Book review: Commitment, novel about managing project risk by Maassen, Matts & Geary.

Cool, a graphic novel, brilliant idea to share ideas about the subject. The drawings are very nice. Refreshing to see the main character is a woman, who is supported by her younger sister.

The main idea of the book is about Real Options. Three things you need to know about real options;
1. They have value,
2. They expire,
3. Never commit early unless you know why.

In the story, Rose Randall is appointed project manager to a project in trouble. With the help of a kanban visualisation board she gets control of the state of project. Tasks can have only 3 statuses: ..not started….work in progress…and done. Percentages are nonsense (thank you authors).

New for me was the concept of staff liquidity. This is the time it takes for a team to respond, the time to redeploy people. Based on this concept and the real options model you allocate the most experienced people last (!) to tasks. Experienced people have to most options. This point reminds me about the super programmer you don’t want in your project and the lessons from Peter Drucker (The Effective Executive) about key man dependencies in projects. Really cool stuff.

It’s a great book, which makes you think. I enjoyed reading and thinking about it. Truly recommend it to (project) managers.

Once a while I hear someone mentioning the phrase “failure is not an option”…hmm…after reading this book I hope is an option…..I sure don’t want people commit to failure. 🙂



This hashtag is trending on Twitter. Techies all over the world share their horror situations. Good news, we all seem to agree on the horrors. Next year perhaps on the solutions?

Enjoy reading;
This change is very small
I only changed one line
It works on my machine
It’s only a temporary fix
This site requires Internet Explorer.
Let’s just push it live
It’s just a simple fix.
Wait, have you tried restarting?
An unexpected error has occurred.
Lets Waterfall this €20M project
Yes, we are absolutely certain.
This hotfix is low risk
We need a testing environment?
It is all top priority.
We’ll let Support handle that.
This won’t impact the schedule.
I am doing my best
We are doing our best
I committed you to this.
// not sure why this works
We’ll save money by outsourcing!
Thinking not needed, use template!
Just stick it in Excel
No one will do that.
We are writing legacy code
Sorry, your session timed out.
Is it a show stopper?

My Appreciations

2013. Definitely not a boring year. I want to appreciate the people who taught me so many things I already knew, but never understood.

I appreciate;

  • The AYE Quartet (Jerry , Esther , Johanna and Don) for the insight that people change one at the time.
  • Tom for his persistence, throughout this year, to remind me that a crisis is just the end of an illusion (Rhonda’s First Revelation)
  • Michael for teaching me projects should start on time, which is not equal to: as soon as possible. (AHA!)
  • Gerald for showing that you don’t have time, you make time. Thanks for listening to all my project war stories.
  • Darek, Reshma, Casper and Anouk for teaching me the best ingredient for successful project teams; professionals who love their job.

Looking forward to 2014.