PM leadership tips from someone who buries people for a living

PM leadership tips from someone who buries people for a living

That someone is Steve Muro who heads the National Cemetery Administration (NCA) responsible for 131 U.S. national cemeteries where more than 3 million veterans and their families are buried. The NCA is part of the Department of Veterans Affairs headquartered in Washington, DC. whose motto reads “for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan. These words were spoken by Abraham Lincoln during his Gettysburg Address and are now on a pair of metal plaques at the entrance to the VA. Next time you’re in Washington, take a short stroll down Vermont Ave NW. They’re really quite inspiring.

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Think Agile is a fad? Think again

Think Agile is a fad? Think again

What’s in your wallet? At Cap One plenty since they started using agile! In 2011, Capital One (the “what’s in your wallet? ” company) delivered only 1% of its development projects using agile. Today, it’s 85%. Here are some facts to get your (or your executives’) attention. Using an agile development methodology Capital One has 400 product releases per month 95% of products meet expectations on the first release delivery times have been cut by 3-6 months they have decreased costs significantly While you might think that Capital One has a pilot test of agile going on the fact is they have trained more than 3,000 developers and business users on this innovative development approach. This is no small feat.

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Can 2,000 yr old technology spur innovation on your project? You bet!

Can 2,000 yr old technology spur innovation on your project? You bet!

Paper. It’s been around for 2,000 years. Thankfully, in 1968,  Dr. Spencer Silver, of the 3M Corporation improved upon it by, accidentally as it turned out, inventing the Post-it Note. According to Jeff Hillins, 3M’s global business director for the Post-it Brand, it was initially conceived as a way to bookmark pages. However, people quickly began using them for all sorts of things such as routing stacks of paper documents around the office.

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PM training through MOOCs? It’s just a matter of time

PM training through MOOCs? It’s just a matter of time

Coursera , one of the relatively new companies offering MOOCs (Massive Open On-line Courses) recently announced a couple of very interesting bits of news. First, the former President of Yale University, Richard C. Levin, who stepped down this past June, will become its chief executive next month. And, second, the company recently introduced what it calls “specializations” where an individual who completes several related courses will earn a certificate, all for the low price of between $250-$500! I’m sure Levin had his choice of jobs upon leaving Yale; most ex-presidents of Yale do. And yet, he chose to jump headfirst into this rapidly evolving, and somewhat controversial,  form of on-line learning.  Coursera sees rapid growth, especially in China, and Levin, with a great deal of experience in working with Chinese universities throughout his career, can help spur that growth, and grow his compensation as well. As regards certificates, this is another interesting development.

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Women Project Managers. Better? Different?

Women Project Managers. Better? Different?

Saturday, March 8 was  International Women’s Day , organized by the United Nations to celebrate women’s achievements, particularly in the workforce. And given that I walk by the United Nations on 1st Ave in Manhattan every time I go to retrieve my car from the parking garage around the corner, I couldn’t help but think about women in project management. I’ve been in project management for about 39 years and I’ve noticed through the years that more and more women are attending PM conferences and training courses in the discipline. I can’t remember when I noticed the tipping point where there were, roughly speaking, an equal number of women in the audience as men, but it happened a while ago. It was noticeable and I found it gratifying. In my long professional career I’ve only worked for one woman.

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