Best of PPM: April 2020

Every month, a selection of the top PPM articles from around the Web.

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Now is the time to rationalize your project and innovation portfolio. Markets, economic conditions and strategic prorities have shifted dramatically over the past few months. To weather tumultuous times and be ready when good times return, you need to rationalize and rebalance your portfolios now. Noel Sobelman offers 10 practical tips to do so when uncertaintly is strong (read a more advanced version of his article here).

Supermarkets are using Kanban to enforce social distancing. Maarten Dalmijn unpacks how supermarkets in the Netherlands are using shopping baskets as kanban tokens to regulate and optimize the number of shoppers in their store at any one time. Michael Küsters takes the idea one step further and shows how CONWIP Kanban principles can equally easily be applied.

Simple patterns can help Scrum teams attain remarkable productivity. Todd Lankford takes a deep dive into Jeff Sutherland's (co-creator of Scrum) nine proven patterns to make teams happier, more effective in their delivery and better able to navigate the obstacles they face.

The most important skill for leading innovation is not what you think. Top executives often forget that killing weaker projects is just as important as curating great ideas, because to do so releases vital resources that can be better used by stronger projects.

To change behaviours, telling people what to do doesn't work. Instead, we should try to get people to persuade themselves by highlighting gaps between their thoughts and actions, asking the right questions and lowering the size of the ask.

In a crisis, ecosystem businesses have a competitive advantage. Leveraging partnerships, investments, and alliances allows multifaceted companies such as Amazon, Alibaba Group, or Recruit Holdings to continuously adapt their offering to a changing customer base, and adapt almost in real time to wildly changing economic conditions.

There is no such thing as a corporate immune system that attacks change. If the change you seek has the potential have a real impact, there are always going to be people affected who aren’t going to like it and will oppose it. But with a smart strategy, even the most ardent opposition can be overcome.

Continual improvement is essential to Agile, but getting retrospectives right is hard. Mike Cohn offers a wealth of ideas for addressing the four most common problems with retrospectives (including how to make them less boring!).

Dissatisfaction with videoconferencing apps comes from their inability to capture the complexity of human interaction. It's hard to put a finger on why we're finding videoconference meetings less productive than face-to-face communication. Steve Blank unpacks the many ways in which videoconferencing apps ignore what makes human communication, well, human.

Do you know about the Conjunctive Events Bias? It's the main reason why project cost and schedule estimates are systematically too optimistic (and why we're surprised when something inevitably goes wrong).



"Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it."

- Dwight D. Eisenhower