19 Aug

In Technology Projects, technical managers can perform far better! What is your opinion?

As per me in the current technology world, managers with strong technology background are more equipped to challenge teams to higher productivity levels and lead by example. I have been watching this and trying to gather data for myself from all different clients and offices I have worked in last few years. Everywhere I have seen that managers with strong technology background have more hold on the project and are more clear in their communication as they know what exactly is going in the team. From team’s side they know that there is a place they can go in hour of need hence leading to better relationship with the Manager.

This is my opinion, what is yours?

Let me ask the question again:

06 Aug

Innovation moving EAST

After reading an article on “3D Express Coach” (also called a “three-dimensional fast bus”) that will allow cars less than 2 meters high to travel underneath the upper level carrying passengers at Huffington post today I am enough motivated to think and write on this good aspect of the moving East.

Few years ago as a kid I always saw my elders (parents, relatives, friends) all running in the race to exist. Majority of the population in India was a part of the survival game only. I belong to the City Beautiful, Chandigarh in India where bicycles and scooters used to rule the road while cars were only reserved for the rich/government and the government drivers. As most of the population was all trying to make both ends meet and finally may have some small house to call of their own; only rare could think of innovation. But today things have totally changed! With the changes has come lot of good and long lasting developments.

A year ago I was reading an article in one of the famous journal (I don’t remember the name) which published that in next 50 years the innovation ground will slowly and slowly move to the East to countries like India and China. These countries will become the breeding ground of new breathtaking inventions. Being a part of the economic and social growth of these countries I very well understood why the author (he was some American economist) was saying this. The economic growth that these countries have seen in last few years because of the offshoring industry is mammoth. The economic growth has contributed a lots of positive to social, infrastructure and mental growth too. All this is leading to more on entrepreneur and innovation mindset development.

India is changing, I noted.

Pradeep Gupta, CEO of Cybermedia and president of TiE Delhi, concurs: “I have been talking on entrepreneurship at various colleges for the last two decades. I always ask a question: How many of you want to be entrepreneurs?” he says. “Earlier, maybe 5% [of] hands went up; today a quarter of the class raises their hands.”


Two of the key factors that have contributed to this development are:

  • Capital has become more accessible and with the advent of internet the ways to implement ideas has really become simpler. Finding a funding has really become easier. I remember how my friend was able to get a funding of 5 crore (.5 billion USD) for one of our projects in India about 5 years ago in approx 30 days. Companies and Individuals are becoming wealthier. More and more individuals are coming out of survival mode into expansion mode. Now the thought process is on how to participate in the expansion rather than sitting on the corners and enjoying the mediocre life.
  • “Necessity is the mother of all inventions”: Population problem is the biggest problem in these countries and also it is the biggest advantage. Because of the stress on resources everyone is being forced to think differently. Think in a way how the life can be improved using the same set of resources.

05 Aug

Journey to be a PMP was 10 days long!

I have been reading various forums for a long time and finally decided to get PMP done few weeks ago. Here is my schedule of action with exact dates on my journey for the project management certification:

August 19 2010:::: Enrolled for the PMStudy class for PMP in Milwaukee, WI, USA

August 20 2010:::: Not yet started the online study material for PMP

August 21 2010:::: Started with the online study material for PMP exam. The only thing I did that day was to memorize the process chart and the formulas provided by PMStudy. (Excellent chart from PMStudy)

August 22, 2010:::: Practiced the process chart only once

August 23, 2010: PMStudy class 8 AM to 6 PM (I had an excellent coach, Mr.Mike Tomaszewski , PMP. Learning was fun!), followed by 3 hrs of study at home (same as taught in class and few practice tests provided in the course)

August 24, 2010:::: PMStudy class 8 AM to 6 PM, followed by 3 hrs of study at home (same as taught in class and few practice tests provided in the course). I am excited to become PMP certified.

August 25, 2010:::: PMStudy class 8 AM to 6 PM

August 26, 2010:::: PMStudy class 8 AM to 3 PM, followed by 5 hrs of study at home (all processes and few practice tests provided in the course)

August 27, 2010:::: Reread all the important as marked as instructed by Mike in the PMStudy book. Took 2 practice test ( 200 question, provided by PMStudy). Practiced the Process Chart and formulas 2 times. Checked ITTOs for Risk, Procurement and Quality. Watched a movie.

August 28, 2010:::: Took 1 practice test ( 200 question, provided by PMStudy). Practiced the Process Chart and formulas 1 time. Checked ITTOs for Risk, Procurement and Quality once again. Watched a 2 movies (1 in noon and 1 evening!@home). Got to bed at 10 (As advised by Mike and PMStudy, 12 hrs rest and no study before the exam)

August 29, 2010: Reached the Prometric testing center @ 8:45 AM. Test started at 9:30, completed 1st round with 75 marked for review in 2:15. Then took 1:15 to review all 75 and finally the rest of the time to re-review the marked ones that I was super confused about. System had to force time out for me :o) and then the blank screen came

04 Aug

Managing Effectively, Yourself First!

Leadership is all by example and that is what I have understood and learnt till now. Starting in childhood at the age of 6 or 7 years, the first time my teacher choose me to be a class monitor and then when the college election parties used to win me over for their campaign so that they can win my block and now while leading multiple teams with vivid roles and responsibilities in the corporate world this is what I have learnt again and again. The biggest chapter in leadership I have learnt comes from my association with the spiritual path I follow (http://knowthyselfassoul.org). While doing social work there I have leaded more than 300 people who all are voluntaries. In my personal experience working with voluntary is far tougher as they have no fear of getting FIRED. With my age and the number I lead it was a personal achievement for me. But it was all too easy as I always practiced “LEAD BY EXAMPLE”. Hence I have always started everything from myself!

One of the key items I have seen people discussing most of the times and especially managers is “effective management”. As a manager we all love to talk about this again and again to our teams but we are most of the times aware that we lack it ourselves. I am sure if we know our teams are also aware of the lacunae and hence our teams don’t take this subject seriously. As I cannot fool myself always I have tried to find out ways to self improve but it all starts by identifying what is going wrong, which is the most difficult part. It is extremely hard for anyone to find own mistakes and this has been a challenge for me also. With time and practice I have learnt that if we do a self introspection regularly we can surely find some indicators that point us to the problems. What I have learnt with my personal experience that always indicate me for a time to improve my management efficiency:

  • The number of disagreements with your team are increasing (disagreements may never be close to zero)
  • Delivery is late or it never happened.
  • We delivered but it is of no use (I know you got it :o)
  • You sit late in office
  • Your team is spending too many extra hours
  • Many of the team members are leaving
  • Your team members suddenly started becoming more aggressive in behavior
  • Etc.

I knew just like me you will also say that there are many other factors too. I agree! But we (managers) are also a factor among all others. Just spend time alone and ask yourself for an answer every time this thing happens. In my personal humble experience we managed something in an inefficient manner that we are facing these issues today or will face them tomorrow. I very well remember few years ago while working in India how working late become a fashion and than a habit. The team used to work late; after starting the day late we used to have more than 6-7 tea/smoke brakes, a lunch and a long walk brake followed by some gossips. The day used to start everyday in actual at 3PM (till 4 some meetings here and there :o) and then go to home at 11 PM or late. Most of us will fire this down as more like just a team problem but in actual it was not. It was all supported by the manager as we were accompanied by every time. Finally as this was a habit it never died but the team died and many carried the habit to other groups.

“Effects live far longer than the act” hence I personally believe that as the charity begins at home so does the effective management!