Project management anomalies: Death March

Some situations are often so common that they get a name. A friend of mine pointed me to this interesting Wikipedia article describing a “Death march” during a project:

In project management, a death march is a project where the members feel it is destined to fail, or requires a stretch of unsustainable overwork. The general feel of the project reflects that of an actual death march because the members of the project are forced to continue the project by their superiors against their better judgment.

(quote from Wikipedia)

It is creepy to find that some real-life situations are so common that they already have creepy names.


Colega psicopata ?

Um artigo interessante, sobre uma temática muitas vezes descurada: os psicopatas.

Infelizmente eles andam por toda a parte, não são um exclusivo dos filmes de hollywood …

Tenha estes sinais em atenção:

“9 Sinais de que o seu colega poderá ser psicopata”

Gamification of Education

Gamification is a very interesting concept for motivating individuals and teams for business objectives, by using concepts usualy found in games, and more specificaly in computer games. For example, I have been involved in the development of a tool for motivating contact center agents using leaderboards and KPIs.

I have stumbled upon this interesting video/lesson where these concepts are explored for educational purposes:

The following advantages over conventional education are interesting to think about:

  • faster failure feedback
  • retrying tests (faster learning with multiple oportunities to take tests)
  • more frequent tests

Fear of failure could be reduced with multiple chances to take a test, don’t you think ?

Coporate Psychopaths

Recent research has demonstrated that many psychopaths are in control of senior management positions.

“A surprising research has found out that there could be an increased number of psychopaths in high levels of businesses especially at senior managerial positions. This correlation has been demonstrated by a talented undergraduate Carolyn Bate, aged 22, of the University of Huddersfield.

According to Bate, her project was triggered when she read about research which showed that while one percent of population were categorized as psychopaths, the figure rose to three percent when it comes to business managers.”

Several authors have researched this topic, as the following references demonstrate it. Be aware of it.

  • Leadership and the rise of the corporate psychopath: What can business schools do about the ‘snakes inside’?
    • “Leadership styles are reviewed and reassessed given recent research that links
      destructive leadership behaviours exhibited by unscrupulous executives with traits commonly identified as indicators of corporate psychopathy.”
    • Destructive leadership and the rise of the corporate psychopath
      • exploration of the ‘dark side’ of leadership is equally critical because of the negative impact that these leaders have on
        • productivity (Ouimet, 2010),
        • employee morale (Boddy, 2011)
        • the financial performance of the organisation (Takala, 2010)
    • Psychopathy
      • Clinically, psychopathy is a disorder of the personality (Andrews & Furniss, 2009),
        involving a lack of empathy and attachment to other s, superficial charisma and charm,
        manipulation, and the violation of social norms (Hart, et al., 1994)
      • Put simply, people without a conscience or empathy may be categorised
        as psychopaths (Hare, 1999)
    • Corporate psychopaths
      • Searching to explain unethical, deviant and criminal executive behaviour, scholars haveidentified a number of corporate executive leaders that portray sub-clinical psychopathy traits,
      • Such leaders have been referred to in the literature as successful corporate
        psychopaths (or executive psychopaths, industrial psychopaths, organisational psychopaths, or organisational sociopaths) in an attempt to distinguish a psychopathic individual operating in
        business from other successful psychopaths
      • Successful corporate psychopaths have been characterised as
        • self-serving,
        • opportunistic,
        • ego-centric,
        • ruthless and
        • shameless, and yet who are also charming, manipulative and ambitious
  • Leaders without ethics in global business: Corporate psychopaths (Boddy, Ladyshewsky, & Galvin, 2010)
  • Psychopathy, intelligence and emotional responding in a non-forensic sample: an experimental investigation
    • “It may be the case that higher levels of intelligence facilitate the regulation of emotional responses in individuals with high levelsof psychopathy. Given that psychopaths have been demonstrated to be capable of regulating their GSRs (Steinberg & Schwartz,1975), these individuals may
      understand and be able to reproduce normative physiological responses to
      evocative stimuli, which could facilitate their remaining undetected in wider
      society. Thus, our findings may have implications for understanding the phe-
      nomenon of corporate psychopaths (Boddy, Ladyshewsky, & Galvin, 2010)”
  • Boddy, C. R. (2011). The corporate psychopaths theory of the global financial crisis. Journal of Business Ethics, 102(2), 255-259.
  • Boddy, C. R. (2010). Corporate psychopaths and organizational type. Journal of Public Affairs, 10(4), 300-312.