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Newsletter - Oct 2014

 
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PM Essence

ssvraghavan 
Eswari Rao, PMP

As an Investment Banking professional, Eswari has worked in-depth on Securities Market products and wishes to explore this domain to greater detail with special focus

to sub-ledger systems.

 

She has spent over 10 years working on projects pertaining to telecommunications, HR, finance amongst others.

In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering at the PMI Bangalore Chapter. Learning new aspects of product and project management is a passion. Her strengths lie in and audit management which she aims to pursue further.

Roughly how many hours per week or per month you spend on volunteering for PMI activities?

10-12 hours per week.

What motivates you to volunteer for PMI?
Interest to dwell more in the domain and the passion associated with it, has made me appreciate Project Management more and more with every passing day.

What have been the challenges for volunteering at the Chapter?
Juggling time between work and home priorities. I often try and make up during weekends. 

PMI Volunteering, Professional commitment, Personal commitment - How do you balance the three?

It's a mindset that needs to change. Everything else will fall in place.

 

Name any 1-2 best volunteering experience?

1) PMPC

2) PM FootprintsHe / she should

 

Tell us your hobbies, or things you are passionate about, other than volunteering at PMI?

Spending time with family.

 

What will be your message for your fellow volunteers?
There's lot to learn. Volunteering is like a self development tool. Its interesting and enjoyable.

What is your thought on preferred recognition for volunteering?
Personally I opine that this should be as per norms of the Chapter. Sometimes it may be ok to publicly acknowledge contribution.

Eswari Rao, PMP
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PM Essence
Soumen De, PMP was invited to present a Keynote lecture at the Predictive Analytic World (Manufacturing) Conference held at Chicago from Jun17-18. The topic of the talk was "Mining Big Data for Improving Launch Quality and Customer Satisfaction" related to automotive industry.
 
So to start with, in general below steps can be considered before the project actually starts.
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In his talk he presented how the customer (one of the main stakeholders for an automotive company) expectations are often very different across region and what are the challenges involved in delivering the 'best' quality for each specific market. With vehicle features and technologies becoming more standard, how OEM's must differentiate themselves by improving launch quality performance and understanding their customer's needs clearly. This session also examined how the automotive big data analytics can enable competitive advantage by improving launch quality and customer satisfaction. Conference details are available at [http://www.predictiveanalyticsworld.com/mfg/2014/agenda_overview.php]
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PM Essence

Project Based Organization Culture - Organizational Project Culture (OPC)

 

-  Seshadri Chatterjee, PMP
The term organizational project culture or OPC is a very new concept. In a more fundamental way the organization culture is made up of the attitudes, values, beliefs and behaviors of its employees. It reflects the demonstrated values and principles of the workplace, permeating everything an organization does. Essentially, it can make or break your organization.
 
The ideal organizational culture is one in which projects are considered in strategic planning and are implemented to support an organization's corporate strategy and corporate objectives. In this way, they receive the necessary attention and support of senior management and the organization's resources to allow them to succeed. The OPC is basically a method by which the organization supports its ongoing projects. 
PMArticle1A
Fundamentals of Organizational Project Culture (OPC):
 
The basic objective for creating an OPC is-
To understand their current organizational culture and how it could be improved.
To measure where they stand today against the ideal organizational project culture
To understand the goal and strategy to close the gap (between OCC and OPC)
To develop and implement the plan to create an OPC.
 
PMArticle1B
Steps to create an ideal OPC:
Create a OPC Steering committee
Communicate OPC to the whole organization
Measure the gap between organization current culture (OCC) and ideal OPC
Develop strategies to close the gap between OCC and OPC.
 
Create an OPC Steering committee:
A cross-functional steering committee that consists of a mix of management and staff will lead the project, guiding the approach for the organization. This committee will report directly to their Sponsor, the Management of the organization. It will be important for the Steering Committee to define their purpose, roles and  responsibilities as well as their communication strategy and expected outcomes. They will develop sub-committees of staff who will help to manage the on-going project change requirements.
 
Communicate OPC to the whole organization:
Once the Steering Committee has undertaken the first step, they will communicate the policy to the rest of the organization explaining why it is important and how it will benefit all. 
 
Measure the gap between organization current culture (OCC) and ideal OPC:
For measuring the base point for the OCC in relation to the OPC, staff of all levels will be asked to complete a survey. These individuals might spend a lot of time on projects or very little time. They may be a project leader or a project team member. They may be working on a small project on their own or be part of a very large project. They might provide resources to a project but not actually be involved in any project directly. All these individuals should be included to provide a 360-degree feedback view of the current organizational culture with regard to project management. The survey will identify the gaps and where they exist and will also gauge the organization's readiness for change. Analysis of the results will help the organization to identify the organizational forces likely to drive or impede change and what changes are necessary to close the gap between OCC and OPC.
 
Develop strategies to close the gap between OCC and OPC:
It's management's responsibility to determine how to close the gap between the OCC and OPC for their organization. Which strategies they want to follow? And these decisions have to be taken by the top management after giving due weightage and feedbacks from the project key stakeholders. 
 
Benefits of having OPC:
The benefits of Organization Project Culture (OPC) can be as follows:
Projects will be more aligned to corporate strategies.
Business objectives can be met in a more measurable way.
Projects can meet the customer expectations.
Projects are implemented within the budget ensuring no cost overrun.
Projects are on schedule with support from organization.
Time to market can be improved.
A project team will have high satisfaction lowering attrition among the team members.
Project team will have greater confidence towards the corporate team.
Strategically more beneficial and sustainable for any future projects.
Mutually beneficial for both the project teams and the corporate team.
 
Conclusion:
By having an OPC, projects tend to be more successful (in terms of schedule, budget etc.) also there will be better employee satisfaction lowering attrition. Customer satisfaction index would increase there by increasing competitive advantage in the market. Also it will contribute to the overall success of the corporate strategy.
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PM Essence

Some Experiences during Training

 

By - Chakravarthy Rajagopalan

As a Software professional I have tried to conduct induction training sessions. These are some of the interesting experiences that I had.

 

Once I was walking a batch of fresh engineers through a software life cycle. One of the tasks was to develop n online test application. Halfway through the development of the application, one engineer came to me and said 'Sir, if we complete this application, we will feel very complacent and proud. Let us leave it unfinished'. I suppose this could be classified as 'negative thinking'. Some people who lack confidence probably shoot themselves in the foot to keep their motivation alive.

 

As part of the induction program we encouraged the team to make 'Proof-ofconcepts' for projects that we were bidding. This meant doing things which were unconventional and creative. At the end of the training the same engineer who wanted to leave the application incomplete found the POC projects to be fun and educational. I guess there are more conclusions we can draw about that person as well as what works in training and what does not.

 

One batch which sat through a 3 month induction program had already got jobs in another company. They had probably used our training period as a platform to hunt for jobs elsewhere, and got the best of both worlds (assuming that our world wasn't as good as the other).

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During one session of induction training, since the trainees knew that their jobs were assured and that much of the content of the induction program was academic they took it lightly and had to be disciplined like college students.

 

People only take training seriously if there are strings attached. There is usually one individual in a class who influences the team when they are offline. Identifying this individual and his attitude can be critical to the way the fresher team shapes up. If this 'ring leader' is creating a negative attitude about the training, and the company, the rest of the group may succumb to peer pressure.

 

We understand the shortcomings of the interview process when we see the hired hands during induction training. It is so difficult to understand a human being in 30 minutes of technical interview. But we see all the questions that we did not ask during the 30 days of interaction with the inductees. The quiet but well behaved

one, the quiet but radical one, the intelligent but wild one, the “I-me-mine” one, the “will I get a C++ project soon” one. 

 

Well I am sure people who tried to induct me felt as frustrated or elated at me and my peers once upon a time. What goes round comes around.

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PM Essence
Pre-Project Preparation

 - S.M. Parvej Islam, IT Project Manager, Telecom
Everywhere we learn How to manage projects, what are the steps to follow, what are the Dos & DON'Ts, different methodologies like PMP, Prince2, etc. but how to prepare for a project before it starts is something you learn only through experience. Today, I thought of sharing my experience on pre-project preparation from how much I have learnt so far. And since I manage IT & Telecom projects my view will focus more on similar aspects.
 
So to start with, in general below steps can be considered before the project actually starts.
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• Prepare Job Description of resources you think you need for the project. Later, while asking for resources, it will save your time. 
 
• If the agreement with client is already in place, go through that thoroughly for critical clauses like payment terms, payment modalities, major milestones, SOW, compliance requirement, penalty clauses, etc. You will NOT have time during project to go through it.
 
• You will need to arrange for a good amount of logistics such as,
• Reserve meeting rooms for upcoming meetings
• If required, request admin for a project table for the team to sit together
• Check for the requirement of support laptop, projector, transportation, etc. and talk to admin upfront and share tentative timeline upfront
 
Ask vendors for their accommodation arrangement, and suggest any place nearby to your office premise, it will save travel time.


Estimate a rough budget required to support logistics and food & beverage purposes and get it approved and in your account upfront. Later you can settle the amount when the project ends.
 
If there's any integration requirement during project phase, you can ask specific team(s) to share standard connectivity details upfront and keep the documents with you.
 
Since all projects start with requirement clarification sessions, plan for required number of sessions, required participants/teams, duration of sessions, etc. and you can map with meeting room reservation with that.
 
Study background of the client's business & try to understand their need of this new system.
 
Get a copy of RFP/RFI and Business Case documents and study thoroughly, especially on benefit & measurement, terms & conditions, agreed scope, high-level timeline, ROI
part etc.
 
If your project has dependency on any other project(s), then
 
If the other project already started then get that project plan, study and get details of integration points, key milestones and understand them clearly and keep
required documents for your reference.
 
If the other project hasn't started already, talk to prospective PM and align with your high-level plan, key integration points and milestones and share documents for his/her reference
 
If it's any telecom related project, you may want to request for some test SIMs & handsets upfront.
 
If you have any configuration management system, get a designated space & get your folders mapped to the server.
 
In addition, if your project has vendor(s) involvement, you may want to check for steps as well
 
Request admin to prepare visa invitation letters.
 
Assign project meeting room OR table for their sitting arrangement together.
 
Get temporary access cards.
 
Talk to IT support team for their WLAN connectivity OR other VPN connectivity as required.
 
Share any request forms (e.g. VPN connectivity) with vendor up-front so that they can fill, scan & share.
 
Ask vendors for their accommodation arrangement, and suggest any place nearby to your office premise, it will save travel time.
 
If agreement is already in place, study the agreement carefully for penalty clauses, payment terms, SOW, deliverables, SLA, after implementation support, etc.
 
Since all projects start with requirement clarification sessions, ask vendor upfront on required number of sessions, required participants/teams, duration of sessions, etc. and send meeting requests to participants well ahead.
 
Ask vendor for their travel plan, this will help you schedule critical milestones.
 
Get an idea on other deployments of your vendor, if possible you may talk to 1/2 person from those organizations to have an idea on their system performance, listened to their implementation expertise and postimplementation support. Someone must have done all these background checks before, but you will see, having an understanding will help you during project execution.
 
If you are having foreign vendors, get an understanding on their culture & etiquette, time zone difference, food habit, national holidays, weekends & working hours.
 
Get communications and escalation matrix.
 
If possible, collect phone numbers of critical resources.
 
If it's any of-the-shelf product, get understanding on the system's standard features.
 
You may suggest your vendor on preferred mobile operator in your country which has good reception in your office.
 
Mentioned steps are only a handful of steps I can think of, there are many more nitty-gritties you need to take care of, but having a small checklist of your own hopefully.