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Dave Gordon

Dave Gordon is a project manager with over twenty years of experience in implementing human capital management and payroll systems, including premises-based ERP solutions, like PeopleSoft and ADP Enterprise, and SaaS solutions, like Workday. He has an MS in IT with a concentration in project management, and a BS in Business. He also holds the project management professional (PMP) designation, as well as professional designations in human resources (GPHR and SPHR) and in benefits administration (CEBS). In addition to his articles and blog posts, he curates a weekly roundup of articles on project management, and he has authored or contributed to several books on project management. You can view his blog at The Practicing IT Project Manager by clicking the button below.

February, 2018

  • 16 February

    There’s More to a System Design Than Requirements

    A few years ago, I was asked to assist on a project where the client was replacing a highly-customized legacy system. As part of the discovery process, we were looking at the integrations to the other systems—internal, third-party administrators, and so on—currently in place. One integration in particular seemed unnecessarily convoluted; it received a file from one system, validated all of the data, and generated workflows to various roles in the event a particular transaction …

January, 2018

  • 15 January

    The Three ‘Ins’ That Are Putting Our Projects behind Schedule

    It was the short week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, and I had time to think while stuck in traffic between Seattle and Portland. Somewhere around Centralia, (Yes, that’s really what it’s called, and it really is about halfway.) it occurred to me that I’ve been seeing some common themes lately. Call them the three “ins”: indecision, inactivity, and indifference. Each takes a toll on one or more tasks, adding delays and uncertainty, forcing …

November, 2017

  • 29 November

    Managing Globally Distributed Project Teams

    I started managing projects that included team members or customers outside the US in the mid-‘90s. In the beginning, it was one other country. Then two, and so on. These days, working with globally distributed project teams is my norm. A typical project will include people spread across five to 30 countries, three to five continents, and from three to seven time zones. As you would expect, it’s very different from managing a few folks …

October, 2017

  • 30 October

    Practical Advice for Project Managers

    I’ve been managing projects for about 30 years or so, far longer than I’ve been writing about it. Along the way, I’ve collected a few useful thoughts that never made it into an article or blog post or book. At first, I was just jotting notes on paper. Then I took to creating short text files, saved to a folder. The last few years, I’ve been using OneNote to capture those fleeting thoughts. Here are …

September, 2017

  • 29 September

    Risk Response Strategies: Transfer or Avoid the Danger

    As I’ve noted in other articles, a risk is an uncertainty that matters. Some event has a significant probability of occurring, and there will be a significant consequence if it does. A risk represents a threat, and a wise project team endeavors to identify project threats and analyze them for effective strategies, so that the probability of occurrence can be reduced or the consequences reduced. Or both. Of Mice and Risk Management Consider the following …

August, 2017

  • 16 August

    Agile at Scale Enables Your Grilled Cheese Sandwich

    I had sharp cheddar cheese and butter in the fridge, but no bread. So, I opened Amazon Prime Now (also known as “assisted living for Millennials” in San Francisco) and ordered a loaf of dark rye, Greek yogurt with blueberries, a huge bag of Fritos, and a few other groceries to breach the $25 minimum. Then I got back into the Word document I’d been struggling with. Got an email confirming the order, and another …

July, 2017

  • 17 July

    Agile Is an Ingredient, Not a Recipe

    Picture a scrum team: seven developers, plus or minus two, rigorously following the ceremonies in the Scrum Guide. They maintain a product backlog prioritized by business value, with estimates of effort created by the team. They generate a burndown chart for each sprint, and they know their velocity. They limit the daily scrum to 15 minutes, conduct a retrospective at the end of each sprint, and have a checklist for their definition of done. They …

June, 2017

  • 14 June

    Simplicity: What’s Left When You Ignore Everything Else

    Have you ever stopped at the supermarket to reflect on the constantly improving state of the art in maximizing grain yield per acre? Of course not. You simply grab a loaf of bread, glance at the “Sell by” date, and put it in your cart. You don’t feel a sense of gratitude that you and your family probably won’t die of starvation, as was so common for earlier generations. You don’t feel a sense of …

May, 2017

  • 8 May

    Why Staffing Your Projects Will Get Harder

    In addition to all of the other constraints you will have to operate under in the coming years, you will have to face one crucial fact: The pool of highly skilled workers is not expanding as fast as the demand. There are several reasons for this, and a practicing IT project manager, as a “consumer” of skilled labor, needs to understand them. Unemployment Will Soon Be about Inadequate Skills Since the employment recovery began in …

April, 2017

  • 12 April

    Managing Transitions between Outsourcing Vendors

    With apologies to Sir Walter Scott: Oh, what a tangled contract we write, when first we practice to outsource. Having managed outsourcing projects on behalf of both the customer and the third-party administrator, and managed transitions from one outsourcing firm to another on behalf of several clients, I have a lot of anecdotal evidence that outsourcing generally works best on a spreadsheet—in practice, results tend to be rather variable. But because most business decisions are …