuanced process. This situation is magnified when that stakeholder is incorrectly under the impression that they do understand and therefore resist explanation from the project manager. A saying of mine that I’ve been known to…read more

The Project Wilderness

Posted by in Blog, Project Management

Project Initiation Early in 2015, I made up my mind to attempt a solo thru-hike of the Lone Star Hiking Trail (LSHT). At 128 miles (with loops), the LSHT is the longest wilderness footpath in Texas. It runs through the 163,037-acre Sam Houston National Forest about 50 miles north of Houston. Considering it would be my first time doing any serious backpacking, this was a fairly formidable undertaking. My experience up until this point mainly consisted of “glamping”; that is, camping out in well-established campgrounds with ready access to electricity…read more

Virtual Scrum Boards

Posted by in Blog, Project Management

Digital marketing often requires the undertaking of large, complex projects. Whether it is an enterprise-level website or a complicated native mobile application, the key to executing these projects is breaking them down into smaller, more manageable steps. As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Increasingly, agencies are turning to agile practices such as Lean, XP and Kanban to help them manage these types of endeavors. An agile process has the advantage of offering flexibility to an industry that moves way too fast for the rigid framework of…read more

Mountain Biking and the Art of Project Management

Posted by in Blog, Project Management

Several years ago, I rather naively took up the sport of mountain biking. I’ve always had a casual interest in cycling and would often ride my bike on the many roads and paved trails around my house. It was fun and a good way to get a little exercise. So when my brother asked me if I wanted to go with him to a local mountain bike trail for a ride, I thought “sure, sounds like a good time.” I had no idea what I was getting myself into. After…read more

Web Design Process: A Scientific Method

Posted by in Blog, Project Management

Web development can sometimes be a mysterious process. It’s a large undertaking and many people are intimidated by the prospect. Each website is different and has it’s own unique specifications and requirements. But just like the Great Pyramid or the Panama Canal, it is all possible given the right process framework. The trick is to understand the big picture, but to focus on the small achievable tasks; to have a plan, but not panic when things go awry; to maintain a sense of urgency, but portray a calm demeanor to…read more

Welcome to the Post-Mobile World

Posted by in Blog, Technology

Information has undergone massive shifts with each sea change in technology. Humans started with the spoken word. Then the written word transformed our view of the world; information no longer had to be memorized. Next came printing, electronic media, digital media and mobile. And now we’re on the verge of something profoundly exciting – the post-mobile world. Wearable computing is on the brink of exploding. The market for these devices is expected to increase from $750 million USD in 2012 to $5.8 billion in 2018. But this isn’t a world…read more

The Importance of A/B Testing

Posted by in Blog, Project Management

Dan Siroker presenting at The Next Web Conference Europe 2013, discusses the value of A/B testing. “A/B testing — running simultaneous tests of different versions of a website or app on random sections of an audience to see which performs the best — is one of the most important processes that developers can go through. It challenges your assumptions and can have a major impact on your bottom line. Dan Siroker is an ex-Googler who went on to oversee A/B testing on Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign website. Through testing different…read more

The Optimism Bias

Posted by in Blog, Project Management

Optimism can often be the worst enemy of a project. Many times, even when faced with overwhelming evidence to the contrary, project stakeholders will swear to a pre-set date or deliverable. The history of digital development is fraught with examples of optimism leading to catastrophic failure. I like to always remember one of my favorite sayings when embarking on a new project: “I hope for the best, but I’ll plan for the worst.” See, there’s nothing inherently wrong with an optimistic SOW or timeline, as long as everyone understands what…read more

Introducing the Knowledge Graph

Posted by in Blog, Technology

Get an under the hood look at the next frontier in Search, from the team at Google behind the technology. The Knowledge Graph is a huge collection of the people, places and things in the world and how they’re connected to one another. With this technology, Google can get you the best possible answers and help jump start your discovery.

Adaptive Project Management Using Scrum

Posted by in Blog, Project Management

Since time immemorial man has been undertaking great projects. The Pyramids, Stonehenge, Amazon.com just to name a few. All of these projects have had one thing in common; A lowly human with no superpowers was the one responsible for making sure that necessary tasks were accomplished in order to achieve the end goal. Whoever that person was, an Egyptian Pharaoh or a Celtic priest, that person was the project manager. The job existed long before it was given a name. Of course, as soon as society did name it we…read more

Saving Network Neutrality

Posted by in Blog, Technology

I honestly don’t believe it is an overstatement to say that the Internet has been the single greatest achievement in the advancement of information and communication since the invention of the printing press. We are still only beginning to understand how this technology will change the world. Unfortunately, the freedom we enjoy on the Internet is threatened constantly and must be guarded in order to ensure it’s continued availability. Network Neutrality is often regulated to the background of political discussion. It’s something left for debate by the guys in the…read more

Google Sidewiki – Control is Illusion

Posted by in Blog, Technology

On September 23rd, 2009 Google released an update to Google toolbar, which can be installed as a plug-in for you browser. Part of that update was a new feature called Sidewiki, which allows users to post comments and feedback on a small tab that is attached to individual websites. It displays as a small arrow tab on the left side of the browser and once clicked expands to reveal comments left by other users of the Google Toolbar and presents the user with a form field to enter comments of…read more

Earning Trust in Project Management

Posted by in Blog, Project Management

Project management is people management. I know this might disappoint many people in the project management trade, but it’s true. Understanding people is essential to a successful project. Too often managers rely solely on their planning tools to get the job done. BaseCamp, OmniFocus, and Microsoft Project are all fine tools, but they will never understand what motivates your team, why Chris is a better choice for the R&D task than Tom. To ignore the human element is to set yourself up for failure. A project manager must also be…read more

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