Tuesday, December 05, 2006

If you have been falsely accused ????


Yeah it’s really a bad feeling..You will ask yourself 1000 time.. have I done something wrong… ? I was accused by somebody for using his site feed for projectized.org blogrol saying Im using his content for commercial use with no permission. so far Projectized.org is not used for any commercial use., and I do not even have one single advertisement there.. its mainly a free Project Management blogrol with so much more nice plans..

I never ever thought somebody will go against it .. as it gives so much benefits to the contributors .. It definitely bring more readers to those blogs. Intact The person who accused me for using his blog for commercial purpose has attached his site license policy in his email. That clearly says ,

“ You are free:

  • to Share -- to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work
  • to Remix -- to make derivative works

Under the following conditions:

· Noncommercial. You may not use this work for commercial purposes.

I can think why he thought that this is a commercial site.. I had a problem with the blogroll to display only a part of the post in the blogroll. I’m using wordpress and I had some technical problems with Summary Option. So the whole post is displayed some times.. In Dina’s Controlling Chaos blog, she has put the PM Prepcast advertisement in the body of her content.. so that comes automatically to projectized.org. (Im just trying to fix this problem ASAP.)That’s the only explanation which I can think as the base for this complain. Any way very big thank to other contributors who decided to stay with projectized.org without getting mislead by some false comments..

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Free Scrum tool - Great


This is really a great tool for Scrum. I just went through the features and its quite good. Thanks to my colleague who sent me this link.


But ….remember. Tools will not manage your projects.. Its you who should manage the project.. These are just “ Tools” and that’s why they are called “ Tools” when all the methodologies and tools are failed.. its you who make the project a success…

I have come across with many project managers who just spend their whole time to manage the tool instead of the project. Having the best hammer in the world doesn’t make you a good carpenter or having the best cricket bat in the world doesn’t make you a good cricketer. Coz they are tools to help you to perform your tasks. That’s you who make it happen…

Friday, November 17, 2006

Google Project Managers Search.

I have created a Google Project Management Search. I will be linking it to this blog and many other Project Management sites in the future so that readers of this blog ( Ofcouse Project Managers and Potential Project Managers ) can get more targeted /specific results instead wasting time to go through hundreds of unrelated sites.

If you have a blog or Project Management site, or any other related resource, Please send them to me.( thush.ksnz@gmail.com), It will help for me to build the Searcher better and your site will be listed in my Google “Project Managers Search”.

Check this cool thing at http://search.projectized.org

Following sites are already fed in to the searcher..










Im sure you will contribute to this.. Its really helpful for all of us.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Help !


Lately I noticed that my blog has been taken out from Kottu blog roll.( It’s a Sri Lankan Blog roll.. the most happening one I should say…. ) The reason has been that my blog is too technical for the audience.. But upon my request, Indi was kind enough to add it again.. So Im writing this none technical post to be fair for them…

(I love to make excuses….)

To be very frank, I couldn’t find time to write anything new.. So busy at work with projects and busy at home with my research work. I found another very helpful person for my research. He has gathered lots of research data already for his research in Software Implementation problems in Sri Lanka… Somebody very helpful ( I have always been lucky with helpful people.. I don’t know why .. ) he went out of his way to introduce my research to his doctor too..

So why not me helping others.. today one of my colleagues said that he wants to follow the same path as me. He wants to do a Mphil and then he wants to convert his research to a PHD. That’s nothing about Project management. his research interest is "High performance content oriented middleware for gaming and multimedia". Im sure he will register for Mphil with no much problem as he has an IT degree with a first class.. So I just asked my doctor at UCSC for some help for him.. Im sure he will help him too…

Think.. its all about helping each other. When you see an opportunity
to help somebody,,, don’t ever think twice….
Do it.. That’s the real path to be a successful person.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Do we really practice what we preach?


Yes Project Management is all about better communication and being aware of what’s happening in your project and what’s happening around you.. If you dont... you will face the consequences badly...

There is very unfortunate incident happened with one of my colleagues who is going to sit for the PMP exam this time. No offence please.. Whole objective of this post is to pass this message to other people who will be sitting for PMP, Organizing PMP or any other exams in the future.

In Sri Lanka , we don’t have online PMP exams yet. So its paper based exam. We don’t even have exams every year. So its very important to get your registration process right for the exam you are preparing for,. If you miss that, you will have to wait a long time period for another exam or go to another country to sit for online exam.

Ok…. coming back to this incident. My colleague went for preparation classes held at Singapore Informatics. Upon completion, he submitted his application for the upcoming November exam. According to him, he was advised from the chapter that the closing date is on 20th Oct. So he has submitted the application on 18th Oct.

PMI has accepted his application form and informed him to pay online., As its paper based exam he had to enter the “ Testing Group No” which is issued by PMI., When he entered the number, he found out that the Number is invalid and he is too late in his application submission;

This has happened to many students who have been in this batch. It’s very sad that they have no chance to sit for the exam though they have submitted the application before 20th.

I just called PMI customer care behalf of my colleague, whom we sent for the course though our project office;

The support executive’s answer was;

  1. We have clearly instructed your Local chapter to inform students that they need the payments to be processed before 20th. ( Not the application Submission )
  2. The Student guide book clearly says the instructions.. ( I just checked the student guide book and it only says it takes 5 days to process the payment . It doesn’t talk about the application submission date and deadlines.)

Then I called the SL exam coordinator in the local chapter and his answer was that he has informed all the students by email that the application submission (???) should be completed before 20th. (Unfortunately many people have not got that email)

So isn’t this all about effective communication?

May be Im wrong.. But what I think is that,

  1. As the exam coordinator, If I knew the 20th deadline is for processing payment and not for the application submission., , I could have informed the students that the deadline for application submission is on Oct 14th . .. or so., So I’m sure that they will do the submission on time .. Even if they do it on last date, still they have time to process the payment before PMI deadline.

  1. When you define a deadline., it should clearly specify whether the deadline is for application submission or payment processing. ( for PMP the payment can be made only after the institute approve your application)

  1. As the certified institute. Singapore Informatics should also take part of the responsibility. They should have created a student contact base at the time of registration and should provide it to the chapter or exam coordinator for communication.

  1. Students should be more participative.. ( Comm…ooo…n you guys are Project Managers… ) They should have the responsibility to confirm what they hear and double confirm it… (Won’t we do that all the time as PMs ??? )

So I think now it’s the part of Damage Control .. If PMI SL chapter can appeal PMI to consider this as an exception and allow the people (who have submitted the application forms before 20th ) to do the exam.. I think that’s the best…

When I sat for my PMP exam.. 5 students didn’t have admission including myself. But My lecturer who was the former chapter CEO ( Ms. Madhu Fernando ) and the former course director ( Chandana) did everything what they could do for us to sit for the exam. Finally they managed to get permission for us to sit for the exam…Still Im so thankful to them for going that extra mile for us... I’m sure the current board will also do their best for these students….

End of Story.. It proves how important it is to communicate effectively, accurately and efficiently..

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Preparing for PMP?

I hear that SL is going to have another PMP exam very soon.. Today I got to know about this POSDCAST which helps PMP candidates to prepare themselves for the exam..

There is something what I always keep in my mind…
“When the exam is closer , 1 minute is 1 mark for you….
This keeps me focused on my subject matters and studies.. Im afraid to waste time when the exam is closer.. As much as I waste time without studying.. I will be loosing marks…

So isn’t this very cool.. Now you can be prepared for the PMP exam while traveling to office or home.. Or when you are at the Gym.. or where ever you carry your iPod.. Isnt that cool…???

Monday, October 16, 2006

SEARCC Conference 2006 – Research paper Presentations

Research Paper presentations were held on 12th and 13th of October., But due to heavy office work, I managed to participate only on 13th. I will be presenting a paper hopefully by next year so it was very important for me to get a real look and feel of Research Paper defense and how it is done by other researchers.

I expected many Research Degree level Papers , But on 13th , the most of the paper presentations were done by undergraduate students except one PHD candidate from India and another one (MBA) from Moratuwa University. May be I have missed the most important part on 12th.
But, I must say that most of the research paper presentations were really good . It was hard to believe that some of the research papers were done by undergraduate students.

One Researcher who presented the paper on Secure Cheque Payment protocol had few concerns and had some conflicting areas in her concept. It’s better if she could have run that paper through some of the industry experts before presenting it. ( Ok I went to learn by other peoples mistakes :-) ….. ) Still I’m thinking of that paper and seems she has missedout some concepts of bank transferring and already available alternatives and technical concerns. But again for the undergraduate level, its good… More than anything her presentation skills were cool and she knew how to escape from difficult situations at the time of the defense. Hats off to her for that talent!!!

Some other Research papers such as Inventing a fire robot, Graphic algos, email security ….were presented.,
Out of all these the most important one for me was the Implementation failure research paper presented by Dinesh Asanka as its more related to my research area.
Overall it was a useful day......
One of my colleagues who went to see the exhibition said that, quality of the exhibition reduces every year ......drastically.. But I can’t comment on that as I couldn’t see the exhibition.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

BIT Project Management Vs. PMP.


Last few days I went through almost all the PM past papers of BIT ( Bachelor of Information Technology – External) in order to make me understand what UCSC ( University of Colombo School of Computing ) will expect out of a student studying for Project Management.

I saw many similarities and differences between BIT PM paper and PMP exam papers. I think its worth to write some comments on that., so this post will help a student who wish to sit for PMP exams in the future.

First of all., PMP is totally a MCQ paper ( Don’t think its easy.. Its not) while BIT is totally a written paper., BIT PM knowledge areas are centered around Summerville’s Software Engineering Book as far as PMP exam questions are based on PMBOK guide.

How ever, I see major improvements on BIT PM exam papers over the years., 2005 Paper had many improvements and it covered many practical aspects of Project Management than its previous year papers.

When you look at the main difference., More than Anything .. BIT PM paper is only based on Software Project Management.( Ofcourse its an IT degree), But PMP is generally “ Project Management” which can be applied across the industries.

When you look at the syllabus., BIT PM Syllabus addresses all the Knowledge areas listed in PMBOK.

Except to PMBOK knowledge areas, BIT PM expect you to know the Software Development models and Software Configuration Management in detail.

When you consider individual questions, BIT PM expect you to have a wide knowledge and understanding of concepts in each knowledge area., As an Example., you need to know what EVM calculations are., how they can be used in a project., and what do they mean., But in PMP, you need very detailed knowledge in application of EVM formulas., sometimes you get very tricky questions to calculate values. BIT PM does not expect you to calculate the values using formulas ( At least up to this year).

I find cost management is quite different too.. BIT –PMs favorite costing model is COCOMO model and you need to know all the equations to calculate COCOMO model in your projects., I noticed that almost every year there is a question in BIT PM papers based on COCOMO. ( Do we ever use this method to calculate cost in our real Projects??? I have never..) For PMP., they do not expect you to know those models in details in order to answer questions., But you have to have a very clear idea of different techniques which can be used for project costing and pluses and minuses of each of these techniques.

Time Management , Risk Management and Quality management are almost same in both, But in Quality Management, BIT expect you to have a very detailed understanding of ISO900 Process. PMP consider it as just another quality standard.

Which I couldn’t understand in BIT PM paper is that questions regarding MS Project tool. Its just a another tool which helps project managers., But I found few BIT questions which goes in to detailed features of MS Project Software.. Its bit puzzling…

BIT PM does not touch any specific agile methods or any process driven PM methods., neither it talks about PMO concept in organizations.

Overall BIT PM is a very good start and a base for a student who expect to sit for PMP exams in the future.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

How to understand your Project Manager


One of my colleaques sent this funny email today about Project Managers Vocabulary :-)


This is how you should listen to your PM :-)………


We are so scared to commit on deadlines and we have no experience in planning a project properly.

We know who to blame.

Fastest way for me to look like a PM


Though I don’t know to write one line of code, I can sit damn 4 hours in one place

We are still pissing in the wind.

I just hired three kids fresh out of college.

It works OK, but looks very hitech.

We are so far behind schedule.. the customer is happy to get it delivered.

The darn thing blew up when we threw the switch


Me and my team is so surprised that the stupid thing works.

The only person in the team who understood the thing quit.

I can get all of you responsible for unseen problems in this project.

It is so wrapped up in red tape that the situation is about hopeless.

Forget it! I have enough problems for now…

Let's spread the responsibility for the project screw up.

We'll listen to what you have to say as long as it doesn't interfere with what I've already done.

I can't wait to hear this bull!

Come into my office, I'm lonely.

Parts not interchangeable with the previous design.

The devise we manufactured is too damn heavy to lift!

One finally worked.

Impossible to fix problems and customer will have to pay for re-writing the whole applciation

Sunday, September 24, 2006

some interesting stuff


It’s a great day today.. Last few weeks I couldn’t write anything important. Today when I checked my blog.. there are 2 new comments in my blog with links to 2 interesting blogs.. I was so happy to read them..

First one…

How to manage a camel :-). It’s a Project Management Blog.. Still couldn’t figure out who is the camel in a project :-) Seems an interesting blog and I will read it bit later for sure… ( I know Im heading for disaster.. hey team.. I didn’t mean that you guys are camels!&^#@^)

Second one..

Very nice Scrum Blog and the author of the blog is a Scrum Master… Im sure that’s a very informative blog too..

Thanks guys.. for networking…

The most interesting news is that.., PM Podcast is celebrating it 1st Year Birthday.. I really cant believe doing a podcast every week.. continuously for 1 year.. Its such a lot of work…That’s a real great podcast .. Its doesn’t give only knowledge. Believe me… it really helps Networking PMs all around the world… Thanks Cornelius for Great Work and.....

Happy B’ Day PM Podcast and I wish all the success…

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Are you in the right place?

Today, One of my colleagues sent me a funny mail.. But this has something to think about…..

Are you in a place where you can really use your talents? Or do you feel the same like this baby camel in this story.??. Think….

Moral of the Story ???

But in the same time., I have seen people who use their talents to the fullest potential no matter where they are..

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Some people hate PMPs :-)


Today I came up with some write-ups /blogs about Agile vs Plan Driven Methodologies in Project Management.. I didn’t know that people have so much negative feelings about PMPs who are in to Plan driven methodologies till I read this particular blog

“particularly the PMP crowd, are often oblivious to the incredible amount of waste inherent in their approaches.”

“In sum, you are describing exactly the battles I fight with PMBoK slaves when trying to help them see that Agile appoaches do everything they're expecting to see, only they do it *a lot more* often and keep doing it from "big picture" down to "tiny details"... “

Ok Im a PMP.. But I use agile methods as well., Being a PMP doesn’t mean that you have to believe PMBOK method as a religion and reject all the other methods. What I have seen in my whole career as a PM and Head of PMO is that, you cannot be inflexible and stick in to one method. I find many projects which really need agile methods.. But there are projects you need a fixed plan and a strictly plan driven method. When I have to release a product to my marketing department and when the scope is well defined, I have to commit on a exact deadline and plan everything in advanced. When we should start the contract of the marketer, when to arrange a product launch, when to hire specific software professionals to my project., everything should be well planned and should execute according to the plan., In the same time we have projects which we can convince the customer on our agile approaches ( Very difficult in offshore projects I should say) A PMO should strike a balance.

Recently I met an IT director in a Multinational Software Company who thought Project Management is MS project. I told him I have never used MS project. He asked me.. in that case how you track the project? I just said MS Project is just another tool. But I don’t think I have convinced him at all.. So imagine a PM practicing scrum under a superior like him. It will be a disaster.

No matter whether you are a PMP or certified scrum master or Prince 2 certified PM , you should be open up to new ways of managing projects, and should be able to switch as and when needed.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Easy Scrum – 3 Don’t let this happen


Ok this is another experience I had with scrum teams; One day I noticed that our daily scrum meetings were going on for hours.

What we have to keep in mind is that, the Daily Scrum is not used as a problem-solving or issue resolution meeting.(this is the exact mistake they did) Otherwise what happens is that daily scrum takes too long and due to the issues raised by few people, the whole team keeps on arguing and going on in different directions. Actually those issues can be taken care of, after the daily scrum meeting with affected team members.

During the Daily Scrum meeting, each team member is asked to answer the following questions;

  1. What did you do yesterday?
  2. What will you do today?
  3. Are there any impediments in your way?

So the sprint backlog should be updated accordingly. and if there are any impediments, they should be listed . After the scrum meeting, you can take care of the issues found out at the meeting or any other adhoc issues.. Other wise You will start the scrum meeting at 9AM and go till 5Pm when there is a critical issue with your program specs or class diagrams..

Thursday, August 17, 2006

New Name


Don’t be surprised.. I just renamed this blog. I had some problems in RSS feeds with the existing name “Project Management” as it was a really common name.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Another very big thank

Its really nice to see that this blog is mentioned in the PM Network magazine August 2006 Issue through “Social Network” article.

You can find the soft copy at http://www.pmi.org/info/PIR_PMNetworkOnline.asp

Very big thank goes to the person who wrote that/recommended this blog.

Easy Scrum – 2


First I thought of writing details of each step of Scrum. with that idea in my mind, I posted “Easy Scrum – 1”. But Yesterday I did sort of a case study with one of my teams to practice Scrum. So I thought its worth to write about it and it covers the whole cycle.

Ok here it goes…

I got the team together, none of them have practiced Scrum before., I did some initial presentation of Scrum to get some idea and then gave them the case study.

The case study was a Project to make a “Vesak Lantern”. ( I have very few Sri Lankan readers reading my blog, but so many overseas readers. So its worth to explain what a Vesak Lantern is . Vesak Lantern is a Lantern we Buddhists make for the Vesak day ( Lord Buddha’s Birthday )celebration ). So all my team members have made at least one vesak lantern and they have the “Industry Knowledge” . So it was easy. I acted as the customer to change the decoration requirements of the Vesak Lantern the way I want ( It was annoying J )

Project Constraints:

Vesak day is May 21st. It’s a Project Constraint.

Product Backlog :

We have to light the lantern on the Vesak day night.

So the team got busy. First I selected a Scrum Master. And I asked them to create the product backlog.. That was interesting., Planning, Designing, Making the Skeleton, Purchasing Materials, pasting papers, Setting Light Bulbs so many things in the list., .. What happens if there is a power failure on Vesak Day.? ( Which is very common in Sri Lanka). They had the risk plan too.. the mitigation was to light a candle inside the lantern instead of a light bulb.

The design we wanted was a aero plane shape of a Lantern. But I kept on asking changes to that.

Once the Product backlog is made, it was estimated with required man power cost and the material cost. But the team had to revise it many times and recalculate it as the requirements kept on elaborating

Then the priorities were decided by the scrum master and the team., of course you cannot paste papers without making the skeleton. They prioritized the tasks accordingly


They defined sprints, durations for Sprints were vary. They selected the Items based on the resource availability and Priority for the first sprint. Sprint backlog was created.

Daily Meetings

As a good Scrum team, my fine team simulated the daily standup meetings.. But they wanted to sit and chat instead of standing, Never mind.. This is easy scrum.. so I told them that its ok.. Every day at 9AM the team meet to discuss the daily plan and 5PM to review the daily achievements.. It went on for the whole sprint..

How about the people who try to skip meetings? Do we have a penalty.. Yeah .. Rs. 100 ($1 ) should be collected from absentees and use it for team outings after some time…If I have a good team.. I will not have money in the till :-)

This is a very productive thing.. We do not slip daily targets and we do not postpone work until the last day and then struggle with it or just do something about it.. I know the team will find this bit hard at first. But they all will appreciate it after some time..

Burn down Charts

Scrum master created the Product Burn Down chart based on the items taken off for the sprint. We didn’t create any Sprint burn down charts as our duration for the sprint is very short.

Impediment List

One of the objectives of daily standup meetings is that to foresee the barriers for the team to achieve their daily workload and eliminate those barriers. So we are not waiting till the last minute project meetings in order to find why we have not achieved such tasks and to realize its too late.. They found that the guy who had to purchase material doesn’t have a vehicle to go to the stores. So they have eliminated the problem by hiring a vehicle for that.

Product backlog Delta Report

Scrum master kept on updating the product backlog Delta report. I found the status of items as follows.

Not Done (initial state)

In Progress




Lessons Learned

We completed the lessons learned after every Sprint. So we could more or less eliminate the over estimating issues in latter sprints.

Project Management office?

PMO wanted few standard reports . So we completed the Milestones report and weekly Project update report based on Product backlog.

Over all we could get the team buy – in for the method by doing a case study with lot of fun. I think if you need to introduce such methodology to your teams, this may be a good start.


+ points

Scrum is really a good way to manage projects which are quite uncertain

Every team member feel that they have a major Stake in the Project.

Team members have a very good understanding of the workload and the challenges they should face in the project as a team.

Team members don’t feel that work is assigned to them., they feel that they have volunteered to do tasks as they want to be the winning team.

Over all very good Project Control

With this method.. you are never too late.. Because you don’t wait till you are too late.

Its no more covering backside for anybody..

Difficulties I see

Sometimes its hard to practice this with people who are not in same caliber with other team members.

Taking leave affect the sprint backlog

Difficulties of committing to the final deadline due to multiple iterations

Difficulties to negotiate with project budgets time to time

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Easy Scrum - 1


We have a Project to develop a common product for Retail Distribution. I thought of using an Agile method in order to manage this project due to the nature of this project. This has more chances of changing the scope and the project seems very uncertain. So We selected Scrum.

But we have many challenges..

We don’t have a Scrum Master. We have only a Project Manager. We don’t have a Customer working with us., But we have a Domain Expert within the team who will act as our customer. We don’t have Microsoft Team Systems. But we have Microsoft XL. We have a Project Office which needs some sort of generalized templates of all the projects.

How do we go with it.. ?

First I wanted the team to be familiarize with Scrum. The Problem is training.. We don’t have such training and workshops available here and no project budget to send them overseas. So the next option was Web and Online mentors.( Which is the only option we had)

My main concern here is the caliber of people we have for this Project., To practice Scrum Its really required to have team members who contribute to the product., And not the team members who just code the given spec and think of themselves as furniture of the company.

Step 1 - Create Product Backlog

First we got to create a Product Backlog.. How do we do that? Its very Simple.

You got to create a list of all the product functionalities ( You can simply use a XL sheet or MS VS Team Systems). You may have got so many documentation at this time. Go through it clearly, understand the required functionalities, understand everything what you have to do with the project, List them. Then prioritize them in order to see which ones to be completed first, depending on their dependencies, impotencies and effort requirements.

Then the question comes.. Who can add items to Product Backlog.?? Do I have to secure this sheet with a Password? No ..In our case we asked everybody to add items., PM, Tech Lead,Project Owner, Team, Domain Experts and so on. Then we prioritized them based on the required functionality of the product in order to do release 1 of the product.

WBS vs Product Backlog

Remember your good old WBS? (Work Breakdown Structure is the deliverable based grouping mechanism inProject Management ).. You can see the Product Backlog as something similar to that. Both can be used by the PMO to understand the amount of work to be carried out in the organization’s projects. The Difference is that WBS is a Deliverable based Grouping and it doesn’t reflect prioritization of your task or estimations. Its more or less defined, and its created by the Project Manager. But Product backlog has almost everything you got to do with the project. It shows which tasks to be done first., and the value and importance of them. Any stakeholder can add items to the backlog. New Items will be added over a time period.

WBS helps a PM to plan the required work Packages and estimate them., Product Backlog helps the PM and team to plan items for a Sprint. ( Short time Period) and estimate the work to be carried out.

Once the Complexity / Value and risk is identified for each item, You got to estimate your Product Backlog. This can happen in 2 instances

  1. A new Item is added to the Product Backlog
  2. Existing backlog item is substantively changed.

How do you estimate the Product Back log? Are you going to categorize items by Size and put a weight on each category? Or is it by any other costing methodology?

This is very useful for the Project manager to evaluate the effort involved in a release and this allows the team to select the backlog items for the coming sprint.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Which Type of a PMO?

Sometimes its frustrating when most people wont understand the scope of the PMO of their organization and its authorities and limitations. having a PMO in your company doesn’t mean that each and every problem of your organization should be routed to your PMO. .. Its very important to have a clear understanding of your organizations PMO. What type of a PMO you have?. Their objectives, responsibilities and authorities.

Analyze and See what type of a PMO you have.

Categorization based on Competency; ( Based on the PMO categorization Article by John Alley, University of Technology Services.)

  • project office
  • basic PMO
  • standard PMO
  • advanced PMO
  • centre of excellence

you can see what type of service your PMO does, or willing to do /Suppose to do. Based on that, the PMO budgets, the seniority levels of resources, responsibilities, authorities and everything changes.

The difference between a Project Office and Project Management office is that, the Project office delivers Projects within approved budgets and required quality. But Project Management office always look for consistency, and improvements of methodologies, Frameworks you practice, consistent templates, etc.

A Standard PMO establishes capability and support infrastructure while advanced PMO applies the PM capabilities to achieve business objectives. So you need a very senior level manager in your organization as the head of PMO in such level.

There is a Top category called Center of Excellence., If you have a Project Management office in this nature, they will be defining and aligning business goals with your project goals., make strategic moves with regard to your projects and business.

As I mentioned in one of my previous PMO related posts, you may not be able to setup a center for excellence at once in your organization. You may start with Project office and then improve on that based on the opportunities you have.

Recently I had a chat with a CEO of a SL IT company who had the idea that setting up a PMO is just wasting company resources. But when I asked him why he has very high PM turnover, I found out one reason., PMs do everything for everybody, But there is nobody who can listen to PMs , mentor them., get them on one specific goal., keep them focused. so I told him that he needs some sort of Central management of his Projects.

PMO is not such a magical thing., By knowing or not knowing, we have been practicing PMO concepts in our organizations. I can think back to see what I have been doing 2, 3 years before when I was a Software Development Manager. Though the designation is different, I was responsible for all the projects running in that organization. I had PMs reporting to me., Most of the time I had to give some guidance to them. There was a good central control of the Projects. So now I know I have been performing a virtual PMO as the Software Development Manager. But I didn’t know about it. So nobody needs to be sacred of the word PMO.. Its not an extra overhead to the company if you implement it right with right objectives and right plan.

Then the next question he asked me was that, they use Agile methods such as extreme Project Management and it might clash with PMO setup? My answer is NO., Because your PMs can use agile methods (infact I have fallen in love with them :))., But you should maintain some consistent between your project management tasks., If I take an example from an offshore software company like ours., there are different types of Projects, some customers insist on Prince2, Some project managers need to practice Agile methods due to the nature of projects ( if they have direct interactions with customers - very rarely though)., some are well defined just for the PMBOK way of management. This is very complicated and its challenging. But no matter which methodology we practice, we need a core, to understand the project issues, management issues, mentor PMs , assign them for right project so on. You can generalize your PMO templates to match all the types of PM methodologies you practice., Though you have daily standup meetings or you have once a week formal project reviews, you need status reports. You need to document important decisions. So try to generalize the templates as much as possible but its always understood that some PMs carry different stuff as user stories reports and so on based on the methodologies they practice.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Have I said too much....?


Oops I think I have miscommunicated something.. Mea Culpa!!! I just listened to the PMpodcast latest show and it talks about some communication I had with the host of the podcast show regarding the blog bann.. I think I have miscommunicated something to the host of the show and Im extremely sorry about that.

I just tried to see where I can put a comment /an explanation on the podcast show., But I couldn’t find any place to post comments.. So Here it goes in my blog…

Cornelius,Thank you so much for your concerns.. But anyhow I think I have miscommunicated to you about Banning Blogs in SL. Actually what happens is that the “Banning” things is becoming a fashion in SEA . India has already banned Bloging and I hear many news on that.


There is no threat as yet in Sri Lanka( besides there are many rumors on that),But it might happen soon in SL as well., lately they have thought of restricting all most all the media activities such as Hollywood movies, Foreign programs, Advertising Imported Milk powder, watching TV after 10PM .. List goes on…..

I think "Blog bann" sounds very weird. I find many blogs in internet which are really good resources., Blogs keep people connecting and I have got so much potential in the industry due to my PM blog., So I can imagine about others.. I have a good friend called Dinesh who writes good MS SQL blog which is referred by the whole world.

So I wish that will not happen in SL .

It's hard to understand how the current Indian government ban on Blogspot, Typepad, Geocities, and other major web domains can possibly be justified as an anti-terrorism strategy. Apparently some people involved with banned groups like SIMI have been using blogs to communicate, and the government has instructed the nation's ISPs to ban those sites, which host thousands of Indian blogs"

About the New podcast site now, It looks very nice and neat. And Thanks for listing my blog in Helpful resources. Waiting for many interesting interviews in the future.

Guys have a look at it … www.thepmpodcast.com

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Number worth a thousand words...


Today, I found a very interesting Project Management blog., ( Thanks to Cornelius’s Helpful Resources listed at www.thepmpodcast.com )I think its worth to write few lines about it.

This is all about working with Numbers in Project Management. We always talk about Technical PM skills, Soft skills required by PMs, Different Methodologies, EVM calculations.. so on.. But this author talks about Project Management and according to him its all about numbers… Its interesting and I hope you will not regret for visiting his blog

Project by Numbers - by Bas de Baar


Monday, July 17, 2006


There is another certification introduced by PMI. That’s for Program Management
( Multiple Project Management)

What that says is the program manager should have advanced skills in finance, cross-cultural awareness, leadership, communication, influence, negotiation, and conflict resolution.

Any way these are essential skills for any Project Manager. Having responsibility of multiple project means more planning and aligning project goals with business goals. BTW its something interesting to look forward to…..

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I wish if I could see them....


This is nothing related to Project Management again.. But something which interest me so much….may be more than Project Management….

There has been a UFO sight in Sri Lanka again closer to Horana town. I have no idea whether it’s a truth or not but some national TV channel has shown a recording yesterday night and they have had some interviews with people who have seen the UFO.

Too bad I missed the whole thing., :( What a Looser I am :(

but my friends who watched news said that it cant be a lie as those villagers are not so crazy people like us who always dream about ETs. Some people have seen 2 feet long gold color unusual 2 persons and they have said that they were just like small children..... Can you believe that ???

Im searching more information on this ..

Today I told about this UFO news to my colleague Gogula who believes that god is an alien being….. He was so enthusiastic about the UFO arrival and wanted to throw a welcome party for them …. This is what he told me through skype…:)

“We have to start a campaign to welcome our space brothers

And we need a lot of people for this...

We need costumes first

We need fluorescent lights handheld ones

We should also make a sort of a dance and chant so that are space brothers know that we're a re friendly

and that we're welcoming them...

But everything needs careful planning (hmm.. At last I have a part too.. :-))

We should also make a sort of a dance and chant so that are space brothers know that we're a re friendly :D

Otherwise they'll think we're hostile and may attack us

We should have some recruits who will be willing to face experiments

We could have a new breed of alien-humans

We could have the best of both

We could conquer new and unexplored frontiers

And we could be free. Our space-brothers will teach us about peace and harmony

We do not need race, country and all that….

There are people who will agree

Who will unite

We shall be bearers of peace and love...

This guy is a half crazy Alien… :)

--- Another ET Sight in Sri Lanka on 30th July 2006--------

One of the residents, Nissanka Ranadeva had covered a few spots in the sand in front of his house with aluminium pots and pans. By torchlight, he lifted these utensils to reveal odd-looking footprints in the sand. The footprint showed clearly that whatever these creatures were, they had three toes and heels. There were over eight or nine such prints on the sandy garden. We got the impression that constant viewing and the passing of three days since the initial sighting had wiped away most of the prints.
The first to see the three strange creatures were an elderly lady and her grandchildren. They stay close to the Sarvodaya centre. “It was about five or six in the evening of the 23rd. There is a three way junction near our house, surrounded by shrub jungle. My grandson, Ujitha Tharanga and my granddaughter Udeshika Madhushani and I were walking towards our house. Ujitha suddenly shouted ‘Look, Achchi, three people are looking at us.’ I couldn’t see much. My eyesight is quite weak. And we were quite far away,” R.M. Seelawathi explains her encounter.
Madhushani saw things a little more clearly. She is a 12th year student at the Thanamalwila National College. “We saw three mysterious people. I have never seen people like that. All three were very short. The one in the middle was slightly taller than the others. They stared at us for a while and then they ran into the forest,” she said.
Her brother Ujitha claims they disappeared altogether suddenly. He described the three little men. The description was fairly stereotypical, although in a single aspect, the image did not fit with your common or garden E.T. The villagers saw big, glowing eyes and large heads on the dwarf men, but he also described them as black skinned.
At 6 a.m. the next day, three young women in the area, Merani, Sagarika and Rasika saw the same three creatures on the banks of a small stream, a tributary of the Kirindi Oya that flows through the little forest reserve. The stream borders the Thanamalwila town on one side and the Sarvodaya camp on the other. The three village girls headed down to the stream for a bath and were midway through it when they spotted three small men staring at them from about 100 metres away on the river bank. As before, the creatures had run away the moment they realised they had been spotted. The three girls were not available for comment. But we made our way towards the spot where they claimed to have seen the ‘aliens.’ Like in Nissanka’s garden, there were footprints along the river bank, identical to those we had previously seen.

for more details visit ...http://www.nation.lk/2006/07/30/eyefea1.htm

Monday, July 03, 2006

Scrum - Agile Project Management


Have you ever tried Agile method of Managing Projects? What do you think of that? In my environment we have very rare opertunities in such methods. We won’t get customers who work with us so closely for projects. But I think its a very practical aproach. If you are lucky enough to have a chance to try out... do so., ( But it can be very messy if you dont do it right..or if you dont have right people.... Handle it with care....

Lately I did a little study on Scrum method of managing projects., hmmm.. Personally I feel it put some additional weight on Project Management due to daily progress monitoring with team meetings and deliverable management due to multiple releases. But it sounds very practical.

“Scrum is an agile method for project management. It has been documented to dramatically improve productivity[citation needed] in teams previously paralyzed by heavier methodologies. Scrum was first documented by Takeuchi and Nonaka in "The New New Product Development Game"”

Scrum is defined for Software Development projects., But I it can be mapped for any other projects such as Maintenance management etc.

Some important aspects of Scrum are as follows,

• Customer must become a part of the development team. (i.e. He is genuinely interested in the output).
• Frequent intermediate deliveries with a working functionality is a MUST.
• Frequent mitigation and risk plans have to be developed by the DEVELOPMENT TEAM.
• Daily status discussion with the team is a MUST.
• Things to include in the daily discussion are:
o What did you do from yesterday?
o What are you planning to do tomorrow?
o Do you have any problems?
• Transparency is a MUST in planning and different modules.
• If a feature has a problem, no delivery shall take place.
• A frequent stakeholder meeting, to see the progress, is a MUST.
• No problems are buried under the carpet. No one is penalized for a problem.
• Energized workplace and working hours is a MUST. "More number of hours" does not mean more "output."

Listen to the interview
http://www.controllingchaos.com/?p=31 (A certified Scrum Master and PMP Certified Project Manager, discussing Scrum, an Agile project methodology primarily used for software application development projects.)

Other Reference

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Filling time sheets -How important


Its very important to fill work package level time sheets by every team member in the project team. The advantage of filling the times sheets are

1. As the Project Manager, You can track exactly the time taken for each work package, Actual vs. Estimated. That gives a good review about your time estimations

2. Time sheets help to understand the work performance of each individual in your team., These are good baseline documents for a project Managers to review his team

3. These records provide you information to be more accurate on your next project estimates and the contingency planning

Why most projects are completed without time sheets?

1. Projects doesn’t have an exact allocated budget or schedule

2. Project doesn’t have a Project manager to plan allocate and control tasks

3. No team members buy-in for filling time sheets. Normally the team members feel that they are going to be trapped with the time sheets and its only a controlling mechanism to find the number of productive hours.

4. Team members are allocated to many ad-hoc tasks, they answer support calls, help some other projects, etc. In this case they feel that the time tracking is just burden to them.

5. No proper system to view project tasks allocated to them and key in actual time against the estimates. ( If you don’t have proper software application, Don’t worry, recently I understood that you can set this simply using Microsoft portal server., You dine the Work package of your team., Allocate members., assign the time. Ask the team members to log in and key in timesheets.. Very simple. If its still complicated for you, Why don’t you use a simple excel sheet..)

Monday, June 19, 2006

Outsourcing .. Offshoring.,.. Multisourcing ....Is it that bad..???


I have been working in my whole career in the Outsourced/Offshore IT Project environment. My Project management research topic is also something related to this. While surfing the web, I came up with the following blog accidentally,


In this blog,one post says “I saw an Indian boy yesterday and thought, "He's going to take away my child's job one day."

--- Can you believe this??

(Oh boy..Luckily I never had customers or teams from US or Europe who had this mentality.. The people I have worked with were very friendly and they always respected each others talents and abilities.. )

I know that there are many concerns towards outsourcing their Projects and services to other countries. But I have never come across with such criticism before J..My personal thinking is that, If you are competitive, if you are talented.. always there is a job waiting for you and nobody can takeyour place... If you are not.. Sorry..Its your problem..

Do something what you are talented at....

There is a Bright side of outsourcing which this author has never seen. …

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Payback of PMO - 1

Recently, lot of people asked me .. What’s the payback of PMO? So I thought to write this brief note.

To understand the payback of PMO, First you should understand the following,

1. Understand the cost of your current project issues

The Current Project issues you have, and the cost incurred to your organization due to these issues. (Ex: Cost of Effort Slippage and Cost of Duration Slippage etc. There is a CD with a very good XL sheet to calculate the Effort Slippage and Duration Slippage which comes with Jolyon Hallow’s “The PMO Tool Kit” book.).

Understand the hidden costs. Think of the time taken by your senior management to go through various types of inconsistent project reports from various project managers. You may not have any standard method to calculate the time taken by teams to complete each work package, due to that there must be lot of unproductive time hidden in your project resource planning. Understand and calculate the cost of your current issues which can be eliminated once you initiate your Project Office.

2. Understand the cost of setting up a Project Office

Estimate the cost of setting up the Project Office. What are the common types of costs?

    1. You may need a consultant who has experience in setting up a project office., Or you can do by yourself with some support from your senior management
    2. If you don’t have good experienced Project Managers, You may need to recruit them. Or you may have to train your existing PMs and mentoring them., There is a cost for that too.
    3. You may need to Purchase some PMIS software, Or you can create your own one.,
    4. You may need to purchase some good PM templates or you can simply create them

(Start Small , Then you can keep your budget low.)

Friday, June 09, 2006

Collecting PDUs???


I renewed my PMP membership last week. One year has passed and Im left with no PDUs..Too bad…. How do I claim PDUs with All the project related work I do ?

How does other PMPs in SL collect PDUs? Have they given up on that?

Btw, what is PDU ?

Professional Development Unit (PDU)
According to PMI’s rules, a person holding a PMP® certificate must work actively to develop his or her competence in project management. This is a must in order to keep one’s PMP® certificate. Every PMP® certified project manager must renew the certification every three years, and this requires PDU points. One is required to collect at least 60 PDUs during a three-year period.”. <..semcon.se>

How do we collect PDUs ? We don’t have such opportunities and PM events in Sri Lanka ..( Do we??? )

There are some Free stuff which you can get enrolled to earn PDUs online.

http://www.iil.com/webinars/ (Thanks to my friend who sent me this..)

Some other info I found:

PMP Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR): PDUs Made Simple

By: David M. Sides, PMP – January, 2006

Professional Development Units (PDUs) are divided into two basic groups:

You get Project Management – Take courses, training, learning experiences for yourself.

You give Project Management – Perform PM, publish, teach or coach others.

To maintain PMP certification, PMPs must accrue a minimum of 60 PDUs for each 3-year cycle. The cycle extends from the PMP exam date through December 31st of the third calendar year. Typically one hour of qualifying activity equals 1 PDU. PDUs can be earned in any combination, subject to restrictions shown below. Up to 20 excess PDUs earned during the final year of the current cycle may be applied to the next cycle.

Note: If you do not meet these requirements you will lose your PMP certification. To regain PMP status you must apply, pay, and retake the PMP exam.

The reporting process includes completion of an online CCR form, review by PMI, and subsequent renewal payment of $60 for PMI members ($150 for non-members). Since you must keep appropriate

documentation in case of audit, PMI recommends that you maintain PDUs online as they are earned. [I find it easier to keep an offline file and enter once at the end of my cycle.] Examples of required backup documentation include grade transcripts, certificates of completion, program agendas, published materials, program agendas, or class rosters.

Within these groups there are categories, each with specific requirements and possible limitations.

Category 1 – Formal Academic Education

PM-related course from a college or university for degree credit. 1 degree credit = 1 PDU. For

example, a 15-credit semester course = 15 PDUs.

Category 2 – Professional Activities and Self-Directed Learning

There are nine sub-categories, each with different PDUs, requirements, and restrictions.

2a – Author of PM article in refereed journal (30); co-author (20).

2b – Author of PM article in non-refereed journal (15); co-author (10).

2c – PM Speaker at conference, symposium, formal course (10).

2d – PM Speaker at PMI chapter meeting (5).

2e – Member of PM panel at conference, symposium, formal course (5).

2f – Author of PM textbook (40); co-author (20).

2g – Developer of content for structured PM learning program (10).

2h – Practitioner of PM at least 1,500 hours per year (max 5 per year, 15 per cycle).

2SDL – Individual PM-related learning, research, study, or coaching. 1 hour = 1 PDU (max 15 per cycle).

Category 3 – PMI Registered Education Providers (R.E.P.)

PM-related course from a PMI R.E.P. 1 hour = 1 PDU.

Category 4 – Other Provider

PM-related course from any other provider. 1 hour = 1 PDU.

Category 5 – Volunteer Service to Professional or Community Organizations

You may earn a maximum 20 PDUs per cycle in Category 5.

Serve as officer in PM organization.

o Minimum 3 months = 2 PDUs per year.

o 6 months service = 5 PDUs per year.

o 12 months service = 10 PDUs per year.

Serve as committee member in PM organization.

o Minimum 3 months = 1 PDU per year.

o 6 months service = 3 PDUs per year.

o 12 months service = 5 PDUs per year.

Provide PM-related services to community or charitable group (5 PDUs per year).

For more details, see the CCR Handbook on pmi.org. Contact: david.sides@sogeti.com

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

PMO Objectives -2


Ok, you have already listed the objectives of your project office, the responsibilities, and now you have a Sponsor and a budget. you have the go ahead and the management buy – in.

The next big question. …. Do you have sufficient PMs in your project office to deliver the expectations? How do you find out? You can try the following,

Assess your existing Project Mangers (Their Knowledge, Experience, Training, and Past success records),

In this case, I would setup an interview with each PM., not more than 15 minutes per interview. Just an informal discussion. Before that I will be ready and list down all my expectations of PMs in the New Project Office.

At the time of the interview, I will give some marks for each expectation listed in my list. So end of it I know where I stand with my exiting Staff. This really helps to identify the individual’s different skill levels and areas needed to be improved. They may need some training, or some formal certification. You can make lots of decisions by using this simple matrix.

If you think that you need to recruit some new PMs for your project office, you have 2 options, either you promote somebody among your team members who is willing to be a PM or you recruit a PM from another organization.

Don’t ever do the mistake of promoting your best techie to a PM, unless he/she has PM skills. This is a common mistake done by most of the senior managers., either we force best techies to manage projects or they take that responsibility due to some other reasons. Unfortunately the result is that not only the project suffers, you loose your valuable technical resource too. My personal belief is that , Project Management is a born skill. You cant get a developer, teach him some methodologies and expect him to be a good Project Manager overnight.. Unfortunately it never works that way…A PM needs lot of experience to be a good PM., the decisions that he or she makes should be situational and practical. In this case, find capable people from your staff, Interview them and make sure their career path as a PM., Create some test cases for them with some complicated project issues., see their reactions to it., In this way, you can judge whether they will fit in to your Project Office.

In SL , recruiting an experienced PM from outside the organization is simply impossible., I do have lot of bad experience with that. One simple reason is that Project Management is still a very young profession in SL and no many experienced good PMs available in the job market., the few experienced PMs are already working in some reputed organizations and they are not willing to join another company easily. The other problem is that their financial expectations are too high., (With this job market, its impossible to practice Projectized Organization structure. You cannot release your PMs once the Project is over simply because you will never find any to start a new project again. In SL still there is no contract basis IT resource market. People are still thinking of stable jobs.. which we should discuss in some other post)

Lets think that somehow you got set of good candidate for your Project office., How do you select a good PM out of them., Recently I read one article ( Sorry I forget the name or reference) which says simulation is one of the best methods of interviewing a project manager. As an example, you setup the interview panel as a team, they act like stake holders with different attitudes. You provide your case to the PM candidate and ask him or her to conduct a meeting. You can observe how he or she handles the situation and overcome problems. But the problem I see in this is that you need to spend quite a lot of time for interviews, (though you try this only for short listed candidates). My simple method is again a Matrix. I prepare it with various expectations. Communication, presentation, conflict handling… the list is very long.. then I make sure that I ask at least one question to cover each area., I give marks based on their answers.. That works for me..

Monday, June 05, 2006

I feel I am truly blessed .. Thanks to some wonderful people around the world.!

I think I must write this note.. this is for all the good people who help others to come up in their career….

When I really thought of doing a research in PM ,I thought its an impossible thing to do. Who is going to help me? There are no many people in Sri Lanka who does research in Project Management.. That's why I posted my idea initially, with the heading "Something Stupid"…
But Its not something stupid any more…some wonderful people.. (I have never seen some of them)., made me think positive.. I'm so grateful to them. Dr.Bandu Ranasinghe spent time to listen to me and discuss about my Ideas and to guide me to do the right thing by forgetting his very busy schedule. Dr. Hewagamage - Colombo University agreed to help my research with no hesitation. (That really changed "my thinking" towards Sri Lankan Academic people) Cornelius Fichtner - My never seen PM friend from Switzerland (Currently in USA and he conducts the PMPODCAST SHOW) always encouraged me. Bill Bates- Principal of P3M Governance Inc.(and a member of PMI's Research Advisory Group- 2005) is going to the extend of helping me by putting me in touch with a number of project management researchers at the masters and PhD levels in USA. He himself gave me some ideas of PM research. There are so many other great guys around me including my best friend and colleagues. You guys are really great!

Friday, June 02, 2006

MPhil/PHD in Project Management


Today I met Dr.Hewagamage at Colombo University ( School of Computing) to explore the possibility of doing MPhil/PHD in Project Management.( Thanks to Dr. Bandu Ranasinghe who directed me there )

We discussed it further and the areas which I can get in to., He explained me how I should get in to the research and the process. Its hell of a work load and needs lot of commitment as I will do it while working.. But this is what I want to do. So Im sure I will have that commitment.

After the discussion I collected the registration form and came back to office., I got to prepare my research proposal. Before that I should be very clear with the area that Im going to do research on.. After the discussion that Dr. agreed to be my mentor. I’m honored..!

.............There's a battle ahead, many battles are won!!!


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