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Newsletter - Aug 2015

 
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PM Essence
6 Ways To Make Most Out Of Reorganizations
- Haresh Patel

If you asked someone about reorganization 10 years ago, I am sure you would not have received definitive answer. However, now most of the employees you meet would have a firm opinion about reorganizations. And perhaps, frequency of reorganizations has really puzzled employees at every level with the questions such as,

 

• Why now?

 

• Is it really required?

 

• How will it actually resolve the problem?

 

And so on… but, I still wonder if finding answers to above question has really helped someone!!

 

Employees are impacted in two primary ways by reorganization. One, who benefits from it and others who don't. In good probability, the former of two sects would be busy with increased or different responsibilities, and later might be exploring ways to deal with unfavorable impact of reorganization. Here are some suggested areas to exploit, in the event of a reorganization.

1. To experience happiness, we need to be awake: 

Getting too comfortable with the work act as sedatives, putting us into deep sleep. We are far away from sensing what's coming. Reorganizations are fantastic opportunity to wake up. Before reorganization, when we just had one option – our current job. Reorganization brings plethora of opportunities and allows us to critically evaluate various opportunities within (and outside) organizations. It also offers opportunity to align our skills and ambitions with the new opportunity.

 

Recently, I had an opportunity to speak with a veteran Software Development Manager, who was struck hard with reorganization. Manager was offered to accept severance package or build skills in completely different domain/area. After choosing second option, six month later manager was pleasantly surprised not only with own potential to quickly acquire new skills that were more relevant to the market, but also to excel in new area, which was of higher focus for the organization.

 

So enjoy being shaken up; as I say, to experience happiness, we need to be awake.

Drink

2. Train self to notice blessings in disguise: 

Reorganizations may open doors to some of the most exciting opportunities with lowered entry bar.

 

Couple of years ago, an enterprise giant announced decision to move over 200 positions from one department to another. Certainly, someday we can have one-sided debate to discuss if management considers skilled employee as just 'Headcount', and hence easily transferable!! In bid to move 200 positions to a customer facing department, many 'impacted' employees actually benefited by getting exhaustive training to realign their expertise, getting positions at dream locations, getting much envied pay and grade adjustments and so on.

 

Train self to focus on new opportunities and take advantage of them, instead of worrying and cribbing about the 'Change' that is beyond your own influence. 
Drink

3. Gain time for well-planned exit 

Reorganization may require some employee to accept 'something' absolutely irrelevant or volunteer to resign. Prima facie, accepting the irrelevant position impacts self-esteem and induces fear of 'what will people think about me'. Well, if people were to support your family financially, you may worry about what they think.

 

However, accepting irrelevant position could be a way to configure your notice period. It's like having their cake and eating it too!! Over new few months, if you develop liking for the new position, you already transitioned from reorganization turmoil. One would also benefit from excellent opportunity to network with new set of people and work in new environment without any baggage of past. If new position doesn't fit, tenure in new department can be used to build a plan in parallel that helps to create a concrete and desired future.

 

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4. Life beyond Pay-Checks: 

Once employee doesn't mean always employee. Entrepreneurship neither has age bar nor requires any special education qualification. All that is needed is a strong vision and passion for a business venture.

 

As per Nasscom India Start-up Report 2014, the last 12 months alone, 805 technology product/digital start-ups were set up across the country, which is projected to grow four-fold to hit 2,000 by 2020!! It

 also highlighted approximately 300 VC/ PE and 225 angel investment deals worth over USD 2 billion. One can find similar data across the globe.

 

2015 can be dubbed as a year of start-up when one considers this,

 

• Marking all time high start-up valuations

• All time low start-up entry cost

• Social media boon – providing smartest ways to reach customers across the globe

• Big is no more beautiful, but agile organization is...!

 

If you are amidst reorganization dilemma, dare to dream beyond Pay-checks.

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5. Being Narcissist is good: 

Reorganizations saps energy without making you work even a bit. Remember, reorganization does not take away your own intellect and achievement. It also does not mean that you become out-and-out irrelevant. Face the reorganization with bright and broad smile. I also recommend to go a step ahead to be a narcissist. Being narcissist at this time is definitely great – “because it helps us to feel better than the rest”, and “lets us know, what exactly we want from life”. As a narcissist, we are focused and get to love what we do. It is best way to transition from state of fatigue to being energetic.

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6. Stay away from Fusspots and Grinch: 

Fusspots and Grinch are unusual creatures with eternal dissatisfaction and massive aura of spreading their negative energy to people around them. Stay away from them!! You have just resurrected from emotional setback and need positive energy to combat new challenges.

 

If needed, revamp your lunch group, carpool partner, or any other social group that constantly drags you to unfruitful chatterbox. This is very powerful! You can also ask any employee who has been hit by reorganization and has emerged victorious!

 

Finally, remember that your (positive) attitude towards your own life and career matters most in this difficult time. You must choose to make most out of reorganization.

 

At worst, you will learn from this experience, and at best, you will have opportunities galore.

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PM Essence
The 10 commandments PM Article of a great testing career
- Shekar Hariharan

Why is it that some of us make it big (and Happy) in career (regardless of fancy titles and designations) while others don't? What are those traits that really distinguishes a "happy" successful professional from numerous others who look and talk alike? It can't be just the technical and functional competencies because those have become a commodity and are supplied in abundance across the industry.

 

Furthermore I narrowed down the topic to functions of Testing/Quality Control - partly because that's what my current role is and hence provides me the best opportunity to share the "inside" experience of what I observe day in and day out. The other reason is simply the convenience of talking of a topic that I am comfortable with - because this is essentially the same as what I deliver as my "Opening Address" to all fresh graduates who join my team.

Test

None of what I share in this article is new. At best it is just a compilation of wisdom gathered from numerous articles that may have been written from time immemorial and packaged again for consumption.

 

So here we go with what I like to call the 10 commandments of a great testing career mainly intended for entry level professionals, but nevertheless applicable for eternity.

  

Commandment #1  

Stay connected with the development of the testing world.

 

Things will change more rapidly than ever before. Today's learning will be obsolete by tomorrow. Develop the habit of spending enough time reading books, blogs, Tweets and using other social media for keeping abreast of the latest.

 

Commandment #2 

Make Quality of what you test as your sole responsibility.

 

Consider the quality of what you test as your and your responsibility alone. Feel bad when defects slip. Feel good when you catch it. If you don't care, nobody else will.

 

Commandment #3 

Get to know your end users more closely than anyone else.

 

Remember – You are the last gate before the product reaches the customer. So Think and Act like how your customers would. Wear the “Customer” shoe more often that your own. Avail of all opportunities that let you get closer to their thought process.

 

Commandment #4 

Build communication skills.

 

You as a tester will need to communicate with many stakeholders (Developers, Customers, Management and so on). Each of them is different and have different and sometime conflicting motivational needs. Understand them and modulate your communication for your audience. Invest in building a POWERFUL communication skill. Read, read and read books. Write, write and write blogs.

 

Commandment #5 

Network more and keep sharpening your skills.

 

Invest in certifications. Attend conferences. Participate regularly in online competition and exercises. From ten thousand feet high, everyone looks alike. Strive for FIRST AMONG EQUALS.

 

Commandment #6 

Develop tact and diplomacy.

 

By nature, testing implies finding faults and nobody likes to hear that. Develop tact and diplomacy as your second nature. Win customers, developers, managers and peers alike.

 

Commandment #7 

Ask Questions.

 

A good tester asks “What If” more often than "What" and "How". A tester cannot afford to shy away from asking questions to themselves as well as to stakeholders.

 

Commandment #8 

Commit to “OTHERS” time and “YOUR” words.

 

A good tester’s professional values are "other's time" and "his/her own words" more than anything. Punctuality and commitment go a long way that we can imagine.

Commandment #9 

Live “LIFE” and enjoy every moment of it!

 

You can't attain a great and happy career if you don't dream of it and you can't dream if you don't live your life to its fullest! It's a chicken-and-egg story. So don't get pulled down by its ups and down. Keep your energy level always high and enjoy every moment of it. Try to be SINCERE NOT SERIOUS!! Life is beautiful - Believe in it!

 

Commandment #0 

(and not 10) - Shift Happens - Keep adapting.

 

None of the above will hold true for ever. Go back. Keep changing and adapting to newer realities. It's no coincidence that the tenth commandment recycles to zero again. You simply have to keep retrospecting and changing everything your thought was a "gospel".

 

Anybody wants to add the next 11 through 100 ones?

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PM Essence
DidYouKnow
Q. This is that version of a new product which allows team to collect maximum amount of va l i d a t e d l e a r n i n g a b o u t customers with least effort.? 

A. Minimum Viable Product is that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort. In product development, the minimum viable product (MVP) is the product with the highest return on investment versus risk. A minimum viable product has just those core features that allow the product to be deployed, and no more. The product is typically deployed to a subset of possible customers, such as early adopters that are thought to be more forgiving, more likely to give feedback, and able to grasp a product vision from an early prototype or marketing information. It is a strategy targeted at avoiding building products that customers do not want, that seeks to maximize the information learned about the customer per dollar spent..

[Source - Internet]

We like to hear what you think!!

Please complete the sentence below with your thoughts in 10-15 words and send them to. The best entry will win attractive goodies from PMI Bangalore India Chapter.

"It is imperative to identify the critical stakeholders at the inception of the project itself as/because............"

Please provide your response by 28th March 2015

Chapter will select the best slogan and felicitate the winner during a Chapter event.


"The Lighter Side of PM”
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PM Essence
PMI-ACP® exam is changing in 2015 – Important note for aspiring PMI-ACP® exam takers this year
 
PMI-ACP® was introduced in 2011 as the pioneering Agile certification from PMI, USA. As a practice, PMI continues to improvise the content through large-scale survey of certified PMI-ACP® holders and non-certified agile practitioners to help revise the domains, tasks, knowledge and skills, as well as tools and techniques. As an outcome of the Role Delineation Study (RDS) involving over 1,000 agilists from 60 countries, few changes have been introduced in the PMI-ACP® course content. A new domain called Agile Principles and Mindset has been added to the already existing list of domains. Also, 62 tasks have been validated in context of the seven domains of practice.
 
The reference material for the exam has also been revised to include books on Kanban, Scrum and Extreme Programming. All details about the revised PMI-ACP® certification is available at http://www.pmi.org/certification/exam-changes/pmi-acp.aspx with links at the right pane of the page.
 
It is extremely important for aspiring candidates to review all the books as the past exam questions have been not just on Scrum but on Lean, XP. In this year, candidates can surely expect on Principles & Mindset domain given that it has been added recently this year. It is also highly recommended that candidates should leverage the groups on LinkedIn where certified professionals share tips and tricks not only on the preparation but also on clearing the exam successfully.
 
For people who are taking the exam between 15-Jul-15 and 16-Aug-15, PMI is providing a 20% rebate on the exam fees. The new exam would be in effect until 14-Oct-15 (starting from 15-Jul-15) with results staggered till 22-Oct. Candidates are requested to view the revised exam content outline at http://www.pmi.org/~/media/PDF/Certifications/ACP_Reference_list_v2.ashx

PM Enrich: A one day workshop on "Leadership Challenges in Agile Transformation” will be held on 27th June 2015. Presently organizations are increasingly realizing that in adopting Agile Methodologies to manage projects, the challenge goes far beyond changing terminologies and templates to a paradigm shift in the way the team is empowered and mentored to own and accelerate the outcome of their projects. To facilitate this transition, PMI Bangalore India Chapter in collaboration with PM Power Consulting brings this one day workshop to PM community. Those interested in attending the same may kindly visit the Chapter website for further details and registration.

                                       One More Reason to Renew Chapter Membership Now
 
The Economic Exception Pilot Program launched by PMI in 2012 allows PMI Members in India to renew their membership at a reduced cost of US$65. This was done to study whether this will address the issue of lower membership renewals from developing countries like India. After three years of existence, PMI is reviewing the effectiveness of the program. In the meanwhile PMI decided to extend the Economic Exception Program till December 2015 by which time PMI will complete the review and take decisions. We request all PMI Members to renew PMI and Chapter Membership and be proudly associated with the leading Project Management community in the world. This will help the program to be extended and will benefit everyone. Apart from a host of benefits to renew your Chapter membership, here is one more reason to renew/join the Chapter membership.

                                                            Article Contribution
 
This monthly newsletter is a forum where everyone can contribute through articles on Project Management and related topics. You can also claim PDUs for your contribution under category D (Creating new project management knowledge). Additionally it helps you in improving your writing skills. Use this opportunity and excel in the field of Project Management.
 
You can send your Articles or route your queries to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
Please note that you do not need to be a PMI or Chapter member to contribute articles for Essence and participate in monthly slogan competition. All are welcome.
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PM Essence
PMI ACP Certification Changes
- Namita Gupta, PMP, PMI-ACP

(* This is based on interpretation of the applicable content in www.pmi.org by the author)

 

PMI announced changes in their PMIACP ® (Agile certified Practitioners) certificate. This is an output of RDS (Role Delineation Study) involving many agilists across countries. Also, large scale survey of PMI-ACP® holders & non-certified agile practitioners helped coming up with revised set of domains, tasks, K&S (knowledge & Skills) and T&T (tools & techniques). This revision is to ensure that latest development in the area of Agile (project management as well as methodologies) is all covered in ACP certification.

Domain Split

Important Information 

•New version of exam content is applicable from 15-July-2015

  • •From 15-July-2015 to 14-Oct-2015 will be pilot period for new exam content. Aspirants writing exam during this period will not get their results immediately. They will get it on or before 22-October-2015
  • •From 15-Oct-2015, Pilot period will end. Aspirants writing exam from this date will get their results immediately after the exam
  • •From 15-Jul-2015 to 16-Aug-2015, you can get 20% rebate on exam fees

 

What has changed? 

 There are multiple aspects of certification changed in the new revised version. High level bifurcation of same can be summed up as below. Each line item below will be discussed in detail to cover the changes

 

  • • Domain level % spilt of exam question coverage (making ACP very much inline with PMP)
  • • New addition of domains & tasks along with update in existing domains & tasks
  • • New addition/update/deletion of T&T and K&S
  • • New Addition/deletion of reference material

 

Domain Level Split 

Earlier the split was only on the basis of T&T and K&S (50% each) whereas same has been refined and elaborated on the basis of domains. This is now looking inline with PMP certification where the same is derived on the basis of 5 process groups. New split for ACP is given in the table

 

 

Domain & Tasks (Addition/Update/Deletion) 

Earlier there were total six domains for ACP, now a new domain is added which has made the total number of domains to seven.

 

In above table, highlighted Domain I is the newly added domain with 9 tasks in it. There is no bifurcation of this domain at sub-domain level. Details of this newly added domain and its tasks can be referred in new exam content of PMIACP ®

 

There are some changes for rest of the domains as well at sub-domain and task level. This whole exercise has fine-tuned the content and details of domains to a great extent. Same is explained at the high level in Fig. 1 on page 5. Highlighted text/cells are the ones which are changed 

T&T and K&S (Addition/Update/Deletion) 

There are new T&T and K&S additions along with removal of many.

 

There is no change in T&T categories however many new T&T has been added under different categories. In K&S, there is no more levels bifurcation. Many of the K&S are either removed or moved to T&T. Few of the newly added T&T/K&S are as below:

 

Kaizen, Five WHYs retrospectives, introspective, hybrid models, control limits, pre-mortem (rule setting, failure analysis) fishbone diagram analysis

Social media–based communication Developmental mastery models (for example, Tuckman, Dreyfus, Shu Ha Ri) Managing with agile KPIs

Two-way communications (trustworthy, conversation driven)

Brainstorming feedback methods, Backlog grooming/refinement

Product-feedback loop

Minimal viable product (MVP) Participatory decision models (for example, convergent, shared collaboration)

 

Reference Material (Addition/Deletion) 

There were total 11 reference books recommended by PMI for PMI-ACP® certification. Out of 11, three reference books (Becoming Agile.. in an imperfect world Greg Smith, Ahmed Sidky, The Art of Agile Development James Shore and Agile Project Management with Scrum Ken Schwaber) are dropped and four (Effective Project Management: Traditional, Agile, Extreme Author: Robert K. Wysocki, Exploring Scrum: The Fundamentals Author: Dan Rawsthorne with Doug Shimp, Kanban In Action Author: Marcus Hammarberg and Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change

 
 
PMI ACP