Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Trinity Analogy in Software

This is an old post, re-plugged here!

A younger relative of mine who is in Software industry has a career inflection point – which path to choose for growth. I have had mine and had learned it in a hard way. Also, in-spite of all the turmoil in the current economic environment, I believe the tech industry is the future. As I have seen the industry for quite some time - here is my take.

Most of us can understand and relate with the Trinity Gods in Hindu mythology: Bramha, the creator; Bishnu, the sustainer, and Shiva, the destroyer. In any IT company you will have 3 minimum roles - as that of a Bramha or a Bishnu and a Shiva.

The role of an Architect is that of a Brahma. He thinks, creates new things and brings new ideas or products into life. He is the person who conceptualizes the idea, and designs the architecture for the system. But, also like Brahma, he is not the person who is most worshipped. In fact, in India, Bramha is the only God who does not have many temples made by his devotees (I guess only one is there at Pushkar, Rajasthan, India). He is not glamorous, does not get much credit for the creation and likes to keep a very low profile as well. But, he deeply loves what he creates and has a profound impact on the entire ecosystem with his creation. Similar is the role of an Architect. If you are a creative person, love new technical challenges, do not want to get into various soft political battles, and do not want to be in the front page for every achievement, then this role is for you.

The role of a Manager is that of Bishnu. Bishnu is the sustainer. The role of a manager is to manage what has been created already or which is going to be designed by someone else. He is savvy, smart, and political. He is also intelligent and many times have come through the rank where you are now. He changes color (or has various incarnations) as and when the system demands. Mostly he remains in a love-hate relationship with the people, knows how to get the credit (many times doing it himself, most of the times for getting the work done, and sometimes for nothing!). If you are that of a kind of a person who loves to work with people and wants to work done and possibly reach the pinnacle in your company, this role is for you. Also like Bishnu to remain worshipped for ever, you have to create that edge for yourself - through new learning, new methodologies, new practices.

The role of a customer is that of a Shiva. Shiva is the destroyer. He can be very furious and can make you extremely nervous when things go wrong or if he is unfairly treated. He can cause havoc in your world – your company. However, gets pleased very much if served well and rewards very well. A customer is very much like that. If he is served well, and if taken care of consistently, then the reward is manifold. Also, when things go wrong, it could prove disastrous for your company. Bottomline - he must be pleased at any cost. You can play this role and/or know how to serve to this role with direct customer facing jobs such as sales, marketing and specifically pre-sales proposals writings, negotiations, customer support and so on.   

Finally, it is up-to you on what role you choose for your growth.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

New Approach to PMI-PMP Classroom Course

For PMI-PMP session, this time, I significantly modified the approach to the classroom course. Every PMP aspirant is aware that PMBOK has vast course content. In PMBOK 4th edition, it is has 5 process groups (PG), 9 knowledge areas (KA), 42 process areas (PA) and hundreds of ITTO (Input, Tools and Techniques). In 4th Edition, 5 PG, 9 KA and 42 PA with hundreds of ITTO.

When you finally go for the PMP exam, you have to remember all the process groups, knowledge areas and process areas - in total 56 (4th Ed) or 62 (5th Ed) names. I believe it is a must - they must be on your finger tips. In addition to that you have remember major ITTO. Add to that the number of mathematical formula across - EVM, DTA, Critical Path, various Estimations etc. Now, that truly is a huge challenge. 

So, what was new in the approach? As they say in ancient China - "What I hear, I forget. What I see, I remember. What I do, I understand" (here) - how true! Interestingly every PG or KA or PA are detailed thought out in PMBOK and really linked. No process in PMBOK is floating independently  but they are linked to other processes in different knowledge area in various process groups. The key is to know how, where, when they interact and what is the significance. And the easiest way to remember is by doing that on the "White Board". So, added a number of hands on workshop, which accomplished the result!

There is an another approach with memory cards, which I think doubles the work - you remember the cards and then the processes. Rather, the approach here is a number of scientifically designed hands on workshop combined with frequent white board session with every participant coming on the board with you! 

PMP Classroom Program - Bangalore, India 

And above all, the team came up with flying colors. They missed only 1 process area  - out of 5 PG, 9 KA and 42 PA for PMBOK 4th Edtion. Team also came to know on the differences between 4th Edition and 5th Edition and also just missed 1 PA for 5th Edition.