September 5, 2017

PMO, Personality Types, Strategic/Tactical Agile; an Active Dialogue

Silicon Valley is the hub of innovative technologies and ideas to push boundaries. From novel technological advancement to collaborative production, San Francisco Bay Area incubates the forward-pushing human desires time-and-again!

I attend many professional gatherings and meet ups to meet and learn from experienced technical professionals whenever I have a chance. One of these small but highly thought-provoking is the PMO meetings of PMI-Silicon Valley chapter. Below are just a few points of interest among attendees of past couple of months:

- Based on Enneagram institute, considering nine (9) basic personality type people do not change from one basic personality type to another, even though not every description of the basic type applies to a person all the time. However, people do not accept or reject a behavioral model in its totality. Personality Types

- Agile way of accomplishing tasks is both strategic and tactical. From the planning of a software development lifecycle (strategic) to the alignment of cross functional team interacting to accomplish a set of tasks (tactical), Agile thinking and doing elevates both policies as well as methods. Applying Agile principles in our fast growing organizations is a testament of using the Agile models in both strategic planning as well tactical operations.

- Business Analysts analyze needs and define requirements (based on business needs). This set of activities help functional managers to align their (portfolio) needs. Project managers and scrum masters follow planned activities to motivate project team to execute and iteratively adapt to better creation of tools to overcome needs.

- Most hybrid method (with respect to PMOs) has been successful in many cases, especially when the C-level executives support them. This also may depend on the organizational structure (i.e. CIO & PMO inter-relations, etc.)

- The question is how to incorporate Agile into PMO? One may think that the PMO is whatever executives decide and dictate to execute! So their function is to respond to upper management needs.

Your comments and thoughts can help to better support our PMO community.

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.

May 12, 2016

How PMO can help SMB to streamline their operation?

Category: Management, Technologies — David @ 1:09 pm

What are the basic building blocks of PMO that could help small businesses to grow in the Internet era? I think the lack of appropriate fund, clear objectives, basics of applicable Project/Program Management (PM), as well as the absence of knowledge-matter expert/coach, or even missing support from senior management/owners add to the distancing of PMO and SMB! I think timely analysis of pain factors, formulating realistic plans, creating compelling tasks, implementing measurable solutions, reviewing and improving success factors, documenting lessons learned and retrospectives, simplifying complexities, and devising reusable procedures will go a long way ahead.

Some (PMO) are strong drivers, like Steve Jobs and Elan Mask as technical drivers who push for design and functionalities while leading to the next vision of products and market place. But I wonder how PMO would fit into this picture where a single-or-two personalities drive! And then, how PMO can have any affect in this environment? Now the question is if senior executives have any belief to support PMO in their organization! PMO is doomed to fail if executive sponsors do not trust and enforce their functionalities. This is the same with “Agile” method of doing business- the method will not succeed if executive-agilest(s) not on-board! PMO may work better in a centralized or governmental structure. How about in a smaller structure like an IT consulting/engineering practice, an automotive servicing firm, or a mid-size pharmaceutical business?

Even though (I think) PM is a strong driver of innovation, organization, and fast delivery of clean products, it is fair to say that a few Small/Medium Business (SMB) owners may perceive a project manager as an expensive cost or even a sort of road blocking factor (a bureaucrat!)

I think any business regardless of their size needs to apply improved practices into their business procedures.  Lean Process and a strategy of continuous improvement will play an important role at the center of business activities (as well as change management and business transformation). Having a single point of contact and focal-point for all projects will ensure effective prioritization and coordination during projects lifecycle, as well as improving internal communications.

PMO and project governance is not just for IT departments and high tech industries (with urgency and needs for prioritization of tasks)! Greater visibility of projects across the organization will help to avoid duplication, to enhance communications, internal awareness of the quality work in a timely manner and within their projected cost scheme.

Any small business owner craves to add discipline and structure to their operation and embrace end-result (increase Profits & control Loss). Any relevant process that can be applied to business processes to increase quality of products/services, contain and learn from associated risks, bring excellence to operations, devise consistent use of resources, employ the best use of computing technology, and plan process monitoring scheme in order to increase profit and organizational size organically. And these all can be effortlessly modeled using quantifiable results applicable to many projects within the organization.

Keeping these in mind, I am in the process of creating a small PMO to one of my small business clients where we are creating and practicing processes and documenting know-hows as we are planning for rapid business growth. I am using Agile (Kanban) method of performing tasks with built-in quality, reduced cost, and increased productivity engineered into our plan.

I will report our progress in some detail in my later blogs. Please stay tuned!

July 14, 2013

Installing Sugar Community Edition on Ubuntu server

Category: Technologies — David @ 6:51 pm

This is shortened steps to install Sugar Community Edition on Ubuntu server. This installation assumes a prepare server (Apache, MySQL, PHP, and all other modules) are already installed and configured.

  1. Open a shell access to your server (putty!?) and login with root access.
  2. Got to the domain / directory where you want to install Sugar, create a tmp directory and download it from Sugarforge;
    sudo wget http://www.sugarforge.org/frs/download.php/10551/SugarCE-6.5.14.zip
  3. Unzip the file, move the entire content to the CRM folder of your domain structure, and remove left-over files/folders;
    unzip SugarCE-6.5.14.zip
    mv * /var/www/vhosts/YourDomain.com/public/CRM/
    rmdir SugarCE-Full-6.5.14/
    rm SugarCE-6.5.14.zip and
    rmdir tmp
  4. Open a web browser and go to your SugarCRM folder where you have all files. This will open the web wizard of SugerCE installation process to continue. Accept license agreement and click on next buttons to direct the installation to use installed Apache, MySQL, PHP, and needed modules.
  5. Provide database information and continue
    NOTE: I got an error (The provided database host, username, and/or password is invalid…) then I changed host name to 127.0.0.1, and continued!
  6. Follow the rest of the installation. For English you do not need to upload any language package. Register the product and finalize installation with date type and SMPT credential, etc.

Congratulation on your new Customer Relationship Management System.

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.
July 13, 2009

Word-of-Mouth, web 2.0, Technology and your business reputation

I was reading an article [1] about Word-of-Mouth driving more clients to our small businesses, and how we can take advantage of the Internet. The article highlights benefits of online reputation of dentists and how to leverage Internet technology to build online recognition. The author mainly pointed out advantages of search engines; in particular Google, and its “relevant keyword positioning” to bring reputable professionals on search results. Unlike its heading, there was little mention of Online Social Networking Communities as promotional vehicles!

Building a successful professional recognition on the Internet is only achievable if we correctly use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques. This is just half-way through our action. The other half depends on how we utilize relevant social-networking communities on the Internet to build our recognition. To me these two points are two faces of the same coin; If both actions are not taken concurrently, we can not expect an optimal result.

Be aware that no single solution is applicable to every business. Each business has its own Search Engine Optimization proceeding. Also, individual business entities have created their own social-networking communities on the Internet. Softinet, Inc. has been providing customized marketing solutions since 2000. We have track record of multiple Return on Online Investment (ROI).


[1] Word-of-Mouth 2.0: Gain New Patients With Your Online Reputation”; By Dr. Lorne Lavine, published on Sidekick, Summer 2009

June 18, 2008

Part1: HTTPRequest - setting up the object

Category: Ajax, Technologies — Corina @ 11:14 pm

Ajax (asynchronous javascript and XML) is a group of inter-related web dev techniques used for creating web applications. Few major benefits are: usability, separation of data, format, style and function; request and send data to the server without reloading the page, by using http requests.
If you want to know how Ajax become part of the web, checkout this extremelly interesting post, The birth of AJAX - an amazing story.
The XMLHttpRequest object is supported by Internet Explorer 5.0+, Safari 1.2, Mozilla 1.0 / Firefox, Opera 8+, and Netscape 7.
Create the object

function getXMLHttpObject()

{
var xmlHttp;
try{//mozzila, firefox, opera
xmlHttp = new XMLHttpRequest();
}
catch(e){//ie6+
try{
xmlHttp = new ActiveXObject("Msxml2.XMLHTTP");
}
catch(e){
try{//ie. 5
xmlHttp = new ActiveXObject("Microsoft.XMLHTTP");
}
catch(e){
alert("your browser does not support ajax");
return false;
}
}
}
return xmlHttp;
}

xmlHttp = new getXMLHttpObject();

The XMLHTTPRequest object has
Methods:

  • xmlHttp.abort() - abort/cancel all activity and reset the object
  • xmlHttp.getAllResponseHeaders() - returns all headers in a single string
  • xmlHttp.getResponseHeader(header) - takes as param an http header (string) and returns the value of the given header
  • xmlHttp.open(method, uri, [assync flag, username, password]) - method - GET/POST, uri , flag - true or false [true if omited], username and password null if omited; this method is calling the server and does not return any value
  • xmlHttp.send(param) - data to be transmited to the server; xmlHttp.send() same as invoked with null xmlHttp.send(null); does not return a value; if send is invoked with parameters, the content type has to be set up before via setRequestHeader
  • xmlHttp.setRequestHeader(header, value)
    - create or change a header

Attributes::

  • xmlHttp.onreadystatechange - of type Event Handler
  • xmlHttp.readyState - the status of the request
    • 0 = uninitialized
    • 1 = loading
    • 2 = loaded
    • 3 = interactive
    • 4 = complete
  • xmlHttp.responseText - server’s response as a string; the ready state value has to be 3 or 4
  • xmlHttp.responseXML - dom compatible xml data; ready state must be 4[otherwise is null]
  • xmlHttp.status - numaric value of the server status [i.e. 404]
  • xmlHttp.StatusText - text value of the server status [i.e. not found]