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

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