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7 Corrosive Factors of Micromanagement

Why micromanagement is counter-productive and dangerous.

By Vitaly Dubravin

Micromanagement is defined by Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary as “manage[ment] especially with excessive control or attention to details“. This definition sounds soft and neutral, but is often become the most noticeable symptom of a serious psychological problem. Micromanagement is very distractive and time consuming, not just for the manager himself, but for his/her subordinates.

Micromanagement may be almost unnoticeable or tolerable at the early stages of the project. But it becomes especially destructive for a team working under the pressure of approaching project deadline, facing budget constraint or tense work situations.

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DO’s and DON’Ts of Motivational Management

April 24, 2011 2 comments
DO’s and DON’Ts of Motivational Management

Practical tips for project team motivation and common pitfalls to avoid

By Vitaly Dubravin

Motivational management has been around for a quite some time, since slavery has proved its inefficiency and process management did everything to suppress initiative and creativity. What is motivational management? Here is a very simple case that explains it.

Imagine you are at the very end of a project, the acceptance day is approaching rapidly and your team is a few days behind the schedule. There are most common management behaviors shown in such case. The first is a childish questioning every team member “Are we there yet?” hourly to demonstrate that you are in control and ready to respond to “How we doing?” from the stakeholder instantaneously. And the second approach is where you have a short morning briefing with the team, once again reemphasize why the importance for “all of us” to catch up, checking who may need help and provide the most comfortable and non-stressful atmosphere for the team to continue cracking the challenge. Read more…

Fears of Scrum

February 10, 2011 Leave a comment
Fears of Scrum

Major objections for moving from Waterfall Project to Scrum and how to address them

By Vitaly Dubravin

Scrum is a flavor of an agile software development methodology and is widely adopted by all major software shops. It cuts sharp corners of a “traditional” waterfall approach, eliminates unnecessary tensions and makes your development team very lean and efficient. I’ve started practicing Scrum several years ago when Kindle Innovations has decided to move ahead with a Facebook challenger – www.tabUp.com project. Everyone on the team had his own vision and understanding of the site to be, many ideas were similar in nature, but had “minor” differences in tactical approach. Even though our “final” scope at the beginning looked solid like a rock, we had to adapt to the Internet changing demands. TabUp today has only a few elements of the original idea and everything you see on the site is a response to the early birds and current users’ behaviors and suggestions. TabUp team got to the point where we can implement a feature within a few days from the suggestion and push it into production right away. This would be absolutely impossible to do without using Scrum.

I was so impressed by Scrum results on tabUp project that started evangelizing this approach to my other customers. Some of them had already adopted it, others are in the process of internal fighting with “natural” fears. This is what I’m going to review down below – Fears of Scrum.
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The Mystery of Data Masking for Business Managers

January 21, 2011 3 comments
The Mystery of Data Masking for Business Managers

Who and how should initiate and lead Data Masking projects in the enterprise.

By Vitaly Dubravin

Data Masking has recently become a well-recognized buzz word. All major IT players have released their own products to support this initiative. Oracle, IBM and Camouflage are just a few vendors with smart and flexible masking products. However there are not that many stories of a successful masking adoption (not just implementation!). There is a good reason for that.

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Hiring team members is easy…isn’t it? Not in technology. – Part II: The Interview and beyond

October 26, 2010 1 comment
Hiring team members is easy…isn’t it? Not in technology. – Part II: The Interview and beyond

Challenges of finding right people for the project on the overcrowded market

By Vitaly Dubravin

My last post (“Hiring team members is easy…isn’t it? Not in technology. – Part I: Before the Interview”) talked about some steps preceding the interview. This part is about the vital steps during the Interview and right after it.

2. The Interview

Face to Face. People are working all over the world and it is hard to bring them in during initial selection. I do not like phone interviews for several reasons. First – there is less confidence that the person on the other end of the line is the same person that will come on your project. Second – there is no assurance that this person is in the country and will not have troubles coming in. Third – I like to see person’s reactions on my questions. For example: the person may be silent on the other end while thinking or is busy checking Internet for an answer. I’d like to know that.

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Hiring team members is easy…isn’t it? Not in technology. – Part I: Before the Interview

October 25, 2010 2 comments
Hiring team members is easy…isn’t it? Not in technology. – Part I: Before the Interview

Challenges of finding right people for the project on the overcrowded market

By Vitaly Dubravin

Every manager sooner or later is facing a challenge of hiring new team members. I don’t make a big difference between hiring of a full time person or a consultant. Both will be equal team members. This process may be very formal or extremely flexible, depending on the company’s culture. But the ultimate result may either save you tons of money and nerve cells when you find someone really good or cost you a lot if a mistake is made. Here are some considerations from my own team building experience.

Market was going down for a few years in a row and there is a common illusion that there are plenty of high-skilled workers who can be hired for a dime. Yes, many good people were laid off but that was a measure of the last resort. Office plankton was the first to be kicked out. People with outdated skills were the next in the line. Such “talents” present a vast majority of the widely available resources in the online resume databases. It does not mean that it is not possible to hire a person you really need. You simply have to kiss a lot of frogs before finding a princess.

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Fixed Price IT Project – The avaricious pays twice? – Part II: Execution

October 21, 2010 2 comments
Fixed Price IT Project – The avaricious pays twice? – Part II: Execution

How fixed is a fixed price project and what is really happening behind the curtain

By Vitaly Dubravin

My last article (“Fixed Price IT Project – The avaricious pays twice? – Part I: Preparation) talked about challenges of a business pain transformation into the proposal to build an IT system. This time I’ll describe the second,  more dramatic stage of the ultimate transformation – project implementation.

A lucky vendor is awarded a contract and a project team is ready to start.

4. Execution phase.

The Project team has a formal leader – a Project Manager. He or she, was orchestrating a RFP response preparation and was a major player in the sales efforts to win the deal before. But now PM is The Person in charge. What is a key metric for the Project Manager’s performance? Customer satisfaction, quality of deliverables, meeting deadline and milestones…it’s all true, but. Good project managers have enough paperwork to cover their backs when the problem arises with any of the above mentioned metrics and are rarely punished for that. What is really intolerable is running out of budget on a fixed price contract. Not many PMs have survived this and it leads to an idea that the cost and only the cost is the primary metric that drives project manager’s decisions. How does this affect the project?

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