Friday, March 19, 2010

Culture Matters – compare Apple and Microsoft Design Guides for Phone Apps

Microsoft Immediately Stumbles in Quest for Well-Designed Phone Apps | Design & Innovation | Fast Company.

Culture and its impact on how an organization can best execute its strategy are a key element of our Stanford SAPM program. This article provides fascinating insights on how culture(How we do things here) affects design.
The newly released app-design guide reveals a lot more about Microsoft than they probably intended.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Dangerous Words...

IPS has a powerful platform for planning complex global programs, FastPLAN. Having conducted many of these, I worry whenever someone uses any of the following "Dangerous Words". They are dangerous because they are words we use and assume that others have the same understanding we do about them.

STOP: Whenever you hear these in your meetings and workshops...make sure everyone defines them in a common way.

Have words to add, leave us a comment.
Done, All, Never, Not, No, Yes, Support, System, Systems, Deliverable, Management, Project Manager, Program Manager, Product Manager, Project Leader, Core Team Leader, PMO, Project Office, Metrics, Horizontal, Lateral, Training, Vendor, Contractor, Consultant, Change Management, Never, Always, Sort of, Maybe, Okay, Behavior change, Services, Internal, "They", External, Communications, Sponsor, Stakeholder, Customer, Owner, Complete, Process, "That’s interesting", I get it (i.e. no need to repeat it), Requirements

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Project Zone Map: A Tale of Two Views

Thanks to Larry O'Brien at for this next project zone map from darkgreyindustries. Those working in new product development will immediately recognize your world. Our goal is finding the balance--all of the zones are needed for a world-class business.

Making better decisions

McKinsey Quarterly's March 2010 study on the case for behvaioral strategy for making strategic decisions notes:
...very few corporate strategists making important decisions consciously take into account the cognitive biases—systematic tendencies to deviate from rational calculations—revealed by behavioral economics. It’s easy to see why: unlike in fields such as finance and marketing, where executives can use psychology to make the most of the biases residing in others, in strategic decision making leaders need to recognize their own biases. So despite growing awareness of behavioral economics and numerous efforts by management writers, including ourselves, to make the case for its application, most executives have a justifiably difficult time knowing how to harness its power.
Suggestions for making better decisions, detailed in the article, include:

  • Decide which decisions warrant the effort
  • Identify the biases most likely to affect critical decisions 
  • Select practices and tools to counter the most relevant biases
  • Embed practices in formal processes
      Bob Sutton, part of the faculty of the Stanford Advanced Project Management program), has many insightful posts about this. See Intution vs Data-driven Decision-making: Some Rough Ideas