Friday, October 23, 2015

Voice America Show Coming Soon!

I am very happy to announce that I will be on the Voice America Business Network starting Dec.11!  The show is called The Work/Life Balance and it will be covering life from a Project Manager's point of view.  I have already booked a slate of fantastic guests including John Stenbeck, Traci Duez, Dan Bailey, Peter Taylor, and many more!  I will be on the air live on Fridays at 5 PM EST / 2 PM PST.  If you miss a show, all of them will be recorded and available for download as a Podcast as well!

I will cover topics that include my philosophy of No Day But Today, Can Agile and Project Management Get Along, Axiology, Applying Project Management to Life, and several others.

Check out to get all of the information about the network and how you can listen.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Named 1 of the Top 50 Influencers in Project Management!

I received this notification last week and it was such and honor and blessing.  Everyone add these people to your list and start to follow them!  There are so many people on the list that I have heard, worked with, or participated with throughout my career.  Even many of my Leadership Institute Masters Class classmates and some of my class that I mentored appear!  Check them out!

Top 125 Influencers in Project Management

No Day But Today!


Monday, April 6, 2015

No Day But Today!

It has been too long since I have posted!  As a client just said to me, "Your blog is woefully out of date."  That is true.  Mainly, I have been capturing stories internally for the next book and they are now categorized in 9 different unfinished books.  Do I self-publish?  Do I continue down the path I always have?  Decisons.

Whenever I speak, people always ask how I keep up with everything that I have going on, which leads me to the title of the blog post and the philosophy of my life.  Jonathan Larson wanted to change the rock musical forever on Broadway and he did so with the play "Rent."  If you have never seen it, it is a must!  It is a beautiful play about life, love, and loss.  It was Jonathan's mission to see this play on Broadway.  Unfortunately, he never truly got the chance.  The night before the play opened, he passed away due to Marfan Syndrome.  The play has so much to do with how to say goodbye.  There was so much of Jonathan in the play that you realize that the play also becomes how to say goodbye to the brilliant Jonathan Larson.  This play touched me.  It spoke to me in so many ways as I dealt with love and loss my entire life.  I had said goodbye to so many things and lived with regret.

Throughout the play, there is an affirmation that is interwoven through speech, song, and celebration. It goes:

There's Only Us
There's Only This
Forget Regret
Or Life Is Yours To Miss
No Other Road
No Other Way
No Day But Today
-Jonathan Larson

When I first heard these words, they were a powerful inspiration.  A light bulb went off where there was darkness and it became a motto for me.  Do not put off until tomorrow what you can accomplish today. It is not a morbid thought to think that tomorrow may not come.  Yesterday has already happened and tomorrow has yet to arrive.  All I have is today.  All I can deal with is today.  All I can change is today.  The rest is something that I can't worry about.  Do not wait until tomorrow to call your loved one and tell them that you care.  Do not let petty arguments get drawn out into long fights where you do not speak to loved ones for days.  Do not hold grudges or let people you barely know effect your mood at home with your loved ones.  Is all of that really worth it?

When it comes to my business and personal life, what am I doing today that matters?  What am I doing today that can impact tomorrow and the future?  I even use a "Boogie Board" that resets daily and do not write down tasks that I can't accomplish today.  It is a refreshing feeling to cross everything off of the list and hit the reset button knowing that everything I set out to do today is done.

What I learned from Jonathan was to take time for the important things and everything else becomes less important.  All of the stuff:  mandated dates, impossible timelines, unrealistic expectations, overbearing sponsors, all of it melts away with the proper perspective.  When the work/life balance is balanced properly and No Day But Today is a centerpiece, it is truly a blessing.

RIP Jonathan Larson

Friday, July 12, 2013

Transparency is your Friend in Strategic Planning

The more I speak throughout the world, it is becoming more clear that there is a growing fear when it comes to strategic planning.  There is a general fear in transparency.  Why is that?  I meet with many project managers across the globe that emote a general apathy.  Frustration is the most common emotion due to what they feel is a series of mandated dates, misunderstood requirements, and most of all, over-utilized staff.  Executives that I meet with are most frustrated because they are constantly hearing that projects are on track until the last minute or by the time they hear of an issue, the project is too far down a path for a course correction.  They all state that they want a solution.  The solution is simple:  transparency.
First, let’s analyze the myth of the mandated date.  Most project managers feel that almost every project that is received comes with a due date attached.  This creates panic, frustration, and many times poor quality as corners get cut to meet the mandated date.  Most Executives that I meet with tell me that while a date is attached, it is only done in order to provide a guideline.  It is not mandated and can be changed if proper data is supplied as to why the dates need to be altered.  They would be shocked to hear the measures that their staff is going through to meet the dates that many times are arbitrary.  Why is there such a disconnect and frustration all around when seemingly everyone wants the same thing?  The answer is the filtration process.  There is a huge filter between the Executives and the workers called Middle Management.  This layer is often needed, however, it can be the most damaging layer to the timeline, data, productivity, and ultimately the bottom line.
There are a few examples of this layer.  There was a company trying to change their core product to a newer generation product where this type of filter was on display.  This organization’s number one initiative continually failed to even come close to its production date or budget.  It missed its target by years and millions of dollars and the production date was reset multiple times.  The organization wanted to focus on improving its project management practices and hired an outside firm.  It was clear early in the consulting engagement that transparency in the reporting process was needed.  It was evident that the prioritization, resource management, and project reporting processes were all lacking and continue to be filtered by the middle managers.  The organization that was hired to change these processes brought in software to bring transparency to these processes, sell the executives on the need to do it, signed project scope statements, and even held town hall meetings to sell the entire organization on why it was necessary.  There were two key departments that were responsible for most of the resource constraints and missed dates.  Many of the other department leaders commented and wondered how these departments would react to the views and direction that was being shared in the meetings.  When it came time for the controversial meeting, one of the key stakeholders who had attended all of the meetings gave conflicting directions and made it seem as if the project team did not have a clear plan of implementation.  The manager even gave conflicting timelines and completion dates.  This left the impression that the agreements made by senior management and other levels earlier in the project were not set and the momentum of the project was quickly halted.  After that meeting, questions about scope and direction of the project were raised even though a signed scope statement and agreed project plan had been clearly laid out.  It was clear that the stakeholder did not want the software, or better yet, the transparency the software would bring to the organization. Perhaps that middle manager was looking for some job security but instead, it was obvious that the man in the middle was part of the problem.
Another example is when CA debuted the new CA Clarity Playbook.  It gives the Executives the ability to drill directly from their strategic plans to the project performance easily from their iPad®.  It is truly amazing and transparent.  The early feedback is fantastic from all the Executives and project managers that I have met with.  There is one group that I could see getting a bit nervous and it is the same group that everyone already knows.  It is the group that I identify as the “spinners” or Middle Management.  The ones who do not want the transparency.  The teams that like to massage the data or change all of the reds to greens.  These are the ones that may be afraid of this technology.  I can tell you this, transparency is your friend.  Time and time again, it is 3% of the organization that is causing 90% of the issues.  We all know who they are.  We all know where it is coming from.  If I asked you, the reader, which department is most responsible for delaying projects and then polled the rest of your company, it would be no surprise to you. It is the same people who complain about how busy they are, however, never seem to produce any results!  What I do not understand is why we consistently cater to this group.  Why business continues to punish the 97% of the organization that does work extremely hard and does do the right thing only to allow the 3% to continue to not be transparent?
This is part 1 of a 5 part series where I will be exploring why transparency is your friend in strategic planning.   I will be walking through all phases of strategic planning including what Executives do with their plans, how often should plans be revised, as well as accountability, and whether or not organizations should be measured against it. Any thoughts or comments or items that you want me to address, please leave them here or on twitter @rickamorris.
No Day but Today,