Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Worldwide OLAP Market Share (Believe it or Not)

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Lately I have been working with BI solutions for enterprise and I find this article very interesting ;

http://www.olapreport.com/Market.htm

(Thanks to Bud for sending me this)

This has information of Market share Analysis of OLAP., I really didn’t believe that Microsoft has captured the OLAP market so aggressively.. Something really interesting..

Monday, February 27, 2006

Culture shock

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Managing Projects with Cross Cultures is one the challenging areas in Project Management. But I have always found it interesting and challenging.

Today I came up with these articles in Jerry’s Blog which made me write this

I think the success of a Project manager who manages projects with the stakeholders of other cultures will play a major role on how much they respect other cultures. Remember.. No matter how educated or qualified or professional we are , the nationality and the religion is a very sensitive topic when dealing with people from other cultures. My experience is based on working as a project Manager as well as a General Manager – Project Management Office for a company which deals with outsourced projects around the globe, from small 1 month 1 person projects to projects which goes over years with more than 20 IT professionals.

No matter which part of the globe we are located. As PMs we face same kind of issues every day, Time overruns, cost overruns, team delivery issues., technical issues.. of course we can talk about endless list of issues., Our interest are the same., May be our qualifications are the same.. Then what is different ….??? The difference comes with our cultures, the way we do things, though the problem is the same.. our approaches will be different., the way we deal with the problem will be different.. And this is what it makes interesting.

When you get a customer /Project Owner /or a team from another country, as the Project Manager, you are the key person to understand each other’s culture and the way they do things very carefully. Once I had a customer from Europe, Who used the “F” word when ever his project was in trouble and he was in presure .. Coming from an Asian country, in the beginning this was very hard for me to deal with. I felt its really harsh.. But I tried to ignore those extra words and read the other part (Which was quite sufficient to understand what he said). Then I found that other than those words , what ever he said, everything looked fine and true and reasonable. so I got used to it .. But in the same time I mentioned to him that in my country,. we do not use this language in Business.. He sincerely accepted it.. so it created an environment for us to work with a better understanding and better respect to each other..

Recently I was managing a project for one of the biggest multinational companies in Pakistan. When I went there.. I found that things will not be the same (Specially me being a woman, I was advised from various people that it will be very hard for me to deal with Pakistanis).. But after few days.. Everything turned totally opposite.. Not only they were corporative with me, I was touched by their hospitality. Some of their client companies who didn’t even have 1 woman working for them were totally corporative and supportive to me and my team. Rule No 01.I respected their culture., I totally changed the way I normally dress to office. I even learnt to speak few words of their language.. With few extra things.. All my hard work was paid off. Both our teams worked together as 1 team for 1 goal. It became one of the most successful projects in my life.

Coming from this part of the world., the way we deal with our teams may be different from the way a PM from a western country will deal with. Some times we need a very indirect approach to sort out certain things. Specially handling with female team members... ( ok I will not talk much on that As Im a female too : -)

At last..this is something which I have observed.... I think PMs from India and SL have low rate of project failures compared to the PMs in western countries.. Anybody wonder why??? When I talked to some of the Project managers living in other part of the world… I found that they are very methodical (Pardon me Im not saying we are not methodical). They work with defined tasks, Budgets.. resources….. If any of these parameters are not in balance.. They close the project as a project failure.. But we…. Coming form a Outsourced Project environment.. …………. Even if the developer is absent,, Project Manager by himself will write the code and deliver.. Because one simple reason that we cannot afford a project failure… Im not saying this is a good practice though.. This is something which I will discuss in another post in the future….

I just started a separate section in my blog to share the blogs of other project managers around the world. Hope this will be interesting…

A smart project manager will always get the maximum benefit of the culture difference when dealing with the Stakeholders from other cultures.



Very useful resource:

http://www.pmi-netherlands-chapter.org/pdfdocs/Culture24novNL.pdf

Friday, February 24, 2006

Extraordinary Projects

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I just thought of setting some extra goals for my teams to achieve this year. (suddenly I thought of this while driving to the office today...).I have some targets (except to my usual work) for this year.. To get CMM (at least Level 3) Certification for the Company, Win National Best Quality Software Awards – 2006 and to convert the existing Microsoft Partnership to a Gold Partner.
With these objectives, I split one part of the team in to 3 teams. Then we assigned each goal as a project to each team. They have to select a leader among them to drive the project. This is actually a challenge to every team as they have to achieve the tasks out of their usual work. In this way there is a chance for everybody to prove their capabilities, improve on presentation skills.. Feel the pressure of driving a project(hmm.. I like that part the most... .. ) , a great achievement and more than everything.. it will be lots of knowledge and fun for everybody. We agreed to meet once a month to discuss about the progress of the project.

I think this is a good approach for a SME like our company who doesn’t have million $ budget to allocate on awareness programs and to improve standards.
End of the year, we will be selecting the best team, based on achievements, approach, leadership skills, coordination and teamwork. And this will be a part of their yearly review.. Im just excited to see the results…

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Velocity 2006

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I know I’m deviating from my normal topic Project Management. But I thought its worth to spend few minutes to write about Microsoft 2006 Partner conference in SL (Velocity)

Yesterday the whole day I was at Velocity. Thanks to the people who selected the venue.. Waters Edge is one my favorite places in Colombo.(any nature lover will admire this place.. anybody visiting Colombo , this is closer to the Parliament, by the side of beautiful “Diyawanna Oya” )

However I’m not bios towards one technology. Either Microsoft or Linux or what ever the technology, my interest is to manage the project and deliver its best value to the Stakeholders. But the place was full with “Microsoft Fans” (How can I be like that while using firefox Browser and thunderbird mail client. ? :( )

By starting the event, the Country Manager gave a speech based on IT sector of Sri Lanka.. He didn’t forget to mention the most popular problem what we always discuss in any IT event “IT resources in Sri Lanka” As he said it’s a very big problem. In SL, we find difficult to recruit good IT resources. Only few skilled people are rotating in companies, In his own words, Its like a “Merry-go-Round” When we know a good developer in another company we offer few bucks more and recruit him, after few months another company will do the same to us.. By continuing like this we will not go anywhere. Hmmm.. Something to think about seriously… He requested from partners to invest on IT skill development of the employees.. But then again.. How many companies will recover that investment in a floating resource market like this? Do you invest money and time to train a person for another to recruit.. The problem is even more complicated.. Any way I can talk about this for 1 whole day with my past experience by interviewing Developers for project requirements J It’s a nightmare..

Another point which he highlighted was the Licensing issue. We complain that the customers do not understand the value of Software.. But.. Do we understand it?? How many of us are using licensed copies of Software.. ? My personal belief of Microsoft Software Licensing is something different.. But I better not discuss it here .. ^^&^$#& )

The presenter who presented Miscrosoft Vs Linux was capitalizing on him working for Redhat before joining Microsoft. I really wonder How many of XMicrosoft guys must be working for Redhat at the moment. (What a business World ........)

Windows Vista was presented to the audience with a small demo. The presenter tried to do a small example to make it more interesting. Unfortunately the Example didn’t work ………………………….(Any way Im not a baby tux to say .. Another Microsoft Product… So I would say.. these things happens in presentations…) But overall, Vista looks like a really cool product to play with..

The Last lecture was given by an Indian Dr. and that was the best lecture of the whole event. His lecture was focused on how a technical person would map IT with business requirements for a successful sale.

Following is one of the examples given by him;

He said that windows 2003 Server has over 3500 Features

He questioned the product resellers and IT guys in the audience; what are the features used by their customers… and then he listed them, and counted them there were 8 features.

So the customer buys Windows 2003 Server for Rs. 80,000 (Example)

Windows 2003 Server has over 3500 Features

So the value of 1 feature = Rs.22.85

The value he gets by spending Rs.80,000 is Rs. 182.8

So who’s problem is this ? Microsoft’s? Customers? Or the person who sells it?

May be it’s a silly example. But this tells a long story about our selling

Not only for selling Microsoft products. We can relate this to any product selling we do.

“Forest Trust” was another good example of him to explain why Technical guys fail in convincing higher management of an organization.

Any way its really a rear skill to find IT guys who are good in their technical knowledge as well as selling. People who have that ability are always a success.

At last as usual the cocktail …….. :) People and time to gossip about industry news.. Hey where is this person working now.. Oh the looser is in that place..? How is business.. So How is the IT market…… Yeahhh. Its better to move out of IT now…….But I didn’t spend much time there as I was getting late……………

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Six Sigma Black belt

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I have been searching how to get Six Sigma Black belt from Sri Lanka (Its not something to do with Martial Arts any way.. It’s a Project Management Qualification) and I found this Article today.

In this http://www.asq.org/certification/docs/ssbb_brochure_04_2.pdf I find quite useful information about the certification process .

 

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