Wed 18 Mar 2009
Yeh Document, Yeh Meetings, Yeh Features Ki Duniya
 
Yeh Insaan Ke Dushman, Yeh Cursors Ki Duniya
 
Yeh Deadlines Ke Bhooke, Management Ki Duniya
 
Yeh Product Agar Ban Bhi Jaaye To Kya Hai?
 
Yahaan Ek Khilona Hai Programmer Ki Hasti
 
Yahaan Basti Hai Murda Bug-Fixers Ki Basti
 
Yahaan Par To Raises Hai, Inflation Se Sasti
 
Yeh Review Agar Ho Bhi Jaaye To Kya Hai?
 
Har Ek Keyboard Ghayal, Har Ek Mouse Hay Pyasa
 
Excel Mein Uljhan, Winword Mein Udaasi
 
Yeh Release Agar Ho Bhi Jaaye To Kya Hai?
 
Jalaa Do Ise, Phoonk Do Yeh Monitor
 
Mere Saamne Se Hataa Do Yeh Manager Ki Moorat
 
Tumahaara Hai Tumhi Sambhaalo Ye Computer
 
Yeh Product Agar Chal Bhi Jaaye To Kya Hai?
 
 
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Tue 14 Oct 2008

A wise old gentleman retired and purchased a modest home near a junior high school. He spent the first few weeks of his retirement in peace and contentment. Then a new school year began. The very next afternoon three young boys, full of youthful, after-school enthusiasm, came down his street, beating merrily on every trash can they encountered. The crashing percussion continued day after day, until finally the wise old man decided it was time to take some action.

The next afternoon, he walked out to meet the young percussionists as they banged their way down the street. Stopping them, he said, "You kids are a lot of fun. I like to see you express your exuberance like that. In fact, I used to do the same thing when I was your age. Will you do me a favor? I'll give you each a dollar if you'll promise to come around every day and do your thing."

The kids were elated and continued to do a bang-up job on the trashcans.

After a few days, the old-timer greeted the kids again, but this time he had a sad smile on his face. "This recession's really putting a big dent in my income," he told them. "From now on, I'll only be able to pay you 50 cents to beat on the cans."

The noisemakers were obviously displeased, but they accepted his offer and continued their afternoon ruckus. A few days later, the wily retiree approached them again as they drummed their way down the street.

"Look," he said, "I haven't received my Social Security check yet, so I'm not going to be able to give you more than 25 cents. Will that be okay?"

"A freakin' quarter?" the drum leader exclaimed. "If you think we're going to waste our time, beating these cans around for a quarter, you're nuts! No way, dude. We quit!" And the old man enjoyed peace and serenity for the rest of his days.

 

Categories : Thoughts / Lessons
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Tue 29 Jul 2008

***(Former President of India APJ Abdul Kalam at Wharton India Economic forum, Philadelphia, March 22,2008)*

*Question:* Could you give an example, from your own experience, of how leaders should manage failure?

*Kalam:* Let me tell you about my experience. In 1973 I became the project director of India's satellite launch vehicle program, commonly called the SLV-3. Our goal was to put India's 'Rohini' satellite into orbit by 1980.

I was given funds and human resources -- but was told clearly that by1980 we had to launch the satellite into space. Thousands of people worked together in scientific and technical teams towards that goal.

By 1979 -- I think the month was August -- we thought we were ready. As the project director, I went to the control center for the launch. At four minutes before the satellite launch, the computer began to go through the checklist of items that needed to be checked. One minute later, the computer program put the launch on hold; the display showed that some control components were not in order. My experts -- I had four or five of  them with me -- told me not to worry; they had done their calculations and there was enough reserve fuel. So I bypassed the computer, switched to manual mode, and launched the rocket. In the first stage, everything worked fine. In the second stage, a problem developed. Instead of the satellite going into orbit, the whole rocket system plunged into the Bay of Bengal. It was a big failure.

That day, the chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization, Prof. Sottish Dhawan, had called a press conference. The launch was at 7:00 am, and the press conference -- where journalists from around the world were present -- was at 7:45 am at ISRO's satellite launch range in Sriharikota [in Andhra Pradesh in southern India]. Prof. Dhawan, the leader of the organization, conducted the press conference himself. He took responsibility for the failure -- he said that the team had worked very hard, but that it needed more technological support. He assured the media that in another year, the team would definitely succeed. Now, I was the project director, and it was my failure, but instead, he took  responsibility for the failure as chairman of the organization.

The next year, in July 1980, we tried again to launch the satellite -- and this time we succeeded. The whole nation was jubilant. Again, there  was a press conference. Prof. Dhawan called me aside and told me, 'You conduct the press conference today.'

I learned a very important lesson that day. When failure occurred, the leader of the organization owned that failure. When success came, he gave it to his team. The best management lesson I have learned did not come to me from reading a book; it came from that experience.

 

Categories : Thoughts / Lessons
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Mon 30 Jun 2008

"Ways to Success"

 

 

PLAN while others are playing

 

STUDY while others are sleeping

 

 

DECIDE while others are delaying

 

 

PREPARE while others are daydreaming

 

 

BEGIN while others are procrastinating

 

 

WORK while others are wishing

 

 

SAVE while others are wasting

 

 

LISTEN while others are talking

 

 

SMILE while others are frowning

 

 

COMMEND while others are criticizing



PERSIST while others are quitting

 

Categories : Thoughts / Lessons
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Thu 15 May 2008

Depending on the size of your organization, you may treat project management as a casual practice or you may have an involved PMO. In either case, you probably go through the typical inception, elaboration, and construction phases of a project. But when it comes to the end of a project, many project managers come up just short of the finish line. Failure to handle the final steps can add confusion to an initiative and may lead to customer dissatisfaction, unhappy staff, and a project dragging on longer than necessary.

Here are a few things you should be thinking about when you get to the end of your next project. Some of these items are purely administrative, but many of them will help get you one step closer to ensuring that your project is successful.

#1: Finalize testing

Testing can be a drain on people, and many of us don’t like to do it — especially when it takes a few rounds. I have seen complex projects that were four to six months long have a day or two scheduled for testing. Not scheduling an adequate amount of testing usually ends up with problems occurring during the first few weeks of an implementation. Don’t take a shortcut here and minimize the importance of testing; otherwise, you’ll take on the additional risk of having a painful rollout.

#2: Finalize training

Users? Who cares about users? Well, many projects are done for their benefit, so make sure you have all your testing materials completed and delivered. Failure to do so will most likely manifest itself in the form of angry phone calls from irate users in the middle of the night.

#3: Validate deliverables

You’ve checked all your boxes and cleaned out your inbox, and you really think you’re done. But what does your customer think? Schedule time with customers to review all the deliverables and ensure they have been met. In some cases, there may be a few outstanding issues still unresolved when you get to your scheduled end date. Early on in your project, you should have made an agreement that determines how this will affect your end date if this situation occurs.

#4: Get project signoff

After you’ve agreed that all the deliverables have been met, request a formal signoff on the project documentation. Doing so helps ensure that everybody is in agreement on the state of the project. Since this signoff usually signals the formal end of the project, be careful not to make your customers feel pressured into signing. If they do this without understanding what it means, you will likely end up with an unsatisfied customer if an issue arises at a later date.

#5: Release the team

Now that the project is done, where is your team going? Depending on the organization, they may be sent back to a development pool or into the business. Or maybe they need to go drum up some work for themselves within the company. No matter what it is, make sure you spend time with them and set a clear end date for when you no longer need their services. Also don’t forget that you probably need to complete any performance review documents that need to be added to their file.

#6: Analyze actual vs. planned

Resources. Did you really get away with only one developer/tester for 10 weeks or did you need to scramble and get more people? What about the amount of time you scheduled for your business partners? Understanding how well you hit these targets will help you better allocate resources for your next project and set more realistic expectations when it comes to a project’s duration.

Budget. How much was the project going to cost? Did you come in on budget, under budget, over budget? Sitting down to understand the answers to these basic questions should give you some insight into a critical area of any project.

#7: Archive documentation

During any project, we seem to create huge amounts of documentation. It can range from scope documents and project plans to contracts and meeting minutes. Whatever it is, when you are done you should have someplace to keep it based on the retention policy of your company. You’ll be glad you did when your phone rings two years from now and somebody asks you to explain the rationale behind a choice you made during the course of the project.

#8: Ensure contract closure

It’s not unusual for a project to have its own budget. You also may have contracts for hardware, software, or professional services. When you’re done, make sure that you verify that all the terms of your contracts have been met, request final invoices from vendors and submit them to AP, and close out any associated financial accounts, if necessary.

#9: Conduct a postmortem meeting

What types of risks did you identify and mitigate? What went really well that you want to ensure you do again next time? Have a meeting with all the project stakeholders and relevant participants to provide them with a forum to express any lessons learned.

#10: Perform a self assessment

So it’s finally over. After all the hard work has been completed, you’ve made sure that all the i’s have been dotted and all the t’s crossed. Now what do you do? It’s important to get some feedback on your performance from the people you interacted with during the project. If you have the opportunity to send out a 360-degree feedback survey to as many individuals as possible, I would recommend it. It will help you assess how you’re progressing and will give you some great direction in deciding which personal growth opportunities you should focus on.

This list won’t be the same for everybody and will depend on your organization and how it implements projects. But if you can do them, it will always make the transition to the next project smoother

Categories : Knowledge / Amazing
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