My life at work - the trials & tribulations!!

The Project Manager & his team

10:59 PM
The fate of a Project Manager...
But this is generally what happens. Somehow this always happens to "ME" - not as in ME but as in the individual PM.

Then there is that thing about TRAINING. You can give it - I can take it - but dat don't mean that I retain it buster.
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Getting Christmassy @ work

2:26 AM
There's nothing like putting up your work shoes for a bit and doing the one thing we all like - enjoy!!

Senior Management Review - Ajay & Kala

Intelligent people - after coming 2nd at Dumb Charades
There are others more Intelligent than us

3 Legs are always faster than 2

Yes - I'm on a vacation from tomorrow <Kala on the Phone>

6 Ladies & a Man. Interesting equation...

Laugh it up girl !!!!

I want to shoot myself. That's the Teams' Christmas gift


Merry Christmas!!

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Lemon Juice and Project Management

11:07 PM
The local bar was so sure that its bartender was the strongest man around that they offered Rs 10,000 bet.
The bartender would squeeze a lemon until all the juice ran into a glass, and hand the lemon to a patron. Anyone who could squeeze one more drop of juice out would win the money. Many people like weightlifters, wrestlers, body builders, etc had tried over time, but nobody could do it.
One day this scrawny little man came in, wearing thick glasses and a safari suit, and said in a tiny, squeaky voice, "I'd like to try the bet." After the laughter had died down, the bartender said OK, grabbed a lemon, and squeezed away. Then he handed the wrinkled remains of the rind to the little man. But the crowd's laughter turned to total silence as the man clenched his fist around the lemon and 5-6 drops fell into the glass. As the crowd cheered, the bartender paid the Rs 10,000, and asked the little man, "What do you do for a living? Are you a lumberjack, a weightlifter, or what?" "No," replied the man.

"I work as a project manager in a software company!"

Am i getting this wrong - or are the Project managers really that bad...??? Me being one myself.

PS: This was sent to me by one of my Instructional Designers... Didn't know she felt that way
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Shifting Paradigms!!!

5:27 AM
A close friend of mine is an intimate confidant of Dilbert.
He's stratified management into layers - based on knowledge levels and application of the same. We call him
Johnny Gyaani
I took a cue from him and decided to move up his Management ladder.
This meant that I was to be in a position to disburse knowledge to the unwilling masses.

These Management types keep talking of a "paradigm shift" like paradigms were going out of fashion.
There is a new approach to the way we do things - or is it?

Paradigm, much like the cry of "wolf" in the folk tale of the shepherd boy who took that liberty too often, has been applied wantonly to the extent, that when a real paradigm shift looms on the horizon it meets a jaded acceptance.

Real paradigms are not about technologies or products. Maybe it's just the way we perceive things.

They define how we prioritize issues and the approach to be adopted when solving problems and activities. Basically they form the fabric of our view of reality.

It is not the paradigm that causes change. Change forces us to alter our paradigm of what is real and how to measure it.

This is not the slow process of evolution - either you "get it" or you "don’t".
The change is similar to the light bulb - getting switiched on - instantaneous.

Paradigms shift, like tectonic plates, from one perspective to another.
They also cause earthquakes when they shift.

One field where I think we go through a Paradigm shift ever so often is Communication.
Remember the time when telephones were scarce, letters travelled via the friendly neighbourhood postal service. Today we have the intranet internet,extranet and what have you. Linear systems have given way to the distributed system where barriers are down.

This has led to a paradigm shift in Decision making systems. The spread of communication systems gives us data points to infer from and decide thereon.

Success and it's synonyms have also transformed thanks to this shift. It is not so much as doing one thing right. It's about successfully managing parts of the whole to ensure a win and continuity of the business order.

So an Earthquake can contribute to success :-)
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Active Learning Ideas

6:13 AM
I've talked about the Ideation process in a previous blog entry - IDEAS!

Constructing Ideas is not half as challenging as actually implementing them. I mean - drawing a Car with an improved Exhaust system is so much easier than actually getting to drive the same car !!
Let's assume we have to teach something new. Someone has got to come up with an innovative idea to teach anew. To do this successfully we've got to understand interference and consolidation.
  • The former refers to the degrading effect that new learning has on old learning: try to cram too many topics into one class and the new topics will be detrimental to retention and understanding of the earlier material.
  • Consolidation refers to the capacity of our brains to capture and structure new learning without making that conscious effort. If you want your students to internalize new concepts well, you should ensure that they have ample breaks (in class and out of class) in which their brains are not engaged in challenging tasks.

We would want to promote Active Learning in the classroom, Several approaches are possible.

These are not all MY ideas - but I had an idea that would them place all in One place for easy retrieval.

  • Creation and fostering of in-class teams
  • Think-pair-share
  • Cooperative note taking
  • Guided reciprocal peer questioning (kinda like passing the parcel around)
  • Team writing assignments
  • Problem-solving learning (works well for adult learner groups)

They've all been there - done that!!! Which ones do you think would work best?

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Bossa Nova

7:57 PM
If you've ever felt your heart skip a beat after being screamed at by your boss, it may be more than just your imagination. Put another way, caustic, abrasive, and overbearing bosses just might be taking years off their employees' lives - Our lives!!!

I haven't been around for too long in the Workspace - but I've had my share of bosses. They've always helped me learn - good & bad. How to lead, manage, perform & how not to.

I will not talk about all of them here - just those who've made me think - in order of appearance.

Ranjit Kumar
Distinction: My boss during my marketing stint with LG in Pune.
Redeeming quality: Extremely Caring, had faith in the human spirit, Emotional bonding could prove to be his vulnerability.

Jatin Madan
Distinction: My boss during my Exports stint with LG inGreater Noida.
Redeeming quality: Extremely Hard working, reposed full faith & supported to the hilt. Wekaness is the tendency to get caught up in transactions rather than management.

Lydia Lobo
Distinction: My first boss at Lionbridge in Mumbai.
Redeeming quality: Hardworking, intelligent, good ideator. Not the best manager in town.

Vivek Sethi
Distinction: My boss at Lionbridge for the period that a lot of work happened.
Redeeming quality: Very intelligent, hardworking, always there on the ground, open management style. He's a sales guy in operations - hence the focus is fleeting and his interest in employee welfare is always doubted.

Rita Tiwari
Distinction: My boss for a very short period at Lionbridge. :-)
Redeeming quality: Hardworking - with no focus on where the work is going. Extremely short sighted. She's from another industry in another universe- not someone you'd ever want to work for. She's worked abroad for quite sometime now. It doesn't show.

Vikram Bhatia
Distinction: My last boss at LB
Redeeming quality: My favourite boss - if he'd come in a month earlier - I'd still be there!!

PS: These are all my personal opinions. So, if you need any specific advice - either write me or use alternative channels.
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7:25 AM
Ideas - especially the new ones - drive life!!!

How do we come up with new ideas & what do we do about them? I mean - I come up with new ideas each day (we all do) - just so difficult to collate them and do something about them.

It's vital to believe in the Practice of Ideas
This would involve identifying, advocating and then making them happen.

The first step in ideation is to identify an idea worth pursuing. Ideas don’t come pre-packaged; most of them are synthesized as multiple ideas and modified as per the need.
Rarely do we come up with REAL ORIGINAL IDEAS - they're original to the extent that the same ideas have not been tried in our operational areas.

Advocating the idea comes next - PACKAGING is extremely important here. The language of communication is an important aspect of how an idea is packaged in order to make it appealing and more likely to succeed. Two ways to do it - well packaged - sold to the world or financed out of your pocket!!! :-)
  1. Keep the message simple
  2. Understand the POT of GOLD at the end of the rainbow - just don't talk about it in such a way that Expectations are raised to that level. A truly radical idea is like a small child - give it time to develop and grow.
  3. Try and ideate the BIG idea into smaller ones - that's like smaller cogs on a gear system- the gears get into motion and then things begin to happen.
Advocating the idea ain't easy. There are sets of believers and the obverse. If you're working for someone - link the idea to something he/she believes in. That should ease the pressure when you go in for the kill. It also makes the idea easy to comprehend.

The challenge lies in getting the backing financial & human to implement. The business of implementation is less about ideas than about managing people, budgets, projects, and processes. There comes a time, when actions speak louder than words.

Different people feel differently about the execution of the ivory tower ideas.
The Ideas need to show a quick payoff;
A fast win may actually be a loss; major change involves working on foundations, which takes time;
Every idea needs an implementation plan if it’s going to go anywhere;
Experiment, then scale up - don't rush in;
At some point, you have to know when to get out of the way and let others execute. Parents must let the child grow up.
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Parameters for success

12:47 AM
We ususally measure Project success as a Satisfied customer who got what he/she wanted. We also did the Project at half the cost in 75% of the time allocated.

These are no doubt, important areas, but, are the result of doing other things well.

  • Aim of the project.Are we doing a design and building something, or we could describe the mission in terms of the overall value created for the customer. The latter one arises as the project arises and there are learnings. Even project missions can be expected to change over the project life. The customer learns, the team learns, circumstances change, and life happens.
  • The reliability of task completions. This is similar to the prince of Non-conformance
  • The learning curve and how we innovate across the PLC.
  • Are people growing in their roles?
  • Is the customer getting more value than expected?
Focus on the variables not just outcomes. That's called going back to basics.

The Big question still remains : Will this project finish as promised?
and the answer remains, "After you've done 90% of the project, you have the other 90% to do."
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12:36 AM
Managers are not the decision makers any m0re.
That's obsolete thinking - the way it used to be!!!

This paradigm is left over from when we believed the head is smarter than the body. The one person on top could tell the rest what to do.

It's time we gave up the notion that the head of the organization can control the extensive body of independent thinking and feeling human beings.

So what is it that managers could do in this parallell universe?
They could cultivate conditions or circumstances for performance.
  • Managers care for the promises to the customers,
  • the network of commitments for delivering on those promises,
  • and the well-being or futures of the people they manage.
Giving more importance to one over the other won't succeed in the long-run.
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The Day 0 syndrome

7:52 AM
What is it with the "first day thingy" ?
I am always nervous, butterflies all around and the like.

Today was no different.
I'm generally on tenterhooks for a few weeks - before I'm able to ease in and be part of something. It's not like I can get off the train and start running the 100 M dash off the platform.

Commuting in Delhi is not easy. 3 modes of transportation and 90 minutes later I was at work.
I did not know that Kalkaji was that difficult to get to.

The whole day at work (actually no work) just flew by - and at 6pm, I was on my way home.

Let's see what the future augurs. I hope, it augurs well.
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There's something about Raghu

7:56 AM

Raghunath Giliyaru

Age : 33 (approx - give or take 1 year)
Status : Very Happily married (when wife is in town)
Profession : Project Manager at Lionbridge
Pastimes : Yahoo Chat and Walks in the Sun (with u know who)
Special Asset: Very mischevious smile
Other PROs : Doesn't Drink, ensures he is home for lunch, works weekends, nice guy
All in all - he's a great guy to have around!!

Some snaps from his Office Routine...

Intensely Tense

Underhand dealings

That smile we mentioned a lil while back - this is it!!!

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A Historical Perspective - Unsolved crimes

7:55 PM
This is what could have happened.
Well - actuall these incidents did happen. They all happened to a gentleman by the name of Mr. Vivek Sethi.
I donot refer herein - to any particular individual - just the name as it comes up in the Google search. The links are given below for further reference.

Lawyer killed in mishap,Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, December 22Mr Vivek Sethi, an advocate at the Punjab and Haryana High Court, died here tonight after being run over by a vehicle in Sector 5. He was around 40 years old.Mr Sethi, a resident of Sector 7, was walking along with his wife, Manju, when the mishap took place. He was taken to the PGI, where he was declared brought dead.

Man killed, 2 abducted,Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, April 19A man was killed in a road accident, when the scooter he was pillion riding with his son was hit by a Ford car (DL-6CC-0800) near Punjab Engineering College, Sector 12 late last night.
The victim Om Prakash was declared as brought dead at the PGI at about 11: 54 pm. The driver of the car, Suraj Prakash Singh, was arrested under section 279, 337, 304-A of the IPC and was later released on bail.
Two AbductedA 17-year-old girl is alleged to have been abducted by Madan Singh Adhikari on April 15 from her residence in Burail. Another 17 year old girl was abducted by Vivek Sethi on April 18 from residence in Sector 23. In both the cases, complaints under sections 363 and 366 of the IPC have been registered.

Wonder if they ever got the second case solved???
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How to Kill a Lion..

4:08 AM
Cognizant Method:
hire a lion... ask him to stay for late nights but give him no work to do.
give him gobi 65 to eat again and again.
hire 100 more lions but do not increase the space to sit
give them same gobi 65 to eat
hire 200 more....... and more .......

TCS method:
hire a lion
give him hell a lot of work and pay him government salary
lion dies of hunger and frustration

Kanbay Method:
Hire a Cat;
give him a salary of a Lion...
Give him work of 3 Lions
Tell him to work late and even on weekends...
No time for food and family, automatically die

Infy method:
hire a lion and ask him to meow like a cat ..
he will die eventually of frustration...

IBM's metbod:
hire a lion,
give him a pink slip in an hour ...
he dies of unemployment...

Syntel Method:-
Hire a Cat ...
assure him that he will eventually become a Lion once he reaches onsite and make sure that he never reaches onsite.
Cat dies in hope of becoming a Lion....

MBT method:
hire the lion,
make him take 14 tests and tell him that if he doesn't score > 60% he will lose the job.
lion dies of the strain?

i-Flex method:
hire a lion???.oops cow, tell him he is a lion,
send him in African safari for implementing flexcube in god forbidden territories,
tell him if he comes alive he will get band movement (promotion)
holy cow dies in fear of the real lion

COSL Method:
hire a lion .. tell him to merge with Goats (polaris) and reduce his allowance...
lion dies from fear that tommorrow he might become a goat....

Polaris Method :
hire ..sorry....purchase a lion(COSL) ...
change his timings...(instead of 9 AM ...change it to 8:30 AM )
cut down his allowance (coupons etc)
lion dies from fear of becoming CAT.....

Silverline Method:
hire a lion, declare a scandal and dont pay him...
he dies of hunger...

Quinnox method:
hire the lion. either give him no work or ask for a premature delivery.
Lion either dies of boredom or intense physical & mental activity...

Patni method:
hire a lion, give him a salary of a cat...
the lion dies before joining....

Nucsoft method:
hire a lion,give him job of grass eating (IBBS Support)..
the lion dies from lack of eating meat...

Satyam method:
hire a lion,
give him net access.. no work.. and deport him to Chennai centre...
no water.. no electricity.. no hindi speaking ppl... lion dies in oblivion......

Wipro method:
hire a lion...
give him lots of work...
transfer him to Wipro Lights division..
lion dies due to Lightness...

Mastek method:
hire a lion...
ask him to align himself with anything and everything...
ask him to fill complicated competency forms...
differ increments and pay him salary of a cat...
lion dies due to fear of getting mis-aligned or starvation...

and finally - the billion $ question - How do they kill lions at Lionbridge?

what lions???
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The Final Round!!!

10:45 PM
There's a boxer in the red corner and one in the blue. Our HR department plays the refree.

Round 1 and Ms.B is calling the shots. She has things going her way because everybody is listening.

Round 2 and the crowd is fuming - she's going over the top. Her bashing is getting stronger. She doesn't play it subtle - always applying the right hook!

Round 3- people are up in arms. I protest!! The reporting shifts to Vikram. Breadth of fresh air. The one Sane person I can match. She hates me for being able to get away.

Round 4 - the exits begin. First the projects and then the people. I'm still there.

Round 5 - her bashing continues. The fight is getting ferocious. Now people do manage to stand up to her and say their piece. Pleas fall on deaf ears. Even the biggies don't listen. It seems like she has them wrapped around her fingers.

Round 6 - I'm outta here. NIIT, in fact, any place would be saner than this. I did spend 45 minutes in the HR dept - giving them my point of view.

The Final Round is still to be played out. Trust I have done my bit!!
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Playing Meeting - Meeting

12:12 AM
John shows the finger
Here's a collection of snaps taken during our various meetings. They're from the period March - November 2005.
Given the transient nature of this job - certain faces will vanish. There are however, a few pillars that never seem to fall... so hang on..... and enjoy the fun.

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The Life & Times of Ms.B

5:10 AM
I really wonder what makes her tick... or is she really thick?

She drives us nuts, as she opens her guts
So here's what I have to say to her. Please take your Pick.. all lines are applicable!!!

Hi there, I'm a human being!

What are you?I've seen more life in a down and out's vest

Save your breath...You'll need it to blow up your date.

Shouldn't you have a license for being that ugly?

Calling you an idiot would be an insult to all the stupid people.

Folk clap when they see you...but they clap their hands over their eyes.

You're about as much use as a Betamax videorecorder

All day I thought of you....I was at the zoo.

I'd love to ask how old you are, but unfortunately I know you can't count that high.

You should learn from your parents mistakes - try using some birth control.

If I was as ugly as you were, I wouldn't say Hi to folk, I'd say BOO!

You've got the perfect weapon against muggers - yer face.

I heard that you went to the haunted house and they offered you a job.

Listen, are you always this stupid or are you just making a special effort today?

Sure, I'd love to help you, which way did you come in?

Anybody who told you to be yourself simply couldn't have given you worse advice...

Why don't you slip into something more a coma.

I heard when you were a child your Mother wanted to hire someone to take care of you, but the Mafia wanted too much.

You must be an experiment in Artificial Stupidity.

You! Off my planet!

Whilst every girl has the right to be ugly, you seem to have abused that privelige!

I'd like to leave you with one thought...unfortunately I ain't sure you have anywhere to put it!

So now we know why some mammals eat their children...
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My Favourite "Smile" at work

1:27 AM

That's favourite smile at work!!!

She's the Skill Head for the Writing Team and one of my favourite persons at LB.

Her smile - when I get to see it - is the brightest one around.

I'm gonna miss her at NIIT.
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Evening Meetings

11:07 PM
I'm sitting in a meeting - Thursday 10th Nov .

This is getting on my nerves. All the ranting is making me jumpy.
Vivek is exercising his boss' privilege to the hilt. He is going on and on and on.

My sleep is catching up with me now. I haven't slept for 39 hours now. I simply don't have the patience to endure the torture any more of this. Ms.B is enjoying it - like in a trance or something.

We just got off a client call - and after that the ranting is taking its toll!!!

No solutions - just the talk :-(
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My Last working weekend at LB (Hopefully)!!

12:24 AM
Yeah - I certainly hope so.
We're doing the testing for one of my projects today. A lot of it should be done.
Then the handoff to MS late next week.

I hope to be down in Nagpur next weekend spending quality time with my lady. The weekend after that to pack up and start the transportation. Then I'm home!!!

We're supposed to get the Saturdays and Sundays off from work.
I've spent more than 45 days of the 104 allotted holidays at work, in the last year. Speaks a lot for my hard work or inefficient work, as the case may be. Project commitments require us to use the weekends to play catch up. Nobody likes it - but that's the way it is.
Our focus has always been on making that delivery - it's never been the people. I am as much to blame for that as the Powers above me. Things will not change here - I know that for a fact - unless we have no projects at all. That again will not happen - so happy workin' folks!!!
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Interesting work acronyms

12:24 PM

Another Fucking Learning Opportunity. The project post mortem

Asshole Of The Year Award.Lots of contenders for this one. Wonder who should get it - old age or continued failures.

A Kick Up The Arse.What i'd like some of my vendors to be.

Bankrupt Unemployed Rejected Person. Another one for the vendors.

All Talk No Action. Definitely the trait for members higher in the value chain.

Absent Without Leave. This is what i'd like to be. Only problem is that i have way too many leaves available.

Brain Dead User. The HR department

Big Hairy-Arsed Goal. The polite version 'Big Hairy Audacious Goal' doesn't have quite the same ring to it (no pun intended).

Can't Add, Doesn't Even Try. We know who this is - righhtttt - challenged with numbers

Boss Is A Twat. No nonsense here... one of the more direct modern workplace acronyms.

Before My Time. This is the feeling when you clean up someone elses shit.

Bitch, Moan and Whine/Whinge. Behaviour that can be exhibited by a group when stressed, demotivated or unhappy with their situation.

Bend Over, Here It Comes Again. Every new project.

Can't Remember A Fucking Thing.

Frequently Outwitted By Inanimate Objects. I know a male program manager who wins this one hands down.

Do I Look Like I Give A Flying Fuck? Gimme 2 weeks and hear me say this - aloud!!!

Fart In A Trance. Every organization has a person who seems to be perpetually in FIAT mode. Most of us experience being in this state at least a couple of times a week, especially Mondays after heavy weekend, or while captive in corporate presentations or boring training sessions.

Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition. My state of mind a month ago.

Garbage Made Carefully. Some of the work we get from our vendors.

I Blame Microsoft. Our favourite line at work - literally!!!

Just Too Fucking Late. Amusing acronym for what happens when JIT fails to work properly.

Mediocrity, Ego, Limits, Vanity, Incompetence, Name-calling. The traits required to get to the top

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The journey continues

8:50 PM
My "operations " experience is gonna get enhanced.
I'm on my way to a new organization now.

The invitation is in - and i have accepted.
So - here I come!!!
Read On

Project - One Liners

10:10 AM
All project managers face problems on Monday mornings - good project managers are working on next Monday's problems.

A project gets a year late one day at a time

Any project can be estimated accurately (once it's completed).

Good project management is not so much knowing what to do and when, as knowing what excuses to give and when.

Good project managers admit mistakes: that's why you so rarely meet a good project manager.

The same work under the same conditions will be estimated differently by ten different estimators or by one estimator at ten different times.

Project management with lot of documents is not project management.

The more desperate the situation the more optimistic the situatee."
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Mindless Meetings

1:38 AM
Picture This :
Friday afternoon - 2pm. You are feeling lazy... just gettin into the mood for the upcoming weekend. Then there's a call, a meeting , you're molested and whammmm!!!

This was a meeting called by our Big Boss in tandem with the DPC (Defect Prevention Council). This is a relatively new group - carrying out Bug analysis and prevention of Defects , and trust me - these guys are really motivated at what they do.

But the meeting got hijacked.
The entire meeting focussed on the lack of ownership of the Project Management & the Skills team. The issues were related to Bug Fixing, triaging , process adherence & compliance.

Vivek raped us -for lack of a better word. And we kept quiet and listened as the Vitriolic speech flowed in the one direction. There was no shortage of reprisals - to my mind, but silence is encouraged. They don't like people willing to take the risk. The apple cart cannot be upset here. I am not debating the rights and wrons of what he said. There is truth in that. But - there are things that can be done and things that are way out of our league.

Again - that was not the agenda of the meeting. The presentation set up by the DPC didn't get past the Intro slide. Vivek is the delivey head - but he fails to comprehend sometimes, that he is a part of the problem too. He cannot - for those few issues - take a helicopter view of things. Things have improved constantly over the last quarter in terms of Processes & compliance to the same. But he wants a quick fix and unfortunately that don't seem like the best thing to do.

Our process maturity is low and the management approach to work focusses on - MS Excel trackers , data sheets (all day long) instead of actual work.

Todays meeting has confirmed to me - what was mulling at the back of my mind.
I'm a misfit here - time to pack me bags and move on!!

Its not for me to say who's the best fit here - but the looks around the table doesn't leave much to the imagination.

Best of Luck Lionbridge!!
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Farewell John!!!

3:40 PM

John is leaving.
In fact - today is his last day. He's happy , I'm happy for him.
But I'm sad for me.

It's just that he's the only friend I have here.
What started in May with me being irked at his behavioural pattern , changed to grudging respect for his intelligence and now affection for this mild mannered guy. We spent a lot of time together - him and me - i don't claim to understand him fully.
But this much I know - he's a good man

He does like to distribute knowledge - but it's good!!
His predictions - however fatalistic / incredible they may sound - always come true.

He did predict that i'll be around in LB for a long time. Dunno if that one'll hold though.

We went out for lunch and bid him farewell. A collection of his peers.
Wishing him all the best for his new assignment in Wipro.

That's John on the Lower Right hand part of the image.

(L-R)Gayatri , Vrinda & Me

Sumanta & John <>

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Policing the IDs

11:24 PM
The Instructional Designers are the lifeline of our projects.
They're as much, if not more in demand as the SMEs (Subject matter Experts)

As a Project Manager - i dunno all too much about Instructional Design- except for the basic tenets of what it's supposed to address.


Seems kinda funny to monitor something/task - you know nothin' about.
But then - they do it. Caught a pic on the camera and I simply had to put it up here.

That's Vrinda standing behind Mohua(ID) and Kurush(TW) on one of her projects.

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Change of Guard

11:16 PM

So we move on...

Hey - I'm still at LB. Just that i got a new Boss. The 'B' lady is no longer my boss.
I report to Vikram - a brand new PD.
He's human - at least my first impression says that.

That's Vikram in the middle of things.
He's been a PM and knows his stuff.
He gets work done without pulling rank.

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My Boss' Birthday

12:13 PM
28th August arrived - for the 37th time.
It was Viveks birthday. Yes, I did remember to wish him - despite it being a Sunday.

Apparently the only other person who remembered was Vrinda, a PM colleague.
We decided to celebrate on Friday - at lunch. Hafta was collected and allocated to the Guft and lunch departments accordingly.

We disguised it as a Farewell party for Mallik - on his last legs here and then "pow" - when Vivek least expected it - the plate was taken away - the cake was put - candles blown - cake cut and another year gone by.

(L-R) Vivek, Vikram and Johnny boy

Let's just wait for the food

Hands and Shoulders (L-R) Amit, Suresh, Mallik

Who's gifting whom???

I want my cake .. and want to eat it too.

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Shooting my mouth off

12:04 PM
What is it with the Senior Management?

Decisions that are fait accompli should be communicated to the client as soon as possible. let there be no amibiguity on the fact that we need to give them a heads up on Serious showstoppers as soon as we become aware of them.

Yes - I did that today.

We had a call for the Burton project and, when questioned whether we'd make a date - i looked around, took in the response from my team and said , "NO".

The team - including members senior to me agreed on this. I conveyed the details of the call to my bosses and they said it was akin to painting a 4*4 target and running around shouting, "Shoot me".

So I told'em to shoot me :-)
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My Boss is on Leave

2:33 AM
Yes... it's a long weekend - 13-15th August.
And - my boss is on leave. He's also on leave for the 6 days after that long weekend.

But, we are here - all of us. Project requirements necessitated that we cancel all leaves.
So, we work the long weekend and the longer week after that.

That's my boss!!!

So I'm here - updating my resume and reading Atlantis by David Gibbins. My team is working hard. Es repugnante. Estoy deprimido.
The next pic has Lydia dancing with Tony. She is our Program Manager based out of the US and he is a Content Dev Mgr with Microsoft.
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Wet'n'Lonely - at work

9:04 AM
The last week has seen a lot of heavy rain and inclement weather hit Mumbai.
We Mumbaikars are resolute ones - but this cloudburst had us running scared.
It started on 26th July and even now - it refuses to stop.

Things have become better with a limping gait back to normalcy but we're far from there.
Staying close to the workplace puts me in a precarious position.
I am expected to be in at work - irrespective of the weather conditions. But then i'm in - all alone and that's my gripe.

So I went and bought myself a camera - an LS743 4.0MP Kodak camera.
I started clicking snaps... what else can one do with a camera!!!

Here are a few that'm putting up :-)

That's the view from out of my window - at home. Kinda like the way the colors have come out here.

Thats a vew from one of the windows at office. Pay a lil attention and you might catch the waterfall in it.

Another one from the same window at office. But here we catch a view of the Go-Karting track nearby

... and here are some pidgeons !!!
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Working Late Nights

2:32 PM

Quite normal here.

Currently on an IIS 6.0 project for Microsoft Learning.
We have a deliverable tomorrow - it's a Sunday.

And the Fire is in the ass - wish it were in the belly!!!

This is a critical delivery and nothing should go wrong here.

The entire LB- MS relationship is in jeopardy - so f***** what!!!!
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Party Party

12:44 AM
Yes.. we do have parties.
We like to enjoy life too.

March 31st.. sunny.. hot ... totally uncomfortable !!
And we decide to have a party on the terrace at 4PM.

It was basically to celebrate the Birthdays in the Month gone by. The code was R&B... red & Blue.
We achieved an interesting turnout of over 50% in the prescribed format.

The pic for the same will be up soon.

It started with a "Know your Mumbai" contest , moved to a Cake in the Face for the newly borns and ended with lots of good food & feelings in the Tummy.

This was one really cool contest. There were clues indicationg Places of interest in MUmbai. And there was a set of answers. One had to match up the Questions and the Answers and get back to the Moderator (Brenda). Trust me - this reads pretty simple. But when 80 people play the game you have a furball in the making.
The best part was that sometime multiple clues had the sam answer. In that case, confusion reigned. All in all a great time.
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Soapy Tales...Friday fun

4:42 AM

Those are the winners of Soapy Tales
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Winds of Change

3:12 PM
Everyday is a new day.
New challenges !!!

We have a new Boss.
Oh - Lydia is still there.
But the management has added one more layer to our interaction.
We have a new Delivery Head Mr.Vivek Sethi.

He's been shifted from the "Emerging Accounts" div to ours.
Andy will now be the Projects Director for the MS division.

I remember the Old days when it was just the Skill heads and the 2 PMs - Sumanta and Me reporting to Lydia - the program manager.
Times change, we continue to grow and learn to weather the Winds of Change.....
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Monday BOOM

3:06 PM
Things go BOOM
What better day, than a MONDAY !!!

IIS 6.0 - it seemed like an easy project - actually it is.
But then issues keep cropping up and things go boom boom...
They think i'm being too rough, that I don't communicate well enough to the team. I'm not a sissy and cry baby and well-- I respect peoples feelings and emotions - but I don't like pussyfooting issues. They made the schedules - so they must adhere to them too.

SMSg - SME's - Mr. M - his mom has gone boom boom

Burton - my SMEs have gone boom boom

Office Online - everything was fine - we're in the groove now. But MS has lost all its writers and so the project has gone boom boom.

soon I shall go boom boom!!!
i doubt if anyone will be sensitive to my pain.
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One Problem SME

3:17 PM
Maybe I shouldn't be doing this.
The thought did arise in my mind; but then I pushed it aside and began this writeup on One of our problem SMEs.

The Name - Mr.M
The Project - ILT - Troubleshooting Exchange 2K3

The Problem(S)
  1. NO ownership of the project,
  2. NO accountability for delivery schedules,
  3. LOTS of talk - no results,
  4. GOOD Knowledge base - no application,
  5. ATTITUDE problem - when working in teams.
  1. Jai is searching for a backup.
  2. Have tried talking to him without success.
  3. Have had Sarbani (Skill Head - Writing) talk to him too - No luck.
  4. Have tried all of Dilberts tactics too - no results
  5. Maybe we could just fire him - without any payments

Ideas anyone????
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The SME syndrome

4:35 PM
There are lots of people who'd fit into different categories based on daily interactions.
There is however, one section of the public known as SMEs (subject matter experts) which takes the cake.
The ladies and gentlemen belonging to this cadre, are the ones who raise the chances of me having a heart attack on the job.
Lets talk about them in alittle more detail here.

Criteria for becoming a SME.

  1. Extensive knowledge of MS Skills / Applications / systems.
  2. Lots of certifications.
  3. Attitude to answer all queries like Dilbert would - "no solution"
  4. Have parents / spouses / children with health complications, facilitating the exit of the individual from the project at a critical juncture, leaving you high'n'dry.
  5. Ability to work on deadlines - after they've swoooshed by.
  6. Ability to convert their attitude problem to your perception problem.
  7. Charge for items like specialist doctors would.
Why do we need a SME?
ILT (instructor led trainings) projects generally involve creating of educational content from Scratch. It would mean interaction between the Instructional designer and SME from the Author end along with the technologists and CDM (content dev mgr) from the MS pavilion.
Now, depending on the target audience and several other parameters, the course is structure to provide the optimal learning experience. ILTs are costly - to purchase and develop.
An SME helps by validating the Technical content, analyzing the Tech level and then getting the Labs and exercises in place. They're a vital to the course development - which is what they take advantage of. They have the highest level of tantrums, lowest level of accountability and have answers ready for all occassions.

Problems we have faced(are facing)
  1. Never give data on time.
  2. Leave midway on a project
  3. No concept of deadlines
  4. Technical incompetence
  5. Our project may not be top priority for them. Other issues take the front seat,eg: seminars, full time job etc

There are exceptions to this general rule - such as Sharan,one of our inhouse SMEs.
But then that guy is something else. He takes ownership on his projects, which most of the other nicompoops don't.

  1. SME Manager - Jai is already there.
  2. Developing In house SME capability and a Centre of Excellence
  3. Tighter clauses in SME contracts - non performance results in Pay cuts.
  4. All Project SMEs to be interviewed by MS technologists prior to appointment on projects.
Lemme know if I've missed out on stuff. We can definitely add it here. maybe even a section with names and details of SMEs... who've driven us nuts
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I wish this was a leap year

1:36 PM
yep - Feb 28th.....
I wish this was a leap year.
At least that ways, we'd have an extra day to meet deadlines.

It's not a manic monday - this time around.
We've got important work happening today.

1) The IIS team has to turn around a module today... after fixing comments from the CDM & technologist

2) The Burton team has to put in some parts of earlier module which'd been missed

3) The office Online Video Team has storyboarding to do. I know now that Krista leaves early in Fridays. So we send her a video to review on Friday mornings. She invariably misses that and we buy ourselves another day

4) The SMSg team - workin hard as always... SME issues don't seem to be going away.. Wonder how we can work around that issue in life???

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Daily Ramblings from the Workspace

3:46 AM
That's exactly what I'm going to put in here.
It's not something that everybody should be burdened with... so I'll pass on this URL selectively.

This is a BLOG where I plan to host stuff from the work zone. It'll have our sorrows, our victories, our trials and our tribulations.
I will welcome comments here too.... though not always.

So lets begin on this beautiful Saturday Morning at 3:45AM.
That's right the team is still IN.

This is my Team- Mohua and Renny working on the Exchange Server Project for MS.
We're developing an Instructor Led Training for Microsoft in the Field of Exchange Server 03.
Nope... we cannot discuss Project details here. But resta assures the team hasn't even said an OOF as they strive to perform and achieve their potential.

We are ably supported by Premnath and Satyajit, our resident Copyeditors. All of em at work and me - the Project Manager, chronicling their fortitude and perseverance.
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traveling life's quaint paths and making my own destiny...