Work has changed forever. Even when we’re back in the office, we’ll need to lead teams that are sometimes in the office for the long term. Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned that you can apply too.

A lady on a teleconference
A lady on a teleconference
Photo by on Unsplash

Hybrid working is the new norm.

As we start to return to the office, we want to embed what we’ve liked about homeworking but also re-establish the office as a collaboration hub.

However, we’ll need to manage remote teams forever as we all realise that the five-day office week is no longer sustainable for us, our employer or the environment.

As leaders, we need to ensure our…


If you are trying to develop your skills, here’s how you should be learning.

Lady reading book
Lady reading book
Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash

Why is workplace learning important?

We live in a world that’s changing quickly. Some of the myriad trends that are changing the workplace include an increasing reliance on innovation and transaction platforms, the rise of automation to replace people, cloud technologies wiping out data centres, electric vehicles wiping out much of the car industry, new farming techniques replacing a lot of manual labour, new construction techniques changing how we build things and disintermediation removing the need for people to connect customers to suppliers etc. …


If you keep this simple matrix in mind, you will rarely make poor decisions about the opportunities in your career

A happy lady
A happy lady
Photo by Etty Fidele on Unsplash

We’re often faced with decision points in our careers, some large and some very small:

  • Paying to do some training yourself
  • Asking to go on a training course
  • Whether to take a new assignment
  • Volunteering your professional or private time to a project
  • How to spend that free hour that you have
  • Helping a colleague to finish some work on time

Whilst many of us don’t really consider the context of the opportunity, or sometimes even the amount of time you need to complete it, it’s important that you do. There are only 24 hours in a day and you


What we’ve learned from the experience to better prepare ourselves for old age.

An old man on his own
An old man on his own
Photo by Mykyta Martynenko on Unsplash

How to prepare for old age

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Both my father-in-law and my uncle were supposed to die first. After all, the life expectancy of men is lower than for women. So, neither family planned for the eventuality that it might be the “wrong way round” and the ladies might die first.

Within one short year, we lost my mother-in-law and my aunt, one to cancer and the other to pneumonia. In the case of my mother-in-law, the cancer was the return of a previous case. The first…


Why you’re in danger of wasting your training budget without a curriculum in place

Image for post
Image for post

My niece spent some time with us recently, visiting from Hong Kong. If you’ve ever been to Hong Kong, or seen it on TV, you’ll know that it has more high rise buildings than just about any city on Earth. You’d therefore think that when I asked her to draw a house for me when she was playing with her crayons that she’d draw the 30 floor building she lives in. No. She drew a rectangular house with a roof, chimney, 4 windows and door. Oh…

Here is a list of great books on the process of learning that apply to corporate learning and development, all of which are well-researched and evidenced.

A man reading a book
A man reading a book
Photo by Dollar Gill on Unsplash

Why learn about learning?

I have long had a passion for professional learning and have been involved in the professional education of project, programme and product professionals for some years.

My argument for learning about learning is that it takes a lot of our time, and will take up more in future. My own company recommends 10 days per year, which if taken at face value is over 400 days over your career, or 80 working weeks.



If you’re a PM or you develop the skills of PMs, here is a useful template of what every PM needs to know

A mug saying the word ‘begin’
A mug saying the word ‘begin’
Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

Why do project managers need a development plan?

Learning to become a project manager is an active process, which is best done by simply beginning. I have written about how to do this here.

However, if you choose project or programme management as a career, then you quickly need to have a structured approach to your learning, and a structured way to assess your progress. …


How to give performance feedback in an objective and effective way

Boy shouting
Boy shouting
Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

Why should I give performance feedback?

Quite simply, if you don’t give performance feedback then you can’t build your team, push people further and better than before. More importantly, you will unwittingly shape the wrong culture for your team. Good quality, timely feedback is a critical part of team building, as it discourages the wrong behaviours and reinforces the right behaviours.

When should I give performance feedback?

I remember getting some feedback from a manager a few years ago on an email I had written several months earlier. …


Why you should understand your level of expertise, and of your team and how to do it

People discussing code
People discussing code
Photo by Mr. Bochelly on Unsplash

Why do we need to assess expertise?

For a while, I’ve been thinking about a simple problem…. How is it that everyone claims to have mastered project and product management, but still so many projects and products fail?

I have recently been recruiting PMs for a couple of programmes I’m running and indeed, it seems that often CVs and skills profile are inflating the expertise of managers. This has implications for the company but also the individual:

  • By having inflated levels of expertise, companies can often be over-paying for a…


As a Product or Project Manager, focusing on three basic things maximise your chances of success: culture, routine and teamwork

People in a meeting
People in a meeting
Photo by LinkedIn Sales Navigator on Unsplash

Whilst writing a story on how to health check a project, which equally applies to a product, I reflected on what, if anything, are the most critical things to get right. Yes, plans are critical, so is managing risk, so is managing budget and myriad other things. But what’s the most critical?

I’ve been reflecting a lot on that as a programme I’ve been running is coming up to another large implementation — our fifth this year. We have about…

John Davidson

John is a program manager, with a passion for coaching. He writes about program management and coaching both early career and late career professionals.

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