3 March 2010

On project management blogging

When I started this blog there were only a couple of dozen project blogs around. Now it seems like I discover a couple of dozen a day!

And many of us are talking around the same themes and ideas. For example, many of us rail against bureaucracy or bloated control processes at the expense of the team’s motivation, enthusiasm and desire to get things done.

Frankly, I have to question myself about the value of this blog today. Am I still contributing, or is this space just another part of the internets noise?

Way back when this blog was in it’s infancy I decided to focus on the role of the business analyst rather than on project management, to provide it some sort of differentiation from the project blogs that were already out there. But today there are plenty of outstanding BA blogs.

And my focus has broadened beyond my initial focus into scrum and technical pm practices, mainly because these are the things I am working on and thinking about as I go.

So, what’s in it for me these days?

I don’t seek to monetise this blog (although I have added some affiliate links) and I haven’t tried to leverage my online reputation in my day job.

On the other hand I do get to engage in some interesting discussions with my peers around the world, which I don’t get to do with my peers in the building. And by engaging in a professional community I get to learn.

I also force myself to articulate ideas in relatively clear language, which for me is important. I haven’t yet tackled the really important discussion – which is about dialogue with sponsors and stakeholders. Sometimes I think the project blogging community is all about project teams talking to themselves in a closed environment. That’s not really what we are about.

Sometimes I also think that the PM and BA blogs are operating in two different worlds. One a couple of occasions I have asked questions in PM and BA forums what the readers think about the other role, but usually just get a generic answer that, at least to me, says the answers aren’t really thinking about the potential conflict and collaboration embedded in the partnership.

14 comments:

  1. Craig, I share your sentiments as well. Blogging has gotten real big and how do we keep up with the best. As for BA and PM, I try to write about both.

    George Bridges
    www.allpm.com

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  2. Craig, I still read your blog with a great interest mainly because of your personal opinion than the information you share.

    There are really too many blogs on PM and this is the reason I stopped writing in my blog - I don't think I have anything different to say. Maybe it will be more interesting to share more practical experience and personal thoughts than just theoretical knowledge.

    I am still thinking upon it...

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  3. Craig,

    Blogs come, blogs go. I remember a few which I enjoyed reading but there are no more. I really miss a couple of them. But this is how things look like.

    Personally I prefer blogs with a longer history behind and those with some personal flavor - not multi-author mash-ups which are quite popular these days. You qualify in both categories.

    Mike,

    Personally I miss your blog. Maybe we're all talking about the same things but how we talk does matter.

    I write about things I see all around. You can tell what kind of projects I work on and what kind of tools I use. I learn along with my readers. This is what keeps me running all these time.

    I can't imagine me writing about some theoretical concepts I find but have no real opinion about. I either touch something in my real life or don't write about it on the blog.

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  4. Craig, I having a similar conversation another day about project managers and BAs operating in separate worlds both in real life and on online communities.

    I'm a business analysis consultant and have a monthly column at Bridging the Gap (http://briding-the-gap.com, a website for business analysts), but I also make an effort to surround myself with people from other disciplines (project managers, developers, executives) both on and offline. I created an invitation-only group in LinkedIn called "BA Clubhouse" in which only half the participants are actually business analysts.

    I find it extremely valuable to learn the perspectives from different stakeholders and project members, and your blog definitely contributes to this conversation. I hope you will keep sharing your thoughts and experiences with us!

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  5. Ahh Mike, I remember the days. I am with pawel. It's how you deliver the message as well as what you say.

    And thanks Adriana and George for the support. I read your stuff also.

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  6. I agree - there are many blogs out there, including mine :). I blog for myself mostly. To articulate my thoughts, to learn from what I'm doing and struggling with and to (hopefully) in a year or so be able to look back and see how far I've come and how much I have learnt.
    I also use my blog in my company to show others how certain principles can be applied to daily life not just office life. Inspect and adapt when something is not working 100%. Failure is not only acceptable but almost always a learning experience. In this way I hope others will be encourage to fail publicly and show how it taught them something new and wonderful :)

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  7. This particular Q applies for many blogs not just project management or BA.

    As blogging becomes a trend amongst people there are some that genuinely blog while others who do it for other reasons like SEO boost for their business or coolness factor or some such. Sometimes they are backed by companies and can get really funky themes, hosted, big blogger guest posts etc..

    I think that at the end of the day, its how you write the stuff. The angles, depth, insights and if you mean what you blog, then it comes across and that is important.

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  9. Craig.

    We are the music makers and we are the dreamers of the dreams.

    Don't stop. We are a collective community. Our indutry thrives from people like us taking the time to document our thoughts and ideas about how to improve PM and BA. There are many pro blogges out there. But, they are pros which means they are including making money as part of their purpose.

    There are many reasons to blog. I think yours are respectable. I'll keep reading.

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  10. Heya Craig! I think it's always important to challenge ourselves in terms of why we do the things we do.

    However, I think you do yourself a disservice when you imply that you're just another voice in the din. It's true there's lots of project management blogs out there, but that just means there's lots of opinions out there.

    Many of us do talk about similar things, but though the topics may be the same, there's always a little different flavour to the views on them. We need those distinctions because that's how we make connections.

    I think your blog is fabulous and with such a long history behind it, it would be a shame to let your legacy of dedicated posts be swallowed up by the surge of others' chatter.

    Whatever you decide, thanks so much for all you done for us!!!

    Geoff Crane
    http://edge.papercutpm.com

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  11. Thanks Geoff. I don't think I am quitting, but I have slowed down a little in the last few months.

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  12. Well, these days it could be a matter of who doesn't have a blog these days.

    For me, it was a place to get out my opinions on things that can't always be said in daily company. I find I am posting less lately, having expressed myself out, so to speak.

    One thing not mentioned in this discussion: twitter. I use it to follow people whose blogs I like to read, and usually tweet when they have a new post, like Craig here.

    Finally, monetizing your blog is next to impossible if you write about PM or BA or general IT topics.

    However, it was my blog that led to IAG Consulting contacting me about a position, which I now enjoy; so, you never know...

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