--Originally published at Blog de Célia

In these news chapters we meet to new characters: Dr. Rizzoli and the ex-general Markov. Mr. T met Rizzoli because he is a world know risk manager, he asked him some advices to determine how to manage the risk and how improve the productivity in his future projects. The Tompkins met ex-general Markov since he thinks he will need him in the realization of the projects.

Mr. T lessons from his discussion with Dr. Rizzoli

To my opinion, the most important learnings that Mr. T had during his discussion with Dr. Rizzoli is that productivity improvement comes from long term investment. You can’t improve your productivity by fixing stuff with short term solutions. The work has to be thought in a long-term vision to really improve the quality of your production chain or of your teamwork. It means as well that it’s better to keep your team together when they work well (see the paragraph about the meeting with Markov), because they will get better together.

Then, the other learnings are about risk management. As Mr. T wrote “assess each risk for probability and likely cost” and “Track the causal risks, not just the ultimate undesirable outcomes”. I think that managing risk in a project can be really hard, because first you have to think to every risk that can occurs. These lessons, that Mr. T learnt about risk management make me think to the pareto principle that says that for many events, 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. I learnt this principle in my studies in my first year of two year degree (a few years ago, time flies, my teacher of project management told us that we have to look for the 20% biggest risks that could happen in the project to avoid 80%

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Review on Chapter 10 of “The Deadline: A Novel about Project Management”

--Originally published at Project Evaluation and Management Reflections

The Hidden Treasures of System Dynamics

While Mr. T. is in Rome to check if Morovia actually does pay him as they had promised (yes, he´s apparently still suspicious and he still cares about the money, despite the fact how much he obviously likes his new job), he gets to meet Dr. Abdul Jamid, an acquaintance of an old friend. Dr. Jamid is working on management dynamics, something that will prove helpful for the tasks to be done in Morovia…

When first looking at the functionality of management dynamics, Mr. T. is overwhelmed by all the information and reluctant to acknowledge the usefulness of modelling management dynamics… something I can relate to better than anyone, after completing a whole module on system dynamics in my previous semester at university.

My professor back then introduced us to system dynamics with the classic „Chicken & Eggs problem“.
If we think that no other variables other than chicken and eggs exist, we have a system consisting of one reinforcing loop, that is „More chicken 🐔🐔“ –> „More Eggs 🥚🥚🥚“ –> „More Chicken🐔🐔🐔🐔“ –> „More Eggs🥚🥚🥚🥚“ …… (you should understand it by now)
This would lead to exponential growth in the stock of chickens…however, in reality, growth is limited by a certain carrying capacity, e.g. the size of the farm where chicken live. At one point, the farm will be full and chicken will start crossing the road next to it – which inevitably leads to lots of 🍗🍗🍗 🍗 (dead chicken 😢). This actually represents a new feedback loop, which is balancing the total stock of chicken.
Depending on variables such as growth rate, death rate, carrying capacity and time delays, the total number of chickens could take different sizes over time.

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Review on Chapters 8 and 9 of “The Deadline: A Novel about Project Management”

--Originally published at Project Evaluation and Management Reflections

Chapter 8 – Welcome to Latvia

After having selected managers for his teams, Mr. T. now faces the task of designing his Project Management Laboratory. Learning from the lesson in the previous chapter, Lahksa is proposing to involve a consultant, as none of them has ever done anything similar before. According to her, a consultant should be involved for „unusual, highly specific need[s]“ – somebody should tell that German politicians, because the Ministry of Defense alone spent more than 200 million euros on consultants

For this reason, we get to meet Dr. Hector Rizzoli, whom Lahksa „invited“ to Morovia. Actually he is supposed to be giving a speech in Riga, Latvia, but with her connections Lahksa organized for him to be dropped off in Morovia, where they simply pretend it´s Latvia. He appears to be a nice man, but clearly a little bit dreamy as well, as despite all small hints and discrepancies he just doesn´t realize he isn´t in Riga. Not only does he seem to be a nice person, but when Tompkins casually mentions that he is running some experiences, he instantly gets excited – prove enough that he should be the right man for the job. When he designs with Mr. T. and Belinda the experiments later on, his approach is quite simple:

For each project, they had a single, designated learning goal, a
particular effect that the relative performance of the competing
teams would help to prove or disprove.

So instead of asking many questions and trying to vary/conclude/include/exclude a lot of factors, simply one goal is defined that will serve to compare the performance of the different teams.

In the chapter, we can also learn from Dr. Hector Rizzoli a few lessons about managing the experiment of Mr. T. and projects

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Risk happens

--Originally published at TI2011 – Press enter to continue…

Today in the fabulous adventures of Mr. T, he will be accomplice on the abduction of Dr. Rizzoli without the Dr. even noticing it. LATVIA WELCOMES THE EMINENT DR. RIZZOLIThe sign at the airport said And that's how the Dr. started helping on how to manage the experiment of management for Morovia. He helped with … Continue reading Risk happens

Productivity, Risk and Defense

--Originally published at TI2011 – DVant Blog

As Dr. Hector Rizzoli stated, there is no such things as a short-term productivity fix. In this chapter of the book The Deadline, one can learn first about the productivity improvement when doing project management. But for this case, Mr. Tompkins had to execute a perfect plan for "stealing" Dr. Rizzoli from his trip. This... Continue Reading →

Economics of Software Engineering

--Originally published at Project Evaluation and Management

Economics is one of the key values in order to generate a truly successful project.

The Software Engineering Economics is a complex subject, but it can be reduced up to five major areas: The Fundamentals, The Life Cycle Economics, The Risk and Uncertainty, The Economic Analysis Methods, and the Practical Considerations.

The Fundamentals refers to the principles of Economics, such as Finances, Inflation, Cash Flow, Taxes, etc.

The Life Cycle Economics refers to Economics related to the product itself, such as the Product Life Cycle, the Project Life Cycle, Prices, Costs, And some Investment Decisions.

Risk and Uncertainty refers to Goals, Estimates, Plans, Making Decisions taking risks and uncertainty under consideration.

The Economic Analysis Methods refers to what are you going to get in return for the project, things like Cost-Benefit analysis enters into consideration here.

And finally, the Practical Considerations refers to things you can do to make your life easier, such as Outsourcing, or taking the Good Enough principle into consideration.

These areas require further study, but in general, this is what they are.

Abdul Jamid

--Originally published at Project Evaluation and Management

During this chapter, Mr. Thompkins had the opportunity to meet an interesting character, Dr. Abdul Jamid, for his surprise, Abdul is recommended by his old boss Jay, and finally, he had the opportunity to talk with Dr. Abdul.

Abdul reached Mr. Thompkins with the purpose of teaching him an important tool for Project Management. This tool is called Modeling and Simulation.

In the book this works by using a software called ithink but of course, this software is not necessary for the concept. 

The concept of Modeling and Simulation follows a pipeline, the first thing you have to do is to Model your hunches about the process that gets work done, then you use the models to communicate and refine your thinking about how the process works. Once you have the model you simulate the results and finally you tune the model against the actual results.

This concept is important since it can be applied to lots of things, not just Project Management, in fact Machine Learning often uses this approach.

Dr. Rizzoli and Ex-General Markov

--Originally published at Project Evaluation and Management

There is not an opportunity like the one that was before Mr. Thompkins, having a team with thousands of members. Of course, Project Management is something important, as well as having a good team, that is why Mr. Thompkins took the opportunity to speak with Dr. Rizzoli.

Dr. Rizzoli is an interesting character that gives you important hints about conducting big teams, as well as project. The most important things this character talks about is Productivity Improvement and Risk Management.

The first thing to have in mind is that there is no such thing as a short term productivity fix, in other words, that there is no magic trick to fix the productivity of a team in a short term. The productivity improvements always come from a long term investment, anything that promises short term fixes are likely to be ‘snake oil’.

The second thing to have in mind is that if you wanna have a project, you’ll have to manage it by taking the risks under constant census. You’ll have to assess each risk for probability and likely cost, but don’t take into consideration the undesirable outcomes, instead, take into consideration the casual risks.

Mr. Thompkins was astonished by his talk with Dr. Rizzoli because there were lots of things he didn’t know about, but the time was running and he was in need to find managers for the projects, and while he was searching for them, he met the Ex-general Markov.

He found a lot of good managers, and in the meantime, he discovered lots of useful things. For example.

You can improve the performance by containing your failures more than by optimizing your successes. You have to be aggressive about canceling failed efforts. The best thing you can do is to find pre-formed teams, as well as

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The World’s Greatest Project Manager

--Originally published at Project Evaluation and Management

Thompkins is ready to hire his new employees, but he’s mind is blank. Waldo suggests him to search for a consultant, someone who can help him during the interview process, and that is how he discovers Binda, the world’s greatest project manager in her day. The only problem with it is that she is a bag lady. This shows you that no matter the appearance of the person, it may be better than you for something, in this case for management. Belinda Binda tells Thompkins the most important thing I’ve read about in the book, “Management is not a cerebral science, Management is in the gut, in the heart, and in the soul”.

Once he meets Binda, he hires her as a consultant and starts the interview process, in which they talked with 30 managers in order to discover the best ones for the project. And of course, he learns to listen more than you speak, since that is the way to find the best candidates.

Sincerely this is an interesting approach since it tells you that you can’t judge anyone, because they may surprise you.