Getting paid: A talk by Mike Monteiro

Mike Monteiro, co-founder and design director at Mule Design, recently gave a talk on getting paid and the value of having a well designed contract. As he says in this entertaining and very informative, spot-on talk: “Excuses vary – from ‘We ended up not using the work’ to ‘it’s really not what we were after.'” He replies to all of them the same way: “F*ck you. Pay me.” This talk, explaining the philosophy and co-presented with his attorney Gabe Levine, is geared toward the creative services industry, but should resonate with any small business owner who has problem clients.

Team-based performance is key, but only works with team input

Tammy Erickson’s recent blog post in the Harvard Business Review on Rethinking Performance Assessment is a spot-on article. She focuses on the value of team-based reward systems and how such systems only work if team feedback is part of the process. The article points out research suggesting that simply moving to a team-based reward system is an insufficient and possibly even counterproductive strategy — chiefly because there is no correlation between perceptions outside the team and internal team perceptions regarding individual contribution. In other words, a team’s supervisor isn’t going to know who’s working hard and who isn’t. Only the team members themselves have that kind of detailed knowledge — thus the case to build team feedback into the reward system.

2011 Business and Technology Trends Seminar

Hyrax International and One Source Alliance have put together a great evening venue for a seminar on Business and Technology Trends of 2011. The seminar will be hosted at the Westlake Village Inn in Westlake Village, California, the evening of March 29. The session includes networking opportunities and will focus on OEM or B2B businesses and contrasting trends of small to medium versus large businesses, with supporting information on how technology changes coming in the near term support or enable these business trends. Register before March 23rd to get discounted seats (the price goes up to $35 after the 23rd).

Scrum versus Kanban

Pawel Brodzinski makes a very succinct and key observation regarding the differences of Scrum and Kanban (and also links to a handful of opposing views by Ken Schwaber, David Anderson and Mike Cohn). If you want to figure out how Scrum and Kanban differ, this is a great starting point — be sure to check the referenced articles to get both (or, all three, or four) sides of the story.

Trying to change the world can be dangerous

Trying to change the world (or at least the professional one)? It can be dangerous, as Julia Kirby writes in Harvard Business Review: It’s one thing to be the agent of change in an organization that realizes it needs it; it’s quite another when you’re the only one in the room convinced of that. Be sure people perceive any change as being done for them, not to them, or risk their wrath.

The changing face of the U.S. job market

Is the U.S. experiencing a jobless recovery, or facing something much more fundamental? Is the changing economic landscape and emerging global economy causing a structural shift in the very nature of our workforce? The influence of the global economy is undeniably bringing about changes that are both new and unanticipated. As information flows around the world instantly, new possibilities open up and formerly reliable assumptions are proving not so reliable. Many jobs in sectors such as manufacturing and even technology are gone forever. The next step is to assess the new landscape and begin to change accordingly. Find out what the new, improved U.S. job market is going to look like moving forward. More »

“The key to a successful project is in the planning,” or is it?

Is the key to a successful project in the planning, as the axiom goes… or have we already been lost in the trees? My problem with this is that it’s a very narrow, incomplete answer to a much larger scope problem. Creating the project plan is important, but it’s not “the” key to project success — in fact, anyone taking this literally might assume that focusing on the project plan will therefore lead to success. Not so by any stretch. (It also reads like a few introductory sentences lifted from the PMBOK). For my two cents: Project success comes from involving the right project leadership (with measurable, established success under their belts), and establishing and following the right process for the project.