PM Clinic: A forum on project management

This is a friendly discussion forum on the art and science of managing teams and leading projects.

  • Most folks here work in the software/web industry.
  • Topics often apply to any kind of business or team.
  • Each week a challenging (and often entertaining) situation is chosen, and discussed openly on the list.
  • Advice/ideas are debated and the best are summarized.

This email list is private, spam free, low in carbs, and high in protein. List rules and FAQ are found below. The list is maintained by Scott Berkun, with help from others.

Sample of previous weeks discussion:

(10/4/2004 thru 5/31/2005)

31: Working with programmer / architects
30: Happy project status meetings
29: The politics of bug fixing
28: My kingdom for quality
27: When to abandon specs
26: Big teams vs. little teams
25: Death by powerpoint (Surving)
24: Changes during development (Evil?)
23: Traits of good PMs / leaders
22: Limited resources (how to deal)
21: The project from hell
20: How many project managers do you need
19: Managing those far away
18: Sinking in sunk costs
17: Tales of woe and things that went wrong
16: The battle over design authority
15: Preventing feature creep
14: Tools of the trade (scheduling)
13: New vs. Experienced managers
12: War stories of process change
11: Fixing a train wreck in progress
10: Meetings, bloody meetings
9: Disasters
8: QA and relationship recovery
7: Tracking programmers work
6: Innovation vs. Execution
5: Missing dates
4: Too much customer love
3: Mistakes PMs make
2: Quality, test, and time
1: Prioritizing Time

List rules

Anyone can suggest a topic. See previous weeks for examples of situations and topics. Suggestions will be used anonymously unless the author requests otherwise, and may be modified for clarity or relevance.

When posting, attempt to be helpful. Sarcasm, mild mockery, or comedic examples are encouraged, provided it's within the spirit of arriving at good advice. Genuine disagreement and devil's advocacy are welcome - can't have good discourse without them. Stories from experience are encouraged.

However, ridicule, flame-bait, general derision, or other non-productive anti-social list behavior isn't appropriate here.

At the end of the week a summary of the discussion will be posted. However, you are free to revive topics from previous weeks if you have new thoughts or questions. Just make sure to use the appropriate subject line when you post about your new question or thought on an old issue.

And just for sanity

Post with care. Trim your replies: they should contain your post, and the single post you are responding to. Do NOT include the entire thread. And please use subject lines with care.

PM = Project manager or Project management. Clinic = Group interaction. Topics from web development, software development or broader leadership management concepts are welcome. All proponents of specific methodologies related to these topics are welcome here, provided they behave.


Is this general project management or just about software? It's mostly web and software development. However many of the topics are universal to all kinds of projects (dealing with conflict, leading teams, making decisions, scheduling, planning, crisis management, etc.).

Who is on this list? As of 2/12/2005 there are 210 members. Many of the people on the list are professionals in software or web development. Some are from small shops, others from big corporations.

Is the list private? Yes. A summary is posted every friday, and that is made public.

Who can join the list? Currently list membership is open. Anyone can join.

Why should I join? If you like talking shop about what you do, and you manage projects, this list is for you. If you like conversation and discussion about software development, where the goal is to help or learn, not berate or abuse, then this list is for you.

Can anyone post advice? Absolutely. That's the whole idea. If you have a story to share, a tactic to offer, or advice from experience, please chime in to the current discussion. Links to good books, essays or other related webstuff is welcome.

Can anyone offer suggestions for topics? Yes. Contact Scott.





All content copyright 2005. Scott Berkun. RSS Feed