A Recap of Basic Project Management Concepts

/* Posted December 15th, 2012 at 10:17am [Comments: none]    */
/* Filed under Project Management    */

The most important areas to keep track of for a project manager are time, scope, quality, and cost.  It is also important to align a project with the needs of the stakeholder.  Project managers should treat stakeholders individually but serve them collectively.

The project management office portfolio deals with strategy. The program deals with the roadmap and tactics. The project deals with the task.  A project manager’s job is to help task managers see the vision of the portfolio managers.

Project managers should keep objectives relevant, communication short and concise. The key to good requirements also applies to the key to good objectives: they need to be specific, measurable,  achievable, relevant, and time boxed.

The number one successful practice is the standard practice. Number two is a mature portfolio of good practices. Our processes help us avoid some of the most common errors in project management.

Project culture also plays an important factor in the quality of a project. It may be weak if one of these occur in a project team’s culture: inward focus, moral problems, fragmentation, inconsistency, ingrown subculture, warfare among subcultures subculture elitism.

Going back to communication, here are some key things to remember regarding good communication.  Do not assume. Seek first to understand, not to be understood. Until the deliverable is in the customer’s hand, communication is the project manager’s job. A good communicator has a clear understanding of the needs of the audience. He also has a good awareness of how the communication was received.  Talk to stakeholders early on, set communication schedule, be clear, concise, and complete. Use simple words, set a good cadence.

Ideal qualities for a good project manager are a shared vision, good communication, integrity, enthusiasm, empathy, competence, ability to delegate, keep cool under pressure, team building skills, and have good problem solving skills.

Here are tips on running meetings. Since planning is very important, prepping for a meeting is very important. There should be a good reason for having the meeting. At a meeting an agenda should be distribute. Keep the attendance limited. The meeting should have at least a one day notice, and specific start and end time.  Participation should be encouraged with visual aids. Most importantly, there should be follow up after the meeting.

Much of project management deals with change to an existing organization. Employees resist change because of lack of communication. There is a lack of inertia which comes from a misunderstanding of a lack of skills, and lack of training.  Forcing issues can create anger and passive resistance. There is usually a lack of trust to the newcomers.  Promises of better future means nothing unless there is trust in the manager

Further barriers to change result from a fear of failure.  Personality conflicts, poor timing, lack of tact, a threat to job security, a           breakup of work group, and competing commitments also contribute to a resistance to change.

The Alpha Project Manager

/* Posted December 15th, 2012 at 10:03am [Comments: none]    */
/* Filed under Project Management    */

The Alpha Project Management Style

 

There are many different project managers with different project management styles.  This article will focus on the Alpha Project Manager.  These are project managers who are at the top of their game and who are the most successful.  Their projects have consistent results, efficiently managed teams, and deliver value to their customers.  Alpha managers do not take on projects as a stepping stone, but rather as a challenge they have a passion for.  They love their jobs and are loved by their line managers, stakeholders, and team.

Project managers are empowered by their line managers, but this power is not always given to them. The alpha project manager will not patiently wait for it to come to him. One motto I have come across often is ‘do first, ask for forgiveness later. ‘  This concept is highly effective in most occasions, and I have learned this from the alpha project manager types.  I say most occasions because the cautionary rule to pair with this is to do the necessary background research on who it is that you plan to ask forgiveness from.   Some are more forgiving than others.

Communication is the key in managing projects.   Alpha managers talk to stakeholders early on in a project to understand their needs and concerns. Communication is tailored to the audience.  On top of this, a communication schedule is set early on and strictly adhered to.  This is how individual email requests and answers are cut down since customers know their questions will be answered periodically at a set time.  One of the most frequent complaints from stakeholders was that information was sporadic and irregular. Inconsistent and unpredictable communication did as much or more damage to the relationship as no communication at all.

An alpha manager’s communication style is clear and concise, without wasting time.  They create an open channel, frequently asking feedback on the communication itself.  Most project managers do not know how their communication was received, or interpreted on behalf of their stakeholders.

It is an interesting observation that the alpha project manager spends less time in meetings and respond to fewer emails per day than non-alphas. They are also the most responsive to project related requests. How are they able to manage this? The key is how an alpha project manager handles information.  They practice need focus and prioritization of information, rather than allow themselves to become victims of information overload.

The alpha project manager does not manage projects via email. He also does not allow others to manage their projects via email.  Rather, face to face meetings are preferred because this promotes better communication and generate positive feelings for participants.  There is less room for miscommunication of intent and information.

Balancing competing or conflicting goals with overall satisfaction of stakeholders is at the heart of project management.  It is important for project managers to identify early, understand, and satisfy these goals for the project to be successful.  An alpha project manager builds extensive networks to get to these goals.  Their relationships stem from informal networks that take on more importance than formal ones.  They will use whatever network that will produce the best results.  Any conflicts will be identified early, addressed and resolved as soon as they occur

Alignment with team as well as alignment with a performing organization’s goals is just as important for the success of a project.

In summary, there are many characteristics that attribute to the success of the alpha project manager. They are proactive, in control, and able to prioritize effectively.  They understand the importance of early planning, proper communication, and alignment with stakeholder goals as keys to project success.

Project Server

/* Posted October 4th, 2011 at 9:18am [Comments: none]    */
/* Filed under General    */


Project Server
Project ties into tfs

Gantt chart tools
Highlight critical tasks

My task lists synch automatically with the project sheet.

Timeline is copied as office art for other office apps

Drag drop timeline level resource, pushes all tasks spread out

microsoft.com/project


Bi is important in every company. Project type like content type but has larger set including workflow

Location:S June Pl,Anaheim,United States

CustomHOME beta 0.6.3 released!

/* Posted July 18th, 2011 at 3:13am [Comments: none]    */
/* Filed under PSP    */

Japanese developer ABCanG decided to present a new version of his homebrew, it is a plugin called CustomHOME, which changes the appearance of the HOME menu and also adds some options to its interface, often criticized for its sober, but its obvious lack of features.

Changelog:

Download!
Source

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Report: Innovative Games Post Heartbreaking Sales Figures in June

/* Posted July 17th, 2011 at 9:13pm [Comments: none]    */
/* Filed under Video Games    */

Electronic Arts’ Shadows of the Damned sold a paltry 24,000 copies in June, according to a report.
Image courtesy Electronic Arts

Some of the most original, innovative games released in June didn’t reach much of an audience.

While there were many great games released last month that put up respectable sales figures, Child of Eden and Shadows of the Damned were off the charts in the bad way. Ubisoft’s musical Kinect shooter only moved 34,000 copies, according to a Joystiq report based on the NPD Group’s research. The same report says that Electronic Arts’ otherworldly action game only sold 24,000 copies — doubly disappointing since it released on two platforms, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Other games fared better; Sony’s Infamous 2 and Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time 3D were the top two single-platform games, moving a reported 369,200 copies and 283,200 copies respectively.

Combining platforms, the biggest-selling game of the month was Rockstar’s L.A. Noire, which sold 419,000 copies according to a Giant Bomb report. And Duke Nukem Forever, after years of hype, sold 376,300 units.

Redesign set to make Firefox more responsive

/* Posted July 17th, 2011 at 3:13pm [Comments: none]    */
/* Filed under Web    */

Firefox logo

Mozilla has begun turning the
Firefox crank faster with a rapid-release development cycle. So what’s in store now that we can expect a new version every six weeks?

A lot, including 64-bit support on Windows and a plan to reduce the open-source browser’s memory usage. But the most far-reaching change probably is a project called Electrolysis that splits Firefox into multiple somewhat-independent processes.

Electrolysis holds the potential to improve responsiveness, smooth graphics performance, take better advantage of multicore processors, and tighten security. Mozilla already added one Electrolysis element to Firefox 3.6–the separation of plug-ins to their own patch of memory–but now programmers are spinning up the project again to tackle more.

It took a little while, but there’s no doubt now that the Firefox team has woken up to the newly competitive browser market. Firefox, once the obvious alternative to pokey Internet Explorer, now must reckon with Chrome’s fast rise,
Safari leading the mobile-browsing charge, and IE’s restored focus. Mozilla has responded with the rapid-release development cycle that produces a new Firefox every six weeks.

One goal of the faster cycle is to bring new features to market sooner. Rather than waiting more than a year for a major upgrade, new ideas can arrive as soon as they’ve made it through the testing levels of nightly builds, the rough Aurora version, and the more polished beta.

Collect the garbage
Chris Blizzard, Mozilla’s director of Web platform, didn’t detail a schedule for new Electrolysis features in a blog post today about the technology. But he did say work is back on the front burner.

A key improvement from the work will be separating the user-interface process from the part of Firefox that handles the contents of browser tabs. The expectation is a snappier browser, Blizzard said:

What we’re really talking about with multi-process performance is responsiveness:

? How long does it take for a mouse click to be recognized?

? When you resize the window does it feel smooth?

? Does the browser mysteriously pause from time to time?

? Are animations smooth, without pauses?

Some of this should get better because Firefox will better handle a process called garbage collection in which areas of memory that had previously been used are reclaimed for use again. Garbage collection can cause a program to pause, especially a large Web app such as Facebook or Gmail, Blizzard said.

Another benefit of Electrolysis is that separate memory processes can cut down on security problems because it’s harder for a malicious process to tamper with memory. And it’s naturally better-suited to the multicore processors that dominate the PC market today and that have begun arriving on mobile phones and
tablets, too.

Splitting up processes into separate domains, though, isn’t without its downsides, too. One big one: memory usage can increase. And it complicates some matters. For example, if each tab has its own patch of memory, it can be harder to share cached graphics.

Memory work
In the nearer term, Firefox should be cutting back its memory consumption through a project called MemShrink. Some fruits of this project should arrive with Firefox 7, set for release in September.

Firefox 7 memory use could drop 30 percent, Mozilla hopes. But it’s not easy.

Some big changes this week had to be undone because of crashes and other problems, said Nicholas Nethercote, who writes about the MemShrink project.

Another change in the works for Firefox is better 64-bit support. The automated build system, a collection of machines that runs tests on new versions of the browser, is being adapted for 64-bit versions of the browser.

Release engineer Armen Zambrano Gasparnian, who took early steps for 64-bit Firefox support last year, is on the case again.

“We now have a small set of Windows 2008 64-bit slaves ready to be put in our production systems that can generate the 64-bit version of Mozilla Firefox,” he said in a blog post this week. He’s been filing bug reports as a result.

“This is all preparatory work to fully support Windows 64-bit as a tier-one platform,” Gasparnian said. Tier-one systems are the high priorities for Mozilla; Android is the newest example.

The 64-bit transition began years ago with processors; Mac OS X has already made the jump, and it’s very common in the Windows world now, too. The chief advantage is support for much more memory, though there are some performance improvements as well.

One of the big obstacles to a 64-bit browser was that plug-ins such as Adobe Systems’ widely used Flash Player also must be 64-bit in order to work. That’ll be the case in coming months, though: Adobe has just released a beta version of Flash 11 with 64-bit support.

Where To Download iPhone Firmware Files From

/* Posted July 17th, 2011 at 3:13pm [Comments: none]    */
/* Filed under iPhone    */

Below you can find the direct links to the iPhone Firmware Files for every released firmware version. Please note that if you use Safari you must disable the auto unzip feature. It may be easier to just use Firefox!

1.0.0: iPhone1,1_1.0_1A543a_Restore.ipsw
1.0.1: iPhone1,1_1.0.1_1C25_Restore.ipsw
1.0.2: iPhone1,1_1.0.2_1C28_Restore.ipsw
1.1.1: iPhone1,1_1.1.1_3A109a_Restore.ipsw
1.1.2: iPhone1,1_1.1.2_3B48b_Restore.ipsw
1.1.3: iPhone1,1_1.1.3_4A93_Restore.ipsw
1.1.4: iPhone1,1_1.1.4_4A102_Restore.ipsw
2.0.0 (2G): iPhone1,1_2.0_5A347_Restore.ipsw
2.0.0 (3G): iPhone1,2_2.0_5A347_Restore.ipsw
2.0.1 (2G): iPhone1,1_2.0.1_5B108_Restore.ipsw
2.0.1 (3G): iPhone1,2_2.0.1_5B108_Restore.ipsw
2.0.2 (2G): iPhone1,1_2.0.2_5C1_Restore.ipsw
2.0.2 (3G): iPhone1,2_2.0.2_5C1_Restore.ipsw
2.1.0 (2G): iPhone1,1_2.1_5F136_Restore.ipsw
2.1.0 (3G): iPhone1,2_2.1_5F136_Restore.ipsw
2.2.0 (2G): iPhone1,1_2.2_5G77_Restore.ipsw
2.2.0 (3G): iPhone1,2_2.2_5G77_Restore.ipsw
2.2.1 (2G): iPhone1,1_2.2.1_5H1_Restore.ipsw
2.2.1 (3G): iPhone1,2_2.2.1_5H11_Restore.ipsw
3.0.0 (2G): iPhone1,1_3.0_7A341_Restore.ipsw
3.0.0 (3G): iPhone1,2_3.0_7A341_Restore.ipsw
3.0.0 (3GS): iPhone2,1_3.0_7A341_Restore.ipsw
3.0.1 (2G): iPhone1,1_3.0.1_7A400_Restore.ipsw
3.0.1 (3G): iPhone1,2_3.0.1_7A400_Restore.ipsw
3.0.1 (3GS): iPhone2,1_3.0.1_7A400_Restore.ipsw
3.1.0 (2G): iPhone1,1_3.1_7C144_Restore.ipsw
3.1.0 (3G): iPhone1,2_3.1_7C144_Restore.ipsw
3.1.0 (3GS): iPhone2,1_3.1_7C144_Restore.ipsw
3.1.2 (2G): iPhone1,1_3.1.2_7D11_Restore.ipsw
3.1.2 (3G): iPhone1,2_3.1.2_7D11_Restore.ipsw
3.1.2 (3GS): iPhone2,1_3.1.2_7D11_Restore.ipsw
3.1.3 (2G): iPhone1,1_3.1.3_7E18_Restore.ipsw
3.1.3 (3G): iPhone1,2_3.1.3_7E18_Restore.ipsw
3.1.3 (3GS): iPhone2,1_3.1.3_7E18_Restore.ipsw
4.0.0 (3G): iPhone1,2_4.0_8A293_Restore.ipsw
4.0.0 (3GS): iPhone2,1_4.0_8A293_Restore.ipsw
4.0.0 (4): iPhone3,1_4.0_8A293_Restore.ipsw
4.0.1 (3G): iPhone1,2_4.0.1_8A306_Restore.ipsw
4.0.1 (3GS): iPhone2,1_4.0.1_8A306_Restore.ipsw
4.0.1 (4): iPhone3,1_4.0.1_8A306_Restore.ipsw
4.0.2 (3G): iPhone1,2_4.0.2_8A400_Restore.ipsw
4.0.2 (3GS): iPhone2,1_4.0.2_8A400_Restore.ipsw
4.0.2 (4): iPhone3,1_4.0.2_8A400_Restore.ipsw
4.1.0 (3G): iPhone1,2_4.1_8B117_Restore.ipsw
4.1.0 (3GS): iPhone2,1_4.1_8B117_Restore.ipsw
4.1.0 (4): iPhone3,1_4.1_8B117_Restore.ipsw
4.2.1 (3G): iPhone1,2_4.2.1_8C148_Restore.ipsw
4.2.1 (3GS): iPhone2,1_4.2.1_8C148a_Restore.ipsw
4.2.1 (4): iPhone3,1_4.2.1_8C148_Restore.ipsw
4.2.6 (4 CDMA): iPhone3,3_4.2.6_8E200_Restore.ipsw
4.3.0 (3GS): iPhone2,1_4.3_8F190_Restore.ipsw
4.3.0 (4 GSM): iPhone3,1_4.3_8F190_Restore.ipsw
4.3.1 (3GS): iPhone2,1_4.3.1_8G4_Restore.ipsw
4.3.1 (4 GSM): iPhone3,1_4.3.1_8G4_Restore.ipsw
4.3.2 (3GS): iPhone2,1_4.3.2_8H7_Restore.ipsw
4.3.2 (4 GSM): iPhone3,1_4.3.2_8H7_Restore.ipsw
4.2.7 (4 CDMA): iPhone3,3_4.2.7_8E303_Restore.ipsw
4.2.8 (4 CDMA): iPhone3,3_4.2.8_8E401_Restore.ipsw
4.3.3 (3GS): iPhone2,1_4.3.3_8J2_Restore.ipsw
4.3.3 (4 GSM): iPhone3,1_4.3.3_8J2_Restore.ipsw
4.2.9 (4 CDMA): iPhone3,3_4.2.9_8E501_Restore.ipsw
4.3.4 (3GS): iPhone2,1_4.3.4_8K2_Restore.ipsw
4.3.4 (4 GSM): iPhone3,1_4.3.4_8K2_Restore.ipsw

NOTE*: I will update this as new firmware versions come out of course :)

VMWare Image Clone Problem: eth0 Renamed As eth1

/* Posted July 17th, 2011 at 3:13pm [Comments: none]    */
/* Filed under Linux    */

After cloning a VMWare image I had noticed that my CentOS Linux server renamed eth0 as eth1, eth1 as eth2 and so on. This is due to wrong or duplicate mac address. To fix this problem login to your CentOS Linux server using console and type the following commands:

# cd /etc/udev/rules.d
# cp 70-persistent-net.rules /root/
# rm 70-persistent-net.rules
# reboot

This file was automatically generated by the /lib/udev/write_net_rules program, run by the persistent-net-generator.rules rules file. Simple delete it and reboot the system to recreate the same. This should fix the problem:
# /sbin/ifconfig | grep "^eth"
Sample outputs:

eth0      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:0C:29:F3:E4:14
eth1      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:0C:29:F3:E4:1E

You need to remove the MAC address in /etc/sysconfig/networking-scripts/ifcfg-eth*. To find out current MAC address, enter:
# ifconfig -a | grep eth1 | grep HWaddr | awk '{ print $5}'
# ifconfig -a | grep eth2 | grep HWaddr | awk '{ print $5}'

Update your /etc/sysconfig/networking-scripts/ifcfg-eth0 with eth1 HWaddr (MAC address), enter:
# cat /etc/sysconfig/networking-scripts/ifcfg-eth0
Sample outputs:

 
DEVICE="eth0"
BOOTPROTO="dhcp"
NM_CONTROLLED="yes"
ONBOOT="yes"
HWADDR="00:0C:29:69:0C:4A"
 

Save and close the file. Restart the network service, enter:
# service network restart
You can verify new settings with the following commands:
# /sbin/ifconfig -a
# route -n

More About udev

udev is the device manager for the Linux kernel series 2.6.xx. udev loads all modules asynchronously in a different order. This can result in devices randomly switching names. My guess is my network card switched names or renamed eth0 and eth1 as eth1 and eth2.

Watch: Final Fantasy Type-0′s battle systems

/* Posted July 17th, 2011 at 9:13am [Comments: none]    */
/* Filed under Video Games    */

Square Enix has updated the Final Fantasy Type-0 website with a bunch of new gameplay videos showing off the upcoming handheld title’s many battle systems and features. You can check out four of these below.

 

Here’s a look at a basic battle in the game:

 

 

This next one focuses on Kill Sight and Break Sight, timed attacks that can be performed for extra damage. These attaccks can be performed once the targeting reticle changes color. Famitsu’s impressions cited similarities between this system and The 3rd Birthday‘s Overdrive system.

 

 

Here’s a video of the active world map system. Players can navigate the world map on foot or by riding a chocobo or airship.

 

 

Finally, this last video shows us the Special Order system, which lays out how to unlock different achievements within the game. This involves doing things like killing two enemies using only magic and similar requirements.

 

 

Final Fantasy Type-0 is currently slated to be released in Japan during the Fall season. A North American launch window has yet to be announced. Square Enix is still looking into the possibility of downloadable and overseas versions of the said game.

 

Via [Andriasang]

Dragon Go brings voice-powered search to iOS

/* Posted July 17th, 2011 at 3:13am [Comments: none]    */
/* Filed under Web    */


The free Dragon Go app provides a wealth of relevant results from its voice-powered searches.

The free Dragon Go app provides a wealth of relevant results from its voice-powered searches.

(Credit:
Screenshot by Rick Broida)

Back in late 2009, software developer Nuance made waves with Dragon Dictation, a killer free app that translates your voice into text.

For Nuance’s next trick, Dragon Go turns your voice into a search engine. Just tap the Record button, say what you’re looking for, and presto: the app runs a search.

Wait a minute, doesn’t the Google app do exactly the same thing? It does, but with decidedly Google-style results: Web, Images, Places, etc.

Dragon Go incorporates a wide range of mobile sites. Thus, a search for singer Brendan Benson produces results from not only Google, but also Amazon, Pandora, Twitter, Wikipedia, YouTube, and even LiveNation.

Search for a movie and you won’t get LiveNation, but instead an IMDb entry and showtimes from Fandango. Restaurant searches give you Yelp listings, and so on.

Wait a minute, doesn’t the Bing app do exactly the same thing? Yes and no. Although it offers voice-powered search, the results are listed in one long (and rather inconvenient) column.

Dragon Go, on the other hand, sports a stylish-looking results carousel, which you swipe through to find the specific info you want: photos, videos, maps (courtesy of Bing, ironically), movie showtimes, tweets, etc.

For most results you can copy the URL or send it directly to Facebook, Twitter,
Safari, or an e-mail or text message.

In my tests, Dragon Go exhibited the same kind of spooky accurateness as the Bing and Google apps (and, for that matter, Dragon Dictation). It even recognized my phonetically challenging last name. Amazing stuff!

The app is free, so you’ve got nothing to lose by taking it for a test-talk.

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