Category Archives: PhD

Project and Innovation Management


Midler, Killen and Kock opine, “A recurrent theme … is the need to manage projects in the uncertain, dynamic, and complex environments that are typical for highly innovative projects. Such environments are often ill-suited for traditional “rational” project management approaches due to unclear goals, shifting milestones, and evolving and unfolding activities. Alternative perspectives and approaches… provide conceptual inputs, as well as evidence and in-depth empirical understanding of how and when project management structures can provide benefits in managing innovation” (2016). The authors argue there are four main theoretical (and distinct) approaches:

  1. Evidence-informed approach (Evidence-Informed)
  2. Open innovation logic (Open)
  3. Effectual approach (Effectual)
  4. Subjective-interactive innovation management (Subjective)

Additional papers and discussion can be found in the April/May 2016 Project Management Journal and was a worthwhile read especially when considering antithetical ontological and epistemological assumptions within the practice of project management today.

Triple Constraint and Its Role in Innovation


Given the classical project management triple constraint construct of cost, scope and time (with quality often reflected in the center), where does this model fall within the scope of project innovation? In the article “About the Role of Narratives in Innovation Project Leadership,” Enninga and van der Lugt argue there are three additional factors to consider, namely, 1. Developing context, 2. Stimulating creativity and 3. Guiding group dynamics (2006). These “narratives” in addition to meeting project constraints provides a more holistic and inclusive view when considering innovation in the authors view.


Diamond of Innovation


Shenhar and Dvir’s Diamond of Innovation (2007) which was referenced in a recent article within Project Management Journal (April/May 2016) can aptly be applied to projects of many sizes and types. The categorization includes 1. Novelty, 2. Technology, 3. Complexity and 4. Pace. Contrasting this model to the so-called triple constraint of cost, scope and time (with quality often reflected in the center) can we gain new perspective in applying the Diamond of Innovation? I would argue that this additional tool would no doubt augment a project SWAT analyst in particular when comparing internal vs. external threats to a project. 


Research Study Types


Research Papers

“Google publishes hundreds of research papers each year. Publishing is important to us; it enables us to collaborate and share ideas with, as well as learn from, the broader scientific community. Submissions are often made stronger by the fact that ideas have been tested through real product implementation by the time of publication.”



Life After the PhD

Career Resources

A list of helpful career resources for MA students, PhD students, postdocs, and others considering leaving academia and making the transition to a non-academic career from Life After the PhD blog:




Links & Articles

People to Follow on Twitter

PhD completed!

visualizing the phd 3

(Visual by Word Count)

visualizing the phd 1

(Visual by Thumbnail)

The Illustrated Guide to a Ph.D.


Professor Matthew Might from Utah University has created this illustration and I think if you are considering getting an online Ph.D. you should check it out.

Imagine a circle that contains all of human knowledge:

By the time you finish elementary school, you know a little:

By the time you finish high school, you know a bit more:

With a bachelor’s degree, you gain a specialty:

A master’s degree deepens that specialty:

Reading research papers takes you to the edge of human knowledge:

Once you’re at the boundary, you focus:

You push at the boundary for a few years:

Until one day, the boundary gives way:

And, that dent you’ve made is called a Ph.D.:

Of course, the world looks different to you now:

So, don’t forget the bigger picture:

Keep pushing.


google sites used for PhD studies

Information Visualization Theory and Taxonomic Framework




Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs


Herzberg’s Theory of Motivation

  Motivator Factors  
  1. Achievement
  1. Recognition
  1. Work Itself
  1. Responsibility
  1. Promotion

  Hygiene Factors  
  1. Pay and Benefits
  1. Company Policy and Administration
  1. Relationships with co-workers
  1. Physical Environment
  1. Supervision
  1. Status
  1. Job Security

Glen: Motivation of Geeks Theory/Model

Motivation Factors Demotivation Factors
  1. Select wisely
  1. Exclusion from decision making
  1. Manage meaning
  1. Inconsistency
  1. Communicate significance
  1. Excessive monitoring
  1. Show a career path
  1. Focus on task, not goals
  1. Projectize
  1. Unqualified evaluation
  1. Encourage isolation
  1. Misaligned extrinsic motivators
  1. Engender interdependence
  1. Artificial deadlines
  1. Control resource availability
  1. Team without skills
  1. Offer free food… intermittently


The SQR3 reading method (survey, question, read, recite, review)

How to Read Textbooks from 

Use the SQR3 method of reading to be an active and effective reader. The passive reader learns little. The aggressive reader organizes information and answers questions. SQR3: survey, question, read, recite, review.The SQR3 Method of Reading.

Survey the chapter.
Read the introduction to the chapter. Look over the major section headings. Glance at the figures. Skim questions, key words and summaries at the end of the chapter. Create a context for remembering information. Generate interest and a sense of what is important. Plan your study session. Set a time limit for working. Include breaks and rewards. 

Question. Create and answer questions.
For each section in the chapter, ask these 4 basic questions:1.    What is the main point? 2.    What evidence supports the main point? 3.    What are the applications or examples? 4.    How is this related to the rest of the chapter, the book, the world, to me?  

Read the section.
Skim or read the section actively. Search for the answers to your questions. Make notes in the margins to create your own organization

Recite the main points.
Look up from the book and verbalize the answers to your questions. Talk out loud and listen to the answers. Recite to remember.  

Now go back and highlight or underline the main points in the section. Add more notes in the text and margin. Repeat SQR3 for each section; mini-survey, question, read, recite and review. When finished, create a one page hierarchical summary of the entire chapter.Now do any homework assignments. Use your summary first, then the text.Review often and reward yourself for a job well done. 

How to mark the book.
Do not highlight or underline main points while you read. Most students make too many marks. Wait until you’ve finished a paragraph or section, then mark.Mark the text and the margin to outline the structure of the book. For each main point, indicate evidence, examples, steps, proofs, connections to other points, definitions and your own thoughts. The book holds the information. Your marks create organization. Mark to simplify review.

SQR3: Method for Quick Study 

SURVEY Ø    A survey is a quick preview or overview of an entire textbook or a single chapter. Ø    Read the title. This helps your mind prepare for the subject at hand, and it also lets you know what the chapter/text will be about. Ø    Read the introduction and/or summary. This helps you focus on the main points that will be discussed in the chapter. You can also determine what the author wants you to understand or be able to do after you read the chapter. Ø    Always pay attention to headings and subheadings. These will indicate the details to come and will also reveal the author’s method of organization and development of topics. Ø    Pay attention to charts, graphs, maps and diagrams. These provide lots of information in an easy to read/understand format. Ø    Note whether key words or terms are italic, boldface, defined within the text, or listed at the beginning or end of the chapter. The author is trying to call your attention to these bits of facts, so pay due notice. In other words, know what these terms or key words are and how they are used. Ø    Look for any problems or questions for discussion at the end of chapters or sections. These will help you determine which concepts the author wants you to apply.  

QUESTION Ø    Questioning helps your mind engage and concentrate on what you are reading. Ø    Turn boldface headings and subheadings into as many questions as you think will be answered in the section you are reading. Ø    Turning headings into questions directs your reading so that you can find the details and examples that support major points. Ø    As you read each section carefully, try to find the answers to questions you formed from the headings. Ø    The better the questions, the better your comprehension will be.

 READ Ø    Read slowly and carefully, concentrating on one section at a time. Don’t worry about how long you take because you are trying to absorb ideas, not become a speed-reader. Ø    Read each section with your questions in mind. Ø    Do not skip unfamiliar words or technical terms. If you cannot infer their meanings from context, look them up. Be sure to reread the sentence in which each new word appears to ensure you understand it. Ø    Try to determine the main point of the section. Summarizing the main point in your notes or in the margin of your text will aid your recall when you review. Ø    Always read through the section again, especially if it seems particularly technical or complex. Be sure to underline main ideas and/or key thoughts. Ø    Writing down the author’s ideas in your own words also aids your recall. Ø    Creating notes, underlining or highlighting, and constructing study guides are essential to active reading.  

RECITE Ø    Recitation is an essential aid to memory and comprehension. Ø    At the end of each section that you read, try to state, aloud or silently, the important points covered. Ø    If you have trouble doing this, then you probably have not understood the section and you need to reread it. Don’t move on to the next section until you can recite. Ø    If the central idea comes easily to mind, then you can be confident that you understand what you have read.  

REVIEWØ    Review a chapter immediately after you finish reading it. Ø    Review by skimming back over the chapter looking over any notes you made in the margin. Do they still make sense? Ø    Reread any passages that you underlined or highlighted. Ø    Go back over all the questions from all the headings, and see if you can still answer them. If not, refresh your memory and continue. 

Requirements for a Prospectus (MindMap)




Many people have asked me what a PhD residency is like in my field (IT) and school (Capella). First, Capella University doctoral learners are required to complete three in-person residencies otherwise know as Colloquia in addition to their courses.

Residencies allows one to interact with fellow learners and faculty in person, as well as gather important information to help you through your program. Each Colloquia lasts for 1 full week and is presented in a structured, lecture-style format covering areas such as:

  • Developing the Scholar-Practitioner
  • Critical Analysis Skills
  • Research Skills
  • Professional Communication Skills
  • Development of Learning Communities
  • Program Specific Content

Each learner can select the tracks they are most interested in and their is no grading involved. It is advised  you bring copies of a summary of yourself to share with faculty: your contact information, your profession, which program/specialization you are in, the courses you have taken, the dissertation topic and research methodology you are interested in using, and other relevant information about yourself that you wish to share with a potential faculty tutor, committee member, and/or mentor.


Ph.D. Folders…

I started keeping a folder for those that I ran across and found it interesting for a variety of reasons. I renamed the files for easy reference and have the following rather small database:

  • 80 pg Servant-Leader Dissertation (Walden)
  • 149 pg Enterprise Database Management Dissertation (Miami)
  • 161 pg Project Management Dissertation (Walden)
  • 191 pg Generation X Dissertation (UOP)
  • 217 pg Intercultural Leadership Dissertation (UOP)
  • 435 pg Integrated Project Planning and Control Dissertation (Colorado)

In the names I attempt to capture some important metadata including the length, the topic and the school.

It is important to note that length is not a factor in success as some of the better papers are the shorter ones.

Other folders I keep organized for the PhD include:

  • Capella Advisor
  • Capella Mentors and Staff Bios
  • Chicago – PhD Presentations and Handouts
  • Comp Exams (and related)
  • Dissertation Collection (and related)
  • Future Paper Ideas
  • Library & Research
  • Motivation
  • Registration, Class Lists and Finance
  • Theories (Cross-Study)
  • Tools and Books (to buy, sell, etc)
  • Visualization
  • Writing

Under the folder Theories (Cross-Study), for example I have:

  • Hypothesis Testing
  • Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
  • Mixed Method
  • Org. Theory
  • Positivism
  • Qualitative (Research Types, etc)
  • Research Design and Cases (From Cooper & Schindler)
  • Sampling

While this is just a start, I hope this encourages others to organize their academic life. On student I meet at my last colloquia gathered over 150 citations in preparation for his Comps, which of course he passed just the other day.


Thesis Ideas… 2007

For my dissertation I am looking less at doing detailed data crunching, but more on how participants (project managers, geeks, managers, etc) react (or interact) with complex data and/or “information overload” for the very purpose of improving their own (or the organizations) information management.

Websites to check out on visualization

  • information aesthetics
  • data mining (and more)
  • flowing data
  • many eyes
  • Junk Charts
  • Stat. Graphics & Data Visualization
  • Pictures of Numbers
  • Forest and the Trees
  • programmableweb
  • serial consign
  • coding horror
  • bokardo – social design
  • Information Visualization Journal

    Forthcoming in 2007 is our special issue on Visual Analytics by Guest Editor: Pak Chung Wong. Free online access to these papers will be available to you upon publication.

    Included in the Visual Analytics special issue:

    • Interactive Wormhole Detection and Evaluation;
      Weichao Wang, Aidong Lu
    • NetLens: Iterative Exploration of Content-Actor Network Data;
      Hyunmo Kang, Catherine Plaisant, Bongshin Lee, Benjamin B. Bederson
    • ScentIndex and ScentHighlights: Productive Reading Techniques for Conceptually Reorganizing Subject Indexes and Highlighting Passages;
      Ed H. Chi, Lichan Hong, Julie Heiser, Stuart K. Card, Michelle Gumbrecht
    • Ewall: A Visual Analytics Environment for Collaborative Sense-Making;
      Paul E. Keel
    • A Visualization Testbed for Analyzing the Performance of Computational Linguistics Algorithms;
      Stephen G. Eick , Justin Mauger, Alan Ratner
    • An Automated Approach for the Optimization of Pixel Based Visualizations;
      Jörn Schneidewind, Mike Sips, Daniel A. Keim
    • Visual Analysis of Historic Hotel Visits;
      Chris Weaver, David Fyfe, Anthony Robinson, Deryck Holdsworth, Donna Peuquet, Alan M. MacEachren