Archive for November, 2008|Monthly archive page

Book Review: Ready for Anything

Not all that long ago I read David Allen’s excellent book on personal organisation Getting Things Done (which I also reviewed in this post). Ready for Anything is a follow up to this and consists of a collection of 52 short essays, each of which talks philosophically about the techniques he described in his previous book.

It is a relatively short book and I finished it in what felt like no time at all (always a good sign). David Allen’s writing style is enjoyable to read and the book is littered with wonderful quotations.

I don’t think this book would be very meaningful unless you have already read Getting Things Done. In fact, I felt that this book contained very little new information at all. This led me to wonder whether there was really any point to reading it? Was I just participating in some kind of GTD masturbation: good fun but hardly fruitful? Continue reading

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APM Conference Photos and Blog

Photos from the 2008 APM conference have been uploaded here. The APM have also setup a conference blog which seems to include quickly written summaries of each presentation together with links so that you can download the slides. My contribution is described here (although most of my slides are missing).

As you can see, I managed to put on a cheesy grin for both of the occasions that the official photographer caught me with his camera:

Me at the APM Conference Continue reading

Great Websites for Project Managers

In the paper that I recently presented at the Association for Project Management (APM) conference I included a section that listed useful and interesting websites related to project management. I don’t often publish lists like this on my blog but today I’m going to make an exception! These are all sites that I visit regularly and I feel they offer useful and/or interesting viewpoints. I thoroughly recommend that you take a look and consider adding some or all of them to your RSS reader of choice. Continue reading

Thoughts on The Core

Back in June when I interviewed Jim McCarthy he was keen to tell me about The Core. So keen, in fact, that I posted a follow-up to that interview devoted purely to Jim’s story of what The Core is and how it evolved.

The Core is an intriguing idea. It is a document that attempts to define an optimal way for members of a team to interact. The document is similar in style to documents that describe technical protocols like TCP/IP and HTTP. However this isn’t a document focussed on technology but rather on how people should behave and interact in order to achieve the best results possible. Continue reading

APM Conference: Day 2

I attended the second day of the APM conference on Thursday 30th October. It was another full on day with an awful lot of interesting speakers providing a great deal of food for thought.

Nigel Smith, Chief Executive of the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), presented an opening keynote speech in which he talked about the purpose of the OGC and the areas that they are looking to improve.

After a break for coffee I attended a session on sustainability. This was kicked off by Penny Pullan of Making Projects Work. Penny gave some really insightful tips for how to decide when to use conference calls instead of face to face meetings. Penny then went on to talk about the skills and techniques that are required to make conference calls effective. I couldn’t help but feel that a lot of these tips applied equally well to in-person meetings. I must also add that when Penny (and members of the audience) described day-long meetings I was reminded of my personal view that the best meetings are short. Following Penny’s talk Adrian Pyne talked about sustainability from a programme management perspective.

After another short break it was time for two keynote speeches from Sir David Normington (Permanent Secretary, Home Office) and Jonathan Simcock (Executive Director, OGC). Sir David Normington shared a list of six “non-negotiables” for successful projects which I think are worth repeating here: Continue reading