AOP Newsletter – Edition 1 – 9th August 2021

Edition 1 – 9th August, 2021

Hello All, here’s edition #1 of the AOP Newsletter. You’re receiving this because you signed up at some point to either the mailing list or the mailing list, which have been merged as far as project management content. If you don’t want to receive this, there’s an unsubscribe link on this page.

AOP Musings of the Week

Welcome to AOPN – the AOP Weekly Newsletter

Welcome to the very first edition of the AOP Newsletter, which will be coming every week or so – that’s the plan anyway. If you like the content, please forward it to folks you know who might also like it too.

In the past month, I’ve started publishing again, as you’ll see below. I have a lot of things in the pipeline but TBH, I suck at getting things out the door. I’m working on building a system and momentum but am really in the “crawling out of the primeval slime” stage.

Covid 19, Lockdowns and Such

For so many people Covid still dominates their lives – I’m in the middle of a lockdown at the moment and I expect it to go on for quite a while. I’m much more fortunate in some ways than a lot of folks: my children are adults, I can work from home, and I am working. But I’m in a tiny minority and I experience indirectly a whole range of impacts in my personal and work lives. Apart from any colleagues and friends in Australia, I (as will anyone who has a supply-chain that involves service providers from India) have had the real and horrific impacts of Covid brought directly into my daily work life. All I can do is hope mightily that vaccination proves to be the solution that everyone is hoping it will be.

On the Oral Tradition

I admit it: I’m an old fart. My first project happened before the internets and mobile phones but still involved multiple organisations spread over 8 countries and 3 continents. And there was lots and lots of paper involved. Paper wasn’t necessarily better or worse, but it was persistent. One habit I developed was looking around to see what documents were on people’s desks or in discussions: you could tell the ones that people used because the printouts were all torn and grimy, and there were post-it’s and other markers at key pages.

The documents originated in soft form – and there were plenty of software tools around – but successful and sustainable collaboration was based around physical printouts.

Roll forward a few years: we have infinitely more software tools to manage the information we need to share an collaborate on to make our projects successful. But we seem to spend less time using them and more time talking. At one level we’ve reverted 10000 years to pre-writing stage (and obviously that means pre-reading stage) – even if someone writes something down, few actually read.

I had a work colleague from India whose story was that his marriage was witnessed by the fire that burned during the official ceremony. He claimed that he had visa issues (we were in Singapore at the time) because he didn’t have documentary evidence from a witness to his marriage. “The fire was the witness”. I don’t know if this is true, or just a good story, but I’m regularly reminded of it during projects.

Lots of people talk about a lot of stuff and then expect things to happen just because of the conversation: as if we were having campfire chats and everyone expects that the fire will sort it out.

I’m not at all saying we should go back to long specification documents or printed versions thereof. But I am saying that we can’t run complex IT integration projects that rely on the fire to sort everything out.

AOP Announcements and Events

I’ve been working on two Excel add-ins over the past few months and they are both available for public Beta users. The work functionally but may be a bit clunky in UI and there are intevitably gonna be some bugs. Please check out the sites below and sign up as a Beta tester.

Treewiz: Outlining for Excel ®

TreeWiz is a Microsoft Excel ® Addin that allows you interpret the explicit or implied hierarchical structures present in many types of source data, including outline id’s, text indents, character pre-padding and column offsets. From this structure you can set the standard Excel outline controls for easy navigation and information hiding/displaying. This structure allows you to analyse outline data to determine the optimum structure for your data.

TableWiz – Tame your Excel Tables

TableWiz is a Microsoft Excel ® Addin that allows you to capture the structure and layout of tabular data grids (ranges and tables). You can then create them automatically in new worksheets. This removes human error from new worksheet creation and prevents “bloat” from multiple “copy-pasta” operations and the cascade of errors and local optimisations in one project to the next one.

AOP New / Updated Posts this Week

On the AOP blog this week, I published:

Rethinking the (Work) Breakdown Structure.

Breakdown Structures have been part of the project management narrative for approximately 50 years. The Work Breakdown Structure, in particular, is seen as a primary mechanism for core project management processes, such as planning, scope control, estimation, vendor management, and is the foundation of Earned Value Management. But there are many fundamental issues with the breakdown structure narrative and its use,

AOP on the Internets

In July I started two series of visual posts across my twitter, LI and FB accounts

A Visual Quote of the Day

I love quotes and have been collecting quotes that are relevant to project management for years. I’m publishing one a day first thing in the morning

Here’s a sample. I’ll be consolidating them on the AOP website soon and will advise

Adam’s Axioms

I’ve been told for years that I should put together a collection of my assertions, aphorisms, sayings and other stuff. So I’m also publishing them once a day, later in the afternoon.

Here’s a sample. I’ll be consolidating them on the AOP website soon and will advise

AOP Reads

This is what I’ve been reading lately. I’ve been doing a lot of research on hierarchical data structures for a series on Breakdown Structures in Project Management (first post see above). So the reading list reflects that. It’s varying quality and level of advancement, but I guess that depends on what you’re looking for vs what you already know.

AOP Newsletter Wrap Up

That’s it for this week. I hope you have a great week to come and that Covid is not too impactful. Please let me know if you find this interesting or if you want to see different material in the newsletter.

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