Monday, June 29, 2009

Lead by Example

In our Marriage Bible study last night we had great discussions.

One was about how our marriages lead by example: our marriage is an example for others. It can either be a good example or a poor one. I'm working to make ours is a good one and I'm going to pray about that.

I was thinking this morning about the Bible. I've been reading it for a long time each day. I've read through the whole Bible. I was thinking about someone I know who is an English teacher and someone I talked to just last night who was talking about a child who needs help with sentence structure, grammar and spelling. My sentence structure, grammar and spelling were not very good for years. But, I noticed as I read the Bible more, my English improved. So, in addition to being God's living word, the Bible has also helped me with my English. It's been a great example to me.

I also was thinking this morning how Jesus is an example to us (Philippians 2:5-7). As Christians, we are examples to others. We are examples to our Children too. I'm going to ask God to help me be a better example! God will show me the way. Here are some great verses about that: Psalm 143:8 , Psalm 25:4, Proverbs 3:5-6. Now, that's encouragement!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Chime In: How do you Sell the Value of PM?

Chime in by commenting on this blog post.

I was recently involved in a discussion about how we could sell Project Management. What is the value? What is the ROI? What are the benefits?

How do you sell it? How do you convince people of the value?

We were speaking in the context of selling the value of a PMO, but maybe many of the same points could be applied to selling Project Management.

Can you provide some stories about how you've sold PM (or a PMO) to management?

Here are some related articles and websites of interest:

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day on this 100th Anniversary of Father's day

It's the 100th anniversary of Father's day today!

My dad is 86. I was trying to think of something for him. I've asked him in the past what he'd like and even have given him ideas. He says he doesn't need anything. I used to give him film for his camera, he always loves taking photos. But, now he has a digital camera, so there's no need for film anymore. For the past few years we used to take him to a baseball game. He liked being with everyone, but he was never a big sports fan. And this year, the weeks of rains have put a damper on that idea.

I know that he has just about everything he needs in the way of "things." I realized what he would really like is to be with people! So, we had him here to be with everyone today. He enjoys that. I also wrote him a nice long letter about all I'm thankful to him for. He enjoyed that too.

The Bible gives us the ten commandments and the first command with a promise (see Ephesians 6:2) is the one "honor your father and mother..." that includes something along the lines (Henry Will paraphrase here) " that you may live long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you."
Well, I hope I honored my dad today. I hope I've honored him with my life too.

Dad's are important, they are family leaders, in one way or the other - whether they want to be or not.

I'm a dad too. I hope I'm a good leader and example.

I think we all need to take the time to build up some dads we know and encourage them to be better fathers. For those of us who are fathers, that's probably best done by example.

Internalizing the music, strum paterns&grooves, and Homegrown Tomatoes

Internalizing Music
Ok, so I've been learning recently from Jeff (and I've been told this before) that I need to internalize the music. I have to have it in my head and heart first so I can play it back internally and then start to play it.

I've been doing this with guitar since I started learning last year. Now, I have to do this with drums too.

You need to know the song pretty well and get to know your part in it. You need to know it well enough to play it back in your hear before you start playing. This helps you to start playing it correctly. It reminds me of the luge competitors or skiing competitors in the olympics; you see them rehearsing the course in their heads just before they go down the slope.

Strum Patterns and Drum Grooves

The basic idea is to get to know the intro and how the instrument you play sounds. For drums, it's listening to a key part in the intro, maybe the guitar, to find the pattern. For example, maybe the guitar is playing a strum pattern that matches the drum groove to a certain extent. The rest of the song has grooves to learn too, but usually if you learn the start, the rest will follow along.

From playing the guitar (acoustic electric), I know that a lot of strumming is moving your hand up and down corresponding to the beat: it could be the quarter notes or eighth notes or even sixteenth notes. But, while moving your hand up and down, you only touch the strings some of the movements. So, the strumming ends up having a unique "beat" for the song. Sometimes the drums follow this "beat" or groove.

Home Grown Tomatoes

So, this brings me to "Home Grown Tomatoes," a song by Guy Clark. One of the family friendly radio stations here ( has a morning show where they play this song around this time of the year and combine it with lots of humor. It's a fun little song. I just showed it to my dad on youtube yesterday and decided, "hey, why shouldn't I learn to play it." I looked it up and found that it only has 3 chords. Today I played it for my dad, family, and extended family who came here for Father's day. I'm hoping to learn it well enough to play at the Independence day picnic we're invited to this year. I need to work on internalizing it. (now I've come full circle)

Plans for the week (report)

Goals for this week:
  • God: spend time talking to God, asking for guidance, and praying for folks
  • Family: Set aside time for Wife and each child
  • Encouragement: Blog that story I have
  • Work Tasks: Project Management Review this week
  • Career Development: Another update for the internal PM Certification
  • Social Networking: Start a blog post about an intro to facebook
  • Music: start to internalize song "All Because Of Jesus" (Drums) and review the other ones, blog on recent learning, practice, internalize "Homegrown Tomatoes" on guitar (work on a faster transition to the "C" chord, learn the lyrics by memory)
  • House: finish install of new pool liner
  • Garden: If it stops raining this week, get grass cut
  • Finances: Start shifting plans toward paying for college and next year's wedding
  • : Track webmaster work (so it can be transitioned to someone else), Post the podcasts that are ready to be posted
  • Extended Family: work to understand dad's gigantic family tree
  • Self: prepare to remember those who serve and enjoy memorial day weekend
Sounds ambitious for one week. But, let's reach for the stars!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

How to Plan and Lead a Family Reunion

[note: I may update this with more information every now and then, but for now, here's a good first bunch of information]

Our family, the Will family, has had family reunions since I can remember. I remember as a child going to Grandma and Grandpops house for the reunion. We had root beer in a keg with ice all around it, my Aunt Martha running games, dancing to records (I remember Chubby Checkers "Twist" record playing so many times in the heat that it warped right on the record player), and watermelon.

So, you'd think we'd be pros by now, and I think we all are. For some reason we stopped having them after about the year 2000. Lately, several of my cousins and family have been saying we should have one again. So, I took the lead and worked with a bunch of family members and we got it together.

Our family must be the best at having family reunions because it really was very simple. I think because we've done it so long, we make it easy. Here are some pointers to a great family reunion and then I'll share some fun pictures from our day today.
  1. Best tip: Have everyone bring their own stuff (their own food, drinks, paper plates, plasticware, cups, etc.) and one item to share. This makes it so easy because everyone takes care of themselves and there is so little care for the planner!
  2. Rent a local picnic place - Then you don't have to pay too much for an expensive place. And, your not imposing on a family member. We just had my dad talk to his town and rented the picnic pavilion. It was a great place and was pretty inexpensive compared to many family reunions.
  3. Have a few conference calls to plan - we had a few conference calls in advance (we used
  4. Use emails to get the word out - we used a yahoogroup (
  5. Get volunteers to help - I had some great relatives who did things like sending out announcements, calling relatives, making name tags, setting up the games, making signs
  6. Plan a schedule for the day - Print it so people have it. Make it approximate to allow for flexibility
  7. Bring Family Photos - people love to see them
  8. Announce a core time of the day when most events will be held
The Day of the Reunion:
  1. Have someone start the BBQ grills early - if you're using charcoal, have someone start the grills in advance and set up the tables, put plastic table clothes on tables, etc.
  2. Bring the family tree - have people update it, and bring forms for them to enter informaion on
  3. Make announcements - let everyone know at least a few minutes in advance what's going to happen next
  4. Insist eveyone wears a nametag - this is such a big help. I still don't know the names of lots of relatives
  5. Give lots of free time - Let people talk and get to know each other
  6. Play some games for all ages - Let the young be with the old
  7. Do a mixer game - find a mixer game that get's people mix and meet others they don't know
  8. Announce Photo time ahead of time - let people know they need to let you know about an hour in advance before they want to leave so you can get everyone in a photo
A few other fun things we did
  • My sister and niece made a pinata
  • We always play bingo - everyone just brings a few "prizes" - almost everyone can play
  • We had a copy of the family tree that people could makes notes on
  • We had a sign-in sheet so people
  • We had a dessert competition. Everyone voted for their favorite. We gave certificates and took pictures of the first, second, and first place winners. We collected and traded recipies. Eveyone elso who brought a desert won honorable mention and got in the photo.
  • We always have family photos of each of the oldest siblings (oldest Generation), then their children, then their grandchildren, then their great-grandchildren, etc. This year we had 4 generations. We also take a photo of everyone. Then we take photos of each of the oldest siblings families.
  • We played the White Elephant game (also known as Yankee Swap) - or

Some family reunion websites:

Pictures of our reunion today

4th Generation:

Everyone that came:

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Remember Tomorrow

I posted this phase on my facebook status yesterday: "Remember Tomorrow."

My brother responded asking how can you remember tomorrow when is hasn't come yet.

I responded:

Well, it could be to "Remember to think about tomorrow" or it could be "Try to Remember some specific or non-specific thing tomorrow" or it could be "tomorrow: remember"

I saw this in a note some random guy had on his website that I stumbled on while searching for something for work. He said he kept it posted in his office and had lots of ... Read Morequestions about it.

I think there might be a Christian interpretation: " Remember tomorrow" might be another way of saying: We have hope, remember what God says he will do tomorrow. We have an eternal God who is working now and will do greater things in the future! HOPE! Now, that's encouragement!

Hebrews 11:1-3

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Tips for those looking for a job

I've been to many networking meetings. Recently (in April) and then last night I went to two special networking meetings. The first one, at my Alma mater NJIT, was their first speed networking event and it was for alumni to help students. The second one, last night, was a networking meet-up for the Professional Services Group out of the local unemployment office (I'm an alumn there).

I like to go to these because, while networking always has value, I believe we add value when there are people attending who are employed. They bring a different viewpoint.

Here are my suggestions to those looking for a job (I shared many of these ideas with the people at these networking sessions):
(note: if you don't read the books first, you won't get the full value of the remaining points)
  • Read "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie - apply it to all your encounters, and especially to those who you network with and interview with. You'll find this book at your public library most likely
  • Read "Never Eat Alone" by Keith Ferrazzi - great book how how to network
  • Always offer something (reference: "Free Prize Inside" by Seth Godin) to the people you are talking to. It's sort of the Golden Rule: treat people as you want to be treated. You need to be giving in order to receive. Example: when you talk to someone, don't say "I need a job" instead say "I am looking for a company where I can offer my talents and where I can increase their profit by..."
  • Join the Etp Network ( it's free. Get involved. Great value!
  • Always work on the "warm" network: The "Warm" network is composed of people who know each other, rather than a "cold" connection. Eexample of a cold connection: when you send a copy of your resume to someone you don't know for a job on a job board or job ad. Examples of the warm network: Try to find someone who can find you a contact in the company you're interviewing for (or that you want to join). Use linkedin for this if you must.
  • It's a numbers game: Make as many contacts as you can. Sooner or later, one will lead to a job. Don't be discouraged if a contact doesn't work out, just move on to the next contact. When you talk to people, ask if they can recommend at least 2 people you can talk to, not about a job, but just to ask them questions, just to practice talking to people, and maybe to find out if you can help them. This will build your network. Sooner or later you'll find someone to help you. Most jobs are found through networking and there was a study I read about recently that said that most jobs found by acquainances, not from people you know real well. So, make as many contacts as you can. Mention what you can offer in a job situation (rather than what you need) to each person so it's clear, then move on to talking about them (not you).
  • Build relationships: Example: When you're networking or on an interview, try to find out something about the person (their passion or hobby or interest) and start asking them questions about it. Time will pass quickly. The conversation will become more friendly. You'll make a friend instead of someone with a business card. You'll have a future contact. Note: there was a study I read about recently that asked managers to rate reasons that they would hire or promote someone. More than half rated "liking someone" higher than any other criteria (including qualifications) that they would use to decide if someone got a raise or were hired.
  • Increase you EQ: In light of the above, do some research on the Emotional Quotient (EQ) - this is a recent "hot topic" that expresses how much more important it is to get along with people than it is to have a high IQ
  • Don't dismiss anyone as "not a good contact" - while talking to some people, I used to think to myself "They're not even in my industry, this isn't going to be a helpful contact." Later I examined my thinking and realized that anyone you talk with is a powerful person to know. Why? Because you might be able to help them! That in itself is a noble cause! In addition, by helping them, they may feel they owe you something and help you out at some point. Or, maybe you can't help them and they can't help you, but maybe later the relationship might be helpful, or maybe one of you know someone who might be helped or help one of you. There is some value in every person you meet.
  • Allow people to be in debt to you - Here's a concept that not many people talk about. Take someone to lunch, work for their company as a volunteer, or give them some information they need. They may in turn "Pay it forward" (i.e. help someone else in return) or they may help you in return.
The Bible quotes Jesus as saying "Give and it will be given to you..." Luke 6:38
I firmly believe in this concept of giving. It doesn't always come back the same way, but you'll be taken care of.

God's best to you on your job search!

Friday, June 05, 2009

Pushing a Rock

The last bunch of days at work have been very busy, but I don't feel that I accomplished much.

Did you ever have days/weeks like that?

I'm reminded of physics class in school. The teacher told us that if you push a rock all day, but it doesn't move, you've done no work. Our class argued that point, but the teacher always wins :)
We argued that if you pushed all day, you'd get pretty tired and you would have sweated a lot. The teacher didn't budge, just like the rock.

Well, I've felt like I've been pushing a rock today. I sure was busy all day, but I'm not sure the rock moved!

Sometimes you work hard at something and you feel like you didn't accomplish much at all. But, you don't find out until later that you actually accomplished something good.

I was trying to think about how this is like God's kingdom and remembered that Jesus told a story about some people who were later surprised to find out that they accomplished something good. Jesus told the story of the people who said "when did we help you?" and Jesus replied "when you did it for the least person, you did it for me." (note: that's the Henry Will paraphrase).
Here's the Bible reference: Matthew 25: 39-40.

So, be encouraged! You're efforts for good will eventually pay off!