The Project-50 by Tom Peters

While reading Tom Peter’s books, one has to be really careful. Once it hits you, you are impacted forever. I still remeber the days when I read the ‘Brand You’ by Tom. It is during that period, that I registered www.abrachan.com  and then started branding myself. I ended up starting my own consultancy – which I dont regret :-). It was the case with Julien, a friend of mine.  Here is another book by Tom focusing on how to articulate a  monotonous piece of work and make it WOW !

50- ways to transform every ‘task’ into a project that matters!

As usual, Tom Peters transfers his passion to redefine everything under the sun, to excell in the 21st century, does it perfectly with projects !  – this time.  The first page of the book starts like this;

  • A  WOW project! … WoWs! (Period)
  • A WOW project is dynamic, stimulating, a major bond builder with co-workers, a source of buzz among end users, and ….inspiring, exhausting, hot, cool, sexy, where every one else wants to be.
  • A WOW project!… Confronts and re-defines an important issue or problem in such a way that, participants will be remembered for it, ten years later. An innovation halo, hovers over participants.
  • A WOW project!…. Moves at record speed…is considered a startling success even by early distractors…Makes quick prototyping, it’s mantra…. and thumbs its nose at all things  bureaucratic.
  • A WOW project!…. Is directly measured in terms of Beauty + Grace + WOW! + Revolutionary Impact + User Raves.
  • A WOW Project ! ….is the place to be!. It is the nub of Brand You. If you passed up the chance to be on the team…well better luck next time.
  • A WOWpproject! …Is the quintessential expression of personality and character. It’s demands are heavy. It’s returns are immeasurable. It is not for the faint-of-heart.
  • A WOW Project! … Starts with you.

 When we look around at the contemporary very successful projects, which delivered outstanding results like the ipod, google search, gmail, skype – the significance of this book’s contents increases and become clearer to the reader.

Comparing PRINCE & PMBOK – Post 2

 Objective of this post is to compare the processes/activities/ components involved during the project start up phase of projects as per  PRINCE2 and PMBOK.

The key PRINCE2 process active during the start up of a project is the startup of a project (SU) and comprises of;

Staring up a project (SU)

The process begins bby receiving from some external source, the definition of a problem or opportunity that the project has to satisfy. ‘Project Mandate’ is a term used for whatever information comes in to trigger the project. This process expects the existence of a project mandate that defines the high level terms, the reason for the project and what product is required. The work of the process is built around the establishment of six things;

  1. The design and as far as possible the appointment of the project management team
  2. The project brief
  3. The project approach
  4. The customers quality expectations
  5. A risk log
  6. The initiation stage plan

 Let us take a look at the sub processes constituting the Starting  up a project (SU)  process;

SU1 – Appointing an executive and a project manager

To get anything done in the project, you need a decision maker and someone to undertake the planning.  

The objective of this sub process is to;

  • Identify the executive from the project’s stakeholders
  • Identify the most appropriate project manager for the project
  • Confirm the selected people’s availability, their acceptance of these roles and their commitment to carry them out
  • Appoint them to their respective roles

The responsibility for this process lies with the corporate or programme management

SU2 – Designing the project management team

Having identified an Executive and the project manager, the next job is to review the project size, complexity and the areas impacted by the final outcome, then design the project management team with appropriate representation of user, supplier and project support.

Fundamental principles

  • The project need the right people in place with the authority, responsibility and knowledge to make decisions in a timely manner
  • The project management team needs to reflect the interest of all parties who will be involved, including business, user and supplier interests
  • Project management requires resources and calls for a range of skills, which must be available within the project management team

The key process steps include;

  • Design of the project management team structure
  • Identify the candidates for each role
  • Determine the responsibilities and the requisite skills

SU3 – Appointing the project management team

This process is targetted at appointing the right people to the right positions, at the right time. The process include the following steps;

  • Appoint people to the project board, project assurance, project support and team management
  • Ensure that these individuals understand their roles and responsibilities
  • Ensure that the individuals are actively committed to carrying out their roles and responsibilities
  • Confirm the reporting and communication lines

SU4 – Preparing a project brief

The process involves

  • Prepare the formal terms of reference for the project
  • Establish the customer’s quality expectations
  • Establish the acceptance criteria for the project
  • Begin a record of any riks facing the project
  • Ensure there is a outline business case

SU5 – Defining project approach

  • Decide how the work of the project should be approached
  • Identify the constraints
  • Identify the skills required to conduct the work of the project

SU6 – Planning the initiation stage

Initiating the project and ptreparing the project plan take time and consume resources. The work should be planned and approved like any other project work to make sure that initiation is not aimless and unstructured.  The objectives of this sub process are to;

  • Produce a plan for thr production of the project initiation document (which include the project plan)
  • Define the reporting and control arrangements for the intiation stage

The project intiation document is an extension and refinement of the project brief with the addition of the project management team details, the project plan and the eisk log

THE PMBOK APPROACH to project start up

As per PMBOK, the project undergoes the initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and control and closing stages. The initiation stage of PMBOK has maximum linkage to the SU- start up and IP – Initiating a project processes of PMBOK.

As per PMBOK,

Project intiation comprises of two processes;

1)  Develop a project charter

2) Define a high level project scope statement

The project charter is prepared (approved) by the project sponsor (project executive in PRINCE2) and the charter comprises of the following information;

  • High level product description
  • Roles and responsibilities of the project manager and the sponsor
  • Major milestones
  • Constraints, assumptions
  • Major risks
  • Product vision
  • Business case

The charter forms an input to the project planning and as per PRINCE, the intiation stage plan is an input to planning. The term ‘project approach’ of PRINCE is liked to the ‘Project strategy’ of PMBOK, which is part of project planning.

The initiation phase of PMBOK by and large corresponds to the SU (Project start up) process group of PRINCE2.

Value of a drink – have fun….

The Value of a Drink
“Sometimes when I reflect back on all the wine I drink
I feel shame Then I look into the glass and think
about the workers in the vineyards and all of their hopes
and dreams .. If I didn’t drink this wine, they might be out
of work and their dreams would be shattered.

Then I say to myself, “It is better that I drink this wine and let their
dreams come true than be selfish and worry about my liver.”
 Jack Handy

WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may leave you wondering what the hell
happened to your bra and panties.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. When they
wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re
going to feel all day. ”
Frank Sinatra

WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may create the illusion that you are
tougher, smarter, faster and better looking than most people.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading.”
 Henny Youngman

WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may lead you to think people are
laughing WITH you.
~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“24 hours in a day, 24 beers in a case. Coincidence? I think not.”
 Stephen Wright

WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may cause you to think you can sing.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“When we drink, we get drunk. When we get drunk,
we fall asleep. When we fall asleep, we commit no sin.
When we commit no sin, we go to heaven. So, let’s all
get drunk and go to heaven!”
Brian O’Rourke

WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may cause pregnancy.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~

“Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”
 Benjamin Franklin

WARNING: The consumption of alcohol is a major factor in dancing like a
retard.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“Without question, the greatest invention in the
history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the
wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does
not go nearly as well with pizza..”
 Dave Barry
WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may cause you to tell your friends over
and over again that you love them.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
To some, it’s a six-pack, to me it’s a Support Group. Salvation in a can!
Dave Howell

WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may make you think you can logically
converse with members of the opposite sex without spitting.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
And saving the best for last, as explained by Cliff Clavin, of Cheers.

One afternoon at Cheers, Cliff Clavin was explaining the Buffalo Theory to
his buddy Norm.
Here’s how it went:

“Well ya see, Norm, it’s like this… A herd of buffalo can only move as
fast as the slowest buffalo. And when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest
and weakest ones at the back that are killed first This natural selection
is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the
whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members.
In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the
slowest brain cells. Excessive intake of alcohol, as we know, kills brain
cells. But naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first.
In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells,
making the brain a faster and more efficient machine. That’s why you always
feel smarter after a few beers.”

WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may make you think you are whispering
when you are not
Courtesy – Melanie

The agile principles

The Agile Principles  

1.       Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.

2.       Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customers competitive advantage. 3.       Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter time scale.

4.       Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.

5.       Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.

 6.       The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.

7.       Working software is the primary measure of progress.

8.       Agile processes promote sustainable development.

9.       The sponsors, developers and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.

10.   Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.

11.   Simplicity – the art of maximizing the amount of work not done- is essential

12.   The best architectures, requirements and designs emerge from self organizing teams.

13.   At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts it’s behavior accordingly.  

Help to fill up the PMP application form

Let me admit that filling up the current application form for PMP examination is a tedious process. It takes lot of time to fill it up. My friend and student Mr.Sunil Warrier sent me these links providing tips to fill up the application form and I found them very useful, hence publishing it here. Thanks a ton Sunil. Sunil’s email is warrier@gmail.com

I was about to make a excel sheet, but before that I googled for it

http://www.brisbin.name/worksheet/   

http://projectized.blogspot.com/2005_07_01_projectized_archive.html

This can also give a good Idea

Thanks

Sunil Warrier

Dubai – A case study for MBA students

If MBA students were presented with the task of coming up with a management framework to handle the expansion that Dubai is now enjoying they would probably try to switch to an easier subject. That option is not available to the alpha-grade officials now in charge of the $50 billion or so of new mega projects now underway.

Increasingly the unofficial CEO of Dubai Inc, Crown Prince General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has split his management into two first division teams.

There are the projects under the control of Dubai Holding CEO Mohammed Al Gergawi. His projects on the drawing board or under construction include: Dubailand, Dubai Healthcare City, Dubai Outsourcing Zone and the International Media Production Zone.

Mr. Gergawi’s existing projects are: Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City, Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai Humanitarian City, Dubai e-Hosting, Dubai Knowledge Village and the Arab Radio Network.

Then there are the projects that fall under Dubai Ports Authority chief Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem. He looks after the three Palm islands, The World islands project, Dubai Maritime City, the Nakheel real estate company, Dubai Metals and Commodities Centre and the Jebel Ali Free Zone.

The main mega projects not covered by these two top Dubai officials are: the Dubai International Airport terminal three, which comes under Civil Aviation President Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum; and Emaar Properties – developer of the tallest building in the world, the Burj Dubai and the biggest shopping mall, which is under the chairmanship of Dubai Economic Department Director General Mohammed Ali Alabbar.

Meanwhile, the new Dubai International Financial Centre comes directly under the chairmanship of the Dubai Crown Prince General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

This brief sketch of responsibilities within Dubai Inc. is a useful guide for business opportunities. Clearly the implementation of so many mega projects at one time creates huge opportunities for new business, both for existing and new entrants to the market.

However, it is crucial to appreciate that Dubai Inc. is an astonishing example of a Government-led public-private sector partnership. In the years to come MBA students from around the world will come to Dubai to examine how it was done.

Understanding this structure and the men behind it will be one part of the answer. Then an examination of the history of Dubai, and the previous policies of its rulers will help to explain how Dubai came to this position.

But what will be most interesting of all will be to see where Dubai Inc. gets to in the future, and to watch the vision of Sheikh Mohammed turning into a reality. By 2010 Dubai will be an ultra-modern trading, tourism, finance and services hub for the Middle East and a much larger city.

Wish you a very happy Diwali

Diwali – an Indian festival celebrated by all, without any difference between states, castes, color and wealth symbolizes the win of good over sin . On th occassion of Diwali, I wish you and all the near and dear ones, a very happy future filled with only good things.  I do remember wishing many a very happy diwali last year. If someone asks me what is that improved in my life during the last one year, apart from some materialistic stuff, I dont have anything much to boast. Diwali gives us an apportunity to take stock of the the good and evil within us and around us – thus gives an opportunity for meaningful and sustaining decision making for progress. Let us continue our struggle to better ourselves as well as those around us, with more vigour. As per systems thinking, when we ourselves improve further spiritually, physically and intellectually, we create that positive spiral – which will equip us to achieve goals both personal and professional – as a natural extension of the systematic and consistent array of the positives.

God bless you

Abrachan  

A useful mail from friend Roy

Hi Aby, Enclosed is a standard mail that I have compiled for an into into the open source world.  There’s too much to talk on this and hence I have compiled this information for a quick brief. We can have a talk session if required, with a bit of hands on. Open source does not necessarily mean free. You pay for the services. This isbetter than paying for a product not using all the features after having paid for it.

Open Source Info: Basic Information and Concepts: http://www.opensource.org/

Repository of software: http://sourceforge.net

Licensing: http://www.opensource.org/licenses/

Open Source Products: Some of the best products from the open world: Web Server: http://www.apache.org/ Database: http://www.mysql.com/

Browser: http://www.mozilla.com/

Scripting Language: http://www.php.net/

Programming language: http://python.org/ http://www.perl.com

 Messaging and Collaboration: http://www.zimbra.com

PHP Editor: http://www.pspad.com

 Operating system: http://www.ubuntu.com/

 FTP: http://filezilla.sourceforge.net/

 Asset Inventory: http://ocsinventory.sourceforge.net/

Task management (Helpdesk): http://www.oneorzero.com/

 CRM: http://www.vtiger.com/index.php

PHP Editor : http://www.pspad.com

MYSQL Manager : http://www.navicat.com  or http://webyog.com/en/

Forums: http://www.simplemachines.org/ 

PDF Converter : http://www.cutepdf.com

Apache+PHP+MYSQL – http://www.apachefriends.org/en/xampp.html

For Software developers: http://winmerge.org/

Mind mapping tool: http://freemind.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Main_Page

 Wiki: http://twiki.org/

Roy Joseph +971506595674 Dubai

Meaning of development?

What is development?. BAngalore is developing ! Kerala is developing !  Dubai is developing !  – what does development mean?

Yesterday after dinner, I was smoking a cigarette outside a restaurant at Dubai. There was another young gentleman standing next to me, smoking.  We introduced each other, and he was asking me whether I know any Bachelor acommodation available at Dubai. Slowly he explained  the situation in which he is. He is an engineer with around 10 years experience, working in the middle east for the past 10 years. Since the cost of living is increasing so steeply here, he had no other go, but to pack his family to Bangalore. From his words and body language, it was very clear that he misses his family too much. He was on the verge of crying. He was terribly home sick and he was asking me for advise !

I was in a similar situation 15 years back, when I was working at Muscat and was away from family. At that time, I could make a decision, may be a very bold one, to go back to India. When I landed in India, I did not even have a job. I floated around for 3 months without a job. To my surprise, I got a job in India, with almost the same pay as I was fetching at Muscat. It was a big decision and fortunately it turned out well.

I think if one can do a honest cost benefit analysis, of being in a foreign country, away from all the dear and near ones, and the kind of opportunities one’s own country offers, the decision making can be easier.  This is the story from Dubai. What about Bangalore and Kerala. Will they learn anything from others experiences !  In one of my earlier posts, I  did write about the developments in my village Varapuzha and at the same time the atmospheric pollution and the noise pollution is one of the highest. It can even surpass Bangalore and Dubai…  Let us target for meaningful development than blind development.

ISO, CMM as a by product of TQM

Recently I was sitting infront of the CEO of a company, who wanted to outsource his process definition work. I asked about the existence of any documented processes – and he showed me a complete set of a quality management system which is already shelved along with the previous CEO change. Now they want to start from scratch again. Again we were venturing into another set of QMS. What is the guarantee that the fate this one will not be different from the earlier one. How can we expect a different result, when we follow the same steps of definition and imlementation.

The right approach would be to start with a TQM movement, in a limited scope and then scaliong it up to the organizational level. A by the people – for the people approach. It is the cultural change that takes time, so it has to be triggered at the earliest. Once you adopt this strategy, then certifications can happen as a by product of the TQM initiative. It should not be TQM through certifications. This may sound difficult and time consuming and is not the case with a committed senior management, who has the required conviction.

Comparing PRINCE2 & PMBOK – 1

About PRINCE2 

PRINCE2 stands for Projects in Controlled Environments is one of the structured methods for project management. , first established in 1989 by CCTA (the central computer and telecommunications agency. PRINCE2 was launched in 1996 in response to the user requirements for improved guidance on project management on all projects, not just information systems. PRINCE2 is a standard for project management used by the U.K government and is widely recognized and used in the private sector, both in the U.K and internationally.

The PRINCE2 certification is a five day program, essay type. On the third day of the program, the PRINCE2 foundation exam is conducted. Whoever passes the foundation exam can take the Practitioner’s exam on the fifth day. To pass the exam, one need to understand the PRINCE2 standard, as well as need to have project management experience. It is an open book exam.

About PMBOK

PMBOK – stands for the Project Management Body of Knowledge is published to identify that subset of the project management body of knowledge, that is generally recognized as good practices. It gives a general overview as opposed to an exhaustive description. Dood practice does not mean that the knowledge described should always be applied uniformly in all projects. The project team is responsible for determining what is appropriate for any given project. 

If PRINCE2 is popular in Europe, PMBOK is popular in the U.S and the rest of the world. PMBOK is developed by the PMI (Project management institute), which is a non profit organization, which makes and spend lot of money, with head quarters in the U.S and chapters spread across the globe.

PMI claims that PMBOK is the defacto standard for project management, where as the U.K government claims that PRINCE2 is the defacto standard for project management. In my view PRINCE2 is more prescriptive. It provides a step by step, framework with an implementation focus to project management framework. PMBOK, as rightly claimed by the PMI, is a collection of best practices, which the project team can choose from, based on their project needs.

The PMP examination is based on PMBOK and is a four hour objective type online test, conducted at the prometric centers. To pass the exam, one need to have a fair understanding of the good practices given in the PMBOK and hands on project management experience.

The bottom line

If your projects are more predictive in nature and if you are addressing clients from Europe, then it is better to understand the PRINCE2 standard. If you are dealing with clients in US and the rest of the world (exclusing Europe), stick on with PMBOK. There are lot of material available on PMBOK on the internet and that is not the case with PRINCE2 as it is closely controlled by the U.K Government.

If your projects are more adaptive in nature, for heavens sake, do not follow any of these blindly. It is better to embrace agile project management.

Since I have studied all these three models PRINCE2, PMBOK and Agile extensively I am thinking of coming out with a series of postings comparing these models, try to throw some light on what really matters. Being from India, which does I.T business with bot U.S and U.K, Iam not biased to any of these models. Here I would like to go by the PMOBK “Do whatever is required for the success of your project”.  In the agile circles, I see lot of comments against the PMI and PMBOK and I see less such comments on PRINCE2. May be sheer ignorance (the control attitude of the U.K government, helps here).

Note

All postings here are just my views.

Power of technology and it’s impact on life style

Right now, I am sitting at the verandah of a small travel agency, at a small city called
Coimbatore, which is in Southern India. The very fact that I am able to connect to the internet  for just Rs.20 / day  (approximately half a dollar for 24 hours at  216 kbps) by itself  is a great achievement for my country India. I am able to connect to the net through my mobile phone,  from anywhere. This part of the world boasts about the largest penetration of mobile phones in the world , and most of these phones are used by common folks. One typical example – fishermen use mobile phones to auction their catch of the day, while still at the sea. This helps them to go directly to the highest bidder. The key advantages are;  time saved, fuel saved and the best price. Mobile phones in India has become so common that every house hold can boast of at least one phone.

After six  hours of writing the  paragraph above, right now, I am at my village Varapuzha, again connected to the internet through the wireless connection of  Tata Indicom. You should remember that, this is still a panchayath (a typical village). Living in this house, I am one of the privileged one to witness the coming of  electricity to my house / village for the first time. At that time I was hardly 9 years old. Then I witnessed the TV’s arrival. Now I am witnessing the Internet’s arrival. I am awaiting the broadband, which is a great leveler. I am sure that it is not far away. It is just 5 miles away.

Is this the true India, Gandhiji envisaged, by the development of villages?. I think yes, technology and a great level play ground created by the internet will bring in the change. The next great divide will be between the knowledeable and the illiterate.

And sitting in this village varapuzha, we developed PMPdistilled web site, which has more than 1000 subscribed users world wide. We very well understand that a user base of 1000 is not that high, but then that is the tipping point.