Articles

Creating Team Norms

In their eagerness to embark on a new project, project teams sometimes overlook an essential aspect of their effort—building a relationship among team members, which will foster not just a successful project outcome, but also a satisfying work experience. Investing in relationship building is invariably less costly and time-consuming than recovering from the divisiveness and conflict that may result from its absence. And that's where team norms come in.

Naomi Karten's picture Naomi Karten
The Tyranny of the "To Do" List

We create lists to help us prioritize tasks and stay on schedule. Sometimes those lists help us accomplish those tasks faster. Sometimes those lists simply chain us to an archaic way of doing things. Having a "To Do" list is a good thing if you don't let it prevent you from thinking outside the box. In this column, Elisabeth explains why the agenda items that don't make the list can often be some of the most important.

Elisabeth Hendrickson's picture Elisabeth Hendrickson
Always Assume Your Assumptions Are Wrong

A potentially serious impediment to success in software projects is false assumptions. Both yours and everyone else's. If you act on false assumptions as though they're true, such as by assuming you understand exactly what your customers want, you may find yourself faced with flawed software and failed projects. In this column, Karten explores false, conflicting, and hidden assumptions, and how you can "surface" them.

Naomi Karten's picture Naomi Karten
The ROTI Method for Gauging Meeting Effectiveness

When I visit software organizations, I often hear complaints that we spend too much time in meetings. Many people spend a significant portion of each day in meetings. Wouldn't it be great to give some of that time back?

Esther Derby's picture Esther Derby
When Should You Start Project Overtime?

Many managers believe that overtime, even extended overtime is a good thing, and will help a project make progress. However, most technical people who try to work more than two weeks of overtime make huge numbers of mistakes. Often, they don't realize the mistakes and have already wasted a lot of time and money.

Johanna Rothman's picture Johanna Rothman
Are You Lying to Your Customers?

It's important to be honest when dealing with customers, no matter what that honesty entails. You may not always be able to deliver your product on time, but not communicating that truthfully with your customer can be devastating to your business. Dare to tell your customers the truth. They don't like to hear bad news, but they'll appreciate you for giving it to them straight and giving it to them as soon as possible. This article will help motivate you.

Naomi Karten's picture Naomi Karten
Give 'em the Business

Miscommunication is at the heart of most software defects. Being knowledgeable about a company as a whole, and not just about the specs of a particular project, is just one more way to safeguard against failures. Read on as Elisabeth Hendrickson explains the importance of technical people staying informed about business strategies.

Elisabeth Hendrickson's picture Elisabeth Hendrickson
work completed by elapsed time The Fine Art of Scheduling

Why is scheduling an art? If it were a science, every project would be delivered on time. Overruns have become so common that people have lost faith in schedules and view them as very malleable. In this article, Nick Jenkins explains how to prevent this in your project.

Nick Jenkins's picture Nick Jenkins
Communicating Up

Have you ever read the latest memo from top management and wondered, "What are they thinking? This will never work!" Sometimes we have information that management doesn't have. How we put that information in front of management can determine whether they hear us or not. Esther Derby gives some advice on communicating up the chain.

Esther Derby's picture Esther Derby
Ten Ways to Guarantee Project Failure

Naomi Karten specializes in helping companies succeed in their projects. In this column, however, she gives tongue-in-cheek advice on how to make a project fail. Read on to see if these steps to failure are part of your organization's modus operandi.

Naomi Karten's picture Naomi Karten

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