Posted by iammarchhare on 4 September 2009
I came across Kate Phillips article on “Why Entrepreneurs Rule the World”, and I wanted to share it with you in parting. It’s a little long (but not any longer than some of mine🙂 ), but well worth a read. An excerpt:
Once upon a time… the world was full of small business people and independent entrepreneurs. Every town had a butcher, a baker, and a candlestick maker. A blacksmith, a barber, and a farmer (or two). A shepherd, a weaver, and a preacher. There were no factories, no corporations, and… no employees.
One thing is clear to me: no matter what rung of the ladder you are on, jobs are going out of style. Fast.
For years now, the trend has been away from hiring employees and towards hiring independent contractors. Why? Huge savings in benefits, also huge savings in waste. Rather than paying for people’s time, contracts allow employers to pay for the *result* they want. Deliver this, we’ll pay you “X.”
…We’ve put our faith and trust in the wrong places, counting on an employer or a company to sustain us, when we should have been developing our own value in the market place. We can no longer count on jobs to sustain us, rescue us, or bail us out. Employers are doing their best to keep their own head above water, do not count on them to rescue you.
In case you didn’t get the memo: Jobs are Dead.
…Two years ago I attended an orientation at my daughter’s high school. One teacher spoke about “how we’re going to help your children prepare for the job market.” They would learn to write resumes and cover letters, fill out applications and interview for jobs.
I inquired afterwards what was being done to prepare kids for a world in which jobs are going away. What do the kids learn about businesses? About self-employment options? Is there a class teaching entrepreneurial skills? Could I volunteer in such a class?
You could well imagine the response from the teachers. Of course, no one has trained them to think this way either. We’ve all been brainwashed into believing that there is a job “out there”. There are opportunities “out there”. However, it is up to each of us to take ahold of our destinies and our lives and move on in a new economy.
It is not an economy of our own making. However, opportunities rarely are of one’s own making. Rather, opportunities present themselves and we either jump on them or let them pass on by.
Me? I’m moving!
Posted in Consulting, Economy, Employment | Tagged: Consulting, contracting, contractors, Employment, entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship, jobs, recession, self-employment | 2 Comments »
Posted by iammarchhare on 3 September 2009
Being a project manager is walking a fine line. Many mistake project management for doing EVM, making a schedule, filling out a charter, and so on. These are functions of a PM, but they are not the most important.
TechRepublic posted “Managing innovative projects: Don’t mistake the map for the journey” by Rick Freedman. Freeman writes about these paper pushers who “manage” projects:
When I teach project management, I often draw a distinction between project managers and project bureaucrats. We’ve all had encounters with project managers who turned into bureaucrats. Project bureaucrats are more interested in ensuring that every step of the methodology is applied and every line of every form is filled in than in what’s actually happening on the ground. On the other hand, it’s common to meet project managers who apply minimal project methodology, yet, through their expert use of relationships and personal interactions, always seem to know exactly where the project stands.
He goes on to give an excellent example of a project failure. That is, it was a bureaucratic failure. Yet, the product was an ultimate success. The product was the film Titanic.
So, how does he view being innovative while still maintaining project discipline? You’ll need to read his article to find out.
Posted in Agile, Leadership, PM Basics | Tagged: Agile, information technology, it pm, product, project failure, project management, titanic | 1 Comment »
Posted by iammarchhare on 2 September 2009
I have posted an article about yesterday’s “Gmail Outage & Cloud Computing” on my new blog. You certainly need to consider outages as an identified risk for cloud computing and develop appropriate service level agreements (SLAs).
Posted in Risk Management | Tagged: client-server, cloud computing, gmail, google, information technology, it pm, mitigations, outage, project management, risks | Comments Off on Cloud Computing Risks
Posted by iammarchhare on 2 September 2009
One of the best explanations I’ve seen yet of Agile is the article “10 Key Principles of Agile Software Development” over all All About Agile. Not only does the author give a good summary of some key concepts, but also some of the variations, including the original DSDM.
Posted in Agile, Software | Tagged: information technology, it pm, project management, software development | Comments Off on What Is Agile Software Development?
Posted by iammarchhare on 1 September 2009
Over at Agile Chronicles, Mike Cottmeyer posted “Handling Support on Agile Teams”, but as even he himself says, “This is a problem not unique to agile teams. Software organizations have been struggling with this one for years.”
Indeed, he is most correct. How to account for time dedicated to support once the code is out in the open? I have noticed, though, that the more seasoned the team, both as individuals and as a unit, the less defects are likely to be produced. Yes, experience is the best teacher, but it isn’t necessarily the most efficient one.
Cottmeyer lists 3 options for dealing with defects. Each has its strengths and weaknesses. Personally, I think a lot on the exact method you pick is going to have a lot to do with the overall environment, the types and number of current projects and the overall effectiveness of the developers. I use “effectiveness” as not only productivity, but experience level and ability to task switch.
That last point should not be underrated. The ability of any individual to multitask is going to have a profound effect upon the duration and quality of their work.
However, here are some other factors to keep in mind:
- Responsibility. How often is Jane going to fix John’s code without resentment building up? Is John mature enough to at least accept responsibility for his mistake and learn from it?
- Amount and severity of defects. Some defects can wait. Are you getting an abnormal number of defects? Of course, you’ll need some type of historical data to go on, but if there are an abnormal number, it might be time to do a triage or at least a special after action review.
- Corrective to preventative measures. It isn’t enough to just fix the immediate problem, but for the team to learn how to avoid it next time.
- Seniority mix of the team. I have long argued that you want to avoid all junior developers for a team. However, you also want to avoid all senior developers on a team. You want a mix, but no more than 50% new developers and no less than 50% experienced ones. Why? Because you need mentoring, coaching and the examples of the senior developers to grow the junior ones. However, an injection of new ideas is not a bad thing, either. Not only that, but a team of all senior developers can become an ego party. Frankly, it is not the most efficient way to get work done, and neither is it all that entertaining.
One of the key requirements of being a manager, but especially a project manager, is flexibility. How you deal with defects will test your skills and bend you out of shape if you allow it.
Posted in Software | Tagged: bugs, defects, information technology, it pm, project management, remediation, support, warranty | Comments Off on “We Found a Bug!” How Should Support Be Handled?
Posted by iammarchhare on 31 August 2009
ZD Net reported on 24 August that “55,000 Web sites hacked to serve up malware cocktail”. Many of these were legitimate web sites that had been hacked.
Individuals and organizations alike cannot afford the exposure being risked by not doing proper security updates. Also, proper protection by a reliable (which does not necessarily mean name brand or expensive) antivirus program is a real necessity. The types of attacks seem to be on a steady increase, and it is not likely to become a safer cyberworld very soon.
ZDNet only confirms what I’ve seen myself:
The most common programs under attack include Adobe Flash, Adobe PDF Reader, Apple’s QuickTime, WinZip and RealPlayer. In addition to Microsoft Windows patches, these desktop applications should be updated to the newest version immediately.
Posted in Mostly off-topic rambling rabbit holes | Tagged: hacked sites, information technology, malware, spyware, trojans, viruses, web surfing | Comments Off on More Web Sites Hacked
Posted by iammarchhare on 27 August 2009
In case you missed the comment, The Corporate Sleuth over at the Survive and Thrive in the Corporate World blog posted “Myth: Loser Projects are for Losers“. The author makes a decent case that the “black hole” projects give you a chance to showcase your PM skills.
Yet, the main issue I see is that you usually don’t get a whole lot of choice in the matter. It tends to be do or die, and sometimes you just pull the short straw. What I recommend in any event, on any project, good or bad, is to do your best. Like my father used to say, “If you did your best, then no one can claim you didn’t try.”
Posted in Troubled Projects | Tagged: it pm, PM Basics, project management, Troubled Projects | Comments Off on Taking Over the Loser Project
Posted by iammarchhare on 26 August 2009
Well, “Senator Edward Kennedy dies at age 77” reported Reuters via Yahoo! News this morning. Without a doubt, he was the most influential of the clan after the deaths of John and Robert and up until his own death. He had been suffering from brain cancer, diagnosed just a little over a year ago, May 2008.
Please forgive me for speaking in generalities. I’m posting the same article in both blogs today. Maybe it’s just because I feel a little older myself today, with the realization that even with the best of fortunes and the best of health, old age and death overcome us all at least once. However, as one door shuts, another one opens, and I believe that death is just the closing of a single door. Afterwards, another door opens. Some will have the door to eternal life opened and others will have their first real chance in a physical life in a much better world.
To a certain extent, you had to admire him. He became the leader of one the most well-known and influential families that ever existed. Many did not believe he was up to the task, and some did not even believe he deserved it. However, he was able to overcome many obstacles along the way.
I definitely did not agree with many of Mr Kennedy’s ideas. As the Reuters article wrote:
Yet during his nearly half century in the chamber, Kennedy became known as one of Washington’s most effective senators, crafting legislation by working with lawmakers and presidents of both parties, and finding unlikely allies.
At the same time, he held fast to liberal causes deemed anachronistic by the centrist “New Democrats,” and was a lightning rod for conservative ire.
Of course, his life was not without its own share of controversy, especially the Chappaquiddick incident. Even more controversial might have been the slap on the wrist treatment for what these days would amount to a felony.
Be that as it may, it remains to be seen what the new generation of Democrats will do from here. There are signs that President Obama has lost his luster, but that was inevitable given the expectations many, not a few but many, had of him. He is still popular and could well remain so. However, the results of some of his policies have a potentially crippling effect, and neither party really seems to have the ability to come up with real long-term solutions.
There were odd statements and many jokes about who was running the Republican party a few months ago. Well, as of today, the Democratic party has one less leader, and it is one less leader in a branch that Mr Obama really needs right now. Who will emerge to be take Mr Kennedy’s place in the Senate? Can anyone really fill his shoes?
Posted in Mostly off-topic rambling rabbit holes | Tagged: brain cancer, dead, death, democratic party, democrats, off-topic, senate, ted kennedy | Comments Off on Goodbye, Mr Kennedy