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The Fallacy of Man Hours

The Fallacy of Man Hours
By Tim Bryce

I’ve never been comfortable with the concept of “Man Hours,” not that it’s a gender issue, but rather it implies ignorance of how time is used in the work place and fumbles away some simple management concepts needed to run any business, namely accountability and commitment. Actually, I thought the “Man Hour” concept disappeared with the passing of the 20th century, but it appears to be making a comeback.

The fallacy of the “Man Hour” concept is that it assumes a person is working productively 100% of the time. This, of course, is hardly the case in any company. Workers are either working on their assignments, be they what they may, or there are interferences keeping them from their work, such as meetings, phone calls, e-mails, reading, breaks, etc. Time spent on work assignments is referred to as “Direct,” and time spent on interferences is referred to as “Indirect.” The relationship of Direct to Indirect time is referred to as an “Effectiveness Rate” delineating the use of time during the work day. Read the Complete Article

The Truth About Project Management Packages

The Truth About Project Management Packages
By Tim Bryce

Do they truly support project management or are they glorified punch clocks?

I was recently researching project management software for a client. Such software is certainly not new and can be traced back to their origins in the 1960′s with mainframe based packages. Some of the earliest applications of computers in the 1950′s were for such purposes, particularly estimating and scheduling. Nonetheless, I was looking for a PC based package that could also be implemented on smart phones, and geared to reporting an employee’s time. Frankly, I was disappointed with what I found.

I looked at dozens of packages, some free, others for a price; some were PC based, others were “cloud” based, and some were implemented over the Internet. The graphical input was easy on the eyes, but virtually none could implement what I was looking for, regardless of how well they were evaluated by software researchers. Read the Complete Article

“Mad” Management

“Mad” Management
By Tim Bryce

One of the reasons AMC’s “Mad Men” television show is so popular is that it tries to authentically depict American attitudes and moods of the early 1960′s, including how business was conducted. Viewers find it fascinating how the Mad Men think, the priorities driving them, and how they interact with employees and customers. Recently, I was going through some of my father’s old papers back when he worked as Product Planning Manager at Remington Rand in New York City, the makers of the UNIVAC computer at the time. In particular, I came across a training manual entitled, “Creative Management Development” from 1961. Evidently it was used as part of a training class to groom managers for the company. Realizing this was from the same period and venue (corporate New York) as “Mad Men” I picked through the manual carefully to see the perspective of management back then. Read the Complete Article

Micromanagement

Micromanagement
By Tim Bryce

This is not the first time I have talked about micromanagement over the years, and I am sure it won’t be my last. Recently, I had some business friends complain to me how their employees cannot follow directions. But on the other hand, I also know a lot of people who wonder why management doesn’t trust them to do their job properly. You see this not only in the corporate world but in nonprofit organizations as well. Today, managers are spending more time supervising the work of others as opposed to actually managing them.

Back in the 1960’s and 1970’s we talked a lot about empowering workers and teamwork, but the pendulum seems to have swung the other way and micromanagement is now in vogue in today’s corporate cultures. I have a theory as to why this has happened:

First, we now live in a litigious society where everyone is paranoid about accepting responsibilities that may result in a lawsuit. Read the Complete Article

Implementing a Methodology

Implementing a Methodology
By Tim Bryce

“The least expensive decision will be the price of the package.”
– Bryce’s Law

INTRODUCTION

The use of organized methodologies for the development of systems and software have been around for 35 years (“PRIDE” was the first in 1971).  Today, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of methodologies available for use.  Many are simply a variation on the traditional theme of:  feasibility study, external design, internal design, program, test, install, review.  Others take an iterative approach to development.  Regardless of what  methodology you elect to use, whether “PRIDE” or Brand X, there are some serious implementation considerations to ponder and it would be foolish not to look before you leap into one.

First, recognize you will spend more time and money implementing a methodology than you will on its purchase.  This is because methodologies radically affect the corporate culture, at least in the Information Technology (IT) department.  Read the Complete Article

Why Does Project Management Fail?

Why Does Project Management Fail?
By Tim Bryce

“It must be remembered that project management is first and foremost a philosophy of management, not an elaborate set of tools and techniques. It will only be as effective as the people who use it.”
– Bryce’s Law

INTRODUCTION

I often run into companies who ask the simple question, “Why can’t we get our act together? Why does Project Management routinely fail in our company?” I do not believe a company’s overall problems in Project Management can be attributed to a specific tool or technique (although some certainly do not help matters). Instead, I believe it is based on how important a company considers Project Management to be. If they believe it to be a vital part of the company’s overall performance, it will be more successful than a company who considers it irrelevant. In other words, I view Project Management as integral part of the corporate culture. Read the Complete Article

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