Tag Archives: management

VIDEO – Hamel on Reverse Accountability

The management guru Gary Hamel gives a great 15 minute presentation on the past and future of management. The most interesting concept is reverse accountability (front line employees getting more information and power), and examples of how it can operate in practise. In addition the presentation itself is first class in terms of the animation he uses to reinforce his points.

Work vs. Activity

“Habits are at first cobwebs, then cables.” Spanish Proverb

How much does you team do that produces real results? How much is done through habit?

Reporting and analysis is one example, I’ve seen many beautiful reports, but the key question is what action will you take based on the information in this report? If the answer is “I don’t know” then the report is probably a waste of time.

Evaluate what you’re spending time on, what was initially a great idea may now be a waste of time. Other candidates for cutting beyond potentially irrelevant reports include recurring meetings, checking your email every 15 minutes and anything else which consumes your time, but doesn’t lead to results. Evaluating how you spend your time can be an enormously valuable activity.

Rescue Time is an interesting application in this area, it automatically tracks the time you spend on your computer, which of course is only part of your day, but the results can be insightful.

Project Management Salaries – Are You Paid Enough?

I recently performed a statistical analysis of project management salaries in the US. This analysis applies to publically listed full-time project management roles in January 2010.

The average salary for a project manager was $89,442, but more interesting was what drove the differences. Having a PMP certification was not statistically significant, nor were industry or sector differences. The two things that mattered were level of experience and the managerial rank of the position (whether it was for an individual contributor, a manager or a manager of managers). The implication is that general management skill is more relevant than project management skill in determining salary. The other point to note is that not all “experience” is created equal from a job application perspective, most positions listing experience wanted specific industry expertise, whether with specific software, power generation systems or government contracting methods. Again, these skills were not specific to the discipline of project management per se, but instead specific to the industry in which the project manager operates.

Team Size And Performance

One obvious course of action when a project is behind schedule and you don’t want to cut scope is to expand the number of people on the project. The seldom works as expected.

Firstly, addition of new team members creates new work, the existing team members must spend time getting the new recruits up to speed, if the project has been running for a while, then this tacit knowledge transfer is not a trivial task.

Secondly, expanding the team size exponentially increases the number of channels of communication between people. In a team of 3 people there are three channels of communication A talks to B, B talks to C and C talks to A. By the channels of communication across a team have the relationship n(n-1)/2 where n is the number of team members. This means a team of 10 has 45, a team of 100 has 4,950.

Increasing team size may work, but it introduces its own complexity. Training new team members and the increase in channels of communication can make an increase in team size counter-productive.

This, and other concepts, primarily related to software development are explained in Brooks’ publication, The Mythical Man Month

Channels of Communication Relative to Number of Team Members

Channels of Communication Relative to Number of Team Members