Project management, psychoanalysis, and hell

A very timely little piece from contentedmanagement.net (great name) on the dangers that lurk within our projects

Project hell is others
L’enfer, Jean-Paul Sartre tells us, c’est les autres. This is so commonly and simplistically mistranslated as “hell is other people” that it’s become something of a fallacy. Hell for Sartre is not other people; it’s others. It’s about our faulty relationship with others and most particularly our psychological other, our id: the basic, instinctual drives that motivate us to seek out pleasure or avoid pain. Those instinctual drives are very much at the heart of every project.

Read the rest of this post to understand how a more psychoanalytical approach to our projects, combined with project management frameworks, can stop us making an infernal mess of things.

Word in the cloud, Excel projects

  • “Save & Send” Word Documents to Windows Live Skydrive | techie-buzz.com
    “Today, I want to describe how you can save Word 2010 documents directly to “the cloud” using Windows Live SkyDrive. Windows Live SkyDrive is a service of Microsoft. It provides 25GB of free online storage. Two of the greatest features it has are document sharing between yourself and other Windows Live users, and in-browser editing of the documents that you store there. Let’s open a Word document and see how this is done.”
  • Excel Blog – Excel as a project management tool
    “It goes without saying that Microsoft Project is THE program to use if you need to manage large projects. But what if you manage smaller projects? Can you do that in Excel? Sure, but life will be easier if you start with a template that is specifically designed to facilitate project management.”

Online tasks

  • Salesforce debuts Do.com, a smart social productivity app for small teams | VentureBeat
    “Several other companies have tried and failed to make task management successful (there’s fresh competition from former Facebook staffers with Asana), so it’s telling to see Salesforce, which is known for its enterprise apps, trying to take a stab in this space. This suggests companies continue to believe there’s a huge market in helping people manage online tasks – and that no one has cracked the nut yet.”

Asana, Kindle, student finance

  • Facebook’s Dustin Moskovitz has new project: Asana – SFGate
    “A home screen for work like Facebook is a home screen for goofing off”
  • Asana – Task Management for Teams
    “If you’re looking for a tool to help you keep your projects organized, especially if you work on those projects with other people, Asana is a new webapp that can help you keep on top of your to-dos, get updates from other people helping you, and capture everything you and your team are doing in one place so everyone can refer to it quickly.”
  • Amazon Kindle Owners Can Now Check Out Books at the Local (US only!) Library
    “The process is simple: supported libraries will allow users to visit their web site, enter their library card number, find the books they want to read, and click “send to kindle” to have the book transferred to their Kindle ereader or smartphone running the Kindle mobile app. The libraries have control over which titles are available and how long the book will be “lent out” to you, but when the lending period is up, the book will vanish and automatically be “checked in” at the library again.”
  • Independent Taskforce on Student Finance Information
    “Our aim is to help future students and parents in England tackle the myths and misunderstandings surrounding the recent changes to student finance by bringing together best of breed resources from various stakeholder organisations. We want higher education Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) providers to have access to the best unbiased education tools so that they can cut through the controversy and provide clear and informed guidance to prospective students.”

Twitter strategies, visualising data, managing projects

Template Twitter strategy for Government Departments
You might think a 20-page strategy a bit over the top for a tool like Twitter. After all, microblogging is a low-barrier to entry, low-risk and low-resource channel relative to other corporate communications overheads like a blog or printed newsletter. And the pioneers in corporate use of Twitter by central government (see No 10, CLG and FCO) all started as low-profile experiments and grew organically into what they are today. But, having held back my JFDI inclinations long enough to sit down and write a proper plan for BIS’s corporate Twitter account, I was surprised by just how much there is to say – and quite how worth saying it is, especially now the platform is more mature and less forgiving of mistakes.

50 great examples of data visualization
50 of the best data visualizations and tools for creating your own visualizations out there, covering everything from Digg activity to network connectivity to what’s currently happening on Twitter.

University of Edinburgh Records Management Section – advice on freedom of information, data protection and records management
The Records Management Section provides help and advice to all units of the University on information management issues including records management practices and procedures, data protection and freedom of information.  We are also responsible for the Central Records Registry and the day-to day management of the records of the central administrative areas formerly known as Policy and Planning.

University of Edinburgh Projects Web Site
A one stop source of information about University IT projects – Templates and methodologies to assist in the successful management of projects – A filing system and repository for project related documentation – A communication vehicle for keeping stakeholders informed about project progress.

Productive PRINCE2?

Dominic Tinley – A little PRINCE2
You can understand why the Civil Service likes PRINCE2. There are 45 separate processes each of which warrants several pages of description in the manual but only one of which actually involves producing anything. I wonder if the ratio of Civil Service efficiency is in fact somewhere around 1:45?

Keeping busy

Current ISMS projects at Anglia Ruskin University

Anglia Ruskin University looks to have a very smart, comprehensive, well-resourced project office within its IT Services section. I’m very jealous of its Current Projects page, especially the E-Administration Programme. Some great project management / presentation ideas there.

100 terrific productivity tools for the bored or unemployed
Whether you’re bored out of your mind at the office or don’t have an office to go to, there’s no reason to sit around idly when there’s so much you could potentially be getting done. With the web at your fingertips, you can find numerous ways to keep your mind and body engaged and active. These 100 tools will help you get busy doing just about anything from organizing your DVD collection to planning your potential future, giving you no excuse to be bored or unemployed for long.