Gustav Toppenberg

Gustav Toppenberg is a Sr. PMO Manager in Cisco's Communication & Collaboration IT group. Gustav is currently responsible for leading the PMO and driving project and operational excellence in his team. During his career at Cisco, Gustav has led several projects in change leadership, acquisition integration, and globalization strategy. He is also part of Cisco IT's transition to a services-oriented organization (technology, process, and culture), enabling a client-focused, value-driven, cost-effective alignment between IT and business. Gustav is a native of Denmark and serves on the board of directors at the Danish-American Chamber of Commerce in San Francisco and the NorCal chapter of ASP (Association for Strategic Planning). He has a background in strategy consulting, program/project management, and global change management. Gustav has an interest and passion for the convergence of business and technology; he is a natural change leader and constant disruptor. He continuously seeks to occupy the gap between business and technology, thereby leveraging technology solutions to strengthen competitive advantages in business. Gustav is an MBA graduate of the Thunderbird School of Global Management, ranked the #1 U.S. Business School for International Business by the Wall Street Journal and U.S. News and World Report. You can contact Gustav at [email protected] "Some of the individuals posting to this site work for Cisco Systems, Inc. Opinions expressed here and in any corresponding comments are the personal opinions of the original authors, not those of Cisco."

What can Project Management learn from Product Management?

In the last 5 years or so, we have realized that comparing these two roles is like comparing Apples and Oranges. Not many companies now overlap these roles. These roles over the time have evolved from being janitors of products and projects to management of them. Product management has learned a lot from project management. Let us examine what project management can learn from product management?


Game Theory – Is it fit for a dynamic and changing reality

As you start to utilize the idea of game theory, you may wonder about the reality of the environment we live in, the non-sequential and chaotic-at-times nature of projects. How do you ‘play the games’ when nothing is constant? How do you organize your thoughts and approaches when nothing but change is certain. The good news is that the field of game theory is an ever evolving area of research. In 2007 the Nobel Prize for Economics went to a team of researchers interested in what they termed “The design of economic institutions”


Game Theory for Project Managers & Leaders

So, how can project and program professionals take advantage of the game theory principles in our work? I propose that every engagement with or stakeholders is an opportunity to utilize these principles.

Now, before we explore the way we might use game theory as a framework, let’s remind ourselves that there are different types of games, and that ideally you want to engage in this work to find win/win opportunities and play cooperative games. Remember “use your powers for good”. Although once in awhile the situation might merit an occasional non-cooperative game.


Game Theory & Project Management

Game theory is a mathematical method for analyzing calculated circumstances, such as in games, where a person’s success is based upon the choices of others. More formally, it is “the study of mathematical models of conflict and cooperation between intelligent rational decision-makers.” An alternative term suggested “as a more descriptive name for the discipline” is interactive decision theory.


The Hidden Value of Conferences and Symposiums

If all you are planning on doing at the next conference you attend is to learn something from the sessions and the exhibits, my advice would be to save your money, focus on your work, and ‘get the dvd’. As we all know, attending conferences isn’t just about the sessions, the keynote speakers, or the product demos. The values you attain from attending conferences are all in the periphery, they are about the ‘X Factors’, those that help you , your team and your company get ahead professionally.


Mind the ‘Strategy-Execution’ Gap

“Companies typically realize only about 60% of their strategy’s potential value because of defects and breakdowns in planning and execution.”- Harvard Business Review

Today’s challenging economic climate forces every company across the globe to keep a laser focus on the bottom line, and executives are under close watch to deliver key strategies. So why is it that so many companies continue to suffer from a strategy-execution gap? And what can the PM do to help close the gap?


Corporate development & finance – Business value from the corporate perspective

Now it is time to explore how these services and capabilities are viewed by the enterprise in terms of true business value and competitive advantage. Corporate development concerns itself with the management arm of the enterprise, setting the strategy and priorities, and ensuring that the enterprise wide investments are aligned with future strategic goals.


Enterprise Architecture – Linking Teams to the Enterprise

Now that the linkage between the delivery and operations of the service has been established and the PM understands how the service enables a capability, it is time to make the connection between the delivery team and the organization.

I believe that helping the PM understand EA and its links to Business Architecture (BA) will help to crystallize the role that their delivery team plays in the broader scope of the enterprise.

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