Archive for November, 2009

Scrum for Beginners Video

A little Monday Morning surfing tip…

If you’ve wondered for a while what all this Agile/Scrum thing is about, there’s a great little tutorial ‘Scrum in under 10 minutes’ on YouTube. I really liked it – it’s presented in a great way and with some humor (like Scrum Master is just a more fancy word for a Project Manager ;). Enjoy!

There’s some more info in Hamid’s Blog, and of course tons of books and other online materials.

B.t.w. the more I read and hear about Agile, the more I believe this is really no rocket science, rather a different mindset and should be fun to apply. Any experiences folks?

November 23, 2009 at 10:10 2 comments

Do you have Change Fatigue?

Currently, there is an increasing amount of discussion around change programs, their challenges and whether they can succeed at all. I’ve found an interesting article on the website of the Harvard Business School: Do you have Change Fatigue?

Interestingly enough, this article dates back to the year 2001! So of course this is no new issue, just recently got a lot more attention. Any thoughts why this is the case? Tougher business climate which leads to more pressure on businesses overall and their ability to adjust seems to be obvious. Anything else?

November 21, 2009 at 18:50 Leave a comment

Released from keyboard agony!

Since I installed the Keyboard Firmware Upgrade on my MacBook Pro, I got these REALLY annoying effects like: Shift key sticks whenever I press it a nanosecond too long. Unnerving clicking sounds whenever I press a function key. And these wonderful cryptic signs in the bottom left corner of my screen… well at least they show me which of the function keys (sometimes 3 at a time) stick.

I had googled the issue several times because I thought that other folks must be annoyed, too, but didn’t find anything.

Today I tried again. Went into system preferences, and searched for ‘Keyboard’. There it was – hidden under ‘Universal Access’. See screenshot below:

I just unchecked some of the options and yipiieh – back to normal again :)

The only question remains: Why were these options activated by default? And of course… Why didn’t I check these settings earlier?

November 21, 2009 at 17:43 Leave a comment

The Myth of Managing Change – part I

I’d like to share an interesting paper with you that I’ve come across during my studies. Those of you who have been through a number of change initiatives will appreciate it, I’m pretty sure! It is called ‘The Myth of Managing Change’, written by George Binney and Colin Williams. You can get a preview via Google Books.

I’ll post about it in several steps. Part I today: Problems with today’s usual change approach and the consequences.

This paper was published as part of a book called “Strategic Human Resource Management” (for details, see the Goodreads book page). In addition to this paper, there’s much more really interesting stuff in there, all current thinking about management practices.

Now back to the paper… It starts off with a discussion of the ‘classic’ change approach, largely driven top-down, well-planned, around a clear vision, as many of you will have learned in Change Management courses.

The discussion of problems with these change programs really rang a bell, e.g.

  • perception gaps between leaders and followers
  • The fact that change is ‘messy’ – while the direction is usually quite clear, the exact path to get there is not
  • Visions don’t work as expected. The process to come up with the vision is valuable from a strategic perspective, but visions (“one step from hallucination”) usually don’t mean a lot for the wider audience
  • An effect they call ‘Programmitis’ – one change initiative following or even overlapping with the next one.
  • Navel gazing, i.e. becoming very internally focused (while intended changes often target more external focus, eg. on customers)

If you nodded your head a few times during reading above, you’ll have experienced the consequences as well – frustration and exhaustion. This happens both at a personal as well as at a corporate level: Executive Management / other initiators of changes, the project/program teams chartered to implement the changes and of course everyone in the organization impacted by the projects in any way. Seen that?

Let me quote one paragraph: And the less the change programs work, the more managers try to control developments. They ask for more and more measurement and reporting – often of the change activities, not the substance of change they are seeking.’

Binney and Williams further state: ‘Ultimately change programs implies an instrumental view of change. They are based on the belief that change is done to organizations, that people at the top can know the answer and then apply it to the organization. But what if fundamental change – the transformation that occurs when people change their mental maps of the world – cannot be predicted? […] What if transformation cannot be managed – what can be put in the place of change programs?’

I’ll stop here for now – would be great to get your thoughts, experiences, ideas!

November 18, 2009 at 12:51 1 comment

All these online communities… why can’t they be integrated?

So… I got yet another invitation today to connect to a friend on Plaxo. Of course, we’re already connected on LinkedIn. And on Facebook. If he was German, on XING, too. You know the story… This is becoming quite annoying! I really appreciate all these online communities. They’re great to keep in touch, and to build networks, and so forth. But why why why do I have to enter the same old stuff in all of them? Particularly for the more business-oriented ones… Could maybe someone come up with something like a central profile engine or so? Or maybe it’s out there already, and I just missed it! Is it just me?

November 18, 2009 at 12:20 1 comment

Hello Blogging World!

Hello and welcome to my blog!

In the past weeks and months, I read and heard a lot and thought that would be some interesting stuff to share and also get some interesting discussions going. I am German but decided to blog in English, as quite some folks from my network are from the UK, US, Australia… Maybe from time to time I’ll sneak a German post in.

Topics to be expected are around Project Management, Change Management, Risk Management, Portfolio Management and new developments there. I am also interested in general business and current developments. We’ll see.

On the ‘About’ page, I share a few more details about myself and about how I can be found in online communities.

Look forward to some interesting interactions and new networks!

Susanne

November 18, 2009 at 12:18 Leave a comment


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