August 28, 2016

PMISV Symposium is around the corner

Category: Life, Management, News, Technologies — David @ 6:53 pm

Risk Management speakers at 2016 Symposium of PMISV Last week I received a newsletter from our local chapter, PMI Silicon Valley. The newsletter included highlights from one of the keynote speakers that got my attention: Risk Management in Environments of Constant Change!

All project managers try to keep matters simple while avoiding risks (in projects) anyway they can. However, for program managers, steering between projects with varied requirements and needs in an ever-changing environment and, yet controlling involved risks on each project is both the art and science of leadership!

I have found it easy to say “Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS)”. But when one is dealing with keeping a project dashboard as useful to all as possible, providing direction to a scrum team, communicating and keeping all involved subcontractors, vendors and customers aligned, and aligning organizational mission is not as easy as it sounds! Add the cultural and time variance in today’s virtual teams, one may become overwhelmed tracking and channeling information to avoid unplanned risks. I remember my supervisor at Santa Clara University used to say “you show me a well-planned project, and I will show you a few risks”.

As a technical manger, I think I am a student for life! Change management and risk management in our modern projects is part of every project that we engage. Learning from the leading project and program managers in some of the hottest sectors (such as IT, mobile tech, networking, virtualization, cloud-based SaaS, PMOs) have very high value for me. Hearing innovative remedies used by the leading experts may require a few technical courses from leading institutions. On top of that, networking with like-minded professionals, coupled with a couple of days of learning at a relaxed environment is my way of self-education!

I hope to see many attendees at 2016 Annual Symposium of PMI-SV. I will try to get more information about other speakers and subjects in my next short journal.

August 4, 2015

How to Narrow Project Management (PM) Value-Add?

Category: Life, Management — David @ 7:07 pm

One of the challenges in today’s market is to show your value-add. Yet, how to bring all relevant work experience to the table? How to focus on specifics from past job-function and experience? How large the team was directed, and what other experience in team building would help a new program management role, and so forth!

When looking at the job posting, we all try matching our past experience to the requirements. Per involvement in many positions, experienced PMs need to narrow down and perhaps eliminate some of hands-on capabilities in order to draft a concise resume!  Also we all have had this feeling that trying to present ourselves as a renascence man is like shooting ourselves in foot! Companies would seem not to looking for people with broad experience, rather want people who can solve their problem now!

There are a few things that one can do such as selectively choosing what not to say (i.e. notes that are not relevant), which is not down-playing. There is so much to prove on what can be written in resume or said in a short time. This is not hiding qualification, rather just focusing on relevant ones. Another way would be choosing how to say and what to say. This is choosing the words (of your experience) along the lines that would focus on what (you) want to bring up. This can be viewed like focusing on project management aspect or team building and people management that is expressed by choosing the words choices in a limited space (of resume)! This would perhaps eliminate non-relevant experience of a jack-of-all-trades person with varied involvement.

One can clearly tailor the resume to make it very focused and relevant to the position. This approach can be applied in discussions as well. The question rises with respect to an experienced professional’s LinkedIn profile where it highlights all skills that are applied in many different fields of technical project management! This is to emphasize that the LinkedIn record (as professional profile) shall contain most experiences and accomplishments. However, a focused resume (as a concise list of achievements) shall highlight success. LinkedIn profile may be viewed as a good resume surrogate and an overall profile of achievements, while resume is fine tuned to a specific job addressing the requirements. Resume shall outline what impact the job seeker would have on the business with relevant accomplishment on their past positions.

One concern in current business environment is that technical professionals do not know how to present business values! They may be able to say how cool the technology is. The more you can emphasize business value and achieved productivity, the better you may position yourself for the position. A program manager is a change agent, not just controlling aligned projects to reach stated milestones. Also training may play a better role for a program manager as how programs are aligned to train junior team members to attain more business values during their career.

One thing to note that training is one of the first things to be cut in a downward economy and it is usually one of the last things to be added to the list of available positions. It is encouraging to see a number of training management positions available on job market that not all require a subject-matter expert in their stated requirements, yet understanding managing the training as best practices. In a PMI-Silicon Valley meeting John Choate (the National SIG Chair of America SAP User Group) said that “at SAP user group in national level we are required as chair to do one national webinar in a quarter. They have to be very content focused on user experience with 50 minutes of presentation and 10 minutes of Q & A”.

The above few paragraphs are based on conversation taken place at a few breakfast meeting of PMISV members and prospect. I have taken notes from our conversation and felt sharing thoughts of a few experienced leaders in program and portfolio management of Silicon Valley, California with our readers. Please feel free to comment, or otherwise suggest your idea to complement the topic and discussion.

May 20, 2013

Technical Professionals and Recruiters

Category: Life, Management, Technologies — David @ 2:46 pm

On another breakfast meeting our PMI group, we had one of the best Sr. Technical Recruiters I have met. After brief introduction, his transparent view regarding recruiting, dilemma surrounding our job market, and the Q-A exchange of ideas among our members are what keeps me attending our meetings. Any day I get a full basket of new ideas.

Below are excerpts from our meeting. I am sure that every reader this short note can write passages regarding every point raised! These are just a-tip of floating icebergs:

  • Staffing firms shall be prompt and accurate when qualifying candidates for a specific position. They shall also retain their contacts’ information current. Recruiting firms must also avoid RADD (Recruiter Attention Deficit Disorder)!
    Note: recruiters read the first paragraph of resumes, and glance through it looking for a few keywords. All recruiters find candidates for their available positions, not fitting a “proper” position for a candidate! Recruiters are paid for finding people to fit jobs not for finding jobs for people!
  • Recruiting and staffing life cycle is broken, or very weak! Having the three components of the equation (recruiter, manager, and candidate), unfortunately the outcome is not as desirable as it’s supposed to be! The reason might be due to recruiters not being as knowledgeable! They sometimes do not get exact needs of their hiring managers. Instead of having a list of responsibilities, they need to understand the nature of needs and requirements to overcome the needs by appropriate skill set!
  • Hiring managers sometimes relax matching their needs and requirements! Often the requirements are “boilerplates”, job functions (or even the position itself) may change during the interview, skills are not prioritized, etc.
    Note that if the job description has too much fine-details, then the position might be a target req. (for someone who is already selected)!
  • Keyword-stuffing in resume leads to misunderstanding – massive use of keywords utilized by resume-screening applications may place a candid applicant in different categories. It might even make a skilled experience look over-stuffed!
  • Candidates are confused with multiple resumes and varied experience / responsibilities! Resumes must be prepared for at least a job-class / job-field, chronologically explained, with a short sales pitch atop (i.e. 1/2 or 1/3 page). Resume shall not be circulated online! Send resumes to recruiters that you know.
  • Professional and experienced managers pay more attention to skill-set; they screen-in, not screen-out!
  • The best strategy is using personal networks. Quarry your contact list; old friends, professional contacts from past, contacts of friends, and whomever you may find with links to the hiring organization / manager.
  • Note that recruiters are on the hook as well. As a candidate, we shall craft our resume for the position (without fraud and scam a skill with no experience!)

This list can go on and on! There are so many points that need to be expanded and thoroughly examined. However, there is a point that I would like to pause for a second, and that is the “discrimination” issue that one way or other we face it time to time! Without breach of legalities, as a technical professional with over twenty years of experience I am constantly compared to younger generations in many different ways (energy level, technical knowledge, offering hip solution to a problem, etc.)! Not crossing discriminatory line, an emigrant I have been dismissed due to accent in conversation – that is among engineers talking technical issues! Yet again, our elected officials are looking aboard for technical professionals to work her while we still have high percentage of unemployment!

I welcome any input to this short excerpt from any reader. Send your input or comment, please.

Up-ward and On-ward,
David

PS. This entry is posted on www.bakhtnia.com/blog/ as well.
May 30, 2008

Pictures and Web

Category: Life — admin @ 2:19 am

Heel hooking the start of an 5.11b/c

David asked me recently to add a picture of mine to our new website … but in most of my pictures I either lead-climb some trees to save scared kitties, either climbing some 5.11b/c … oh, well.

This is just a post-test - I promise, no more climbing/cycling news, no more pictures with cats!!!