$31.5 billion lost by firms in knowledge lost – PM network

Not a small number. It speaks volumes by itself. Every other software company is doing the lessons learned exercise atleast at the end of the project, if not at the end of every phase. Thanks to CMM and ISO. The awareness of these are very strong, I mean root cause analysis and corrective actions. When I ask questions alike;

  1. What is the one problem you elimated from this company forever?
  2. What are the requirements management related lessons learned by the organization during the past 5 years?
  3. What are the design related lessons learned during the past 5 years?
  4. Can I see all these, category wise at the press of a button?
  5. Do you refer back to these, while planning for the next phase / project?
  6. Are these part of the induction programs?

none have a satisfactory answer.

It is more like a person who wants to improve and goes to the guruji for advice. He leaves with a lighter heart and with firm resolution to improve. After a period of time, he comes back again, and repeats the same old story. After some time he gets ashamed to meet the same Guruji again and goes to a new Guru.

In a way organizations are like this. They want to improve and excel, and at the same time do not have the conviction on the ROI from these. Hence they end up adopting models after models from consultants after consultants, without much of a transformation. The story repeats again and again, with different actors.

Before venturing into any initiative, understand the need and have a business case which is in alignment with the organization’s growth/business strategy. Have only limited initiatives but focus on them with whole might.


Should we have smokers as team members?

Ofcourse, we are tyalking about smokers working in non-smoking zones, where majority of the team members are non smokers. Lt us consider the case of a smoker, who smokes around 10 cigarettes / day during the working hours. For every cigarette he/she will have to get out of office and consumes atleast 1- – 15 minutes per day/ cigarette. This amounts to arroxibately 2 hours / day (10 cigarettes x 15 minutes / cig) – which is approximately 2 hours / day. This amounts to the person spending one day in smoking, every 5 day weeks. That is approximately one week spent in smoking every month. Look at the loss of productivity !  The counter arguments to this can be – when I smoke I am thinking!  or When I am smoking we are discussing (in this case there is one more person with you, since you are discussing, hence double up the number).

And If you are the boss, your poor team members will be forced to be passive smokers, which is even more harmful!.


Build teams around smokers  or Build teams sround non-smokers – Dont mix up !

Today is a blog holiday !

I want to write something today and I am unable to write so I am writing. When I started writing I did not have anything to share and now yes, I have lots to share. What about adopting ‘prayer’ as a success strategy?. Will it work. My experience with prayer is very positive.  A couple of days before one of my web sites was down and I thought that someone hacked it. I tried my best to fix it in vain. I requested for help from all sources.

Today while travelling to work, I just said one rosary and requested for help. To my surprise, when I tried the site again, it started working!. If you think that this is a coincidence, then you are wrong:-). When my order books are empty, again I pray, and I am sure that my order books are full in a week’s time.

Still doubtful?. Try yourself !

Understanding PRINCE2 – 3 day workshop (new)


Overview of PRINCE2 – Lecture

Ø      Programs, Projects, Stages

Ø      The structure of PRINCE2

Ø      Processes & Controls

Ø      Key definitions, roles and responsibilities






2 hours


Understanding the case study

30 minutes

   Starting up a project  (SU) – Lecture  

Ø      Appointing an executive and a project manager

Ø      Designing a project management team

Ø      Appointing a project management team

Ø      Preparing a project brief

Ø      Defining project approach

Ø      Planning an initiation stage

Ø      Authorizing initiation

Ø      Planning an initiation stage 

 Exercise covering  

Ø      Executive job description

Ø      Project manager job description

Ø      Project management team structure

Ø      Team job description

Ø      Project brief

Ø      Daily log

Ø      Risk log

Ø      Project approach

Ø      Initiation stage plan  






2 hours


Directing a project  – Lecture


Ø      Authorizing initiation

Ø      Authorizing a project

Ø      Authorizing a stage or exception plan

Ø      Giving ad-hoc direction

Ø      Confirming project closure


Exercise covering


Ø      Project startup notification

Ø      Authorization to proceed / close

Ø      Stage plan or exception plan

Ø      Project board guidance

Ø      Exception plan request

Ø      New project issues

Ø      Follow on action recommendation

Ø      End project report

Ø      Post project review plan

Ø      Lessons learned report

Ø      Project closure notification

 Test  Discussion   

2 hours



Controlling a stage


Ø      Authorizing work package

Ø      Assessing progress

Ø      Capturing project issues

Ø      Examining project issues

Ø      Reviewing stage status

Ø      Reporting highlights

Ø      Taking corrective action

Ø      Escalating project issues

Ø      Receiving completed work package


Exercise covering


Ø      Work package

Ø      Stage status information

Ø      Product status account

Ø      Plan deviation

Ø      Tolerance threat

Ø      Stage end notification

Ø      Trigger for project end

Ø      Work trigger

Ø      Request for advice

Ø      Highlight report

Ø      Communication to interested parties

Ø      Exception plan request 

  Test  Discussion 

2 hours



Managing product delivery


Ø      Accepting work package

Ø      Executing a work package

Ø      Delivering a work package








2 hours



Closing a project


Ø      Decommissioning a project

Ø      Identifying follow on actions

Ø      Evaluating a project





1 hour 


Comparing PRINCE, PMBOK and Agile

1 hour


Wrapping it up

30 minutes


All the participants will receive a copy of the course slides, workbook and the key templates (hard copy).



 This program will not lead to PRINCE2 certification and the focus is entirely on understanding and practicing PRINCE2

Two extremes of the Indian Value system

Today the first page of the Khaleej times at Dubai has an article of our president Abdul Kalam. He completes his tenure as president of India (thanks to the vested interests of the politicians – Every Indian holds Abdul Kalam, very close to their hearts and considers him as the most eligible to continue as the president of India). He is going to teach at Annamali University in Tamil Nadu. For that, he approached the vice chancellor directly who was only more than happy to have him at the University. Thank you dear president, for atleast giving us a role model.

Then while in the taxi to my work place, the FM radio (Malayalam channel) was broadcasting about the press conference conducted by a murderer in Kerala who killed seven in a family. He was boasting of giving bribe to all political parties to escape from the case, and he is still outside the prison. His press conference was attended by many press reporters, who are supposed to be the protectors of the value system of the society. The politicians he accused are also not booked. They are also still free. This pints to the nexus between the criminals and the pliticians. The ordinary citizen like me, who is busy working hard for a living is at the mercy of these. Who will protect us. I feel helpless.

When Abdula KAlam was our president, I had lot of hope, now that is also vanisihing.

Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan has to be re written as JAI Corrupted politicuans, JAI Criminals !

Hearing it from the horse’s mouth – scrum implementation

Here are some kind words from one of my clients, who are implementing scrum, and are very happy with it 🙂

 All the SCRUM projects are doing very well giving us a good productivity. Thus we are planning to implement it across all the existing projects, upcoming projects and the long on going projects.


Shoba Susan Joseph

Manager- Human Resources

Zerone Consulting Private Limited

First Floor, GCDA  Complex, Journalist Road, 

Kaloor, Kochi-17, Kerala.

Ph: +91(484) 2400272, Fax: 2400278,  M: 9249400743

Web: www.zerone-consulting.com

Value of PMI’s offerings worth US$ 116 / year?

Today morning I swiped my credit card to pay the Project Management Institute US$ 119, for my next year’s membership. This I am doing for the fourth year in a row.  This makes me think about the value I am getting from PMI’s offerings, and this is the question asked by many of my project management workshop participants. Hence I presume that this post will either help or provocate some 🙂

First and foremost, let us discuss about the flagship certification program of PMI, the PMP (Project Management Professional). Till today, I have trained around 800 PMP aspirants. It will be better to analyze their motivation to go for these certifications and then to analyze what happened to them after the certifications.

New job postions demand it

These days, many of the advertisements for PM positions, asks for PMP or PRINCE2 certification as a desirable added qualification. This prompts many to go for the PMP certification. And indeed most of the successful PMP’s land up in a better job position either within their organizations or outside.

Migrating to a New country

I have come across participants with almost 15-20 years of experience, with significant project experience and knowledge attending my programs. When I asked them for their motivation to shoot for PMP certification, they responded by saying that It helps them (rather inevitable)  to get a project manager’s job in countries like USA and Canada. After becoming a PMP, they migrated. So I have to trust them 🙂

Insecurity about professional entropy

Cetain corporate cultures do not give proper emphasis on employee training. When the members of such organizations compare them with their counterparts in other geographies, where the emphasis of employee training is very high, they feel insecure and counter it by going for additional qualifications.

Getting ready for the next promotion

These are very proactive guys. They know that they have put in almost 4-5 years of service, and is time for getting into people management positions, and they dont want to fail. They attend these programs to equip them to face the challenges of project management, before becoming a full fledged project manager.

Just for the knowledge part of it

People do attend these programs, just to increase their knowledge or for getting an official endorsement for the knowledge they acquired through hands on experience.

Irrespective of their motivation to go for PMP certification, all of them have only  benefitted from it. Becuse of this fact, let us give full credit to the PMP credential from PMI. This helps individuals to equip themselves to do their project management work more professionally (there are lot of people who does excellent work without any certifications also).

The OPM3 standard

Organizational project management maturity model (OPM3) is a heavy weight framework for organizations to assess their project management capability levels and chart out an improvement path. This is heavy weight. The self assessment contains around 160 questions to be answered. That itself is disgusting. This is more tuned towards internal projects than for project companies who regularly executes projects for their clients. The whole framewok could have been compressed into PDCA – plan, Do, Check, Act at the intiation, planning, execution, monitoring and controlling and closing phases of projects, programs and portfolio management. I really doubt it’s usefulness for IT companies, than giving some more money to the consulting companies. 

The intention of this framework to link the organizational growth strategy with the project management strategy is noble, but the definition lacks user friendliness.

Other standards

PMI provides lot of other standards like standards for;

  • Program management
  • Earned value management
  • Scheduling etc

I am yet to see any real value from these products. Most of these things are covered in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), and hence become slightly redundant.

Apart from these PM Network, I just dont see much value coming out of it, as most of the content is non IT related, and I am from an IT background. These can be of great help for non IT guys.

Next year PMBOK new version will be released. This itself will give me lot of value if I am abreast with what’s up? @ PMI. This is another driver for me to swipe my card again.

Overall I see PMI delivering lot of value, especially for those budding professionals and for organizations who really want to increase their project management competency, if their job / operation demands proficiency in conventional project management.

PMP, PMI and PMBOK are the registered trade marks of PMI 

The views expressed here are mine only.

Cultural clashes

Today at 12.a.m I was sitting at the Cochin international airport, to see off my sister who is travelling to US for the first time. I reached the airport very early and got enough time to sit and relax. Soon a typical Indian (Kerala) family took the nearby seats. This family included a middle aged Dad, his daughter, a very young grand child may be around 3 years old, his wife, another old looking person, may be his brother and his son. Love and affection was overflowing among them. It gave me the impression of a very close family. The child was the center of attraction of all, and they were showering all their love, as she was going away from them in a very short span of time. They were trying to show, may be the next couple of years affection and love on the child within hailf an hour. That was the kind of intensity. It was a great pleasure to watch. At times I was feeling as if I am intruding into their privacy, so I took short walks in between, to give them absolute freedom.

Soon a fat, middle aged lady wearing a T shirt and a caprice came from somewhere with her son (around 16,17 years) and her husband. She was of a very dominating type. She made lot of noise to ensure that her presence is felt among the people there. She took this child and started talking to her in English and Malayalam (the local language). When she realized that most of the family could not handle english well, she increased her dose of English. She ingnored everyone there except the kid and the mother. She spoiled the entire atmosphere. The old man slowly got very aloof and was sitting in a corner very silently. Soon one more wannabe (trying to be American, Keralite) joined the scene, and that was the end of a wonderful family affair.

Then I saw my sister coming in. I directed to a chair slightly far away, to protect ourselves. To my suprise, before leaving she took my hands, kissed them and wept. I felt as if my earlier post “Kiss me NOW, you may not get another chance” – happening.

Have a great day !

Kiss me NOW! You may not get a second chance

Recently I attended a funeral, and many were kissing the dead body, just before burial. The persons kissing were the very near and dear ones of the dead and are very close to me. I am not very sure about the love and care this person received from the very close family, when he was alive. I am not an exception to this. I could have taken care of my dear father in a much much better way, when he was still alive. I always thought that there is still time left for that (may be bacuase we think that nothing will happen to our dear and near ones), and one fine day he is no more. This is not an exception. I see this as a common trend in modern day living, where we do not have time for each other (even for self) and one fine day we and the rest are not there.

So lets not wait to express our love to one another, becuase we may not get a second chance.

Who is the greatest?

Luke 46-48

One day the disciples were arguing about which of them was the most important. But Jesus knew their thoughts, so he took a little child and stood him by his side. Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me, welcomes the one who sent me. And listen: the one who is found to be the least among you all, is the one who is the greatest.”.

What is the meaning of ‘welcoming this little child in my name’?

A child is not egoistic, it is dependent on parents, It has 100 percent faith in the parents, it does not have a past, it loves every one, there is no evil……It is innocent…..It is fearless till it is taught of fear, It has no inhibitions, It can make mistakes without any fear and learn from them, It is energetic, enthusiastic and vibrant.

John 35

Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall never be hungry, and whoever believes in me, shall never be thirsty.

Meeting Geevarghese

Me and Geevarghese met each other after almost 16 years and we had some quality time together thinking of our old colleagues and the kind of work we did together. We were together at Premier cable company at Kerala and was really lucky to be there at that time. In those days Oracle could run only on mini computers and the number of mini computer installations were very less then. At Premier, we had two mini computers running Unix and Oracle 5. The applications were developed using Forms-3, Pro*c and RPT. We had all the terminals in a machine room. There was no concept of destops and lap tops. Even local area network was not in. We did the flow charts outside the computer room (on our desks), then went into the machine room for coding. We had a link for Cochin to the factory (nearly 50 km away). I must admire Mr.Ganesh’s (the then MIS manager) vision and dynamism. We all had great work experience there.

The team comprised of Sarin, Joseph Alappat, Bhat, Narayanan, Venkat, Pattabhiraman, Ganesh, Sathappan, Mahadevan and Geevarghese. Lost track of most of them. In case you see this, please get in touch with me.

Me and Geevarghese were talking of stuff like – the trips to the factory for PPC implementation, deveoping the sales and marketing system, the company canteen which served great food, the shuttle badminton tournaments and the cricket matches at the factory, the trade unions, some of the union leaders, the then CEO Partha sarathy etc etc….

It was a wonderful time indeed….. Miss you dear friends.

At Trivandrum Technopark

The most beautiful technoparks I have ever seen. In fact I am visiting this facility after 10 years gap, and the place is just fantastic. Not only the place, the quality of the workforce is also just excellent. Here I am training a batch of budding and brilliant project managers on the IT project management. I am just enjoying the sessions. Thank you God’s own country !. I will be here till 6th. The best way to contact me these days is either through emails or through my mobile.