Project Management Archive


Lean Coffee Baltimore Topics for August


Lean Coffee Topics in dot-voted order

Lean Coffee is a structured, but agenda-less meeting. Participants gather, build an agenda, and begin talking. Conversations are directed and productive because the agenda for the meeting was democratically generated. We met at Mad City Coffee at 07:30 . We enjoyed an hour and a half of coffee and conversation.

August Topics

Distributed Teams

When everyone in your company is distributed, what are some ways you can stay connected?

Paired Programming

How do you sell paired programming to your organization? Management sees it as one for the price of two.

Test Driven Development

How exactly does it work?  We hear that it’s a good thing but why?

Method Turf Wars

Coaches and consultants get so passionate about the frameworks they promote. It used to be Waterfall against Agile.  Now it’s seemingly SAFe , Scrum at scale, enterprise Kanban and Lean… For the customers, do they really care? They just want stuff to work!

Meetups and Conferences

Have you been to any good meetups or conferences lately?  Do you know of any upcoming events?


We had some really good conversations around the topics. Rather than bullet them out here, I’ll respond in the comments to encourage a little conversation.


Follow the Process

A process isn’t a process if you don’t follow it

I’ve been on the National Yellow Pages consumer choice opt-out list for 4 years.  Since registering, how many times in the last 4 years do you think I have received a Yellow Pages phone book?  That’s right, 4 times!  Each year I receive a phone book and promptly throw it into the recycle bin; each year I promptly submit a complaint to the website. Within 24 hours, I get a notification that they will notify the distributor of the error.

Why does this process fail?

  1. The people who are supposed to follow the process just don’t care.  If the job is to deliver phones books quickly, I wouldn’t be surprised if they dumped the entire annual delivery at the local recycling center and nobody would even care.
  2. The feedback loop is annual.  I doubt someone chooses a career in phone book delivery.  Even if they do read the non-delivery address list, they’ll be out of there before the next annual delivery.
  3. Nobody is held accountable. If they were, I would have complained once. Still, it’s not worth a class-action lawsuit. I’ll just blog about it.






a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end.
“developers not unit testing their code could derail the application development process”
synonyms: procedureoperationactionactivityexercisejobtaskundertaking More


perform a series of mechanical or chemical operations on (something) in order to change or preserve it.
“the various stages in processing the change request”

Still getting a phone book? Tell me why! I’m sure it took a while to phase out buggy whips when the automobile came along. I’m still scratching my head on the whole phone book thing.


Busy Summer

User StoryThis summer, things come in three’s.


I’ll be hosting Lean Coffee Baltimore on July 11 at Mad City Coffee. >> Register Here >>


I’ll be presenting at Agile2014 in Orlando on August 1. >> Register Here >>


I’ll be conducting a 2-day user story workshop on August 14-15 in Bowie, Maryland. >> Register Here >>


Lean Coffee Baltimore

lean-coffee-baltimoreWhat is it?

Lean Coffee is a structured, but agenda-less meeting. Participants gather, build an agenda, and begin talking. Conversations are directed and productive because the agenda for the meeting was democratically generated.

Where is it?

Mad City Coffee opens at 07:00 and is a coffee shop/coffee roaster minutes from the Columbia Mall and moments away from Howard Community College. We’ll be about equal distance between Baltimore and DC for this event at 10801 Hickory Ridge Rd, Columbia, MD.

When it it?

Friday, July 11, 2014
7:30 AM to 8:30 AM

Click here to RSVP


Tips to Break Into Project Management

Tips to Break Into Project ManagementGeoff’s Request

Professor of project management at Durham College, Geoff Crane, just published an ebook titled 52 Tips to Break Into Project Management. Back in early May, he told me he was compiling an ebook for his students and asked if I would be a contributor. Geoff and I have (virtually) known each other for several years. He’s written really on-point stuff over on his blog, Papercut PM.  One of my favorite pieces is titled How Relevant is a PMP?

So, what did he ask me?

I teach project management at Durham College in Ontario. My first batch of students will graduate next month and as a gift I’m looking at putting together an ebook for them…

What advice do you have for project management students fresh out of school who want to break into the discipline?

This is a burning issue for most of them–they’re really looking for advice. As someone with a vested interest in the field, I know your insights will be valuable.

The resulting ebook was really well put together. I’m honored to be included in the list of contributors.

You can even click through the ebook via Slideshare (see below).

Tips to Break Into Project Management

So, what did I have to say?  I wanted to keep it short and sweet.  I have nieces and nephews still in college, so I can empathize with Geoff’s students.  I limited my response to a bulleted list of 10.

1.  Grab the first opportunity that comes your way. Don’t play hard to get.
2.  Get in there and really hustle. Work smart and hard.
3.  Give all the credit to everyone else. It’s the experiences you’re looking for.
4.  Pay attention to what others are doing around you. This includes people who are not project managers.
5.  Try to learn a little something from everyone, even those whom you may not like.
6.  Don’t get too upset if things don’t go as planned. Things are going to get messy.
7.  Focus on what is valuable to your customer first, to your boss second, and yourself last.
8.  Share what you learn with others.
9.  Ask a lot of questions (even dumb ones).
10.  Be honest.

Image Source: Pictofigo