The Deadline

Mr. Tompkins, a ReSOE “Released to Seek Opportunities Elsewhere” is the protagonist of the Tom Demarco book about Project Management, if you are looking for a new way to learn about PM this book is perfect, it is a novel! so from the beginning of the story, you are transport into the world of a Gant Charts, SCRUM, changes and management risks.

If your english is not really good, there can be some hard words, but in these days there is nothing that google translate can’t resolve.

Some of my favorite Quotes from the book:

“Let me answer that question with a question. What’s the hardest job in management?”
“People,” Tompkins replied automatically. He knew exactly where he stood on this subject. “Getting the right people for the right job. That’s what makes the difference between a good manager and a drone” (DeMarco, T., 1997).

Metascore 88/100 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌗

More info in: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/123716.The_Deadline

References:

DeMarco, T., (1997) The Deadline, Dorset House Publishing, New York: USA.

Here I go again 🎸

🎼 It’s such a perfect day 

You may be thinking about Whitesnake song (maybe not, should you?*),  It’s the beginning of the finals week, for almost every student in the school, today is the last day of classes, that means we have to think about our performance in the semester, It works like a new year’s eve without twelve grapes or tons of fireworks, did we make all our plans true?, did you get into the new project?, did you change the world around you? did you make all the posts and stayed active on Slack in your #TI2011 class?,

*https://goo.gl/eiEoVW

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We seem to enjoy to leave everything in the end, we like to do things on unhealthy marathonic ways, just like finishing a serie in one day, going to hackathons to work all day and night, do 30 post in one day, study for a final and arrive at the school without any sleep, test the slides 3 minutes before the presentation and realize it does not work, reading a complete book in one sitting, .

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Hope you are not a Peter Gibbons in this life

🎼 But I didn’t have time to do it

“You know I’m sooooo busy to go to class, I have to study” “I have a lot of outside work, school is not for me, I can learn everything from an internet tutorial”

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“Finals are here, I can’t do anything but study/make a project” Even the trendy Luis Fonci’s Despacito song isn’t heard as much as these phrases on finals. But of course my horse, when they meet with their teams or friends to study,  80% of the times is wasted on chatting, complaining that they have to do a lot of work, procrastinating, eat and look for memes on Facebook/Twitter/KevintrocoWordpressSite, so maybe these phrases are just a way of saying, I did have time to do it, but I spend it on videogames/partys. I kind of describe my finals week anyways.

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Don’t: Be this guy After the Finals (SO)

To be honest, I enjoy to write about different things that involves the Project Management, and avoid those posts that are just resumes of the book (literally), having 2 good posts instead of 14 Mcconnell awesome mixtape, although in the end, they are necessary to fill the blog and make it to seem full of posts, we learned from the book that the amount of time you spent on planning is truly valuable in the last phases of the project.

🎼 Inevitable things of the Finals

  • Marring the “maquinita” for a week and only eat cookies and chips since you can’t go to eat something made with love or without a wrap.
  • Have eye-bags big enough to be confused with a zombie, sponsored by those large nights of studying without sleeping.
  • Make the Tec or your foreign friend house your second home, If you are not a foreign student you will not see you’re parents, which result in the next point.
  • “This ain’t a Hotel” scold by your parents when they realize you only go to sleep or eat to your house in the lately days.
  • Going crazy because you left everything at the end, and then tell yourself you will NEVER do that again.

All these things can be avoid if you have CONTROL OF YOUR TIME, procrastination is an enemy we must face.

Remember about the estimations that Mcconnell wrote in the book, following a systematic estimation procedure is effective when they are realistic, I will read these 100 books at the end of the month is not going to be completed if you have never read more than 10 pages without sleeping in the couch. In the end GOOD LUCK IN THE FINALS! show what you can do.

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**Of course this is my opinion and it is okay if you don’t think the same, there is a lot of exceptions in students, not everybody is lazy.

Preliminary Planning & Football

To win the Football* league is not so different as managing a software project, at least in the planning factors, let’s talk about Chapter 7 of the book. 🥅  ⚽️💨  🏃🏻

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In booth cases you have to got a Coach who manages the team, the tactics and formations before/during/after the matches, just like any software project, the project manager has to make with the given resources the best teams and put together the ones who has the best chemistry of work, the team cohesion has a very important impact on the productivity of the team. You also need resources, players (programmers), trainers, investors and more. Different  areas unite to make a good result, this means that there should be a project vision of where the project is going in order to don’t exceed the budget or fail, some soccer teams have in mind to win the league, others to avoid the relegation, having a vision helps to build a common goal that makes trust among the team towards the same objective, the team needs to be motivated and need to have a challenge or mission to achieved, sometimes the Champions League or a new revolutionary social network to compete with Facebook and will take the market share for the first months, anyways, it is important to have a real goal, you will not make a League 4 Sunday league team to win the FA CUP, or have 2 developers to make a new Call of Duty in one month, it may be uncommonly possible but not realistic, McConnell says:

A common and damaging dynamic occurs when the development team begins to realize its goals are unachievable before management does. If management continues to insist that the goals are achievable after the team has figured out that they are not, team motivation and morale can sink fast.

Executive Sponsorship 

Executive sponsorship is the support given to the person or group who has the final authority over the project wide decisions (ask Barça or any of those multimillionaire teams or tech companies like Sony), The Coach may be in charge of the players to be fit and win matches, but his boss is the one who is in charge of the team, just like a PM is responsible for committing to a project, but the release to its users is in other authority chair, they are also the ones who give the money to buy those fancy players that will win the league for them.

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Risk management

A risk is a possibility of loss or injury, Software development involves risk, football involves risk, changing the battery of your computer involves risk, everything has a chance of risk or loss, sometimes there are star players that get injuries or that don’t fulfill the expectations, this is where the manager will decide what to do, in a football team or in a software project, if you find a difficult persons, works as quickly as possible, because the negativity and the effects in the team will be lowered, sometimes teams just lose finals because the aggressively plays that leads to red cards.

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Because the project manager as the coach are the ones who give the face of success or failure in a project, projects needs to reduce risk, they are faced into the risk management, there are three approaches that McConnell describe in the book of Software Project Survival Guide.

  1. Project plan must describe a risk.
  2. The budget for the project must include funds for the risk solution.
  3. She risks are assessed, their impacts must be incorporated into project plans.

If a player is injured, there must be a substitute, if a programmer doesn’t give the task on time, there must be a new approach to make him work as desired, sometimes football fans act like the risk officer, who appoint that some players are not in the best shape, although sometimes just like McConnell says, the are just “designated pessimist” that does not like the tactics, the risk officer must have the management point of view and respect too.

 

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Maybe the coach is not playing on the field, but he is the one that is in charge of the tactics to succeed, just like the Project Manager

Successful projects begin planning early, they define the project vision, identify an executive sponsor, set targets for the project scope, manage risks and map out the strategies, which is useful and important.

in the end ProjectManagement == Coach

*✌🏻Soccer✌🏻 for North Americans

All those things College Have Done

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Let’s forget about the McConell Book just for this post, Imagine coming back to your school 15 years after you graduated to give a chat to students that are studying the same career as you, imagine returning to your school in 2031, what will it change? Maybe there will be VR classes and a lot of screens everywhere, google may own us all and we may even have full holograms like Star Wars to communicate, you will see things very different, but the most different thing that you’ll see, will be what your school did for you. All those years that made what you are now, all those filler classes and subjects like financial administration and citizenship that did not make any sense, there is no filler classes, like Steve Jobs says (I know he is kinda over quoted but he have a great point) it is all about connecting the dots! We are not machines, we are not code manufactures, everything that we learn is useful, I mean, as a System Engineer, you can fit everywhere, any place that there is a computer,  a job is waiting for you (if you have what it is needed), but we need to learn to take advantage of all what we learn.

Working and studying is the pillar of success, but it is a double knife trap too, we need to have a balance between the amount of work without losing the focus in our studies, work will teach you more than any class of course, but do not let greed for money consume you, studies are still important.

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Sometimes we live in the basic, not by choice, but because we have to develop in the most common tools, since they’re easy to use for the user, we have to adapt to our clients (without trying to innovate in what we can), and learn to explain what we want, because it is hard to sync our ideas with other people that are not engineers, soft skills are the solution in here, let’s appreciate our work and don’t let others to step on us, but without trying to act as if we are superior than the other guys.

 

Peopleware

All these thinks that are written in the book are a recompilation of years of software engineering, I’m not making this up, so yes… Software project is indeed a complex task, it is not like doing a ham sandwich, that is why it can be a big mess without the correct planning, lots of ISC’s hates to spend time planning, I do not mean that engineers don’t think that planning is not important, but they do think that is a waste of time of the project (mostly because they aren’t coding)t, and maybe doing a programming course homework doesn’t require a lot of planning, but even if you are pretty lucky, medium and large projects do require systematic approach.

# Planning is important! 

“Plan a serie of plannned small mistakes to avoid large mistakes”

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Requirements development. Helps to identify in detail the problem that the team is trying to solve, it’s like the soul of the project (maybe) because the project is modeled around the requirements, architecture plans the correct solution to the problem in a high level specification, detailed design  Comprehensive plan of what is going to be build, all this together will made the project a solid work.

 

Checkpoint Review

“very early in the project the project team should have produced a user interface prototype, detailed requirements, and a detailed project plan”  This helps a lot to the stakeholders to know if they should invest on your project or yourself to see if it is actually posible to accomplish the goals. Maybe this tasks will take 10 or 20 percent of your project, but at the end of this you’ll have a planning checkpoint review(and see if cancelation is a positive decision), if you don’t have this, is not a crazy idea to think that there is a risk of FAILURE.

Facts:

  • Good progress control is where the project progress is visible (true status of the project).
  • Binary milestones are the key of project progress management.
  • DON’T LIE ABOUT THE PROGRESS.
  • Even optimistic people need to prepare for the worst.
  • Quoting the book “if you don’t actively attack the risks on a software project, they will actively attack you.”

 

Peopleware

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People is one of the most important parts of the project, so when developers find their work interesting they can achieve incredible work, productivity must come from possible goals,  and try to avoid to manipulate them or create noisy atmospheres (like in taller vertical). Not everything is the developer,the user is also a key in the project development, having the user to be involve in the project might save you from remaking the whole project if you ever find that the client did not even wanted what you make, Mockups can help you a lot, is better to involve the user early on in the project.

Rule #3 Trashing=Bad Processing

Well-defined development processes are important and necessary elements of software project survival (McConell, 1997).

McConell just said so, processes are a fundamental  in the software development, a ✌🏻good tip✌🏻 is making a schedule of the processes you’re going to do in the lifetime of the project.

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Plan and fail at it, is the best way to learn to plan. At the beginning of the project you don’t know how big the project is going to be, maybe it’s going to take 5 weeks or 30 weeks, you will never know. Anyways, a good practice is to do the project in two parts, first get an idea of what you’re going to do, play around with the ideas and get a demo, in order to get approbation from the client/project owner and get a better idea of what are going to do, there is not recepe when you talk about project managing. using git is cool, if you use it in a good way, controlling the versions of your project, not by uploading everything in  a last single commit, you should better use google drive for storing in that case.

Trashing-

The deffiniton of working, but what you do, does not contribute to the project, if trashing is 90% of your time, then the project will not work at all, if you have a well-defined process, the software personnel can spend their work on productive stuff, and not in trashing (basically), but if you don’t have any plan, it’s going to be a hell of mistakes that will make even more mistakes that can be a critical factor in the success, processes shouldn’t be viewed as rigid steps, because when a project .

 

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What’s wrong with that table? It’s a waste of time for a developer.captura-de-pantalla-2017-02-01-15-58-02

no advance at the beginning, it is gonna be a TOTAL FAILURE. avoid this kind of projects.

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ITS ALL ABOUT EXPERIENCE 

Rule #2 Test yourself

How do you know if your project is working as expected? , well, almost all skills that exist on earth can be measured with a test, it is a good way to understand your project progress. The test provided by McConell will help you to understand the shape of the project, whether is going to fail or not. it is important to be realistic and don’t lie to yourself, since is extremely important to have realistic goals, this can even help to find strengths in the project to work with.

 

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The test is available in the next link: http://www.construx.com/survivalguide/

Rule #1: Survive

Everybody is talking a lot about the survival training on topics related to the project management, but why? is it really so necessary to take any kind of training? you might say, “of course”, and you’ll be right, because it is good to have a direction before starting a project, it helps us to avoid losing tons of money or getting fire, it is a reality that from 300,000 software projects in the USA, between  1/3 and 2/3 of those projects will exceed their schedule and budget targets before they are delivered (McConnell, S. 1997). So yes, it is an importantopic indeed, and in software community, the users might complain a lot about the release dates and functionalities of the software, but the failure is always (or most of the times) avoidable with the right planning, anyways the manager must be in charge of the continuity of the project and prevent the cancelation from the client. This course will be like going to a camp, but, a Project Survival Training Camp. Before starting anything, the temas must follow the principal rules, or in this case, the rights (just like people, projects tent to have right and obligations too), and some rights must be satisfied in order to continue with an effective and well focus project and the rights must be required for everybody that works on the project without discrimination, having a productive environment is one of them, making everybody follow the rights will made the chances of survival bigger.

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References:

McConell, S. (1997). Software Project Survival Guide. United States: Microsoft Pres.