Big(ish) update

It’s been one helluva year. Lean back and listen like a six-year-old getting a bedtime story of Moby Dick proportions. And if you’re like: “Who the hell is this, and why did I get this letter, simmer down and I’ll catch you up to speed. It’s been a while (eight months to be exact, because your dear little Rachel was anchor deep in apprenticeship program development).

tl;dr: We’ve been doing stuff and now you’re going to get some helpful stuff for free.

In short order, here’s what’s been keeping us busy:

Last year, to prove a point about the effects of sleep deprivation and, at alternating frequencies, a wrist brace and those yellow UV glasses you get on Amazon, I developed 500+ pages of project management curriculum and refined another 300+ pages of templates, guides, and references to support apprentices in their quest to smooth out operations and project management workflows. Okay, I didn’t do this single-handedly, my team is pretty rad. But the jokes are mine.

  • We launched four Louder Than Ten cohorts, are sending our second into the world as graduates this September, and are now filling the fifth (only a few spots left for our September class, little birdies)
  • We stuck to our principle of hiring people smarter than us and brought on our second trainer, the indubitable Abby Fretz while working heads down on the training for trainers manual for 23 weeks straight (that’s a lie, I’m still on week 20). PS: She’s a beekeeper!
  • We distilled our project management manifesto down to ten core elements but we go up to eleven so that last one is a top priority (stay tuned)
  • Because we know that great PM is the clincher in a zero margin armageddon (Project leads are lifesavers in times of strife), we’re building a roadmap for how they can help organizations overcome the pressure of lower margins and higher demands as global productivity flattens out using simple systems loops and some powerful scripts
  • We built Nimber for our agency and creative team partners and their apprentices! It’s a big picture rate card and estimating tool that helps client service orgs grow more intentionally as the downward pressure of automation clamps hold. If you’re lucky, we’ll invite you to the beta (more soon)
  • Plus, after four iterations, we’ve learned a ton about how to optimize the remote apprenticeship model, and are making some adjustments so it works even better: We’re nearly ready to share an apprenticeship guide for employers to set up an environment that supports them and their learners We’re smoothing out our learning management system flow, improving notifications, and consolidating our resources and templates so they’re easy to share We also launched some remote workshops to support team alignment as an add-on to the program Not only that, we relaunched our apprenticeship page and are building out a diagnostic to help employers assess the health of their project management workflows so they can weep for joy as their apprentices help them improve their profitability over the year
  • Oh yeah, and if your eyeballs are still focusing: I’m prepping for an upcoming keynote at the DPM Summit on alignment, the magical word that allows you and your team to strip away the BS and do great work together

Things I’ve been thinking about

Third Industrial Revolution

A compelling talk featuring economist Jeremy Rifkin.

Yes: Focusing on networks and infrastructure.

No: It’ll be simple to create decentralized networks that solve all our problems’ Rifkin seems to leave out that added layer of considering the frightening impact of repressive colonial systems threatened by this massive revolution and that leaves a gaping question mark about efficacy.

But: We win when we reroute or write over those old systems and we now have the energy, the communication technology, and the transportation systems (and mass adoption) to do all of it. What project would you take on? What problem would you solve? Me? All this smoke in the Pacific NW.

Co-ops for Tech

Dev Society, a company partner who recently put their PM, Laura, through our program, transformed into a technology co-op and decided to make their employees part owners in their company. Then they joined a collective in the UK last year. This system could work well in North America (maybe better with complementary service offerings) and if anyone has gone through the process and what this would look like if smart, well-intentioned folks in this industry bonded together. How would you build it?

In front of your eyeballs

Where the future of the design agency is headed according to Blair Enns:

A three-part plan to save the world:

“If success for the business means harm for the system, every individual contributing to that success is doing harm.”

In your earholes

Some of the best songs were written about work. We made you a playlist:

The big(ish) news

The most important thing we never told you is this:

We’ve gathered up some bite-sized information nuggets based on our curriculum and we’re sharing them over the course of the next six weeks like a saucy IV drip. The first topic is one dear to my little thumper (that’s heart for the rest of you): Alignment—specifically, alignment between the you who brings in the projects (aka, sales) and the you who runs them (aka, project managers) so you can run healthier, more profitable projects in your orgs. So if you’re not sick of gazing at this bizarre yet wholly mesmerizing email, do nothing, and we’ll send you six more. Then we might do it again another time.


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