The Art of Project Management: Expert advice from experienced project managers in Silicon Valley, and around the world
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John Levy

John Levy helps business executives get predictable, consistent and innovative results from high-tech people in IT and product development. His clients include insurance and manufacturing companies as well as high-tech enterprises in software, computers and storage. John’s book on managing high-tech people, Get Out of the Way, was published in 2010. For more information visit his website, phone 415 663-1818 or email info@johnlevyconsulting.com John has held engineering management positions with Quantum Corporation, Apple Computer, Tandem Computers, and Digital Equipment Corporation. He earned a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford University, and holds engineering degrees from Cornell and Caltech. He is a named inventor or on seven U.S. patents related to computer design. He has been engaged as an expert witness in over 50 cases of patent litigation related to computer, software, storage and Internet technologies, and has been a technical advisor to two U.S. District Court judges. For two years, he co-produced a weekly radio show on technology and computers broadcast on KWMR in Point Reyes Station. He teaches regularly at the Fromm Institute for Lifelong Learning at the University of San Francisco, with courses titled, “The Digital Revolution in the Home,” and “Computers – the Inside Story.”

How to manage a project

The essentials of project management in under 500 words What’s a project? A project is any endeavor that takes time and involves more than one person. Typically, we don’t call it a project unless it involves at least 3 to 5 people, and then we call them a team. A project requires communication, collaboration and […]

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What’s going on inside my computer?

What’s going on inside my computer?

We all ask this question now and then, particularly when the computer or its application software is not working as it should. Or at least when it’s doing things we don’t understand. Our smartphones are no different – they are primarily computers, with some radio communications thrown in to connect them with the world. Of […]

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The life of a hero – Doug Engelbart 1930 – 2013

The life of a hero - Doug Engelbart 1930 - 2013

MENLO PARK, Calif.—July 3, 2013—Computing visionary Douglas C. Engelbart, Ph.D, passed away peacefully at his home in Atherton, California on July 2, 2013. He was 88 years old. Engelbart’s work is the very foundation of personal computing and the Internet. His vision was to solve humanity’s most important problems by using computers to improve communication […]

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What’s wrong with complexity?

Technologists love intricate mechanisms. That’s why many of us, as kids, took things apart, and some of us even put them back together again. In my training as an engineer, I enjoyed learning how mechanical, electrical and chemical things worked. And the more elaborate the mechanisms, the better the challenge and the satisfaction of getting […]

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Software development – not by PERT alone

I have great respect for software developers. Because software is abstract, invisible and runs at extreme speeds, the people who are good at building it have to possess a particular talent at visualization and a willingness to use complex tools. When software developers become project managers (PMs), they tend to rely on software tools to […]

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Red flags indicating possible project failure

Designing, implementing and integrating major IT systems has numerous pitfalls that don’t appear, for example, in building construction. People who are responsible for delivering major IT projects – or are paying for one – need to be aware of what indicators are red flags for possible failure of the project. Classical project management tools were […]

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What generates energy for your team?

How do you evaluate how well a team is functioning? A key indicator is energy. Energy is a quality of the interactions going on in the room the team is working in, a quality that you feel when you’re in the room with them. There are a variety of types of energy. A team may […]

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How many threads can you hold?

This article is about attention and focus, in your own life and the life of the teams you lead. Attention is a precious commodity, for you, for people you manage and for teams you lead. Here’s what journalist and author Kare Anderson recently said about attention in a Harvard Business Review blog post: Giving and […]

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Clearing conflict on a team

We call too many things “teams,” just because it sounds good. A group of people is not necessarily a team just because they happen to work in proximity to each other. What’s a team for? A team is a small group that has a goal, an end-result that they have accepted as their purpose. So […]

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What does an architect do?

What does an architect do?

Summary Architecture is about design at the top level, including interfaces and protocols. Architecture of complex systems requires knowledge of the technology in all of the components. In software, there are few constraints on how the components are put together, so it requires discipline to keep things simple and consistent. Bring in an architect when […]

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Nine things you can do to get what you need from technologists

Nine things you can do to get what you need from technologists

Business managers often find themselves bamboozled by technologists and their managers. After spending a lot of money on IT or Engineering, they still don’t have what they want. Here are nine ways a business manager can ask questions to improve relations with the technologists.

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Why should we be Agile or Lean?

Why should we be Agile or Lean?

There is a lot of skepticism about Agile and Lean among business managers for a lot of good reasons. It’s best that we understand these reasons, because they shouldn’t keep us from proceeding with Agile and Lean transformations of our companies and projects.

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