This is a lovely comic strip from BrightWork and says a lot about the misleading components of a project. The whole game of project management depends solely on its drivers. If it is being driven wholeheartedly engaging all its stakeholders, nothing can take it away from success. But the misleading factors are many that drift away a rightly started project from its progress path and move it towards failure.
The basic drifting (failing) facts of life of project management are:
1. Mindset that all project require same style of functioning
2. Unwarranted Optimism and Delusions of Competence
3. Irregular monitoring of project
4. Lack of Knowledge
5. Improper resource allocation
6. Improper planning
Nobody would think that the things that happen in developing, under-developed and not developed countries can happen in developed countries like the United States too. Passenger screening machines being supplied at U.S. airports has become a highly controversial matter now. The fact coming out is that the suspected component in the whole game is the privacy software which is supposed to control machines while they produce graphical images of bodies. Point being highlighted is about the manipulations being embedded in that privacy software.
Rapiscan is the name of the parent company that manufactures these scanning machines and has an agreement with U.S. Airports Authorities for supply of these machines. A letter has been issued to the company by the Transportation Security Administration Office seeking a clarification from them about any malpractices. These machines work on the basis of back-scatter radiation for the purpose of finding out any items hidden behind clothes. Objections that arose out of the usage of these machines is the exact imaging of the body that appears on the screen.
That is when an order from government came to this company for developing a privacy software to reside in this machine that will then be producing only a generic imagery of a passenger instead of a realistic image varying from person to person. This generic imagery would be more of an outlining of the body.
Somewhere there was a lacking in the whole process of development, testing, deployment, engagement of stakeholders etc. that created all this fuss.
Recently there was a new in papers circulated around San Francisco. This was regarding an exemplary achievement attained by the District Inspector of Air Quality Management Department of Bay Area which has been recognized and acclaimed by the California Air Pollution Control Officers Association (CAPCOA). Sal Rueda, the district inspector of Bay Area AQM, has been awarded Rodney Swartzendruber Outstanding Inspector Award 2012, by the Enforcement Managers’ Committee of CAPCOA. This Committee of CAPCOA Enforcement Managers give Rodney Swartzendruber award every year to the persons working in Quality Field for their outstanding achievements during the year.
Sal Rueda, who works for Bay Area Dsitrict, one of the state’s 35 airs quality management districts, has been recognized for demonstrating outstanding performance consistently thereby contributing significantly benefiting effort being done by air pollution control boards. Sal had been working towards reducing diesel particulate matter in his district that falls near the Port of Oakland. He has been successful in limiting the negative health impacts of diesel particulate matter that was affecting the health of the community living in and around West Oakland. Some of the qualities that have made Sal to win this award are – his dedication, focused approach, able to speak and understand multiple languages, engaging well with different stakeholders involved including truckers and regulatory authorities, and good communication skills.
Probably with this kind of skill sets, any quality control person can win over toughest of the situations.
Here is a lovely picture that indicates a classic situation during a Project where it needs to be pushed. At such times, the project drivers are not able to drive it at the stipulated speed and hence loose its track of progress. In fact at times its progress starts fading out and it appears that instead of success this project will die an induced death.
At this juncture, someone from the project team with a larger amount of courage needs to come up and pump in some extra amount of energy so that project starts back and speeds up.
Can you as a project manager take that charge?
Here are some good thoughts on Quality that are worth looking at.
Here are few quotes/ posters I found on net which are quite relevant to the job of a QC and Code writing guys. Curiosity is something than can chip in an extra edge in both – a developer, and a tester.
Never lose your personal touch in anything that you do in life. Do it in your own ways, without bothering about what others will say but never compromise with the quality of your path taken and precision of your end results. Who knows you might be deviating from the best process of the world (which will never come into limelight, if you do it) by adopting a method of doing things as told by someone else.
And finally, done compromise with your emotions.
This is Constance MArie on WhoSay. This is a small Thanksgiving video, and its tagline says “Happy Thanksliving!!! The turkey gets to live.”
Well, if we correlate this occasion with Project lifecycle, let us see what are various Thanksgiving instances that arise during various phases:
1. Project initiation is the beginning. If there is no initiation, there will be no way forward. Once the ignition does its work, only then engine can start.
2. Team Formation: If all blessings are intact in right place, a right team formation becomes a big boon for project drive and completion.
3. Requirement Analysis and Documentation: High accuracy in requirements understanding, freezing and documentation minimizes project failure risks.
4. Project Review: If this goes in place happening regularly, in time, with right kind of actions and results, nothing like it.
5. Project Development to Deployment: Success of either of the two has no meaning. It has to be a twin success to grab an overall star.
6. Project Sign off: This will be not an issue if all above goes perfectly.
Watch this amazing Video first that made thousands of attendees of TED 2011 stand in admiration and clap so loudly for next 5 minutes. To understand the power of MAGIC and its holistic approach, will become quite clear after watching this video.
MAGIC is nothing but an honest approach to deceive yourself and your audience. It is not about LIE but how to embed it in LIFE that it becomes part of TRUTH and only TRUTH.
This presentation at TED 2011 was done by Marco Tempest who is a world known Techno-illusionist. He has some magical power to mix Technology and Illusion in such a manner that is quite enough to stun his audience wherever he is there to showcase his magic.
As a project manager can you build this magic in your project. Of course you can! How? Just Think…
Pune local city administrative body – Pune Municipal Corporation – PMC – has finally shortlisted global software company – IBM India for working together on a new and comprehensive project. This project will be aimed at building a comprehensive healthcare solution for the residents of Pune. The requirements shall be chalked out by PMC and the development will be taking place at IBM office. The project is covered under IBM’s smarter cities challenge grants under which thirty three cities across the globe have been covered for the year 2012.
This initiative by IBM names as Smarter Cities Challenge Grants started in 2011 is for a tenure of three years during which overall hundred cities across the globe have to be covered for various basic services enhancements for which IBM has a total grant of USD fifty million. Thirty Three cities were selected from all across the globe have been selected in 2012 out of which two Indian cities – Pune and Ahmedabad were part of those. Pune has been chosen to get an optimized healthcare solution for its citizens whereas Ahmedabad citizens will have a betterment in traffic and other citizen services in the city.
This extensive healthcare system for Pune Citizens shall cover a micro level monitoring system to track attacks of epidemics in the city. Historical data shall act as the backbone of the database for analyzing and working out on some conclusions related to forecasting of tentative epidemics that could strike in future based on the previous patterns. The analysis will definitely help in taking proactive measures to fight against it and mitigate the risk. The Project Team comprises of a number of scientists working with IBM India and volunteers from various other streams for the purpose of running of pilot.
Thirty One cities across the globe have been shortlisted for 2013 to work with local governing bodies in order to enhance local citizen’s life. Two cities of India again have been chosen for this – Gurgaon and Chennai.
The grant provides the city with access to IBM’s top experts to analyze and recommend ways that will enable Gurgaon and Chennai to become even better places to live and work. Towards the close of the project, IBM experts will provide city leaders with analysis and recommendations to support successful growth, better delivery of municipal services, more citizen engagement, and improved efficiency.
A Controlling kind of project manager would be more of a monarch and less kind of diplomatic. This kind of project manager would not be interested in liberalism or any kind of flexibility. He would be liking more of the silent obeying guys in his team rather than those who discuss and like to put their point of view for any kind of scenario during any phase of project management. This kind of PM would not be interested in terms like democracy and would taking ideas more from Hitlerism than Gandhism.
An Influencing project manager would be more towards doer than demanding from others to do. This guy would be interested in waling the talk and demonstrating how to do what is required to do in case someone is not clear about it. He would be more practical and leader kind of guy not believing in getting things done by force but by means of using charismatic manners.
Team members would like to work with Influencing Project Manager but there might be an overall maturity level issue in the team. Generally influencing project manager would be very clear about what to do and how to do. He might not be very strategic and having management skills. He would have risen within the team mostly from the ground level to this level thereby gaining respect from all team members who would be admiring his capabilities and technical skills.
Controlling Project Manager would be more successful in case overall maturity level is high in the team and most of the team members are highly skilled and self motivators.
This is a classic example of the BIG DATA concept that is heating up globally that has been revolutionizing whole Technology world. The BIG DATA concept is logically a strategic collaboration of data spread across internet including social media sites and then analyzing this huge chunk of collaborated data on the basis of keywords to arrive at some logical conclusions.
The article clearly elaborates how BIG DATA concept has helped Obama in winning the recent Presidential Elections and enabled him run the office for second consecutive term. The data on all social media sites was churned and analyzed for various purposes so as to find out right kind of audience for right kind of campaigns.
1. Quality is to be built along with the project development and not after it
2. Quality is not a single person’s or team’s task
3. Quality is not a TASK, it is a CULTURE
4. If Project is an investment, Quality is an assurance of secured return on this investment
5. Quality need not be explained, it speaks on its own
1. Project Management is not a game, it is a strategy
2. Project Tools are irrelevant to Project Drive and Success. Same Project Tool may not fit well for another
project team working on similar kind of project
3. Stakeholders are as important drivers of the project as project manager
4. Project Team is like chess board, each move signifies the gravity of passion of winning
5. All projects may not fail for same reason
6. Success of each stage of project bring you nearer to overall project success but does not guarantee it
7. PMO has to act like an institute in the whole framework of Project Management
8. Onus of failure of a project should not go only to Project Manager but definitely deserves a bigger chunk
9. Project Failure brings in more amount of learning as compared to its success
10. No learning from a project is a bigger failure than its own success or failure
Customer is supreme – is a well known saying. Every business knows how much truth this small sentence comprising of just 3 words is. The power that it carries is so huge that it can groom a small local unknown business to an international fame, and vice versa. We all have seen many big names vanishing right after reaching their peaks. And if gone into depth, it is always the customer that plays a major role in such kind of transformations.
A year by year study conducted by Watermark Consulting, engaged in customer experience, on impact of stocks of a company viz a viz its relationship with customer shows that the stock price of any company is directly proportional to its higher volume of customers boasting about a great experience out of its services or product and delivery.
The year on year survey was conducted on top 10 and bottom 10 companies and it was evidently proven that the top 10 companies doing excellent performance at stock market was having a larger chunk of customer having a DELIGHT FACTOR. This is one reason that brings in greater ROI in terms of business, stock performance, financial growth, customer satisfaction and employee engagement.
This was the first time Chris Cooper from Richmond was attending a hackathon. He was not at all aware that he was going to be the grand prize winner among all participants. After reading an invitation on meetup.com (the online site that is quite prominently active in US for meetings and discussions), he decided to participate in the event to ascertain his programming skills. Initially he had no better motive than attending this interesting event to get some fun out of it and meeting some local people at the venue.
This was 24-hour non-stop event that started on 19th Oct 2012 to end on 20th Oct. that was simultaneously organized at three different locations in Virginia. Cooper finally got the grand prize of USD 1,500 for his excellent piece of coding that he wrote for formulating a tool that helps in developing alerts for profiles of students in schools that have chances of getting in the dropout bucket. This tool in turn will then help the local associated educational administration agencies to find out ways to mitigate this risk for those students and get them out of that bracket of students having higher chances of dropouts.
The event termed as HAC4EDU was sponsored by Apps4VA
The purpose of this event is to provide an opportunity to aspirant developers to develop some innovative kind of programming to use student’s data and help in using that data to produce solutions for some challenging issues that are being faced in education circle.
This is related to Quality which all human beings always strive for. This is not related directly to software. But Quality in any area is inspirational and motivating for achieving higher and higher level of success without any compromise in life. That is what Quality conscious people do in life. They don’t compromise in achieving success. Getting better should always be measured in terms of quality that shall cover all other aspects of delivery – time, money, people, resources and process.
Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) has one of their mill named as Silicon Steel Mill. A team from this unit of RSP participated in the recently held International Convention on Quality Control Circles (ICQCC) – 2012 that was organized in KL (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia). Quality circles are formed to find out a scope of betterment in process in production units and then implement it successfully after analyzing it. This quality circle was named as “Aakash” meaning Sky, by the team members.
Prior to achieving this international three star award which is highest in that category, Aakash team had to undergo a very strict scrutiny process at the National Level Quality Circle Conference that was held in Hyderabad and among all teams present from various cities and states, they were adjudged as best for their going ahead for participating in this International Event in Malaysia.
Aakash team has achieved a phenomenal breakthrough in formulating an innovative enhancement in the process in their production line that was facing a long term problem of failure of Looper rope in one of their AP process of SSM. The team has achieved it by means of development of an indigenous logical circuit that would brake Looper drum at appropriate moment so as to avoid such failures. With appropriate enhancements in the process, the Aakash team has been able to reduce their stoppage in production line by more than 28 hours every month gradually saving an amount of Rs 56 lac annually (USD 0.11 million).
This has been achieved not only in terms of an annual saving, but also with an increase in safety and simplification of process.
Project Plan without a regular review is as good as a rail on the track without an engine. Hence though the rail is on the track but is not moving since there is no driving or moving force to it. Similarly howsoever structured or strong project plan is built, if there is no review to monitor the plan and assess if going in right direction and with right pace; it will be of no use. Review enables you to take proactive actions in response to some risks perceived during discussion about project plan tasks and their current status.
Risks don’t come in a planned manner. All of a sudden a risk may arise during a smooth going project. Teams and even the team members belonging to the same team do not sit together in today’s high speed life and professional requirements. Focus of any business is more on outcome and results rather than forcing old time discipline to be adhered to. Team members may work from anywhere working on the same module of a project during its development. A very structured task allocation, planning and its review would be required to manage this kind or for that sake any kind of development environment.
It is important to take help of technology to keep assessment and review abreast of any kind of lacunae. Review of particular tasks in a project plan allocated to a particular team member may not require whole team to assemble together. It may be a one to one kind. The whole purpose is to keep things get going… in right direction… with right pace…
The amount of data lying in the servers resting in data center of any organization might not be equivalently accessed, analysed and used in terms of Business Intelligence. The volume of terabytes of data viz a viz its churning to get some fruitful and crisp information might not be existing in right proportion. Any project where delivery of software is prime concern, it should also take care of the resultant reports for top management for the purpose of analysis of business in real scenario.
A software Project where business requirements and development is prime requirement of the project, must also take care of the concerns of top level management and their expectation from this software application right in the beginning at the time of requirements analysis phase. Content lying in server but of no use to management for analysis purposes is like having a large amount of currency in your pocket but not applicable in the country where you are. If a real justification of a software application and the infrastructure/ hardware cost is to be justified, it can be done only in this manner. Else the huge data lying in the servers lying in low temperature maintained data center will be a shear wastage.
Application development is not an easy task. It takes lot of planning and efforts to convert requirements into a code that is capable of delivering what is being asked for. It is not an easy job. The milestones and target dates committed keep everyone in the development and testing team on their toes till their targets are met. The value of data is meaningless as long as it resides in server and does not fetch any useful information.
iPhone 5 has been in news right since its launch was announced. Lot of news, articles, reviews and comments were there all across the world – some talking about its excellent features, some about the removal of Google Maps from iPhone 5 and insertion of Apple’s own map application pre-installed in the instrument. There were long queues and advance bookings so as to grab the piece during first 2 days of its launch. People from remote locations had camped and spend nights outside the stores to grab the piece on its launch date.
Well this news is not too good for Apple’s iPhone 5. The supply is getting affected due to some consistently serious issues arising during its quality inspection before the lots are sent outside the factory for sales to its various stores.
There is a reported crackdown happened at Foxconn Technology Group. Reportedly there are evidences of scratches and nicks on the pieces and that is what has caused the rejection of these pieces at quality station. With its launch not gone too far, happening last month only; and the demand getting higher and higher everyday, this issues is affecting the supplies of iPhone 5.
Stephen Covey is the man who brought Eisenhower matrix into limelight in front of the whole world. But the actual credit goes to this man – , the ex President of United Stated Dwight D. Eisenhower. Stephen Covey used it extensively in his first book ‘First Thing First’ and that is from where the matrix got quite popular all across the globe.
This matrix reminds me a great book that I read years back – “I am OK, You are OK”. The book said there are four stages of any kind of situation – I am Ok You are Ok, I am Ok You are not Ok, I am not Ok You are Ok and I am not Ok You are not Ok.
The similar kind of concept lies here in Eisenhower Matrix. The four categories are – Urgent and Important, Not Urgent and Important, Urgent and Not Important; and finally Not Urgent and Not Important.
If project tasks are identified based on these four categories and accordingly dealt with, probably the life can become simpler in terms of managing complex projects.
Eisenhower himself is quoted it somewhere that :
“What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.”
Project Management started like this and kept on running like this for years. It reflects the silos that exist within and across the teams working on a project. The silos at most of the times are not created intentionally, but it becomes prime responsibility of the key members of each team working on the same project to fill in the gap and bring them all together on a single platform. Bringing them all together on a single platform not only nullifies silos and gaps but also gets them all in sync and hence the energies get unidirectional and more presumptive.
Actual requirements of a customer and the way customer explains it, might carry a gap in it. And it is the Business Analyst’s job to bring that gap to the minutest if health of project is required to be intact throughout. Business Analyst has a dual responsibility. One, he has to fill in the gap between what is the business requirement of customer viz a viz how he puts it forward. Secondly, the BA has to ensure that whatever customer is explaining his requirements as, must be understood word by word without leaving a hole in it.
Theoretically it might sound quite simple, but it has taken ages, and a number of process experts across the globe have put all their expertise on it; but still the fight goes on and on and the gap has yet to be closed. Who has the medicine for this chronic disease being faced by all kind of projects all across the globe.
A project manager is always surrounded by project priorities falling in financial, logistic, people related, technical, machine related and many more categories. Each category is important and critical for project performance and enhancement. In each category, priorities will be set in different segments. There would be top most priorities, most critical priorities, less critical priorities, and may be sometimes non critical priorities.
So far so good but so many critical, semi critical, non critical and many more kind of priorities revolving around you will not let you work smoothly and perform consistently. The best way is to find out a method with which you are able to tackle all these problems without any hiccups and in an painless manner. How to do that? The best way is to arrange them in a sequential manner. You know very well – an elephant can never be eaten in one go. So is with priorities. Although those all are priorities but can’t be focused upon or taken into hand at the same time. There has to be some way out.
Once you have prioritized your priorities – take top 3, and forget rest of them for a while. Once you have only 3 priorities in front of you instead of a large pool, you will psychologically feel relieved and will be able to focus on all the three. Take first priority, find out the best possible solution, allocate it to the person whom you know will be able to perform it in your prescribed manner, give him a target date and set him free.
Do the same with rest two. And then go to your larger pool, pick top three…
This is a review of C++ Primer, Fifth Edition, by Stanley B. Lippman, Josee Lajoie and Barbara E. Moo, available from Addison-Wesley Professional. A complimentary e-copy was provided for this review.
It is important to understand what additions have been made to this book (and the language itself) as compared to the earlier variants. Since the inception of C++, a huge number of programmers have learned this language and benefited in one way or another. While earlier variants of C++ focused more on extracting machine efficiency, the latest version is all about making enhancements to programmer efficiency.
Some very important changes were incorporated by the C++ Standards Committee in 2011 and there was a major revision in ISO C++ Standards and Guidelines. Primarily, with these changes, the focus is on making C++ more universal so as to enhance its adaptability, reliability and stability. There is also emphasis on making C++ standard libraries more versatile, powerful and safer so as to increase their usability. An important point of these revisions is to ensure that programmers become more capable in writing abstractions and libraries. The C++ Primer covers all the important factors emphasized in the latest ISO C++ standard.
The new features making C++ 11 what it is are very well explained here, and the book serves as a good guide for any programmer. In particular, it covers features like ‘auto’ for type inference, smart pointers, and move-enabled containers, all of which enable a programmer to write their own customized classes without any hassles in an easier and more organized manner.
Any Project has high or low level of encountering gaps during its entire lifecycle. High or low will depend on how strong shield is built around the project to anticipate those gaps in advance and ensure getting them filled as soon as they occur during any phase of the project. There can be different forms of Project Managers for managing these projects. One kind will just burst out the moment a sudden gap is encountered during a project which was not anticipated in advance and will try creating hue and cry out of it.
This first type of Project Manager will just keep cribbing about the gap encountered thus making it more disastrous and deadly than it could actually be. If the focus is not gone on filling the gap that has just emerged out, probably the risk increases and it could cause more disaster if given more time to survive. On the other hand we have a small breed of some intelligent kind of Project Managers. This breed is not too worried about encountering any uninvited gap as they are well aware that these kind of scenarios do occur in project lifecycle. They, would rather, immediately assess different ways of filling the gap that has occurred suddenly and decide about the best of the solution out of those worked out.
And once the best solution is identified, its implementation/ action gets started immediately so as to fill the gap at the earliest and reduce the risk life. The higher is the
In any project prior to its development, during the initiation phase, risk assessment, analysis and mitigation planning is done. PM office, Project team, external stakeholders including the end customer management team members all become the part of this committee to work out and cover all possible areas from where any kind of risks can arise. Once all risks are listed down, their priority or severity is set based on their chances of occurance, gravity of impact on the project and time it would require for its mitigation.
Mitigation of each risk is a cost. Similarly each risk has an impact on project cost also. Hence there is a cost that is getting impacted by means of project delay etc. and there is a cost to overcome or mitigate this kind of delays. If cost of mitigation of a risk is higher than the cost of impact, nobody would like to invest in its mitigation. It is always true that higher is the impact cost, higher is the severity of the risk. And hence higher are the chances of its importance for mitigation.
After all kind of exercises of risk assessment, mitigation planning and management; there is always a hole from where unwanted rats always slide in, unstintingly. And you have no choice other than fighting against it, finding out quick ways to mitigate it and resolve it so that it has least impact on the progress of the running project.
Following parameters may be kept in mind while going for selection of an automating testing tool:
1. Cost: Cost of the tool should be clearly justifiable with the number of projects in hand, foreseen to come in future, cost of projects in hand and those coming in future. There is nothing wrong in looking for open source tools provided you have courage to go in depth of learning and adaptability.
2. Team Size: Large team size of developers vis-à-vis negligible testers is a death trap. You certainly need an automation tool else you will certainly require to increase number of testers.
3. Right Tool Selection: You just can’t go and adopt any tool just for the sake of having an automation tool. There must be criteria of choosing right tool for right kind of product to be tested. All tools do not fit for all platforms.
4. Usability: Team who is going to use that tool must be comfortable in using it. It must be easy to operate, clear in understanding and least cumbersome to operate
5. Recording: An automated tool without recording and playing back provision is useless.
6. Manual Skills: Any kind of automated tool will require manual skills in terms of team member having capability of writing manual scripts to be embedded in the automation tool.
7. GUI: Prefer to have a GUI based tool where things are easier to handle and understand
8. Reusability: The tool should be able to build a library in an intelligent manner where it is easier to pick a script to be reused for similar kind of testing at a later stage on the same of different product.
9. Maintainability: Tool should be up and running for long. It should not die at a shorter length.
10. Community: You never can master a tool, whatsoever you choose. You need a community to share your achievements, pains, feedback, suggestions, and so on.
We all have certain amount of myths within us and sometimes we start loving to live with them. A developer’s job is quite critical in any software development project as this is the guy who is doing all ground level work. Whatever he produces goes to the customer though after passing through testing phase.
Understanding the customer requirement is most critical for a developer even if he is master in coding. All excellent developers do not turn into successful ones dues to this factor. It is not bad living in myths if those are positive ones and have a narrow gap with the reality. The higher is the gap of a myth with reality, more difficult it becomes for others in the team to digest and ultimately if might produce a negative impact for overall project.
If we try finding out 5 myths of a developer that could turn dangerous for his own career could be listed as below:
1. I am supreme and am not bound to produce any bugs in my coding. Once this feeling chips in, developer starts negating any improvement points required for his coding and all bugs though get fixed by him but keeps him working carelessly.
2. Tester is just there to find out faults in my coding. If intentions of a tester are doubted by the developer, then probably he will not be able to take his feedback positively.
3. I must write a code that keeps my team dependent on me. Coding in an unstructured manner is a crime but some developer love doing it.
4. I can steal this code as I am writing it. This is unethical. Whatever a coder is writing, he is being paid for it.
5. Keep provisions of code going haywire with a future timestamp? This is a crime.
This is a video by ProjectManager.com and presented by their Program Direction – Jennifer Whitt, PMP. The topic is – Learn 7 steps to avoid project closing pitfalls and be left holding the project bag. Basically whatever is done in a project is for the successful closure, closure sign off and commercial closures. The whole journey of any project is based on certain pillars to make it stand, run and reach to its destination. First you have a look at the video and then we discuss few points further down the line.
Inputs, Acceptance approvals, documentation may all appear to be quite simple procedures and small activities but in real life these are basically the activities that if not done smoothly choke the progress of any project.
India has achieved its 100th Space mission and it makes India as a strong contender one among the top technically strong nations across the globe. India in fact is a unique example of absorbing so many cultures, so many castes, communities and so many contrasts complementing and supplementing; and making the whole nation as successful in various streams.
The same zeal and fire is required in a project manager who must understand the wider and long term goals without bothering about short term hiccups and criticism. Let us celebrate the day and move in the direction of managing projects with a higher level of responsibility and authority.
Your qualities are unacceptable as long as you don’t vet them yourself. Your value is ignored as long as you do not accept it yourself. The moment you realize your real value, you will wonder, that everyone else also becomes aware about it. Doing ordinary things in ordinary fora but even in ordinary projects you can manage or handle things in extraordinary manner so as to bring it to new achievements or heights. Doing same things in same manner endlessly will make you mechanized, inhuman and brainless entity.
IF you carry your brains with you, you are supposed to do small innovations in all aspects of life. A project will always have a scope of improvement in its various stages. Watch this video completely to understand what I have said above:
People who fear in life does not mean that they fail in all aspects of life. But keeping a fear in mind out of certain failures can hamper your progress, growth and success in a bigger way. It may become a mere showstopper and block all paths of your life intended to take you towards success and growth. People who do not fear in life for failing or making mistakes have higher tendency of doing extraordinary, amazing and out of box.
Every project will be a hit, success and finish in time is a misleading concept. There are issues – bigger or smaller – in any project. Running away from problems or failures will not let you each to your destination. Watch this lovely video of less than 2.5 minutes that will give you some energy to stay away from fear of failures.
A Project manager is supposed to lead some teams namely – development team, implementation team, Business/ Requirement Analysis team, Quality/testing team, Process team, support team and so on… Though these teams will be having their own respective leaders (or managers?) but a real LEADER at the top edge of this triangle is a must. There is a big difference between a leader and a manager. Manager is the one who manages, leader LEADS.
Enjoy this video which is quite inspirational, motivating and will definitely fill some real knowledge on leadership.
Why a project fails? It is quite an interesting subject to ponder upon and introspect if you are a project manager. In real life everyone is a project manager irrespective of what role he plays in professional life. We all have to manage multiple things most of the time and success of what we are trying to manage is very important to progress in personal and professional life for all of us. Now let us look at various roles a project manager has to perform during a project life cycle. Have a look at this lovely video:
The life of a project (project initiation) starts with something known as Feasibility Study. And then life begins to look at resources for everything that is about to happen in the project. Resources for feasibility study, resources for development, resources for deployment, resources for hand-holding, resources for training, resources for post implementation support and so on.
At each step of project you move ahead, or rather make any move, based on certain set of assumptions. Assumption that the team built for the project is perfect. Assumption that projected timelines will have no variance. Assumption that design will perfectly match with what customer is dreaming of, Assumption that this project’s success will pour in many more projects…
This video, which is of less than 5 minutes duration takes you through a complete project, stage by stage, making you part of it.
This is a good piece of video on Youtube titled History of Project Management. It is quite interesting and though provoking kind of video that seriously tries to provide good amount of information on how project management could have begun years back. What made it happen? What could have generated the requirement of project management? What could have been the starting point of project management? How Project Management got evolved?
Was it PERT, IPMA, PMI, PMBoK or was it something else that created the need of its existence? Was it GANTT in 20th century or it had taken birth way back in the days of Giza Pyramids. Probably Giza Pyramids is the best example where one can see well structured and matured project management in place. Have a look at following video and put your ideas right about the subject, in right place.
Just enjoy this funny video and check if this is what mostly happens while managing projects
You will really enjoy this video published on Youtube that very crisply conveys its message on the gap between the communication arising due to different nations having different ascents for speaking even the same language – say English. This is what actually happens on overseas projects. Having a good vocabulary, speaking power or ascent does not do as good as being versatile and smart to grasp your client’s style of communication though talking in the same language.
Have a look at the video below, that is lovely and crisp enough to convey its message about how to convert all your communication during various project phases into effective and result driven communication. This is a small video, not more than 1.20 minutes but is strong enough to convey its message clearly. Have a look:
This is a video I found on Youtube and though it is a promotional video about some company assisting in Project Management, but video has an example showcasing a project management team headed by project manager Zack. He experiences different ups and downs and different kind of people during management of his projects. The video tries to highlight certain magical project management skills required in a project manager so that he is able to manage his project well.
Here it is, enjoy the video:
Hey Guys! While exploring in the ocean of videos called Youtube, I managed to find another good video that was educative, informative, guiding and humorous all at the same time. It is focused on some of the very important aspects of product development or production. Customer requirement is most important aspect of any project – be it production or service oriented. Both ends while understanding customer requirements should be very clear about finalizing business critical issues that are required to be issued in the product or service in question.
Once customer requirement is clear, any outsourcing or in-house development requires some material and resources. It is very clear to get these material and resources in place in time so that the planned development goes as per schedule and resources are well utilized in order to achieve success in developing right product first time. Higher the rework or bugs in the product, higher is the wastage in time and resources and eventually high risk grows in terms of not being able to deliver to customer as per committed datelines.
It becomes very important to streamline and follow processes so that optimization is attained in cycle time, production and defect free delivery. Logically it is not only the project manager of the product manager who drive the project or product but involvement and commitment of each and every member of all teams becomes equally important.
This is a lovely video on TOTAL QUALITY MANAGEMENT (TQM) produced by by Rafael Cravioto Torres. It makes you understand well in a very simple manner on all aspects of TQM, the factors responsible to promote it in any organization and some factors on the other hand that demote it or do not let it happen within the organization.
I was just browsing through some quality related videos on Youtube and found this lovely piece of video having a length of approximately over 10 minutes but is quite interesting to watch patiently and think about how we keep working in our day to day life tasks wasting so much of time. It demonstrates a simple task being done by 6 persons as a team in two different ways and that is what makes a difference in the way we think and perform a task assigned to us.
TQM means Total Quality Management and is having no limitations for optimization of performing any tasks in work area (or personal life) in an optimized and best possible manner. This video was made for TQM training to be imparted to final year students of Edinburgh University. Its purpose was to ensure that the goal of training to students about teamwork, optimized manner of performing tasks, exploring different ways of working on the same problem, redefining process, reducing defects and striving for never ending improvement. This video was directed by Eric and produced by Stuart.
It forces you to introspect on optimizing any process by reviewing the current cycle time and process. Synchronization of Production, Cycle Time, Team Size, Process and Desired Results is very important for optimization of any process to increase results.
The same concept can also be applied in Software development lifecycle where different teams of varying size work on a product that is under development.
Logically it is not Quick Test Professional (QTP) versus Open Source Testing Tools but I would rather say it is a comparison between paid/ costly tools vis a vis open source tools which are supposed to be presumably free of cost tools. There can be a number of differences between the two categories that can be listed down based on technical capabilities of these tools, commercial aspects and overall procurement and support function.
Following differences can be listed:
1. Paid tools are Paid but Free tools are Not Free: Paid tools have a value tag attached to them like QTP has a value imbibed with it and depending on your needs of test automation, the final cost is evaluated by the vendor.
2. You have a visible person in picture working with a particular company authorized to sell that specific paid tool.
3. If you plan to go for a free tool, think twice before you ascertain that if you are quite capable of managing the show on your own – go ahead. But if you need an assistance, you will be wasting a big amount of time in searching for a suitable capable party who can download the tool on your behalf, customize it for you and make it run for you with all kind of support required.
4. Support in real time for paid tools: You have a vendor to whom you have paid for tool, got it deployed at your location and may be bundled training on that tool also in the deal. You will have a well defined support level bundled in the deal to make it a safe deal.
Test Automation has become predominantly and unquestionably a ‘must’do’ entity in project management, especially of larger size and involving higher stakes. Scenarios are changing at a faster pace from legacy, orthodox, out of date waterfall model of testing to ‘quick to attain perfection’ in smaller pieces based agile methodology. Everyone around the globe, engaged in software development, must be aware of some kind or the other testing automation tool.
Even the organizations those are still not using test automation tools, do not indicate that their testing teams do not require any tool, or the test guys are not aware about the existence of automation tools. It merely might be happening in two cases – one, where the test team understands the need but has not been able to make management understand the need and importance of the same; two, management also understands the need and importance but is not able to justify the investment if currently the customer base is low; or product volume turnaround is lesser.
Note that test automation tools will never be able to replace manual testing completely. There is nothing called 100% testing automation. There needs to be manual testing component in all kind of testing, which has its own importance and need for existence. Only thing is that now the test automation and manual testing has to exist in right proportion so as to do full justification with the product testing and thereby producing an ultimate bug free product at the end of the day.
A manual tester might not be the perfect guy to perform automated testing and vice versa.
There is a lot of information that floats and flows between top management and customer management. Even though some of this information might not be directly linked to the project but might impact seriously on the growth and progress of the project thereby marring the tempo and momentum despite all good efforts being put by various project teams engaged in the project. These scenarios generally arise all of a sudden, out of blue, unexpectedly; but there is no point in hiding or overshadowing them.
One classical example of this that has happened in real life is decision of deploying an ERP in the organization, change in top management key members in a short duration, decision of deploying the same ERP put on hold for a couple of months and ultimately reversed. And during all this period when management at both ends were aware about this situation and rising clouds over the fate of ERP, Project teams were not at all informed about the same and hence finally all these efforts went into a dustbin.
Some fool in the top management who knew all these changes happening in the management of customer side, still was hopeful that this project will not get shaken at all inspite of getting such indications from customer end. The project teams especially the development team sensed decline in relevant information flow from customer’s key users who were aware of the final fate of project by that time.
Had top management took a wise decision of putting the same project on hold till things getting clearer from customer end, and deploying teams elsewhere on other project; it would have been better in terms of financial results and performance.
Project manager has to be a versatile and universal kind of entity in an organization rather than limiting him/herself to a particular department or specific focus area. Project Manager has to be visibly an overall scale predicting the progress and health of the project. He has to be informative about all round progress of project even from the corners where relevant activity has ended or is yet to start. It is not that start happens only when it visibly or apparently appears to start, it starts much before that.
Taking all this into consideration, a Project Manager has to act as a radar or high frequency antenna so as to keep capturing relevant information related to project automatically or to a large extent without much of an effort. This can happen only if Project Manager takes care of his/ her important and regularly to be monitored/ reviewed touch points from where all important pieces of information will come through. By joining thread of these various pieces of information, project manager can attain very useful analysis about the progress and health of project.
Thee Critical Touch Points for Project Manager are:
1. Customer: This will be the source of first level of information that will be raw, useful and foundation of product in asking.
2. Management: It is important to understand management goals and vision prior to setting your own goals for any project.
3. Quality: This is the area which needs to be focused upon carefully. The guys should be set free to raise any kind of query related to customer and product that may turn out to be a bigger introspective point for management to look into.
If, for any kind of project, focus on three important areas when put right since the beginning of project; might help in attaining desired results and outcomes in appropriate, timely and within budget targets. The logistics are not mentioned here in terms of their importance as I feel all of them are equally important in order to drive a project successfully. Irrespective of the hierarchy they have been mentioned below, understanding and adherence is more relevant.
Three logistic points of any project management can be listed as:
1. Information flow from Customer: It is very important to keep a continuous information flow from customer end regarding their business requirements, changes required, enhancement perceived, and expectations from the new project in terms of deliverable, value addition in business and processes etc.
2. Customer Requirement flow to all concerned in Project: It is not only development team that is demanding customer requirements to be built in within the product. It is quality, implementation and any other stakeholders for whom this information is a good source of introspection and product logic discussions.
3. Internal flow of documents and information: Code is not a secret entity within any organization engaged in development of a product for a customer. It needs to be shared among various other teams (other than development team) so as to get them the flavor of product in the building process and hence prepare their relevant tasks accordingly. It might become a handy and useful tool for teams like QC, QA, Implementation, Deployment etc. so as to prepare accordingly.
Measure what is measurable and make measurable what is not. ~ Galileo Galilei
A code is always testable. large of small, but each piece of code that is catering to a specific need of the business must be tested thoroughly. A small piece unattended may spoil the whole product.
If we always do what we’ve always done, we will get what we’ve always got. ~ Adam Urbanski
If we keep doing the same thing the same way, we keep getting what we have already got, nothing more nothing less. That is why Change is must, in process, in product, in testing, in development – in everything. Change can get you ‘better than previous’.
“The starting point for improvement is to recognize the need.” – Masaaki Imai
Unless and until you know what is to be changed, you will never be able to get the optimized product. It is something like if you are not able to find a bug in a product, you will never be able to find out the actual defect and hence the improvement that is required in the product.
Like tools, mind also gets rusted if not used regularly.
Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently. ~Henry Ford
Everything can be improved. ~C. W. Barron
Quality in a product or service is not what the supplier puts in. It is what the customer gets out and is willing to pay for. ~Peter F. Drucker
Professionalism means consistency of quality. ~Frank Tyger
It is quality rather than quantity that matters. ~Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Heineken is one of the prime brands in liquor industry and one of the top beers sold across all continents on the globe. The whole credit of success of this Dutch beer brand becoming most popular across the globe goes to its founder Freddy Heineken. Freddy used to be too conscious about the quality of the product rather than focusing on producing in large volumes. He never let his success spoil his quality conscious mind and was always used to get disturbed even for a single quality issue arising anywhere in the globe related to his product. He used to take any bad bottle of Heineken as a personal insult to him. And that is what makes him a great successful businessman.
Philip Crosby gave a different perspective on Quality. He wrote – “Quality is free, but only to those who are willing to pay heavily for it”. Quality is not given and deemed by everyone. Quality has more relationship with conscious rather than anything else.