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What every PM should ask before taking the project

February 11, 2013 Leave a comment


unanswered-questions-about-purpose-of-blog

Sometimes while taking a new IT project we may be so excited by a new challenge that we forget to ask some simple questions. And as the practice shows, having those questions unanswered leads to huge problems later

The easiest way is to tackle the problem is to have at least a checklist of basic questions you should ask first. Here are 3 most important ones:

  1. What are the expectations from me as a project manager? (sometimes sponsors/managers ma
    y expect that PM will do sales and presentations, etc.)
  2. What is Scope of Work (scope, milestones, deliverables, cost, stakeholders, etc.) This is quite important to understand all the details of SoW
  3. What kind of reporting and communication would be good for customers. (Very often, people just want to know what happens and having reports they can influence on the project flow and be part of the team)

If you don’t have the answers for those 3 simple questions, please find out the answers by yourself.

If you can not find the answers, you are on the right way……. to fail.

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Measure your team productivity

December 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Dream team

What is the productive team in IT ?
I believe, that if your team is productive, this means that you bring a value continuously on a high quality level.

Everyday I ask myself if our team is as productive as possible.
Maybe we are, but maybe not. Sometimes we miss deadlines, sometimes we have bugs, but we still do a good job and produce a lot of valuable features.

The best way to estimate something is to measure.
How to measure the productivity ?

Lines of code per day? – not very reliable measure (frameworks, different languages, etc.)
Story points per day? (very relative measure, which is different from team to team)
Functional points – it’s nightmare to estimate them 😦
However why not just record a time you are spending for developing a new features, fixing bugs, testing and managing activilies (in case of ordinary software development project).
OK. So after some time we have got a statistics. This is nice, you have got some measure, which is quite objective.
According to Steve McConnell, reworking defective requirements, design, and code typically consumes 40 to 50 percent of the total cost of software development.

In our case we have got:
50% development
20% bug fixing
20% testing
10% management

Based on this, I would say that our team is quite productive. Our projects are less buggy than average and we spend 70-80% of our time for delivering new functionality.

I think this is a quite simple, quick and reliable way to understand if you perform well. However it may not work for your team.
So let’s define some criteria for the project:
1. 5-7 team members
2. It’s new product development or few features for existing product (not support)

Now we see that we are quite productive. What else we can do here?

We can outline what factors are important for the productive team.

I will write about this later.

Disable Demo mode on GPS Garmin Nuvi 50 (Poor UI and nice support)

October 9, 2012 11 comments

Recently I have got a present – GPS Unit Garmin Nuvi 50. The issue was that I could not get it working . It said GPS is OFF. Googling on the message or on DEMO MODE did not helped.
I have not found the option how to disable Demo mode on UI as well.
In Ukraine there is no Garmin support 😦
So I called to US support and after 15 min of waiting on the line and 5 min talking to support I finally got it working.

So here are the steps:
1. At home screen, go to the Settings->
2. Set GPS simulator option Off
3. If the value is still ON, you will have to do the following
4. Go back to home screen
5. View Map
6. Click on Speed area (lower right hand corner)
7. On the new screen, you will see speedometer
8. Hold your finger on speedometer for 10 sec and you should see diagnostic menu… EASY HA??
9. Find demo mode option and disable DEMO MODE
10. Now you will be able to find satellites

The question to Garmin is: wouldn’t it be better to put diagnostic menu just in Settings or allow to disable Demo mode from Home screen ?
Why do you spend money on support guys ?

Categories: English, Funny Tags: ,

Correcting Ukrainian keyboard layout on Mac

December 26, 2011 2 comments

Hi there,

As an owner of a Mac, actually as a so-called “switcher” (from win to mac), I decided to write about all my Mac related findings, which sometimes drive me mad and sometimes make me very happy.

So the first story is a Ukrainian keyboard layout:

I was very surprised  when I found out that our letters І and И  were swapped.

Thankfully to this post post I figured out what I can do about that.

Here is some more information:

Mac stores keyboard layout in XML file which can be easy edited. To edit this file you should better use special tool  Ukelele

Tool is delivered with ready to use layouts, so you can easy change them and then replace existing one or add new keyboard layout.

So I opened Ukelele build in Ukrainian layout and changed  the letters І and И positions.
Also I changed colon position, so now it is similar to one you have on PC (shift+6)

If you don’t want to do that by yourself just download the files from here

  1. Extract the files to either /Users//Library/Keyboard Layouts/ or to /Library/Keyboard Layouts/ (In the first case the layout will be accessible only for you, in the latter it will be accessible for all the users.)
  2. Then go to System Preferences->Input Sources->Select “Ukrainian Fixed”

Here you go…

btw: this approach is also suitable for any other language…

What customer wants. To be close or to be well served….

November 24, 2011 3 comments

The main factor of a success of every business is ability to serve customer quickly and efficiently.
Agile methodology, which is very popular now in IT project management, says that the customer must be as close as possible to the team. That helps him to be focused on the project, support team as a subject matter expert.

However, try to imagine yourself as a customer.

  • Would you like to be bothered with a bunch of questions everyday instead of spending time with sponsors, prospect investors or working on some other important business deals? NO
  • Wouldn’t you like just to get a frequent status with information about the progress, short presentation what was done, risks and how a vendor is going to deal with them? And to interfere only if you feel it’s needed.I would like to be that customer.

I usually outsource a work if I’m not a professional in a field or I just don’t have enough time or a desire to accomplish it.
In any case I don’t want to spend much time with a vendor and I usually expect getting a wise pieces of advice.

So why do they say that it’s important to keep the customer as close as possible? Because it’s less risky for the vendor. The vendor is not required to think a lot about the a work they do, it’s not required to do a deep analysis, it’s just less pressure on the vendor. This is good. But is it really good for the customer?

No.

He must spend his time for explaining, researching, making decisions.

You as a good vendor must research a field, provide pieces of advice, make decisions which are the best for the customer’s needs, send a status to let the customer know how are you doing.

Based on my own experience, I know, that if you can save customers time on making everyday or even more important decisions, you will achieve a success in your business.

Let them feel relief because you are close and you are a professional. Don’t do this in opposite way :).

Have a fun, get PDUs easy

July 5, 2011 Leave a comment

In May 2011 I got a PMP. One month passed away. I started to use knowledge I got during the certification.
It was time to start thinking about professional development.
It has a couple of benefits:
• First of all – you grow through learning
• Secondly – you grow through sharing your experience
• Also you grow through discussing some common project management problems

PMI gives you an ability to maintain your PMP certification through your professional development.
That is why I started to plan my development taking into account PMI requirements.
To keep your certificate valid you must earn 60 PDU (professional development units) in a 3 years period.

There are two areas where you can claim PDU:
• Educational
• Giving back to the profession (maximum 45 PDU allowed)
Each area has 3 categories. So basically you can earn PDU in 6 ways:
• Taking courses from PMI’s R.E.P.
• Education
• Self-Directed Learning
• Creating New Project Management Knowledge
• Volunteer Service
• Work as a Professional in Project Management
More detailed information you can find here

Based on this information, here is my plan:
• It’s good for project manager to SPEAK AT CONFERENCES or CONDUCTS SOME INTERNAL COMPANY COURSES. That gives you 1 PDU per hour (including preparing and speaking). I usually yield 10 PDUs per conference speaking. So you need to take part in 4-5 such events in 3 years, which is not so much. It’s Creating New Project Management Knowledge category.

• It would be strange if you have a PMP and don’t work as Project Manager. So if you work as PM, you can claim 5 PDU per year. So will get up to 15 PDU for 3 years. This is Work as a Professional in Project Management category.

Now we have 45 PDUs. Only 15 PDUs left. There are two ways how to get them:

• Short and expensive but still useful: Take course from PMI R.E.P. You can earn 16 PDU at a time. Look here for more information

• Long and free but useful too: Watch 1 hour webinars on PMI. There are a lot of quite interesting webinars each week. I personally like series of Agile webinars from Sally Elatta. They usually start at 7 PM in Ukraine Time Zone. So it looks like as a good end of the day. Each hour gives you 1 PDU. Even 1 webinar in a month is enough to get 15 PDUs in a 3 year period.

Now it’s clearer to me (and I hope to the reader) how to develop yourself, have a fun and keep your certificate valid.

New Year present. HTC Sense has stopped unexpectedly on the new Android 2.2

January 2, 2011 Leave a comment

Yesterday , Jan 1st, 2011 I have decided to upgrade my HTC Wildfire from Android 2.1 to Android 2.2.
There are a lot of new cool things in 2.2. Moreover it,as they say , much more faster then v2.1.
So I decided to take that NY “present” and upgrade via automatic update.
It took me 30 min to have new 2.2 on aboard. But after that I encountered problem with HTC Sense. It could not start with message:
Sorry!
The Application HTC Sense (process com.htc.launcher) has stopped unexpectedly. Please Try Again.

So screen became stuck with loading message.
The quickest solution is to refer to this post and clean up HTC Sense data. Otherwise you have to go through all applications which were put on your desktops and uninstall them. It may help too, however I chose “data clean” up.
Then I had to organize all my desktops from the scratch…..

So upgrade cost me 2 hours… Hope it really works faster then 2.1 🙂

Categories: English, HTC Android Tags: ,