Showing posts with label innovation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label innovation. Show all posts

Saturday, August 15, 2020

The Portfolio Management Dream: How to Stop it from Becoming a Nightmare!

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VoiceAmerica  0:04  
One problem facing people at many levels of business is how to make time for a work life and a personal life. Do you find that one seems to keep getting in the way of the other? This is the work life balance with Rick Morris. Even if you're not involved in the business world, you'll have a lot to gain by tuning into today's show. Now, here's your host, Rick Morris.

Rick A. Morris  0:26  
And welcome to another edition of the work life balance on this Friday afternoon. So excited to have you guys along. And, you know, I've been very, very blessed with this radio show been blessed by you as an audience. And because of that, we're now booked out to the end of the year, which is really, really cool. It's the first time in the five years that I've done the show that we've been booked out that far in advance and that's a testament to you guys and a testament to the quality of people that are wanting to come on and talk to us about the work life balance. But having said all that it's been a little while since just I've been with you. So I thought I would take the opportunity today and just talk through some of the things that's happening here in our lives and then go through one of my, my newest content deliveries that we're talking about, which is called a portfolio management dream, and how to stop that from becoming a nightmare. So just, you know, on the personal front, there's there's a ton of activity that's been going on, you know, COVID has impacted us all. And being a serial entrepreneur and somebody who works from home. My consulting business, really just kind of went away, and so did the speaking business. And so I was faced, you know, in February in March of looking at my pipeline projections and just seeing them go down to nothing, almost. And so it's always time to pivot in I always say, these are the times that make the entrepreneur and these are the times that we really need to focus on what's important, but it's also not the time to take a break, I think The people that are working the hardest right now to reinvent and reinvigorate are the ones that are going to come out of COVID just fine. So to that end, we've started actually three different companies. Right now one super excited about we're calling milestone melodies. We're actually making custom songs. So we've got an entire group of Nashville Songwriters, musicians in really looking to create a unique, I hate to even say gift but a unique moment or so it could be, you know, wedding, anniversary, birthday, anything like that. And we're creating custom music fully produced. So there's a couple of other groups out there that do that, but they don't have the production level or certainly the talent that's available to us in Nashville. So super excited about that. There'll be probably a whole show, I'll bring the CO owners, which is Jennifer McGill, who's former Mickey Mouse Club, and Jeff bohannan is her Ben who does a lot of the production as well and we'll have them on and talk about their why and that business that's going to be really cool. We started a new organization as well called social RX which is spinning up which is more of a prescription for social media and how to do social media total Social Media Marketing Agency. And of course, you know, the pm tribe has been going on but the latest announcement is radio MMC, which you can go to radio MMC calm, but it is now a radio station that's internet based, that plays solely music of those artists and people that are connected to the 90s version of the Mickey Mouse Club. So that just launched this week. It actually launched August 12. So we're super excited about that. You can go to radio MMC comm and check that out. So let's get into today's topic. So in my consulting career and working with a lot of organizations, I've worked with almost 150 or so organizations now implementing what we call project portfolio management software. In the sole reason that most organizations buy this level of software in they can spend anywhere from, you know, 20,000 a year up to 200 $300,000 a year. So, I know several clients that have millions of dollars

invested in a platform like this, but they all buy it so that they can generally make better decisions when it comes to portfolio management. And so for those of my audience that may not fully understand what portfolio management really is, it is managing the entire project inventory for an organization in managing that to strategy as well as cost. And so the first question I always like to ask when we're doing any kind of portfolio management work is, are you picking projects based on what you can spend, or what your resources can realistically achieve? So let's explain that most organizations have some sort of capital budget planning process. Guess what they do? Is that the beat, you know, somewhere in September, October, they start a list and they essentially just say, hey, what are other projects that we need to complete next year? And this huge list? And they asked about how much is that going to cost? And then, of course, that list gets sent up somewhere, and, you know, goes through some magic formula, and essentially, they pick the project. And we've done a whole series on, you know, making sure that projects aligned to strategy and all those other things. So we won't get into that at this point. But my question is, is during that process? How do we ensure that when we pick all these projects, that we have a reasonable staff to be able to complete all those projects? And I would say between 90 and 95% of companies out there, have some sort of an idea. They'll say, you know, how many resources do you think you'll use? How many hours do you think this will be? Some kind of rough estimate? But it really doesn't timescale those estimates and show how the resources are being utilized whether or not they're gonna be overloaded or have enough time to actually complete the project work. So that's a huge question. And so as organizations start to become aware of this need, or really want to start to understand, and especially I think now in terms of COVID, you know, with reduced staffed and work at home and all those things, that it's forcing all these companies to challenge all their assumptions. And I wonder what that process is like if you don't have something that's automated, or something that can assist you in understanding that. And it's far too complex to keep this kind of information in your head or even via a spreadsheet. Because the moment you finish the spreadsheet, it's out of date. So essentially, an organization then has this dream, that they're going to buy some portfolio management software, and off they go. So what I want to do is talk through kind of three different Dreams. And then the nightmares that I see get created through those dreams. And then I'll finish this episode with some practical tips and tricks from a real world perspective. So that's what we're doing today. So the first dream is again, they buy a piece of software, it automatically somehow ranks projects through data, and then automatically communicate that information through the enterprise. So everybody knows the ranking of the projects and whether or not we have enough people to do them. And off we go. Now it's true. Most of the software on the market can do that. But here's how these things become nightmares very, very quickly. First and foremost, the first mistake most people do when they're looking at implementing a system like this any kind of automation system really, is they overcomplicate the software. When you start to see the potential of what software can automate, you start picking more and more and more processes to bring in and then essentially becomes this huge behemoth that takes forever to test for everything. Training is so disruptive to the enterprise. It's just too big. And so, by overcomplicate I can tell you I can't tell you how many times that when we we sold the software, we started working with the organization, we had something very simple like we want to do portfolio management. By the end, what you're arguing about is these 30 reports that nobody's going to read. And it's about colors and fonts and things, things like to me that I'm sure they matter to some people, but at the end of the day, those aren't decision making things. And those aren't things that really are driving those types of decisions. So becomes way over complicated. We're trying to do way too much and bite off more than we can chew. I think that second thing is that while this software does rank things, it has to have the data underneath to rank them. So for instance, if I want to know whether or not I have the resources available to do this project, and I have to have some sort of thought of what type of resources I need for how long and And how much of them that I need. So for instance, any 50% of a project manager for six months, and then that has to be compared with all the existing projects, and those have to have at least some sort of resource estimation.

Beyond that, a lot of people like to look at return on investment, net present value and, and total costs and things like that. But if we're not inputting that data consistently, in the system, then when it ranks the projects, it's ranking based on incomplete data. I think the third major thing that I see when people buy the software is that computers and software aren't going to replace human conversation. So for instance, one of the big ones is like, Okay, if I input my resources there, I want to be notified every time somebody updates a resource in the system. And I really see you know, do you do you really want to be notified because at some point, the These notifications is just going to clog your email box, and nobody's really going to want to look through them, and then it's going to lose its effectiveness and value anyway. So why would you want to be notified? And ultimately, the conversation comes down? Well, I don't want, you know, project manager or somebody going in there and messing up my resource forecast. So I get that. But even if they do, right, the system isn't going to prevent that or being notifying you isn't going to prevent that there's still got to be some sort of human conversation. There's still has to be talking that goes on and you know, jacking for the best resources for a project and no system, no matter how well automated or how well crafted is going to replace human conversation. And also the whole notification thing. Well, I see value in that being notified immediately. Whenever I'm talking to somebody in a meeting and they say something like that. I say, okay, hang on real quick. You just got notified. What are you going to do with it? Now that you've been notified, what's the next step? You're in a meeting You don't have the access to the data. So now it's just another email in your box that you got to get back to. So why couldn't we just create something like a weekly digest that says, you know, here's all the things you said you cared about, you know that, that if they were updated or changed in the system you wanted to know. But we give that to you in a consolidated format that says like, here's all the resource changes, here's all the project date changes, here's all the issue updates, you know, those types of things. But kind of a weekly digest instead of notifying you every time something like that happens. And most of my clients will take that option. But the point being is you lose the effectiveness of the software. If you overcomplicated, you don't have complete data. And you think that this system is going to replace the human conversations that are necessary to move business along. So that's how dream number one becomes nightmare. Number one. So we're going to go through a couple more of these. I've got two more dreams and nightmares to talk about and then we'll get into some practical tips but we're going to take a break right here. Are you listening to Rick Moore's on the work life balance?

VoiceAmerica  12:05  
Are you aware that 80% of project management executives do not know how their projects align with their company's business strategy? Are you aware that businesses identified capturing time and costs against projects as their biggest project management challenge? Are you aware that 44% of project managers use no software? Even though Price Waterhouse Coopers found that the use of commercially available project management software increases performance and satisfaction? Now, imagine that you could have the ease of entry like a spreadsheet and a software tool set up and running within two to four weeks. Imagine within two weeks being able to see clearly where all of your resource conflicts are. Well, you don't have to imagine because PD ware has already created it. pd ware can give you real time access to KPIs easily updated views of what your teams are working on. And immediate feedback to some of project management's toughest questions like when can we start this project. What happens if we delay this project? Can we do this in time? How does this new project impact our current portfolio? Find us at PDX where calm at imagine not manually compiling endless reports again, are you getting the most out of your project management software. In many cases, it is not the software that is failing, but the implementation limitations or processes surrounding the use of that software. r squared can analyze your current use and help improve your return on investment. r squared can also suggest the best software for your organization and goals and assist in the selection implementation and training. Allow r square to ensure that you are getting the value of your investment. Visit r squared today

from the boardroom to you voice America business network.

You want to tuned into the work life balance to reach Rick A. Morris or his guest today, we'd love to have you call into the program at 1-866-472-5790. Again, that's 1-866-472-5790. If you'd rather send an email, Rick can be reached at our Morris at r squared Now back to the work life balance.

Rick A. Morris  14:25  
And we're back to the work life balance on this Friday afternoon. We're talking about the portfolio management dream and how to stop that from becoming a nightmare. So this really comes from years and years of experience doing portfolio management working with organizations. The first one that we covered was, you know, buying software that we think is going to solve all the problems and while software does accelerate a lot of the decisions and makes a lot of the decisions easier. Certainly we have the ability to mess up how we implement the software and thereby make the nightmare happen. So our second dream that I want to talk about is where people will convene a PMO. And ultimately a portfolio management committee. The dream is that we're going to get the executives in the room, we're going to give them some criteria, they're going to look at all of our projects, and rank them with only one number one.

Not like one, a, one, B, one C, one D, but truly have a number one project. You know, a lot of times when when I'm starting the consulting with an organization, I'll ask them, who do you think is making the strategic decisions of the company? And of course, you know, they say, well, we do, right. We're the Executive Council, we do, and I'll say, Okay, do you have a prioritized list of projects that's, that's actually accessible, and everybody understands where they fit? And if the answer's no, then I said, well, you're really not making the strategic decisions. And they asked me how that can be. And I said, because what you're doing is essentially by not having a prioritized list of projects. You're deferring the decision. And that decision will continue to get deferred until it has to be made, which is generally at the lowest level. So for instance, it's it's not you making the strategic decision. It's that database administrator who just got asked to do three different things. Whatever they choose to do first is now the number one priority, at least to them. And of course, if everybody's operating that way, then you've got 500 priorities being worked on, and no consolidated effort towards that major project. And so how you combat that is then how do you decide what's the number one project and most people will do that through a council. So that's the dream is that we're going to convene this council. They're going to make decisions. We're going to have a prioritized list of projects and how we go. Now the first qualifier I want to give before I get into the nightmares, those one of the biggest things that I look at from a maturity perspective of not only Portfolio Management Council, but the project management office, the PMO, I was asked how many projects did Did you kill in flight or cancel outright as part of this committee? And if the answer is that they haven't, then they're not a very mature committee. Because the committee is just now becoming a rubber stamp or roadmap through in order to, you know, greenlight the project. But if they're really not stopping projects, or looking at projects that are performing poorly in them from that point, then they're not really making these portfolio management type decisions. That's really the goal. The goal shouldn't be which project should we approve? It really should be which projects aren't worth our time are we not going to do so how these then councils become a nightmare is first, how do you actually come up with a ranking for a project. And so what they'll do is they'll design a formula to rank projects, right the but then the argument then becomes about the formula. So instead of deciding you This project should be higher than this project we're arguing about, you know what, that ROI should be five times the revenue coming in or, you know, the NPV should be two times as important as the overall cost, you know, things of that sort. And the reason that that that formula becomes an argument is because based on the ranking of using the formula, the projects that they felt were most important, weren't showing up. So the answer must be let's tweak the formula so that we can get the expected result versus taking a really hard look at the what, what the formulas doing. So that's one way it can become an absolute nightmare. The second one and this one, this one I see more often than anything is that the council itself breaks down. So the decisions are really hard to make, but then that's why it's part of an Executive Council. The executives are there to make really hard decisions, and a very hard decision is we're going to do this Project and not do that project. And so I was contracted for for a government agency. And they had eight divisions that were using a centralized it. And everybody was upset that it wasn't doing the projects fast enough and wasn't producing enough so on and so forth, because everybody had a number one, and it was just bogged down. And my my challenge to them was, Why does it have to make the decision because at the end of the day, it for the most part, for the most part, I know I'm being generous here. So please don't be offended. But for the most part, it doesn't care what project we're doing. What we care about is that we have enough time to do that project with quality and be able to to put out the best results possible. But whether we do project a or project B really doesn't matter because we're going to end up doing them both. It's just give us the time to complete project day before we move on to project beat. So I worked with the the eight divisions and I can to counsel with them. And one of the first things I had them do was I asked them to come up with a list of criteria they feel they would need to have answered, in order for them to make a decision as to which project was going to be number one versus number two. And so we worked for weeks on that all kinds of data points, they were saying, and all this other stuff. When we were done with this exercise, the first thing I asked them to do was let's go ahead and rank our existing projects against this criteria. So that, you know, we could just see how it works, right kind of a test case. And they couldn't answer. They didn't have enough information to answer all the things that they say we're required in order to get a project approved to their Council. And I remember saying, doesn't that scare you? It doesn't scare you as the slightest bit that you're saying this is the minimum information you need in order to be able to rank a project. You can't produce that information for projects that are running right now. How does like how does Does that make you guys feel? And so what ended up happening is that it was too hard to get the data that they wanted. So we suggested to pare down the form and they disagree. They're like, no, we're just gonna disband the council. So it was a perfect example for me. And I've seen many organizations do that, that the decisions are that difficult. And in light of making the difficult decision or showing some leadership and taking that on, the response was simply we're going to push the decision back down to it and then we're going to yell at them if they're not making the decision we want them to make and that's essentially what I see in a ton of organizations.

The third one is nightmares is kind of the same under the same thing, but you can never make a decision due to insufficient data. So really nightmare. Scenario number two in this dream is is where they just the decisions too hard to make they disband but The third one is insufficient data. What this one really is, is what I call the decision delay tactic. So this is when they say, okay, we do want this set of information, go get it, you provide that information. Of course, a lot of people are doing this in spreadsheets, and it takes a ton of time to compile the information. And then somebody else on the council will say, Well, I really need to understand this piece of data in order for us to make these decisions. So obviously, you can't make the decision in that meeting. So you send everybody off, they create the new data point, they load it all up, they bring it back into the organization and somebody who go you know, that's really good, but now that I'm seeing that I want to know this piece of information. And while they say they do want to know it, it takes a lot of maturity in in somebody who's running the process to go, that's great. We'll rearrange the projects when we have that information, but we need to rank these projects based on the information we have today. That way, you have that opportunity to go ahead and start making some of the key decisions that need to be made. And you're not pushing it off. Just because of a data point. When you start to feel that kind of happening, that's when you want to challenge the organization or the council itself, to start to really come to terms with this decision has to be made. And it has to be made for the betterment of our people. And we talked about that for just a second. You know, decision making is what I feel the executives are paid the amount that they're paid for that that's that is their job is to make decisions. And but if you look at it from a human nature perspective, human nature says we don't really like or want to make tough decisions and a tough decision means it's not a compromise. Generally, somebody wins, somebody loses. And so when you're trying to maintain relationships, and you're trying to You know, make everybody happy and lead an organization successfully, those decisions are really hard to make. And I am not undermining that by any mean. But at the same time, no decision means the decision becomes deferred to a lower level. And so that now falls to your middle management, middle management doesn't make it that it falls down to your people and your people end up making strategic decisions, just for the mere fact that nobody else would. And so I just want you to think through that. And think about just something simple. Like if you're, you're asking for a team to collaborate on, you know, some copy that was being written an email was going to go out or a newsletter or something of that sort of something as simple as that. You ever send that email out and says, Hey, you know, provide me feedback. And you just don't get any information. Then of course, once it's published, everybody has their feedback ready for you? Well, some of these decisions That that are being deferred could cost millions upon millions upon millions of dollars. I remember

working with a bank, and they had something that they call this security scan. And it was supposed to just scan to see if any ports were open and they would close them before you know this, this thing would go into production. And there was there was a couple of projects that went out where a port was open, and it left them vulnerable to some sort of attack or hacking or something of that sort. And the CIO just came down with fury just beat everybody up around them. And so, next thing you know, as a project manager, when you go to do a security scan, they say, well, the security scan teams really overloaded. We said why they said well, we require three security scans for every project. I was like, what does that mean? And they said well, we got to scan it when the it is done building the server, we have to scan it after the vendors installed. software and we have to scan it after user acceptance testing, so that we can confirm if any ports were open. And if the ports were open, who, who opened them. And so then it became 10 days to schedule a security scan 10 days to perform it and 10 days to get the results. So you're looking at 90 business days or four and a half months, just so that we could say whether or not ports were open and who was to blame. And that was the kind of key thing see the executive needed to know who and was blowing everybody up, not the fact that the ports were open, but who did it. And so the question became, who made the decision to do three security scans? Well, nobody did. So the security scan team did, because they didn't want to get yelled at because they didn't know who opened the port. And so the question becomes, well, what was more important than the fact that we caught a port and we closed it before it went live? Or is it more important to know Who opened the port so we can yell at him and blame him. And when when I finally challenged the executive with that information, the answer was clear that no, we just want to make sure the ports are closed. But my that was a perfect example of how every single project in that bank, for as long as those process were in play, we're getting delayed by up to two and a half to three months. For no logical business reason, other than we wanted to know who to blame. That's a perfect example of when an executive decides to blow something up or yell at somebody or not make the the decision, how it gets hand checked down, and other people will then make the decision in absence. So that's our dream number two convenient counsel and make decisions and how those become nightmares. We're going to come back with nightmare number three right after this break and listening to Rick Morris and the work life balance.

VoiceAmerica  27:57  
Are you frustrated with the overall productivity Have your project management processes Do you lack consistency and project delivery? Our squared consulting provides end to end services to assist companies of all sizes in realizing and improving the value of project management. Whether you want to build a project management office train project managers for learn how to bring the oversight and governance to your project processes, r squared has tailored best practices to help you in all areas of project management, visit r squared At the work life balance, we like to ask simple questions to our executives and portfolio managers. Are you picking your projects based on what the organization can spend? Or is it based on what your resources can realistically achieve? This question is not answered properly can cause great strain on your staff limiting the return on investment. When creating project selection criteria. Does your organization attempt to understand the amount of resources needed to complete the work? Is this done in spreadsheets or in a while level. What if we told you there was a simple and easy solution that was built with resource planning in mind? We call it resource first from PD where resource first was built with resource planning as its foundation. We have years of experience that proves before a company fine tunes its project and portfolio management processes without a process for resource planning. The best processes and algorithms can fall flat resources should be first when deciding the strategy of taking an organization forward. Find out more at PD were calm. Put your people first with resource first from PD where join us at PDX were calm.

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You are tuned in to the work life balance to reach Rick A. Morris or his guest today. We'd love to have you call into the program at 186 64725790 Again, that's 1-866-472-5790. If you'd rather send an email, Rick can be reached at r Morris at r squared Now back to the work life balance.

Rick A. Morris  30:17  
And we're back to the work life balance on this Friday afternoon talking about the portfolio management dream, how to stop them from becoming a nightmare. So we've covered two dreams already. Let's get into the third one and then we're going to get into tips and tricks that I have several clients that pay big money to hear so that's that's what's coming. So hang on with us and we'll get into some tips and tricks on some practices that are surprisingly successful. So dream number three is to institute a gating process. So, gating process is a series of gates where you want to have some sort of check where a project goes from initiation into planning, planning and execution, execute In closing, so on so forth, the goal is to validate that the team itself is ready that all the due diligence has been done. And we really understand what we're getting ourselves involved with. It's also, though should be a key point in which we look at the project and decide whether or not to continue the project. So it's not just a rubber stamp. So a lot of organizations, again, state that they want that they state that they want some sort of gating process, they want some control. They want to make sure that everybody's thought through everything that they're supposed to do. But the reality of the situation is it becomes a process for the sake of process. And before I get into that, let me explain that like, for instance, for instance, one of the biggest process I think, is misused in project management is that of lessons learned. Not saying that lessons learned is invaluable. It's just that people haven't really thought through the process. So then it just becomes something that we do for the sake to say that we did add a checkbox for the PMO that says yes, we completed the lessons learned what I mean is most of the time lessons learned is handled with the project team. It's tracked in some sort of spreadsheet and then it goes out to like a SharePoint site. And then the intent is that all the project managers are supposed to read all of the lessons learned so that we can plan for that and avoid making the same mistake twice now in theory, phenomenal. But we do have a system of how do we take those lessons learned and actionable so that people can really learn? haven't thought through how to do that, then we're just doing a bunch of wasted effort. So again, it's it's not that lessons learned is invaluable. It's just the process in which we do it. If you want a great system of how you can actually turn lessons learned into a real risk assessment I suggest my book project management that works I have an entire chapter devoted to how you take the lessons learned turn that into a questionnaire that can that is in central English for Your project managers to be able to answer and then it tells you what to plan into the project based on how they answered that questionnaire. And it's all based on lessons learned. But coming back then to gating, right, a lot of people end up having gates, just for a process I had of Fortune 50 client I worked with. And when we calculated the cost of their gating process, it was $18 million. It cost them to run their gating process per year $18 million.

And so

that became a great test case for the nightmares that we talked about. So nightmare number one is that gates become really complex and they use too much time. In this case, it would take 88 hours for a project manager to gather all of the data. And of course, then there's all these rules that come with it, right? So you got to fill out this massive PowerPoint, you get to go query all these different systems and you get all this information and You're supposed to have that done a week ahead of the meeting, so that the committee can review it. Well, of course, the committee is going to be reviewing like seven or eight projects, they did not look at all of those spreadsheets, they didn't read all that document beforehand, which is what they're supposed to do for the coming to the meeting. So when they get in the meeting, you end up just, you know, rattling off a bunch of information, and then you get a rubber stamp, and off you go. So we've got to make sure that when you're looking at a gating process, that it's not complex, it's super easy to kind of get through but you have the right amount of control within it. The second big nightmare that comes with the gating process comes around, again, decisions not being made. So you present it and then they defer decision in the gate because they want more information or they don't understand. And so therefore, the project essentially goes on hold until you can go through that next gate. Even more so. You know, when you when you have the council that's looking at the gating, a lot of times they'll say well You know, we're only going to meet every other Tuesday, something of that sort, which means if I'm ready to go through a gate, I've got to wait until a certain amount of time, so I can go present and get a rubber stamp and move forward. So that's another huge nightmare that we see when we're looking at the gating process. But the biggest one and my challenge to this fortune 50 client, my challenge to most of my clients is, once we understand what the total cost of the gating process is, then what is the value of doing that? Can we attribute the value? Did we cancel a project? Did we save a project that was gonna lose a ton of money? And, and, you know, revamp them? And when we start looking at processes like this, you know, some of these are very necessary. Some of these are regulatory, and that's fine. But the question becomes, is the value does the value outweigh the cost or is the cost tremendously outweighing the value? So in the case of that fortune 50 client, my question is, can we address Repeat like 35 to $40 million of gains from running this $18 million process. Because if not, then we need to kill the process and reinvent it. Right. And, and that's so I don't understand why it's so scary for organizations, but they're like, Oh, no, we got to do gating. Okay, but the gating hasn't produced any kind of results for your organization the way that you've chosen to do it. So why do it? Well, because, you know, we have to or because, you know, an audit finding or because, you know, our consultant said, so something of that sort, but making sure that we're getting twice the value out. If not, then everybody needs to be re diverted to revenue generating activities instead of these activities that are just clogging up the wheel and not producing results. So that that's how that becomes a nightmare. Number three, so let's get into some tips then for dreams instead of nightmares. So those are the things that can go wrong. Based on the assumptions that most organizations make,

so how do we how do we make these things, actual dreams? How do we make this stuff come true? So my first tip is that all of these things work gating works, project management software and how that work, you know, that works. Having a portfolio decision committee, it works, but they all have to start simple and then become built upon. So for instance, in the project management world, focus on each one of your roles kind of doing one thing, well, I call this the three rings of focus. So the three rings of focus is okay, I want portfolio, our project managers to write a good schedule. I want resource managers to give me utilization statistics, at the minimum Give me the percentage of resources used against the project over a length of time. And the team members just validate those assumptions. They can do that through time tracking or just validating the percentages that They're their resource manager put in. If each one of those roles just focuses on doing those things, well, then you have all of the pillars that you need to make great portfolio management decisions. We'll know how well the projects are trending, what percentage of resources are available to take on the next project. And we'll understand that the resources know where they're supposed to be and what they're supposed to be doing. And so if we do that, then it works. Once you have that down, then you can start to add onto some automation and some workflows and notifications and all those other things that a system can provide. But what I end up seeing happening more than anything, is when you overcomplicate it, then you stent, you start to doubt the tool and not the implementation of the tool or the configuration of the tool. And then it just becomes this large time tracking kind of database Whenever you try to use the data as a point of decision, people don't trust the data so they don't do it. That's, that's horrible. So, they are all of these things work, but they need to be kept simple and they need to be built upon. Under that same kind of tip though, I want you to have the concept of enter once use many. So I I see a lot of organizations who like one time tracking in their portfolio management tool resource management tool, but then they also have SAP or some other HR kind of tracking system in which they have to answer time so now it becomes duplicate entry of time. That's the biggest thing I always caution my my companies and clients to look at is to say, we need a time tracking system of record. And then whatever other system needs that information, we can feed it. So generally that means the portfolio management software is the best place to track time because it's generally at a lower level. When you're looking at like SAP and HR systems. They just kind of want time rolled up to the front project level, not necessarily at the task level. And then of course, you've got you know, just number of hours worked PTO time, that kind of stuff, you can roll that up and send that to other systems. In the same with like financials. So if you're running SAP financials, then let's not create a whole separate tracking spreadsheet in our portfolio management system. Let's find a way a way to feed the relevant information from the system of record into this, you know, into the system where you want to use the data but not have any kind of duplicate entry. All of the all of the systems now have open API's, they're super easy to start to integrate with. And there's ways that you can design that process so that you're entering once and using many. That's a huge tip. Think through the process. From your resource perspective, think through the process of the people that you're asking to do. You know, the so yes, you want the information to make better decisions. But if we make it cumbersome to enter it in or they're entering it in, twice, it's To lower the quality, then you're going to be into the nightmare of the data quality doesn't add up. So therefore we don't trust it. And now we're just doing again process for the sake of process. Very, very important that a well designed thought process of implementation of what's the system of record? What's the information do we need? What are we going to ask our people to do? And how are we going to utilize that data? That's how you prevent that from becoming a nightmare. So I've got four more tips that I'm going to share with you when we come back, but we're going to take our final break right here you're listening to Rick Morris and the work life balance.

VoiceAmerica  41:38  
Are you aware that 80% of project management executives do not know how their projects align with their company's business strategy? Are you aware that businesses identified capturing time and costs against projects as their biggest project management challenge? Are you aware that 44% of project managers use no software even though PricewaterhouseCoopers found that they use commercially available project management software increases performance and satisfaction. Now imagine that you could have the ease of entry like a spreadsheet and a software tool set up and running within two to four weeks. Imagine within two weeks being able to see clearly where all of your resource conflicts are. Well, you don't have to imagine because PD ware has already created PD where can give you real time access to KPIs easily updated views of what your teams are working on, and immediate feedback to some of project management's toughest questions. Like when can we start this project? What happens if we delay this project? Can we do this in time? How does this new project impact our current portfolio? Find us at PDX were calm and imagine not manually compiling endless reports again, Are you frustrated with the overall productivity of your project management processes? Do you lack consistency and project delivery? r squared consulting provides end to end services to assist companies of all sizes sizes and realizing and improving the value of project management. Whether you want to build a project management office, train project managers, or learn how to bring the oversight and governance to your project processes, r squared has tailored best practices to help you in all areas of project management, visit r squared

When it comes to business, you'll find the

experts here voice America business network.

You are tuned in to the work life balance. To reach Rick Morris or his guest today we'd love to have you call into the program at 1-866-472-5790. Again, that's 1-866-472-5790 if you'd rather send an email Rick can be reached at our Morris at r squared Now back to the work life balance.

Rick A. Morris  44:00  
And we're back to the work life balance on this Friday afternoon, the final segment as we go through my tips now for how to keep your portfolio dream from becoming a nightmare. So we already talked about, you know, keeping things simple, the three rings of focus and enter once use many. Here's a very, very popular one we talked about earlier in the nightmare about how when you create a ranking algorithm to rank your projects, that a lot of the arguments become about the algorithm and not the projects themselves. So what I do is I find the five or six pieces of information that they're saying is important. So you know, ROI, NPV, total resource utilization, length of project, those types of things. And I rank all the projects by single statistic, each one so if there's five things I five separate lists and then I look for essentially the waterline or you know what we think we can do 30 projects, so which projects appear in the top 30 and all five of those categories. And generally there's about 10 to 12. In doing so, then we can say those 10 to 12 are in, regardless of who you know, if you think ROI is more important, or if you think total utilization is more important doesn't matter. That's it. And so now we're just we've made our decisions on the top 12 right out of the gate. And now we just start talking about the bottom 18. At that point, it moves things along a lot faster. And even if we come to a stalemate on the bottom 18 we still have ranked the top 12 and off we go. So that's a huge point in time saver for a lot of portfolio committees. probably my biggest tip that's utilized and in most of my most of my clients companies. The next one is what I call the 10% rule. This one, this one is is huge, especially when you start talking about lowering the amount of gates and things like that that you need. So essentially, the 10% rule works this way. So when you pitch a project and you have an initial budget, you automatically get 10% of that budget approved to go plan the project to really go plan out how much this thing is going to cost. And then if you're within 10%, plus or minus of your original estimate, you're automatically approved to go into execution. So the beauty of that is it's reducing the amount of gates that are just rubber stamp, and now gates just become about the outliers. But also it gives you the ability to move things along very, very quickly. So for an example, if it's a million dollar project, you get $100,000. To go plant it, you find out it's going to be a you know, 1,000,001 point 5 million, and then that means you you've got the green light to go into execution. So that's a very, very popular one as well. I've seen several organizations streamline their processes to where the only the gates that you're talking About are falling outside of that 10%. So therefore, there's real decisions starting to get made as to whether or not that project still valuable enough or whether it's still worth enough to go after.

And my next tip can go hand in hand with the 10% rule. And this is pmis term. It comes from the Pim Bock. And it's one that I remember kind of having a reaction when I first saw it, but once I saw one of these inaction, it's called a board. And that sounds horrible. But it essentially, is that the committee is convened to shoot down the project. And if you can, if you can then get the project through that committee, then it's a really good project to do. But otherwise, if it's a flimsy project, it's a pet project is one that's not really going to generate ROI, that kind of stuff. Those get cancelled and shut down in this committee. So the intent isn't to come to the committee to approve the intent is for the committee to come in and decline And make the sale of that project be so good, that it's irresistible. And we have to do this project. It's just it's a little bit of a flip of connotation, but it really is, is a powerful tool to say, you know, we understand we have limited resources, we understand we have limited budget, we're going to make sure that we're not going to waste any of those on projects that don't deserve, really to be considered by our staff. And my final tip, in this series is to talk about, again, value. If a process doesn't provide double the value, then it's time to redesign the process. And that really goes for any of our processes. It's amazing how much money that that I call low hanging fruit is available when I go into a consulting client. And all I have to do is looking at the processes that they're doing and question why do we have that process And I'll tell you that 90% of the time I'm talking 90% of the time, people will tell me Well, that's just the way it's always been done here. And that's that I hate that statement. Because that's not true. It's not the way it's always been done there. It was just the way that you were trained and you've never questioned or look to improve the process sense. And so when you're when you're looking at a process, I'll give you a perfect example something a question I asked a client that they'd never been asked before is that they, they deal with a lot of regulatory a lot of regulatory projects and regulatory generally means you have to do it, or there at least has some consequences for not doing it could be loss of reputation could be a financial fine in most times. It's a financial fine. But there was a new regulation came out everybody scrambling the project was gonna cost about $200,000 do and my question was, what's the fine? I go? What do you mean? I said, Well, we're doing this to avoid a fine, what's the fine, the fine was $10,000 For the first year, and I was like, Look, this is obviously a project we need to tackle, but it's going to be a nightmare to try to tackle it now. So why are we going to spend $200,000 to avoid 10? Where we'll just take the $10,000 lump. And now we don't have to do it as an emergency project, and it's gonna cost you no way less to do. And that's what we did. But nobody had ever really asked that question to the client before like, Alright, so that caused me and my portfolios when when I have a checkbox that says this is critical, or it's regulatory, like I want to see, like, Where's the regulation, I show me the document, show me the phrase, and show me the fine so that we understand that this is good business for us to do. So, if a process doesn't give you double that value, then it's time to absolutely redesign the process. So that's how we make portfolio management dreams. actually become dreams and avoid nightmares. If If you have any questions about any of those, you can reach me at r Morris at r squared consulting COMM The software that I recommend that you use right now, if you're looking at any kind of portfolio management type software is a company called PD where it is the first one that was built with resource planning in mind and makes the resource planning essentially the power of a project portfolio management tool with the ease of a spreadsheet, it's really really cool software, really inexpensive, and does a phenomenal job.

Coming up next week, we're going to start a series of entrepreneurs and real entrepreneurs. And we're going to have john tablets on who is the founder of books, which is Bo u q s and it is one of the fastest growing flower retailers out there, the largest company and one of the biggest successes ever to come out of shark tank and just a phenomenal entrepreneurial stories. So we're going to be visiting with john. Next week, and we've got tons of those coming up. We've got Wes, who actually was our reschedule. We missed an appointment before but he's a marketing guru got Travis Bell coming up. And just on and on Adam Mendler. Steve gave it tours. And then even if you missed last week, a fascinating conversation that we had with Doug vermeeren who's is considered the the modern day, Napoleon Hill. He's He's interviewed over 300 of the most successful people in the world, and is gleaned insights. And he talked to us about his movie, how thoughts become things so that was last week's episode. If you missed it, you definitely want to go back and catch that one. Otherwise, gang, we thank you so much for always being a part of the show, always the feedback that I get on social media and via email. I certainly appreciate it. So keep that coming. And until next Friday, we hope that you live here. Your own work life balance will talk to you that

VoiceAmerica  53:06  
thank you for joining us this week. The work life balance with Rick Morris can be heard live every Friday at 2pm pacific time and 5pm eastern time on The Voice America business channel. Now that the weekend is here, it's time to rethink your priorities and enjoy it. We'll see you on our next show.

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Thursday, January 25, 2018

Radio Show Transcript - Agile - Trends and What Does It All Mean?

As a new service, our listeners have been requesting transcripts of the radio show / podcast.  We will be releasing these now every week with a link to the podcast and timecoded transcripts that will announce where we were in the podcast when we said it!  This will start with this one and go forward as well as we will produce transcripts of our most popular shows from the past!  Enjoy!

Agile - Trends and What Does It All Mean? - Recorded January 5th, 2018

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00:01:06;00 - 00:01:30;10
Welcome to 2018. Welcome to another year of The Work/Life Balance. And we're hitting this year in stride. A lot of people are very cold in the United States as we have single digit temperatures across the United States. Several of my friends that I've talked to are digging out of snow. So we hope it's warm and toasty where you are. But we're glad that you've joined us for another episode of The Work/Life Balance.

00:01:30;10 - 00:02:10;20
We've got a lot of exciting things planned for 2018, and we already running are already starting to fill up our speaking calendar, so we will let you guys know about how that is coming along and keep you guys posted on that. We've got some exciting guests that are going to be coming up in the future shows here. We've got John Gates that is going to be on the show. Paul Cumming's. Nicole Tubiolo is going to be on. We've got Scott Ambler scheduled to be on the show. We've got a repeat performance from Todd Nesloney. If you've heard that one in the past we're going to be doing another live show from John Maxwell got Kupe Koopersmith that’s going to be on the show. So we've got a lot of fantastic guests lined up.

00:02:10;25 - 00:02:45;20
A lot of cool things coming but I thought I would start 2018 with just me in just kind of back to the way the show originally started. And I wanted to share just some thoughts and journeys as I had time to reflect at the end of 2017. I always take the last week of the year off. There are some special days in there for my family. It's my daughter's birthday. Of course, we have the Christmas and New Year. But I always like to take that last week off and just really reflect on what the year meant to me, as well as, what did I learn and what I see for the upcoming year.

00:02:45;22 - 00:04:00;28
And as I was doing that, I would say the overwhelming trend for me in 2017, professionally, was my journey through Agile. You know we've done a few shows on our job but wanted to kind of give you definition of Agile. If you guys are already starting to roll your eyes, please stay with me because I promise this is going to be a lot more fun than that. But, you know I see things in life cycles and I see a lot of cycles in it. I see a lot of cycles in business and we're in the midst of a cycle right now with Agile and Agile transformations. So, my journey through Agile began in a few years ago. I bumped into a couple of people that were on the forefront of this new methodology and they were saying things like you know we can't tell you when we're going to be done because we're Agile. I can't tell you how much it's going to cost because we're adj out in the biggest one that I ran into was hey we don't need project management anymore because we're Agile and obviously as a project manager for 20 some odd years that was very scary to me and a lot of things that they were saying didn't seem right to me.

00:04:01;12 - 00:04:10;13
It didn't sound right to me. And so, what I decided to do is start a certification journey in really understand this methodology.

00:04:10;28 - 00:04:28;23
And so, in this past year I went and got my ACP as sort of a practitioner through PMI. I became what's known as a certified Scrum Agile master which is a deep dive into 17 different methodologies. I got my safe certification.

00:04:28;29 - 00:05:23;11
And so really just did a deep dive and all these different methodologies so that I can understand what was happening and then right at the end of the year in, I won't say the company, but what was interesting is one of the companies that came up to us and said hey we're Agile now, we don't need project management. That was, literally I want to say four years ago, that they told us that I got a news article from a friend of how poorly they're doing. Several of the stores are closed. A lot of people are being laid off and it looks like a brand that's been around for quite some time is now going away and that gave me pause because you know again this whole adaptation of you know we're going all in on this one methodology. The only way to go and the end result is that that wasn't a problem with Agile.

00:05:23;13 - 00:07:19;01
It was a problem with the Agile list, and it was a problem with the way that they did the implementation. So, I wanted to start to dive in a little bit further on some of the details, and this speech and these thoughts started to bubble up for me when I started to do some reflection and really, what that is that you know…look, change is hard, but you can't simply change the words in and all of a sudden behavior changes. And so that's what I'm seeing. First and foremost, any in some of these large scale Agile transformations, they think that if they adopt new words or new terminology that all of a sudden, they're going to get different results. But the biggest thing is that you have to change behavior. Like, for instance, if I want to lose weight I can't simply say well I'm going to now deem sugar as a vegetable and therefore I'm going to lose weight. It doesn't work that way. I can't keep doing the same thing I'm doing. Change the terminology and then expect different results. You have to change behavior with it. When I started to do that reflection, I was journaling, and something popped in my head and it's actually an old comedy routine. And it was done by George Carlin. It was done several years ago. But it is always stuck in my head. And he did this comedy routine which was beautifully done. Of course, I had a lot of social commentary around it about euphemisms and, you know, a euphemism is simply substitution of an agreeable or inoffensive expression for one that may offend or suggest something, and he went through this whole tirade. So, for instance he brings up and this is George Carlin, this isn't me but, he brings up the fact in the Bible it says that Jesus healed the cripples yet that that's a term that's seen offensive.

00:07:19;01 - 00:07:53;26
Now that we can't say the word cripple you don't use the word cripple. We now call them physically challenged. And it's not handicapped, it's handy capable, and he goes through all of these. Even says you know one of my favorite ones he used to use that he brings up is how airlines talk and the fact that they say pre-board. He goes, “What does that boarding before you get? You know before you board news that boarding before you board”. Why do we use pre-board. But the point still made. You know he says it at some point in our lives. Toilet paper became bathroom tissue and none of us were consulted.

00:07:53;26 - 00:09:09;16
It just became a nicer term and easier term and I feel like Agile can be somewhat of a euphemism for a lot of the things that are happening. And I get that, and I am deriving it that based on how things were perceived and presented to me when I went through training. When I went through training, I was told that project management is very command and control, and that Agile is very open in that you know in Agile the teams make all the decisions and you know it's very light and fluffy. And I started to get this picture in my brain, as I was going through training, that all project managers are just huge Godzilla lizards that are just walking through and crushing it, killing cities and doing stuff like that in everybody that's working in Agile or just simply, you know, butterflies living in these communal farms. Everybody smiles all day at each other and it's always sunny out. It's always perfect weather when you're working an Agile job but if you're working on a standard project management you're in this industrial factory and there's smokestacks coming out.

00:09:09;28 - 00:11:28;16
And life is horrible. It's command and control and the big boss comes out with a cigar and stomps on you. And I'm sitting there listening through these training classes going,.” That's not what I know”.  But that's the way they're training people, and I'm sitting there going, “Man, if I was a brand-new developer or brand new person, this is is my introduction into I.T. That's not what I know. That's not how I know these things.”. So, the whole euphemism thing came up. You know for me the way people were trained, the way people are using things, and so I found a few euphemisms of my own. So, if you guys know Agile or if you know project management, what's funny is, as I was going through all of these, Agile discussions. It was interesting to see what was happening in Agile. So, for instance they were training, and they said you know one of the first steps that you do is groom planning and begin planning is where we all get together and decide what the objectives are that we're going to be accomplishing, and I was like, “Yeah that sounds a whole lot like a work break down structure session.” And they say, ”Yeah and then we have these things called retrospectives and that's where we all get together and discuss what worked what didn't work how can we improve how can the team gel not going to stop,” and I was like, “Yeah that sounds like lessons learned. That's a technique that we've had in project management,” and they say, “Yeah, we have these things called up where we get together, and you know we stand up and we say this is what we did. This is what we're going to do. These are the impediments that are in our way.” I was like holy that sounds a whole lot like a status. And you know we have scrum masters though and that's what we have. And I was like what kind of the project manager is like so what you've done is you've taken all the ceremonies that have worked for ages. We've wrapped them up in new names changed the rules a little bit. We call it a new methodology. Excuse me I said but you. So we've come up with a bunch of new words. They sound nicer. We've described a methodology that's butterflies and communal living and it's sunny always. How is that going to work.

00:11:29;12 - 00:12:56;07
And that's where the rub comes in. My point being is I'm not saying it's wrong; it's just a different language. But my point in going through this in learning this and reflecting on this is that these techniques have been around for years. So why have the other techniques not worked. Why have the other things not worked and Agile started to take hold. Well first of all Agile soul is that you know the team makes decisions. Well there's still got to be strategy to the organization. At the end of the day you still have to track something costs. You still have to have funding for value. It can't be just Wild Wild West and everybody decides. There are still customers there are still requirements. There's still accountability. So again, as we're changing these words and changing these terms and everybody's got a little bit of a different term depending on which flavor of aisle you're going after, there's still got to be something that clicks and works. And so we're going to dive into what that something is and I'm also going to talk about what really has been around for years and what we keep kind of playing around with and also kind of what has led us to this Agile boom. What are some of these cycles that have led us here? So we hope to hang around with us continue to talk about Agile. Call and chime in. I'd love to hear from you as we kickoff 2018.

00:16:00;15 - 00:16:45;17
We appreciate you tagging along on this Friday afternoon as we're discussing Agile; just some of my reflections on the journey I went through this past year and in trying to tie it all together with everything that I've learned throughout my career and in grabbing onto what's really happening in the industry with that child. I want to make sure that we're clear that I'm not negative towards Agile. I think it's a phenomenal thing and anything that an organization is going to grab onto to change behavior. Let's go. Let's do it. But I just want to make sure that we're being clear, also, that it's not this this new thing or this latest greatest model that is, you know, a brand new never been done before.

00:16:45;25 - 00:17:10;26
And I wanted to talk through cycles now to of kind of maybe what has led us to this point. Because if you look at it first of all I mean almost everything that's coming out now in any of these methodologies really over the last. I want to say almost 80 years is coming either you know from adapted model Walter Shuu or Deming right.

00:17:10;26 - 00:18:09;22
So Deming actually adopted his model from alter shoe art and you've got the plan check act model and I mean PMI is built off of that. You know six sigma has got some of that either that you know and all of that is built into that. But essentially you know you've got a four-stage model that says we're going to plan. We're going to do. We're going to check and then we're going to act on that piece. And essentially now all we're working with is the cycles and the waste in between. Now one of the coolest things I learned. You know Agile is again, though that's coming out of lean and lean six sigma is how to reduce you know work cues and values and the fact that you know in projects one of the biggest flaws is that we try to plan every task you know two years in advance and then we get ticked off that there's changes to that. You know how clairvoyant can you be.

00:18:09;22 - 00:18:50;10
But the point being here is there's frustration, and the frustration is that there's continually missed targets, there's continually missed budgets and something's got to change. And so if you look at the evolution of I.T. I mean when we really first started coming out we're talking 60s and 70s. We consider that the Dark Ages of I.T. If you look at this cycle, and look business would come in they describe a problem and then they would just sit and wait it took whatever it took people didn't really understand what was happening, we had limited technology. And you were just at the mercy of it.

00:18:50;12 - 00:19:45;24
It just kind of was what it was and then you started to move into kind of a stage 2 which started to develop you know around the 80s, the late 70s early 80s, when we consider that kind of a tokenism period. So basically though we were just redeveloping the apps that were already created, the applications and systems to take advantage of new database technology networks, were coming out. We were able to start to really start to use some of the technology that was available but then Stage 3 came around in this late 80s. It is really kind of the payback period. And so this is after years of frustration, lack of control, some landmark books came out by you know Charles Handy and Peter Drucker, Tom Peters in senior management just started to look at how they were investing in computers and systems and turned it into a cost center.

00:19:46;07 - 00:21:46;28
And it started to lead to a lot of these top down approaches and controlled approaches of I.T. And that's been leading us to this stage for which is that the partnership model, and people have been trying to figure out this partnership model for a while, and partnership is supposed to be a shared recognition between business and I.T. where you know it is not a cost center but revenue generating and we're starting to see some really good signs of that. Now you're seeing the ones that do it well and the ones that aren't the ones that are doing well, we're starting to see that being marked by what we call digital disruption and the aspects of social media the ones that are figuring out how to partner their I.T. departments and their business very well are the ones that are digitally disrupting industries that have been doing these top down management approaches forever, and that's where Agile is really getting the buzz right. I mean, to be fair,  Agile is getting the buzz in the adaptability of the market the reaction to the consumer the speed to market to be able to react and people are trying to figure that out. Problem is, you've got some of these companies that have been running top down and command and control for so long that you know you're turning the Titanic. You can't really adjust as quickly as some of these newer, leaner startup models and that's where are you. Here we have this startup mentality. Well the startup mentality just means, in all honesty, really a lot of decentralized decision making. They've got models in place where Agile can thrive because they've decentralized so many decisions. It's easier for them to make. So, the issue becomes, you know, for this large huge, conglomerate organization; how do we start to decentralize or trust a lot of our employees to be able to make these decisions?

00:21:46;28 - 00:22:27;04
That to me, though, has nothing to do with Agile. It has to do with management philosophies and trusting your knowledge workers and understanding that you know, the whole point of me creating a show called The Work/Life Balance, and trusting your employees. And that's been something we've been pushing you know for 15 years now. That's not Agile and new and cool. That's just trusting your smartest people in the room to do what they do. But at the same time again coming back to the topic at hand. All right, what's the answer. How is it why is Agile really taking hold. Well first of all let's talk about the things I like.

00:22:27;11 - 00:23:06;21
One of the coolest things that that I think is taking hold of Agile, and why I think is becoming very successful, is that it does have a very clear contract if you do it well and you do it right. Let me boil all of the big talk and all the training and all the other stuff down to a very, very simple covenant. That covenant says that regardless of everything that's going on, we're going to allow you to change as much as you want to change. But once we commit to a sprint, which is a two week interval or a three week in a row of four week interval, whatever you guys have decided in your company, but most likely it's a two week interval.

00:23:06;22 - 00:24:32;18
You don't change it. So basically, the covenant is between an executive and either the product owner scrub management, or whatever, that simply says once we commit to this line of work then this team gets to focus for two weeks and just produce that work. So essentially what we're saying is limit the interruptions allow them to focus and produce value. With that being said, that one covenant, if you can achieve that can actually change an entire organization. I mean, let's boil everything else down and whether you're Tumba story points in estimation and all those other crowd. That's what it really comes down to; whether or not you can get the executives to say, once we commit to this sprint, it's not going to change, and we agree we can change future sprint so we can add requirements and we can do all this other stuff. But essentially and I think we need to make t-shirts that just simply say don't touch my sprint because once that sprint is committed it's done. So, the problem is in traditional project management is that those are 18 month projects, and we try to do all the definition and planning in the very first few weeks. Well, things do change in 18 months. Markets do react in 18 months, and the fact that we think we can be clairvoyant enough to identify all of the work and figure out how much it's going to cost.

00:24:32;29 - 00:27:25;20
So essentially using a Lean Six Sigma model, if you're reducing the work queues and you're reducing the cyclical time to say we're going to basically fund a quarter and we're going to fund a team not a project and we're going to work in two weeks sprints in increments and once we commit that's what we're going to do then. It's amazing what you actually can accomplish that has been the promise of Agile. However where I think Agile goes off the rails is when the very first entry point is, you know, somebody coming in and saying, “Well the first thing you need to do is train every single person in this entire organization and  Agile that group is selling you training.” They're not really selling you a methodology or they're not really selling you a way to be successful. To me they're just selling you training. So, I'm always wary of that and six sigma, right? I don't know what value there was in six sigma to have you know that where, you know, everybody needs to be, you know, yellowed out certified look, you know, 60 percent 70 percent of those people never even cared. They click click click click yeah. Past the yellow belt. There was no value in that. Your higher value was in the people that were really going after the black belts and the master black belts. Same thing here. People just want to be able to come in to work and do what they want to do and get out. So, you know, committing to the entire organization to be Agile, you know, train top to bottom. I think is nuts. But again, that's my opinion and I'm allowed to say because I have my own radio show and get a chance to air my opinion for 60 minutes a week. But the point being, anybody who just comes in and says, “Let's train everybody top to bottom,” is selling training. That's what they're selling, not necessarily the promise of a new day; selling training that's what they do. But these cycles have continued, and their cycles are all based on the same piece, right? We're all still doing playing do check act. But I really think what's happening now is, through the evolution of I.T., people are. We're still at this stage for a partnership and still trying to figure it out. The ones that have figured it out, digital disruptors; the ones that haven't figured out are starting to fade away. And I think we really need to pay attention to some of these trends. So, having said all of that. Right. So now I've gotten out of my training. I've got now what I think is happening out there how I think we got here. What I want to do next is start to reveal to you some of the key trends that I'm seeing in Agile and where I think some of the big pushes are going to be in, even some of the things that are pretty advanced as far as when you start to talk about why we got here how people are looking at some of the tools and some of the advanced uses of tools with Agile. So, we're going to be doing that right after the break. You've been listening to The Work/Life Balance with Rick Morris we're talking Agile we'll be right back.

00:30:31;10 - 00:30:36;02
And we are back to The Work/Life Balance. Before we go forward. I did have a couple of shout outs.

00:30:36;02 - 00:31:42;04
You know we do want to promote, make sure that we are promoting the almanack book to which you can find at Amazon or at We've been blown away by the response to that book, and we're certainly appreciative to all of you that are reaching out to us. That book continues to sell very, very well that can tell different authors. Talking about Agile and scaling, Agile to the enterprise. And we're very excited about how that book has been performing. Also wanted to say thank you to John Deaver of Cinepear. If you go to our website, there's a new video there on the front page that he helped us put together, and if you follow us on social media, all the videos that we've been putting out via PM minutes and all the other ones have been done by Cinepear. They did a fantastic job. We appreciate the partnership with them. I did want to react to a question that I did just receive on Twitter though one of the questions was, you know Agile seems to be more successful than not, wanting me to respond on that.

00:31:42;13 - 00:31:48;27
And I think that that's true, and I think it's like anything else. I think it's like a diet program.

00:31:48;27 - 00:37:22;16
You know as you walk through the aisles of a grocery store. You know you see all the US magazines, People magazines, and all that stuff and it's just littered with diets that work, right? Here's all the diets that work. Here's every diet program that works. But it's the same thing. I think I said earlier, which is if you don't change that behavior it doesn't matter what diet plan you're trying to follow, you have to change your behaviors for it to work. And I think for every person that they throw on the cover, in cover of said people, and for every great diet story there's, you know, 40 stories that nobody's going to read about where those diets and probably 400 stories that diets don't work. And I think it's January 5th which means that probably about three point seven million people in the United States that have already failed their New Year's resolutions on diet. So yeah I think Agile is very successful if there's a commitment to the behavior. I think any methodology is really successful if there's commitment to the behavior. And I say that coming from somebody who implements, you know, systems for a living. You know a lot of people look at the software that we sell and the implementations that we do as a cure all for their for their issues, and software is not going to solve, you know, core business issues that you're having it in. One of my favorite things to say is that we want to design to the 95 percent, not that 5. What I mean by that is, you know, most of our organizations already know that, you know, there's 5 percent of the company that are off the rails or are going to, you know, follow processes are that their problem children versus dealing with those 5 percent. They want us to design, you know, in our software a way to deal with them, you know, in the system. And I'm like, “Why do we need to put in all these checks and balances and notifications and all this stuff into the software that's going to hinder the other 95 percent and their jobs just because you don't want to deal with the 5 percent?” Yeah, I don't get that in. It's kind of the same thing that has evolved, you know, in I.T. departments if you look at I.T. in their evolution and we went through the four stages. But just look at how they formed and, even though it's supposed to be a cohesive group and a revenue generating group, they really don't run as cohesive departments. They run as functions and then those functions tend to run on their own and they tend to then, you know, work on their own and develop their own systems and then those systems don't talk to each other. So, for instance, you have a support group and that support group generally uses a helpdesk tool and you know they open tickets track issues and that kind of thing. And those issues could have development things. Well then your development team uses some sort of badge out tools, so they're using Agile central or using version 1 or Jira something like that. They want to work in their system and then your finance department has their big ERP and then you know you've got. Then your project management team and, so they're doing things by spreadsheets or whatever. But at some point, all of this information is got to compile and compare. And so, you know if a ticket opens up and support that needs to easily flow to your development, that it has to get in you're planning, your project managers need to have things that easily go to development, developers got to do it all it's got to tie together. But for years people have been buying different tools that satisfy just their need. And now there's this huge integration issue that's happening within platforms. And so, when we enter an organization and we're looking at what, you know, is a whole and as a business you start dealing with well, you know, this faction is not going to want to use, that faction is not going to want to use it. So this is just for us and I think that that is something that is really the next frontier of I.T. and Agile. And so I think one of the biggest promises of Agile in terms of methodologies it's forcing I.T. to not look at only how they plan and operate but also how they do dev ops. And that's such a large component of being Agile. I think one of the favorite quotes I ever heard came from Curtis Timely and he's the product manager for CA PPM, which we're very proud to have as a sponsor for us, and he has all the time. Are you doing Agile? Are you doing Agile theater, and him when you ask what do you mean? And he says, “Well, you know, if you're doing Agile that means, you know, you're fully ready to develop and deploy code all the way to production and that could mean even releasing code prior to you know the sprint end date you release on demand. That's fully developed and deployed and ready to go; Agile theater means you've just created Agile teams. But, you know, you're just developing code in an Agile way but if you can't deploy it and impact that an invaluable wage or a customer then that's Agile theater.

00:37:22;28 - 00:37:29;10
And because you know so many I.T. groups are so chopped up.

00:37:29;21 - 00:39:18;13
I think that that's, you know, a big piece. I think one of the other things that we're running into and we see quite a bit out there is the lack of readiness to commit to the methodology and again that's the same point that we were just making is that must change behavior. So, for instance you know we see a lot of customers that say we want to go out but we still want everybody to track time. And I know that's crazy for me, because up to two years ago I would have told you unless everybody in the organization is tracking time then you're not going to get to the productivity numbers that you need to. So, I was big big big big big on time tracking, and I still am unless you have a way in which you can track productivity numbers and things of that sort but in adj out you have that way. You know you have committed sprint's committed story points to them whether or not they got completed and velocity numbers and things of that sort. So, and there's even ways that you can derive costs we can even capitalize by story point things like that, and if you want to see how to do that you can pick up the almanac volume to book to we talk about exactly that how to capitalize and do capital and expense buy story point within the book. But coming back to the specific point, you know, we talk to clients who say, “

Yeah we're Agile but we want them all to fill out time sheets and we're like what then that's not an Agile practice. I mean then you're having to break out the, you know, teams to individual people. They have to track times to specific tasks such not an Agile practice that's not really Agile. So are we going Agile or aren't we? I mean if we're going Agile, then it's a team based team reporting team productivity and we are all going that way or we're not right.

00:39:18;13 - 00:40:11;27
But it's not we can't just dip the toe in the water where they're committing to the methodology and going forward or we're not. So, it's no different than, you know, and I'll beat this analogy to death; no different than, hey I'm going on a sugar free diet except for the three slices of chocolate cake that I'm going to eat at night. You know you're either committed to it and you're going to go after it or you're not. But those are the same people that's going to turn around and go, “Yeah we tried adj out but it didn't work. And I tried to diet, but I didn't see results so I'm off that you know sugar free diet.” It's like. Yeah. Did you ever really go sugar free. Yeah, I don't drink except for you know the bottle of wine at night. Come on. You're either IN or you're out. But you can't have it both ways so easily. That answer the question. And I know I went on a little bit more of a tirade than I anticipated but it's a good question.

00:40:11;28 - 00:40:18;25
I enjoyed it. You know. But that leads to the bigger discussion here as well.

00:40:18;26 - 00:41:01;19
And we've got a little bit of time to deal with it. As you're changing we talked about euphemisms; we talked about the cycle. There is the other big elephant in the room with that. And that's people started talking about story points, and I always refer to one of my favorite conversations I had with the naturalists as we were trying to convert things to costs, and we said you know this story points it's a two week sprint so we're going to end for 80 hours per person. Multiply that by cost to get to accosts, and she says she can't do that. So why when we do things by story points? I get that, but we still have to infer this to a cost. Well you can't do that. Why? Because we do it by starting points. So long story short, I came back to her, and it's like well can I cut you a check and story points.

00:41:01;22 - 00:41:32;01
Can we pay you in story points. And so, I think that there is the commitment to methodology. You can't tip a toe in the water, but there is still a translation that has to happen. So, I think the largest trend that we're going to be looking at especially in 2018 is the emergence of hybrid, and hybrid is going to be the emergence of the proper hybrid in the translation, because at the end of the day, you can't go to a CFO and show a reporter story points. They've still got to see dollars at the end of the day.

00:41:32;01 - 00:43:17;26
A company is still going to fund initiatives right, whether you call it a project, whether you call it features where they called, you know, backlog whatever. There's still got to be we are paying X amount of dollars to get X amount of value out. What I love is the fact that we're not necessarily funding projects anymore. We may not be funding, you know people are funding teams, but I do like the fact that everything is starting to lean towards value. What is the amount of money that we're funding? What's the amount of value that we're getting in return? Because if we start to use the term value and we really started to translate that term value, then I.T. can be referred to as value. And I really think that that becomes that euphemism that works in our favor. So instead of trying to be always happy, go lucky and change all these different terms. If we can get the term out of it being a cost center and it being a value center in this is the value of the project. This is the value of the work. This is the value of the deliverable. Then I think, when it comes time for funding and time for budgets and everything else, then things are starting to be seen in a whole different light. And that's one of the most important things I think that we can go after. So, I know we've covered quite a bit. We've covered the evolution of I.T. We've covered the evolution of my view of Agile. We've even come up with some euphemisms of all that has confused you. Hey, it's been that kind of Friday for me as well but I'm welcome to fielding your questions answering the phones. Anything that you guys have. But we've got one final segment we're going to, and do that next right here in The Work/Life Balance with Rick Marrs.

00:46:19;15 - 00:46:44;13
And we're back with the final segment of The Work/Life Balance for the first show of 2018. Already hit 2018 running. We're going to be in Louisville Kentucky next week, I believe with 21st and 22nd. We're going to be doing some keynotes for Sivertsen International right here in Birmingham, but we'll be working with that organization. We'll be in Nashville the week of the twenty ninth.

00:46:44;13 - 00:48:37;18
It got a lot of exciting and then of course I'm sorry but February 16th we'll be going back to Orlando to be with the international certification with the John Maxwell team. So, a lot of exciting travel coming up. A lot of exciting events coming up, so we hope that you'll hang out with us for all of those. And again, upcoming shows, we're actually going to do a panel interview next week. We've got a new book coming out. We had John on the show with how leaders improve previously. But we're going to get Jeff Grady and I believe Sasha Linda can help, if said her name right, but we'll make sure we get it right for next week. And Steve Williams, John Gates on the show discussing their book and their research on how leaders improve. So that will be coming up next week. We'll also have Paul Cummings which is good. He's got a great book that was just released by Wiley. We’ll be discussing about that on the show January 19th, and then we'll have one of the coauthors of The Almanac. Nicole is going to be joining us on January 26 and then looking forward as well. February 2nd we're going to have, as we were doing this Agile show, we booked Scott Ambler who is really the founder and disciplined, Agile has got a great consulting practice around that, we've had some fantastic conversations, Scott NYE around this very topic that I was discussing today. So, can't wait to have him on the show and I've already prepped him that I was going to throw a lot of these comments that I've got around Agile and would love to hear how he reacts and responds to some of the things that I've heard in the open market. So, with that we've appreciated everybody hanging around with us. You know I wanted to give some closing comments around Agile.

00:48:37;19 - 00:50:04;08
Look, I love the fact the greatest thing about Agile, I'll say this, is that there seems to be a lot of passion around it. And to see passion and ownership within the development world and developers around it that I completely enjoy. So regardless of, you know, if you want me to, the whatever methodology you want me to call it, if there's passion around planning there's passion around understanding. You know what each other is doing and supporting each other in a team environment. I'm all on board. The communication around it in some of those ceremonies built if they're bought into, and people are really doing it and really getting value out of it as a teamwork based system, I think there's tremendous value in that as well. Those are some of the biggest things that I'm catching, as well as I said before in the earlier segment, the covenant between executives and developers in making sure that we're not touching this sprint and that we actually can focus and achieve and accomplish something versus trying to do 17 projects at once. When I started The Work/Life Balance, in one of my biggest, you know, runs for the last 20 years, is the fact that I think the number one issue that faces almost every organization on the planet is you've got too many projects not enough people.

00:50:04;24 - 00:50:18;13
And so, I don't care what we call the methodology. I don't care how we structure a methodology, as long as our biggest focus is that we are focusing on the people who actually do the work for our companies.

00:50:18;13 - 00:51:12;12
We've got way way, way too much work planned. And what happens without any kind of methodology or portfolio management is that companies try to start and do every project. And they don't finish any of them well. So again, I don't care what you call it as long as there is a profound focus that's protecting our most precious, our most precious, resources which are the people that do the work right. Those are the people are going to give you the results. So, don't sit in some stuffy room and sit there with some spreadsheet and decide people's futures, or go, “Yeah they can be 180 percent allocated.” Everybody's over allocated. Who cares, because that is truly what's going to disrupt your organization. And that's truly what's going to be the detriment to your organization. If you treat people with respect you treat people for the knowledge that they can bring.

00:51:12;13 - 00:51:56;23
You're really going to reap the rewards. And if you want to call that Agile, and if you want to develop a methodology that's going to expound on who they are and what they can provide for you, then that's the successes. So if Agile is the answer to that, for you and your organization, then I'm on board. Let's rock. Let's call it if you want to call it. You know some fluty-do thing, then I'm with that as well. But the point being is that people, at the end of the day, is where this success or failure of your organization is going to be, and how you treat and respect them is where the success or failure is going to be for your organization. And that's it. Methodologies aside, what you call it aside, that's what's going to be and that was the point of The Work/Life Balance in the first place.

00:51:56;24 - 00:52:57;18
Why I started to do this radio show is to expose this listening audience not only to different methodologies and different thoughts but also to people that we're going to expose us to different ways of doing things. To leadership. To different aspects. And we'll hopefully continue to do so throughout 2018 if you continue to bless us with the opportunity to fill the airwaves. So, I have appreciated this audience. I appreciate the following in the love that we get on Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn and all the other things. Please continue to reach out to us Rick A. Morris. You can find me at break 8. Morris and LinkedIn. You can find me at Facebook at the same as well always reach out to Rick A. Morris and you'll find all of us on social media there. We also post our calendar where we're going to be at, so we're going to be speaking in anywhere near you. Please come find us let us know that you listen to the show.

00:52:57;18 - 00:53:23;15

We're also working on getting this show out on Alexa so it can be on the podcast there. So, listen for that announcement shortly, as that should be done in a moment. And we've got some exciting announcements that we'll be releasing across the show over the next couple of weeks. So again, reach out to us. We love you guys and we'll talk to all of you next week right here in The Work/Life Balance. You've been listening to Rick Morris.