Project Management Resources


Purpose
This blog is to discuss resources that are available during a project and what you can do to make the best use of them.

Guiding Questions and Elaborations
Resources are what give you the ability to complete a project. You have to find out what and who is available to you as a resource. The team on the project is the primary resource. The stakeholders or project owner is your guiding resource.

Question 1: Do you have the right people on your team?

  • It is pretty clear that a programmer will be needed for any programming tasks. What about the right programmer. If a programmer has only one knowledge set about how to design a solution, having an additional programmer would help bring ideas that are outside of the box.
  • An architect is someone that would be ideal in designing the solution and giving ideas on what kinds of technology can be used to accomplish the goals.
  • A dedicated person for testing the project will be necessary to bring the user into play. A programmer testing their own code may only take a happy path, the one that they know will work.

Question 2: Do you and your team have the expertise to complete the project?

  • Your team members should have a good grasp of the project.
  • A solid team is one that is diverse in skill sets. A team with a mentality of “it is done this way” will never break the mold of an innovative or more efficient solution. The ideas could even bring features that would not have been available otherwise.

Question 3: What outside resources are going to be available during the project?

Make sure you know any additional people that can be pulled in if you are not on track.
Always have a plan to use 100% of your resources, but remember people get sick or need a little R&R once in awhile.

The post you just read is an extension of the Project Management Basics.

Inspirations for this writing:

http://www.cio.com/article/591811/5_Goals_Every_Project_Manager_Should_Aspire_to_Achieve

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Project Management Goals


Purpose
This blog is to give the ideas and general guide of what you should understand as a project manager for the goal of a project.

Guiding Questions and Elaborations
Project Management is always changing and you always want to keep in scope what you are trying to achieve. If you do not know what you are trying to achieve then you should find out.

Question 1: What is the goal of the project?

  • You should know the goal of the project…period.
  • If you do not know the goal you have the potential to deliver incomplete or incorrect requirements.
  • The goal of the project will be something you will and should refer to as the project progresses.

Question 2: Do you fully understand what needs to be done?

  • Look high and look low.  Project owners or stakeholders may only have the vision of the high level or the low level details of a project.  You need to understand both.

High: Do not think the project is in a silo.  Look at the project with the entire business or organization in mind.  The project may be a door opener for process efficiency or enhancements.

Low:  The details define a project.  The project owner or stakeholder can give you the details of where they want a button to show up on a form.  These details are important.  They thought of this for some reason and you need to identify why they need it in that exact spot.

Question 3: Who is your project owner or stakeholder for this project?

  • You need to identify your key people or advocates for the project.
  • Empower your stakeholders by informing your stakeholders.  They will need to understand progress, impediments, and any alterations.  If you are keeping stakeholders up to date you have set them and yourself up for success.  The stakeholders can make informed decisions or provide knowledgeable updates to anyone the same as you and that makes you and your stakeholder a team.

The post you just read is an extension of the Project Management Basics.

Inspirations for this writing:

http://www.cio.com/article/591811/5_Goals_Every_Project_Manager_Should_Aspire_to_Achieve

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Project Management and Smart Phone Drawbacks


If you are managing people in today’s world you more than likely have a smart phone. The phone is on your dime or the companies, but you have one. There are drawbacks to having a smart phone while managing a project.  I am not saying it is a drawback for keeping up to date only that it can affect how you look to your team and customers.  The questions are answered with best practices to keep you looking professional and organized.

Is it a good idea to send project updates to your team or customers from a smart phone?



No.
Your smart phone does two things that are not a good representation of your capabilities.

 

 

  1. Spellchecker.  Very easy for your phone to correct you incorrectly or miss a word.
  2. Converts to Plain Text.  You convert the e-mail message to plain text and content is shuffled or lost.

In addition to these two items, did you miss anyone?  Smart Phones do not boost a screen size to verify you have all of your recipients accounted for. On the flip side of this, did you remove everyone you do not want on the update?

Is it a good idea to respond with information from your smart phone?

No. You have the ability to organize information with bullets, horizontal lines, numbering, etc from a desktop or laptop computer.  Your smart phone makes you look careless and rushed.  People will appreciate, a clean and organized presentation of updates or information regarding a project.

The typical smart phone response is not a long one.  Therefore the responses can leave a large gap for interpretation.  That is not good.

Should you call someone and have them do the update for you from a computer?

Yes.  Have a team member do an update for you if you have no way to send it out besides your smart phone.  If an update is required while you are away a clean presentation of information created on a laptop or desktop will show the project members you are respectful of their time if you have an organized update.

Reference: 
http://santexq.com/project-management-tool-blog/?p=1590

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Project Management Basics


Purpose
This blog post is a concept of Project Management basics. The concepts explained are formed into a pyramid to give a graphical representation of how the project should be formed to have a successful implementation.

Leading the Team
In order to feel comfortable leading a team for a project here are the basic things I focus on to achieve the goal or business function.

1. What is the Goal(s)
2. Timelines
3. Resources Available
4. Short/Long Term Impacts

The four items are keys to understanding how a project is going to pan out. If given the right information and resources I do believe you can lead a team of people on a project to success. There are other factors that I will get into in another post.

If you put the four items into a pyramid formation you have a baseline of your short and long term impacts, with your available resources holding up your timelines, and finally the end resulting goal.

Now let’s build the pyramid from the top down. This process you can think of as you are building backwards and do not want your goal to tumble down or be crushed by anything below it. The questions I ask myself and get answers to are what guide the building of the project from inception to completion.

Goal

  • What is the goal?
  • Do you fully understand what needs to be done?
  • Who is your primary person or stakeholder for this project?

Resources Available

  • Do you have the right people on your team?
  • Do you and your team have the expertise to complete the project?
  • What outside resources are going to be available during the project?

Timelines

  • What are the key milestones of the project?
  • What is the expected delivery date?
  • Do you have the resources to meet deadlines?
  • Any unknowns that you need to make aware to everyone?
  • Are you confident of dates you are going to set for the project?

Short/Long Term Impacts

  • What processes are going to need to change as a result of this project?
  • Is this going to be used in the same manner in 6 months, 1 year, 3 years?
  • Who is going to be affected by this project that needs to be made aware?

These questions are what I consider to be basic questions for a project that you as a project manager should know the answer too.

In upcoming posts I will discuss each of the pyramid items in more detail.

I welcome feedback and criticisms

Posted in Project Management, Workplace | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Sony Exposes 77 Million Users, Does it matter?


Have you ever been a victim of someone pulling your pants down? If you are one of those unlucky 77 million people, Sony has successfully done exactly that to you.

Your Information was Stolen

Sony Executives Apologizes.  https://i2.wp.com/www.widescreenxp.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/s-SONY-PSN-APOLOGY-large.jpgSony lost 77 million users information in the month of April 2011.  That is a large scale fail as anyone can imagine.  Sony has been in the news heavily for the past three weeks ever since users complained and had to turn to the internet to find out the PSN service had been turned off by Sony.  Now in the past week Sony has come out from behind the curtain to tell everyone the details of what has happened.  As everyone suspected a hacker or group of hackers infiltrated the Sony PSN network.  As a result the PSN was shut down to avoid further damaged or loss of data.

The hardest fall for everyone is the credit card information which still can not be ruled out as a piece of information that may have been lost when the hacker(s) had their way with Sony’s database.  Sony said they would offer free fraud prevention for a year for all PSN users that have been compromised (http://bit.ly/kDnKEI).  That seems generous I suppose, not dissimilar to your car being stolen and then given a rental for a period of time.  The difference is the guys that stole your car, have a master key to any car you buy going forward.  Your information being lost is not something that will only be a problem for a year….

Does it matter?

Have you ever “googled”yourself?  If you have not you should give it a try.  You will find things you did years ago and have forgotten about.  You will see that it shows your full address, your age, your family member names.  The amount of information by simple searching for yourself is unsettling.  What if you make someone mad?  They only need the internet and they can figure out where you live, work, hang out, what you like, etc.  I am a believer in the abilities a government agency has to see my every move based on just what Google lets them see, if I am that interesting.

Besides the Credit Card information most of the information if not all of the information is already out there for anyone to find.  I get that now they have a bigger pool to work from and do not have to do any digging to get the information, but a good enough crawler could probably find most of the information they are looking for just as quick as a database hack now a days.

Sony is working on preventing this from happening in the future.  I think the world appreciates that and there has been lots of talk of people not trusting Sony and their abilities to keep their data safe.  Once Sony has their PSN back up and running I personally would not have a problem going back.  My information was already out there for you to see, Sony just let someone get it all in one easy download.

If I had to choose who to go after would it be Sony for building a poor infrastructure and letting my information get taken so easily or would I rather have the many sites popping up and gathering as much information about me and putting it in one spot?  From what I see the sites have all got what has already been taken plus.  Time to shift focus…..I’m calling the A-Team to stop the internet.

https://i0.wp.com/film-book.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/a-team-2010-first-photo2.jpg

Sources:

http://www.csmonitor.com/Innovation/Horizons/2011/0506/PlayStation-Network-back-online-very-soon-says-Sony

http://spong.com/article/24290/Sony-PSN-77-Million-Users-12-3-Million-Credit-Card-Details

Posted in Online Games, PlayStation, PSN, Technology | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Pictures to Dollars


crumpled dollar

If you have a camera, you have probably taken a picture.  I am specifically talking about a picture that you think was “great”.  I personally think I have great pictures I have taken over time, from great locations; Bahamas, Caribbean, Florida, Mount Rainer in Washington State, and of course named and unnamed rivers.  Yes an unnamed river like a little puddle running through a drainage system, don’t knock it the framing is all that matters.

All “great” pictures taken logged away in your computer just hanging out in your Pictures folder.  I have 15,000+ pictures on my computer and for what….one fascinating never repeat screen saver?  As of right now, yes.  However the idea came to me that I have taken good pictures and I should perhaps share them with the world, by asking for money.  Why else?  I found a few what are called stock photography sites who would sell your pictures for you and you get a royalty.  Perfect!

I meticulously scanned through my many folders and sub-folders of pictures focusing on those great vacation spots.  I found some gems. These topped all the teenage mutant ninja turtles artists in my eyes and it was time to do some loading of the up.  I watched and waited as each picture became part of the online stock photography world.  Finally, the last byte was done all is well.

Now when you want to win, you should know your study and know your competition.  You would unlikely enter a game of cards with an opponent that could take all your money without first understanding what they have done in the past.  So, why oh why would I think to check out what kind of stock photography is already out there and available after my shinning ray of hope has been sent to the all mighty photography judges?  I do know that after viewing what was out there I understood that I might not have had the gems I thought I had.  Most of the pictures were of attractive women on the beach with amazing lighting and flashy hats on.  I uploaded a picture of my dog and some rivers…

I expected nothing but a big fat rejection and I was served on March 13, 2011 at 5:16pm.  Expecting it and receiving it are two different things, but once it comes you it does not feel as bad as expecting acceptance and being rejected.  Now I have a vendetta to have pictures I took on a stock photography site.  The evil rulers of the stock photography can keep their opioions to their self about how all my pictures need more light, bad composition, to many on market.  A simple “you suck” would have been all the same.  Now what should I do about this dilemma?

I will take 15,000 more pictures and find 1 that they will take and I will make my pennies when the 1 person on earth downloads it for their nightstand and does not give me credit for it.  I promise myself that.  I fell on my face, ouch, now I am up again and I have a game plan.  I studied some of the competition and now I will execute plan  Make it Better then Theirs and re load it up.

Stay tuned for more of plan: Make it Better then Theirs

I will show all the stock photography empires….one day.

Stock Photography sites:
http://www.shutterstock.com/
http://www.dphotojournal.com/sell-photos-online/

Posted in Photography | Tagged | 2 Comments