Welcome to Michael Greer's PM Resources

"At this website you'll find info about my favorite project management (PM) resources, my products & services, and a "first-do-no-harm," no B.S., Minimalist approach to PM. To learn more, use the Navigation links (left), scroll through my latest blog posts below, or watch a video intro. Enjoy!" -- Mike G. The PM Minimalist Collection

LATEST BLOG POSTS:

Stuck Pursuing PMP Certification? Take Firebrand Training for Free! [A Video Tour]

As regular readers of this blog know, I don’t exactly push PM newbies toward PMP (or any other commercially available) certification. In fact, in several extended essays and PDFs, I’ve tried mightily to make the case for local, do-it-yourself PM certification while providing specific, step-by-step instructions in how to do so:

Still, if your employer or clients have drunk the PMI Kool-Aid and are absolutely, positively convinced that you need their PMP stamp of approval to do your job, then you should know about Firebrand’s amazing collection of powerful, “accelerated” PMP study tools, exercises and answers. The Firebrand collection can do two important things for you:

  1. If you are undecided about pursuing PMP certification, it can help you take a very fast, efficient “deep dive” into the conceptual database that makes up the PMP certification body of content. This way you can quickly decide for yourself whether this stuff is going to be helpful to your unique PM career.
  2. If you are committed to the PMP certification path, it can serve as a well-designed set of “crib notes,” reference tools and practice exercises to speed you on your way to the certification exam.

Video Tour: Firebrand’s Free PMP Training

Below is my quick video tour of the free online training materials available at the Firebrand website to help you qualify for your PMP certification. Enjoy!

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Posted: March 21st, 2014 under Inspiration and Motivation, Project Management - No Comments. Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Reflections on Sochi, the “Second Screen” & Half-Baked Decisions

Second-screen-essay

A couple of weeks ago I tried to watch the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. I say tried because I eventually became so frustrated by Matt Lauer’s and Meredith Vieira’s endless stream of intrusive babble that I switched the whole thing off. From what I saw, the ceremony had been painstakingly designed by its Olympic hosts to tell a story. The producers of the event had obviously worked hard to weave together a collection of objects, images, performers and music to create a spectacular narrative that highlighted Russia’s history.

Was it mere propaganda? Was it an idealized rewriting of history? Frankly, I can’t say because every time I started to become absorbed by the narrative and allow its images and music to carry me along with it, Lauer or Vieira would yank me out of the story line with their own narrative. And since theirs consisted mostly of arcane trivia, details of the mechanics of the production, or political editorializing, I found it impossible to sustain the sense of wonder that the grand production had been designed to stimulate. Unfortunately, turning off the sound to shut off their prattling also muted the beautiful music and sound effects. So I finally just gave up in disgust and switched the whole thing off.

A Colossal Waste!

As the room became silent, I found myself wondering about — and feeling sympathy for — the producers of the event. They clearly had undertaken months of preparation. They constructed a logical “through line” that told their story, then they rehearsed and coordinated hundreds of moving parts. In short, they had attempted to deliver a powerfully moving and cohesive viewer experience. Yet here sat these American TV talking heads intruding themselves at random throughout the event, dragging viewers on endless, mood-destroying side trips and distracting us from absorbing any coherent message or from being swept away in the spectacle. What a colossal waste!

Like Your Last Business Presentation?

The more I thought about it, however, the more I realized that this NBC-broadcast of the Sochi Olympic Opening Ceremony was an apt metaphor for many business meetings I’ve attended. The same elements are present:

  • Someone works hard to prepare a logical narrative, often supported with multi-media components.
  • This person rehearses, then delivers the presentation.
  • Members of the audience ostensibly attend to the presentation.
  • Members of the audience are ceaselessly, often pointlessly, interrupted by their own, personal talking heads in the form of the ever-present “second screen” of a smartphone or tablet.
  • These interrupted members of the audience, in turn, become someone else’s “second screen” interruptions as their fingers tap out terse little messages that intrude into another presenter’s carefully-crafted presentation.

The result of all this fracturing of a presenter’s logical, cohesive message is that attendees acquire an understanding of it that is incomplete or badly distorted.

Half-Baked Comprehension = Half-Baked Decisions!

Now here’s the big deal: What distinguishes these business presentations from the Olympics Opening Ceremony is that those attending are frequently called upon to take an action or make a decision at the conclusion. But if your recall of the presenter’s message is sketchy or skewed, your comprehension is… well… half-baked! And half-baked comprehension can only lead to half-baked decisions! 

So here’s your challenge: The next time you attend a meeting, try to fully “attend” to the presentation. Put yourself in the shoes of the presenter. Try to imagine the effort she expended to accumulate information, sift it down to its essences and build a presentation that would be engaging and informative. Then ask yourself if it makes good business sense to allow your own jabbering little device (your pocket-sized network talking head) to ceaselessly interrupt and water down your engagement.

(NOTE: For more on the phenomenon of scrambled consciousness & the illusion of competence held by “multi-taskers,” see Managing People with Self-Induced ADHD (er… Chronic Multitaskers)

Posted: February 27th, 2014 under Inspiration and Motivation, Project Management - No Comments. Tags: , , , , ,

The Project Manager as Plate-Spinning Juggler

Plate-spinner-generic

If you’re a project manager then you know what it’s like to feel frazzled, distracted and jerked in a thousand different directions. And you also know what it’s like to watch other people doing the work of your project (creating the code, writing the scripts, building the prototypes, etc.) while you bounce back and forth among these folks looking for problems and figuring out how to remove obstacles. And you might be thinking that such a thankless existence is a bad thing that should be remedied.

But before you spend a lot of time searching for the latest “5-Step Plan for Controlling Chaos” let me suggest this alternative: Simply relax into the blur that is your PM existence. Embrace it. After all, it’s completely normal… necessary… even desirable that someone with your judgment and experience play this part. This story from my first book, ID Project Management, explains:

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Posted: January 16th, 2014 under ID Project Management, Project Management - No Comments. Tags: , , , ,

My 10 Favorite PM Articles, Posts, or Videos from 2013

Photo: M.GreerBelow are my “top 10″ favorite items drawn from all the PM articles, blog posts, and videos that I published on this website during 2013.  

Some of these are important and worth a second look. Others were merely fun or gratifying to create and I want to share them again before they disappear beneath 2014′s articles.

I hope you like these or find something here that is thought-provoking.  Enjoy!”   – Mike G. 

Help with Your PM Challenges

Books & Book-Related Posts

Bonus: 

Posted: December 26th, 2013 under Announcements, Project Management - No Comments. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Free e-Book “What Project Management Means to Me” from #PMFlashBlog Authors

PM-Flashblog-Cropped-Cover-Art

On September 25th at 0100 hours GMT project management (PM) bloggers from all over the planet published blog posts to answer this question: “What does project management mean to me? (a project manager’s sermon).”

Conceived by Australian PM expert Shim Marom, publisher of the quantmleap blog, this #PMFlashBlog was the first-ever world-wide synchronized PM publishing effort.

Henny Portman, a #PMFlashBlogger from the Netherlands, created this infographic illustrating the true global distribution of the authors:

Image: Henny Portman's #PMFlashBlog author location infographic

Allen Ruddock, Director of UK-based ARRA Management Ltd., took on the challenge of collecting, compiling and creating an e-book from all the #PMFlashBlog blog posts published. (Check out Allen’s upcoming webinar “3 Biggest PM mistakes…”)

The result of all this hard work was a powerful collection of heart-felt (and sometimes humorous!) blog posts that will help you discover the true meaning of PM as seen through the eyes of PM experts and practitioners from all over the world.

=== Other Free e-Books & PM Freebies ===

=== Other Articles You Might Like ===

Posted: December 4th, 2013 under Inspiration and Motivation, Project Management - No Comments. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Formal, Written Sign Off: A Simple & Powerful PM Tool

Image: Someone Signing a DocumentA few years ago I was contracted to build a two-week long technical course for a major high-tech client. A fairly large effort, our project’s finished deliverables included self-study materials, job aids, studio-produced video case study scenarios and instructor guides — in short, we were building a complete, integrated training system with a lot of moving parts. My team of independent contractors consisted of five training developers (instructional designers), a print production coordinator and a video production subcontractor.*

After several difficult weeks of interviewing the client’s in-house SMEs, gathering information, brainstorming and welding together a cohesive course design, we rolled out our first major deliverable, our Blueprint (an integrated training design plan).  My contract stipulated that our Blueprint would be formally approved by the client, in writing, before we moved on to the next phase, which would be developing our fully fleshed-out first drafts of all materials and video scripts.

Love Is In The Air! … Maybe … 

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Posted: November 20th, 2013 under ID Project Management, Project Management - No Comments. Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

PM Minimalist & Mentor Coaching Guide: Buy the Paperback, Get the Kindle for $2.99!

Kindle-Matchbook-Announcement

My two most recent books, The Project Management Minimalist (paperback edition) and The PM Minimalist Mentor: Scripted Coaching Tools (paperback edition), are now enrolled in Amazon’s MatchBook program. So if you buy either of these books in paperback form, you’ll be able to get the matching Kindle edition for just $2.99!

For more information, check these links:

Posted: October 30th, 2013 under Announcements, Project Management - No Comments. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How to Create a Locally-Relevant Set of PM Job Tasks & Competencies Based on Job Level

Thumbnail-Sample-Job-Tasks-Competencies

This article summarizes a process by which you can create a comprehensive, locally-relevant set of PM Job Tasks and Competencies Based on Job Level” that can serve as the foundation of your organization’s unique PM Job Model.  This, in turn, can be used as a powerful reference tool to guide the evolution of each project manager’s individual career, including helping structure performance evaluations, coaching, PM training and education, and HR initiatives related to PM and PM career development.

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Posted: October 23rd, 2013 under ID Project Management, Project Management - No Comments. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What Project Management Means to Me: “A Technology of Manifestation…”

pmflashblog[This post is part of the #PMFlashBlog event "What does project management mean to me?" Learn more here:  Free e-Book “What Project Management Means to Me” from #PMFlashBlog Authors]

Sometimes it takes someone on the outside looking in to provide you with that “whack on the side of the head” that changes the meaning of what you are doing.  Such was the case with this simple email from a student.
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Posted: September 24th, 2013 under Inspiration and Motivation, Project Management - 1 Comment. Tags: , , , , , , ,

Announcing My Amazon Author Page!

Go to Michael Greer's Amazon Author Page

Amazon has just rolled out an a great new feature on behalf of its authors: the Author’s Page!  Now you can find all of an author’s books that are for sale on Amazon in a single location.The page includes:

  • Integrated listings that pull together multiple versions (Kindle, paperback, etc.) of each book under a single item name
  • Brief, author-produced videos that provide overviews of books, etc.
  • The most recent blog, twitter, etc. posts for the author

Check out my page here:  https://www.amazon.com/author/michael_greer

Posted: September 23rd, 2013 under Announcements, ID Project Management, Project Management - No Comments. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,