I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes. e. e. cummings

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First pmp training with pmbok5. Using earned value management to manage the training program

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Embracing the new….Started enjoying the online classes

With the ipad compatible latest version of gotomeeting, conducting online classes / meetings have become more effective and enjoyable. It is very reliable, and the ipad makes it even better. As an instructor I am enjoying it. The white board feature and the screen sharing option makes it very effective. Here is a screen shot from the online class I just completed.

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The true purpose of education is to teach a man, carry himself triumphant to a sunset

Yes, The true purpose of education is to teach a man, carry himself triumphant to the sunset. This is a beautiful quote by liberty Hyde Bailey. At the end of the day, if one misses the sunset altogether then what is the purpose of a man’s existence itself. What is the use of education then?. In India, we are known for missing our sunsets for a few dollars. We can easily spend near twelve hours at the office, even when the work is planned for eight hours. We mistake it as excellence or loyalty or commitment. We plan to celebrate life after fulfilling our targets of owning a home, buying a bike, then a car, then a bigger car, then an expensive car, then a marriage, kids, securing the kids future, after retirement……it is more like postponing sex for old age. Do not let anyone or anything rob you of your sunsets, and let all our education and brilliance help us achieve it. Enjoying every sunset with a feeling of great satisfaction and pride. Start from tomorrow. It is never too late. These days nothing can stop me from enjoying my sunsets. If our education does not help us to achieve this, that knowledge is either useless or it is not applied properly. Here is one such beautiful sunset captured by me at Bahrain after work. An incentive for managing the day’s time perfectly. Good luck to you for better time management. One can save lot of time by not stopping to throw stones at every barking dog (borrowed from a Winston Churchill quote). Be committed like a racehorse without getting distracted by the galleries and other horses, targeting the winning line, from start to finish…and the reward of the beautiful sunset is awaiting you.

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Ways of the cross..

Many used the cross to explain many things. The cross always creates quadrants. In other words it cuts the medium on which it is drawn into four squares. Stephen covey in his seven habits of highly effective people uses it to explain time management. He divides our activities into quadrants like urgent and not important, urgent and important, not urgent and not important, not urgent and important, in order to drive the point that it is the not urgent and important stuff in our lives produces the maximum benefits.

The Boston consulting groups quadrants of the product life cycle; question mark, star, cash cow and dog explains the product life cycle very effectively. This can explain the stages of human life as well. When a child is born, she is the question mark. Everyone is anxious of her future. When the child starts performing well at school, a star is born. Once employed, all of us become cash cow, followed by end of life, which is the dog state. When in dog stage, we take care of the house, when all others go out. The book crossing the chasm, uses the cross to explain product launch strategies. If my memory is right, either Kotler or Drucker used the cross to explain marketing strategies like known product to known market, known product to new market, new product to known market, new product to new markets. Then I saw Robert Kayasaki using the four quadrants to explain the ESBI concept. He says that all of us are either employees, self employed, business men or investors, or we are all of these. He states that if eighty percent of our income is coming from employment and self employment, and if only twenty percent is coming from business and investment, then we will remain as poor, and when we reverse the equation, we get richer.

I use the cross or the four quadrants to explain career planning. The skill set which make you and me employable is the cash cow. Before the cash cow become a dog or end of life, we must groom newer skill sets through the question mark and the star categories to the cash cow quadrant. This calls for lot of proactive planning and commitment from our side.

The last but not the least is the cross as demonstrated by Jesus Christ, which is explaining love thy neighbor as the sole strategy to be successful. I am fascinated by the magical power of it, and  still an apprentice in my understanding of the tremendous possibilities and the hidden power of it. When I feel that I have understood it to a level where I can explain it without diluting it, I will attempt to write about it. Wish me good luck. Have a wonderful day.

Transparency under userid and password

The three pillars of agile are transparency, inspection and adaptability. What happens to transparency and inspection when the manual tracking board is replaced by software tools?. That’s when transparency and inspection comes under userid and password. All the teams I am coaching on scrum, within India work on outsourced projects where the product owners and other key stakeholders sit in some other continent. A tool usage is inevitable in this case. Should it be at the cost of the physical tracking board at the team’s location?, that is the question. The tracking board provide lot of advantages like;

– increased peer pressure to contribute
– improved team work
– real time view of the project to the team
– pressure to complete

In order to reap better benefits from scrum my recommendation is to maintain the physical tracking board for the team to function, and then someone can transfer the data to a tool to satisfy the communication needs of other stakeholders. In an outsourced environment where everything is driven by the client, this point also must be insisted by the client for better value for money through improved productivity.

Earned value or value burn down

I am just thinking aloud. One of my assignments calls for coaching a team on how to deliver better value to the customer using agile projects. If I am scheduling high value features / themes in the early iterations then the team will be delivering maximum value early in the project and it will taper down over a period of time. Do any one out there use a value burn down chart (sounds very negative and useful) during product, release planning?. Just curious to know.