Monday, December 18, 2023

Be a Leader, Like Beowulf!

"Beowulf," the epic Old English poem, is not just a gripping tale of heroism but also a source of valuable lessons for leaders in any era. As we delve into the world of warriors and monsters, we discover timeless principles of leadership that resonate across cultures and centuries.

1. Courage in the Face of Adversity

Beowulf, the protagonist, exemplifies unparalleled courage. Leaders, too, must confront challenges head-on. Whether it's navigating a turbulent business environment or leading a team through adversity, courage is the cornerstone of effective leadership. Beowulf teaches us that true leaders do not shy away from daunting tasks; they embrace them.

2. Lead by Example

Beowulf doesn't just give orders; he leads from the front. His willingness to take on the monstrous Grendel and later, the dragon, showcases the importance of leading by example. Effective leaders inspire their teams through action, setting the standard for hard work, dedication, and bravery.

3. Value Loyalty and Build Strong Alliances

Beowulf's success is not a solo endeavor. He builds alliances and surrounds himself with loyal warriors. Leaders, too, must recognize the value of teamwork and loyalty. Cultivating strong relationships within a team fosters a sense of unity and ensures that everyone is working towards a common goal.

4. Integrity and Honor

Beowulf is a symbol of integrity and honor. Leaders must uphold ethical standards and maintain a sense of honor in their actions. Building trust among team members and stakeholders is essential for long-term success. Beowulf's commitment to his word and his people underscores the importance of integrity in leadership.

5. Humility in Victory

Despite his remarkable achievements, Beowulf remains humble. Leaders, too, should exhibit humility in the face of success. Acknowledging the contributions of the team and recognizing that success is a collective effort fosters a positive and collaborative working environment.

6. Adaptability and Learning from Failure

Beowulf faces defeats and losses but learns from them. Leaders, too, must be adaptable and view failures as opportunities for growth. Being open to learning from mistakes and adjusting strategies is a hallmark of effective leadership.

7. Balancing Confidence and Prudence

Beowulf's confidence is evident, but it is tempered with prudence. Leaders should strike a balance between confidence and careful decision-making. Overconfidence can lead to recklessness, while excessive caution can stifle progress. Beowulf's measured approach in facing challenges highlights the importance of finding this delicate balance.

In the tapestry of leadership, "Beowulf" weaves a narrative rich with lessons that transcend time and culture. Whether leading a team into battle or navigating the complexities of the modern business world, the epic hero's principles of courage, integrity, and humility serve as guiding beacons for leaders on their own heroic journeys.

Saturday, December 9, 2023

Earned Value Management Can Increase the Likelihood of Successful Government Contract Performance

Government contract management demands meticulous oversight and effective control to ensure successful project execution within budgetary constraints. One important tool for achieving this is Earned Value Management (EVM). EVM is a systematic project management approach that integrates cost, schedule, and scope to provide a holistic view of project performance. In the context of government contracts, where transparency, accountability, and compliance are paramount, EVM is an essential tool to ensure adherence to contractual obligations. 

Ok, great, but what is EVM? It is a project management technique that helps project managers measure project performance in an integrated manner. It involves the use of key performance indicators (KPIs) to assess the progress of a project based on the scope of work completed, the time taken, and the costs incurred. The three primary components of EVM are:

  • Planned Value (PV): The authorized budget assigned to the work planned to be accomplished by a specific time.
  • Earned Value (EV): The value of the work actually performed, expressed in terms of the approved budget assigned to that work.
  • Actual Cost (AC): The costs actually incurred for the work performed.

To implement EVM, project managers use several key formulas that help quantify project performance:

Cost Performance Index (CPI): CPI = EV / AC

A CPI greater than 1 indicates that the project is performing under budget.

A CPI less than 1 suggests that the project is over budget.

Schedule Performance Index (SPI): SPI = EV / PV

An SPI greater than 1 indicates that the project is ahead of schedule.

An SPI less than 1 suggests that the project is behind schedule.

Variance at Completion (VAC): VAC = BAC - EAC

VAC represents the estimated cost variance at the end of the project.

Cost variance / EVM

Picture a government agency embarking on a complex project, a venture laden with responsibilities and taxpayer dollars. Enter Earned Value Management (EVM), a guiding light in the realm of project transparency. EVM isn't just a set of calculations; it's a standardized and transparent approach to project reporting. Imagine the veil being lifted as government agencies gain a bird's-eye view of project performance through key metrics. This newfound clarity fosters accountability, ensuring that contractors toe the line of agreed-upon terms.

Juggling multiple phases and tasks, timing is everything in project execution. EVM acts as a vigilant watchman, enabling project managers to identify discrepancies in the early beats of the project lifecycle. As planned, earned, and actual values intertwine, anomalies are illuminated. This isn't merely about numbers; it's about timely intervention, a preemptive strike against issues before they crescendo into the ominous symphony of project failure.

Numbers, when crunched correctly, tell a story – one of financial health and resource efficiency. EVM takes the helm in crafting this narrative. Through the lens of the cost performance index, EVM enables precise forecasting of project costs. Imagine government agencies equipped with a financial compass, navigating the budgetary seas with confidence. In this narrative, decisions are driven not by guesswork but by a data-driven understanding of the project's fiscal landscape.

Government contracts, like a script, come with stringent requirements and regulations. Enter EVM, the script supervisor of project compliance. It doesn't just ensure adherence; it provides a structured methodology for compliance monitoring. Auditors, in their quest for project integrity, find EVM to be a reliable ally, simplifying the assessment of whether projects are executing in harmony with regulatory standards.

So, envision a room filled with government stakeholders — each armed with real-time data on cost and schedule performance. While not a literally crystal ball, decision makers can make better choices with the help of EVM. The narrative shifts from reactive to proactive, encompassing adjustments to scope, reallocation of resources, and the implementation of risk mitigation strategies.

At the heart of EVM is accuracy, which is dependent on precise data inputs. And accuracy relies on repeatable processes; adequate training becomes the guide, transforming project managers so they are capable of maximizing the benefits of EVM. This tool complements and enhances other project management systems, increasing the likelihood of project success.

Monday, December 4, 2023

Navigating an Ever-Changing Landscape with Continuous Learning

In a world that's evolving at an unprecedented pace, the ability to adapt and learn continuously has become a key factor in personal and professional success. The rapid advancement of technology, shifts in global economies, and the constant emergence of new ideas make lifelong learning not just a choice but a necessity.

The Need for Continuous Learning

Gone are the days when education was seen as a one-time investment in the early years of life. The Fourth Industrial Revolution has ushered in a new era where skills become obsolete faster than ever before. In this dynamic landscape, those who embrace continuous learning gain a competitive edge, ensuring they stay relevant in their chosen fields.

Adapting to Technological Advances

Technology is at the forefront of change, and staying abreast of the latest developments is crucial. Whether you're a professional in the IT industry or a creative artist, understanding how technology shapes your field is vital. Continuous learning enables you to integrate new tools, platforms, and methodologies into your work, enhancing efficiency and innovation.

Navigating Career Transitions

Career paths are no longer linear, and individuals often find themselves switching industries or roles multiple times in their lives. Continuous learning facilitates these transitions, providing the knowledge and skills needed to excel in new environments. It's a mindset that fosters resilience and agility, allowing individuals to pivot when necessary and explore new opportunities with confidence.

Cultivating a Growth Mindset

At the core of continuous learning is a growth mindset—an understanding that abilities and intelligence can be developed with dedication and hard work. This mindset empowers individuals to embrace challenges, learn from failures, and persist in the face of setbacks. It's a mindset that not only fuels personal development but also fosters a culture of innovation and adaptability in the broader community.

Harnessing Online Learning Platforms

The digital age has democratized education, making learning opportunities accessible to people around the globe. Online platforms such as Workbench "Always on the Job!" offer a myriad of courses, workshops, and resources, allowing individuals to tailor their learning journey to their specific needs and schedules. From coding bootcamps to language courses, the options are diverse, enabling everyone to pursue their interests and passions.

In a world that's constantly in flux, the power of continuous learning cannot be overstated. It's a lifelong commitment to growth, adaptability, and resilience. By embracing the ever-changing landscape of knowledge and skills, individuals can not only thrive in their careers but also contribute to a more innovative and dynamic global community.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Maximizing the Impact of Knowledge Workers: Practical Strategies

In the realm of knowledge work, specialists with honed expertise play a crucial role in driving innovation and problem-solving. Yet, unlocking the full potential of knowledge workers requires strategic alignment with organizational goals and the cultivation of collaborative, communicative environments. For knowledge workers to contribute effectively, alignment with your organization's strategic business goals is paramount. Ensure these goals are clear, achievable, and communicated transparently across the company.

  • Eliminate Silos - Combat the pitfalls of siloed information by fostering a culture of knowledge-sharing. Implement learning management systems (LMSs) that facilitate effortless sharing of expertise among knowledge workers.
  • Encourage Collaboration - Break down silos not just for knowledge sharing but also for cross-departmental collaboration. Reevaluate your organizational structure to promote an open, honest, and trusting culture that empowers knowledge workers to collaborate effectively.
  • Promote Innovation with New Ideas - While knowledge workers are catalysts for innovation, inclusive collaboration ensures that diverse perspectives contribute to shaping and implementing new ideas. Transparency in projects invites expertise from all corners of your organization.
  • What’s Happening in Your Industry? Help knowledge workers stay abreast of industry trends without succumbing to information overload. Implement solutions that automatically curate and deliver relevant information from reliable sources, ensuring easy accessibility.
  • Embrace the Internet - The rise of remote work necessitates embracing mobile-first solutions. Enable your knowledge workers with easy access to information and instant communication through mobile-friendly platforms, recognizing the increasing trend of remote and hybrid work environments. Digital communication is the lifeblood of knowledge work. Equip teams with tools like Slack or Workbench “Always on the Job!” to foster seamless communication, breaking down barriers and promoting collaboration across departments.
  • Stay in Perspective - Knowledge workers are not just innovators but also drivers of change. Embrace organizational change by keeping an open mind, supporting change management initiatives, and effectively communicating the benefits throughout the organization.

In the dynamic landscape of what we do in the knowledge-based economy, strategic alignment, effective communication, and a collaborative culture are essential for maximizing the impact of knowledge workers. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Use Disruptive brainstorming to improve your brainwaves...

Disruptive brainstorming is a technique to apply constraints to creative thinking using a fast paced, high energy approach – to achieve better ideas, more quickly.

1. Preparation – For teams working remotely, establish a collaborative document using tools like Trello or Confluence and have Disrupt cards ready for sharing.

In face-to-face settings, use a whiteboard or large paper along with sticky notes and markers. Bring printed Disrupt cards. (15 minutes)

Clearly define the brainstorming topic.

Prepare a document with relevant research, sharing it with the team a few days before the session.

✏️Tip: Select a Topic

Identify a problem, a process for improvement, or an issue impacting customers.

2. Introduction – At the beginning of the meeting, communicate to the team:Objective: Generate a maximum number of ideas.

Emphasize the importance of an open-minded approach and validate all ideas.

Clarify that the focus is on idea generation, not judgment. 

Highlight that the meeting aims to produce actionable ideas. (5 minutes)

3. Brainstorming – Divide the team into two groups for multiple rounds of brainstorming.

If the session is virtual, use the breakout room feature in video conferencing.

Set a 10-minute timer for free-flowing brainstorming.

Ideas are added one by one to the chosen platform (template, whiteboard, or sticky notes), with discussions for each idea as it's contributed.(10 minutes)

4. Evaluation – Reassemble the teams; have each team evaluate and remove ideas from the other team's board. Focus on eliminating ideas that appear unattainable, unsupported, or unrelated to the main objective. This step involves a generous trimming of ideas to make room for new and potentially more viable ones. (10 minutes)

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

How Bluedog Helps Navigate the Project Performance Maze

⛵️ Embarking on a project is like setting sail into uncharted waters. You need a compass, a map, and a crew that's ready to adapt to changing winds. In the world of project management, the compass is your set of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). These are your guiding stars, the North Star of project success. Define them with clarity, and you'll have a reliable direction. Regularly checking your bearings and adjusting the sails ensures you stay on course. It's a dance with the winds of change, and flexibility is your best partner.

Imagine your project as a well-balanced ship 🛳 navigating through stormy seas. The Balanced Scorecard is your ship's wheel, keeping you on course. Financial Return on Investment (ROI) is the treasure you seek, but don't forget to send postcards to your stakeholders. Communication is key. Share the victories and setbacks, keeping everyone on board informed. Watch for leaks in your processes, patch them up for smoother sailing. And above all, cultivate a learning culture among your crew. Every wave is a lesson, and every lesson makes you stronger.

As you sail, you'll encounter unforeseen obstacles – the hidden rocks beneath the surface. Enter the Risk Assessment & Mitigation phase, where you don your strategist hat. 📊 Conduct a SWOT analysis – a modern-day treasure map revealing your project's Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. This map guides you to safe waters and helps you navigate around potential pitfalls.

But what good is a map if you can't read it? 🧭 Use Evaluation & Continuous Improvement – your project's own spyglass. Employ Kanban to visually monitor your progress. It's like having a lookout in the crow's nest, keeping an eye on the horizon. Collect feedback from your crew and those on distant shores. Analyze it like a seasoned explorer, learning from every encounter. Measure your success with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), your project's sextant, guiding you through the vast sea of possibilities.

In the end, project performance is not just about 🗺 reaching your destination; it's about the journey. So, hoist your sails, set your course, and navigate the project performance maze with confidence. The winds may be unpredictable, but with a well-crafted map and a vigilant crew, you'll not only weather the storm but conquer the seas. 🐟

Monday, November 6, 2023

Crafting a Data-Driven Transformation Following a Proven Blueprint for Success

In this fast-paced digital age, data has emerged as the lifeblood of successful enterprises, offering invaluable insights and powering informed decision-making. To harness this transformative potential, your organization must align its data strategy with its broader business goals, evaluate its analytics maturity, make prudent choices in data architecture and technology, build the right data analytics team, implement effective data governance, and create a strategic roadmap. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore these key pillars of a data-driven transformation, providing your organization with a roadmap to unlock the full potential of data, foster a culture of innovation, and gain a competitive edge in today's data-centric landscape.

While data governance is very important to your data strategy, it’s important to understand that just like your level of data and analytics maturity is unique to your organization, so is your need for data governance. Although there are some great tools on the market to support the effective application of governance, data governance itself isn’t a tool or platform your organization can purchase. To avoid this, the data governance program your organization outlines should account for your company’s needs, size, urgency, maturity, and capabilities.

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Drone Delivery Coming to the EU … We Promise!

Amazon's drone delivery service, Prime Air, is expanding to the UK and Italy by the end of 2024. The service has already been successful in the US, and it plans to use existing distribution centers, eliminating the need for special drone hubs. The new MK30 drone can withstand various weather conditions and carry packages up to 5 pounds, promising deliveries in under an hour. It also features advanced obstacle-detection technology and reduced noise levels.

This expansion by Amazon reflects a global trend in drone delivery services, with companies like Walmart, Alphabet (Google's parent company), and Zipline also making strides in the industry. In Europe, Sweden has been at the forefront of technological and regulatory advancements in drone delivery, with startups like Aerit gaining operational permission for trials.

There have been experiments with medical drones, such as delivering medicine and equipment, which can be particularly valuable in emergencies when ground traffic is congested. Despite the promise of drone delivery, it still faces challenges related to public acceptance and safety concerns.

Read more here:

Sunday, October 8, 2023

Fixing Broken Projects - Someone's Perspective

Poor communication lead to lack of alignment, misunderstandings and delayed deliveries. In fact, this pain is measurable: 30% of failed projects in IT organizations are failing because of poor communications according to the 2017 Pulse of the Profession at PMI.

Recent Advice to a Client — Case Study

In the dynamic landscape of business, opportunities often arise unexpectedly, presenting the chance to embark on transformative journeys. This case study delves into the strategic crossroads faced by a small but promising business in the IT services industry. With an annual revenue of $5,000,000, this entrepreneurial venture recognized the potential to achieve remarkable growth under the guidance of a holding company known for scaling businesses to new heights.

I proposed an outline for leading the discussion in a pivotal meeting between our subject business and the holding company, which boasts a portfolio of successful ventures in the same sector. The holding company's explicit preference for businesses with the potential to soar to a minimum of $50 million in revenue over 18-24 months.

Armed with a well-prepared pro-forma and comprehensive financial data, the business owners embarked on this journey with a blend of anticipation and curiosity. I recommended the following as a way top structure this crucial first meeting:

My recommendation was to state with providing a concise overview of the business, emphasizing its unique selling points and the sector in which it operates in. I advised the client to highlight the current annual revenue of $5m, showing that they’ve successfully established a foundation. Then, move into a more formal discussion (keep it brief and focused):

Growth Potential (1-2 minutes):

  • Stress an understanding of the acquirer’s  preference for businesses that can scale.
  • Present pro-forma numbers to demonstrate a clear growth trajectory that aligns with their goals. Highlight key growth drivers and realistic revenue projections.
  • Showcase strategies for achieving this growth, whether it's expanding market reach, introducing new products/services, or optimizing operations.

Why Us? (1-2 minutes):

  • Emphasize the team's expertise and dedication to the business.
  • Talk about the founder/owners’ passion for the industry and commitment to taking the business to the next level.
  • Mention any existing partnerships, customer loyalty, or unique assets that set the business apart.

Sell the Idea - Integration as a Subsidiary (1 minute):

  • Explain how the founder/owners’ envision the business fitting into their portfolio seamlessly.
  • Highlight the potential synergies between the business and their existing holdings.
  • Stress a willingness to collaborate and adapt to their operational strategies while maintaining the essence of what makes the target business successful.

Questions & Discussion:

  • Open the floor for questions and discussions.
  • Be prepared to address any concerns, such as risks or challenges.
  • Showcase your deep knowledge of your business and industry during this interactive session.


I closed with a reminder: Don't forget to thank them for their time and express your eagerness to move forward. Reiterate your excitement about the prospect of working together and scaling the business. Remember to be confident, concise, and passionate about your business. Be open to feedback and engage in a meaningful conversation during the meeting. Leave something like a "tear sheet" behind.