Roland DürreWednesday May 22nd, 2013
Project ≠ Project.
Project Management ≠ Project Management.
Using enlightened statements, Stefan dismisses quite a few dogmata of project management from the last century (millennium).
I was fascinated by his article. Consequently, I lost no time and immediately wrote a comment in pm-blog.de. However, I would like to use this opportunity to give you a summary of my comments, although with (significant) changes.
Let me start by citing from Stefan’s article:
“We pretend that there is such a thing as a clear definition of “project” or “project management”. This is an absurdity”.
That is not the only sentence where Stefan hits the nail on the head. In his article, Stefan asks a lot of good questions – and gives some answers, too. It is all so clear and self-explanatory that you start wondering why so many managers still stick with the old dogmata.
To me, the answer seems obvious: dogmata, even if they are antiquated, have a huge “advantage”:
They make life easier for us humans, especially if we are talking complex or paradox situations.Based on dogmata, you can basically do without thinking yourself. Instead, you can decide according to a given “pattern”. The human being who in a situation of decision is often extremely lonely will find something to hold onto and thus reduce his natural (and healthy) uncertainty.
Dogmata also take pressure off our conscience. Even if everything goes wrong, we can say we “did everything right”. After all, we acted exactly like we had been taught, didn’t we? Everything we did was according to the respective standards we have been, after all, successfully certified for. Which means that we are not to blame for the failure and/or detrimental effects of the project…
The way we have been frequently trained to act according to dogmata protects us and makes life easier. Responsibility is delegated to an authority that is perhaps a plausible book or rules and accepted as superior. Basically, it comes “from above” and we trust it will be correct. More often than not, you are even forced to act as you do by an anonymous system, which does not leave you any leeway.
In view of this, you cannot be surprised if doctrines and dogmata are highly cherished by humans. Except they should not go so far as to start questioning dogmata. Because that would mean they often will no longer believe in the world and that means the party is over. So maybe it is a good idea not to start thinking…
Dogmata are almost always inflexible and antiquated. They do not do justice to the dynamic and, after all, very complex real life, along with the needs of people in social communities. And mostly the same is true for decisions and behaviour based on these dogmata.
For “correct” decisions, and “good” behaviour of humans, the requirement is that they have enjoyed a good education, are equipped with the right amount of experience in life, a high degree of autonomy along with civil courage, the willingness to take responsibility and common sense.
That is exactly what Stefan demands in his definition of project management!
However, autonomous, self-responsible and “good” behaviour will not just fall out of the clouds. Neither in (project) management, nor in real life.
For me, this means that the biggest challenge of all for us humans is to be (become) willing and capable of living our lives in self-responsibility. And this should happen in an ethically responsible way following values shared by all humans like, for instance the Golden Rule or the UN Charta.
And just like this is true for life in general, it is also true for our “sub-lives” in roles such as project manager, leader, entrepreneur, partner, pater familias, official functionary, politician – well, basically wherever we live together socially in communities.
(Translated by EG)
In this article, I took pains to not give in to the temptation of using dogmata of the Catholic Church as examples.…
Roland DürreTuesday May 21st, 2013
IF Blog is one of the few Munich blogs written mostly both in German and English. We and I have to thank Evelyn (EG) for this, because she is the one who translates all of my and many of the team’s articles into English at high speed. She does it because she delights in our friendship and because she rather likes the English language.
All I can do is say thank you very much, Evelyn!
But Evelyn – among other hobbies – has a second and very special field of interest. One she practices with enthusiasm and a high degree of professionalism. Along with her son, she sings in various choirs. And now the two of them became members of a very special choir, the
under Thomas Gropper.
At the end of June, the arcis vocalisten will be heard singing a new and very special project. After George Frederik Händel’s most famous oratorio has often been sung in the shortened or German versions and/or accompanied with modern instruments, the arcis vocalisten are now giving a concert singing the complete, unabridged, English original version accompanied with historic instruments played by L’arpa festante!
On Saturday, June, 29th, the first concert will be at the Christuspavillion of Kloster Volkenroda in Thüringen, where the Jesus-Bruderschaft Volkenroda organized the event.
One day later, on Sunday, June, 30th, at 19.00 hours, it is the “home game” for the choir. That is when we can enjoy the music at the Himmelfahrtskirche in München-Sendling (Kidlerstr.).
The soloists are Hanna Herfurtner – Soprano, Franz Schlecht – Basso, Robert Sellier – Tenor and Andreas Pehl – Altus. The conductor is Thomas Gropper, who will also provide you with a 30-minute introduction to the work at 18.00 hours in the church.
In his MESSIAH, Händel creates a three-part sheet of pictures on the figure of the Redeemer, the annunciation of his birth, the Christmas Story, the Passion and the Resurrection. The delicate and passionate choirs are the backbone of the concert.
So now you know what you have to do: look in your calendar if you have time to go and then order tickets!
(Translated by EG)
Roland DürreMonday May 20th, 2013
Great events will cast their shadows before:
After the magnificent meeting at Stuttgart #pmcamp13str of May, 3rd/4th, 2013 , we will meet again in Vienna for the #pmcamp13vie on June, 21st/22nd, 2013, in Bad Homburg for the #pmcampRM on 27th through 29th, 2013, in Berlin for the #pmcamp13ber on September, 13th through 15th, 2013 and, as the year comes to an end for the “mother of all PM camps” #pmcamp13 in Dornbirn on November, 14th through 16th, 2013.
This is the reason why I am going to start a small IF blog series on barcamps in general and PM camp in particular.
Today you will read part 1:
Why I Go There!
I was born in 1950. My generation had a nice time to live in. In our Central European home, we experienced luxury as the human race did never before in its history. We were allowed to grow up in a free society. Suppression and force were at least reduced to a tolerable degree. For most of us, education was affordable. And, above all: there was no active war fought on our soil!
To be sure – not all was well. The consumption terror born during the time of the economic miracle was negative. We, too, fell victim to it. The only unnatural threat for our lives was on the streets, where motorized traffic caused many victims, injuries and deaths (in our circles, as well). Perversely, however, we accepted those as logical consequence of our so-called new freedom.
When all is said and done, I and my central European generation probably lived in a time when we were better off than humans had been at any other time. At least that is how I perceive it. I wish to express my gratitude for this and hand as much of my experience and knowledge as possible on to many people.
At the same time, my generation did more damage to this planet than any other generation before us. As I see it, we may not have done it intentionally, but we have certainly been most careless. Because the knowledge we have today (see Club of Rome and others) was already available. Well, there is a lot we would have to make up for, but we will not succeed. For me, this means a duty to also write about the mistakes we made. After all, you can also learn from mistakes.
Consequently, I particularly enjoy doing presentations for young people. Currently, however, the best way to hand on experience and at the same time work on your constructs are barcamps.
This is why I like going to barcamps whenever my time permits it. And I particularly enjoy the PM Camp.
(Translated by EG)
I intend to continue in my series with topics such as
What are my experiences on a PM Camp!
What is my contribution at a PM Camp!
Roland DürreSaturday May 18th, 2013
Several weeks ago, I stopped trusting my calendar. And yesterday evening, the absolute worst-case scenario happened. My calendar was (almost) empty. I also received an error message mentioing something about a database error – and then the system was dead. A few central birthdays were still there, along with some appointments I had made a long time ago.
The rest was gone!
This was the time for huge misery and teeth grinding. The fact that, after all, things that are a lot worse could have happened (bike accident, serious illness,…), made it a little more tolerable. And since I had been fed up with electronic calendars and all that accompanies them for quite some time already, I now decided after what felt like 20 years without paper (I was one of the first people owning one of those small grey electronic planners (organiser, organizer) in cigarette case format by Texas Instruments):
I will change back to paper!
Consequently, there was a lot of work for me yesterday and today (and there will probably be tomorrow, as well). I tried to reconstruct my calendar on paper using minutes, emails, my memory, Barbara’s calendar and other materials. And still, there remains a lot to be done. Neither am I sure that a complete reconstruction can be managed at all.
Incidentally, I never thought of a possible restore in the moment of first shock. I am sure the “sysops” (system operators) can do these kinds of things. But firstly, they are – naturally – not available on a weekend. And besides, I would not wish to impose on their time because of such a thing. From personal experience, I know that, especially with Exchange, basically simple operations can sometimes use up a lot of time and cause a lot of annoyance.
However, I will let them do a “restore” in order to verify my reconstructed paper data. Regardless, I am sure that something will be lost. Consequently, here are my two requests to all of you I made an appointment with:
Please inform me about appointments I made!
And if I fail to show up, please forgive me!
Because that would mean the appointment disappeared in the depths of the “Cloud” and its interfaces and levels. Consequently, I will now switch to paper. To be sure, my electronic calendar was quite practical at times, but it also had several disadvantages.
For instance, there were sometimes appointments pressed on me by Outlook/Exchange. They just suddenly were written in my calendar. Along with the request to either “deny”, “approve” or “perhaps attend”. Incidentally, it is not at all my style to just electronically “deny”. I find it hard to tell nice people “NO”. Especially if there was some accompanying message like “I will have travelled to Munich” or “I see a little time window here”. And perhaps this is really the most stupid reply of all.
In retrospect, you often realize that most meetings were not really necessary and have been decided in a very irresponsible way. And if you always agree to meeting people, you will end up having no time at all left. Most “managers” seem to have that problem – and I do not wish to suffer the same fate. One of the reasons for this is that I have far too much work to do already. …
In my opinion, every appointment should be beneficial to someone. Consequently, they should be agreed upon only personally and mutually, instead of functionally and in this mass-productive way. Because if someone wants something from me (or vice versa), this should be personally discussed shortly before the meeting. Instead of putting a marker into someone else’s calendar, saying “this is when I want your attention”, according to the motto “you cannot deny me your time, because I know you are not busy at that time”.
After all, time is our most precious commodity. And in view of this, it cannot be the meaning of our life to spend entire days in mostly useless or antiquated meetings. And I find an entry threshold for appointments (not electronically, but personally arranging them and writing them down in your paper notebook) rather useful.
Additionally, I have been distrustful with respect to the synchronization for quite some time now. Which is actually something I have been feeling longer than I like to think. Again and again, individual appointments were missing. Since, however, I know that in most cases “the mistake is sitting behind the keyboard”, I mistrusted my own perceptions. But the latest events told me my mistrust is justified.
Perhaps I myself am responsible for all this misery, because I am – or rather: was – an extreme user. My calendar was lying around centrally on the Exchange server of InterFace AG. And being the naïve person I am, I used to believe that I can synchronize clients of various origins with the Exchange server. Even switching between using the same system through our VPN and then again “from the outside”.
This was also an area where I often had problems, perhaps also because my clients are very diverse. I had Outlook on old Windows PC-s, as well as iCal on three different Macs. Not to forget my “Smart phone” (what an expression) and both my “Tablets” (not any better, either) running with Android.
And basically, I always feared that this excessive sort of using calendar synchronization cannot really work well. Incidentally, I also get the impression that I keep missing emails. However, I would not consider it bad news if all my emails were gone, just like all my appointments were. Because now I am in danger of standing someone up.
To comfort me, a friend of mine who never switched from the paper calendar told me that, after all, a paper calendar is something that might also get lost. But at least if that happens it is your own fault – that is what I think. And if I am miserable, I want to have been the cause of my own misery!
(Translated by EG)
The two pictures show the device that substituted my nice “Löhn” paper calendar more than 20 years ago. I found them on a page all electronics lovers would find extremely attractive
If you click on Organis(z)er, you will find many charming devices from olden times. The Texas Instruments (TI 6155) on the picture that looks a lot like my organizer is one of them. I believe mine was called TI 303. It probably was an even simpler predecessor of the 6155. Both pictures were taken by Ingo Trelewska, who is also the owner of all the devices, including software, shown on these pages.
Roland DürreFriday May 17th, 2013
Today, I would like to introduce Kristin Block. In her presentation, she will, along with her business partner Judit Lell, point out the
Corner Stones of a Knowledge (Sharing) Culture
necessary to not only talk CRAFTSMANSHIP but also live it successfully.
Today, it is vital for an enterprise to make sure the internal supply of knowledge is functioning. After all, it is THE ONE fuel that keeps the daily routine of the enterprise running and thus the enterprise competitive.
However, everyday life at the enterprise is often far from what the employees would consider the ideal, open knowledge exchange all of them would (very much) like to practice.
Phenomena such as the “Knowledge-is-Power” concept, blockage of free knowledge flow and isolated knowledge islands not only use up a lot of energy, they also considerably reduce the active and innovative capacity of organizations. Not to mention social consequences, such as demoralization of the people and the growing frustration, which then will cause inner resignation of white-collar workers who are not at the necessary extent or/and in the necessary form supplied with the material they urgently need.
By now, many leaders actually discovered this danger, along with the need to act – but they do not know how and where to start in order to trigger sustainable change. The presentation “Corner Stones of a Knowledge (Sharing) Culture” supplies you with answers and new ideas in an entertaining and colourful way. Naturally, you also get ample room for discussing the theses. We will introduce five activity fields. Being dynamically linked they cover a diverse scenario of possible approaches. This knowledge, along with a huge portion of will to change, goal-oriented behaviour and patience, are the tools for leaders if they wish to create an active knowledge culture in their organizational units.
About the speaker Kristin Block
Kristin Block is a major shareholder of the consulting company wissenswerk. This company supports enterprises with all the challenges around the topics knowledge distribution, knowledge sharing, knowledge control and knowledge increase. Together with her partner, the communications expert gave meaning to the term «Neuro Knowledge Management»: it is an extremely promising linking of the newest insights in brain research and human centred knowledge management methods. In the role of a coach and speaker, she now hands down her considerable technological knowledge and experience outside here usual consulting projects.
(Translated by EG)
I recommend you read the wissenswerk blog. In it, you will find many interesting ideas and proposals on our topic by Judith Lell and Kristin Block!
Roland DürreThursday May 16th, 2013
Here are my tweets of last week on:
Blogging and Twittering, Wisdoms and Rules:
130530 If you wait some, your day will come – also true for you, twitterer and blogger. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom
130531 Why? That is why! – That is why we are twitter and blog. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom
130601 The older you get, the more you grumpy you get – not to forget, bloggers and twitterers! #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom
130602 What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander – also when blogging and twittering! #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom
130603 You can’t change the habits of a lifetime – also true for twitterers and bloggers? #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom
130604 There is no need for a soothing hand where it does not hurt – also true for twittering and blogging. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom
130605 If something flies too high for you, let it fly – not to forget when twittering and blogging. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom
There is a new tweet each day. See twitter.com and “follow” RolandDuerre!
(Translated by EG)
I took the proverbs from Alle deutsche Sprichwörter.
Roland DürreWednesday May 15th, 2013
Besides Wolfgang Menauer, who is going to do the warming-up at our Unterhaching workshop on June, 13th, 2013 with some associative ideas on craftsmanship, a second InterFace colleague will be actively involved.
Bernhard Findeiss has prepared a presentation for our Craftsmanship workshop on June, 13th. He will talk about:
“A Day in the Life of a Software Craftsman”
Bernhard sent me a short abstract of his presentation:
During the last few years, many attempts at industrialising software development have been made. However, it turns out that this method will not be a success in all areas.
One example for this is the development of individualized software. Dividing complex processes into many smaller steps that are easy to execute will soon show itself to be impossible.
Perhaps we can find some parallels with traditional craftsmanship here? Consequently, this is another area where we also need well-trained software craftsmen.
So what exactly is a “soft worker”? I would like to use my presentation in order to introduce this and some other questions, thus hoping to make you thoughtful:
- What technologies should you be competent in?
- What are the characteristics of well-made software in the craftsmanship sense?
- What is the work structure of a “soft worker”?
- “Soft worker”?What can an enterprise do in order to make the work surroundings as good as possible for the “soft worker”?
- Saying “No”!
- Life-long learning!
- Writing source code!
- Test strategies!
- Working under pressure
- Cooperating in a team
- What can an enterprise do in order to make the work surroundings as good as possible for the “soft worker”?
Bernhard Findeiss is a young InterFace colleague. He has already been working for us for quite some time now. His craft is computer science, which, incidentally, he learned at Munich TUM – and other places. He “lives” quality and innovation. The topics sustainability and value appreciation of craftsmanship are particularly dear to him. For instance, in his private life, he buys his rolls at a real bakery, instead of a bake-shop. In his job, he constantly strives to improve his competence.
Bernhard’s technological interests are quite diverse:
- He founded the “Agile Monday Nürnberg”.
- He is one of the organizers of the SoCraTes conference and at the German Softwork Chamber and was among the first members of this community. –
- You might have quite a few chances to see him on various conferences (i.e. XP Days, interPM).
- And you will often meet him on various “agile” community events (like Agile Tuesday München, Agile World)
Here is where we come full circle on craftsmanship. But Bernhard also has quite a “social” life:
- He is on the board of the Fischbachau Shooting Club, where he is recording clerk.
- He is an active member of the Mountain Shooting Club
- And – being truly Bavarian – he believes in the tradition of “Laptop and Lederhosen” and supports the historical local costume group.
- And, of course, his small daughter is particularly important to him!
(Translated by EG)
And here in our IF blog, he is also a well-liked author with man readers!
Roland DürreMonday May 13th, 2013
Dear IF blog readers,
Today, you are getting an invitation for two presentations and one workshop:
On May, 16th, (next Thursday), Alexander Jachmann of the IF-TECH AG will be the speaker in our series of lectures: “Craftsmanship – Technology from Computer Scientists for Computer Scientists!” (also known as Beer&Informatics).
His presentation is about:
UBUNTU&ANDROID – Test in Practice
What exactly can the windows alternatives do? Features, problems and solutions. An overview.
For more information and registration, click here:
As always, the event will start at 18.00 hours in the seminar zone/top floor of the Unterhaching InterFace AG building. The presentation is scheduled for 6.15 p.m. – you are welcome to arrive from 5.30 p.m.
There are still some vacancies!
And for all those who cannot come, we broadcast the presentation live on the internet. From around 18:15 hours, you can see the video stream of the presentation on http://www.ustream.tv/channel/IF-Forum.
In addition, we will do a video recording and publish it on youtube (Kanal InterFace AG) if necessary.
Here are the other dates of the IF Forum:
Technological IF Forum 2013: Workshop Craftsmanship accompanied by Wolf Nkole Helzle (Social Media Art artist) on June, 13th, 2013 starting at 13:00 hours!
and then the second IF Forum 2013 this summer:
Jean Paul and Hypertext
July, 11th, 2013 | 18.00 Hours
I would be happy to welcome you on one or more of these events and wish you a very nice month of May!
(Translated by EG)
Roland DürreSaturday May 11th, 2013
Dr. Elmar Jürgens is one of the speakers at our Craftsmanship workshop on June, 13th, 2013. His presentation will be about:
Here is the abstract of the presentation he will give for us:
Experience, competence, culture, quality and knowledge are the focal issues of the IF Forum on craftsmanship. How can we generate a software development culture that promotes mutual exchange of experience, competence and knowledge in such a way that the software quality will benefit?
For me, the answer is a culture of lightweight peer reviews. There is hardly any quality control mechanism the usefulness of which has been more thoroughly investigated than peer reviews. Moreover, they give us an effective tool for knowledge transfer. We have been using it for many years now. Regardless of this, many teams still do not conduct any peer reviews during their development phases.
In my presentation, I will introduce a lightweight approach for continuous code reviews where the programming and review phases are separate. This gives the programmer and reviewer respectively the chance to decide by themselves when, where and how fast they wish to work. In the development of the Open-Source programming tool ConQAT, we have been using these reviews for seven years in quality control of all code modifications. On a voluntary basis. We are convinced that this is the main reason why ConQAT is so easy on maintenance and so flexible. I will tell you about our experiences and will also report social challenges and best practices.
About the Speaker:
Dr. Elmar Jürgens is founder and associate of the CQSE GmbH. Elmar wrote his dissertational thesis at Munich Technical University about the discovery, consequences and handling of clones, for which he was awarded the software engineering prize of the Ernst Dehnert Foundation in 2011. As one of the founders of CQSE GmbH, he supports enterprises when they analyse and improve the quality of their software systems. He was among the five best speakers of the Software Quality Days 2013.
Moreover, Elmar is the co-chair of the Nineteenth International Workshop on Software Clones held in San Francisco this year. It is part of the “International Conference on Software Engineering”.
Elmar also initiated a very special community: together with other doctoral candidates of TUM and colleagues of CQSE GmbH, he organizes a regular “Tasting Group”. Whenever they meet, the “Tasting Group” tries out a new idea (in the form of an established scientific paper in the field of software quality) and a new taste (for instance in the form of testing wine or a special cuisine). To me, this sounds like a truly innovative concept!
(Translated by EG)