… life is how you react to it!

Today I heard first time of Charles Swindoll.  He is an author of over 70 books, educator and a preacher.  I have not read or listened to him but his quotes (found over the Internet) are very valuable. 

I am believer of the fact that where ever we get life lessons, learn from them and implement in life.  I save the motivating quotes so that I can refer again and again to align myself.  Here are 5 quotes to start the work week.

  1. Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.
  2. The difference between something good and something great is attention to detail.
  3. Alleged impossibilities are opportunities for our capacities to be stretched.
  4. We cannot change our past. We can not change the fact that people act in a certain way. We can not change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.
  5. We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.

Thank you for reading and wish you a wonderful week.

Practical Wisdom – three types of people

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar @ Detroit
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar @ Detroit

I attended “Practical Wisdom For Getting the Most Out of Life” seminar by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in Detroit on July 9th.  It was good to see and listen him in person.

His way of talking is like giving sutras (formula) for something.  I know condensing some information and giving it in the short form is not easy.  Some people enjoy detailed discourses and some enjoy condensed info i.e. sutras.  Remember, different strokes for different folks.  His daily sutras (link) are available in many languages.

On the lighter side, when someone asked the secret of happy married life – Sri Sri Ravi Shankar summed up for men – “nurture the emotion of woman” and hint to women – “pump the ego of man”.  We did some breathing exercise, learned about Surdarshan Kriya (a form of yoga) as well.

Here is a short paragraph from one of the books that I picked up “Celebrating Love“; –

“There are three types of people – the wise, the crooked and the immature.  The wise man continues doing good work whether he is scolded or praised.  Crooked people need to be praised to get them to do good work.  And from time to time immature people need to be both praised and scolded for them to do something good.”

(isn’t it a good management tip from a spiritual guru?).   Here are some links if you want to explore more –

Official website – http://www.srisri.org/
More info          – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sri_Sri_Ravi_Shankar
His initiative     – http://www.artofliving.org/

Thanks for reading and have a good day!

Intro to Earned Value Analysis – Part 1


We got to measure the progress of the project and report it to upper management along with controlling it.  Project might seem progressing well, tasks completing on time and we are spending money for that.  Earned Value Analysis (EVA) gives us an integrated view of cost and schedule performance.  Lets go over some basic definitions in this post.

There are three basic things that we need from project plan – Earned Value (EV), Planned Value (PV) and Actual Cost (AC).

EV  – Budgeted value (in $ or hours) of work performed a.k.a.  BCWP
AC– Actual value (in $ or hours)  of work performed a.k.a. ACWP
PV– Budgeted value (in $ or hours) of work scheduled or planned a.k.a. BCWS

These three key values enable us to calculate Cost Variance (CV) and Schedule Variance (SV).  This variance gives us info on if we are on track.

Cost Variance CV = EV-AC
(i.e. budgeted cost of work performed minus actual cost of work performed).
Positive variance means we are below budget and Negative variance means over budget.

Schedule Variance SV = EV-PV
(i.e. budgeted cost of work performed minus actual cost of work scheduled).
Positive variance means we are ahead of schedule and Negative variance means behind schedule.

Positive variance (in $ or hours) is usually considered good.  But when we have to compare progress of multiple projects, CV or SV of one project won’t make any sense when compared with other projects because they could be of different size in terms of budget and schedule.  To overcome this issue of comparing different projects regardless of their sizes, indexes are used.   Instead of subtracting, we divide the same numbers.

Cost Performance Index  CPI = EV / AC

Schedule Performance Index SPI = EV / PV

If CPI  is 1.0, we can say we are on track with respect ot cost; if CPI > 1, we can say we are under budget plus better cost performance.  If CPI<1.0, we are over budget and need attention.

If SPI  is 1.0, we can say we are on track with respect ot schedule; if SPI > 1, we can say we are ahead of schedule plus better schedule performance.  If SPI<1.0, we are behind schedule and need attention.

If CV or SV is negative or CPI or SPI is less than 1.0, I would monitor the trend of CV and SV for over couple of weeks to see the trend and then take some action.  If CPI or SPI is greater than 1.5, we still need to evaluate why is it so?

We use EVA by plotting project schedule on x-axis and cumulative (weekly or monthly) budgeted spend plan according to base-lined data from project plan. 

We need to remember one thing, Garbage in, garbage out.  If project is poorly planned, EVA can not come to aid.

Thanks for reading and let me know what you think, any suggestions for improvements and corrections are truly welcome. 

Trust is very important for teamwork

When a team outgrows individual performance and learns team confidence, excellence becomes a reality. – Joe Paterno.

Who else can say better than JoePa?  He is absolutely correct, but key thing is outgrowing individualism.  When a team is motivated to work together, everything seems possible and there is quite a different feeling. I have been blessed to work with some of the best people who knew how to empower team and have experienced how team’s common goals produce stunning results. 

Very first thing is to cultivate the trust in the team.  If there is no professional trust among group members, team will never perform at par. 

We have to be little bit open to our team members (my own perspective). if we become totally professional by delegating tasks and demand results with ‘paid for the work done’ attitude, team will not work.  You got to use some emotional intelligence, you got to connect with the employee.

Next, you being the boss,  have to guide and empower the team.  Every team member comes with unique skills, personality, objectives, understanding.  You got to know who needs direction, and who needs nod; who needs to be left alone and who should be slowing down.  Check Situational Leadership II post on my blog.  You are the one who will make things happen through this dynamic team.

Thanks for reading and I welcome your comments how you made your team perform above expectations and what factors were important to you.

 

Know what to emphasize

PM Tips – 1

What points we emphasize make a big difference in our communications. 

How do we do that? We got to know the expectation of the audience and what we want to convey.  Over emphasizing something or emphasizing meager issues may dilute the effect of conversation. We develop this skill with experience, paying attention to the audience and listening how others do it.

Certainly there are key things that you want to emphasize.  Make sure what you want to emphasize is really relevant and audience has some clue about what you are talking.

Notice how you emphasize? Do you find yourself keep repeating what you want to communicate in different phrases or you cleverly divert every topic discussed and then associate to what you have in mind? 

Observe if you are getting your point across.  Use some relevant example to explain your point.  Do not give frustrated look. You may have to do more work to refine your point.

Thank you for reading. Any suggestions or feedback?

Cheese Moved? Doesn’t Matter.

We, as a professional, are hired by organizations to deliver results and perform. As time passes, our daily job becomes our universe.  We spend our energies resolving problems, improving processes, saving money and many other good things.  Sometimes we are ignorant and sometimes we are so busy handling all the situations at the job, we do not realize that whole world has changed and we are still there.  We find that new technologies, processes, ideologies, concepts and trends have taken over what we used to do.  And when we realize, then blame our employer for not guiding us, showing us the right path, etc.  Remember, we are professionals and professionals know all about their field of expertise.

 When I see clueless people in the situations when their cheese (i.e. work) is moved (or gone), I tell them to stop complaining but learn the lesson from it and take action. 

Here are 11 points I tell (and remind) people to avoid becoming obsolete

  1. Subscribe to professional/trade  magazines and journals and read ( or go to library, but stay up-to-date on what is happening).
  2. Bookmark and frequently checkout websites dealing with news & views related to your field of expertise.
  3. Read some good books on the subject.  Check Amazon.com’s ratings and views before buying. 
  4. Become member & get involved in professional organizations in your chosen field.
  5. Volunteer your time & services in your chosen field or for any good cause.
  6. Mentor and guide other people, help people grow, offer help selflessly.
  7. Attend seminars or conferences; it does not matter if you got to spend few hundreds from your own pocket and on yourself.
  8. Read some good self-help books on personal development and personal finance.
  9. Grow your network, if good people can not find you; you go out and find for your networking.  Interaction is the key.
  10. Always keep learning new things in your chosen field, and
  11. Change with time.

You will find out many successful people are already doing these above mentioned things to grow their professional network and knowledge base. 

I am certainly interested in what you got to say on this subject.  Everyone has unique experience and lets share our thoughts and learn from each other.

 Thank you for visiting and reading the post.  I appreciate it.  Have a good time.

Leading Creative Employees


There are always some special people in teams who are very much techie, creative and loaded with specific knowledge.  Lets call these employees creative people in this post.

These creative people provide tremendous value to organization through application of their knowledge and expertise.  These really smart and creative people need nurturing environment and motivation. When leading these creative people, keep in mind that they may

  1. think they know more than anyone (or know everything);
  2. do not want to be led (know what, how and why);
  3. do not want to follow the process (think its bureaucracy);
  4. want to discuss the solution with higher authority (by-pass chain of command);
  5. expect people to come and ask for help (until then they keep quiet);
  6. show their exceptional knowledge in group meetings;
  7. become poor listeners and jump to solution (feel they know problem already);
  8. dislike to say thank you for any assistance;
  9. feel attached to the solution they offered (won’t accept alternate);
  10. stop contributing if ignored;
  11. want praise and recognition (not always care about position);
  12. want challenges and new things to work on.

Leading creative people require smart leadership.  Smart leaders will help these creative employee contribute by creating environment where they feel valuable while making sure that other employees also flourish. 

Smart leaders demonstrate their expertise and authority over creative employees quietly by not pushing them or by not showing them who is the boss.  Smart leader also makes sure that they know what organization’s strategic goals and objectives are; but does not dictate how to achieve.  These creative people can contribute beyond expectations when their leader becomes their coach-cum-mentor-cum-guardian.

Not all the points may apply in any given situation and there might be other examples as well.  I am interested to hear your thoughts on this.  Please leave comments.  Thank you for reading and have a wonderful day!