Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Demand Of Quality Professionals Is On High And Will Remain So

Quality is a lot more that identifying and controlling defects. With increasing dependencies on business applications be it on server, mobile or web; is demanding more and more professionals who are capable of this paradigm shift and are intelligent enough to accept the challenge. One of the major areas to be focused in Quality is about understanding of existing processes and efforts towards their enhancements and optimizations.

Business software application is a basic requirement of any business these days. Businesses are emphasizing more on automation, consolidation and integration. Innovation and improvement is always welcomed in this field. With the exponential increase in software industry in the global arena, emphasis on quality needs, its optimization and adherence to processes is becoming more and more important.

The software industry is growing steadily with clear cut demarcation of boundaries. The applications are being built keeping in mind to cater to global market rather than the local area. Because of this fast growth in software industry, there is an increasing demand of quality professionals which will keep increasing in coming years.

Business Needs More Serious Quality Professionals Than Developers

There is a huge shift in mindset regarding scope of quality in software industry. Given the fact that dependency of business is increasing on applications, the adverse impact of any flaw bypassed during quality might impact business heavily. A small transaction leading to a wrong calculation due to a bug could cost a high amount to the business. Quality therefore has a higher amount of significance in today’s scenario.

Development process is supposed to ensure complete adherence to customer requirements and business alignment thereby making it useful for customer else there remains a never ending fight between the customer and delivery organizations regarding the gaps left un-addressed. Even if there is some gaps remain in the final deliverable and those ‘asked for’; it should be closed at the earliest with mutual consent. This can happen only when the development team gives some valid reasons for not filling those gaps due to what so ever constraints and customer agrees to it. Hence due to this higher stake of correctness of coding adhering to customer requirements, it becomes very important for quality to pitch in and ensure a zero defect product.

There has to be a good balance between coding and testing throughout the development cycle. For this, a tester’s knowledge about requirements and product in questions is as critical as it is for development team.

Three Focus Areas To Deliver A Healthy And Delighting Product

Software industry depends highly on quality of product. Bug encountered during and post production but before launch always cost in terms of time and money. Fixing a bug might take a small chunk of time but retesting again is a time consuming job which is required to ensure the impact of bug fixed should not degrade or put a negative impact elsewhere in functionality or business process. Quality again has to play a major role but the onus lies on development team also to ensure a bug free ‘bug fixing’.

Three important acts to perform during product development in a continuous manner can be listed as below:
1. Reviewing Process: Regular reviews, on one hand are quite important; and on the other hand, it is also important to keep reviewing the processes defined for development and testing of a product. The team, process and timelines need to be aligned tightly so as to ensure no leakages during development or after the release of product.

2. Customer Requirements: It is not a one-time exercise to capture customer requirements and then start development in closed doors. This will always lead to failures and disasters in the short and long term, both. It is very important to keep customer engaged during every iteration, internal releases, and milestones completions.

3. Best Practices: How so ever best your practices may be as per your claims, but there is always a scope of improvement, without any doubt.

Quality Is Nothing But QA, QC and Compliance

Typically the vast scope of quality can be divided into three major streams – Quality Control (QC), Quality Assurance (QA) and Compliance. All three streams are critical for any organization engaged in software development activities – be it as a vendor or for internal use. In any case – an internal development team of an organization also more or less is like a vendor which has to ensure smooth delivery and functioning of the products they develop and deploy within their organization.

Scope of Quality Control (QC) is limited to product’s handling, testing, reliability, stability, bug finding, maintaining testing reports and ensuring compliance of documents required for the purpose of audits. QC is responsible for inspection of the product in all aspects from user and business perspective. Code testing and testing of product for the purpose of finding bugs, reporting, maintaining data and its history, getting bugs fixed, retesting, and ensuring finally that the product goes for release with no bugs or leakages. Test cases, test specifications and testing are very important. Retesting of product post fixing of bugs by development team is as critical and needs to be as exhaustive as first time testing of the product.

Scope of Quality Assurance (QA) is to ensure keep evolving best practices, ensure its compliance and adherence with continuous effort to uplift quality standards of the organization and teams by means of training, documentation, audits and change control mechanism. QA is required to be focused more towards compliance and adherence of processes in place. A re-assessment of processes in place is required to be done from time to time. External certification of global standard and regular audits by them always helps in this respect.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Wireframe Helps In Meeting Software Application Development Timelines

A wireframe is nothing but a blueprint for any sized software project in today’s corporate world. Think about a building on a land is first presented as a blueprint in order to explain the architecture and design of that building. The layout of the building is shown on this blueprint along with the components to be used for designing of this building. In a similar manner a wifreframe is an introspection of a software application in a layer by layer manner so that the application in question can be viewed/ reviewed from different angles.

A wireframe is a powerful tool to present a software application design and architecture in a crisp and clear way that enables you to understand it much strongly. An application can be referred to any business application, mobile application or website portal. A wireframe presents a 2 dimensional picture of your application in order to understand it more deeply and from different perspective.

A wireframe provides a visual map of your complete application so as to help you in see the application flow, navigation, correlation of various components of the application, linkages and associations. An application that is first presented through wireframe gives you a confidence about its flawless design, navigation and ease of use once you go through it and find out the gaps. A wireframe helps you to find out these gaps well in advance and hence assists you in completing your projects well in time with least amount of risks.

2013 PMI Jenett Project Management Excellence Award Goes To LeRoy Ward

PMI – Project Management Institute is a global membership organization for professionals in project management. It announced that the prestigious Eric Jenett Project Management Excellence Award for 2013 regularly organized by PMI goes to ESI International Executive VP J. LeRoy Ward, PMP, PgMP, CSM. The award is presented to an individual professional every year by PMI for contributing outstandingly to the practices of project management by means of demonstrating initiatives and leadership style in a unique manner so as to enhance PM techniques, concepts, practices or theories that are widely acceptable and applicable.

Ward, while accepting this prestigious award, added to his speech that he is feeling highly honored to get this award. This way he has been added to the list of past honorable winners of this award who have been acknowledged for their passionate work towards project management excellence and innovation. Ward has more that 38 years of experience in project management, program management and portfolio management in the U.S. government and various private sectors. He is known for writing various highly acclaimed books on the subject and is a well known speaker at global conferences.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

5 Gems For Project Managers From Book 5 Ancient Principles Of Leadership

5 Ancient Principles Of Leadership is a lovely read that you will enjoy for three reasons – it is crisp, it is short and it gives you a lot to learn. As a project manager this book written by Jack Myrick has some basic fundamental principles to teach you that if you employ in your professional life, will never let you down in terms of meeting your targets or managing your teams. This 87 pages book has been published by Jaico Publishing House and it is a fable of a ship builder.

Rule 1: Make Them Appreciated: Your team members are as important as you are for your organization. As a child needs pampering and feels happy about it, similarly your team members need to be appreciated. Appreciation gives a feeling of achievement, satisfaction and motivates one towards his goals.

Rule 2: See Their Potential, Not Their Flaws: Instead of keep cribbing about what not has been done, it is better to understand what each of your team member is best in and then give him/ her tasks according to their potential. Putting a person with perfection in one field put on to achieve success in another field might end up in a failure.

Rule 3: Lead With Authority, Not Power: Use of power generates revolts but using authority demonstrates a great leadership skill.

Rule 4: Love Them First: Before you assign them a task or wait for them to complete a task, it is important to make them feel that they are being loved whoever and whatever they are. Once the message is clear, it may lead to wonderful results.

Rule 5: Make Them Feel They Are Part Of Something Special

Druckers: 6 Management Quotes Applying Well For Project Managers

No. 1: If you are clear about your destination, it becomes easier for you to decide about your journey.

No. 2: Drawing out productivity is an art that a project manager and a team leader need to learn as soon as possible as it is their sole responsibility.

No. 3: No business can survive without existence of its customers.

No. 4: In business it is not only a single person’s money that is involved, it involves money of various stakeholders.

No. 5: Any work that is done in a systematic manner will definitely fetch out some useful results.

No. 6: In absence of a plan there can not be any commitment but only promises and hopes.

5 Best Quotes For Project Managers

Following 5 quotes are the best among a lot of 100 odd quotes I found.

Absolutely true.

Absolutely true. A code, a deployment, a training, a business analysis – everything has a optimum timeline.

Excellent quote. It is easier to demonstrate as a busy entity but the current scenario of professionalism doesn’t accept it if there is no visible result to the effort being done.

Project Approach and Project Execution

The project approach that is defined and signed off at the start of a project has to be followed by each person involved in the project during the development and execution of a project. It is assumed that initiation phase meets its timelines most of the time and most of the hiccups arise during a project are either during development phase or its execution phase. Progress of a project is measured by means of objectively defined milestones, targets and releases defined with their timelines.

Any timeline anticipated in getting delayed to its execution needs to be alarmed as soon as comes into notice. Appropriate actions need to be taken so as to get the train back on track rather than wasting much time in postmortem of delays happened. Though analysis and in-depth probing is definitely a solid tool for learning of factors that caused delays and helping in future projects in controlling those factors, it can be done post release of major milestones or at a stage when the project is passing through happy state.

Ultimate goal of any project is to get what was planned during initial phases – in right shape, in right time, and of committed quality.

Are you a Habitual Successful Project Manager?

In today’s tough scenario of high competition, sinking economies and shrinking team sizes it is difficult to refuse management when there is a demand of high quality product without any compromise with the quality but at a lesser cost and a faster pace, it is not easy for a project manager to consistently deliver successful completion of projects with higher than demanded quality, lesser than stipulated budgets and lesser number of risks occurring during the entire project lifecycle? Getting success in one of many projects is not enough to impress anyone in the management. It is the hunger for regular success thereby inculcating as a habit that makes you star of the organization.

This definitely requires some courage to break the existing rules, redefining of existing processes and innovative techniques. It is really a challenging and uphill task for a project manager to attain this level of management where I becomes his habit to succeed in every project he has in his kitty. Under such circumstances a project manager needs to be proactive and innovative in his style of management of projects to such an extent that he is successfully able to get an instinct regarding any upcoming showstoppers thereby creating an innovative approach to realign project priorities, resources engaged in project and strategies formulated to organize project.

Project Manager Needs To Be Self Driven To Drive Others

If you are a project manager in search of someone to push you or drive you, probably you are at a wrong foot of the ladder. The place where you are, as a project manager, have to ensure that your steering is in your own hands, you move in right direction, you move in right direction, and most importantly, you drive multiple vehicles besides driving your own, at the same time.

Well, that would be happening already, if you just look down to your regular exercise, the way you are driving your projects and teams. Good point is that you are already capable of driving yourself and others at the same time. Bad thing is that this art of driving yourself and others will get obsolete sooner or later unless you keep adding some value to it. Now, to add value to it, on a regular basis, you need to understand the factors (even minutest ones) that keep you motivated and boosted.

Some of these motivational factors in your life might not have ever been noticed by you, but you don’t afford them to go unnoticed for long, as these are your hidden treasures. And once you learn this art, don’t forget to download it to your aspirant team leaders, who shall be taking your place once you climb up the ladder.

How Unique Is Your Project Leadership

Do you carry a traditional, orthodox style of leadership with your project teams or it has some unique kind of flavor in it with a different style of functioning, monitoring and appreciating your team members?

Usually most of the project managers keep on carrying on legacy style of leadership with no introspection, innovation and newness in it. Any leadership style that is static in nature will start stagnating in the longer run. A true leader need to have a dynamic style of leadership to handle his teams and project tasks based on person to person and task to task. Each person and task can’t be handled in same style. And as a matter of fact, being a project manager, you don’t need to put a needle on each and every task; and on each and every member of your various teams.

Let some of the accountability and responsibility be drilled down to team members and team leaders. After all, you know well, that you will climb the ladder soon, and will not stay project manager. Similarly your team members have to climb ladder to team leaders and team leaders have to become team managers.

To be a different kind of manager is not difficult if you keep your foot intact on ground all the time. Some basic things to keep in mind is that you have to be a good reader of personality of your team members with a good amount of HR quotient in it.