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Nick Pisano

Nick Pisano has extensive experience in the software, project, business, and acquisition management fields, with over 30 years in both government and private industry. He is a retired “mustang” U.S. Navy Commander having served as a government contracting officer, contract negotiator, business manager, CIO, and program manager, aside from significant operational assignments aboard ship and overseas. He is internationally recognized as the developer and co-developer of several project management techniques and methodologies, including the integration of technical performance measurement and risk with earned value, and in the establishment of the concept of the integrated digital environment (IDE) to normalize proprietary data through the use of common data protocols. Since his Navy career, Pisano has held senior positions in various high tech project management companies. For the last several years, he has been President and CEO of SNA Software LLC, a project management software firm. Pisano holds a B.S. from the University of Maryland (Honors), an M.S. from Pepperdine University, an M.A. from the Combat Studies Institute of the Army Command and General Staff College (Honors), and is a graduate of the senior executive program of the Colgate-Darden School of Business of the University of Virginia. You can visit his blog, Life, Project Management, and Everything, by clicking the button below.

March, 2017

  • 15 March

    The Human Equation in Project Management

    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 …

January, 2017

  • 25 January

    In Defense of Empiricism: The Truth Hurts, but Lies Destroy

    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 …

July, 2016

  • 5 July

    Failure Is Not Optional: Why Project Failure Is OK

    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 …

  • 5 July

    How Grant Leveraged Failure in the Civil War

    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 …

May, 2016

  • 18 May

    Open a Window: Using Data and Self-Awareness to Remove Organizational Blind Spots

    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. …

February, 2016

  • 24 February

    A Canticle for COBOL: Poor Definitions Beget Poor IT Solutions

    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 …

September, 2015

  • 23 September

    Plato’s Cave: A Framework for Better Project Indicators

    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 …

July, 2015

  • 22 July

    Black Swans: Conquering IT Project Failure & Acquisition Management

    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. …

May, 2015

  • 6 May

    Maxwell’s Demon: Planning for Obsolescence in Acquisitions

    Imagine a chamber divided into two parts by a removable partition. On one side is a hot sample of gas and on the other side a cold sample of the same gas. The chamber is a closed system with a certain amount of order, because the statistically faster moving molecules of the hot gas on one side of the partition are segregated from statistically slower moving molecules of the cold gas on the other side. …

March, 2015

  • 18 March

    The Medium Controls the Present: Is it Too Late to Stop a Digital Dark Age?

    And now for something completely different… Our good pal Nick Pisano approached me recently with a very different sort of article than what we normally publish at AITS. Its theme extends far beyond basic knowledge management and big data, challenging our very conception of information preservation, and it just so happens to be the most thought-provoking piece I have come across in a long time. I had absolutely no choice but to publish it, and …