Friday, December 12, 2014

3 essential meetings for projects

When running a successful project getting the balance of meeting right is essential. 
Three essential meetings that need to be in the calender are
1. Project progress review meeting
2. Risk review meeting
3. Change control review meeting

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

4 things to do to prevent performance failure

A common issue where I work is buying Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) software then finding that when it goes live that it crawls along like a tortoise. The promises of the vendor just don't get realized.

As a project manager system performance is a risk that should be in the risk register. Based on my experience it has a high likelihood of occurrence and can cause significant delays in roll out or adoption.

Knowing the risk is only 10% of the battle. the other 90% is what you're going to do about it.

My top 4 recommendations for managing performance risk

  • Ensure the system architecture is adequate. this comes down to the right number of CPUs, disks, memory. Also ensure you have expansion option.
  • Before you buy, audit the testing done by the supplier. Ensure they have performance requirements written down and that the system has been tested against them.
  • Write performance requirements into the acceptance criteria of the contract. Be extremely clear what the requirement is and that you wont be paying unless you meet the requirements.
  • Perform technical due diligence. Get software installed and load test it. Use inspection tools to evaluate have efficiently it communicates, such as chattiness and packet size.

Monday, September 15, 2014

the best productivity app youre not using

There is a great little app called trello which used the Kanban idea of work flow from lean manufacturing.  
what i like about this app is that you can split your tasks  so that you have a separate task board per project and tasks within a board can be sub categorised too.
As each task moves from not started to in progress to done they task notes can move left to right on the board.

remember if you use this to minimise Muda (waste) and limit the items of work in progress.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Why no one responds to your email part 2

Last time i discussed content in the email, this time i'd like to touch on the subject line.
Here is my basic rule

Have one!

Now we've got that out of the way we can add a little finess

* think about putting techy terms in ways that are meaningful to the recipient
* add a topic keyword so it can be easily filtered like on the old discussion group days
* what kind of mail is it, request for info, something that requires action etc.

So a typical subject line might look like..

Info Req - BigLabs Project - network data load

You can then get even smarter by sealing some tricks from bloggers and clickbait by creating provocative headlines to encourage people to open your mail. Check out huffington post for some examples.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Why no one responds to your email

I often get asked by people who i coach, why no one responds to my email. Given that we tend to work in a virtual world we tend to rely on email as a mass communication. On any given day i get get over a hundred emails and I'm not even famous. So the issues becomes, why is your particular email so much more important that the hundreds of others that I'm going to take time to respond.
Assuming that you've got a decent subject header, more on that another time, then there is a reasonable formula you can follow.

Provide evidence of similarity or social connection, eg a mutual problem or contact
Understand the recipients point of view, eg why its in their interest to respond
Why ere they selected, eg a bit of flattery if they're an expert
Be familiar with the subject/topic that the mail is about. No one whats to reply to a mail if the sender has shown no effort to research, you might even get an RTFM response 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Smart advertising

When did online advertising get smart?

Ok maybe ive just ignored what was obvious for some time, but it now is jumping out at me where ever i go in the virtual world.

There was once a time when i'd visit a web site and be bombarded with adverts for random stuff like watches and supplements. All could be safely ignored.

Today i notice that on several websites ive visited toay that i get the same oliver sweeny advert. Nice shoes i think, especially since i was perusing their sale just days ago. So there you go tempation. Its a good job I'm skint post christmas.

It does provide a new opportunity for shoulder surfing though, the adverts we see could reveal our furtive behaviours.

Is anything private anymore?