22 tips for Project Managers

From here:

1. Projects with realistic budgets and timetables don’t get approved

2. Activity in the early stages should be dedicated to finding the correct questions

3. The more desperate the situation the more optimistic the progress report

4. A user is somebody who rejects the system because it’s what he asked for

5. The difference between project success and failure is a good PR company

6. Nothing is impossible for the person who doesn’t have to do it

7. Every failing, overly ambitious project, has at its heart a series of successful small ones trying to escape

8. A freeze on change melts whenever heat is applied

9. There’s never enough time to do it right first time

10. You understood what I said, not what I meant

11. If you don’t know where you’re going, just talk about specifics

12. If at first you don’t succeed, rename the project

13. Everyone wants a strong project manager – until they get him

14. Only idiots own up to what they really know (thank you to President Nixon)

15. The worst project managers sleep at night

16. A failing project has benefits which are always spoken of in the future tense

17. Projects don’t fail in the end; they fail at conception

18. Visions are usually treatable

19. Overly ambitious projects can never fail if they have a beginning, middle and no end

20. In government we never punish error, only its disclosure

21. The most difficult way is, in the long run, the easiest

22. A realist is one who’s presciently disappointed in the future

spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem and only five minutes finding the solution

I stumbled upon a posting of Luciano who quoted Einstein:

Einstein is quoted as having said that if he had one hour to save the world he would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem and only five minutes finding the solution.

This quote does illustrate an important point: before jumping right into solving a problem, we should step back and invest time and effort to improve our understanding of it.

Where after he gives 10 tips to do precisely that.

I gave the following comment on that:

I dont agree with Einstein (love saying that). It’s basically the example on how NOT to approach a problem.

IT Projects massively failed and fail because of this way thinking: spending a lot of time defining the problem and then a short amount of time solving it. It’s a waterfall way of approaching complex problems. Which is pretty old fashioned.

RUP (wikipedia) and Agile methods (wikipedia) brought a new paradigma: iterative loops: so definitely not spending a lot of time in definition/analysis phase but going through loops of iteration with constant change because not many people can think up a complete solution in front. Normal people change their mind every day and get more insights every day.

Thus you solve the problem in parallel to defining the problem.

Eds links for 2008-11-11: ICT-sector lijdt onder economische crisis

ICT-sector lijdt onder economische crisis
De mondiale economische crisis heeft repercussies voor de Nederlandse IT-sector. Enkele lopende contracten zijn stopgezet en enkele grote projecten zijn afgebroken of afgekocht. Diverse detacheerders hebben wervingsdoelstellingen voor nieuwe medewerkers geschrapt, de vraag naar zzp’ers neemt af en onzekere zzp’ers verzoeken IT-werkgevers om een vast contract.

To Mr. Jerry Yang

May 3, 2008

Mr. Jerry Yang
CEO and Chief Yahoo
Yahoo! Inc.
701 First Avenue
Sunnyvale, CA 94089

Dear Jerry:

After over three months, we have reached the conclusion of the process regarding a possible combination of Microsoft and Yahoo!.

I first want to convey my personal thanks to you, your management team, and Yahoo!’s Board of Directors for your consideration of our proposal. I appreciate the time and attention all of you have given to this matter, and I especially appreciate the time that you have invested personally. I feel that our discussions this week have been particularly useful, providing me for the first time with real clarity on what is and is not possible.

I am disappointed that Yahoo! has not moved towards accepting our offer. I first called you with our offer on January 31 because I believed that a combination of our two companies would have created real value for our respective shareholders and would have provided consumers, publishers, and advertisers with greater innovation and choice in the marketplace. Our decision to offer a 62 percent premium at that time reflected the strength of these convictions.

In our conversations this week, we conveyed our willingness to raise our offer to $33.00 per share, reflecting again our belief in this collective opportunity. This increase would have added approximately another $5 billion of value to your shareholders, compared to the current value of our initial offer. It also would have reflected a premium of over 70 percent compared to the price at which your stock closed on January 31. Yet it has proven insufficient, as your final position insisted on Microsoft paying yet another $5 billion or more, or at least another $4 per share above our $33.00 offer.

Also, after giving this week’s conversations further thought, it is clear to me that it is not sensible for Microsoft to take our offer directly to your shareholders. This approach would necessarily involve a protracted proxy contest and eventually an exchange offer. Our discussions with you have led us to conclude that, in the interim, you would take steps that would make Yahoo! undesirable as an acquisition for Microsoft.

We regard with particular concern your apparent planning to respond to a “hostile” bid by pursuing a new arrangement that would involve or lead to the outsourcing to Google of key paid Internet search terms offered by Yahoo! today. In our view, such an arrangement with the dominant search provider would make an acquisition of Yahoo! undesirable to us for a number of reasons:

First, it would fundamentally undermine Yahoo!’s own strategy and long-term viability by encouraging advertisers to use Google as opposed to your Panama paid search system. This would also fragment your search advertising and display advertising strategies and the ecosystem surrounding them. This would undermine the reliance on your display advertising business to fuel future growth.

Given this, it would impair Yahoo’s ability to retain the talented engineers working on advertising systems that are important to our interest in a combination of our companies.

In addition, it would raise a host of regulatory and legal problems that no acquirer, including Microsoft, would want to inherit. Among other things, this would consolidate market share with the already-dominant paid search provider in a manner that would reduce competition and choice in the marketplace.

This would also effectively enable Google to set the prices for key search terms on both their and your search platforms and, in the process, raise prices charged to advertisers on Yahoo. In addition to whatever resulting legal problems, this seems unwise from a business perspective unless in fact one simply wishes to use this as a vehicle to exit the paid search business in favor of Google.

It could foreclose any chance of a combination with any other search provider that is not already relying on Google’s search services.

Accordingly, your apparent plan to pursue such an arrangement in the event of a proxy contest or exchange offer leads me to the firm decision not to pursue such a path. Instead, I hereby formally withdraw Microsoft’s proposal to acquire Yahoo!.

We will move forward and will continue to innovate and grow our business at Microsoft with the talented team we have in place and potentially through strategic transactions with other business partners.

I still believe even today that our offer remains the only alternative put forward that provides your stockholders full and fair value for their shares. By failing to reach an agreement with us, you and your stockholders have left significant value on the table.

But clearly a deal is not to be.

Thank you again for the time we have spent together discussing this.

Sincerely yours,

Steven A. Ballmer
Chief Executive Officer
Microsoft Corporation

via liveside.net