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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traveling life's quaint paths and making my own destiny...