Tuesday, January 29, 2008

BA and PM synergies

This seems to be a very interesting read that I must digest. It's written by Ben Snyder, CEO of Systemation on his blog PMhut

Part#1 - Time to Bring Back the Soft Skills
Part#2 - Hard Data on Soft Skills
Part#3 - Using soft skills to your advantage
Part#4 - Building relationships to increase project influence

I think by the the middle of the year, I should have enough information that can move me to re-invent the wheel on this map that was brought to me by Bryce Johnson

Personally, I think the fine line between a project manager and the BA is diminishing and a new breed of workers will need to be engineered.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

[series#1] - You know something's wrong when...

Heres a couple of fun and real stuff that has come my way. All based on personal experience.

You know something's wrong when.. series :)-

  • You know somethings wrong when.. 14 out of the 23 employees in a company have resigned /dismissed.....within a 5 month period ! [ Employee retention vs Employer Mngt]
  • You know somethings wring when.. the sale's guy has not converted a single $ in the last 6 months ... and plays hockey with a Sr.Executive Brother [ Productivity vs preferential treatment]
  • You know somethings wrong when... a 10day change order valued at 10D effort and 10K value suddenly becomes 40D effort valued at 13K. [ Business Cost vs Project Profitability]
  • You know somethings wrong when... at first glance an application value should be about 150-200K ..but the project billing is actually 400K [Profits vs Billing]
  • You know somethings wrong when... when the customer yells at you and take's you to court because the software delivered is not functional as per their expectations. [Expectations vs Deliverables]
  • You know something wrong when.. the Sr.Tech lead wants to please a customer by way of creating a company and completing a project by way of quoting less. [Ego vs Team Play]
  • You know somethings wrong when ..Sr Tech Lead is promoted to Solutions Manager and still yeilds CRAP (Configurations Rarely Applied by People) !! [ Feature vs Scope]
  • you know somethings wrong when.. there are no artifacts to a project and you tasked to implement change orders on the software [ Discipline vs project rigor]
  • You know somethings wrong when... nobody knows the customers staging /UAT zone, including the customer !! [ knowledge vs artifacts]
  • You know somethings wrong when .. there are 6 managers and 4 developers !! [Resources vs Talent]
yep more follows.. stay tuned !!

Monday, January 21, 2008

5PM application

Oh I get another app via  courtesy of Ian McKenzie from Messy Desk

5PM looks to be a good web enabled online app for the community. Small and medium size folio's should certainly look into this application. However, I don't see any baseline functionlity and I did not delve deep into the reporting function. I'll sign up and try the 14 dy trail. BTW, its completely SaaS'ified  and the mothership appears to be GQ software

Eh !!  10user/20 projects/250MB/ $24Month , what does this mean ? 20 projects per month  or year or what ? There needs to  more upfront details for the community. But it's worth taking time to see what it delivers for ($2.40 / user) :)-

The Interface is sleek and neat, I kinda already like the app, just because the UX appears great !!

A Critical Look At Executive Decision Making

"What failed and why ? " is a question most PM's ask ourselves, it's part of learning and growing.

Recently I went thru a bad experience , which made me think. So while laying back and in introspection ( yes, I literally had to lie flat on my back - I am suffering from Fibromylgia - a chronic illness where the muscles on the lower back are inflamed/swollen) . I did a lot of thinking and rethinking on the critical node between businesses and projects.

So therefore , I was asking myself- what are the signs of a failed process or a failure node. The reality, is that for many projects, failure is dialed in from the beginning. The greatest challenge that organizations face is not how the project is managed, or who manages it — but simply how the choice is made.

My operating belief in the organization was that by hiring better project managers and establishing better project processes, improved project results were attainable. Arguably, it was a desire for improvement in project performance that led the organization to adopt a new project management framework in the first place, so this objective should not on the face of it seem unreasonable. At the same time, senior management within the organization clearly believed that whatever choices they made regarding the projects that they chose to initiate were fair game — that the decision-making process was separate and distinct from what was required to successfully deliver them. I call this the ultimate dichotomy of business and project decision making.

Possibly the simplest explanation is 'because they can', but that doesn't really speak to the underlying motives that actually leads them to make the decisions they do. They continue to "dial in" project's with lack of awareness on the critical nature of the their decisions and moreover, continually keep doing the same and expecting different results. I call this the ostrich syndrome. (if you stick your head deeper into the ground, the further away the problem seems to be !!). Or maybe is just plain madness- continuing to do the same thing and expecting a different result at each iteration. And yes, just because "because they can" - its also called as "corporate version of frying the ants"

Decisions made at the outset or during a project life cycle can have the impact of effectively handicapping a project and /or short-circuiting the impact of any attempts to apply proper project management.

Through this introspection, I hope to be able to inject some much-need rationality into a process. Many may view as overly irrational (yeah, I am on med's :); and reactionary to bad experiences. Nevertheless, without leadership and proper executive decision making skills, the nodes between businesses and projects will fail to connect and that is irrefutable !!