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Category C 0.25 (per article) to 2 PDUs (all articles + the Scrum video)

Here in Canada, it’s Barbecue Season and that got me to thinking about “Secret Sauce.” Every Outdoor Chef has his own special mix of ingredients to give that special taste – spicy, or sweet, tomato or fruity (mango, apricot or peach).

Yesterday, we highlighted a webinar on “Sharing the Secret Sauce: Lessons from a Business Analysis Mentor.” We followed up on that theme and a little research revealed several variations of the “Secret Sauce” for project managers and project team leadership.

5. Don’t Change the Secret Sauce by Todd Herman

“What’s your business’ secret sauce? Do you know it? If you do, great — you know what’s working, and you can keep doing it. If not, then you’ve got a problem — because something you do might inadvertently change your secret sauce and confuse, or alienate, your customers or clients.” – Todd L. Herman

4. Failure’s Secret Sauce: Poor Project Management by Joe Kunk

In this article, a software developer (Joe Kunk) explains the distinction between software development practices and project management practices.

In his opinion, “Experience over 30 years is that the root cause of most distressed or failed software projects is overwhelmingly due to poor or missing project management practices. Developer mistakes are relatively easy to remedy compared to poor planning, a lack of leadership, bad estimates or the impact of unanticipated risks.”

3. The Secret Sauce Of Your Gut Feeling by Simon Cleveland

“Next time you are in the midst of a project and something doesn’t ‘seem, smell, or sound’ right, it is because it isn’t right. … when your brain is telling you to watch out and pay attention, YOU are generally right.” Simon talks about trusting your gut instinct based on the latest scientific consensus as explained by Jonah Lehrer in the book How We Decide. Click to see a list of all of Jonah Lehrers wonderful books on decision making

For our Canadian and American readers, this “going with your gut instinct” was well illustrated on a recent episode of Ice Pilots NWT, a reality show focused on Buffalo Airlines (operating in Northern Canada).

In season 2 episode 6, the grizzled mechanic Chuck had a gut feeling that the oversized heat exchanger that had to go to Cambridge Bay would fit in the airplane even though the younger rampies and pilots said it couldn’t be done based on their math, computer charts and graphs.

The company trusted chucks experience and gut feeling. The veteran Chuck, was correct and the younger fellows had to concede that the piece could be transported. Ice pilots episodes are available on iTunes for $2.99 an episode.

2. The “Secret Sauce” that experienced PMs have and new PMs need by Cinda Voegtli

In this article Cinda Voegtli discusses how the “secret sauce” that comes with experience “can help new managers a great deal by coaching them on and modeling how to make judgment calls, how to apply the basics, how to adapt to different situations.”

1. Self-Organization: The Secret Sauce for Improving your Scrum Team by Jeff Sutherland

This video is a ‘must watch‘ Google Tech Talk by Jeff Sutherland, one of the founders of Scrum, about the ‘secret’ ways to achieve ‘hyper-productivity’ in an Agile Project Management environment.

Bonus:

Coaching: The Secret Sauce of Success by Michelle LaBrosse the founder of Cheetah Learning

“Project managers, … with the right coaching, you can take your career and your image wherever you want it to go.It’s the time to dream big and then have the plan to make the dream happen.” – Michelle LaBrosse

PDU Category C documentation details:

Process Groups: Executing

Knowledge Areas: 9 – Human Resources

  • 9.4 Manage Project Team

As a Category C ‘Self Directed Learning Activity’ remember to document your learning experience (include the weblinks) and its relationship to project management for your ‘PDU Audit Trail Folder’

my experience over 30 years is that the root cause of most distressed or failed software projects is overwhelmingly due to poor or missing project management practices. Developer mistakes are relatively easy to remedy compared to poor planning, a lack of leadership, bad estimates or the impact of unanticipated risks.