Posts Tagged ‘project management’

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.

Read more…


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 – 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.
Read more…

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.

Read more…

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?

Read more…

Fixed Price IT Project – The avaricious pays twice? – Part I: Preparation

October 21, 2010 1 comment
Fixed Price IT Project – The avaricious pays twice? – Part I: Preparation

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

By Vitaly Dubravin

CIOs and Business Managers are under the constant pressure to cut costs of doing business. Though, innovative IT development projects have become a major enabling factor to a competitive advantage on the market. Such advantage often comes with a heavy price tag attached.  Cost-driven businesses had found a way to limit IT appetite and put development budgets under control – Fixed Price Projects.  Is this a real cost saver or a financial black hole for the company? Let’ look at some essential project steps to answer this question.

1. Requirements definition

Businesses, usually, have a decent understanding of the ideal system to be delivered. This understanding is driven by needs (often called pains). Such needs have a wide variety of forms and contributing factors, but can always be defined. Needs trigger requirements gathering, conducted by an internal project team or is outsourced to a trusted advisory company. Final result may be presented on a single sheet of paper or in a thick book, but I have never seen a document that will cover more than a half of what a project team will really need during the execution. Most documents will contain between 10 to 30% of vital information for vendors to scope a project.  This has nothing to do with the experience and professionalism of the team collecting requirements. The problem is much deeper. Literally no one on either customer or vendor side knows what will really be necessary a few months ahead when the project should be delivered. And no one can even guess every flavor of the future business need behind the project. Final requirements document describes, at best, the system as seen today, but not the system to be and is not very helpful because of that.

Read more…