Resources: Human

Here’s the problem’s root: I’m not fond of HR. It was created to maintain a fair and balanced and legal system of handling the people in an organization. It turned into an internal bureaucracy that punishes creativity, and awards mediocrity. Talk to the folk who work in HR – they will tell you tales that will curl your hair if straight.

There are a number of programs out there to side-step the perils of HR, among them Klick (see the book The Decoded Company). I am in awe of their processes and others. The concern I have is that they are defined and grown in a Petri dish. When they get out into the real world, there are problems.

For instance, I am working on a military base that requires an extensive background check to get clearance in troubling times. I’ve worked in this environment before. It is comfortable to me.

However, it is possible – even  probable – that a small segment of the population can clear the background check and still be totally inappropriate for the the job. Mostly in terms of on-the-job behaviors.

I speak from experience. In a former circumstance I worked with a man who had gone over the edge. He believed that his peers, especially me, were out to push him out of his job. His behavior became more and more erratic. This increased the reactions of those around him. And this justified his fears. Cycle a couple of times, and you know how weird it became.

HR could not deal with him. He had a clearance. He was working on sensitive projects. If identified as a risk, he also put at risk a lot of work that he had done (although his problems did not affect his work from my perspective). He could not be cycled out.

What do these programs offer to handle entrenched systems with logical flaws such as this one?


PM experience



Because I never took the time to get a PMP, I get a lot of questions about my credentials as a project manager. In other words, someone who took a test has more credibility than someone who has worked in the field for a number of years. It makes me (and many others like me) insane.

My first venture into project leadership was thirty years ago in Miami. I was asked to oversee a project to research and develop a touch-screen set of applications for IBM S/36’s for multiple repair shops for Ryder Truck Rental. My team had to research any ways of attaching a ruggedized touch screen to the systems, develop the applications using the technology, and roll out the solution to the many repair shops throughout the nation.

The success of that project lead to rolling out a management application network of AS/400’s to the 180 regional offices. My team had to work with IBM to understand how to get the machines to “auto-magically” self configure, load the applications, and attach to the network via modem. After that, the team remotely made changes to respond to unanticipated problems. The key was to have a core team in Miami who could deal with remote problems without having to fly technicians all over the country.

When I came up to Philadelphia, I ran a project to incorporate travel data from a number of airline systems into a database on AS/400 to make use of the query tools to inform our corporate clients on competitive rates, travel rule compliance, and any involvement with accidents or delays.

When the database outgrew the limited space available at the time, I ran a project to intelligently split the data into large chunks that could be addressed as one whole by relying on a trick (or “hack”) using a communications subsystem.

When I went into consulting, I ran dozens of projects to:

  • Modify existing software to fit into the corporate environment of many of our clients;
  • Set up new networks for clients;
  • Create web-sites for clients;
  • Develop specific applications to meet client needs;
  • Integrate new technology into existing client networks, e.g.:

o   OCR (optical character recognition);

o   PC replacement of green screen monitors;

o   Migrating to Ethernet;

o   Frequent upgrades;

  • Capacity planning and configuration of a world-wide network of AS/400s for a large bank;
  • Investigate Y2K vulnerabilities in jails, prisons, fire and police equipment, and schools; and
  • Migrate newly purchased subsidiaries to comply with corporate SAP requirements.

At Dell, I ran projects to:

  • Train teams in India to support the customer service operations;
  • Build sales operations dashboards;
  • Implement new non-domestic call centers; and
  • Implement marketing campaign roll-outs in IVR (interactive voice response) systems worldwide.

Back in Philadelphia, I’ve run a project to develop a searchable, user-friendly on-line database of regulatory warning letters.

So, I hope this small sampling of experience acts as credentials.

Journal: grateful 3 – math


Today I am grateful for mathematics, which has been the underpinning of my life. Letting people know that I love math frequently gives them the wrong impression. They think I like calculating and getting “the right answer.” That is not what math is.

Math is not about getting the right answer. Unfortunately, teaching math and grading students focuses on getting to the end of the calculation first and fastest. This technique is boring, frustrating, and generally useless. It teaches at best technique not substance.

No, math is not about getting the right answer; it is about asking the right questions. Think back on the math classes you were in. Who did well in those classes? The “smart” kids, right? And how did you know they were smart? Well, they got good grades, got the right answers, and behaved differently from most kids. They were alert, paid attention, and – you got it – asked a lot of questions.

They were unafraid to ask “dumb” questions. They were stoked with gaining knowledge. They were frequently told, “We’ll be dealing with that subject next (week or semester or in college etc.).” Yeah, I was one of them, and it was fun.

It is fun. It’s also hard, which makes the process more fun. I apply that world view to programming, process change, and walking down the street. I ask,

“Why did that happen?”

“Why do they continue to do it that way”

“Why can’t they improve this?”

“What if we did this?”

“How might we change things to get to this point?”

And so on. That is the math I love.

Journal: grateful 2

Today I am grateful for the members of our armed forces – past, present, and future. Also, their families and the support people, civilian and military, who keep them in top form.

As a result of their work, I have been able to spend a safe and happy day with my best friend. I made pancakes. We went for coffee. We walked and sat in the park. We had a bagel. There was nothing threatening our safety or comfort.

For all of that, I say, thank you. 

Journal: grateful

Today I am grateful for whoever taught me to trust and take a chance, believing that I can accomplish whatever I put my full mind into. As a result, we ended up in Philadelphia, a city I have come to love.

When we first came up here from Florida to Princeton, I didn’t know what I was getting into, but trusted that we could make the best of it. When an opportunity arose in downtown Philadelphia, I took it with a lot of apprehension. You see, for 38 years I lived in a small village, and despised cities. So, I thought I would be miserable in an urban setting. 

However, when we settled into the 24th floor of 18th & JFK, I found myself really enjoying the access to everything and the sheer vibrancy of city life. 

Now that we have returned after jaunts to Salt Lake City and Nashville, I am really grateful to be back.

An actual job posting you may not believe

I have edited out anything that would indicate where this originated. However, it is a message that was sent to me as a serious offering:


Our records show that you have experience relevant to one of my current openings.

Project / Program Manager (IS Project Manager Microsoft Deployment)
1 Month Contract
W2 Only


Please respond with a copy of your resume along with the rate you would require.

The IS Project Manager leads programs/projects from initiation to close within agreed constraints of time, budget and quality.   The PM ensures that programs / project meet intended objectives, establishes program governance, and ensures that business as well as IS stakeholders are appropriately engaged. The PM is responsible for risk management, is keenly aware of the benefits plan, and resolves or escalates identified risks and issues, as appropriate. The PM helps ensure that program and project teams adopt quality and compliance standards, policies and procedures, and supports project assurance activities. The role contributes to the development of a world-class project management capability through the promotion of best practice project management tools and methodologies. The resource is required to manage program/projects through agile or waterfall methodology.

Major Responsibilities:
·Status and progress report development; past accountabilities for the delivery of projects/programs on time, budget and quality expectations
·Scope definition and control 
·Customer Facing experience to as a primary point of contact for content agencies
·Experience managing multiple vendors to delivery timelines
Experience managing Change Programs for remote audiences. Change includes training and communications
·Working knowledge integrated systems 
·Working knowledge of Microsoft clients Win 7/8, o365, Microsoft 2013
·Experience managing issues, risks, assumptions and dependencies provide escalation where appropriate to enable visibility and resolution
·Identify / manage dependencies between projects (intra-program and across portfolio)
·Customer management; ensure that impact and changes resulting from projects/programs are effectively communicated to the business 
·Stakeholder management – responsible for steering / stakeholder meetings, communication of status, issues, risks.  Surface issues, risks that may impact intended outcomes, benefits, budget, scope, time. 
·Budget management: manage spend to plan, identify and execute opportunities for under/overspend
·Risk management:  Ensure effective risk management processes are in place and effectively used by work stream / project teams. Surface risks that may impact intended outcomes, benefits, budget, scope, time.   Effectively manage changes to project/program scope with appropriate governance
·Issue management across program:  Ensure effective issue management processes are in place and effectively used by work stream / project teams. Surface issues that may impact intended outcomes, benefits, budget, scope, time.   Effectively manage changes to project/program scope with appropriate governance
·Agile/Waterfall Methodology knowledge
·Communication plan, end user training documents build and delivery experience

Minumum Requirments:
·Evidence of delivering innovative solutions that have a major impact within the business area and organization
·Proven track record in delivering high risk program/projects and decision making
·Strong written and oral communication skills for a business facing audience
·Strong communication and relationship building skills
·Good stakeholder management and influencing skills
·Strong business engagement and business acumen with awareness of political/economic environment
·Experience working within a quality and compliance environment and application of policies, procedures and guidelines
·Experience with project change management/control processes
·Bachelor’s degree, preferably in Business or Information Systems

Preferred Background:
·Advanced degree
·Evidence of Pharmaceuticals acumen
·Large scale program management experience
·Cross-functional team experience
·Evidence of strong leadership
·Accomplished facilitation and negotiating skills

Secondary description:
Business Analyst acts to provide liaison support for IS projects that are critical to Commercial Operations Resource Allocation processes.
Serve as IS liaison between various stakeholders groups noted below

    • IS
      • Internal & external operations teams including Customer Service, Infrastructure, Architecture, IS leadership
    • Commercial Operations and core business functional areas:
      • Targeting & Alignment Directors and Managers
      • CRM business owners
      • Sales team leadership & support members
      • Insights and Analytics

Other Requirements to consider:
·         Critical needs:

  • Outstanding communication skills: written & verbal; understanding how to frame interactions appropriately toward the intended audience
  • Technical acumen – need not be a developer but exposure to and understanding of key concepts is required (SOA, data modeling, SQL, ETL etc.)
  • Ability to quickly grasp complex business processes and identify solution oriented opportunities
  • Ability to work independently and also to identify when to get help
  • Relationship management: ability to identify appropriate stakeholders and create value added relationships

Select form below to list as requirements or preferred Skills:
*** Consider adding a note to briefly describe the skill point specific to the role request:
 Core BA Analytical Skills:
Enterprise Analysis
Requirements Analysis
 Core Professional Skills:
Problem Solving
Customer Service
BPM: Business Process Management
Process Design
Transformation – Change Management
Driving Performance 

Business Acumen:
Pharmaceutical industry
Sales & Marketing
Database model / SQL
MS Office  / SharePoint

 If you are qualified, available, interested, planning to make a change, or know of a friend who might have the required qualifications and interest, please email me a copy of your latest resume, even if we have spoken recently about a different position. If you do respond via e-mail please include a daytime phone number so I can reach you.  In considering candidates, time is of the essence, so please respond ASAP.  Thank you.      

      Sincerely yours,
Note: Please allow me to reiterate that I chose to contact you either because your resume had been posted to one of the internet job sites to which we subscribe, or you had previously submitted your resume to Axelon. I assumed that you are either looking for a new employment opportunity, or you are interested in investigating the current job market.

If you are not currently seeking employment, or if you would prefer I contact you at some later date, please indicate your date of availability so that I may honor your request. In any event, I respectfully recommend you continue to avail yourself to the employment options and job market information we provide with our e-mail notices.
Thanks again.


I wrote back “Is this a joke?”


Just saw the new version of Godzilla. I’ll not review it, here, nor provide any spoilers. You probably know most of the plot before the opening credits, anyway.

The primary effect on me (besides all the subsonics) was the collapsing buildings. We know that Godzilla destroys cities. In the old rubber suit days, the buildings toppled over like the cardboard boxes they really were. Today, computer graphics can mimic real events: especially skyscrapers “pancaking” like the Twin Towers. 


It’s been 13 years, but the flattening buildings and resulting dust storm were still quite unsettling. If you see the film, let me know if those scenes had the same effect on you, too.

Journal: Smiley

The intelligence boys seems to be the real teenagers of the political world. Soldiers know they are walking targets, and thus vulnerable. The intelligence kids think they are indestructible and infinitely clever.


I’ve decided that LeCarre’s George Smiley is his interpretation of a British intelligence Hercule Poirot. 

Journal: Essentialism

Reading a few books: Essentialism; Unleashing the Second American Century; Excel Dashboards & Reports; A More Beautiful Question, Creativity, Inc.; and The Kickstarter Handbook.


Essentialism seems to be the most influential for now. I’m stripping down things to even more simplicity, which is amazing considering how much I have tossed out in the past few years. Still, feeling good about being less stretched out.

What barrier to your business or industry do you anticipate to be going away?

If a barrier to your business no longer exists, how will it affect your business? Will it allow you to grow more quickly? Or, will it remove a protective advantage that your business was hiding behind? Or, will it continue to be business as usual?

I am observing a business that had exclusive access to some very profitable product lines. The provider decided to allow other business to have the same access. It is causing chaos for the first company. They are scrambling to reinvent their business on the fly – no easy thing to do.

Have you witnessed similar occurences? What were the long-term consequences?