What new chapter do you want?
The work on Making things happen (the book formerly known as the art of project management) is well underway. Months ago, I asked you to vote on what you wanted. There were many excellent suggestions, which I’ve read and am reviewing, but top votes went to a new chapter:
One remaining decision is what the new chapter will be. I’ve heard three good candidates so far.
Possible new chapters:
- How to build/grow a team
- The secrets of morale
- Learning from projects after they ship (or your iteration ends)
They’re all good fits, and I have my opinions, but I want yours. For reference, here is the full outline from the existing book (I’ll give you a dirty look if you ask for a chapter that’s already in there :)
So leave a comment and let me know: does one of the above rock for you? Or is there something else you want to see as Chapter 17?
I vote for How to build/grow a team. This is one of the most difficult aspects to creating great products and a team that has great talent AND can works well together is indispensable. I would also add to build/grow another sub-category, keep. Talent retention in high-tech companies is not always a priority, so what can a team lead do to keep his people?
P.S. – Some focus on developing a team with varying mixes of experience in the field and ratios of experienced vs. inexperienced members contribution to the overall team dynamic would be nice.
The first two (teams and morale) are covered quite well in the book Peopleware. Unless you have something new to add I’d like something fresh.
Hi Sam: something fresh? Hmmm. If you could be more specific that’d be handy. I’m sure any topic we’re likely to come up with here has been covered in other books ( and of course before I wrote artofpm, we could have said the same thing about the topics for those 16 chapters :)
my vote goes to “Learning from projects after they ship”, which would complete the development cycle. taking the time to reflect on a project, whatever its outcome, is loaded with goodness, from strengthening relationships to improving processes. and if you could call it a “retrospective” rather than a “postmortem” that’d help promote it as the postive exercise that it can be :)
Scott, personally I would like to see a Team chapter. Where morale can be mentioned but instead of doing the typical “Peopleware” thing, I suggest speaking on teams in terms of 2.0. In other words, I’d like to get your take on how to make projects run when people can be located anywhere in the world, authority becomes decentralized, etc. To use some jargon, “Virtual Teams in the Social Computing Age”. :)
PS – Love the books and blog. Wish you continued success.
I hear Sam’s comment about Peopleware, but we shouldn’t assume most buyers read numerous books – even if Scott’s take on building teams is aligned with the Peopleware version. Great teams are hard to build, and are even harder, I think, when you start with what someone else has built. The latter is a common situation in IT-type projects.
There are lots of books, articles, and such around getting the best out of individuals, and about coaching. However, building a team while everyone is deeply engaged in a (single) project is a rather different beast, with numerous constraints – and a few opportunities – not as often analyzed. It’s the old story about fixing and improving the plane while it’s in the air.
I vote for “how to build and grow a team”. It would be awesome to have a section in that chapter on morale, though.
I need to go pick up Peopleware – I loved the book, but I don’t recall it being prescriptive in the same way that most of the chapters of artofpm are.
Barbara: you’re a supergenius! Here I am thinking they have to be seperate chapters :) Doh!
I would really like the idea of chapter on “secrets of morale”. To me it would go beyond the growing of a team because by definition a project has a start and end. Usually I do not work with the same team each project. When I work with cross functional teams (mix of employees, contractors and consultants) in a public (read gov’t) context, as a consultant I find it challanging to keep up morale when you can not offer the same incentives as a private co.
Things you learn after you ship are really lessons learned and personally that seem to be done to death already.
Would prefer “International Project Management”, a chapter emphasise PM with teams, who are remotely located (other corner of the world). This will say about Cross Group Collaboration among Teams in different countries, culture etc. Time Management is big issue with these teams.
I’ll have to put my vote in for “Learning from projects after they ship (or your iteration ends)”.
I’m really big on reflecting, learning and getting better at what we do as individuals and teams and am currently lobbying for this where I work. The drive for rapid development in large to small businesses within the interactive industry is leaving this valuable step short. (or for dead)
Where I work we make the time for individual reviews against our job descriptions, and KPIs but somehow move on to new projects regularly without looking at what could work better, how we could improve our processes or skills and importantly whether users or stakeholders liked the output. Is the product being used/ meeting performance targets? Is it a good user experience?
Often a project is compromised along the way in some aspect. Sometimes this is ok and perhaps even leads to the “mother of all invention” but other times the root of the compromise is retained by the lack of review. Neglecting this step leaves many of the tough issues unexamined or glossed over, conveniently left behind until another occasion for the compromise resurfaces. Likewise – it would be great to look at what worked well so that we can try and replicate that.
Often I think some of this neglect is human nature. As much as I love a good problem, I love to see the back of a problem that got in the way of outcomes.
In my mind it is important to look at how a product/project is received, how it has performed, what the feedback is, how the process could be improved, what skills and training would be useful for the team, what people have found that they are really interested in that they hadn’t thought of before… just for starters! I think many people don’t know where to start with this sort of assessment – especially in teams, so that the useful stuff can come out and work its way into constructive implementations to the way we work.
A chapter and exercises that extract and separate subjective outcomes and hard evidence (such as metrics) would be really useful.
Thanks – looking forward to the 2nd edition.
Hey – another thought… good review processes build and grow teams by influencing moral! (not to say all could be done in a single chapter :))
I think teamwork would be a great chapter, and morale would work well into that. Morale issues should be dealt with as they come up, in any aspect of the project, so I could see morale dealt with in several parts of the book.
I think the international aspects and issues of not having a colocated team would be of value. One other issue to deal with might be how to deal with different personality types, in a loose Meyers-Briggs sort of way. I don’t think personality types are static, but understanding how to identify and deal with various personalities in a project environment might be of value.
The secrets of morale! That would be really interesting.