Saturday, July 19, 2008

A PM in picture form!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Treating employees like customers

From the day an employee joins you, you have to ensure

(1) he or she is taken care
(2) whatever talent was measured and judged, is nurtured
(3) enough inputs provided regularly, without expecting employer to ask for
(4) ensure the day to day projects/activities are not affected and also provide inputs
(5) Technical enhancements in the department in terms of resources etc to be provided

If you miss the above,

(1) employee gets disgruntled
(2) cumulative effect of retention issues appear
(3) the group which was close mingled one, leaves very fast
(4) stock market picks up the news and you loose heavily

So take care, treat employees fairly and ensure that every penny due to them is given all the time, including the promised bonus is given, without any mismanagement.

This goodwill will go a long way!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Utopian IT company and USP

Here's my business idea towards an IT corporate in India which would have an USP for itself. He he Utopia!

-A corporate that's actually an institution that integrates into its culture- the fine arts from India.
-Laid out on a nature-filled campus, virtually every other known art form in India must be taught and practiced here.
-Talented artists from across the country are contractors/employees who belong to a support function just like HR/finance/admin.
-The regular software employees get to learn arts of their choice. They are recruited after an aptitude test for art as well.
-Both employees and artists stay on campus and function in a gurukul-like system.
-The best of facilities in terms of food, infrastructure, accomodation with family etc. must also be available to all.
-This would also give a great fillip to many greatly talented but underpaid artists all over India.

Firstly, why this idea only for IT?

-Because that's where you have knowledge workers, and you need to keep the brains well oiled to be creative and innovative. Art can greatly propel lateral thinking.

-Stress levels in this industry are high and the quality of life is fairly low, which can also be addressed through art for relaxation and an enriched quality of life.

-Being part of an exclusive institution like this could also arrest attrition and the proposal made attractive even with less pay. Most techies prefer a campus like lifestyle and value belonging to a reputed institution.

Sa***n have been one company who might have readily embraced some such idea. But unfortunately I think the timing of this idea may be wrong, as we are now a growing company having its own drivers.

How could both art and business combine into a single company vision? (Remember theory of constraints, there is only one goal and the rest are constraints :-( ) So how would one guarantee that neither art or business gives way to the other at some point of time. Don't tell me Chaos theory!

-Why restrict such an idea to a single company, why not expand the idea to an industry wide thing that many companies can benefit from?

-Art is only one aspect of life. Companies like Google provide a multidimensional approach to work-life balance. Doesn't that have a greater USP? So stupid. They don't know to suc\k blood like Indians 24/7/365.

-How many people would really be interested this? What if I'm a brilliant programmer and poor at aptitude for art? Can I get employed here?

-What kind of an existing organization can morph into this? Perhaps not a startup as it requires huge investment and no assurance of returns, perhaps not a Mic*****t as they already have their USP.

-Why would art necessarily contribute to better business results? hm...hmm... try it.

Any further thoughts to strengthen this idea are welcome.

Monday, July 7, 2008

It's Money all the way Honey!

  • Compensation - This means a fair and competitive wage. An occasional bonus or other reward is nice, too. However, money alone will not result in job satisfaction. If all the other factors are out of whack, employees will still walk.
  • Opportunity - Give employees the chance to show what they know and do what they can. Yes, much of this has to do with individual skill sets and someone's motivation to reach out and grasp opportunities when they're presented; however, it is also up to management to create an environment in which opportunities are available.
  • Recognition - Employees are willing to do a good job as long as someone recognizes the effort they put in. A pat on the back or an occasional "Good Job" can go a long way in adding to an employee's job satisfaction.
  • Environment - A large part of employee job satisfaction comes from working with people we like and respect in an environment that, well, for lack of a better word, is pleasant. No yelling bosses or freezing cold offices. No ball and chain keeping employee's tied to their desk 16-hours a day, six days a week. If you can't imagine your family working there, why would your employees want to?

Friday, July 4, 2008

Extreme Project Management!

  1. "The management of creative people and processes demands creative management processes." Project managers need soft skills that reflect the environment they're working in and the people they're working with.
  2. "The less the project manager knows about the technical issues of the project, the better." The project manager should focus on business concerns and ensure that the necessary processes are in place so that the technical work can occur. In other words, managers manage.
  3. "What happens after the project is more important than what happens during the project." Many traditional project managers ignore the post-development issues and costs to support and operate their systems. Agile project managers, however, consider a project's entire lifecycle.
  4. "A project plan developed without full participation of stakeholders is nothing more than one person's fantasy." Planning is a team effort—it isn't something that a single person does using a sophisticated planning tool.
  5. "The more time the project manager spends with the stakeholders, the better." Agile project managers focus on the organizational, social, political and financial aspects of a project.
  6. "If you haven't defined project success at the start, you'll never achieve it at the end." Understanding the stakeholders' expectations is crucial for success. You should achieve stakeholder satisfaction; meet the functional needs, budget and deadlines; add value; meet quality requirements; and achieve team satisfaction.
  7. "Show them the money—nothing else matters." The benefits your system provides should outweigh the costs.
  8. "Stakeholders can be your best allies or worst enemies—you decide." Agile project managers know their stakeholders and their needs, and maintain effective relationships with them.
  9. "If you can't predict the future, don't plan it in detail." Traditional project managers often assume that a primary aspect of their job is to develop a detailed project Gantt chart, but you can plan in detail only for the near term. Agile project managers know that they'll need to plan and then replan constantly.
  10. "If your project hasn't changed, be afraid; very afraid." If your project isn't changing, it has probably slipped off track by "staying on track."
  11. "In e-projects, a day is a long time." Change happens—sometimes very, very quickly.

Some interesting (basic) Q&A, you will be asked!

  • Tell us about yourself.
  • Why do you want to join this company? 
  • Where do you see yourself five years from now? 
  • Who is your role model and why? 
  • What do you think about the current economic/political situation? 
  • What are your hobbies?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses? 
  • If not selected, what will you do?
  • Questions about your background and academic record.
  • Questions about your habits, likes and dislikes.