Can a project run without a project manager? There are two ways of looking at it. One – the ship is so strong in technical aspects that it does not require a captain; and another – the boat is in so bad shape that whether it has a rower or not – does not matter.
Well there is no project in real life that can not be revived back from its doomed shape. If there is a way out for coming out of a bad situation, it need to be thought of and worked out instead of leaving all hopes and lay down all your weapons.
A project team decided to run the complete project lifecycle – initiation, development and deployment – without any involvement of a quality person. Does it mean the project team is totally ignorant about the quality factor in a project? Or does it mean that they are overconfident about managing the quality part on their own without engaging any quality specialist in the project.
Or it could mean that they have already been doing it in the same manner and have been quite successful in their past.
There could be a third angle to it. The project team itself comprising of dual specialists in each role. Meaning thereby, that the development team is specialist in two aspects – development and quality. And the same implies to each and every member of the team – doing whatever role – is a quality expert besides being expert in his/ her running role.
Project manager is too technical and less business savvy. In today’s world is it possible for a project manager to be highly tech savvy but lack in business knowledge of the domain or vertical in which he is assigned to run the project successfully.
It is possible, if it is too technical a project in which very less business domain knowledge is required. Something like setting up of a data center for a rubber producing company. Here the technical knowledge of the project manager in such projects will be highly important. It does not matter whether the project manager knows anything about rubber industry or not.
But same thing does not imply in all cases. If it is required to set up a data center for a media company or a call center, it is very important to understand the business needs as this would be a unique case for the project manager.
Based on a report published on a research site, scope creep is one of the biggest culprits responsible for failure of project. Scope creep is nothing but shortfalls in the requirement gathering from customer during the customer requirement documentation phase of the project. It is quite relevant to a wrong map in your hands will never be able to land you in right destination.
Howsoever clearly designed map you have in your hand, with clearly defined paths and directions, but if it is wrong map, if will certainly never let you reach the desired destination. Probably a small shortfall in the requirement specifications could lead to a huge gap in acquiring the goal within stipulated budget and timeframe. Extrapolated budgets and schedules do not lead to internal or external satisfaction of the stakeholders in a project. It impacts hard on all fronts and thereby resulting into disharmony and loss in involvement of stakeholders in ongoing project.
It is not that a risk can’t be mitigated. But before going for a mitigation plan, it is important to understand the level and severity of risk. Once you understand the gravity of a risk, it becomes easy to hit its causes and put all efforts in mitigating the risk.
Any risk and its mitigation cost – directly or indirectly – and put its negative impact on the performance of a project. Therefore it is always better to leave a scope of higher amount of risks in your project.
As per a report published by Info-Tech Research Group, in last two years there is a meagre 15 percent of organization across the globe that have been able to finish projects within the projected limits of time, budget and scope. It is really good to see that somewhere some group is able to achieve with some proven or innovative kind of strategy, philosophy and tools. But it is bad that the percentage is too low.
Why is it not possible for all projects to have a good ending meeting all desired targets and achieving a high level of success? This research report identifies four major buckets that cause project failures. It also helps in identifying those four categories of failure traps and how to prevent getting into those traps.
There are different ways of looking at it. You start a big project, follow some preset methodology by forming a strong team and adhere to your plans. Success usually doesn’t come by fluke. It involves a big amount of every step introspection and team discussions. It never happens that everything goes as per plan. Some failures, hiccups or roadblocks do arise but that doesn’t mean that this is the end of road.
A proper management and mitigation of internal and external opposing forces paves a smooth path for project roadmap and ultimately a grand success. At the end of the day what matters most is where do you decide to fall in during your project life-cycle – in a small chunk of 15% successful companies or the other side.
Sales department is the one that brings in the business for any organization. Most of the sales start with leads and cold calls which gradually transform into hot calls, though not all. Once customer show willingness towards product, sales team pushes the lead to techo-team so as to educate customer about the technical details of the product and overall cost impact on the solution desired by customer.
After signing of the contract it is the project team that starts managing the customer. Once specs are defined, during project initiation phase, when customer requirements are studied and understood in detail, it is taken over by the development team. One entity that is project manager has to continuously keep a track of project progress and health; be it at any stage in any of the phases. Project manager is the longest phase window to customer. Project manager in a way is front office of the organization to face the customer front during project lifecycle, with no doubt, a good amount of team members at the back end engaged in various amount of tasks.
There are ups and downs during any project, and there are a number of doubts, queries and questions raised by the customer which have to be faced by project manager. It is the sales pitch in project manager that has to come handy during these interactions with customer. Even if grass has not grown as per expectations, project manager has to convince customer that it has started growing, and is all green.
PMO comprises of the core members of project management responsible to drive project in right direction under all kind of opposing situations. It is responsibility of PMO to ensure that project has to meet all milestones in project timeframe so as to reach to its final destination of success. Any risks arising during project lifecycle need to be understood well in advance by PMO with an immediate course of action to mitigate those risks so that the project does not deviate from its path of success.
Still there are many mistakes done by PMO that lead a project in wrong directions resulting into a big disaster. Some of those serious mistakes could be:
1. Start with a big bang and then lose the track: A high noise is created to start the project but it is so loud that the actual essence of project gets lost.
2. High Speed but without real sense of directions: There is high level of meetings and plans but all teams working 180 degrees to each other. What it means is that there could be some alignment in some teams among various present in the project but overall resultant comes out to be negative.
3. Rewards: Give big rewards to team/ members for smaller achievements thereby creating a big amount of disharmony among team members overlooked for serious achievements and hence a downgrade in momentum and tempo.
4. Respect Customer: Respect customer blindfolded, so much so, that unreal demands are accepted.
5. No Controls and Checks: There might be some there on papers but not in reality, hence creating a big chaos.
We all are human beings. Projects are made to be driven not only by human beings but it implies to all living world. Project comprise of deadlines, targets, follow-ups, meetings, team creation, team management, and so on. An apple plant has a target to bear apples when it grows into a tree. How does it know that it has to bear apples and not some other fruit?
What drives an apple tree to bear apples is an amazing topic to introspect. The same water, air, sunlight and other natural ingredients that go into a weed plant go into a plant borne to bear fruits. Is it bound of any compulsions of others wishes to bear any other kind of fruit, if it is an apple tree. What it means is that the tree decides on its own that it has to bear what kind of fruit. Or rather it is the seed that designs the complete project plan of plant growing to tree and bearing large amount of fruit, which is apple in our case.
What does it implies? It implies that if a good quality of seed, which can be correlated to project initiation plan, it can never give any chances of failures during its complete lifecycle. The air, water, soil, sunlight in this case is various teams that are formed to be part of project team. It is now the responsibility of these teams to ensure that the seed grown with a high amount of responsibility grows at the desired pace and bear the right kind of fruits, in right time.
There are ways to make a project successful and more number of ways to find out excuses for failures. There is no project that does not encompass of showstoppers, critical or serious issues. Most of the senior team members are always prepared to come across any unwanted or untoward issues arising of a project and finding out suitable measures to overcome them. The top most priority of core project team is to take care of such untoward incidents and ensure a proper mitigation of such risks.
There are ways to ensure a project go fail and gradually you can get accustomed to it where no extra effort shall be required to do so. The top few ways can be listed as below:
1. Overlook troubles and hiccups in a project and thus find no ways out to recover through them.
2. Make no plans and if someone else does that effort, never take it seriously. It is not mandatory to adhere to the timelines marked in the plan.
3. No plans will also ensure no monitoring, follow ups, alerts etc. thereby making your life smooth and hiccups free.
4. Don’t rely on your people or processes to make it successful. Don’t let your team be guided in right direction to make a project successful. Also ensure no good processes in place to take people in right direction.
5. Never give a priority to your customer. Lead your product’s development in 180 degrees rather than in alignment of customer requirements.
There are more ways than mentioned above. It is not difficult for you to find out in real world.
Project execution comprises of various efforts done by team members. This becomes a pool of energy moving in the direction of making a project successful. More collated form of energies generates higher chances of success of their efforts.
Right form of energy in right direction at right moment of time with right level of thrust returns higher chances of success in its goals. Logical right mix of team member leads to timely completion of project tasks. An individual, a team, a project; all have their specific carbon footprint. What factors would mainly contribute in determination of carbon footprint of a project. Let us try indicating few of them as below:
1. overshooting budgets and expenses
2. delayed decisions
3. missed targets, deadlines and milestones
4. team losing focus, tempo, momentum and goals
5. No Learning from mistakes
All points listed above if go in affirmative direction, will lead to a higher level of carbon footprint in the project. The same can be reduced by negating the points mentioned above.
Do you feel physical presence of your team around you is important and is the only way to manage them or control them. Do you think that your team should report to you and keep you making feel important all the time because you are Project Manager and as per your perception you are one of the key pillars of your project?
If you think traffic police constable standing on a crossing and controlling traffic resembles the role of a project manager whose overall responsibility is to control teams, project and management; you might be right. Only thing is that you have to manage the show more tactically and less mechanically. Your movements have to take place more in mind rather than the physical ones.
Basically a project manager must be able to manage the teams which are far off, as effectively as the teams around. It is the way you find out to manage in an effective manner which need not be a proven and orthodox. It may be a totally new and innovative manner of handling your teams.
Technically an engineer these days doesn’t require going and inspecting a machine physically. There are tools and ways to manage remotely and quite effectively. This does not only saves time and energy but give a more economical leverage to shell out project completion in a highly productive manner.
This is in continuation from previous post…
3. Test Cases: Never underestimate product’s capabilities, customer’s expectations and development team’s performance. Besides all good factors, there are always chances of things going weird, not because someone intentionally wants it to happen but due to any kind of ignorance, miscommunication or misunderstanding. Build all kind of test cases to cover up the product testing completely.
4. Perform Testing as Prayer: Don’t keep a difference between the product testing that you perform and the prayer done for the supreme power. With a great amount of clarity in mind and set goals of delivering the best to customer, there are least chances of getting things going wrong.
5. No Gap with Development Team: Ensure that whatever you are doing is for the improvement of organization and not for the purpose of pinpointing anybody’s mistakes. Same should happen with the development team too. It must be very clear to them that test team is not there to point out their lack of knowledge but to find out leakages in the product so that there are no eruption of volcanoes at a later stage thereby causing higher amount of damages.
There are many more important factors that are required to be kept in mind but if above 5 points are well adhered to, probably the chances of winning the battle are higher.
Test team has an important role to play which leads to project success. It is said that the time required for development and testing should never be compromised. A small amount of ignorance at any of these two stages may lead to a big disaster at a later stage. This does not mean that all other stages are of lesser significance.
Although a significant amount of attention is given at all stages of the project but test team need to adhere to some important points which should not be overlooked or compromised in any case. Those important points can be listed as below:
1. Start with open and fresh mind: Every project has its own merits and demerits. It is good to carry on with the good deeds done during that previous project that made it a grand success but move on with a mission of overcoming the mistakes done during the last project that caused certain delays or hiccups. There has to be no regrets about any failures in the past and equally important is to forget any ill feelings about any of the team mates if project is desired to move smoothly and strongly.
2. Focus intensely on customer requirements: Don’t hesitate in performing a post mortem of each and every clause mentioned in the customer requirements document. Ensure that the document is well in place, complete in all respects, has been signed off by all respective and responsible representatives and is well documented in a manner that it is not going to create any kind of confusion among development and test teams.
—– to be continued/-
There are least chances of failure if you let life go as it is. Having no targets in life, no plans to execute, no aspirations to achieve, no dreams to live with and no ambitions can give you a trouble free time in life. Do you think it is true?
Real way of achieving success in any kind of project is not to lose hope and fight with all hurdles arising during a project. Overall if you see, project is a team effort and its success (or failure) cannot be assigned to a single person of the team. Team in a real sense is a combination of all complimenting and supplementing factors so that to lead, follow, execute, assist, drive, assign, plan, achieve, approve and provide resources.
Probably it is quite uncertain to predict that a project will run smooth throughout and will face no troubles of any kind during its any of the phases. It is practically impossible to believe it and claim at all about any kind of project sizing from very small to any big size. Troubles and hiccups are integral part of a project and that is why a project comprises of involvement of good amount of persons in the project team.
Project basically is a triangle with stakeholders, project executioners and customer at its three corners. Project deliverables, timelines, milestones, plans, meetings, targets are all ingredients that are the fillers of the triangle. Some of these ingredients are singularly connected to any one corner of the triangle; some could be jointly connected to two corners while rest would be linked to all the three corners of triangle. It denotes basically that more or less everyone is connected to the project at all points of time and get affected due to success or failure of project. Sometimes it could not end up in total failure of the project meaning that it might result into a final sign off but any unexpected delays during a project lead to loss in revenue, confidence and team momentum.
As long as project is running smooth and hassle free, it is harmonious and happy atmosphere around. But in otherwise conditions, it results into conflicts, disharmony and unhappy atmosphere. Who doesn’t want every project to be successful but still everyone faces some or the other challenges during its lifecycle.
Hey this is the last blogs post for the year 2011. Here is a list of my all blogs written during the year 2011 at ITKE.
Jan 12 2011 10:11AM GMT http://bit.ly/hL2AHA
Business Value And Software Product
Jan 12 2011 10:15AM GMT http://bit.ly/fKzupE
Business Value And Sustenance
Jan 13 2011 10:43AM GMT http://bit.ly/gt4xqr
Business Value And Its Consistency
Jan 13 2011 10:46AM GMT http://bit.ly/fBx0aw
Treat Bugs As Software Enhancers
Jan 17 2011 11:21AM GMT http://bit.ly/h4aUUM
Consistent Delivery Does Matter In Case Of Project Manager
Jan 17 2011 11:25AM GMT http://bit.ly/fENhBw
Project Management Lessons From Cricket Coach John Wright
Jan 19 2011 11:45AM GMT http://bit.ly/f0qQhe
Ten Facts About Product Backlog
Jan 19 2011 11:49AM GMT http://bit.ly/enJsL8
Backlog Monitoring Helps Greatly In Accurate Estimations
Jan 28 2011 11:17AM GMT http://bit.ly/f0adVq
Lean Organization Architecture And Project Management
Jan 28 2011 11:22AM GMT http://bit.ly/ek66Xj
Key Difference Between Lean And Agile Testing In Project Management
Jan 31 2011 10:41AM GMT http://bit.ly/fhK4ur
Some Teammates Make A Big Difference
Jan 31 2011 10:45AM GMT http://bit.ly/f6BDoO
Quality Control Of Bug Report
Feb 3 2011 10:58AM GMT http://bit.ly/gP5vIn
Project Management Versus Change Management
Feb 3 2011 11:01AM GMT http://bit.ly/g7cXsX
Project Management And Total Involvement
Feb 4 2011 11:07AM GMT http://bit.ly/gN260E
Project Management And Project Strategy
Feb 4 2011 11:12AM GMT http://bit.ly/ij7Ixo
Business Process Management And Business Process
Feb 7 2011 10:57AM GMT http://bit.ly/ehIZ4f
Different Training Methodologies During Project Management
Feb 8 2011 12:02PM GMT http://bit.ly/fW3JFz
Project Management And Team Management
Feb 8 2011 12:06PM GMT http://bit.ly/hxx6Ir
Five Golden Guidelines While Heading For A New Customer Win
Feb 9 2011 10:43AM GMT http://bit.ly/fuGJhY
To Choose Between Initial Quality Expense And Later Product Interruptions
Feb 9 2011 10:47AM GMT http://bit.ly/gOMN6X
Is Quality Expense Or Income For Software Development Organization
Feb 11 2011 11:42AM GMT http://bit.ly/fe3T6J
How Important Is Project Dashboard For Project Management
Feb 11 2011 11:51AM GMT http://bit.ly/fZCdi2
Compliance And Testing Coverage Against Project Specifications
Feb 23 2011 11:48AM GMT http://bit.ly/gDFqrA
Innovative Project Management And Project Harnessing
Mar 4 2011 11:16AM GMT http://bit.ly/dQwAT6
Good Service And Good Product Alone Does Not Drive Business Growth
Mar 9 2011 11:40AM GMT http://bit.ly/ekdGB4
Never Panic If Captain Departs From Ship In Mid Of Troubled Waters
Mar 9 2011 11:48AM GMT http://bit.ly/fMciCy
At No Stage You Can Claim Project As Fully Matured
Mar 11 2011 12:37PM GMT http://bit.ly/gCzfkH
Thoughts On Recruitment And Employee Retention In Software Company
Mar 11 2011 12:40PM GMT http://bit.ly/dSHSrb
Outsource Or Recruit Or Hire Contract Is a Big Question In Software Project
Mar 14 2011 11:28AM GMT http://bit.ly/efim7L
Project Growth And Organization Work Culture Progress Hand In Hand
Mar 15 2011 12:04PM GMT http://bit.ly/i9IkRU
Outsourcing Or Hiring Is All Situational Game
Mar 16 2011 10:29AM GMT http://bit.ly/hwD4CB
Who Actually Drives Your Project
Mar 18 2011 9:46AM GMT http://bit.ly/h1Etia
Project Management And Innovation
Mar 21 2011 11:35AM GMT http://bit.ly/hOvt7o
Five Pillars Of Quality Drive
Mar 29 2011 11:46AM GMT http://bit.ly/gIESvR
Check If Project Manager Fits The Bill Or Not
Mar 29 2011 11:52AM GMT http://bit.ly/gp2gd8
A Classic Sad Tale About Project Management
Apr 5 2011 9:48AM GMT http://bit.ly/fsyhH9
Constituents Of A Test Plan
Apr 7 2011 11:10AM GMT http://bit.ly/hszPKZ
Steps For A Process Head To Become Innovative
Apr 7 2011 11:16AM GMT http://bit.ly/eO9mvA
Limitations of QC
Apr 13 2011 10:07AM GMT http://bit.ly/fWTrV4
When And Why Build A Test Plan
Apr 13 2011 10:12AM GMT http://bit.ly/gvdRex
If Following Traffic Rules Is A Process There Are Many Violators On Road
Apr 16 2011 9:22AM GMT http://bit.ly/fQBoKn
Most Of Software Delays Are Because Of No Proper Requirements Gathered
Apr 16 2011 9:27AM GMT http://bit.ly/hOLuob
Good Process Quality Can Put Appropriate Checks
Apr 25 2011 5:05AM GMT http://bit.ly/guySiN
Lean In Software Project Management
Apr 25 2011 5:16AM GMT http://bit.ly/eyH73B
Six Sigma Can Be A Catalyst To Project Management
Apr 26 2011 11:29AM GMT http://bit.ly/e1mJYo
Success Failure Product And Techies
Apr 27 2011 10:52AM GMT http://bit.ly/gqaAAk
Five Testing Angles For A Tester To Perform Efficiently
Apr 29 2011 9:54AM GMT http://bit.ly/lIMIdi
Segregating Customer Desire Need And Greed Carves Project Success
May 12 2011 11:50AM GMT http://bit.ly/iK8Hlo
Some Thoughts On What Makes Software Product Lose Credibility Or Touch Sky Heights
May 12 2011 11:56AM GMT http://bit.ly/iWldAC
Six Standard Norms Customer Seeks In Software Product
May 14 2011 8:22AM GMT http://bit.ly/itu8Fn
Four Critical Places To Ignore Quality And Invite Disaster In Your Software Project
May 14 2011 8:29AM GMT http://bit.ly/ilyp3j
Why Quality Manager Cannot Be Project Manager And Vice Versa
May 17 2011 9:59AM GMT http://bit.ly/j79z1L
Five Requirement Based Face Saving Statements Against Customer To Hide Shortcomings
May 18 2011 12:20PM GMT http://bit.ly/7AgpBz
Dynamic Team Vs Static Team
May 23 2011 10:49AM GMT http://bit.ly/la7fZB
Project Team Sizing And Optimizing
May 23 2011 11:31AM GMT http://bit.ly/lot4hM
Understanding A Complex Situation Is First Mantra Of Success For A Project Team
May 24 2011 11:03AM GMT http://bit.ly/mPsOMl
Positive And Negative Traits Of Project Say A Lot If Analysed
May 25 2011 11:20AM GMT http://bit.ly/ld7YiD
Three Initiators To Lead A Team Without Being Team Leader
May 26 2011 12:24PM GMT http://bit.ly/jkvjZe
Test Environment Versus Live Environment
May 30 2011 11:00AM GMT http://bit.ly/moa0kF
Four Simple Tools To Enhance Project Success Rate
Jun 24 2011 6:06PM GMT http://bit.ly/imDPnw
An Insight Of How To Turn A Good Developer Into A Good Tester As Well
Jun 24 2011 6:37PM GMT http://bit.ly/meMxKa
Testing And Project Progress Go Hand In Hand
Jun 25 2011 6:15PM GMT http://bit.ly/mILf4K
An Approach To Ascertain Leverage Of Developing Bugs In Place OF Neat Software Product
Jun 25 2011 6:39PM GMT http://bit.ly/jM9E0T
Each Bug Has An Element Of Cost Associated With It
Jun 26 2011 6:23PM GMT http://bit.ly/mRuibG
My Earlier Pains About Testers And Developers Are Still Intact
Jun 26 2011 6:51PM GMT http://bit.ly/lWJiC5
An Approach Of Project Cost Estimation And Another For Software Testing
Jun 27 2011 6:24PM GMT http://bit.ly/mMxTxK
Why Software Testing And Importance
Jun 27 2011 6:42PM GMT http://bit.ly/k59DP8
If Doctor Starts Curing His Patients Like A Programmer
Jun 29 2011 7:40AM GMT http://bit.ly/imZdtr
A Checklist Is Must To Ensure Complete Coverage Of Software Testing
Jun 29 2011 8:09AM GMT
Five Good Blogs On Testing
Jun 30 2011 5:38PM GMT http://bit.ly/mHmCUG
Seven Blogs In A Row On SDLC Software Development Life Cycle
Jun 30 2011 5:48PM GMT http://bit.ly/jhTPbQ
Software Requirement Gathering Is Most Prime Stage Of Project
Jul 11 2011 2:27AM GMT http://bit.ly/oYSvCC
Testing Methodology Has To Vary For Development And Support Phase
Jul 11 2011 2:37AM GMT http://bit.ly/pV04kW
Implementation Phase Is Acid Test For Software Project Success
Jul 14 2011 5:59PM GMT http://bit.ly/p4Yz8r
Test Strategy Can Not Be Same For Different Software
Jul 14 2011 6:05PM GMT http://bit.ly/qHKvAK
An Extra Mile Of Testing In Initial Phases Saves A Lot Of Project Fuel
Jul 15 2011 4:55PM GMT http://bit.ly/oAg6ut
Eight Blogs On Project Manager
Jul 15 2011 5:02PM GMT http://bit.ly/pGB424
Nine More Blogs On Project Manager
Jul 24 2011 2:03PM GMT http://bit.ly/nIIgdP
Seven Blogs On SDLC Software Development LifeCycle
Jul 24 2011 2:18PM GMT http://bit.ly/oHcSNA
Six Sins At Product Development Stage That Can Lead Project To Disaster
Jul 26 2011 5:17PM GMT http://bit.ly/qHkEpo
Six Blogs On Release Management
Jul 26 2011 6:07PM GMT http://bit.ly/oYjr1I
Sixteen Blogs On Identificaiton Of Customer Requirements
Jul 31 2011 2:36PM GMT http://bit.ly/p56V3I
Twenty Nine High Fiver Blogs On Project Management And Quality Assurance
Jul 31 2011 6:42PM GMT http://bit.ly/re6yzG
A Dozen Of Super Sixers On Project Management And Quality Assurance
Aug 7 2011 7:40AM GMT http://bit.ly/og91RQ
Everyone Is A Born Project Manager
Aug 7 2011 8:00AM GMT http://bit.ly/pPJHtc
Quality Is Not Something We Are Not Aware Of In Our Day To Day Life
Aug 15 2011 6:28AM GMT http://bit.ly/oqjydr
Dream Based Projects Prone To Fail In Lack Of Vision And Clarity
Aug 15 2011 6:35AM GMT http://bit.ly/pjGtMt
Projects With Least Involvement Of Sponsors Do Not Do Well
Aug 18 2011 5:50PM GMT http://bit.ly/pgdaFS
If Sponsor Is Weak It Is Better To Drop Project
Aug 18 2011 5:58PM GMT http://bit.ly/qgzq6s
Project Starting Without Project Plan Is Like Driving With No Route Knowledge
Aug 22 2011 4:47PM GMT http://bit.ly/nGGmZA
Project Ends With Either Win Win Or Lose Lose
Aug 22 2011 4:52PM GMT http://bit.ly/r2WSZx
With No Measurement Of Plan Project Failure Is Not Too Far
Aug 26 2011 5:28PM GMT http://bit.ly/nZm5ml
Quality Speaks: Product Review: Wondershare Video Converter For Mac
Aug 26 2011 5:34PM GMT http://bit.ly/oIbKTT
Quality Speaks: Product Review: DRM Removal From iSkysoft
Aug 31 2011 1:10PM GMT http://bit.ly/qUYGGB
Project Estimations Is Not Management Ballgame
Aug 31 2011 1:12PM GMT http://bit.ly/rpkOOu
Ten Major Constituents Of Project Estimations
Sep 5 2011 4:20AM GMT http://bit.ly/nFgpPJ
Product Review: Geosurf ™ Secured Private Local Surfing Without Being Local
SEP 5 2011 5:33AM GMT HTTP://BIT.LY/PJAW9Y
Software Review: A Software Development Company For Real Estate Business
Sep 8 2011 6:23PM GMT http://bit.ly/omHSgL
Two Products Reviewed: Mac The Ripper And iMedia From iSkySoft
Sep 14 2011 11:48AM GMT http://bit.ly/nznZVa
Quality of A Product Says Everything about Success: MTS Converter for Mac
Sep 14 2011 7:21PM GMT http://bit.ly/obEluH
Can My Project Management Office Learn From This Kitchen Friendly Website
Sep 19 2011 8:56AM GMT http://bit.ly/q0GiEr
iTube Studio for Mac is Incredible
Sep 20 2011 10:49AM GMT http://bit.ly/q9L7Oe
When You Want To Outsource A Facebook Application Development Company
Sep 20 2011 6:33PM GMT http://bit.ly/p3S7DY
Do You Need A Customer Appreciation And Retention Expert
Sep 21 2011 5:07PM GMT http://bit.ly/qtuiL1
Have You Tried The Power Of DVD Ripper For Mac
Sep 29 2011 3:59AM GMT http://bit.ly/pcjANb
How Often A Project Manager Goes Out Of Shell
Sep 29 2011 4:29AM GMT http://bit.ly/r5aC6B
Why Is It Important For QA Head To See Other Products
Sep 30 2011 5:59PM GMT http://bit.ly/okPxxt
Xilisoft iPad Magic 4 for Windows – A Real Magical Experience
OCT 5 2011 12:06PM GMT HTTP://BIT.LY/MVKVJF
Private Label Solutions Suite Offered By Solution Union
OCT 6 2011 3:32AM GMT HTTP://BIT.LY/NR7UKN
When Did You Last Take Your Information Security Awareness Program
OCT 15 2011 6:56PM GMT HTTP://BIT.LY/NJUAHG
How About Some Entertainment During An Overseas Project Implementation
OCT 16 2011 6:50AM GMT HTTP://BIT.LY/PDGV0H
An Innovative and Unique Project in Electronic Recycling and Other eCycling Services
OCT 19 2011 6:16PM GMT HTTP://BIT.LY/R0P5GM
Something About Private Label Products For Getting Quality Valued Products
OCT 21 2011 6:54PM GMT HTTP://BIT.LY/QNM2UN
Are You Aware About Quality of Tippmann
OCT 22 2011 4:40AM GMT HTTP://BIT.LY/PHWM5C
Solid Management and Reporting Tools for Asset, AD, DC and Computer Management
OCT 22 2011 5:37PM GMT HTTP://BIT.LY/N2NFCS
Should We Not Learn Some Project Management From These NHL Teams
OCT 22 2011 5:47PM GMT HTTP://BIT.LY/O1K1SQ
Can A Project Manager Think Of Customer Comfort Like This
OCT 22 2011 5:55PM GMT HTTP://BIT.LY/QOFCK6
Beautiful and Powerful Features of Office Tab
OCT 23 2011 4:47PM GMT HTTP://BIT.LY/PUGGKH
iSkysoft Video Converter for Mac is Enormously Wonderful Tool
OCT 26 2011 5:12PM GMT HTTP://BIT.LY/RTSPIM
Do You Help Your Project Get Slim and Energetic Like This
OCT 26 2011 5:58PM GMT HTTP://BIT.LY/TUQ1RP
Quality Review of a Quality Service Company in Order Fulfillment
OCT 29 2011 12:58PM GMT
Are You Ready to Learn Computer Languages?
OCT 29 2011 5:55PM GMT HTTP://BIT.LY/VY71NN
Exploration of a High Quality DVD Ripper
OCT 29 2011 6:07PM GMT HTTP://BIT.LY/TZLWSQ
A Powerful DVD Creator to Burn iTunes Movies to DVD
OCT 29 2011 6:22PM GMT HTTP://BIT.LY/TG6MO2
A Glance At One of the Best Video Converters
NOV 7 2011 5:03PM GMT HTTP://BIT.LY/VPS5SS
Top Twenty Pitfalls in Project Management
NOV 7 2011 5:15PM GMT HTTP://BIT.LY/S1SAPM
Why Does A Project Manager Need A Break From the Project
NOV 15 2011 5:36PM GMT HTTP://BIT.LY/SERQK1
ERP implementation in a Greenfield project
NOV 20 2011 1:57PM GMT HTTP://BIT.LY/SDSWKS
It Doesnot Matter SAP or BaaN more than Implementation Process
NOV 20 2011 2:52PM GMT HTTP://BIT.LY/TQJRME
When Top Management Becomes Helpless During Implementation
NOV 24 2011 6:13PM GMT HTTP://BIT.LY/USAZE2
It is Business Functions that Spoil the Show Mostly
NOV 25 2011 6:54PM GMT HTTP://BIT.LY/S4G0YU
Reducing Project Cost can Itself be a Project
NOV 25 2011 7:40PM GMT HTTP://BIT.LY/RDHE0L
Project Stakeholders are Project Watchmen or Drivers
NOV 25 2011 8:13PM GMT HTTP://BIT.LY/VTDV0M
Accelerating Your Project Does Not Need You To Be A Magician
NOV 27 2011 6:55PM GMT HTTP://BIT.LY/UQGQRL
A Rude Project Manager Cannot Have Caring and Connected Team
NOV 30 2011 7:21PM GMT
The Size of Team Decides about the Project Success Well Not Exactly
NOV 30 2011 7:47PM GMT HTTP://BIT.LY/TURFFG
Post Project Stage is Beginning of a New Project In Fact
DEC 24 2011 8:26AM GMT http://bit.ly/shXg2y
Evolution of Team Work in Project Management
DEC 24 2011 8:34AM GMT HTTP://BIT.LY/UUTSWN
What Makes a Project Successful
DEC 25 2011 7:15PM GMT HTTP://bit.ly/rx8F3r
TV Channel Browsing and Project Management
DEC 25 2011 7:27PM GMT HTTP://BIT.LY/RRXNYP
If the Water is Still There is Something Wrong in the Project
DEC 26 2011 7:15PM GMT HTTP://BIT.LY/UPPCQY
Can a Tester be Called Anti Coder
DEC 28 2011 5:15PM GMT HTTP://BIT.LY/VIJYLS
Testers are Either Friends Or Foes of Project Managers
DEC 28 2011 6:12PM GMT HTTP://BIT.LY/VFCVFC
7 Ways in which a Tester can Help in Removing Ambiguities in Business Requirement Document
DEC 29 2011 6:11PM GMT HTTP://BIT.LY/SC5MWB
Benefits of Using Correct Vision During Product Development
DEC 29 2011 6:20PM GMT HTTP://BIT.LY/W003QM
A Customer Can Be Blindfolded But Not For A Long Period
DEC 29 2011 6:31PM GMT HTTP://BIT.LY/SLPFCJ
Try Swallowing the Pill Smilingly That You Made For Your Customer
DEC 29 2011 6:54PM GMT HTTP://BIT.LY/UVV44V
A Rich Product Does Not Require Long Praises To Customer
Product benefits, if really are there, in it, need not require any long explanations to the customer. Mostly a product rich in features and functionality do not require long introductions. Rather if a product is being tried to be sold with extra bounce of praises, it should be taken as a word of caution. A deep probing or investigation in the product in terms of examining what is being told about it may reveal the truth.
It may give both types of experiences when you buy a new product. Logically whenever we buy a product we already have some level of expectations set in our mind for it. If product performance and functionality goes beyond that level, it touches mark of excellence as per our perceptions. And if it stays lower than that level, it might become a nightmare during its usage, depending on how low or high it is.
Higher expectations, mostly, are set by product selling company while presenting the product qualities at the time of initial discussion of cracking the deal. Usually at this juncture, product is either not ready or is ready not as per the customer requirements. So all kind of dreams are shown to the customer when customer puts forth his requirements and all sort of promises are also done to build any kind of functionality whatever is being expected.
And then it is two kinds of vendors, one who do whatever needs to be done, to build in whatever has been promised. And there are ones who don’t bother whatever has been promised and try to cheat by presenting a wrong picture.
It is very tough to swallow the same pill that you manufacture for other when the need is to cater to yourself with it. A product can be counted as product when it generates, not customers, but admirers. It is in real sense a best product, when customer praises about it in front of hundreds of people across the board and highlights about its hidden benefits that would have been passed as a bonus.
A number of customers buy a product bundled with lot of promises when it is sold. But in actual it starts giving pain to the end users and hampers business rather than acting as a supporting or boosting function. A product, if rightly developed, to cater to a business, need to act as a partner of customer in a sense that it helps in lowering pains and increasing gains.
When you develop a product for your customer, keep this thing in mind that whether the customer is going to realize pains after some time or will face bundles of sweet surprises hidden in the product. If the product crosses the level of stipulated of perceived ease of functioning and start giving better results during its usage, it definitely is bound to get full praises from the customer.
A customer during product development might not be able to assess the sincerity and integrity factor in a deeper manner but it can’t be hidden during implementation stage and post-handover stage. Product team or organization may feel happy if the ignorance or non-serious attitude embedded in the product during development stage is exposed post-implementation, post-handover and post-payment stage but that is still, in reality, a loss in business for the product selling organization.
This is mostly taken for granted sort of factor on product side and is almost never realized that one such instance may create a higher amount of loss in business than otherwise. The life is not as simple as it is supposed to be. It cannot be taken for granted for doing a serious kind of stuff in life. Best way of delivering a great product to customer is by having a highest level of seriousness right from the beginning.
One way of developing the product for customer is by keeping in mind as if the product is being developed for your own use. Once product is taking some shape, have a right kind of assessment, whether you would like to buy this product at the price you plan to sell it to your customer?
6/6 vision is not bad. But having 6/6 and not having a capability to look beyond is something that degrades the value of even the correction vision. It is like something valuable that you possess but are not able to get the best out of it, ever! Planting is one time activity, but it is watering and caring that helps in growing the plant. That does not mean that the later could have happened without former activity. It is sequential having both the activities in prime important category.
Testers do have a different blend of vision. They are bound to develop that extra edge of visioning through which they are able to look at the product more from a customer perspective rather than the vendor or product developer perspective. A tester is required to virtually slip into the shoe of end user so as to assess the capabilities and functionality of a product that is going to be delivered to them after passing through QC. Technically and functionally, a product must be able to cater to customer requirements to make business functions smoother, trouble free and less time consuming with higher level of accuracy.
That is what is about a product should be. One should understand, the earlier the better, that which situation is more important in business – merely selling the product by blindfolding or faking the customer or giving a state of the art product to the customer which in turn incurs manifold business through word of mouth and otherwise. Usually a good product even if sold at a lesser margins give greater benefits in longer term.
A tester always has an extra edger over developer in terms of looking at the product or requirements through a critique’s angle. If the requirements or product is not analyzed in a different manner, it might look straight, precise and up to the mark at times. The moment you go deeper or look at it through a different angle, the whole straight thing may appear as the most complex puzzle on this earth.
That is what is important to know that involvement of tester in the beginning gives lot of benefits to the project and various teams involved in the project. Tester or test team when goes through the business requirement document, would like to understand following points:
1. Have all requirements which are business critical and can be catered through development of business application been taken or not.
2. Does it cover the complete business cycle thereby catering to all major business functions
3. Does it cater to main business transactions
4. Does it cater to top management requirements, dashboard and analysis
5. Does it tend to ease out end user’s life or intends to make it more complex
6. Is there a buy in from top management
7. Is system being imposed on users or functions; or is being imposed without them getting involved
This is not the only list that can be a checkpoint for test team. There could be more points, sometimes depending on a typical kind of business having some very unique kind of requirements which are not required in general kind of business.
There are different kinds of project managers – those who take testers as a threat and thus treat them as foes and those who take testers are friends and hence always welcome them to put hands on the product in pipeline. Neither of the two is a strange factor. Both scenarios are natural and realistic.
If the situation is former, it becomes quite tough for testers to break the ice. It is not the question of just putting your hands on the product but also a good amount of cooperation and alignment is required from the development team. Without understanding business requirements on the basis of which the product in question has been developed, it is impossible to test the product. It is something like deciding to ride on a bicycle without knowing about the destination, road condition and distance to travel. Without knowing about the exact functionality requirements, it is next to impossible to test a product.
But logically, if you see, those project managers who treat testers as a threat lack confidence in themselves, their team and the product developed. Though this might not be true if some amount of probing is done in such cases, but it is the project manager that needs to introspect on such kind of behaviour. It could merely be lack of confidence and knowledge of project manager only that forces them to develop such atmosphere of hide and seek. The development team and product might be well in place! And the project manager would have placed them in a poor situation.
Shall we treat tester as a code destroyer? If on one hand a developer develops a code, a tester always tries to find out the holes in the pot. That is where a conflict on personal level originates when a programmer or coder takes it too personal by getting faults being found out in the code written by him. But internally a coder knows very well that the whole exercise of bug finding by tester is for a good cause that is going to benefit all involved in the chain.
Howsoever a programmer is treated as a constructive builder; he is prone to inherently bring in some bugs in the code. Even if a code is sure about some leakage in the code, he would not regret in falling love with his style of coding. That is where a jealousy begins when the code undergoes post-mortem by testing team. As any human being, we prefer to listen to the praise for our creation rather than somebody criticizing it.
Usually why a coder doesn’t have flair of a tester. Does it mean that tester is a saviour for coder? Tester is able to look at a code through a critic’s angle, and only then is he able to find out the shortcomings in the code. But on the other hand, a tester is supposed to possess a good knowledge of product and business requirements behind the building of that product so as to examine the product in right manner.
Probably coder and tester are made for each other to compliment each others’ efforts.
Still water leads to getting things rotten or stale. Flowing water keeps it fresh and healthy. Nobody
likes a project in a standstill position. It needs to be in a ‘move-on’ condition all the time till it reaches
its final position of successful deployment and sign off. Who does not want their project to finish in
time, successfully and without hiccups? But everyone knows it happens very rarely. What could be the
Why is it that among all kind of plans and monitoring activities a project faces delays, hiccups and
troubles? At a broader level a project team can be divided into following categories – planners,
executioners, monitors and decision makers. All four are very important components of a project. A
right mix and timely action from each of the component makes a larger sized positive impact on the
project and vice versa. Higher mix of planers and lesser count of executioners will lead to good amount
of thinkers but lesser amount of doers. Similarly lack of visibility or presence of decision makers in
a project will lead a project to a standstill. And that is where the stagnation and rottenness begins.
Monitoring gains momentum in the project and lack of it acts as a decelerator.
Actual need of presence of eagle’s eye is very important in a project. Someone has to take that role and lead in the project by smelling, sensing and foreseeing ‘Still Water’. This person must have the power to raise an alarm in time and activate the trigger for taking right action by right members of the team. A
universal sync among prominent team members is a must.
I had some spare time that I planned to invest in watching some useful program on TV. Starting with
channel one, moving on to next channel and trying to figure out how useful the coming program would
be; I reached to the higher limit of double figure digit of channels but ending up to nothing of my taste
so far. By this time I had spent almost 20 minutes while switching over from one channel to another and staying there for a while in trying out to figure out if something good or bad was there.
That is what happens in a project. Project starts, initiation activities are performed, teams are formed,
plans are made, methodology is adopted, project moves, milestones are monitored and delays are
justified. Actually does it move as it should move or things keep slowing down whilst during assumptions of them moving at right pace? Sometimes project owners are not able to catch hold of the things in right time. And by the time they become aware of the situation, probably it already has resulted into cracking of the egg. In this case the egg has not cracked in a natural manner but by mistake, done by someone in the team.
Point is not to zero down on the mistake doer, but to catch hold of the mistake and get it rectified at the earliest. It is never possible to rectify a mistake until it has been identified as a mistake and someone takes charge of it.
After half an hour I realized if I had browsed newspaper page that gives channel wise programs
beforehand, I would have headed to the right channel in right time without wastage of much energy and time.
No project is executed and completed without encountering troubles and hiccups. If that could happen
plans were not required. There were no monitoring, follow ups, alerts, alarms; if the projects were there to run smoothly and end up in time with success all over. Is it people or process that makes a project successful?
The same set of people without a good execution plan in hand and well defined processes to drive the
project, will never be able to make a project successful. Similarly the same set of execution plan and well defined processes in place will never end up in completion of a successful project in all places under all kind of circumstances.
So what is it that makes a project more problematic? Or what makes a project sail smoothly on troubled waters. Is it the people who are real driver of project or is it the well defined charter or project that makes it more successful. Even in presence of both, there are good amount of examples of failed projects even in large establishments. Does it mean that there are some more driving forces than the process and people that can win or lose a project success?
Actually it is very difficult to pin down the exact percentage of various factors that are responsible
for the success of a project. But is it a right mix of management, approach, system, people, process,
methodology, plan and control mechanism that makes it successful.
Did I mention that passion and fire in the belly are other two hidden ingredients that play a major role in the whole journey?
Depending on situation and demand of a project, teams are formed in accordance with the project requirements. Earlier when there was no concept of team it was found that based on tasks assigned to individuals in an organization, small teams used to get evolved automatically since in any kind of task, an individual is bound to seek assistance from internal or external member of the organization depending of the kind of task assigned.
Somehow some knowledgeable person in an organization would have studied the behaviour of different functional verticals when put under higher amount of work stress. A major activity that takes place under such circumstances is delegation of authorities, job allocation and team formation. When time is less and more tasks need to be performed, a best way to cut the long rope short is by removing unnecessary steps of the process which otherwise in normal situations would make a lot of sense and equally justify their existence.
Delegation of authorities and power is a strong tool when there is or are certain amounts of projects that need to be finished in very short duration. Though it does not mean that planning or monitoring is not required or such projects can survive without the two. What it means is that a more accurate and concrete form of planning or monitoring is required in such situations.
Post project is not the closure of a project. It is generally the beginning of the second innings of the project in which end users start using the product in actual and face the real fight. During project implementation phase, the challenge is not much as most of the cycle is done in presence of the functional and technical experts of the implementation team. But what happens when all the team is gone and support is not at a hand’s distance.
It is the stretch which is most painful in fact. No support on seat. Actual data to be done in the product and management expects some real bunch of useful reports. The acid test is for all who work on the product.
But it is during this stage that the ruggedness of product gets introduced or the weakness of the product gets exposed. It is usually this stage that the product is either absorbed in business for a long run or gets discarded even after a big amount spent on it.
You need to build a team for any of your project. None of the sizeable projects can be done by a single person. Building a team is not an easy task, as it involves all kind of right skills in the Project Manager to perform a right kind of permutation and combination to choose perfect match of team members. All team members with same or similar kind of members. Exact sizing need to be done with versatile and variable set of talents so as to build a mix of compliments and supplements kind of people in the team.
Why same kind of team members would not work well. Reason for this could be many but I would like to have opinions from readers.
An unconnected, isolated and purely professional project manager cannot and should not expect a connection between him and his team members on personal grounds. If this doesn’t affect the project manager it could be ok for his sake but as far as business and work is concerned, it is a well proven fact that a personal connect between a manager and subordinates delivers a potentially substantial amount of throughput in work. A project manager with rude attitude among or towards his team members does not do a good job for his project and management.
A personal connect with the organization grows with the help of its employees. After all organization is nothing but a collective and organized group of people. A proper tuning and harmony engages employees more with their organization and with each other in the organization. If this level is attained in the organization, its employee turnover is less than average as per industry standards. It has been seen that it is not the workload that makes people leave an organization but the personal connect with the organization that binds them with the organization in absence of which nobody stays in the organization for long.
Even at the time of appointment these things do matter for a newly introduced employee to make up his or her mind for a long term stay. Many a times interviewing managers do not convey the right message about the culture of their organization and hence increase the probability of losing high potential prospective employees.
You need not have a magic wand in your hand to accelerate your project in terms of financial savings or time saving. Logically if you see, any component of a project, I mean any member of a project, working on project at any level, can contribute in accelerating or pushing his/her project in right direction without coming into highlight or trying to get noticed about it.
Actually if you see, it does not matter to come into limelight to do anything good and considerable that able to enhance your project’s progress. Any breather is always welcome while climbing on a hill. A team working on a project is almost like doing an uphill task and a small dose of oxygen works wonders at that time.
It is not difficult to take a lead in this aspect and provide a breather first to your team members rather than waiting for others to take a lead.
A project consists of various stakeholders – some internal and some external. Stakeholders of the project usually live on another planet. Being a stakeholder in a project give them a feel that they are like a king of the land called PROJECT ruling on the teams working in their project territory. They actually behave as a ruler and look at the project as if their contribution is just to make all people working on the project answerable about any delays or extrapolated commercial or projected targets.
Is it possible that I rule on a piece of land and do not contribute in the progress or growth of that piece of land and still expect positive results from whatever is happening on that land. How is that possible, when I am doing what is totally against the law of nature.
Monitoring, questioning and policing is the most simple thing on this earth and everyone likes to do it given a bit of a chance. Best part of being a stakeholder is that one must own the progress and completion of project as his/her personal target rather than looking at others and expecting other to drive your vehicle when you are yourself not adding any value in its speed, progress and contribution.
What is the fun of putting the badge of the owner of a building in making and contributing in none of its progressive components – like providing material, helping in building up process, working on some process to enhance the speed or otherwise look at making it reach to its milestones in lesser timeframe than it was stipulated initially. Finally it helps your teams to attain higher results if you find out some ways in reducing expenses on the project but without hampering on its progress.
Any project can be made successful if two of its components are left unnoticed, which are – expenses on the project and time limits. Though both of them are the most critical components and none of the projects on this earth can be run or finished on the basis of ignoring these two components. Even if a project is sponsored by internal stakeholders of the organization, it cannot have an uncontrolled flow of money to run it. Internally sponsored projects are also termed as self sponsored projects.
In an externally sponsored project pressure of both time and money is there in most of the cases. No client would let its money flow without getting desirable results from it, especially in today’s economical situations. Various efforts are done and measures are taken to apply controls and checks so that progress stays on track and nothing goes out of control.
In fact during your all running projects, one team can take a project of cost reduction. This project focuses on the processes of other projects in the organization with a target of doing some improvements in those projects’ processes so that there is a considerable reduction in time and expenses. This team’s intentions are not to pinpoint on any person or mistakes but to find out the gaps in the established or followed process so that it can be fixed or filled appropriately in order to increase the overall throughput of the project.
And we all know that throughput of any project can only be improved by means of improvement in cutting down its expenses or scheduled timeframe.
A big corporate starts new business and hence a new company takes birth. Though it is a new setup, there is a mix of old and new employees and similar is the case with business processes. Some old processes are adopted as it is, whereas some process are formed totally newly based on the learning from old processes existing in other business. Even with a lot of hiccups sometimes processes keep on lingering in an organization for two reasons – one, it has become too complex that thinking of an alternative becomes a big pain. And two, even if the process is staggering it has gone into the blood of employees and hence is not treated as a drop case.
So in the new organization when new setup is taking place, it is the function heads who try to spoil the show by means of taking shortcuts in established or newly defined processes in order to over-show their efficiency and over-knowledge. This works sometimes, but only for a short period and that too if the management is blindfolded. Otherwise if management is awake and is also aware about the processes in depth, any kind of shortcut can easily be caught. If a shortcut is caught and alerted or warned sternly, a clear cut message goes across the board that none of the unwanted shortcuts shall not be tolerated.
It is not only the management who is supposed to monitor any irregularities or shortcuts in the system. It is also the responsibility of older employees in the organization which are part of system and business process. If both are alert at their ends, nobody can make a misuse of any kind of situation in the organization.
No management ever wants any of the ongoing large scale projects in the organization getting failed or substantially delayed due to two main factors – one, their reputation is at stake, and two, they are bound to lose some of their personal financial kitty in that case. But still we see many of the big projects getting failed or unsuccessfully closed even when there are big products, established partners and solid base of functional knowledge available in the organization.
Who can help from outside the organization if organization itself loses its hope of success of a project? It happens even in biggest of the organizations but it usually is the different ways of handling the situation that matters most in such conditions.
If a project has gone in the unsuccessful category in an organization there are two ways of looking at it, first way would be:
– take it as a learning,
– find out the reasons of failure,
– take an oath not to repeat the same stupid mistakes leading to failure,
– dump the failed project,
– forget it,
– and start a new project for a bigger success.
Another way would be:
– Don’t find out the exact reasons of failures
– Fire one of two persons making them responsible for failure
– Keep going with the failing/ failed project with an effort to make it a success
– Bring in more people on board to tune failure into success
– Crib again after a couple of years for still it being a failure
– Fire one or two more persons
– Keep going with the efforts to make it a success
Now it is your turn to decide which organization would you choose to be a part of?
I recently visited a reputed international manufacturing company having 98% revenues from exports to various countries. The setup was somewhat like 3 manufacturing units in a major metro, creating a sort of zone. Another manufacturing unit was in a far off place taking 4 days to reach by road (though aerial connectivity is there from metro to that city, 4 days is just to give an idea of the distance between the two locations).
Four years back ERP was started (one of the frontrunner ERPs through one of the most successful implementation partners), in one out of the three metro units mentioned above. This unit that was chosen for implementation was the major revenue earner out of all the four units. Idea was that since is it most profit making unit, earning higher revenues than any other unit; based on these facts it was presumed that this unit will have best of the people among all units and hence there will be 100% successful implementation.
A big named ERP and the most successful implementation partner did not help to get a successful implementation among the top functional people present in the unit and hence even after four years, the story was that none of the top management reports were on ERP, most of the end reports of all functions were either on excel of on legacy software and overall it was a big chaos, frustration and disintegration. Group it was in a big dilemma on how to make this big investment a success.
ERP implementation in a Greenfield project that takes place for a new factory or office setup, as per my understanding, should be totally different from a conventional ERP implementation that takes place in an already running plant of office environment. None of the modules as such are required to a full extent except the core of the business process that needs to be catered to. Among most of the common ERP implementation methodologies this would be the quickest, more productive (in sense of functionalities subscribed or bought versus their usage and result drawing from them), and having higher rate of success.
Core business requirements identification and freezing will be very important as the whole implementation route will depend on it. A cloud subscription model in such cases is more relevant in such environments. As the needs of the business grow with the growth of the organization or business so can be the requirement related to ERP can be defined and implemented on a year to year target basis.
Since the inception of organization is new, it is open to adaptability of any world class system, methodology, environment or ERP. Hence any proven modular, subscription and cloud based product should be most suitable with a monthly (or a periodic) billing for usage on the cloud. This will have a least burden on the organization in terms of infrastructure, servers, security, backups, DR, BCP sort of issues as most of these can be part of the subscription model. Training requirements would be least and the usage along with learning can start quickly. This model will give a higher level of mobility to a user of working on ERP from anywhere, anytime.
Assumption is that the business processes are already there in the product with least scope of changes or additional requirements at this stage except some local legal requirement that need to be catered to like government rules on taxes etc.
My strategy in such a project would be:
1. Business Case and its approval
2. Core team building
3. Core requirements identification
4. Selection of a right partner for service (having a powerful modular product on cloud catering to our requirements)
5. Implementation Plan (30 days or so depending on core requirements)
6. Hands on/ Pilot to see results and gain confidence
7. Daily standing meeting in the morning to review any perceived threats to day’s targets
8. Daily standing meeting in the evening to review any deviation from today’s targets due to any unforeseen problem
9. Project completion and sign off
10. Support functions
A regular type of work all the time makes it boring and typed thereby taking away all the variety that one needs in life for progress. This leads to a stale state of mindset where you set yourself limited to only one kind of thinking that to a certain extent. Some ice breaking is required to get out of the shell and fill in or pump in some fresh air to change the gear or life and profession.
How does a project manager keep afresh so as not getting stale? Because if the project manager goes into this kind of mode, how can the teams that work under him ensure not getting into this mode. The team members are the real warriors in the battle called project. Warriors need a continuous dose of motivation and courage to keep moving in right direction so as to meet the targets in time and that to without any flaws or shortfalls. Getting into a shell by a project manager and not able to deliver the best in a project is not something that is clearly visible or measurable. It has to be felt, more by the project manager himself.
How does a project manager know that he is not able to deliver his best or his output is declining? One way to measure it is by means of monitoring of tasks in hand, whether those are getting completed in time of not. Further, there is a mechanism of feedback where the team members can point out some change in the project manager’s behaviour or way of functioning that might not be noticeable by the project manager himself.
Do you agree that a project manager needs a break during his long years of working on projects and doing nothing else?
Let us consider a project as a journey. For any journey you need to decide about lot of things in advance and during the journey. Time to time these decisions need to be looked into even if the journey has started to ensure that even if those have been taken, are they leading you to right direction and desired destination. And one more advantage of reviewing them on a regular basis is to take an appropriate measure in case some wrong decision is noticed or even if right decision has drawn out undesired results. An immediate course of corrective actions is something that can reassure your project leading to right direction and desired results.
1. Wrong foot in wrong place
2. Wrong foot in right place
3. Wrong direction
4. Wrong destination
5. Wrong driver
6. Wrong partners
7. Wrong milestones
8. Wrong speed
9. Wrong road
10. Wrong vehicle
11. Wrong mix of co-travellers
12. Frequent halts
13. Frequent change of co-travellers
14. Frequent change in directions
15. Frequent change of driver
16. Frequent change in speed
17. Frequent change of vehicle
18. Lower or Higher Pressure in Tyres
19. No Music System in the Vehicle
20. Malfunctioning Brakes, Accelerator and Clutch
For each of the point, when you read, and look at your projects, you will perceive various meanings related to it, depending on your experience in the field so far. But definitely each point makes sense.
First of all we would have never imagined of having multiple tabs in browsers, a decade back. To open multiple sites we had no choice but to open as many browser windows. And now it is just one window of any of the popular browsers like Google Chrome, IE or Firefox and you can enjoy as many tabs as you want. The same concept, though no one would have though of, is now available in terms of office add-ins, fully compatible with Microsoft Office. Look at the beauty of opening multiple documents for which you don’t require to open as many Microsoft Word windows. You can open as many tabs of any number of documents in a single window of Microsoft Word.
There are so many advantages that you get by using office tabbed interface in your work place or at home while using Office be it Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and beyond depending on the product you choose. Best part is that you can download it and use it for 30 days with all its features enabled so that you understand its power and beauty. Use it once and you will get hooked to retain it forever. Observe the clutter it is able to take away in terms of giving you a leverage of opening any number of files in word, excel, PowerPoint etc. in a single window of each. On top of that, you can save all these multiple tabs (multiple files) in one go.
This is a project of its own kind. A unique and innovative project focused on electronic recycling, computer recycling and any other type of eCycling services to its clients starting with a free consultation to understand the basic requirements of the client and some kind of assessment or scope of work thereby guiding the customer to move in right direction with all kinds of safety measurements, ensuring complete satisfaction.
Logically the concept is that of Value Recovery which means that all of the green initiatives taken by your organization in the past or being undertaken currently are not required to be counted or taken as a waste of resources. If the green initiative is completed and the resources utilized have reached their end of life stage, their value can be recovered in a way with the help of recycling initiative to convert your old used material into a useful and valuable revenue stream.
A large organization engaged in providing recycling services to big corporate businesses has to be capable of having sufficient resources and skilled manpower to manage almost any kind of waste or end of life material. Its processing of material capability also has to be enormously faster so as to cater to higher amount of businesses. That way the customer also recovers their end of life material’s cost faster.
The company providing such essential services must also ensure complete security of data while destroying their electronic media whether it is done on-site or on a remote location in any volume. This service also delivers a solution to an unnecessary space being occupied by wasteful stuff. ecycling basically comprises of two alternatives when it comes to recycling of electronics items that have reached to their end of life stage. Such electronic items can either be demanufactured or undergo a shredding operation. Demanufacturing is nothing but the dismantling of the electronics items in a manual way so as to segregate the reusable components from totally waste material. This has to be done in a very careful manner so as to keep the usability of the material intact that can be sent to the second hands components market. Shredding is done where the effort is higher in demanufacturing as compared to the value of the reusable components that can be recovered.
Corporate e waste involved lots of electronic recycling as the use of computers and electronic media has increased tremendously across the globe. it is better if the service provider takes care of any sort of components to the last level instead of taking further services from a third party.
E-learning is the trend these days. It has dissolved any geographic boundaries and made this world too small for the purpose of delivering and getting the Best. To make any learning most effective, the trainer must be much focussed and aware/ capable of delivering the crux of the matter. To find out such online companies is not a difficult task provided you spend some time and do some right kind of exploration over the internet.
Security awareness training is not a one time or a single person’s requirement for any organization. It is meant to be learned by each and every member of the team right from top to bottom. That is why in such training the strategy should be to design it a communication tool at enterprise level to inculcate an organizational culture in which each and every employee is well aware about security components in all aspects of any project.
Long term training in information security awareness has been found to be more effective than a one time training which loses its warmth and gravity over a period of time and serves only as a formality. The training needs to When be such powerful and effective that its intent starts flowing into the culture so strongly throughout. A relevant training to all team members must be decided and it could be as per the need of the project or the member. The purpose of training is not only to impart knowledge about world class standards like SOX, HIPAA, FISMA, PCI, GLBA, HITECH and Red Flag; but also to keep its awareness alive and updated with a repeated curriculum.
Such training if provided in a most structured and organized manner, are definitely purposeful and serve an organization in a great way, provided a right kind of partner is selected who understands the core requirements of the organization and its employees, who in turn can work towards enhanced security features in whatever they are doing.
Formulating your test strategies, test plan, QA vision, mission etc. on the same trend year on year without changing according the changes happening around the world could lead to a disaster. For instance being a QA Head, you would have clear cut instructions for your QC Head to perform certain set of norms for defining the criteria of testing or evaluating a project or a product.
How old are those norms, how drastically the product has changed over a period of time, how the technology and testing requirements are changing outside your organizations and how rapidly the customer’s perceptions are getting changes about a product or a service – Are you aware?
It is the simplest way to keep going the way you are going without bothering about technological and other advancements taking place around. Your product evaluation criteria could have got outdated by now and you might still be living in a dream world building your own fantasies about the strengths and popularity of your product.
Some thoughts for you:
How often do you look at other products available in the market which is in similar lines to your
product under evaluation or testing?
How do you benchmark your evaluation and testing process?
How often do you review your processes?
How do you empower yourself to have enough knowledge and understanding so that you can go and tell the project manager about enhancement in the functionalities built in the product?
Ultimately you also know very well that whatever scenario is prevailing today won’t succeed tomorrow. You have to be innovative and genuinely alert about updating yourself as per the world norms and not those set by yourself or your organization.
A project manager’s shell is his projects. Most of his life is spent in moving from one shell to another shell after spending a substantial amount of time, energy and efforts in each shell. Its quite funny if he introspects after a decade or so to analyze what exactly has he achieved by living in these shells. Probably there would have been a better way to run, execute, finish, start or close his projects, had he taken some of his crucial time to come out of this shell and see something around from where a new learning or idea could have been generated.
Some introspective questions from my side to a project manager:
Is it not important for a project manager to see other products similar to what he is delivering to his customers?
Is it not important to understand the gap between the ways you are coping you with the changes happening to the technology and the way it changing in the outside world?
Are you aware what I am asking you to do is already being done by your customer – exploring all possible products before placing an order to most appropriate for him?
Are you sure your successful product in the market will remain successful forever even if you don’t do any of the activities listed here and keep living inside your shell?
How do you measure your pace of advancement with technology vis-à-vis the actual rapid changed happening outside?
Are you sure you won’t get outdated soon with your traditional ways of managing a project without bothering about what advancements have taken place in that direction?
Choice is still yours. You love your shell, you feel management is quite satisfied with you, you are sure about your customer being happy with you and you are ok with your success rate.
But that is the scenario today. What for tomorrow?
A well known fact in business is that it always takes more efforts, time and money to attain a new customer than to sustain the existing ones. There are companies, online and offline, to assist you in sustaining your existing customer by way of maintaining a regular bonding with your customer on your behalf. This is something happening in a big way these days. This is called appreciation marketing. The same thing happens for employees too. This is something quite effective to sustain your good employees and customers for a win-win situation.
Something in the same lines is Financial Advisor Marketing in which all those engaged in financial planning and advisory business are offered a service that helps them to sustain their top customers which they would never like to loose. This service of financial planner marketing consists of appreciation and retention package.
If you are a Sports Marketing Company and are facing a problem in maintaining your existing good customers, there is some company specialist in that field, just to do the right amount of things in the right way, for you in a very customized manner.
If you are an automobile dealer, you very well understand the value of your customer and how it seriously affects your business. Automotive CRM is an art rather than a science. A personal human touch plays a major role in retention of your valuable customer and that is where some expert needs to be there.
Above all, if you see, when you loose an existing customer, you loose a lot more than merely losing one single customer. It takes away a brand ambassador of your business who could have given you enormous business by getting you more customers. That is why an existing customer’s retention is something very crucial.
I recently observed a website while randomly searching for something related to cooking, cookware etc on Google when I encountered Salamander Cookshop. The site is simple, plain, crisp and to the point; serving its purpose to the fullest. It is a site for online selling of most of the top branded kitchen related items covering almost 173 brands e.g. Fissler, Rosle, Couzon Cuisinox, Silverwood, WMF, Wusthof, Scanpan, Le Pentole and many more. The site is well reputed and has been featured in top media like The Guardian, Good Homes, Daily Mail, itv etc.
In the Kitchen Trolleys section you can find Trolleys and Butchers Blocks of a large variety depending on your choice of wood. I could locate there various product range like – Maple, Ash, Painted stuff, Limewood, Beechwood etc. All this stuff gives you a large flexibility for your modular kitchen.
The next section that I visited was of Cookware Sets where you could find a long range of cookware with huge savings indications tagged on each. The variety coverage is fantastic, product demonstration is absolutely lovely and overall design is superb.
With so much versatility, variety and smooth sailing on the site, who will not like to stop and gaze around as every kitchen needs something or the other to add up any moment of time.
I was wondering to ask my project manager and project management office (PMO) guys to visit the site and learn some techniques that simplify quality and delivery.
Project estimations is not management’s ballgame. It has to come from the person who is actually conversant with in and out of at least a good amount of different type of projects running within the same organization. Project estimation is not simple mathematics. It is not just A + B.
Various components need to be considered while working out project estimations. Few generic constituents would be simple to identify and work out. Few constituents would be quite specific to that particular type of project under consideration.
Ten major constituents of project estimations can be listed down as:
1. Project Physical Cost
2. Project Intellectual Cost
3. Project Cost of Quality (CoQ)
4. Project Buffer Cost
5. Project Overrun Cost
6. Project Commercial Cost
7. Project Sales Cost
8. Project Material Cost
9. Project Inventory Cost
10. Project Indirect Cost
All projects in which management is the sole player in deciding about project estimations have higher chances of failing as compared to projects in which all members engaged with project in any manner have been involved in determining project estimations. When it is management that does project estimations, it is not project estimations, it is rather something like setting targets without having a clarity of what is to be achieved, what is the scope, what are resources and so on.
Management is just like an overseeing agency that has no role in project development, project execution, and project implementation at micro level. Project estimations cannot be so haphazard that variation between project estimations and actual project cost comes out to be substantial huge. Nobody will accept that situation – not even the closest of stakeholders.
Project estimations need to come out from those persons who are actually well conversant with project know-how and behind the scene expenses. Management is works out on project estimations without inviting participation of actual project runners, it would be quite risky. There will be quite high chances of missing the actual rope to the mountain. There are certain costs which are apparently visible off the shelf for any kind of project.
I would like to classify overall project estimations or actual project cost in these parameters – project physical cost, project intellectual cost, project CoQ (cost of quality), project buffer cost, project overrunning cost, project commercial cost, project sales cost, project material cost, project inventory costs – to name few main of those.
Any project has some basic requirements like project committee, stakeholders, sponsors, requirements, initiation, team formation, plan and milestones identification, project development, execution, implementation, handover, and finally project closure. What it means is that each of these basic components of a project play major role in determining success or failure of that project. A lack or shortfall in any of the components impacts on tempo and momentum of project. It can be correlated with a relay race where each player of the team has to be in sync. The weakest player determines the final standing of team after completion of race.
One difference between relay race and project is that in former each player plays his role in sequence whereas in later some tasks go parallel and some are sequential.
Project Plan formation, milestones identification, plan execution, plan monitoring, plan change are all quite critical in any project. Project plan made for the sake of project without a commitment of strict adherence to it means a great level of shortcoming in project committee and teams responsible to execute the project.
There are ways to monitor and control project plan. Some ways lead to post-mortem after any failure or deviation occurs. Other ways lead to a proactive approach where the project committee anticipates a shortcoming well in advance and thereby takes appropriate actions to manage to control the risk at their best hence reducing the risk to near to zero.
A proactive approach always comes with an objective way of monitoring a project. A well matured metrics in place always help in accurate measurement of the situation and this everything in sync and proper rhythm.
A customer is supposed to be quite cooperative and involved throughout the project. A project is supposed to be completed well in time complying with all the requirements specified by customer. Customer requirements specified in the beginning of a project are supposed to be complete and accurate. Team formation is supposed to be so precise that all team members form a perfect team. Project manager is supposed to be well prepared and equipped to take care of project. Management is supposed to support and fulfil their commitment to customer for delivery of product.
All this is possible and happens in reality. More in reality that happens is reverse of this. Customer involvement is not there throughout with availability of right people having precise business knowledge and experience. Projects do not end in time and if they do, some of customer requirements are missed or skipped or are not catered to properly. Customer requirements specified lack completeness, accuracy, and clarity.
Team formation in the beginning of project does not necessarily stay same till end thereby varying perfection. Project managers miss either preparedness or don’t get well equipped. Management feels team and managers are enough to mange delivery of product thereby getting attentive to business functions having higher priority.
It is either win-win or lose-lose situation in a project. Nothing is there in between. If one party loses the game that doesn’t mean the other party wins. If product is not delivered in time, if product is not delivered in complete, if requirements do not match with delivery, if customer is not happy; all these lead to a lose-lose situation.