Happy BACK TO THE FUTURE DAY! Expectations Vs. Reality

Lets see what we have achieved so far.

  1. Flying cars: we have prototypes, not widely used yet.
  2. Alternative fuel for cars: we have electric cars. Close enough.
  3. Hover boards: we have this… shi… mini segways? Lets roll out to fatness!
  4. Video glasses: We have (or had?) Google glass.
  6. Fax machines
  7. Bio-metric scanner
  8. Video conference
  9. Hands free gaming consoles.
  10. iMax 3D
  11. Dehydrated foods? We have microwaves, is that close enough?
  12. Ridiculous fashion apparels.

Skills You Need Before Becoming a Project Manager

by Andrew Arena on LinkedIn

Are you considering a career in construction project management? If you are, then there are some specific skills that you should become familiar with as you develop your skills as a leader. If you are already a project manager, then honing these skills will give you new opportunities to increase the size and scope of projects that you work on. Here are just a few tools you will need: Continue reading Skills You Need Before Becoming a Project Manager

The Role of Contract Review in Preventing Construction Disputes

by Tooey Courtmanche CEO on LinkedIn Pulse

Complexity spawns disputes, and construction today is increasingly complex. Bringing together a wide range of disparate materials and processes, and blending them to create a final project that meets the original scope and budget, is a monumental task. It takes the good will and efforts of countless organizations and their staff.

Construction disputes come with price tags that include costs in time, money and resources. The average bill on a global basis in 2013 averaged $32.1 million per dispute, according to ARCADIS, global natural and built-asset design and consultancy firm. In the U.S., dispute values hit $34 million, a threefold increase over 2012.

Using a project management solution like Procore can allow you to limit disputes by using the advanced communications, record keeping and scheduling tools available to you. There is a contractual side to minimizing disputes though. The ARCADIS report listed five primary reasons for disputes developing, three of which were directly related to contracts. Continue reading The Role of Contract Review in Preventing Construction Disputes

Four Chemicals of Happiness


Happiness is just a neurochemical spurt. Four different brain chemicals create happy feelings, and you need all of them to feel good. You miss out when you rely on one or two old familiar ways of triggering your happy chemicals. You can enjoy a balanced happy chemical diet if you know the distinct kind of happiness each brain chemical evolved for.

Endorphin happiness is triggered by physical pain. The body’s natural morphine masks pain, which allowed our ancestors to run from predators when injured. Humans experience endorphin as euphoria, but it obviously did not evolve to trigger a constant feeling of joy. You would touch hot stoves and run on a broken leg if your brain were always releasing endorphins. Nature saves them for moments when they help you do what’s necessary to survive.

Dopamine happiness is triggered when you get a new reward. When you see a finish line, your brain releases dopamine. It’s nature’s reserve tank of energy. Dopamine keeps you going until you catch the prey you’ve been stalking, even when the chase is long and frustrating. If you surged with dopamine all the time, your energy would be depleted when you really needed it. We evolved to save dopamine for those moments when an important goal is within reach.

Oxytocin happiness is triggered when we trust those around us. It promotes bonding between mother and child, and between sex partners. It’s stimulated when you’re with a group of like-minded people, or when you get a massage. But we did not evolved to feel oxytocin happiness all the time because there’s no survival value in trusting people who are not trustworthy.

Serotonin happiness is triggered when you feel important. Animals release serotonin when they dominate a resource. Their serotonin falls when they cede a resource to avoid conflict. Being one-up feels good, but conflict can cause painful injuries. The brain is constantly analyzing information to balance the risk of pain against the satisfaction of winning.

Each of the happy chemicals evolved to do a job. They work by making you feel good, which motivates you to go after whatever triggered them. You have inherited a brain that motivates you to go toward anything that promotes the survival of your DNA.

Sometimes you stumble on happiness. When an ape accidentally stumbles on a luscious fruit tree, its brain surges with dopamine. That creates memory, which helps the ape find the tree in the future. New rewards trigger dopamine whether the rewards came by accident or with sustained effort.

The happy chemicals feel so good that we use our big cortex to figure out how to get more. Apes negotiate groomings with each other, and it stimulates their oxytocin. Apes dominate their troop-mates when they think they can get away with it, which stimulates their serotonin. Apes invest time teasing termites out of a mound, and it stimulates their dopamine. Apes are not known to hurt themselves in order to get an endorphin high. People do all kinds of things once they find that it stimulates their endorphins, or their dopamine, or their oxytocin, or their serotonin.

Sometimes it works.

But the brain only releases happy chemicals in limited bursts for specific aims. It did not evolve to release them all the time. If happy chemicals flowed all the time, they could not do their jobs.

When your happy chemicals dip, however, you notice. Something feels wrong.

Nothing is wrong. Your happy chemicals evolved to ebb and flow. But if you attend to this feeling that something is wrong, it can preoccupy you. Your cortex will scan the environment for evidence that something is, in fact, wrong. And it will find evidence to confirm that feeling.

If you expect all the happy chemicals all the time, you’re going to be disappointed. And if you focus on that disappointment, you wire your brain to see the world through that lens.

Try as you might, you can’t control your environment in a way that ensures a steady flow of happy chemicals.

You could instead accept the fact that happy chemicals evolved to promote survival behaviors, and just appreciate them as they come and go.

Risk Management Isn’t Optional. Here Are 5 Tips for Doing It Right

by Kevin Korterud on ProjectManagement.com

I’m amazed at how often I receive requests for help creating an effective risk management process. These inquiries usually come from organizations with a risk management process that hardly anyone uses. Stakeholders, program managers, department heads and executives are mystified about why nobody is declaring risks on their projects, which can create the false perception that everything is going fine.

Why does this happen? One reason is that project managers believe making risks visible to leadership could impair their efforts. Another reason is an organizational culture that creates a negative perception of risks. For example, I have seen some highly entrepreneurial companies foster a mindset of rugged heroism, which causes project managers to think they have to fix everything themselves. In this project environment, project managers worry that escalation to leadership will be seen as a sign of weakness.

Continue reading Risk Management Isn’t Optional. Here Are 5 Tips for Doing It Right