The Esoteric Techie

What is the Point of Your Project?

Posted by in 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 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 the technical of 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…read more

The Project Wilderness

Posted by in 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 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 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 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

The Importance of A/B Testing

Posted by in 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 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

How to Start a Successful Digital Development Business in 3 Easy Steps.

Posted by in Project Management

1. Get a job 2. Hone your craft 3. Do what you do best It’s more complicated than these 3 steps may imply, but these steps are a solid wireframe for starting your own business.  Please, allow me to explain… Around three years ago, I left a really good job to start a business.  At the time I had no idea if it would work, but after three years of operating a successful business, I can look back now and see clearly what made it possible. Step 1: Get a…read more

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Goodbye Google Wave

Posted by in Project Management, Technology

On August 4th Google announced that it would be discontinuing support for the Google Wave web service at the end of 2010. This decision was due largely to the fact that the once lauded web tool failed to gain traction and increasingly frustrated users trying to discover a workable use case. Wave was a light that burned out quickly in the tech community, hardly even reaching it’s first birthday before Google pulled the plug. There are those that will mourn it’s demise, but for most it will pass unnoticed as…read more

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Adaptive Project Management Using Scrum

Posted by in 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

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Earning Trust in Project Management

Posted by in 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

Google Wave & Project Management

Posted by in Project Management

On Thursday Google announced it’s new real-time communication platform, Google Wave.? It’s obvious that volumes could be filled on the potential this has for changing the way we communicate, but I want to focus on it’s implications for the discipline of Project Management.? On first glance it’s easy to see several ways that this tool could change the way we manage projects. After all, at its heart, Wave is a communications tool, and what is project management besides highly focused communication.? However, I believe that within this platform we may…read more

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