Types of Project Management Office

This is a quick breakdown of the 3 types of Project Management Offices (PMOs).

  • Enabling (Supportive) — Provides best practices, templates, and tools “as needed,” and compliance is voluntary.
  • Delivery (Controlling) — Adopts framework or methodology, policy, and repeatable procedures, and a certain level of the standards are enforced.
  • Compliance (Directive) — Establishes strict standards, measures, and control over projects, and these are highly regulated.

A good place to start is with an enabling/supportive PMO and then progress to a more delivery/controlling model. Generally, a compliance/directive PMO is for more highly regulated organizations.


(Credit Graphic: Andy Blumenthal and concept via CIO Magazine and Gartner)

Beautiful Measurements

This is a beautiful set of nested brass weights from France. 


It dates back to 1852!


The weights range from 1 gram to 500 grams. 


These are weights, but also a form of art. 


It is located at the NIST Museum.


There is something comforting about weights, measures, and standards.

 

It puts an organized construct unto our universe and creates some objective scientific reality to our world. 


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

@National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence

So good today to visit the NIST Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE).
The cybersecurity solutions developed are aligned to the well-known Cybersecurity Framework (CSF). 


Got to see some of the laboratories, including demonstrations for securing the Healthcare and Energy Sectors. 


Interesting to hear about examples for securing hospitals records and even things like infusion pumps.  


The medical devices are tricky to secure, because they are built to potentially last decades and are expensive to replace, but the underlying technology changes every couple of years. 


Also, learned more about securing the energy sector and their industrial control systems.  


One scary notable item mentioned was about the “big red button” for shutdown in many of these facilities, but apparently there is malware that can even interfere in this critical function. 


It is imperative that as a nation we focus on critical infrastructure protection (CIP) and continuously enhancing our security.


Time is of the essence as our adversaries improve their game, we need to be urgently upping ours. 😉


(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

Trace Amounts of Cocaine

So this is a funny story from today.


I had a wonderful opportunity to tour a couple of labs at NIST today.


One of them does work in contraband detection.


The scientist asks if anyone has any money in their wallet.


I pull out a dollar and hand it to him.


I ask him what happens if he finds any traces of bad stuff on the money from me.


He says, “A cage will fall from the ceiling” and I’ll be in big trouble.


Uh, we all laugh a little.


He unfolds the money and puts it into the machine that looks for the contraband.


Oh sh*t, it comes up in the “red”–positive for cocaine.


Someone else says jokingly, “A little leftover from the weekend?”


I joke back, “Na, It’s from this morning before work!”


Ha, ha, I think. 


It turns out the scientist explains that 90% of our currency actually tests positive for cocaine


I’m wondering whether this is a commentary on drug use and even the opioid epidemic in America.


The lab director explains a theory that the automated money counters spread traces of the drugs from bills and contaminates the other currency.


Aside from this little experiment today, I got to learn so much about creating standards for contraband detection systems and equipment and in another lab about magnetism. 


It is unbelievable how smart these scientists are–they are so unique and of the best in the world.


I am so happy to be able to learn from them even if it’s contraband on money. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Measurement And Standards Are Our Friends

So I learned that Metrology is the science of measurement. 


And measurement is the foundation of scientific research and creating standards. 


Scientific research and measurement are about exploration, discovery, and innovation.


Further, it is about finding the facts; it is objective; it is truth; it is essential to maintaining integrity. 


Standards also help to ensure dependability, because there is a common reference and you know what you are getting. 


A great true story that demonstrates the importance of measurements and standards is the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904.


This was the third worst urban inferno in American history. 


It destroyed over 1,500 building across 140 acres. 


Fire engines responded from as far as New York and Virginia. 


But the problem was that they invariably could not help. 


Why?  


Because their fire hose couplings could not fit on the Baltimore fire hydrants–they were not standardized.


Without standards, we don’t have interoperability. 


We don’t have a reference that everyone can go by. 


It’s as if we’re all working on our own desert islands. 


This defeats the power in numbers that make us together greater than the sum of our individual parts. 


Science and technology help us advance beyond just ourselves and today. 


Measurement and standardization help us to build a better and stronger society. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

I Like That Technology

I Like That Technology

Christopher Mims in the Wall Street Journal makes the case for letting employees go rogue with IT purchases.

It’s cheaper, it’s faster, “every employee is a technologist,” and those organizations “concerned about the security issues of shadow IT are missing the point; the bigger risk is not embracing it in the first place.”

How very bold or stupid?

Let everyone buy whatever they want when they want–behavior akin to little children running wild in a candy store.

So I guess that means…

Enterprise architecture planning…not important.
Sound IT governance…hogwash.
A good business case…na, money’s no object.
Enterprise solutions…what for?
Technical standards…a joke.
Interoperability…who cares?
Security…ah, it just happens!

Well, Mims just got rids of decades of IT best practices, because he puts all his faith in the cloud.

It’s not that there isn’t a special place for cloud computing, BYOD, and end-user innovation, it’s just that creating enterprise IT chaos and security cockiness will most-assuredly backfire.

From my experience, a hybrid governance model works best–where the CIO provides for the IT infrastructure, enterprise solutions, and architecture and governance, while the business units identify their specific requirements on the front line and ensure these are met timely and flexibly.

The CIO can ensure a balance between disciplined IT decision-making with agility on day-to-day needs.

Yes, the heavens will not fall down when the business units and IT work together collaboratively.

While it may be chic to do what you want when you want with IT, there will come a time, when people like Mims will be crying for the CIO to come save them from their freewheeling, silly little indiscretions.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Factory Floor Servitude

Factory Floor Servitude

As a kid, I was all too familiar with factory settings–my dad worked in one.

Dad is an incredibly persistent hard worker who went to the factory every day–tuna sandwich in tow–worked hard and was the voice of reason in advancing the business–and worked his way up to manage the place. My dad is a modern-day success story!

He worked in everything figuring out how to design products, make them, sell them, and ensure the business stayed afloat. A lot of people depended on him in the factory to keep production humming, put bread on their tables, and most importantly to be treated fairly and like human beings.

My dad never became arrogant as he advanced himself, he always believed that we only have what the Almighty above grants to us.

What a contrast between the way my dad managed a factory and the decrepit working conditions that led to the factory collapse two weeks ago in Bangladesh that has now left at least 1,038 dead.

The collapse has raised ethical questions again about the horrific working conditions in factories overseas–where low wages and hazardous conditions is the rule–low wages lead to growing outsourcing and hence, a $18 billion garment industry in Bangladesh that has tripled in size between 2005 and 2010 and is expected to triple again by 2020.

The average monthly pay in 2009–$47!

By 2010, Bangladesh had 5,000 garment factories–2nd only to China.

Now most of the factories are gone from the U.S. moving overseas to the cheapest providers, with jobs in manufacturing decreasing almost in half from nearly 20 million in the U.S. in 1979 to less than 12 million in 2010.

Bloomberg BusinessWeek (9 May 2010) chronicles the ten years of stagnant wages and horrible working conditions there–verbal abuse, sexual abuse, physical punishment and humiliations for not meeting quotas (like having to forcibly stand on tables for hours and undress in front of workers), rare bathroom breaks to filthy and overflowing toilets, and much more.

When the Savar building developed cracks on April 23, one man begged his wife not to go to work the next day, but when she called in and asked for the day off, she was told she would be docked a whole months salary if she didn’t show up–she went to work and the building collapsed on April 24–leaving her buried under the rubble. Eventually, when the rescuers could not free her, they chopped off her legs!

Cheap labor means cheap goods–that’s a draw for us getting more branded goods for less. In a large sense, our insatiable demand fuels the cruel, servile conditions overseas.

This is also a broken market, where people sell their labor just to provide subsistence living for their families, while big corporations increase profits, investors smile all the way to the bank, and we get our boatloads of stuff cheap, cheap, cheap.

There is nothing wrong with making money or saving money–it’s an incentive-based system, but the only measure of success is not money.

We need global standards of ethical conduct in the labor market, and this should be part of every organization’s financial reporting, disclosure, and audit requirements.

People and organizations should not just be penalized for cooking the books or insider-trading, but for how they treat their people.

Those organizations and leaders that balance making money with treating people decently have a leg up on those that don’t–not that they will necessarily do better in the marketplace (maybe they won’t), but that they make their money with their integrity intact and that’s something money cannot buy. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Ronn “Blue” Aldaman)