The 4 Most Common Software Project Management Mistakes

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Good software project management is key to any company’s new software launch or project roll out. Unfortunately, there are times when common mistakes crop up and derail a project, or cause significant and costly setbacks. Over the course of the last year I’ve written extensively on the topic – and offered solutions to the four most common software project management mistakes. Read more about it, and gather some insight to help you get your next software project off the ground smoothly, in the following publications:

Manufacturing Business Technology

New Equipment Digest

Industrial Equipment News


Information Management

Hotel Business


Avoid Becoming a Victim of a High-Tech Attack

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Business professionals often put themselves at risk for cyber attacks without even realizing it. For example, I once had a situation where, “an immigration attorney requested that an external software team create a form on his WordPress website that would allow potential clients to upload scans of their passports and drivers’ licenses.” Obviously the security ramifications of this were huge – but they hadn’t thought anything of it. Too many professionals don’t put cyber security considerations first, and they end up paying the price later on.

You can read more about how to avoid becoming a cyber attack victim and how to stop putting yourself at risk in my article for ISE Magazine.

Vice Chief Digital Officer Drops Opinions and F-Bombs

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Mike Germano, Chief Digital Officer at Vice, kept the post-lunch audience at the Ops New York conference ( awake with honest, edgy opinions and lots of f-bombs.

On marketing to youth

“The only way to circumvent the bullshit detector is to not bullshit them.”

On the growth of online video

“I can’t tell you names of all the TV people who said, ‘TV quality video will never work online.’ I actually don’t need to tell you who they are because they’re f–ing fired because they were f–ing wrong.”

On millennials and news consumption

“People said, ‘Young people aren’t interested in news. They just love those f–ing cats.’


But they didn’t like the way news was. I don’t want CNN to suck. I want them to be great. But they dedicated 137 million hours to the Malaysian plane. Maybe we should take the senate and put it in the ocean. Then they’d cover that.”


More on marketing to youth

“We have to respect our audience while advertising to them. No one likes to be advertised to.”

On ad-blockers

“Our audience tends to have ad blockers. I love my audience but f–you ad blockers. 20% of my revenue is gone. I need that revenue to make content so you come to the site. If I don’t make that content you don’t come to the site.”


On knock-off audience

“There are all these tags so they can say someone went to our site two weeks ago and sell against that audience. Advertisers ask, ‘How do we buy them but not pay that price?’”

On overnight success

“We’ve been doing this for 20 years.”

On native ads

“I hear native ads I get very nervous. I see a lot of reputable news companies with native ads. It looks like a trick.


We’re honest. We say to our audience, ‘This is the brand we’re working with. You should f–ing thank them. And we’re going to tell a terrific story.’

It’s like Mutual of Omaha presents the Wild Kingdom. That shit’s old school. It’s coming back around.”


On branded content

“At VICE we tell stories. Sometimes brands have great stories.”


Top 10 Conference Call Crimes

CIQ Trends

Conference calls are a necessary evil. Like the dentist. Many conference-call participants and organizers make it even worse than it has to be. Here are the Top Ten Conference Call Crimes.

How many are you committing on a regular basis?

1. Multitasking/Not listening

The long pause to hit un-mute. The stuttering, “Wait? What was that?”

We all have email to answer (or online shopping to do). But, you’re not fooling anyone when you say, “I didn’t completely understand the question. Can you rephrase?”

“The question was are you available Friday? I’m not sure how else to put it.”

2. Bad cell phone connection


It may be a hipster badge of honor to ditch the wire line and go commando-mobile. Here’s the thing: You sound like you’re on a CB radio.

Maybe it’s the headset. Maybe it’s AT&T. If your job involves communication, get a device on which you can communicate.

3.  Speakerphone


The scene: A bunch of people huddle around a conference-room speakerphone. At the same time, in distant office locations, people are dialing in.

“What? What?” one of the remote-dialers says, “Can Jane move closer to the mic?”

Jane moves closer. She speaks. She is heard. Roger speaks.

“What? What? Can Roger move closer to the mic?”

Here’s your choice: (A) Everyone dials in from individual phones, OR (B) Invest in some high-quality acoustics. That means expensive speaker phones and mics throughout the room.

If you’re alone in a room using speakerphone, imposing echoes and reverberation on a whole group of people listening, then you’re just an ass.

4.  Background noise


You can’t join the call from the Delta terminal at JFK. (Unless you’re listen-only and do not have to participate.) Be honest and say you can’t join, or schedule a different time for the call.

5.  Putting the call on hold to take another call; The rest hear hold music.


There is a special circle of hell reserved for people who do this.

Marsha is in the middle of a deep-dive explanation and suddenly Michael Bolton music pours into the lines, drowning out poor Marsha.

The organizer struggles with the mute instructions. Is it pound-six or star six? Roger shouts over Michael Bolton that it’s star-six. Now everyone is on mute and all must unmute themselves individually.

When the call is brought to order five minutes later, Marsha can’t remember what she was saying.

6.  Tiny dial-in and code numbers without spaces

It’s like having an IQ test sprung on you with no warning. Who can read this?




Organizers, please pay attention here: Use spaces in between the numbers. And pick a larger font.


7. Talking Too Much



The average human being can only digest about a paragraph of information at a time. That’s five sentences. After the five sentences, you sound like the teacher from Charlie Brown. Woh-woh-woh.

One paragraph, then stop. Let people respond. Now you can go on. One more paragraph.

I know you have seventeen critical points to make. You get to make one at a time.

Tip #1: This rule also holds in conversations with your life partner.

Tip #2: There are some legitimate circumstances where someone, usually the organizer, needs to frame up the call with multiple paragraphs of information. Warn the crowd. Say, “I need to get some information on the table so we can discuss it.”

8. Late organizer


A dozen people are dialed in. The organizer has not launched the call. Everyone answers email for seven and a half minutes.

Similar to #1, you’re not fooling anyone. People who are late to one call are late to every call. They arrive breathless with today’s excuse as to what emergency delayed them.

When on-time people are late, everyone on the call will sound worried. Something must be really wrong.

When you are chronically late and you are in a leadership position, you lose credibility. There are people far busier than you and far more important than you who make it on time.

9.  No notes; No follow up steps


It’s everyone’s job to take notes. Hard as that is to hear, it will keep you from committing crime #1, multitasking and not listening.

Someone should be tasked with distributing out notes to the group with follow-up steps. If no one does this, then everyone just flushed an hour of their time down the john.

10.  Can’t get on the web link



If the call is using a web link to share screens, you’ll have to download a plugin to get it to work. Not knowing how to do this was forgivable five years ago.

On the flipside, if the organizer is using some fringe freeware conference call software, they should warn everyone joining the call about it. It’s not the standard GoToMeeting, Webex, Adobe, Lync plugin they already have. They’ll need to download FringeFreewarePlugin ahead of time.

Slate Plus– Jacob Weisberg and the State of Journalism

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On a chilly April night last week, Jacob Weisberg, founder of Slate and current group publisher, gave the Columbia Journalism School’s Delacorte Lecture, which traditionally pries nearing-graduation students away from their almost-finished theses.

Not anymore.

“I was scared when I found out this is no longer compulsory,” Weisberg said. “But then they told me there was free food.”

Weisberg’s musings on the state of Journalism to the packed, room give much-needed texture and background into yesterday’s announcement of Slate Plus.

 A Sobering Picture

It’s not exactly raining dollars out there.

The now-profitable has ninety employees, all with health insurance, and pays its interns. “We don’t just want kids of privilege working here,” says Weisberg.  “I think you can work at Slate and actually have a middle class lifestyle.” He tests this statement against a Slate employee sitting in the first row who gives an assenting nod to his boss.

Slate and certain other prominent publications are finding “survivable niches,” he says, and business models that “support continued existence.”  Two key tactics are sugar daddies and paywalls.  The Washington Post has Jeff Bezos’ backing, the New Republic has Chris Hughes’. Paywalls range from the New York Times’ porous barrier, to the Financial Times strict one.

 Diversification is Key

The Atlantic has a significant events-related revenue stream. But whether it’s events, paywalls or wealthy backers, Weisberg says you can’t rely on ad revenue alone. “The more revenue streams you have, the healthier you are.”

And for, a paywall is off the table.

So what’s with Slate Plus? Isn’t that a form of paywall?

Weisberg calls it “the NPR model.” Which means leveraging the healthy guilt that motivates a certain percentage of loyalists.

“To develop the idea, we relied on data.” Slate surveyed heavy users, those coming at least 25 times a month. Based on this, a cornerstone of the offering is interaction with the Slate personalities.  This desire surprised Weisberg, who says he wasn’t aware of the growing Slate team’s celebrity.

Weisberg’s other non-Slate-Plus-related observations were studded with gems, hints and tips from the front lines of digital journalism. Read on for these.

 VC Money Flowing to Content Sites

For years, VCs wanted nothing to do with content sites. New York Ventures, a famed Twitter financier, said it would never invest in an enterprise that required an editor. It was all about “platforms.”

Now that’s changed. Weisberg cites the following endeavors with money (VC and other) flowing in:

  • HuffPo
  • Buzzfeed
  • Vox
  • Business Insider
  • Upworthy
  • Medium

“The key element seems to be the potential for exponential growth,” he says.

But this money flow poses dangers to broader journalism, says Weisberg. “Ad dollars going to buzzy sites that don’t have to make money to survive drives CPMs down for everyone. All the capital forces up the cost of editorial talent with no revenues to go against it.” is a kind of poster child from the “frothy junky side,” with a strategy of clickbait-until-sale.

 Not-for-Profit Journalism

Examples in this category include ProPublica, the Texas Tribune and Bill Keller’s new Marshal Project dedicated to criminal justice reporting.

When it comes to state-and-local coverage and investigative journalism, “There’s no business in these two categories. They were always subsidized, just in the old days it was from classifieds revenue.”



“All the growth is on mobile for everyone,” says Weisberg.  While Slate is seeing some marginal desktop increases, other publications are seeing accelerating erosion to devices.

“I didn’t think anyone would ever read long-form on the phone,” says Weisberg. “It surprised the hell out of me. Now people are willing to read War and Peace on their phones.”

What about the low CPM on mobile? “My bet is that CPMs on mobile will go up a lot,” he says. “What we’re seeing at Slate.  An ad view is an ad view is an ad view. There’s no reason to pay eight times for the desktop. A user on mobile is actually more engaged.”

To wit: Slate’s September redesign made the site responsive on mobile.


The site redo also optimized for Facebook’s new algorithm that rewards original content.  The lift was substantial, with Slate achieving 31+MM uniques in March, double September’s number.


The CPMs are high. The viewership stinks.

“Getting someone to watch a video over 30 seconds is a heavy lift. And who is going to watch a ten second pre-roll for a 30-second video?” The videos on are an answer to advertisers who all but require it. “We have video for big ad packages,” Weisberg says.

If you want a format that seems to work, at least very well for Slate, try podcasts.

 Long form and the “Fresca Fellowship”

Named after Slate’s Editor in Chief and Fresca drinker David Plotz, the “Fresca Fellowship” refers to the five weeks a year that each Slate writer is allotted to work on a long-form piece.

Weisberg says he is surprised at how well long form is working for Slate. And it’s profitable business, as advertisers love the readership that’s attracted to the 5,000-8,000 word pieces, often enhanced with multimedia.

It’s interesting, Weisberg notes, the way the 250-word “nibbles” synergize with long form. “It’s like the one creates an appetite for the other. What we’re seeing is that the middle drops out. The Newsweek-length pieces that run 2000 words. It seems to be short and long that’s succeeding.”