Values and Principles

Valuesprinciples or standards of behaviour; one’s judgement of what is important in life. (Oxford Dictionaries)

Values are important because you’re more likely to succeed if you believe in what it is you’re doing.

Principlesa fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behaviour or for a chain of reasoning. (Oxford Dictionaries)

Principles are important because they remove ambiguity when making decisions and help people to understand where they stand within an organisation.

Two pretty good examples of this are Toyota and 37signals, although values and principles are often interwound. I love the way 37signals highlight theirs on the front page of their website!


Definition of an Expert

A very knowledgeable colleague once explained to me what an expert is…

An ‘ex’ is a has-been and a ‘spurt’ is a drip under pressure

Is Enterprise Architecture the answer?

The thing I find hard about project management is knowing it’s just a small piece of a much bigger puzzle. Projects can slot into programmes which slot into portfolios, they can slot straight into portfolios or they can just ‘be’. The idea is that all of these things combine to meet the needs of your organisational strategy which helps you to achieve your organisational mission. Pop quiz, can you recall your organisational mission? How much is lost in translation throughout various departments?

Messy doesn’t even come close, but help is at hand. I’ve recently been introduced to Enterprise Architecture (EA) and I’m hooked–I know I’m a little late but what can you do. I’ve never had the opportunity to apply EA but the idea is that it can help senior managers deliver business and organisational change by making sense of everything that’s going on. As Tom Graves so elequently puts it:

Things work better when they work together, with clarity, with elegance, on purpose.

Easier said than done of course but the ideas and techniques have proven useful to a range of JISC projects I’ve been working with. I’m developing a ‘briefing paper’ style document at the moment to help raise awareness of EA which I’ll share in due course but for now recommend the following documents/resources:

  • Everyday EA by Tom Graves (as mentioned above).
  • Doing EA (TechWatch 2009).
  • Unleasing EA (TechWatch 2009).
  • If you’re thinking about creating an EA you’ll need a framework e.g. TOGAF or Zachman.
  • You’ll also need a modelling tool e.g. Archi (free).


I recently attended a workshop on ‘Influencing and Negotiating’. It was a really good day and one of the topics it focused on was ‘Persuasion’. If you’ve never come across them then I’d thoroughly recommend taking a look at Cialdini’s six principles of influence, which all draw people towards making a decision.  The six principles of influence are:

  1. Liking.
  2. Reciprocity.
  3. Social proof.
  4. Commitment and consistency.
  5. Authority.
  6. Scarcity.

I was going to write a summary but David Godot does a much better job across at Chicago Psychology. See ‘Robert Cialdini’s 6 Principles of Influence Cheatsheet‘ for more information. On a lighter note, check out the video below. Which principle do you think applies here? :-)

What is project management?

I’ll no doubt revisit this question many times throughout the lifetime of this blog. For now I’ll settle on the two things that immediately jump out at me, ‘change’ and ‘common sense’.

Projects bring about change and project management is recognised as the most efficient way of managing such change. (APM)

…project management is not a ‘black art’, nor does it need to be a minefield of jargon and bureaucracy.  Most of project management is plain, common sense… (JISC infoNet)