Tuesday, February 26, 2008

IT cost Cutting as per the Bible of Gartner

"Gartner believes that as concerns increase for the near-term health of some of the world's largest economies, those responsible for IT budgets can expect to receive mandates from senior executives to cut IT costs as part of an enterprisewide cost-cutting program. It recommends that organizations begin establishing ground rules for complying with such a cost-cutting mandate by following a six-step plan" [ source ]

What are these 6 steps ?

  1. Don't Wait for the Cost-Cutting Mandate from Management
  2. Choose the Best and Brightest IT People for the Team
  3. Don't Allow Finger-Pointing or Second Guessing
  4. Report Results on a Weekly Basis
  5. Identify a Liaison from the Legal Department
  6. Enlist an Internal Auditor as Scorekeeper
My question is if Gartner is sending out such messages, this will certainly impact  the innovations space. Less thinkers and developer's make the Enterprise move behind the eight ball and leaves the market open to geolocations like Singapore, India and Russia. After all, IT has to perform and produce, they just do it by outsourcing now- at a lower cost. However, the consequences is the innovations is now driven externally !!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Project Management Job listings translator

This is a classic fro PM who are looking for gigs' ! Thanks to   Nick Matteucci for making my Day /evening :)-

Project Management Job listings translator

Job posting says: What they really mean is:
Competitive Salary We remain competitive by paying project managers less than our more successful competitors.
Join our fast-paced company We have no time to train you or send you to PM conferences.  Please introduce yourself to your project team members and co-workers as well.
Immediate opening The project manager who used to have this project gave notice and left the company a month ago with no information on what they did or how they did it. We're just now running the ad.
Self-motivated Project sponsors won't answer questions or provide requirements.
We offer great benefits We'll allow you to fund your own 401(k) if you survive the 3 year project that got the last PM fired.
Seeking enthusiastic, fun, hard working, people Looking for young project managers with no training, certification, or experience who won't mind our internship-level salaries.
Casual work atmosphere We don't pay enough to expect that you'll dress up.
Dynamic environment Your project team will be yanked from your project every 3 months or 3 weeks before a major deliverable (whichever happens first)
Fun work environment Your project team members will be insulted if you don't go out and buy them drinks 3 nights a week.
A drug-free work environment. We booze it up at company holiday parties and base bonuses on ability to hold one's liquor.
Must be deadline oriented Your project will be four months behind schedule on your first day.
Some overtime required Some overtime each night and some overtime each weekend will be required.
Requires team leadership skills You'll have the responsibilities of your boss without the pay or respect.
Good communication skills. Management communicates what they want from your projects in vague terms that are impossible to decipher, you listen, figure out what they want and do it under budget and ahead of schedule.

PMBOK + Agile

THe 4th edition of the PMBOK is coming out and a draft edition was made available. Some interesting tidbits were picked up from Section 2.1.3-2:

"An iterative relationship, where only one subset is planned at any given time and the planning for the next period is carried out as work progresses on the current deliverable. This approach is useful in largely undefined, uncertain, or rapidly changing environments such as research, but it can lead to rework and reduce the ability to provide long term planning or scope control for the project. It also entails having all of the project team members (e.g. designers, developers, etc.) available throughout the project."

There are changes on the horizon and PMI is in the process of forming an Agile Project Management SIG .

PMI/PMBOK is all about defining, organizing, planning and executing predictive project.  Agility is intended to address inventive projects by defining a high-level big picture and taking a few steps at a time to ensure the project brings real business value.

The convergence of PMI and Agile is a welcome thing !

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Stakholder trust models

This is critical for a PM to understand- the Stakeholder trust model are different in each organization, let alone the person themselves.  This is a must read from a Harvard White paper

"Employees that don't trust their organizations are less loyal, less motivated, and less  productive. Customers who perceive a breach of trust are more likely to switch to a competitor.
When trust is lacking in supplier relationships, more resources need to be devoted to contract enforcement and monitoring, the result of which is increased transaction costs. Organizations that lose the trust of their investors may be the quickest of all to perish."

SO go read and don't Perish :)-

Promote Teamwork over Politics

Excerpted from Cutter's Enterprise Architecture advisory service. Five strategies for improving teamwork:

  1. Build cross-functional teams. IT teams, in particular development and maintenance teams, should be cross-functional. Each team should have a variety of people from different professional backgrounds, including business stakeholders. Technical team members should ideally be people who are already generalizing specialists or at least willing to become so. A generalizing specialist  with one or more specialties, plus a general software process knowledge, plus a good knowledge of the domain that they're working in, plus a willingness to collaborate with and learn from others is far more effective. This is supported by Larry English's work in information quality transformation -- one of his 14 points is to break down barriers between staff areas 

  2. Promote non-solo development. Doing IT work is a lot like swimming; it's very dangerous to do it alone. Agilists have discovered that both quality and productivity increase when people work together collaboratively, often in pairs. Agile methods include practices such as pair programming and modeling with others to enforce this approach. When people pair together, and particularly when they swap pairs regularly, they learn new skills, get the job at hand done more effectively, and build better bonds with their coworkers.

  3. Promote training, education, and mentoring. One way to improve teamwork is to ensure that people have a wide range of skills and thereby can relate to the issues that their coworkers are focused on. When developers understand the fundamentals of data architecture, management, and governance, then they would likely recognize the value that data professionals have to offer and would more likely be able to find ways to work with them effectively. Similarly, if data professionals understood modern development techniques and methods, then they would be in a better position to work in a more responsive manner.

  4. Promote explicit team-building workshops. They're a bit goofy, but my experience is that workshops that are specifically focused on team building can work wonders (although I'm still not that sure about those exercises where you fall backwards into other people's hands).

  5. Break bread with "those other people." It's amazing how quickly you'll build bonds with someone over good food, good drink, and good conversation.

Hat Tip to Dennis Crowley for these points !! I have always found that breaking bread and drinking wine is THE most powerfull Team builder effort. Dont take em out for dinner and drinks just to celebrate, rather just hang out together and watch a foot ball game or play pool or something like that once every two weeks.  Better still is to have a Pot luck once a month- its amazing how they all work out something to  feed themselves !! Once they learn to feed each other literally, they also learn to feed the project too :)-

Saturday, February 16, 2008

PM tragedy in five limericks !!

Thanks to Kailash Awati who manages IT development at a multinational in Australia.  This (reproduced below) come as part of my alert systems and I nearly split my coffee on my laptop- LMAO .

Hey Mate, this certainly will call for a Fosters on met when I am down under :)-

Others in PM interests, take time to visit his blog :)-

With many changes we had to cope
Deadlines near; no money, no hope.
There was no way to wrangle,
with the
iron triangle
of budget, time and scope.

The project was  in a mess.
The reason I could only guess
was the carefully constructed
schedule was busted,
thanks to a dodgy

When called to explain the delay
I told the sponsor to pray.
When he asked, "But, why?"
I said with a sigh,
"On the
critical path the tasks lay."

He said to me, "This can't be true.
There must be something you can do."
Shaking my head
in sorrow, I said,
"All that remains is

And now, I'm not in his pay,
You see, I was fired that day.
So, I exhort you all,
to stay on the ball,
and don't run your projects this way.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Talent Management & HR

A good point of contention ; Talent Management Project : Is it a HR function?

This AM , I had a good conversation with Shawn T of MISCONSULTING, which gave me a different insight of Talent  Capital - from acquisitions , development and retention strategies. The core question I have always asked myself during the Project Life cycle , is what am I teaching to my team members, what is their takeaway ? Have they engaged on the knowledge trajectory ?  Does this seem to be a HR question or a Project Management Question ? and what is cross docking synergies between PMO and HR that can be leveraged ?

The McKinsey Quarterly article on "Making Talent a Strategic Priority" ; conducted a survey of 98 business/HR leaders that yielded obstacles to effective talent management. This is a very important read for me today ( thanks to Shawn for getting my juices going !!)

The key here is "Manager's who aren't interested in "development of people's capabilities and careers" aren't really managing at all"

The top three data points  (out of 7!!)

1. Senior managers don't spend enough high-quality time on talent management

2. Organization is "siloed" and does not encourage constructive collaboration, sharing of resources

3. Line managers are not sufficiently committed to development of people's capabilities and careers.

Take time to digest all the Metric's (Exhibits)  in the report. This a must read for people who mentor and interact with knowledge workers.