It is not difficult to deliver a product to your customer but meeting your customer’s expectations in terms of quality of the product and maintaining best of the services post delivery of a product is critical. That is where the core of the business lies. You will never be able to get a business again from your customer if you fail or deteriorate consistently in performance in the latter case. Think of a balloon which is filled with air and is full blown and tight in the beginning. That is the condition of the trust on you by your customer when you deliver a fantastic product to them. The rate at which the air slips out of the balloon depends on the quality of service you give to your customer. The day it is 50% air in the balloon, you have lost your customer in all aspects. So you can understand how important it is to keep the air intact in your ‘trust’ balloon.
What should we do to assure quality in terms of cost, delivery and services? Before that it is important to understand what each term means:
How do assure Quality in all the above areas:
TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute) is a not-for-profit institute in India engaged in research on energy, sustainable development and environment. TERI’s main focus is on finding out innovative ways of efficient and sustainable usage of natural resources. It is an independent institute that took birth in 1974 and since then it has consistently proved itself as an institute of excellence as it has performed a good amount of path-breaking research. TERI is a well respected and recognized institute on the world arena. It is followed by a large number of policy makers, corporate and political leaders.
ICCG is International Center for Climate Governance. The international institute controls all action points being taken on global front in terms of climate change, related policies and economics. ICCG was formed in 2009 as a result of joint efforts from FEEM (Fondazion Eni Enrico Mattei) and Fondazione Giorgio Cini. The main focus of ICCG lies in research on governance and design of climate policy. A large number of international researchers engaged in environment are associated with ICCG.
Recently TERI has been adjudged as top-ranked among developing country think tanks in ICCG Climate Think Tank positions. This is under the category “Absolute Rankings”. Different think tanks of varying sizes are compared and the rankings are arrived at on certain parameters like the number of researchers actively working for the cause in an institution. These parameters are used to measure the effective yield of the think tank’s efficiency. In Absolute Ranking method, the measurement is done for the best think tank in terms of absolute value irrespective of their size and efficiency. TERI has been adjudged as 12th in the global ranking amongst Climate Change Think Tanks.
A couple of points to pick for Project Management Organizations are:
Project Management is a tricky job. The job of a project manager is like a car mechanic who adjusts the average by adjusting clutch, fuel discharge and brakes. All three have a different connection if we see in project management perspective. The clutch adjustment will lead to a better speed management, fuel flow related to funds & budgets, and brakes adjustment points towards the control mechanism. A fine tuning between the three is, therefore, becomes ownership of a project manager.
Clutch adjustment is equivalent of resource management where the more the resources, the happier is the project manager. But that is not true in all cases. More than required resources will lead to mismanagement and chaos. Hence keep your teams’ size as tight as possible. The brakes have to work perfectly well so as to save everyone’s life travelling in the vehicle called the project. Brakes mean proper checks and balances along with accurate reporting and monitoring mechanism in place. A small gap here could lead to a big mishap. Fuel definitely is limited in any size of an organization. A project manager has to be intelligent enough to monitor fuel leakages and fuel scarcity. Balancing of funds, resources, and skilled manpower has to be there in place.
Any mismatch in the above three could lead to a big disaster and then project manager would be in a dilemma of either stretching timelines beyond deadlines committed or pumping in more funds and resources to meet deadlines.
Project management must have inbuilt sensors for detection of flaws (or shortfalls) in the system to monitor project progress quality. These sensors have to carry a fast response time and should be active in all kind of environments of the project management ecosystem. The sensors developed should not only be capable of project quality monitoring but also must serve as a solution for enhancing the quality of a project.
The advancement in technology can be leveraged to develop such sensors that measure project progress in a very accurate manner. The mechanism must be system driven and should be free of human intervention for twisting the results in terms of manipulations and drawing of favorable but false results. The sensors must be able to connect every process, resource and stakeholder in a right manner so as to draw out a useful information for making right decisions in right time by the right person in the complete chain. This will enable everyone to take correct actions well in advance before the real crisis happens. Such mechanism will help in a proper sustenance of any kind of complex projects thereby increasing comfort in all zones of a project.
Issues that result from poor project management have been a point of concern for a long time and that is why proper, system based monitoring had become the call of the day.
A project failure does not mean necessarily the failure of a project manager. It is the project management mechanism that needs to be hit to ascertain the basic flaws in the mechanism. There might be a wrong project methodology adopted to handle a particular kind of project and hence the chances of project failure increase in that case.
It would be wrong to shoot your project manager if a project fails. A project manager with a consistent project success rate might also fail in a new kind of project, but then it indicates that the flaw is not in the project manager but in project management process. The process and procedures need to be looked into this particular case for a restructuring, revamping or realignment. That is where the full amount of energies must go rather than hitting on an individual. Because if this is not done properly, a new project manager with a better record also would fall in the similar kind of trap leading to project failure.
PMO comes into the picture in such cases to audit the process and ascertain right methodology to be in place. If need be, for a new kind of project that has come into the picture, a fresh project methodology has to be designed. After all, it is the methodology that defines proper steps to be defined in control mechanism including the reporting mechanism.
Project Scope, project timelines and monitoring are the prime tasks of a project manager. If a team member fails to honor his or her individual tasks timelines, it is not the failure of that individual team member. It clearly indicates a lack on a monitoring process. The monitoring process has to be well crafted so as to indicate any kind of delays in a proactive manner. There has to be a proper and crisp reporting mechanism in place to monitor the timelines at the micro level during a project. A single timeline skipped may cause a large amount of delay in task closure hence hampering the timely closure of a project.
That is where a project manager role comes into the picture not only in crafting accurate timelines for each individual unit of the project. Crafting of timelines further needs a regular monitoring. Reporting might be there in place but there has to be a proper monitoring to catch any hiccups.
As a project manager it is important for you to perform lot of conversions. First conversion that you do in your project management journey is customer requirement to project requirement. Similarly there are many conversions that happen during your project journey that we can list down as:
It is important to get a proper sign off of customer requirements. Also to note that your project contract must not allow more than five percent variation in requirements. Any scope change beyond that limit must call for a revised sign off in requirements, fresh conversions as mentioned above and fresh project closure dates. Another important point to note is that a single considerable change at development stage can become deadly. That is why projects with longer duration of project lifecycle have higher risks of requirement changes and hence project failures.
It is a fact that business scenario is dynamic in nature and hence changes are inevitable. Maturity level of an organization also impacts on the project’s health. Organizations having older establishment have higher chances of matured processes in place (though it is not a real fact) and hence have lower chances of seeking changes during a new project once requirements are finalized.
One of the question I asked, in an interview with Irum Zahra, an author from Pakistan, is based on managing her writing projects. I asked about her strategy formulations on planning, scheduling and monitoring her writing commitments, and her answer emphasized mainly on the fundamental realities of project management – project scope, milestones, work breakdown structure and timelines.
Without a project scope, you as a project manager would never be able to chalk out your milestones. Remember that the basis of your project scope is your customer. Get your customer requirements signed off, otherwise project scope will have a risk of higher than the permissible range of variations at a later stage. There is a rule of the game and that is – you can manage higher variation at an earlier stage of the project but at a later stage, even a small variation may create a higher risk of shattering your project timelines.
so once your project scope is clear, you can draw out your project milestones basis which it becomes simple to build the work breakdown structure. For each element of WBS, there has to be a timeline.
In an interview with Author Waheed Rabbani, one of my questions was based on considering writing a book as a project. If Waheed takes writing a book as a project, the key essential points he would take care of as project manager would be to maintain regular schedule a daily writing habit. That goes well for an author. How does it translate for project managers in software technology? Let me try to explain it as below:
Project Management is something most project managers have to struggle with. That is why there are many tips for project managers, techniques for making project management more effective, methods to adopt world class processes. Every project manager has to fight with the resistance originating from within. This resistance could be against leaving your comfort zone, finding ways to fight out against different kind of risks not encountered so far, tackling top management, creating best reporting process, engaging stakeholders etc. The repetitive actions become part of your routine exercise, but random threats seeking out of comfort zone actions need a little extra courage to break the barriers. First and foremost task is to convince yourself before you build a strategy to fight against these irregular kinds of threats or risks.
A regular schedule is important to maintain. Without a proper schedule, it will be difficult to monitor the progress of your project and without monitoring you would not be able to measure it. And without measurement you will not able to ascertain the level of risk of overshooting your timelines or budgets, or both. If there is a requirement of daily monitoring, you have to perform it aesthetically. One lose end from your end will have a recursive negative impact on your project’s health.
That is why a daily work schedule, maintaining logs of your work progress with respect to your project timelines, is very important.
A while ago (last month) I interviewed Rachel Holliday who is a British-born fashion blogger and stylist based in tropical Australia. This interview is published on my other blog. In that interview, one of the question I asked from Rachel is – What four top most things she takes care of for her fashion projects. The four points she mentioned say a lot for project managers in terms of learning and implementation in their professional life. The four important points Rachel mentioned are as below:
Planning is a critical area in project management. Without planning, you cannot ascertain your metrics and without metrics you cannot measure your success or failure. So it is very important to set your milestones for every phase of your project and keep a close watch on the deadlines set for those milestones. If possible, build a system driven alert system to raise an alarm well in time, proactively, for any kind of foreseen delays or failures. Also, it is important that an intelligent analytics is done to derive out various possibilities to mitigate risks arising out of these raised alarms and risks.
Give A Million Percent:
It is not a question of taking a chance in multiple projects handled by you and satisfying yourself if there is a balance between your wins and losses. Logically make yourself understand that in your projects you cannot take a chance of a failure. It has to be a ‘win’ in every case. For that whatever you have to do, do it. Give your best in each phase of your project and make it a grand success.
Be Friendly, But Professional:
You have to keep a perfect balance between your two faces. Being professional does not mean you have to act unfriendly and vice versa.
Networking is very important – among your peers, teammates, stakeholders, end users, customers, project teams, management and whosoever else is engaged in your project.
Let us understand few terminologies before getting into the related information.
MEED is over fifty-five years old organization engaged in organizing over thirty conferences and summits meant mainly for C-level executives. These summits and conferences are the best events for networking among C-level executives and have proven to be one of the best way of improving the revenue growth of relative businesses.
MEED Quality Awards for Projects: This is a much-awaited event occurring every year to identify and acknowledge the best practices adopted in construction projects in the GCC region.
Qatar Foundation (QF) new building has been acknowledged with the award of GCC Project of the Year. At the annual MEED Quality Awards for Projects event for the year 2015 held in Dubai on 27th May 2015. The excellence was noticed to such an extent in the Qatar Foundation building that it won four awards during the ceremony.
If you have not heard or got to know about IBM Internet of Things Foundation, you must. It is a service that is completely cloud-based and is fully managed. There seems to be a lot of in-house research and hard work gone into this project from IBM. The service offers to draw out value from Internet of Things (IoT) devices in quite a simple manner. You can, in fact, start with your own smartphone or any of the devices having a sensor, or a gateway or in any other way it is capable to connect and transmit. Using the technology developed by the IBM Internet of Things Foundation, the devices you sync or connect there, can start communicating in a secure manner by sending data to the cloud. This is done through the lightweight MQTT messaging protocol.
The way technology is changing in a very fast manner and gadgets, devices and things have started communicating, the data is getting accumulated on the cloud in a very big way. This huge data when analyzed in a sensible and constructive manner, is going to provide help in making a number of strategic decisions.
It is true that all those companies which have no presence on the internet are reduced seventy percent as compared to a decade ago. And the thirty percent that are left will have their presence on the internet in next three years. Almost every company, large of small, offline or online, on the cloud or on premise, is a data driven company. Big Data has already shown its power in two countries elections – the United States and India. So much so was the role played by big data and analytics that the opinion polls results went haywire in a big way.
Cloud computing, digital data and analytics are going to be the basic needs of any organization.
By 2020, it is estimated that the volume of data transacted on the internet will increase by three times. It will be over two billion trillion bytes of data. More interesting revelation is the result of a research that says most of this data will be video. Definitely the text content that means is not going to increase by a volume of three times but it is the videos that will account for more data in flow.
How this will impact on Projects and Project management:
A new Android-based operating system Brillo is launched by Google recently. It is based on the concept of IoT (Internet of Things) that will connect all your home and workplace devices in such a way that you will be able to control all devices with the help of your smartphone. The operating system promises to extend the Android platform to all your connected devices and gadgets so that all are easy to set up and work in a seamless way with each other and your smartphone.
The Weave protocol will be connecting all your devices and gadgets to provide a complete control over your smartphone, and also allowing these devices to talk to each other.
This is an era of software defined networks, software defined cloud computing, software defined streaming and software defined video processing. In a way, everything is moving towards “as a service” and “Software defined” model. It is evident that the organizations that are still maintaining their own data centers are bound to spend around 40 percent more annually as compared to the organizations that have taken a wise decision of moving on the cloud. It may not be possible for all organizations to dare to go hundred percent on the cloud but more is better is the key to this phenomenon. In some time from now, all gadgets and devices would be in a position to talk to virtual machines in real time and the data accumulated in the cloud would be able to provide analytics including predictive that will enable organizations to take quick and realistic decisions.
Elemental Technologies is a pioneer in providing software defined video solutions to manage multiscreen content delivery. Orange TV is one of their prime customers that runs on a prepaid pay TV model using vouchers as payment tools. Orange TV is a national distributor of this service in Indonesia since 2012. It has more than seventy-five premium channels along with rights to broadcast Barclays Premier League till next year. Orange TV has decided to use Elemental Video processing solutions to enlarge its user base in its Genflix OTT (over the top) content delivery service. Elemental Technologies has a superb customer base consisting of ESPN, BBC, Comcast, HBO, Foxtel, Telefonica and a lot more.
Genflix was launched in the last quarter of 2013 as the first OTT service in Indonesia. Elemental Live and Elemental Server are the two proprietary services from Elemental Technologies that Genflix is about to deploy.
This is a lovely video on Professional Project Management – A Constant Evolution produced by Engineers Ireland. There are engrossing points, infographics that will provide great insights in project management. It focuses on Features, Knowledge, Conduct and Control – all leading to the bodies of knowledge. It will help to understand what exactly a unified approach is? why a Unified approach is required? Where to apply it? etc.
This is a slightly less than fifty minutes video and would be a great watch for all project managers and project management aspirants. You will definitely get a new meaning of project management after completing this video presented by Dr John Lennon, Center for Project Management, University of Limerick.
Deem is a prominent company providing CaaS (Commerce as a Service) solutions. A new Shopping application launched by Deem promises to be one of the best business shopping solutions. The focus behind launching this application is to help organizations that are spending a hefty amount every year on procurement programs that do not fulfill business requirements or serve for a very limited scope and period with no scalability provision inbuilt. The new shopping application from Deem is bound to give an end-user-like experience that is embedded well with enterprise-level control mechanism and compliance. The business shopping application allows enterprise employees to buy various products and/or services online in a swift manner while adhering to corporate policies. It provides a real-time monitoring mechanism to have a full control over the project spend viz-a-viz the budget.
With this CaaS based shopping application, Deem has become the first company in unifying project management, procurement management, and budget management.
CENX is among the top global solution providers in Service Orchestration solutions for SDNs (software defined networks) and SDDCs (Software defined data centers). CENX and CoreSite Realty have signed an extension of their multi-year agreement for Cortx Service Orchestrator. Cortx Service Orchestrator helps in delivering high-performance, on-demand interconnection services of networks and cloud applications. This way CoreSite Open Cloud Exchange customers get a privilege of accessing a self-serve powerful online portal that leverages reliable and secure multiple Ethernet connectivity in no time.
Delivery on time is most crucial in project management. As a project manager if you have that art of maintaining this consistency over a period of time then you can call yourself a superb project manager. But then you have to ensure that this delivery on time has happened without any changes in the other variables like resources and financials. This is quite difficult to achieve. That is where you will find this book written by Mark J. Woeppel handy in getting you mastered on the subject with practical life insights. The title of the book is Deliver Projects on Time Using New Book on Visual Project Management. This is the third book from Mark J. Woeppel on project management and all the three books are a must read for all project managers and aspirants.
The book has reportedly been produced after an exhaustive research and on top of that the ample experience that Mark J. Woeppel carries has worked as the cherry on the cake. What you need to focus is very important to understand so as to achieve your goals. For delivery on time and on budget you need to focus on improving your project teams’ productivity, the delivery process needs to be enhanced & reduced but without any compromise with the quality or deliverables, and a continuous focus on costs reduction is necessary for all kind of projects. If you are able to understand the core areas of focus to achieve your targets then there are certain more drillings required to get to the root cause of the issues or points of improvement. If the delivery timelines are getting delayed then you need to understand the basic reasons behind the delays. If there are multiple reasons then you need to arrange them in an order of severity and then apply 80:20 rule to weed out the top ones. Don’t stop after the first weeding out cycle. Repeat it to hit the next top ones and so on. This is all that you are going to learn in Deliver Projects on Time Using New Book on Visual Project Management by Mark J. Woeppel.
With all good efforts from every member of the team, any project must turn around at a faster pace. But usually this does not happen. There are certain more areas to focus upon so as to achieve this goal. Firstly you need to remove the biggest barriers
After finishing Deliver Projects on Time Using New Book on Visual Project Management by Mark J. Woeppel, you will have learnt some simplified techniques for managing your projects during initiation, execution and delivery phases thereby being able to deliver fast without any shortfalls in schedule, budget, quality, or deliverables.
Be ready to play and enjoy music on the horizon as EMC World 2015 reveals the launch of powerful solutions. Project Horizon is released just a couple of days back by EMC and this is something to do with the Content Management, one of the expertise areas of EMC. Let us understand what exactly Project Horizon is? The Enterprise Content Division of EMC (ECD) has offered their new baby in the market named Project Horizon by claiming it to be a powerful content platform especially meant for the next generation. This content platform is clubbed with a marketplace of various solutions and applications so as to enable content flow in digital format to build a digital enterprise. The Horizon marketplace will include EMC’s in-house applications and the apps from their partners as well. All these applications are meant to be purely cloud-based solutions available on mobile platforms.
The Co-Innovation Program works in lines of Scrum and Agile but in a unique style when it talks of engaging customers as early as finalization of specifications or the beginning of development cycle. This unique style is based on rapid visual prototyping. So basically, all the iterations will be design-led and will ensure validation of business issues and the corresponding proposed solutions. There are four applications under consideration which are components of this Co-Innovation Program. These applications intend to focus purely on end-user productivity and complement any kind of existing document-based solution. These are:
This app assists you to author a document with an inbuilt work flow of review and approval process. It brings in a real-time collaborative environment.
This app helps you to enhance your productivity on the mobile platform. The solution works on smartphone and tablet to work as a scanner and capturing tool in an efficient and fool-proof manner. This is basically a complete digital document management system that not only captures the documents but also helps you in organizing them in a classified manner so that the system recognizes it easily as and when it is required to extract. It is a perfect go for an organization to decrease their carbon footprint and go digital. It also helps an organization to save on paper.
This app does document collection and validation.
This app takes care of document sharing management that is required for a short duration.
Vorex Inc. is a pioneer in providing business solutions on the cloud with a smart combination of professional service automation (PSA) and PM (Project Management) Tools. These solutions work well for small to mid-sized business models (SMBs). Recently Vorex announced its solution on Samsung KNOX Marketplace. KNOX is an online mobile store provided by Samsung to provide solutions that are focused on the business segment. The store providing cloud-based solutions is fully secured and easy to deploy and manage. These secured applications and business solutions from Vorex are ideally focused on SMBs, and firms engaged professional services like IT, marketing, accounting etc. to automate their business and grow their revenues.
By providing these solutions, Vorex intends to increase its global footprint as any SMB or professional firm situated anywhere in the world can download these solutions from Samsung KNOX Marketplace. The ready to launch apps that are available from Vorex on Samsung KNOX online mobile marketplace include following:
The service desk is a comprehensive business application that takes care of time management, expense management, service and support management, reporting management, invoicing management, project management and their complete workflow. This all-in-one solution is actually a power pack to boost business growth.
2. Professional Service Automation (PSA): This business solution helps a business in managing project management, time tracking solution, client management, employee management, customer relationship management (CRM), customer account management, budgeting, and forecasting.
Currently, these solutions are available on Android platform.
Lattice Engines and Leadteq have joined hands to expand the horizons of Lattice’s state of the art predictive analytics suite. The expanded horizon will empower Leadteq’s customers to taste the beauty of the former’s product. The Vice President Business Development and Strategic Alliances of Lattice Engines, Michael Meinhardt announced it today. The expansion means that the with the use of these predictive analytics apps, Leadteq now can anticipate a substantial growth in their business in terms of leads getting converted into customers at a faster rate thereby accelerating their growth in revenue of their customers.
Leadteq is a Gold partner of Oracle, based in Sweden, providing Oracle’s marketing and lead management solutions to their customers. Marrying these solutions with the predictive analytics suite will definitely help Leadteq’s large sized clients.
Lattice is known for their predictive marketing expertise to help sales and marketing teams worldwide. Marrying Lattice’s predictive analytics tools with Lattice’s 360 method B2B solutions based on Oracle Marketing AppCloud in the Nordics region.
A very interesting question I found on the forum asking what would be some of the emerging trends in information technology this year. Instantly following emerging trends popped up in my mind as listed below:
Technology and cloud are bound to become synonyms soon. In fact, for some, it already is. The concept of own data centers and larger teams to manage it, and, on-premise hosting of business applications is going to diffuse. As per the multiple research papers and reports on the subject an organization can save forty percent of it technology cost by abandoning both and moving to the cloud. Setting or maintaining own data centers is a diminishing concept and the organizations that don’t understand it will suffer the heat. Disaster recovery is a piece of demand from the cloud partner rather than fighting for it on your own.
Moving your business applications on the cloud required a hundred percent availability of internet and network. You need to think of network optimization tools, network performance tools and a backup of your primary internet service provider. End users in no case would be ready to listen to any kind of lousy excuses.
With increased demand of external world connectivity you need to be doubly secured for infringements in your network. Any suspicious attack not only presents a big threat to your business data but also is prone to slow down your network. You need to ensure high-level security during data flow through the internal and external pipes.
People don’t like to be static and stuck to their seats for long. It does not increase productivity. Productivity is hampered nowadays if the business is not available while the person is on the move. Mobility is the demand of the day. You need to provide business solutions on mobile devices working free flow and hassle free.
Handling multi-OS devices is not a simple task. With an inclusion of the different type of mobile devices on official grounds need to look at the security aspect from a different angle. Equip your organization accordingly as the onus lies on you. And then there is BYOD that is an entirely different animal to handle.
The paradigm is shifting faster for CIOs and CTOs faster than anticipated thereby demanding a high level of transformation at individual, team and organization levels.
This is a great learning for project managers. This is in regard to Multan Airport upgrade project where the Pakistan country has incurred a huge loss of Rs. 222 million.
It is not that projects do not fail. They do fail. But if there is no learning taken from a failed project, then it is an exponential loss. Although the investigations and post-mortem have identified corruption and irregularities as the main culprits but it clearly indicates a poor project management. It seems there were no checks and balances while undertaking construction, purchase and contracts activities. The project has not been handled as it should have been. The whole blame has gone to the project management and consulting company ECIL Ltd.
If you read the whole story (link provided above), there are many loopholes and irregularities that have taken place for the personal vested interests. Overall, there seems to be no control at any moment of time. And moreover, it is quite easy to target one agency (generally the external) to blame and to scapegoat others but the failure should go to all stakeholders involved in the project.
For such projects where stakes are huge not only in terms of money but also in terms of the reputation of a country, proper care needs to be taken care of in project management.
Although there still is some resistance even from the cloud service providers to hold business critical applications on the on-premise model and move the rest of the apps on the cloud, but this reservation does not indicate any limitations of the cloud performance or availability. It is rather indicative of weaknesses in the other infra links like bandwidth availability and uptime. Project Management, as we all know, is a process to manage projects in an efficient manner to control timelines, teams, resources, customer, and deliverables. TeamGantt has declared the desktop version of project management completely obsolete by presenting a state-of-the-art web version at an apt time of their fifth anniversary.
It is definitely easy to use, maintain and afford any application on the cloud as compared to its on-premise or desktop models. TeamGantt boasts this to be the easiest to use cloud application in the project management arena, worldwide. The company’s products are present in more than sixty countries and is offering an easy replacement plan for the organizations wishing to move from desktop project management version to cloud version. This is supposed to be quick to assign, easy to track and monitor projects management application for the project managers.
TeamGantt solutions are appreciated well by their customers having a global presence.
Most of the meetings are conducted in an unstructured manner. Finding earlier meeting details in regard to its scheduling, participants, discussions held, decisions taken etc. is a fight. Usually, it starts with searching in old emails with no concrete achievements of 100%. So many of us would have wished to have a web based solution accommodating end-to-end meeting management system. Here comes Meeter a new product with an aim to make your meetings more serious and fruitful by assisting with automatic scheduling, analytics, audit trails and history maintenance.
Meeter manages individuals and groups in business and personal capacity. A dashboard presents a complete scenario of past, present and upcoming meetings. Since meetings are quite a critical component of a business, and in today’s scenario of mobility, all participants are not bound to be at the same location to be a part of the meeting. Meeter helps not only in full-fledged automated meetings scheduling but also assists in capturing each element of the meeting when it is conducted. Against each minute of the meeting, relevant documents linking is possible.
Meeter works intelligently by capturing past behavior or participants, meeting spaces etc. and uses this algorithm while scheduling upcoming meetings in a very smart way. It provides an innovative calendar. One meeting can accommodate hundred participants in scheduler. Meeter is a SaaS-based web application available on mobile also and is imbibed with significant security features. Meeter can be integrated easily with Outlook, Google, and other calendars.
Leading a change management portfolio is not an easy task. There comes a lot of resistance from all corners the moment you announce a change or rather much before. The moment you declare a beginning of efforts for development or deployment of a change, the resistance starts popping in. This all creates a lot of distraction and could become a major cause of delays for your initiation, development, efforts and deployment. To handle it carefully you need to learn some tactics so that the whole gamut moves in a right direction in a very positive manner. This definitely can’t happen if momentum is not synergized and the efforts are not synchronized.
To be a successful change manager, here are few suggestions that I gained from my own experience:
If we look at the event Change Management 2015 that was held in Las Vegas, Nevada, there are many learning points that I could shell out of the article published by Braden Kelley a couple of days ago. The annual conference was organized by Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP) and was attended by more than one thousand professionals from various countries. There are over twenty million estimated project managers across the globe. In my opinion, each project manager must be a change management professional (Certified Change Management Professional, CCMP).
Author of Drive and many other books, Daniel Pink was the keynote speaker. He is a big transformation agent and feels that the increasing volume of information availability online has a greater impact on society as a whole and the same can be utilized in a constructive manner to sell, influence and initiate change. Earlier there used to be a wide gap between the level of information contained by a buyer and a seller. Seller used to be the main source of information for a buyer. But now that is not the case. Usually, a buyer is as much or rather more learned about the product or service than the seller.
That is how the need of knowledge or information curators arose. As opined by Dan, everything that is done in business today involves two basic things – sales and change. But still the B-schools are far away from teaching both these subjects in their MBA programs.
So to conclude, let us see what is required in a project manager to become a good change manager? A project manager has to be a great change agent. The need of change is very important to understand and so is the implementation of change in a timely manner.
The other day I read quite an interesting article written by Jamie MacDonald raising a very basic questions about having project manager’s qualities in each one of us. I accept that right since our childhood we start managing our school, friends, homework, teachers, parents, siblings, relatives, sports and so on and hence the fundamental learning of becoming a project manager gets imbibed in us right since then. If we look back carefully to our childhood days we might be very easily able to assess what kind of project manager each one of us was in terms of managing our daily chores and activities.
The same trends continue within each of us. All of us might not carry a job title of project manager, but more or less we keep doing project management throughout life. Every day is logically a new project in which some threads are connected to yesterday, some new threads evolve from today and some planning goes for tomorrow. That is what every one of us do. We ourself identify our weaknesses, find out ways to get us trained and master in those areas to overcome those weaknesses.
Recently I read a superb article by Tom Goodwin in which he emphasized on a digital transformation of an organization rather than building a strictly formal and unpractical digital strategy. If you build a sensible business strategy keeping in mind the fast changing technology scenarios across the globe, probably your don’t need a separate digital or mobility strategy. The best examples in that matter are Uber in redefining the cab business, Instagram revolutionizing the meaning of photography or for that sake Netflix that ensured a foolproof technology for transmitting hassle free video streaming. All three are clear examples of the digital revolution, thinking beyond and innovation.
The newer technologies and technological developments have destroyed the hidden wall between the tech-savvy and tech non-savvy sections. They have designed the new applications and technologies in such a simple manner that you learn on your own as you start using it. You don’t need a special training or certificate for that. Instacart, Twitter, WhatsApp, FaceBook, Pinterest, LinkedIn are some of the finest examples of what I am trying to convey. In fact, such developments have removed geographic barriers between the countries. People now can talk through their smartphones without spending a penny and bothering about the service provider.
Logically every day a large number of new applications are launched worldwide. Android, Samsung, Vodafone etc. have their exclusive stores to provide these applications to their customers from their respective stores. The launch of a new mobile application is just a click away. All this has brought even a small application developer equal to large sized software development organization when an application developed by former becomes a hit overnight thereby pushing the latter to backseat.
It was way back in 2009 when I was told by my organization to visit Cairo, Egpyt to deploy an NFC technology based solution as a pilot project. The pilot was to be run in the biggest mall of Cairo, known as City Stars. NFC (Near Field Communication) is a technology that enables a smartphone to become an RFID tag reader and it can also act as an RFID entity to be read by another reader. We imported ten pieces of Nokia 6210 Classic (Nokia 6210C) from Ireland for this project.
The scope of project was as below:
1. Attendance of 800+ guards
2. Real-time monitoring in control room of shortfall in guards and immediate action
3. Supervisors tour plan and actual tour taken on various floors
4. Real-time incident recording, reporting, and monitoring
All the objectives were achieved. Each guard was issued an RFID card. Each critical location that was a part of Supervisor’s tour was fixed with an RFID tag. Each Supervisor was given Nokia 6210C.
If you look at the way the digital wave is penetrating businesses and forcing them to adapt it for various reasons, it seems that in coming few years there will be phenomenal transformations happening on this front. Definitely on the imagination front mixed with the concepts of Big Data, IoT (Internet of Things), IoE (Internet of Everything) and Digital World; there can be many things that can be thought of happening in next years.
Some of them I can foresee happening are listed below:
Companies in India have started adopting low-budget digital technologies for their field taskforce. These solutions could be ranging from tracking, monitoring, real time updates & incident recording, attendance, customer feedback and so on. As per a recent research report published by Jaideep Mehta, IDC India, Managing Director, talks about an adoption of digital technology for critical activities in a simple yet achievable manner thereby resulting in an increase in productivity and business results.
The report published in The Hindu Business Line is about a logistics company that deployed a system to track their workforce in monitoring if the deliveries happen in time as per the plan. This monitoring happens in real time by means of simple Android devices and any deviations are alerted in real time. This simple mechanism helped the organization to increase productivity by 33% and the deliverables per day gained by 25% per taskforce. All this magic happened within three months of the adoption of this mechanism.
A similar case is about an investment bank offering loans and funds for various purposes, online. The CEO of this bank decided to deploy an online video chat system for a real-time interaction between bank officers and with their prospective customers and it did wonders. This kind of engagement started bringing fruitful results within no time of its adoption.
What we see here is that the same digital solution will not work for all but definitely the relevant adoption can do miracles. Are you ready for this digital adoption/ digital transformation?
Long time back I read somewhere – A kingdom is as good as its king. If it comes to product/ service and customer, it could be redefined as – A product or service is as powerful as its customers. Your customer, whether one time or regular, whether small value or high value, whether a potential buyer or not; has one thing in common to pay you back – their feedback. Never underestimate your customer. A single positive line about your product or service can go as viral today on powerful social media and could create wonders for you. Similarly, a negative feedback could build a negative image of your organization and product (or service) in the minds of your customers and prospects.
Expressing your hunger for a feedback from your customer can be done in many ways – a personal note to your customer at the time of buying of your product or service or a few days after, a personal phone call, a small get together organization, a poll (but personalized) or a survey, etc.Don’t impose or predefine the length of feedback. Let it come out of the flow, person to person, the customer to customer. It could be a single word like “Wow” or a single line. Or it could be multiple paragraphs, pages etc. It could be about a single aspect of your product or service or it could be about the multiple aspects.
Try to categorize the customer feedback in various categories. It could be reliability, ease of use, ease of maintenance, availability, scalability for future needs, flexibility for existing needs, ease of understanding, ease of using, value, features, service and support; and so on.
Whether it is a product or a service that you are selling to your customers, it all matters most about it when it comes straight out of the mouth of your customer. Quality as such has no meaning how so loud drums you keep on beating on your own. Your product or service is, in a logical sense, should be able to win the heart of your customer. And if this happens, then nothing can stop it on reorders and new customers acquisitions provided you are capable to build “visible” customer success stories. Remember that your level of higher achievement comes through customer delight and not product selling. Product selling can be played with, but not customers’ words.
Once a customer says in public all positive about the product or service, that product or service owner has got a free of cost marketing guy with high influencing factor, without any much efforts. That is what is required. First you need to ensure your product is high quality. Use it yourself first in the same manner customer would be using it and then ascertain if you are able to fetch the same results as you are expecting it to deliver to your customers? Once you are convinced, throw it in the market and acquire customers. Inspire them to use it extensively and show your hunger for their feedback.
Once you have got feedback, with their permission, publish these success stories online – on your social media page, on your website, or whatever other best possible ways come to your mind.
To continue with previous articles on analytics, let us assume that we have a problem statement in place and relevant data for churning is available. Remember that the data for analytics is always voluminous as with a small chunk of data appropriate results can’t be arrived upon. So once you have this large data with you first thing that is required is data exploration. Data exploration is nothing but an exercise to get acquainted with various aspects of the data.
First to know is if you have all the relevant fields available in the data or not. If something is missing, an alarm is to be raised to get fresh data with complete fields. The second aspect is to know if the data in those fields is relevant and executable or not for driving out your conclusions or not. For instance, the data field may have data in text form while you would need it in numbers. So what field’s data needs to be converted to what form is essential to understand.
Data exploration basically to know what all is there in your data. Understanding of datasets, variables, and their business corresponding meanings. Remember that time spent here in doing this exercise is worth rather than creating confusions at a later stage. Understanding the data period is also very important. You must know if the data with you is of what period. Once it is done, ascertaining of the quality of data becomes a bit easier. At this juncture, you have to ascertain what data that you required is missing.
As we all know analytics is purposeless if objectives are not clear. There has to be a problem statement to start your exercise in analytics. Another critical aspect is the data. If you have a problem statement very clearly defined, but relevant data is not there with you, then the whole exercise can go waste. The data has to be substantially large in size in order to arrive at the right kind of conclusions and results. So basically we have learnt three basic ingredients for Analytics as below:
Once you have these three ingredients in place, you are ready to start your journey in analytics to draw out conclusive results in a very objective manner. At no point in time, you will be able to get hundred percent clean and complete data for your exercise. In real world whatsoever precautions, you take, you are bound to have some or the other shortfalls in desired data. That is why you have to take some assumptions. One thing to keep in mind is that higher the volume of assumptions, lower will be the chances of correct results. The results have to as near to correctness as possible, even though, the data might not be there in terms of perfection and completeness.
So it is important to present your assumptions while presenting your final results. The process of churning of data in terms of using analytics tools might vary from problem to problem and person to person.
We discussed, in the end, about Analytics project in the previous post, from where we will take it further. If we look at the key steps of an Analytics project as below, we can very well correlate it with the project lifecycle where more or less the steps resemble with the various steps we following in a software project. Here are the various steps to be followed in an analytics project:
1. Problem Statement or Definition:
Understanding business problem well is the most important factor so as to ensure that you move in the right direction. Definitely like other projects, analytics projects also have tight release dates. Business problem will tell you what exactly is the issue that you are going to resolve in alignment with the business context. Your immediate task after understanding the business problem will be to gather the relevant data belonging to considerably large period. At times, when you are lucky, your customer will give you relevant data along with the business problem statement. But if not, then you will have to hunt for the data. Your customer’s business problem will need to be translated into analytics problem. By defining the analytics problem, you will be clearly able to state what you are going to predict at the end of this analytics project after building analytics model. A clarity or rather a customer sign off on this will be very helpful in later closings.
2. Data Crunching or Exploration:
Data familiarization and exploration are the next important steps to follow.
3. Information Building:
Once you have understood the data well, you need to go for some data modelling. This will be an exhaustive exercise in which you will identify the missing links and apply data modelling techniques. Your must be quite familiar with certain terms like values, outliers, variables, regression, decision tree, clustering etc. to master this phase of the project.
4. Data Modelling:
Once your data is in place after you have done some homework in your data crunching and data building, the next step is data modelling. In this phase, you follow a technique run-observe in a repeated manner. Here you will have multiple iterations of running a model, evaluating the results, perform some calibration and re-run, re-observe till you reach a satisfaction level of results desired.
5. Validation or Confirmation
The final set of shortlisted models (not more than three usually) now have to pass the validation process. Here you will put in a fresh set of data in the data model built to ensure that the model is not specific to previous data or conditions only and holds good to produce a similar kind of resultant.
6. Deployment and Monitoring:
Out of the final set of shortlisted models, the best one is chosen for deployment and monitoring the results. Monitoring of results is important to check the model behavior in real life scenario.
You have a stated problem to resolve that is and the problem statement relates to future. Then the best way is to study the past data, response, behavior and results. It might appear simple here but in actual it is not, else everyone on this earth would have become a great analyst. It depends a lot on the clarity of assumptions you make while bringing out your results or driving your analysis. It is also important to understand what data is required to do what kind of analysis. It might happen that your problem statement and the data you are provided with might not align to an extent to bring out a good analysis and analytics report.
Analytics is a science. It is a process of gathering raw data, churning it to get some business insights and help the business in decision-making. There are certain standard and well-established analytical techniques that are used solve business problems related to various business verticals like retail, distribution, medicine, services etc. Once you are through with the basic understanding of statistical techniques, which are very important to learn, you can then start learning how to build predictive analytics models.
If you want to become an expert in business analytics you must understand the important steps to be followed in an analytics project. There might be a slight variance in the steps depending on what kind of problem you are planning to solve, what all data is available and what tools you have on hand for your assistance. So one thing is quite clear here about the lifecycle of any analytics project:
Still it takes a lot to become a perfect analyst that we will look at in next few posts.
Look at the beauty of each game being played between any two team in the ongoing World Cup 2015 co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand. Each game is powered by predictive analytics that brings in a lot of thoughtful and intelligent analytics that you get on your TV screens or the wide screens on the ground if you are there. The statement holds quite good here that came a couple of months back about the death of business intelligence and birth of predictive analytics. It makes sense also. With BI, most of the time, the businesses were just doing a kind of post-mortem or rather an intelligent post-mortem but nothing so fruitful to make life more secured in a futuristic sense.
Predictive Analytics brings in some resultive analytics regarding the result or future. And this analytics comes in with churning of past data, environmental factors, and a lot of other relevant data. For instance a match between Australia and Sri Lanka in which Australia is batting first the first few analytics come as below:
and so on.
That is the beauty of predictive analytics where each and every bit of past data is churned in a very intelligent manner to bring out various meaningful analytics that are helpful in predicting the outcome or future of the business initiatives.
ICC (International Cricket Council) has partnered with SAP for cloud services and predictive analytics for the world cup 2015 being played in Australia and New Zealand. The services will stay till the end of World Cup 2015 in which SAP is using its HANA platform to capture and deliver real-time analytics, statistics, data and live match experience.
Five Learnings For Project Manager From Why Do Smart People Make Such Stupid Mistakes by Chris Merringtonbook review, Contract negotiations, Project management, Project Manager
Why Do Smart People Make Such Stupid Mistakes: A Practical Negotiation Guide To More Profitable Client Relationship by Chris Merrington is quite relevant to project managers as negotiation is something that they need to do day in and day out with various stakeholders to keep their project stay healthy and running. Let us see as per the book, if project managers make such stupid mistakes in their routine professional life. There are total 11 chapters in this 207 pages book having quite interesting scenarios and anecdotes. The author is a known speaker, consultant and is the founder of a firm named Spring 80:20 that works in consulting and conducting workshops.
Some key learning for project managers from Why Do Smart People Make Such Stupid Mistakes: A Practical Negotiation Guide To More Profitable Client Relationship by Chris Merrington that I could chalk out are:
It is a lot more to learn from this book for project managers though the book has not been specifically intended for them.
Project Scope Management: A Practical Guide to Requirements for Engineering, Product, Construction, IT and Enterprise Projects by Jamal Moustafaev is a lovely hardcover book with an excellent and relevant cover. The cover is able to convey that it is mean for the project managers across the globe working on any kind of Engineering, Technology, Enterprise or Product related projects. In a nutshell, it promises to deliver a practical approach to Project Scope Management. A very useful and a must read for all project managers. The book was released in the last month of 2014 and hence is still not in focus for many project managers. It’s author Jamal Moustafaev is a well-known entity in the project management arena.
Project Scope Management: A Practical Guide to Requirements for Engineering, Product, Construction, IT and Enterprise Projects by Jamal Moustafaev focuses mainly on subjective customer requirements gathered at the time of business analysis. This as per the book could become the key factor in killing the project if the requirements are not clear, crisp and complete. This could frantically lead to important and critical omissions during product development and hence would cause ambiguous feature building of the product. According to Moustafaev if these factors:
would in turn create a big disaster resulting into:
These are the very basic fundamental and core areas of project scope that are touched upon in the book Project Scope Management: A Practical Guide to Requirements for Engineering, Product, Construction, IT and Enterprise Projects by Jamal Moustafaev in a very practical and guiding manner. In order to get out of this disaster, there is no way out unless some core touchpoints are taken care of right at the beginning of a project. An unclear requirement from customer will always lead to never-ending requirements coming up from the customer throughout the project so as to cover up the mistakes done at the beginning of the project. To handle such situations, a deep engagement of all stakeholders is very critical.
After highlighting the above key factors causing disaster in a project, the author guides explicitly the core focus areas in gathering project requirements and thereby defining the scope of the project. It emphasizes on verification and control mechanism on each and every step of the project so as to minimize the risks arising out of it at a later stage.
There is a lot more to learn in this 366 pages book Project Scope Management: A Practical Guide to Requirements for Engineering, Product, Construction, IT and Enterprise Projects by Jamal Moustafaev that no project manager can afford to miss.
This is the replication of already running successful training mission for Airmen and Soldiers in North Carolina, where more than 250 have already been trained successfully. The program was initiated under the leadership of project management instructors Bill Flanagan and John Keane from Black Diamond Project Management team. Already trained project managers volunteering as a project management training instructor help in achieving this mission. The same has now been replicated by Chicagoland division of the Project Management Institute (PMI) where they have collaborated with Black Diamond Charities known as BDC, Illinois with a similar mission of providing project management training to veterans under the guidance of trained instructors.
Veterans – airmen and soldiers – based on their job training and lifestyle are more equipped to become successful project managers as project management, task management, and time management gels well with them as their natural stint. There is a lot of commonality in project management and military trainings.
An analysis report published six years back stated around seventy percent of projects fail in one aspect or the other in meeting their:
A project success can be factored on key parameters like:
Obviously if a project crosses its budget there could be various reasons some of them being quite weird. Budget could have outburst due to the scope finalization not handled properly in the beginning. This is one of the examples lying in a weird category but is actually among most usual happening causes for project failure.
Some other reasons could be:
Mostly this happens if:
If we look at top three reasons causing project failures, those would be:
The seventy percent project failing six years back still holds good though there are many new terminologies and organizations have evolved during this period that claim to deliver ninety percent success in your project.
PMO or Project Management Office is basically a controlling and administrating agency for Project and Project Manager portfolios. Following are the roles of a PMO:
Have you tried the new series of OnApp CloudPODs released by Webair. When you are a part of corporate or enterprise cloud solution team and are looking for tools that accelerate the deployment of the cloud with a considerable pace then you must try OnApp CloudPOD. The solution not only accelerates the deployment of cloud but also enhances hardware performance thereby increasing your customer service performance metrics. Overall if you see, it gives you a complete Cloud Management Solution bundled in for tackling all cloud-related issues in one go. Webair is a well-known entity in Cloud Hosting solutions, Cohosting, colocation, manageable and managed solutions. With already so much available under one name, an addition of CloudPOD has empowered its hosting services portfolio to a greater extent. The just a two-week old launch has been well acclaimed all across the globe.
Basically, CloudPOD is a wide range of cloud package solution that aggregates the cloud management software from OnAPP with the three other essential components of cloud – hosting, hardware and connectivity – to provide an optimized solution. The new CloudPOD from Webair lets cloud service providers implement the OnApp clouds solution of their own choice, which can easily go hand in hand with the pre-configured Dell hardware suited for enterprise cloud solutions. This way Webair’s CloudPOD solution provides a completely synchronized solution in terms of performance, network and infrastructure. It suits for all sizes of clouds – ranging from a starter and going up to the large enterprise sized ones.
Currently the benefit is to the customers in New York, Montreal, Amsterdam, and Los Angeles to manage their datacenters in these vicinities where Webair is able to provide hundred percent network uptime.
Unification of Apache YARN and Apache Mesos resource management solution is available in the newly launched open-source Myriad project. Myriad is the first ever produced resource management framework. The beauty of the product is that while on one hand your enterprise, cloud and datacenters services and applications are running and alongside, on the other hand, it can run Apache YARN jobs. As we know that there is a beautiful product from Mesosphere called Mesosphere Datacenter Operating System (DCOS). DCOS exhaustively manages cloud and datacenter resources. We also know that Apache Hadoop is provided by MapR Technologies Inc. Myriad is, in fact, is a product jointly from MapR Technologies Inc. and Mesosphere.
Myriad, available on GitHub is an open source project tool empowered to consolidate big data while running other services in the datacenter. It manages to consolidate all this in a manner so as to create a single pool or resources which help in increased utilization and higher efficiency in operations. There is a clear-cut optimization visible with improved results. This is probably a superb answer to the issues so far being faced in running big data jobs by Hadoop developers where it had to be run on dedicated clusters. By running them on dedicated clusters these resources used to stay in isolation from other services, jobs, and applications running in parallel. This is obviously a major drawback causing lower server utilization.
The issue has been overcome by bringing in Myriad that allows both Apache YARN and Apache Mesos to run alongside, as a single pool of resources whether it is big data jobs, applications, services or scripts. When YARN and Mesos are run together, Mesos collaborates the distributed and isolated resources in a single pool thereby increasing CPU, memory, storage management in a big way.
To break the deadlocks arising in a project, a product manager needs to learn and master an art of breaking those deadlocks. One of the manners to do that is a compromise. A compromise in a deadlock situation can break the deadlock and things can start moving further.
When it is a clash of egos, it becomes difficult for the two opposite ends to bend down and accept defeat. It becomes a kind of war between the two and even if both know they are wrong at one point or the other, neither of them still will agree to it. This kind of clashes can happen in various teams working on a project. For instance, it can happen between the two teams – Testing team and Development team, where both want to provide their correctness. If there is a flaw in the product, that can be overlooked by the testing team for the time being at the time of iteration closure, though can be taken care of at the time of final release, it all depends on testing team to document it and release the iteration. But usually it does not happen and that is one of the major reason of iterations getting delayed.
At this kind of juncture, it is the project manager who has to resolve the things in a diplomatic manner. Both the teams have to be convinced they are right at their end.
As a Project Manager, I had a different kind of learning that was great in all aspects. So here it goes: