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Book Review: Leadership, Rudolph Giuliani

Leadership, by Rudolph Giuliani

I have over 30 books on leadership on my shelf: deep and shallow, scholarly and populist, straight and quirky. Bt there is one I enjoyed reading and, as a project manager, got more out of than any other: Leadership, by Rudolph Giuliani.Continue reading…

Find the Key: What are the Basics?

Oak Sapling

Here is something that has always been one of the most important insights, for me:

“Focus on the basics, do them well, and do them relentlessly.”

The Project Management Elements

I have always applied this rule to project management and, through a series of projects, I have recognised a pattern of behaviour in myself that has allowed me to apply it effectively. Let’s start, though, with something that I speak about, in one way or another, in just about every project management talk I give or course I run: the project management elements. These are the unique “types of stuff” that a project is made of.Continue reading…

Cycle Times and the Monitor and Control Loop


In my last blog: Project Multi-tasking: the Multi-Tasking Fallacy” I discussed the need to allocate chunks of time to each task you are working on – and to each project you are managing.

Good Project Control

The post was primarily about managing more than one project in parallel.  At the end of that post, I commented that you still need to switch from one project to another fast enough to maintain good project control over each.  This is a real challenge – dwelling long enough to stay efficient and make a contribution; yet switching fast enough to keep control of each.Continue reading…

Project Multi-tasking: The Multi-tasking Fallacy

Multi-tasking - Photo Credit Ryan Ritchie:

One of the most common topics that comes up in a talk or training session about project management is Multi-tasking.

Managing Several Projects at the Same Time

A common form of the multi-tasking question is this:

“How do I juggle managing of several projects at the same time?”

I have been getting this question at talks, seminars and training sessions for many years and I can remember clearly how I first dealt with question many years ago.Continue reading…

The Problems of Probability

Low likelihood - High impact risk

Basic risk management is a topic that most people understand easily.  The steps are straightforward, the need is obvious and the underlying concepts are familiar.

Familiarity brings Risk

However, that familiarity poses its own, significant risk.  If the basics are simple to grasp, here is another case of “simple is not the same as easy”.  The four fundamental steps of risk management each need a lot of careful attention.  They are, in truth, rather tricky.Continue reading…

Danger: When are Top-down and Bottom-up not Equally Effective?


In my last blog, I opined that, when creating a Work Breakdown Structure, top-down and bottom-up planning are equally effective.  I also believe that you can do better by combining the approaches and my blog describes how.

But Top-down and Bottom-up are not always equally effective.

In fact, in certain circumstances, one of them is a downright danger to the project manager.Continue reading…

Are you a “Top-down” or a “Bottom-up” sort of Person?

Work Breakdown Structure

Detail First

When they think through a problem or a situation, some people have a clear natural tendency to start with the detail.  All the myriad little components come into their minds.  Those who are naturally organised then sift and sort them into a pattern and a plan.

Start with Big Picture

Others approach a problem in a rather different way.  They take the issue and steadily break it down into ever-smaller pieces until each component chunk feels like a manageable single concept.Continue reading…

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