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Archive for May, 2010

I dare say that I have created a number of good PowerPoint presentations.  At least according to the feedback I received from the audience.  And I am working to become better, i.e., create even better presentations – if I really have to use PowerPoint.  Still, my skepticism about the value of PowerPoint has been growing for some time now.  Maybe it is because I witnessed so many PowerPoint presentations which were sooooo bad and boring that you didn’t really have a choice but to dislike PowerPoint.  Then, on the other hand I witnessed some great presenters who made use of PowerPoint.  But differently.  One of the things I have seen more and more in good PowerPoint presentations is the use of simple photos which little if any text.  Pecha Kucha presentations serve as an example.

Still, bottom line:  if you can, don’t become a slave of PowerPoint; instead, try to carry your message across without any digital aids.  On this token, have a look at Lee Cockerell’s blog post:
One of the comments states:  “... the program [PowerPoint] does come in handy when the goal is not imparting information, as in briefings for reporters. The news media sessions often last 25 minutes, with 5 minutes left at the end for questions from anyone still awake. Those types of PowerPoint presentations […] are known as “hypnotizing chickens”.”

Remember the saying, “A tool with a fool is still a fool“.  It applies to the use of PowerPoint, too.  So, if you think just because you are apt using PowerPoint and claim to be a good presenter, think again.  If you cannot tell your story without PowerPoint, chances are, you are not such a good presenter after all.

If you do have to use PowerPoint or are expected to do so, become knowledgeable of the immense technical features of PowerPoint.  But again, don’t become a slave.  PowerPoint is a tool and should remain as such.  There are quite a few good books on PowerPoint.  Two of them I’d like to recommend:

(1) “The Say It With Charts Complete Toolkit” by Gene Zelazny.

This is considered one of the standards for learning how to create good presentations – with or without digital aids.

(2)”Slide: ology:  The Art and Science of Presentation Design” by Nancy Duarte.

This book reveals the huge potential of the right use of PowerPoint.

These are great books.  Still, never ever forget the potential perils of PowerPoint.  Becoming a greater presenter and speaker doesn’t require to master PowerPoint.  If, however, you do have to use PowerPoint, you better master PowerPoint, too.

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If you are interested or alreaday practicing agile project management Michele Sliger’s and Stacia Broderick’s book “The Software Project Manager’s Bridge to Agility” (Addison Wesley, 2008)  is a must-read.

There are a LOT of books on agile project management out there. Unfortunately, there are hardly any which explain how to build a bridge from traditional to agile project management. This books fills this gap.
One of the outstanding features of the book is that it explains how Agile differs from the PMBOK, one of the world standard in project management these days. Even more important it shows that Agile is not contradictory to the PMBOK or vice versa. It thus succeeds building the much needed bridge for traditionalists.

Readers who have read about Scrum, XP and other agile approaches are highly recommended to read Michele Sliger’s and Stacia Broderick’s book. The modern and effective project manager should be knowledgeable and experienced in both approaches and be able to pick the right approach for the customer.

I highly recommend this book.

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