Approaches to project management have focused on the systems, procedures, and software put in place to determine progress and likely outcomes. These outcomes are usually expressed in terms of cost, schedule, and technical achievement against the project requirements and framing assumptions—the oft-cited three-legged stool of project management. These analytics, and the methodologies used to derive them, are effective in recording progress as it occurs. Analytics are then compared against an expected outcome over time based …
As readers of my articles know, my expertise in writing here at AITS spans the disciplines of project management and information management. These disciplines relate to others as well, such as the use of statistical methods, mathematics, engineering, physics, and psychology. All of these areas of study and practice rely upon empiricism. The simplistic definition as found in the link is the use of facts, evidence, and research in order to derive knowledge. This reliable …
Back when I was on active duty in the U.S. Navy assigned to a systems command, I was assigned as project manager in the development of a methodology to incorporate technical performance within the realm of overall project performance measurement and control. I sat down before my boss, who was a brilliant engineer, and he asked me this question: “What is the value of failure?” Then, after a bit of discussion, he said: “That is …
This article is a sidebar continuation of ideas raised in “Failure Is Not Optional: Why Project Failure Is OK.” In understanding failure, the most effective analogue for me has been in looking at the life of Ulysses S. Grant and the conduct of the Civil War under Lincoln, especially after the president appointed Grant head of the Union armies. The Overland Campaign of 1864-65 was of particular importance, not only because it led to Union …
In 1955 the American psychologists Joseph Luft and Harrington Igham developed a technique to help individuals place themselves in context to the world and the people around them. This technique originated in the study of group dynamics and organizational behavior at the University of California and is a feedback/disclosure model of self-awareness. By combining the first names of the technique’s founders, this model came to be known as the Johari Window, represented by four quadrants. …
A Canticle for Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller, is considered to be among the best science fiction novels of all time, and its message is apt for our current times. The story begins 600 years after a nuclear war has all but wiped out modern civilization in what is called the “Flame Deluge.” From the ashes rise a number of human responses to explain and cope with the world that remains. Among these is the …
The History Behind Bad Data In Book VII of Plato’s dialogue, The Republic, the Greek philosopher introduces his powerful imagery of learning and means of perception in Allegory of the Cave. In his allegory, there is a group of prisoners who have lived in a cave since childhood, legs and necks chained so that they cannot move. Above and behind them is a fire blazing at a distance so that they can only see shadows …
In my last post on the Blogging Alliance I discussed information theory, the physics behind software development, the economics of new technology, and the intrinsic obsolescence that exists as a result. Dave Gordon in his regular blog described this work as laying “the groundwork for a generalized theory of managing software development and acquisition.” Dave has a habit of inspiring further thought, and his observation has helped me focus on where my inquiries are headed. …
At the crossroads of thermodynamics and information theory, Nick Pisano addresses Maxwell's Demon and how it applies to the software development and acquisition process. This is a must-read for high-level IT project managers.
In a groundbreaking article, Nick Pisano explores the long history of data loss, drawing worrisome conclusions about how it might alienate and disenfranchise the individual in the near future.