Tuesday, June 30, 2015

#PMdistilled - 80-20 principle

Eighty percentage of the world's wealth is with twenty percentage of the people. This holds good for so many other things like population, oil, marketing, production, inventory management etc. If we apply that to pmbok, 80 percentage of the project management benefits come from 20 percentage of the good practices. Another very useful inference is; in pmbok 20 percentage of the concepts gets repeated in 80 percentage of the processes.

A sample list of this 20% of these concepts could read like;

Enterprise environmental factors
Organizational process assets
Expert judgment
Project documents updates
Change requests
Project stakeholders
Project scope statement

List is incomplete.

If one can master this 20% of the concepts, then the task of understanding pmbok becomes easier.

#PMdistilled - Cost Of Quality COQ

Sounds to me like a very old concept, I got introduced to a couple of decades back, and was coined by the great quality thought leader Philip Crosby much earlier than that. His books 'quality without tears' and 'quality is free' are best sellers and I have them both in my personal library. Like everything great, his concepts are also very simple and straight forward. Cost of quality COQ = price of conformance POC + price of non conformance PONC. The cost associated with the proactive measures we take to prevent problems from happening is price of conformance. Planning, training, process definition, staffing etc are examples for price of conformance. The cost associated with the reactive measures we take to manage a problem which has already happened falls into this category. Penalties paid, customer complaints, defective products etc falls into this category. When we invest in POC, the PONC will come down and the savings must be higher than the PONC saved  so that POC can be justified.

Now I am flying to Hyderabad from Kochi. What are the prices I pay for conformance. I need to book the ticket in advance. I must reserve the taxi in advance. I must get ready on time. I did all those and reached the airport two hours before the flight time. I reached till the check in counter of spice jet and my name is not in the list. I called the person who booked the tickets for me. He said the booking is on Indigo flight which is after four hours from now. What is the non conformance?. I did not verify my ticket correctly. It was buried in a heap of related emails. What is the price of this non conformance?. A cool four hours wait at the airport.
Remember COQ = POC + PONC

#Pmdistilled - Organizational process assets

Organizational process assets refers to the procedures, guidelines, tools, templates, historical data, proprietary knowledge, capability baselines, reusable components etc of the project stakeholders which can be used / leverage for the project. Careful consideration of these will have a major impact on project costing, planning and execution. Organizational process assets and Enterprise environmental factors gets repeated either as an input or as an output for most of the processes of PMBOK.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Chameleon effect

Mimicking others behaviour, that is what is written in Wikipedia for ‘chameleon effect’. During one of my agile workshops we were discussing about different cultures, and one of the participants who represented young India, asked me this fully loaded question, ‘Aby, when I travel to another country, or when I have to deal with customers from foreign lands, my organisation teaches me their culture and language. As per my country’s culture, guest is God. No body is teaching them this. Is it because we do not take pride in our own culture?’. ‘Aby, you do not speak neither British English nor American English’, that was a feedback for me after another scrum workshop. How can I speak British or American English. My parents are from India. I have never travelled to these countries yet, forget about living there for longer time. I feel at home, at home. How can a person like this speak English like them. In India, every state has a separate language. I am yet to see any of my foreign friends speaking even one sentence of Hindi fluently. Very often we waste our lives by trying to be somebody else. Recently my nephew who spent more than a decade in a foreign land told me that the citizens of that country respects him more when he lives like an Indian, following the Indian values and culture. If one keeps changing colours frequently trying to impress others, what will be the plight of that person after a while?. You are unique. Be proud of it. Understand other’s culture for the purpose of not offending anybody knowingly, but not to become like them. Even if you try, you will fail miserably. Self respect is a prelude to mutual respect. My friend Krishnakumar is on an American tour, and hopefully he will come back as Krishnakumar, not as Krish 

Here is the chameleon I photographed with my lumix fz200. Access to a camera always help. We do not know when an opportunity will strike. Be ready always, that is the mantra. Hope you will like this one :-)

Saturday, June 27, 2015

#PMdiatilled - Enterprise environmental factors

Enterprise environmental factors. This terminology is repeated in almost all processes. That means, it is repeated in atleast forty processes. This refers to anything from the project environment that can affect the project outcomes either positively or negatively. Example;
Labour laws
Political climate
Manpower availability
Material availability
Religious beliefs
National holidays
Law of the country
Competitor activity
Before starting a project one has to understand these factors to manage the risks both positive and negative.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Benefits of saying 'No'

In the year 2000, I prepared for a presentation for the senior management of an organisation on information strategy planning. In order to impress the audience, I stuffed the presentation with ‘cut and paste’ jargons which even me, the presenter did not understand well. It was the last hurdle, before signing a big contract and the audience included the senior most stakeholders from the customer’s side. I started the presentation well, could manage most of the questions from the audience, and when everything was going as per the script, i walked backward and hit the podium, and it fell down with a big noise, along with my self confidence. After that I could not utter a single word, and the rest of the presentation looked totally alien to me, under pressure. We lost the mega order because of me. That was a great and the most expensive lesson I learned ever in my life, ‘Never present anything which You have not experienced either positively or negatively’, and that great lesson helped me to sail through the corporate consulting world, in a successful manner during the past decade.
Temptations are the acid test of your convictions. Yesterday I had a meeting with a multi national customer, who wants me to teach them project risk management and project financing. It is very tempting to say ‘Yes’ to this assignment. Even if I know these concepts, I have not practised them extensively. The financial package is tempting, so is the temptation to prepare another ‘cut and paste’ presentation. Just manage one more show, thats it. If I say ‘Yes’ to it, I may be able to manage it, and at the same time I will never get a standing ovation from the audience at the end of the show. I do not want to start an assignment knowing that I will not be able to do well. So, I am saying ‘NO’ to it, and the benefits of that ‘NO’ are;
1) I know that I have a reputation to loose in the industry, and the risk of loosing that reputation is managed.
2) I will not be cheating myself by pretending enthusiasm about the concepts, I am not that enthusiastic.
3) Every failure pushes me into a bout of professional depression, and I take almost a month to get out it. Avoid it proactively.
4) That client may come back to me with another assignment in the area of my current strengths. A failure can shut the doors to that client forever.
5) It takes integrity for not repeating the mistakes..and I feel good about it.
6) My business partner feels bad about the lost business. He would have felt worser with a failed assignment.
7) I am walking my talk by advocating the power of failing fast, than failing at the last moment.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Work and play using Scrum

Code of conduct for managers

As a manager, my purpose is to serve the greater good by bringing people and resources together to create value that no single individual can build alone. Therefore, I will seek a course that enhances the value my enterprise can create for society over the long term. I recognize my decisions can have far reaching consequences that affect the well being of individuals inside and outside my enterprise, today and in the future. As a I reconcile the interests of different constituencies, I will face difficult choices.

Therefore I promise:

  • I will act with utmost integrity and pursue my work in an ethical manner.
  • I will safeguard the interests of my shareholders, co-workers, customers, and the society in which we operate.
  • I will manage my enterprise in good faith, guarding against decisions and behavior that advance my own narrow ambitions but harm the enterprise and the societies it serves.
  • I will understand and uphold, both in letter and in spirit, the laws and contracts governing my own conduct and that of my enterprise.
  • I will take responsibility for my actions, and I will represent the performance and risks of my enterprise accurately and honestly.
  • I will develop both myself and other managers under my supervision so that the profession continues to grow and contribute to the well being of society.
  • I will strive to create sustainable economic, social, and environmental prosperity worldwide.
  • I will be accountable to my peers and they will be accountable to me for living by this oath.
This oath I make freely, and upon my honor.

Courtesy : together magazine

Monday, June 22, 2015

A story about story points

The traditionalists want to stone me, when I say 'all estimates are wrong'. I face those stones with conviction, because in the project management world, no project got over within the initially estimated time, cost and scope. Most of the leading project management software packages institutionalized this by providing the multiple baseline feature :-). Under these premises, when the agile enthusiast within me puts his feet down and say with conviction that 'all estimates are wrong, so do not strive for too much accuracy while estimating the features', I expect you to listen to understand. 
In the agile world, 'Story' is the description of the feature to be done, and the weight given to it based on the work involved to implement it is known as 'story point'. Higher the number, higher the work involved. In order to simplify this process we use the fibonacci series of 0, 1, 2,3,5, 8, 13. Since there is a gap between the numbers, it becomes easier to do the classification than using a continuous series like 0, 1, 2, 3, 4,5, 6, 7, 8….. We are looking for patterns not for accuracy. Somewhere in the net, someone has written about 'T' shirt sizing into small, medium, large. I came across another analogy of making fruit salad. To make fruit salad, you estimated 10 apples and 10 oranges. You are not worried about big oranges or small oranges. The shop had 20 apples and 5 oranges and two jack fruits. You are sure that you cannot replace an orange with a jack fruit. So, you bought 15 apples and 5 oranges. So, we must know whether the feature under consideration is an apple, orange or jack fruit. That is the kind of accuracy we are looking at. 
In the diagram below let us assume that each shape is a feature to be developed and we have given them a number based on the fibonacci series, the smallest of the lot getting  1. That means each feature under consideration gets a weight based on the amount of work involved to accomplish it. A small yet complex component will get a higher weight. Similarly a very large, yet simple feature may get the same weight, and sometimes even lesser. So, it is safer to say that the weight is given based on the amount of work involved in completing the feature. 
Let us assume that the diagram above contains features 'A'  to 'K'. ‘A’ is the smallest, so I gave it a 1. ‘B’ is the next bigger one. Is it double the size of ‘a’, no, so I gave it 1. ‘C’ and ‘D’ are bigger than a and b and are almost double the size of  a and b, so I gave them a weigh of 2. E and F are bigger than c and d so I gave them 3…likewise based on analogy I gave weigh for all features under consideration. Here we are not looking for too much accuracy. We are looking for patterns. It is as simple as grouping the features based on the work involved to accomplish them. For ease, we use fibonacci series for the grouping.
How the estimation is done in real life by playing poker will be explained in my next post.  Hope this post brings in some more clarity about story points which is the most misunderstood in agile circles because they are very simple. At least I took lot of time to understand it, because I was expecting something very profound under the term 'Story point'. 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

I play frisbee even when I do not want to. and I am happy ..Why?

I am neither a great fan nor player of frisbee, yet I play frisbee these days with Theo my Dog. The word 'dog' is a kind of understatement, because I like him very much, and we learn from each other. He learned to play frisbee from me, and now it is time for him to teach me the power of commitment. The first thing he wants in the morning is playing frisbee. If I do not play with him, he does not allow me to even move. It does not matter whether it is a rainy or sunny day. That is how he wants to start his day. He runs around me with the frisbee as if he wants to tempt me into it, sometimes he sits on my feet with the frisbee without letting me to walk, and at times he scares me as if he is going to bite me, if I do not play with him and I give up again and again and have lot of fun. Yes, I am his master and boss, and he motivates me. Motivation is not a one way traffic. We can motivate ourselves, and others (includes everyone around us, without any discrimination of age, position, nature, species, strengths, weaknesses).

A photo posted by @abrachan on

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The #selforganizing lessons from #cycling

Me, and Sanesh have been cycling together for a while now, and I have some very valuable lessons of self organizing from our cycling jaunts. 

We are not bound by any rigid rules, that is the rule#1, else it can become a kind of a duty, and become another imposed / allocated task, taking away all the fun of work volunteering. 

We have some common interests other than, and very often larger than cycling itself. Reasons which are well beyond cycling itself. These are related to physical, social and spiritual well being. These reasons, which are larger than cycling, drives us forward. Cycling by itself, is sometimes very monotonous and meaningless. It is nothing more than  going from point A, to point B. The social and the spiritual aspects act as a propellant for continuity. Every day, we take a small break for meditation and prayer in the open, to be precise at the culvert. We love this place. Believe me, there is no other better place than the open space for meditation and prayer. Sometimes we feel that we cycle for these divine moments only. 

We got lot of friends from cycling and photography trips, and most of them do not cycle or photograph. They are the common people we meet regularly on the way. When one of us do not turn up, they inquire about the person absent. That motivates us, and gives us tremendous energy and commitment to continue. It is not peer pressure. It is a kind of social pressure of meeting the expectations of others about you. 

Many times both of us agree to go on cycling the next day morning, and sometimes, one of us do not turn up. Very often the culprit is me. We tend to give explanation for the absenteeism, and the other person just listen without any questions, creating an impression of 'I am not interested. Due to some reason you did not turn up. That is perfectly fine.' . This keeps the guilt element out of our transactions.  Open communication without any inhibitions or complexes is very important to us, to enjoy the fun of cycling.

When one of us gets demotivated, lazy, carried away by other priorities and do not turn up for a while, that is when the other shows real leadership, by continuing the cycling, and explaining about the trips and about the common friends who inquired about the person who is absent. This happens in tandem. Sometimes I play the leadership role, and sometimes it is my friend, who is a real leader. 

Some days, my friend sets the speed of cycling, and on some other day, it is me. This just happens, and nothing is planned. 

On a narrow road, when the bus comes from the opposite side, due to space constraint, we have to fall into a line very quickly to give side to the bus. For this, one of us have to slow down or increase speed very quickly. And that happens perfectly. Both could have increased the speed, and both could have decreased the speed as well, and that never happens. One of us decides to increase the speed or decrease the speed, and the other person does the entirely opposite. There were situations when I increased my speed, and due to lack of balance applied the brakes suddenly (change of mind), forcing the person following me to apply brakes all of a sudden, which is risky.

We are learning continuously. We want to add more value to our cycling time, today we were busy brainstorming while cycling about all those stuff, we can do along with cycling, which will have a positive impact on society or at least some other people. It is nice to do brainstorming while cycling. definitely it is much more rewarding than brainstorming within the four walls.

Will continue as and when I have some more lessons to share from cycling. 

#rain #cycling #monsoon #kerala2dolist #greaterkochi

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The feedback on the Agile talk at Infopark Kochi

I am really happy to share the feedback received on the 4 hour talk on 'Agile project management using Scrum' at Infopark, Kochi. A bog thank you to all who participated in the event and found time to provide us with feedback. This will definitely help us to improve further. I am looking forward to more opportunities like this to talk about agile using scrum.

Do you have clarity on the topics discussed?

I am absolutely clear433.3%
I am clear, but there are some grey areas650%
I do not have clarity18.3%
I am confused00%

Was the presenter knowledgeable about the subject presented?

Excellent hands on knowledge1083.3%
Good hands on knowledge216.7%
Some knowledge00%
Lacks knowledge00%

Was the topic of the presentation relevant to your work?

Very much relevant866.7%
Partially relevant325%
May be relevant18.3%
I do not see any relevance00%

Did you get value out of this session?

Excellent value. Can implement the concepts325%
Good value975%
Some value00%
No value00%

Will you be interested to attend a detailed session on the same topic, leading to certification?


Will you recommend this program to your friends and contacts?


The 7 habits reordered for the project manager

Begin with the end in mind
Be proactive
Put first things first
Think win win
Seek first to understand than to be understood
Sharpen the saw

Monday, June 15, 2015

#pmdistilled - the pmbok version change

Pmbok new version is in the horizon and will be released in Nov 2015. What is the impact of this on the PMP aspirant?. I got my pmp when the pmbok version was 2.0. Subsequently I saw 3!version changes. Some of them were cosmetic and at the same time I saw the welcoming high impact change by way of adding 'stakeholder management' knowledge area which is very relevant for the present day project trends of outsourcing, off shoring, in sourcing, distributed development etc, where one has to deal with a wider range of stakeholder spectrum. Knowledge areas have changed across versions. Surprisingly the lowest level components of inputs, tools, techniques, outputs, artifacts have not changed much. That trend make us believe that the forward compatibility trend will continue. Even if one prepares with the present version, the impact of version change will not be that great.


If the schedule performance index is less than one,  and if the cost performance index is greater than one then we can crash the tasks on the critical path to recover. If the cost performance index is also less than one, then what can be done?. Look at the flexibility matrix. If the flexibility matrix states that cost is flexible, still we can crash, else the options are only fast tracking or scope reduction. If you understand this then your knowledge of predictive project amanagement is good.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Enjoy the beauty on the way to Mount Everest

Suddenly I see a welcoming change in the attitude of the PMP aspirants of Bangalore. While PMP certification remains as a target to impress others, they want to get convinced about the applicability of the PMBOK good practices at the work place. That is a very welcoming change. It is more like enjoy the scenery while trekking mount everest. If the target is only PMP certification just to impress others, then every page of PMBOK will seem like a hurdle on the way. The moment one start looking at the concepts from a practitioners view point then the wealth of information become interesting and invaluable.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Here is something I wrote 10 years back, about my PMP certification journey. Fun to read again.

PMP journey - experience sharing
When I look back at how I prepared for this exam , I see a logical sequence (life cycle) of how things happened during the whole exercise and it can be best explained like ;
1) The initial interest / curiosity 
I do not exactly recollect how this happened. It was easily almost one year back. I always had this feeling within me that , even if I am well experienced in project management , something was lacking in me , when it comes to practicing / preaching project management  with confidence. Since my project management knowledge was not based on any standards , there was no common baseline for me for decision making , resulting in inconsistent decisions at times.  This triggered me to become a PMI member and then to understand the PMBOK, PMCD, OPM3 etc. The PM journal and the PM magazines were great resources , with lots of  new concepts and analysis. During this phase , I got interested  in PMPs and wanted to become one.  
My expectations at this time by going in for PMP at this stage were ;
- An endorsement for my PM capabilities from a reputed institute with good value
- Better networking with other PMPs
- Become a trainer in project management
2) The commit phase
Since it was an important but not urgent goal , the learning was happening at a snails pace. Then one fine day , I decided to take a plunge into this initiative by deciding to go for the training to gain the required PDUs.  The training program  did not come in cheap. This was the point of no return and commitment.
3) Disillusionment phase
Since I had  so many years of project management experience ,  initially it was difficult to come to terms with the PMBOK, because I have been doing things differently , which was also giving me good results. This led to frustration and led to lack of interest in the whole exercise.  The funniest thing was , I started scoring lesser marks in the practice tests , after  starting the preparations , than when I answered the questions based on my own logic and experience. This was mainly due to trying to answer correctly , than basing my answers on my experience and the PMBOK way of seeing things. Adding to this , the questions I tried to answer were not of good quality and lacked semblance to the real PMP test questions. Most of the questions were like , what is the missing input / out put kind of , where as in real PMP test , almost all the questions were scenario based questions. This coupled with pressure from  my job took me to the verge of  giving up.  This cycles of  frustrations continued until I mastered the PMBOK way of seeing things.
4) Re commit phase
By this time I had invested lot of time and money on this. More than that , by this time most of my colleagues knew about this initiative of mine. People around me used to ask me the status very often. Another great influence was the growth of my yahoo group  Consult me from 1 to 500+ memberships. This group was primarily aimed at supporting the PM and SQA professionals. As part of my preparations , I started  posting questions here , which was a great way to learn. Some where from these discussion groups , I heard about Rita and her training programs.  I purchased  PMP preparation book of hers , which really helped me. It was just focusing on the PMP exam. From the exam point of view it was excellent but from the general project management perspective it was not  that great and it was not cheap. When I purchased it I had to pay $120 for that book and a CD which contained hardly 25 questions.  At this stage I was fortunate to get access to 15 video cassettes on project management by Harold Kerzner. Most of them were really helpful.
Still the frustration levels were at times high. For me it was easy to deal with procurement management , scope and time management. Even if others rated these as the most difficult , these were easy for them. If you can just understand the concepts and formulae , the answering was easy. But I found  risk management , human resource management and professional responsibility very difficult. One main reason for this was that , these were the last chapters in the books I referred and by the time you reach there , you are in a hurry to finish of the book , hence lacked concentration.
5) Mastering the art of answering
In most of the questions , there can be multiple answers , which will  seem to be almost correct.  In these scenarios , in order to zero in on the right answer ,  the thinking pattern given below helped me. No body proposed this pattern to me , but after answering lot of questions and reading the material several times ,  this thought pattern emerged  and found it very useful.
Once we get a question  pass it through the following filter questions :-
1) Which are the wrong answers ?  - eliminate them
2) Which is the first  next  thing I will do as a project manager? If 'yes' that can be the most probable answer
3) By implementing the answer selected , will I look biased in front of the  project stake holders?  if 'yes' that is not the right answer
4) If the question has anything to do with human resources - Will  the answer selected result in the improvement of the individual? If the answer is 'Yes' , that is the probable answer. If it is going to harm the team member in any way , that is not the probable answer.
5) If the question is pertaining to earned value ,  while computing the spi and cpi , EV is the numerator. while computing the schedule variance always  'EV' comes first; for spi and cpi a value < 1 is bad  and the selected answer should result in the improvement of the schedule or cost depending on the spi or cpi depending on whichever is lesser than zero.
if spi < 0 ,  the right choice should result in reducing the schedule slippage
if cpi <0 , the right choice should result in reducing the cost variance
6) Does the selected answer , in any way violate the ethics , integrity of the project manager ,  law of the country , favor any one in an unethical manner , against the interest of the organization for which you work , in any way detrimental to the project's success. then that is not the right answer.
7) If you are answering anything on 'audits' , please remember that the primary purpose of audits is to capture the best practices and to make it available to the future projects.
8) Anything pertaining to project charter either senior management or the project sponsor will be involved.
6) Questions distribution
Number of questions
Percent of questions
Initiating the project
Planning the project
Executing the project
Controlling the project
Closing the project
Professional responsibility

Do not under estimate professional responsibility. One's grasp of  this knowledge area has an impact on every other question to be answered.
7) Certification
It was an experience by itself. Four hours of answering objective type questions , in front of a flickering terminal. The test started at 12p.m , hence had to skip lunch ( I can focus better when I am hungry , and that need not be the case with all). By the time I completed 100 questions I was slightly tired and was unable to focus hard. I took a break then for 10 minutes. One good thing I did was to mark all the questions which needed some calculations , so that I could review them towards the end. This really helped me to complete all the questions and attack these with lesser anxiety. When I was half way into the test , I thought I am going to fail , but towards the end , the questions seemed to be  easier. When I completed all the 200 hundred questions ,  my confidence level was better. By the time the results flashed on the screen , I was not in a position to read it. The supervisor in the room read it out for me as 'PASS'.
8) Post certification
I felt good about passing the exam. But the fun was in the journey. I can see a small difference in how people talk to me , when it comes to project management after me becoming a PMP. They are more into a listening mode. When my colleagues in other geographies understand that I am a PMP , they give me a special consideration and most of them I have not even met directly. And last but not the least , I have also become more wiser  and matured in my project management.
9) Lessons
1) It is not easy , so be prepared for hard work
2) If you do not have experience in project management , it will be very difficult
3) Do not try to criticize PMBOK*. Start liking it , it is also evolving . By criticizing it , one will only develop aversion
4) By just reading PMBOK* , you cannot pass the test. It should be a combination of PMBOK* application knowledge and your own project management experiences.
5) Plan for at least three cycles of end to end reading of the materials
6) Ritas book on PMP* certification was very helpful  and Harold Kerzner's was more complete and authentic
7) Do not ignore topics like  risk , professional responsibility , human resource management etc. Even if they may seem to be simple , they can be quite confusing
8) While revising , take a forward pass of the materials and then a backward pass , so that all topics will get equal attention
9) One way to prepare is by framing questions
10) It is better if  you can read the material end to end , 3 to 4 times
11) Schedule the exam , so that you will have a target date to aim for
12) Make a list of all the points you find difficult to remember / answer  in the form of bits , which you can revise within 30 minutes , prior to the exam.
13) When you get the scribbling pad , write down the formulae / critical information , which you are likely to forget
14) Be focused while answering.
15) Prepare to pass and excel. The very thought of failure can make you fail.  Have the feeling of  ' I cannot fail'
 Best Wishes
Abrachan   Pudussery PMP

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Joy of commitment to our work

One of the key values to be successful at project management, especially agile is mutual respect. Team comprises of people with various cultures and styles, and we must respect the cultural and style differences. Another value is commitment, commitment to work. During my workshops, when I stress on commitment as an entry criteria, to be successful in agile projects, majority of the participants get cynical about it. When I think about the opposite of the commitment to work, I get disillusioned about the bleak future of uninspired engineers working on uninspiring projects and wasting their lives.
How can a person I with self respect go to work for the money part alone, without any commitment to work?.
How can a person with self respect, just hang around in the office to 10 to 12 hours in the office, when the salaries are worked out for just eight hours per day, and the work allocation/volunteering is for lesser than eight hours per day?
How can a manager expect the team to sit and slog it out every week end and holidays?
How can the manager try implementing agile on an evaluation mode, without any conviction to it?. What will happen to such implementations?
I always believed in the team work of individually capable, professionals with self respect and mutual respect. Not the other way. A beggar is more ethical than a person who goes to work without any commitment to work, because a beggar do not promise anything back while asking for money, where as all others promise lot of things while joining for work, and then do not deliver.
There is tremendous joy in going to work fully committed. In ancient India, people prayed before they started work, because work was considered as sacred. You are lucky to have work today, and there is no room for error in it, because the product is the signature of your capability.
Wish you another fruitful day at work and after work. Ab.

How to speak better

Check out @USA_India_Life's Tweet: https://twitter.com/USA_India_Life/status/608921734855561216?s=09


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

It was a pleasure to scrum with these Japanese engineers

Tips for effective scrum meeting

  • Start on time, finish on time. Making others wait is a sign of lack of mutual respect. 
  • Each person gets 2 minutes to update the status of his work to the rest of the team (what did I do yesterday, what am I doing today anx what are the issues I am facing.
  • Do not convert it into an issue resolution meeting, then the meeting will extend beyond the agreed upon time.
  • Very often the team members will talk to the senior most person in the group. In that case the listener must deliberately cut the eye contact with that person so that she will be forced to talk to the rest of the team.
  • For issue resolution have separate meetings. Do not make it part of the daily scrum. 
  • In case you are clubbing the scrum with the issue resolution meeting, formally divide the meeting into two and at the same time ensure that the scrum follows its rules.
  • Please remember that going for a meeting late or skipping an agreed upon meeting are not positive indicators of mutual respect.
  • If somebody violates the meeting norms anyone in the team can highlight it so that the correction happens then and there itself.
  • Every one must stand up during the stand up meeting.
  • Switch off mobiles
  • When a person talks, actively listen. The entire team is responsible for the success of scrum. 
  • Meeting must not take more than twenty minutes. Each team member gets 2 minutes. 
  • Stand up in a circle. This will not create any hierarchy. 
  • Donot stand with the boss on one side and others on the other side.  This creates a divide. Always stand in a circle.
  • Who will start the meeting?. The person standing on the right side or left side of the scrum master
  • Whenever someone requests for help please note it down. If you have the solution, after the meeting go to that person and offer the solution you have. 
  • Always have the scrum meeting near the tracking board, so that referencing the tracking board become easier. 
  • Conclude the meeting by putting your hands together for the progress made. Celebrate even small achievements.

Trust this helps.

Which program management certification to pursue?

Which program management certification to pursue?. I got this question from one of my contacts. As of now we do not have many options to choose from. We just have a couple of them. The PgMP from PMI, USA and MSP (Managing successful programs)  by APMG International . Both helps to elevate the outlook from a project perspective to Business strategy, project portfolio, shift from time, cost and scope to benefits, and the practical steps to manage programs. The knowledge these two programs impart is invaluable when one enters the program management spectrum from a project manager's role. 

Both PgMP, and MSP are good and unfortunately / fortunately there is a one to one mapping of the good practices among these bodies of knowledge. Even the cost of ownership of the credential is by and large equal, MSP being slightly more expensive. If I compare products from PMI and APMG, the best analogy would be Android Vs IOS. One is very open, where as the other one is very closed, and both serves the same purpose. I am a chronic Android user, and still uses an ipad. PMIs products are more open hence have wider acceptance / penetration. In India the PMP credential holders is much more than the PRINCE2 credential holders. I have both these credentials and I must say that I got zero returns from PRINCE2 where as PMP gave me lot of value and returns. 

India being the outsourcing hub of the world, one must look at the client base he/she is going to serve, before investing lot of money on credentials. While the PMI's offerings have acceptance world over, the APMG offerings are confined to the European Union. The other side of the coin is the fact that the number of PMI credential holders are many, where as the APMG credential holders number is smaller. Being part of a larger community Vs smaller community has its own advantages and disadvantages. 

Having said all these. If I have to choose, I will go with PgMP.