Newsletter - Jan 2015

 
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PM Essence

Enhance Quality Volunteering Experience – The ISO way

 

By - Lt. Col. L. Shri Harsha (Retd.), PgMP, PMP
The ISO 9001: 2008 certification of the Chapter is a great opportunity to enhance the volunteering experience with the Chapter. Prior experiences of ISO practices at the work place would definitely influence one to think that it is going to be a process driven place with lots of documentation to complete, a demanding system, which one would like to avoid. I tend to look at it from a different perspective – a basket of opportunities waiting to be explored and experimented with.. 
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A lot of ground work has been successfully done by the experienced volunteers in preparing for the certification audit, resulting in many routine activities of the Chapter being reasonably well documented. Correctly leveraged by the Chapter members, the procedures and manuals prepared by the core team will definitely enable smoother functioning in various volunteer roles. When a new volunteer comes on-board, in whatever role, inducting them into that role will be that much easier. No more apprehensions on things going wrong due to lack of guidance, trial or error methods and reinventing the wheel time and again.
 
While the current systems put in place serves as a basic framework, there is ample scope for the volunteers to contribute to improve the entire system. Channelizing experiences, recommendations for exceptions and non-standardized activities can be captured in the form of feedbacks, which can then be incorporated into the procedures and manuals. In fact, this will create a window to experience the route one can take to become a contributor to the next edition of the PMBOK. Imagine the pride when your name figures at the end of the book!!!! Wow!!!!
 
Though documentation is an inevitable and integral part of the system, providing feedback on the existing procedures and manuals with the constructive and improvement objective in mind is no easy task. It challenges your intellect, polishes your written communication skills and the art of articulating your thoughts. The extra, mileage which one can think off straight away, with the National Conference further in the year, is bench marking your written skills with a technical paper submission and of course simplify the PDU collections efforts.
 
And the icing on the cake, you are a part of “The Bangalore India Chapter”, the first and only one in India to be certified as an ISO 9001: 2008 compliant Chapter. So go ahead, take pride, and partner with the Chapter in charting a brighter future. Volunteer confidently, experiment with opportunities to enhance your own skills and grow professionally. “Happy Volunteering”.
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PM Essence

Outpace the Rat Race

 

By - Shiv M Kumar
Human race is in rat race!
Is your new year resolve to overcome this state of life? Here is an insight.
 
A rat race is an endless, self-defeating, or pointless effort. Simply refer to the image of the futile efforts of a lab rat trying to escape while running around a maze or in a wheel. Corporate rat race is no different!
 
It is a result of 3 factors,
 
To fear 'negative consequences' (whip) - if I don't achieve results, I will be out of my job; and how will I pay my bills?
 
And to live expecting 'good outcomes' (carrot)–by doing well, I will get promotion & rewards; I will be respected in my circle!
 
And keep doing it in a time bound fashion, time and again, in circles.
 
Whip makes us to wake up every morning, and the carrot makes us to jump into the car and go to office. And there begins the rat race.
 
The vicious circle of rat race urges one to finish in time. This time limit varies from seconds to decades and the race continues...
 
Finish this job by today EOD (end of day)
 
Monthly salary to pay bills (for e.g., buys the car to go to work, and goes to work to pay for the car!)
 
Yearly appraisal to get hikes
 
20 year loan to get that dream home
 
Retirement plan to take care of after 60 years
 
In a limited 'time' you have to sow, grow and reap to survive over 'time'. And to continue the same again in circles! At the very end, if one turns back and looks at one's own life, it looks hollow.
 
Do you want to feel victimized? Or you want to win over the rat race?
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Here are some ways to escape the rat race.
 
To begin let us demystify this myth that 'becoming an entrepreneur' will break you out of rat race. In fact, it intensifies.
 
3 stages of time syndrome: The solution is in some key realizations. 'Time' is not to be chased. It is something to be lived. Winning over this chase of time is possible. Here is how you, I and everyone can do it.
 
The 'Time Syndrome' that locks us into a rat race, can liberate from it too.
 
The 'time syndrome' is dealt in 3 stages, as shown in the chart :
 
1. Rat race stage: Chase in circles and get tired
2. Fighter stage: Win at times and lose at times, but don't give up
3. Principled stage (Eagle): Fly beyond time
 
Stage 1: Rat Race 95%+ of human race is in this stage. They keep running 'behind time'. Never have the mind-set to challenge it. This mind-set is developed thanks to the perceived time limitations that are taught by natural and by man-made references.
 
Natural references: Morning to evening is time bound. Hunger reminds of a time. These are some of the natural references that have set the basis for this mind-set.
 
Man created references: Man-hour, work week, project schedule, biweekly wages, quarter-ends are some examples that are man-made.
 
The chart shows people at this stage, whether the traditional rats or the modern tech geeks - are bound into the walls of perceived time limitations. They run inside these perceived walls of time. To make it worse on top of each other.
 
This is not only restricted to individual people or teams. Turn around and see many businesses start and end as small businesses, as they don't have time to think, prepare and expand. Millions of businesses and billions of people are in this stage.
 
Stage 2: Fighter Stage Here is when people start asking 'why?'
 
Why should I be bound by time? Birthdeath is time bound, but isn't that a long enough period to slog it up to top? Let me sell Rolex for a living.
 
They live. Give a good fight. Sometimes win and at times lose. Struggle is a word that can explain this stage.
 
Have you recently met with any CEO who says how it feels like to get stuck at a 100 million dollar business and struggling to grow year on year. Some years boost up at a 50% growth and the next year a mighty fall of 40%. Same is the case of executives in corporate ladder hit by a glassceiling.
 
Reasons why they are stuck?
 
They chase time and chocked to their brim (25th hour will be good).
 
They chase to show a % growth quarter on quarter to keep the stocks alive.
 
They enjoy the game of winning and losing alternatively. Over time they start believing that struggling is a good thing. In fact, they miss it badly and correlate that if there is 'no struggle' then there is 'no growth'!
 
Some brilliant ideas put to action, but hindered by short-term challenges. This causes the ups and downs.
 
Consultants who spend time with struggling CEOs or growing corporate executives will not fail to watch these self-limiting behavior. The chart represents high-jump as the way of life. They jump. Jump against time. Jump again. Rejoice on a just in time finish. Sulk when overrun by time. Struggle again.
 
Watch around to see tens of thousands of businesses and millions of people languishing at this stage.
 
Stage 3: Principled Stage (Eagle) Here is when people start asking 'Why not?'
 
Why not I leave time behind? Birth-death is a cycle. We don't keep count on how many generations our family has lived and how many more generations to continue. Not seeing end anywhere. There are business organizations that are running for centuries together that are created by men and women. Can I build the real time machine as the Rolex-next?
 
They fly. Like a mighty eagle. Principled. They think 'ahead of time'. They lay paths and create way of life. They enjoy the journey and see the abundant bounty of everything around.
 
Making big waves in the market, while enjoying quality time. They rule the markets not by luck. They sit back and enjoy the ride to victory. This applies to successful individuals and working professionals as well.
 
2 reasons why they relax yet win?
 
They do things ahead of time. No chasing.
 
They sit back and focus on what is important.
 
Good part is while their business soars, the stocks follow suit (not the reverse). Growth in corporate ladder is a result, and not a goal, for these executives.
 
One may ask “how can I think ahead, when the organization is not?” The simple answer is to think ahead in the areas that are in one's control.
 
One can quickly recall the few hundred businesses and few thousands of people world-wide belonging to this stage.
 
Like it? Go for simple baby steps:
 
Print the chart and keep it framed in front of you.
 
Spot where you or your organization is in the chart.
 
For every job/objective in front of you – ask these few questions: Is this as per the plan? - If yes, is it important? - If yes, is this to be completed in next 10 periods (years/quarters/weeks)? - If yes. Can I do it now? - Rest 9 periods, think what will take it to next level? – Got the next big thing to do? Do it ahead of time.
 
Simple isn't?
 
Take time to sit back and think!
 
Plan it ahead of time.
 
Equip yourself for excellence in what you do.
 
Don't race along. Do it ahead of time. Yes, outpace the rat race.
 
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PM Essence

Conway's Law for Product Orgs

 

By - Rich Mironov
Conway's Law is an old but useful idea: the organizational structure of software development teams is reflected in the code that they produce. For example, creating a "platform" development team and an "applications" team will typically lead to a Platform API. And arguments about whether interesting modules belong to one group or the other ("our team gets to build it" vs. "the other team gets to do the fun stuff"). The technical architecture grows to look like the org chart. In broader terms, how we group people and delineate teams has a real impact on the products we produce.
 
I find this concept useful when making product assignments. Product managers (like all of us) think most deeply about the parts of the problem we've assigned to them. They naturally see their portion as important and think mostly "in the box" that we've given them.
 
Imagine, for example, the Director of Product Management for an e-commerce solution who aligns her 4 product managers with the 4 development teams covering (a) buyer experience and workflow, (b) pricing, check-out and financial transactions, (c) seller sign-up and reporting, and (d) scalable platform architecture. What should she expect?
 
Deep thinking "inside the boxes." The product manager and development team covering buyer experience (or whatever) quickly become experts in their area. They eat, drink and dream consumer workflows. They focus more on their part of the solution, less on company-level goals. No surprise that each of the four teams has its own backlog stretching well into next year.
 
Implicit resource allocation. By staffing up four specialist teams intended to stay together for the medium/long term, we've defaulted into putting 25% of our technical energy against architecture, 25% against seller-side tools, etc. Imagine the pushback if we have a strategic need for all-hands-on-deck scalability work for the next quarter. Our Director of Product Management may have a mutiny on her hands - both from senior engineers and product managers. Why should other teams set aside their urgently needed UX improvements or seller portal upgrades when they will only be half as efficient at scale-up improvements?
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Technical/political problems along team boundaries. Predictably, the pricing team attributes declining purchases to problems in the consumer workflow, and the workflow team blames it on inconsistent price lookups. The two development teams become mutually suspicious, and their product managers feel duty-bound to take sides. Seemingly rational technical explanations just happen to support each side's emotional position.
 
Double-counted revenue. Product managers know that every major effort needs some ROI justification, even though consumer purchases can't be completed with (only) architecture or (only) a thoughtful user experience or (only) pricing engines. Each product manager sees his portion as very valuable… and builds business cases based on that belief. So we often overcount the impact of improvements. Each team attributes revenue growth to its work, and forecasts more of the same.
 
What's a product executive to do? Our Director tears down walls. She keeps her product managers cross-trained: brainstorming in each others little boxes (and outside the larger box). She pushes for intellectual honesty and realistic business justification. She finds opportunities to promote the greater good: occasionally mixing up assignments, sharing successes across artificial product boundaries, and encouraging her development-side peers to do the same. Sometimes she has to settle sticky cross-border issues that her individual product managers can't negotiate on their own. Occasionally, she demands re-allocation of work across teams when strategy runs headlong into real-world problems. She is the nextlevel- up arbiter.
 
All of this requires anticipation. Our heroine knows that organizations must have some division of labor. And that every division of labor creates the potential for narrower thinking, boundary skirmishes, and inefficient resource allocation. So she's constantly providing broad context and watching for problems. Pulling her product managers back up to the bigger picture. Applauding anyone who admits that some other team might have a great need for that next incremental hire. Getting out ahead of the problem. Being savvy about organizational behavior.
 
And (of course) this happens at every level. Product Line Managers use all of their scarce resources to promote their own product lines - and don't share. Business Unit VPs re-assign people within their BU but never willingly give up staff to other BUs. Executives leading crossbusiness- unit initiatives need carrots (resources and revenue credit) as well as sticks (frequent proof of progress) for their initiatives to yield any results.
 
So regardless of your level, you need to remember how your piece fits into the greater whole. Watch for misaligned or overly narrow decisions. Promote crossborder thinking and reward systems among your product and development peers. Peek outside your box. Ref. : www.mironov.com
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PM Essence
Faster Time-to-Market for Industrial Manufacturing companies

Economically, things seem to be getting better, but slowly. For manufacturers, it's a climate of opportunity. New measures of economic value are emerging that make the supply chain a key indicator of growth. Manufacturers that can accelerate their new product development (NPD) process, and reduce time-tomarket, will establish strong and sustainable leadership positions. How to gain visibility, collaboration and control for agile NPD? http://goo.gl/NrTDvT

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PM Essence
DidYouKnow
Q. Postulated in 1968 by one computer programmer, this law postulates that Sof tware architectures will reflect the structure of the organization that built them?

A. Conway's law is an adage named after computer programmer Melvin Conway, who introduced the idea in 1968; it was first dubbed Conway's law by participants at the 1968 National Symposium on Modular Programming. It states that organizations which design systems are constrained to produce designs which are copies of the communication structures of these organizations. Conway's law was not intended as a joke or a Zen koan, but as a valid sociological observation. It is a consequence of the fact that two software modules A and B cannot interface correctly with each other unless the designer and implementer of A communicates with the designer and implementer of B. Thus the interface structure of a software system necessarily will show a congruence with the social structure of the organization that produced it.
[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 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,  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 26th February 2015. Chapter will select the best slogan and felicitate the winner during a Chapter event.

In our last edition, we had asked you to express your thoughts in 10-15 words to continue the following sentence

It is advisable to apply Risk Management processes in a project because ....................................  and the best response is . . . "it speaks about the future consequences to solve it today by acting proactively”

 

... and the Winner is - Amudha Paramashivan


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