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Big Data TechCon on April 26-28, 2015 in Boston

Software Testing Conference on May 3–8, 2015 in Orlando

Oil and Gas Cyber Security North America on May 13-14, 2015 in Houston, Texas

The Women In Technology International (WITI) Summit on May 31-June 2, 2015 in San Jose, California

Agile Development, Better Software, & DevOps West Conferences on June 7-12, 2015 in Las Vegas

Cyber Security for Financial Services Exchange on June 14-16, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina

SPTechCon Developer Days on June 24-26, 2015 in Burlingame, California

AnDevCon on July 29-31, 2-15 in Boston

SPaMCAST 336 features an interview with Yves Hanoulle, builder of community builders. He talks about collaboration, coaching retreats and the future of Agile. He is an Agile thought leader among thought leaders and he shares his wisdom the Software Process and Measurement Cast listeners.

SPaMCAST 330 features an interview with Anthony Mersino, author of Emotional Intelligence for Project Managers and the newly published Agile Project Management. Mersino talked about agile, coaching and organizational change.

SPaMCAST 325 features an essay on product owners. It also features a new column from the Software Sensei, Kim Pries. It concludes with Jo Ann Sweeney’s column Explaining Communication.

SPaMCAST 322 features an interview with Clareice and Clyneice Chaney. Clareice and Clyneice provide insights and practical advice into how Agile and contracting work together. The focus of the interview is on contracting and acquisition of Agile testing, however the concepts they discussed can be applied to contracting for any type of service using Agile techniques.

SPaMCAST 320 features our interview with Alfonso Bucero. We discussed his book, Today Is A Good Day. Attitude is an important tool for a project manager, team member or executive. In his book Alfonso provides a plan for honing your attitude.

SPaMCAST 315 features an essay on Scrum Masters. Scrum Masters are the voice of the process at the team level. Scrum Masters are a critical member of every Agile team. The team's need for a Scrum Master is not transitory because they evolve together as a team.

Blogs We're Reading

Jack Ferraro. My Project Advisor. Guidance for Project Leaders and Managers

Jamal Moustafaev. Think Tank Consulting. Musings on Requirements and Scope Management

Samir Penkar. The Future of Project Management. People, Trends, and Ideas on Project Management

Anthony Rhem. The Knowledge Management Depot. Active thought leadership in knowledge management.

Jon Quigley. Value Transformations. Taming processes that have gone wild.

Greg Schulz. Greg's StorageIO Blog. Covering the latest trends the storage industry.

J. LeRoy Ward. WardWired. Project management excellence, as well as a business travelog.

Richard Maltzman and David Shirley. Earth PM. At the intersection of green and project management.

Preston de Guise. The NetWorker Blogger. Commentary by a long-term networking consultant and back-up theorist.


Interested in submitting an article? Want to comment about an article?

Contact John Wyzalek editor of IT Performance Improvement.


Featured New Articles

Developing Trust

Alfonso Bucero

Developing trust in any environment is key for success. Trust is so central to our lives that we take it for granted, like breathing air. We may see ourselves as trustworthy, but that does not count. We have to be seen to be trustworthy by all partners, colleagues, and executives. Being in a position of authority does not automatically mean that we will be trusted. Some people in authority are trusted, others are not, as can be seen from public attitudes to different professions. Within the workplace, trust is essential. Policy manuals and management methodologies cannot legislate for trust. The most influential managers tend to be the most trusted: people are prepared to work with people they trust, not with people they don't trust.

Building trust in relationships with customers, team members, and stakeholders is an essential skill for all members of a team. Trust is earned primarily by doing what you say you will do. Follow-through is absolutely critical to building relationships. Trust has to be earned, not claimed. A short example shows how untrustworthy we sound when we claim to be trustworthy. If you heard someone saying this, how much would you trust them?: "Look, Emily, I'm a great manager, I'm the best… Of course I'm very honest and I'm not lying, I always manage my team members very well…"

Building the Foundation for Data Analytics

Carol L. Stimmel

Marilyn Monroe said, "My work is the only ground I've ever had to stand on. To put it bluntly, I seem to have a whole superstructure with no foundation, but I'm working on the foundation." The utility that is working to implement a full range of smart grid technologies understands this problem. Utilities have been delivering reliable and safe electricity in a complex environment for decades. But now they're grappling with how to create an entirely new technology infrastructure on a sophisticated, yet insufficient, baseline that cannot have a moment of fault. Serious mistakes and missteps don't just upset customers who can't charge their smartphones; they have the potential to shut down critical infrastructure and cause severe economic disruption.

Making it even more difficult to solve this problem, vendors and innovators in the big-data science space are hoping to save the day (and make some serious coin), yet they do not always seem to understand the unique challenges of the utility industry. This creates strained relationships, slows the pace of implementation, and leaves utilities in the wild, scrambling to evaluate new technologies they may not fully understand, assess the consequences of their plans and decisions, and identify whole-life costs. In some cases, this slow pace has even drummed out hopeful start-ups that couldn't support such a long deployment cycle. This creates a difficult market environment. While partnerships are crucial in bringing the modernized grid to fruition through smart grid data analytics, the project requires the challenging step of building trust between old warhorses that can perform a Fourier transform in their sleep and a class of agile entrepreneurs who are fast-moving and masters of the sound bite. As if the technology problems weren't hard enough, this cultural and social chasm is a major problem for the industry.

So What Is Big Data?

Kim H. Pries and Robert Dunnigan

As a manager, you are expected to operate as a factotum. You need to be an industrial/organizational psychologist, a logician, a bean counter, and a representative of your company to the outside world. In other words, you are somewhat of a generalist who can dive into specifics. The specific technologies you encounter are becoming more complex, yet the differences between them and their predecessors are becoming more nuanced. You may have already guided your firm's transition to other new technologies. Think of the Internet. In the decade and a half before this book was written, Internet presence went from being optional to being mandatory for most businesses.

Agile Concepts for Project Management

Denise Canty

Agile project management is an iterative, adaptable, and collaborative method used to manage the software development process. This article examines agile concepts in greater detail. First and foremost, it starts with a discussion of the Agile Manifesto, which is used as the foundation for implementing the agile project. The Agile Manifesto consists of two components: values and guiding principles.

Articles from Past Issues
Click here for the complete archive of articles.

IT Infrastructure

Responsibility for Defect Support

Implementing a Green and Virtual Data Center

The Importance of Software Security

Why Green Works for Device Purchases

Mobile Security Issues

Effective Physical Security of a Mobile Device

Security for the Enterprise Mobile Device Life Cycle

Evolution of Mobile Threats

Licensing Cloud Resources and Services

Project Management

Why Risk Management?

Five Principles of Building Strong Business Relationships

A Reality Check for Project Managers

Project Health Assessment Process

Establishing a Governance Model for Strategic Portfolio Management

An Effective Process-Based Management Approach: A Case Study

Case Study: Transparency during New Product Development Program

Interview with a Program Manager: Krissy Wolle

The Service-Based Project Leader

Leadership, Communication, Technology, and Complexity

Establishing Business Needs and Initial Project Scope

The Five Leadership Principles


Electric Energy and Applicable Metrics

A Guide to Sizing and Estimating Projects

Understanding Your Organization's Best Software Development Practices

Achieving Business Objectives: Building a Software Metrics Support Structure

Connecting Improvement with Business Objectives: Objective-Driven Process Improvement

Process Improvement

Too Many Metrics and Not Enough Data

A Framework for Measuring the Value of Software Development

Using Measurement to Identify Improved IT Performance

IT Management

What Is Organizational Culture?

Ready Technology Trends

Overview of Information Security and Compliance: Seeing the Forest for the Trees

The Need for a Common Vision

Why Business Analytics?

Building Trust across Boundaries

Communicating across Cultures

Social Teams and Complexity

Understanding Leadership

Leadership, Likeability, and Life

Creating IT Road Maps to Manage Complex IT Scenarios

The Top Trends Shaping Analytics

Process and Productivity

Lean IT in a Hospital

Learn What to Improve and Why

IT's All about Processes

Defining Processes

Scrum and Social Networking

Lean Management

What Is Six Sigma?

Software Design Challenges

Software Integration

How to Avoid Expectation Collisions

Resource Allocation and the Law of Diminishing Returns

Defining Processes


Improving IT Performance with
Books from Auerbach

Save 25% when you order these books at CRC Press.com. Use promo code AWP20 at checkout.

Have an idea for a book?

Contact ITPI editor John Wyzalek to discuss topics and book publishing.


May 19, 2015. Mike Felluca. IT Performance Improvement: Successfully Managing the Big 3!

May 20, 2015. Jack Ferraro. Thriving in the World of Agile: How to Adjust Your Leadership Competencies to Thrive in Agile Teams.

May 21, 2014. Mark Ciampa. Practical Computer Security: Turning Your Users into Human Firewalls.

June 2, 2015. Erika Flora. Leveraging the Power of PRINCE2 and PMI's PMBOK Guide.

June 3, 2015. Jamison Manion. Creating and Utilizing Logic Models and Strategy Maps to Focus Teams and Simplify Project Management.

June 4, 2015. Gary Gack. An Introduction to Software and IT Cyber-Security Certifications.

June 9, 2015. Janet Russac. Boiling the Frog and Other Ways to Manage Change within an Organization.

June 10, 2015. Carol Dekkers. Navigating the Minefield: Successful Software Estimation before Requirements are Complete.

June 11, 2015. Aga Gasperini. Becoming a World Class Coach.

June 16, 2015. Kerry Wills. The Project Management Kung Fu Theater.

June 17, 2015. Robin Goldsmith. Proactive SQA™ Overcomes the "Traffic Cop" Mentality.



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Improving Your Own IT Performance
Articles by Nancy Settle-Murphy

Flip Your (Virtual) Meetings—Learning from Our Best Teachers
If teachers around the country are flipping their classrooms to keep students actively engaged, I wondered: Why can’t we apply similar concepts to flip our meetings? (Apparently, I am not the only meeting facilitator to ask this question. Please see links at the end of this piece.)

If you think that the idea of flipping your meetings has merit, I suggest targeting your virtual meetings first. Why? Well, running a virtual meeting can feel rather like trying to control a room of fidgety, distracted kids hypnotized by the screens of their mobile devices as they half-listen to the conversation. Just like teachers who enter the classroom as the bell rings, those of us who run virtual meetings have mere seconds to captivate imagination and provoke discussion. More...

Using Technology to Transcend Cultural Barriers
“I followed every best practice about running great virtual meetings, and bam! The whole thing still blew up in my face, and I have no idea why!”

My client Jim, a senior leader for a F500 oil company, left this panic-stricken voicemail right after his kick-off meeting to launch a major new global project. I was taken aback, since Jim had proven himself to be a reasonably competent meeting leader. Once we spoke, however, it didn’t take long to figure out what had gone wrong. Coming up with a sustainable remedy, however, took quite a bit more time. More...

How to Create a 12-Month Plan in Just Two Hours

Getting your group together and laying down plans for the next 12 months sounds like a good idea in theory, but it can be near impossible to persuade people to hunker down in a meeting room for a couple of days when their “day jobs” are so demanding. With the “The Magic Wall,” a group process, you just need to gather people in one room for about two hours to get the equivalent of a couple of days’ worth of planning work done. The Magic Wall process can be used in a variety of situations where people need to come together to brainstorm ideas, map out activities, or agree on priorities, all in a compressed period of time. More...

Untangle Your Virtual Team with the 10 Most-Needed Norms
Precious few virtual teams have explicit team norms, even for aspects of teamwork where the absence of shared norms can really trip a team up. Excuses include: "When would we have time to talk this through?" "Everyone pretty much knows how we need to work." "We're too busy." And my favorite: "It's too late to go backwards." In this article, I provide 10 "best practices" norms that can do the most to save time, reduce frustration and boost productivity of virtual teams. These examples include specific actions that can support each one. For this piece, I touch on virtual meetings, decision-making, the use of email, shared documents and scheduling, areas for which a lack of explicit norms can cause especially thorny problems for virtual teams. More...

How Virtual Leaders Can Help Others Thrive in a World of Complexity
According to Yves Morieux of the Boston Consulting Group, author of a recent Harvard Business Review article, "Smart Rules: Six Ways to Get People to Solve Problems Without You," the number of procedures, layers, interface structures, and coordination bodies have ballooned to 50-350% over the past 15 years, in a recent study of 100 U.S. and European companies. So with all of this analysis, tracking, reporting and coordinating, how do leaders ever focus on the "real work" that needs to get done. More...

Balance Innovation and Expediency for a Supercharged Team
What's getting lost in our single-minded quest for uber-efficiency is the relative luxury of idle thought, where we take the time to line our gray matter with the seeds of half-formed ideas which, with a little bit of nurturing, can spawn big innovations. To sustain competitive advantage, organizations have to innovate constantly. Easier said than done. That's because thinking creatively takes time and focus, two commodities that are in short supply. More...

When Your Team Is About To Implode, Watch for Signs and Act Fast!
This wasn't just any collapse. This was a whirling vortex, downward spiral, free-fall-at-a-thousand-miles-an-hour. The kind that you never want to open if you're a Boston Red Sox fan. Yes, baseball is only a game and the Red Sox are just an overpaid, underperforming group of players who ceaselessly inflict pain on their sports fans, 2004 and 2007 notwithstanding. Notice, that I did not refer to the 2011 Red Sox as a team. They were a collection of individuals who each seemed to play by his own set of rules and work toward his own goals. In trying to salvage something positive about my home team's shocking demise, I wanted to get a better grip on how and why talented, skilled players can suddenly stumble into oblivion. Here's a checklist of contributing factors, drawn from my client experiences, as well a little web searching. More...

How to Disengage Your Virtual Team in 10 Easy Steps
I'm in the midst of rolling out a new virtual leadership series for a client. We start every series by exploring the three building blocks of successful virtual team leadership (literally, the ABC's): Accelerating Trust, Building Social Capital and Creating a Level Playing Field. One major challenge comes up in every conversation: How to keep virtual team members engaged, enthusiastic, motivated and energized? Rather than writing a bunch of tips to help you engage virtual team members, I thought I'd flip it around and give you tips for disengaging your virtual team members. After all, we can all do with a little fun now and then! More...

Talk Trumps Text for Harnessing Hidden Know-How
Let's say your team, which is scattered across several locations, has to produce a complex, time-consuming proposal, with little time to spare. The team scours the web for relevant content, and they discover that others in your organization have tackled similar proposals. How can they mine this hidden know-how, when they are running out of time, and don't know exactly what to ask, of whom, or how? More...

Overcoming Time and Distance to Stay Connected, Engaged, and Energized
In a world where what was blindly fast is now excruciatingly slow, what was private is now all-too-public, and where meaningful discussions have given way to a stream of 140-character exchanges, a feeling of disconnection has become rampant across the workplace. More...

Essentials for Great Collaboration
As a successful leader of virtual teams, you know you have what it takes to keep the team motivated and focused. Choosing the best combination of tools to enable this team to collaborate and communicate in lockstep—that's your greatest challenge. Fortunately, your company has invested heavily in collaboration tools over the last few years. If anything, your options feel overwhelming. Your team needs to determine which tools will work best, under what conditions, to achieve these ambitious goals, from afar. More...

About the Author

Nancy Settle-Murphy, Guided Insights founder and principal consultant, draws on an eclectic and varied combination of skills and expertise. She wears many hats—depending on the challenges she is helping clients to solve. She acts as meeting facilitator, virtual collaboration coach, change management leader, workshop designer, cross-cultural trainer, communications strategist and organizational development consultant.