The Top 10 Project Management Books

"No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra." — H.E. Luccock Being an effective program manager at Microsoft means knowing how to make things happen.  While being a program manager requires a lot more than project management, project management is still at the core. Project management is the backbone of execution. And…

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Cuttable Scope

Early on in my Program Management career, I ran into challenges around cutting scope. The schedule said the project was done by next week, but scope said the project would be done a few months from now. On the Microsoft patterns & practices team, we optimized around “fix time, flex scope.”   This ensured we were…

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Declaration of Interdependence

You might already know the Agile Manifesto: Individuals and interactions over processes and tools Working software over comprehensive documentation Customer collaboration over contract negotiation Responding to change over following a plan But do you know the Declaration of Interdependence: We increase return on investment by making continuous flow of value our focus. We deliver reliable…

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Program Management Blog Posts at Your Fingertips

“No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra.” — H.E. Luccock Welcome to my roundup of blog posts from across Microsoft on the art and science of Program Management. The Program Manager role is a very powerful one.  I think of it as a technical entrepreneur that blends customer focus, with technical…

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The Innovative Team

I’m working my way through my massive book backlog, and doing reviews as a I go along.   Yesterday, I wrote my review of Mastermind: How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes. Today, I read and wrote my review of The Innovative Team:  Unleashing Creative Potential for Breakthrough Results. It’s perfect timing.  Just yesterday a friend ask…

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The Key to Agility: Breaking Things Down

If you find you can’t keep up with the world around you, then break things down.  Breaking things down is the key to finishing faster. Breaking things down is also the key to agility. One of the toughest project management lessons I had to learn was breaking things down into more modular chunks.   When I…

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The Art of the Agile Retrospective

I’ve been asked to do a lot of Agile retrospectives around Microsoft over the years.  I don’t know how it started, but it started several years ago when somebody recommended that I lead a retrospective for their team, and then it caught fire from there.   In this post, I’ll share a simple recipe you can…

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Getting Things Done with SWAT Mode

Getting things done during a big project can be a real series of humps and hurdles.  You can quickly get overloaded and overwhelmed if you don’t have a way to stay on top of things and to outpace your problems. I wrote a post on SWAT Mode for Extreme Productivity.  “SWAT Mode” is the term…

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Roles on Agile Teams

You can think of a role as a group of related tasks, activities, and responsibilities.  By knowing the responsibilities and core types of activities up front, you can help make sure you have the right people on the team so that you can achieve project success in a healthy and sustainable way. On smaller teams,…

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Nobody Wants to Invest

A colleague sketched a visual of a recurring theme he runs into, where “nobody wants to invest” in the time, to take a step back, to leap frog forward.  The visual looked like this:     I’ve seen this pattern, too.  There are lots of reasons.  Many of them come down to change is hard,…

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