IASA / NYCJava – thanks for having us by!

Jenny and I had a great time doing our “Why Projects Fail” talk at a joint meeting between the International Association of Software Architects and NYC Java SIG (a couple of announcements) at the Microsoft office in midtown Manhattan last night. (Fun trivia fact: my first job out of college was in the same building, working as a programmer at EMI-Capitol Records.) It was an after-work session, so we’d only expected to spend half an hour or forty-five minutes, but we got so many great questions from people that we kept going until the folks at Microsoft had to close down the meeting room.

Why Projects Fail presentation screenshot

We promised to upload the slides and post a couple of links, so here they are. Here’s the PowerPoint presentation [PPT] and a PDF version [PDF].You guys asked great questions — some of the best we’ve ever gotten at one of our talks. Here are a few of the answers that we promised:

  • A few of you had questions about estimation, specifically the Wideband Delphi process that we’ve had a lot of success with. You can read about it in Chapter 3 of our first book, Applied Software Project Management— here’s a link to a PDF of the chapter [PDF]. We give a pretty detailed description of exactly how to hold a Wideband Delphi meeting, and how you can use it on your own projects to improve how they’re estimated.
  • One person brought up a really good point about integration, and how that’s an important failure point that gets neglected, and we mentioned that we’d post a link to an article we wrote for Dr. Dobb’s Journal on integration testing called “Better, Stronger, Faster Integration Testing: Giving developers a personal stake in software quality.”
  • I think a lot of the questions near the end of the talk about open source projects were answered in our ONLamp.com article called “What Corporate Projects Should Learn from Open Source”. Also, here’s a link to the “What Makes Open Source Projects Work” presentation I gave last January at the SD Best Practices India 2007 conference.
  • No, we don’t have an official release date for “Head First C#” yet, but we’re definitely making good progress on it. Keep watching this blog — as soon as O’Reilly has an official release date for it, we’ll post about it. And yes, it is really fun to write a Head First book.
  • After the talk, a few people asked about our availability to come in and do training. Our consulting schedule is a little tight because of our pretty aggressive writing schedule for O’Reilly, but we do have some availability. You can use our “Contact Us” page to get in touch with us about consulting and speaking — serious inquiries only, please.

We’re always happy to answer questions about anything we talk or write about. Feel free to get in touch with us any time!

Free Practice PMP Exam!

When Andrew and I were studying for the PMP® exam, we were really surprised to see how few free resources were out there. It was hard to find a good PMP practice exam that wasn’t an advertisement for a really expensive course or that didn’t require that you buy a book of questions, a cd, or some online class. It bothered us that there weren’t a lot of options out there for people who just wanted to study, without making a major investment.

That’s why we created a 200 question, free PMP practice exam and worked with our partners at O’Reilly to set up free forums to help our readers ace the exam. We do our best to read and respond to questions there and keep the discussions alive.

You can download the test here: http://www.headfirstlabs.com/PMP/free_exam/

When we created the exam, we closely followed the Project Management Professional (PMP®) Examination Specification. It’s is a little harder than the questions in the book, and it’s meant to closely mimic the real thing.

If you’re looking to take the PMP soon, please download it and give it a whirl. If you have any questions, feel free to talk to us in the PMP General Discussion Forum. And if you get some time to write questions and help other people study, that’s even better.

Good luck!

We’re back!

It’s been a while since you’ve heard from me or Jenny! Did you miss us?
Okay, so first of all, for those of you who were concerned that we might be really bored or something, don’t worry — we’ve been keeping busy. We spent about nine solid months working on our second book. And it paid off — Head First PMP is out on the shelves, and we’ve already got some great feedback about it!

Head First PMP

So we’re back. And now that we’re not spending every waking minute working on PMP, we’ve got time to write about all that good stuff you love to read about. Keep your eyes open for new posts. Also, you may notice a slight change in our style. (Once you start writing Head First, it’s hard to stop!) And definitely don’t be shy — you can always get in touch with us on the Head First Labs forum for Head First PMP.