Monday, October 7, 2013

CMMI myth

The maturity levels in CMMI are set based on extremely clear criteria spelled out in the SCAMPI method for determining a Maturity Level. The Maturity Level is determined by the Appraisal Team performing an objective evaluation of the organization. It is the Lead Appraiser's responsibility to ensure that the appraisal results are an accurate and true representation of the organization's maturity.

CMMI is NOT a set of standards. It is a set of guidelines for improving processes. The CMMI does not tell HOW to do something. It tells you WHAT things to consider to improve your processes. Best practices are highly subjective. What may be a best practice for company A may not be a best practice for company B. Business goals and objectives, core competencies, business domain, culture, etc. all affect the best practices for an organization.

Determining the best practices for a specific organization is a trial and error exercise. 

From the CMMI about Maturity Levels and Generic Goals and Practices - clearly defines what it means to operate at a specific Maturity Level. There is no way to "water down" these definitions. Granted there are unscrupulous organizations out there that are chasing a level just so they can compete for business, but they receive no benefit from the CMMI. Rapidly becomes clear that they are only interested in doing the bare minimum - but at whose cost? The organizations who hire.....

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Social Net Gate App

Social Net Gate App is a new way to earn NetCoins using your social status and the regular friend network.

Try this cool website for sending SocialCards to your friends

You can now update your own mailing address (the "From" address) and earn 40 NetCoins. By doing this, your friends don't have to go thru the pain of entering your address for sending you SocialCards. It will be the easiest NetCoins every gained. Go to > NetCoins > Earn and do it now.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Sharepoint Project Management

Some of the key topics in Sharepoint 2007 & 2010 are discussed  here.

Inputs from Wiki and Microsoft portals on Sharepoint.

Sharepoint as a tool helps using power of Microsoft's web application platform, including document and content management

It is wise to have a have a .NET developer background.

Sharepoint is a tool to centralize an organizations digital resources for centralized collaboration or working together in a centralized way.

The best explanation of What Microsoft Sharepoint is and does from the WROX book "Beginning Sharepoint 2010 - Building Business Solutions"

"Because computers play such an integral part in any business, not surprisingly, more and more of the information that is created, consumed, and shared in an organization is digital. The more business that you conduct and the more successful your business becomes, the more information you have to manage. Usually, you have some form of document for just about every process and transaction that plays out during the day-to-day operations of your company. From proposals to legal documents, from sales receipts to human resources policies, the amount of information required for a company to function is staggering.
To manage your information overload, SharePoint offers tools with which you can build business applications to better store, share, and manage digital information. With it, you can create lists, libraries, and websites for your various company teams to help run your business processes more efficiently. By locating your organization’s important business data in a single location, it becomes much easier and intuitive for users to find the right information when they need it rather than searching through disparate locations such as email, computer hard drives, or file shares.


SharePoint 2010 is an extensible and scalable web-based platform consisting of tools and technologies that support the collaboration and sharing of information within teams, throughout the enterprise and on the web. The total package is a platform on which you can build business applications to help you better store, share, and manage digital information within your organization. Because you can build with or without code, the package empowers the average business user to create, deploy, and manage team websites, without depending on skilled resources, such as systems administrators or developers. Using lists, libraries, and web parts, you can transform team websites into business applications built specifically around making your organization’s business processes more efficient."

Creating a schema for an organizations Sharepoint deployment is not rocket science.
1. Determine the structure of the organization
2. Determine what Sharepoint can do as far as centralizing the organizations digital resources.
3. Create a Sharepoint construction plan.
4. Build it, test it, refine it.
5. Maintain it, test it, refine it, add onto it.

There! Not so tough.


Which SharePoint development tool works best to create custom workflows?

Directly using SharePoint Designer may not be well-suited for building complex workflows.

Using Visual Studio, which allows the workflow to be installed at multiple locations and can include more than 20 steps in the workflow process. Additionally, only Visual Studio allows for workflow to move back and forth between status changes. Using SharePoint Designer, work only moves forward through states, never backward. This can be problematic when you need to send something backward in the process.

How to handle Databases?

It is not wise to upload directly to SharePoint databases, however - the use of libraries and lists for data management. Uploading directly to SharePoint databases is very much like doing your own oil changes on a brand new car. It might be faster and more convenient in the short-term, but in the long-term it voids your warranty. Microsoft gives no support when you directly modify a SharePoint database.

Main differences between SharePoint 2007 and 2010?

Any of the new tools introduced in 2010. For example:
  • Service Applications
  • Business Connectivity Services
  • Claims Based Authentication
  • Sandboxed Solutions
  • Developer Dashboard
  • Throttling and List Controls

Here are more areas that a SharePoint architect can help with:
  • Capacity planning - running multiple servers in a farm. Scalability and other magic words.
  • Knowing the capabilities and business scenarios of using SharePoint - this is a very common one.
    The manager asks: what can SharePoint do for me? The developer asks: well, what do you want it to do. The manager then asks: well, I don't know what it can do for me so how do I know what do I want it to do?
  • Closely related to SharePoint capabilities are the various licensing costs related to each component.
  • As well as familiarity with development and customization costs. Take the same project time that would have taken in ASP.NET, then multiply it by a large coefficient, and then add an additional constant.
  • And closely related to what-can-it-do, and how-much-does-it-cost, is the all important question of Return-Of-Investment.
  • SharePoint deployment can be a massive issue and a lot of pain.
  • SharePoint upgrade from v2 (MOSS 2003) to v3 (MOSS 2007). We should be seeing a new version of SharePoint in 2010(?). Well soon after the next version of Office goes out the door. So past upgrade experiences may be useful.
  • Knowledge of 3rd party webparts. I believe a SharePoint architect should be able to give you at least 5 webparts that they've tried from CodePlex and tell you what they think about them. These are free and easy to grab and play at your own leisure.
  • Some knowledge of commercial webparts. Because they are still cheaper than writing your own.
  • Experiences with SharePoint Integration - this comes in two equally important flavours - both from SharePoint accessing existing systems (business catalogs, webparts, etc), as well as other systems accessing SharePoint content via webservice or API.
  • In addition, SharePoint works with (or works well) with Office, OCS, reporting services, performance point, project server.
  • SharePoint hosting arrangements - Microsoft SharePoint online services can be a popular and cheaper option to start using SharePoint. It can be hosted inhouse, or with a 3rd party company. Knowing the options is always useful.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Leadership and fitting in

Nice article today I saw via Linkedin on Leadership and fitting in ....

some excerpt

Leaders create belonging when they…
1. Give power away and allow people to take ownership of their work. People who feel they belong in an organization have a sense of ownership; it’s their organization. That ownership mentality comes from being given responsibility and authority for doing their jobs and being given the freedom to achieve results. Equip and coach your people, delegate wisely, and then get out of their way.
2. Listen and respond to feedback. Most leaders say they are open to hearing feedback; fewer leaders actually listen and do something with it. Leaders create an environment of belonging and safety when they actually take the time to sit down and listen, acknowledge a person’s concerns, and discuss how they will respond to the feedback. People don’t feel they belong when leaders don’t listen, dismiss, or disregard their input.
3. Help people understand how their work connects to the broader goals or purpose of the organization. People have an innate desire to belong to something bigger than themselves. Leaders tap into this reservoir of power when they help their people understand how their daily work helps the organization achieve its goals and makes the world a better place.
4. Appreciate and celebrate the diversity of their team. Each person is created with unique gifts and abilities and it’s a leader’s responsibility to leverage the individual strengths of their people. Treating your team members as individuals rather than nameless and faceless workers creates a sense of belonging that’s extremely powerful. One of my team members, Ed, has a jovial personality and great dance moves. Who do you think we go to when we need to make a fun team video? Another team member, Kim, is a champion snowmobile racer. Who do we brag about when we have team gatherings? How much do you know about the personal lives of your people? Get to know them and watch their sense of belonging increase.
5. Accept people where they are but refuse to let them stay there. Good leaders accept their team members for who they are, yet also have a desire and commitment to help them learn, grow, and become the best versions of themselves possible. When leaders show commitment to their people’s growth, it fosters a sense of commitment and belonging that can’t be underestimated.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

9 Biggest Mistakes New Managers Make

Identify and Eliminate the 9 Biggest Mistakes New Managers Make
  1. 7 delegation tactics to prevent overload and burn out
  2. Negative effects of poor communication and 6 can't miss ways to keep an open dialogue
  3. Real-life examples of ethical dilemmas and strategies to solve them fairly
  4. Open and honest management tactics that lead to effective decision-making
  5. Impact of managing former peers and best practices for a smooth transition
  6. Find your style: Solid management tactics to make your own
  7. Keep favoritism from killing morale: Keys to managing all team players
  8. Squash insecurities and use smart staffers to your advantage
  9. You don't have to know it all: When to reach out for help
Thanks to

Executive Business Briefings
One Lincoln Centre 18W140 Butterfield Road 15th Floor
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Acquire first 100k users : From Quora

Noah Kagan,

#1 Make a great product but y'all know that so I'll just dive into the tactics

#2 Create your target marketing sheet. See this: Quant Based Marketing for Start Ups

#3 Partner with similar companies and create benefit for them to email their free users

#4 Reach out to offline Meetup groups who generally have 200-1,000 person mailing lists

#5 Befriend owners of Facebook pages and see if you can do contests for an in-kind trade

#6 Go to the /subreddit (Page on Reddit) related to your business and leave comments

#7 Search 5-10 keywords related to you on Google and leave comments on those related pages.

#8 Give away free content or ask partners (like I did with My Travel Hacks & Free Luggage for Your Next Adventure (Part 2))

#9 Go write guest posts for any site that's related. Use Technorati or ask your existing customers which sites they like to go to.

#10 Email the existing users you have asking for them to refer other people. This sounds obvious but hardly ANYONE does it. It helps if your product doesn't suck ass.

#11 Leave video responses on popular-related YouTube Videos

#12 Manually reach out and connect with your first 1000 customers. More likely they are MORE important than then 99,000 next people you'll get

#13 Raise your prices so you don't need to get so many people :)

#14 Manually reach out to Twitter / Facebook followers of your competitors

#15 Look at new channels that have less competition (rules) like snapchat, pinterest, instagram to drive traffic

#16 Consider going international where traffic is cheaper (okay, you're not paying but you know what I'm saying)

#17 Evaluate doing mobile related marketing since it's more affordable (less competition)

#18 Get your site featured on,, Thrillist, DailyCandy, Groupon or some site that promotes others.

I've done this 3 times with, and

Friday, April 12, 2013

IT Leadership

Here is one wonderful article on IT Leadership skills...

Some excerpt ...

So what is Leadership? What are the necessary leadership capabilities and how can staff develop their capabilities to meet the changing role of IT?

Below are some of the key messages from CIOs we have met in the last year who have successfully addressed cultural issues and organizational change and have used frameworks for what they are: ‘Simply instruments to bring about a structured change in behavior’.
Leaders messages:  ‘Becoming Customer and Service focused is a cultural shift for IT…You can’t impose a Cultural shift!’. Executive support and executive action is required, supported by action at every level to address peoples’ attitudes and change peoples’ behavior. Executive managers must ‘reward, recognize and celebrate’ the new desired behavior when they see it. Executive managers need to use a set of tools, such as conscious leadership actions- ‘walk-the-talk’, ‘lead by example’, ‘confront undesirable behavior’. Managers must set expectations and identify deliverables and establish measures – from a ‘Customer perspective’.  Managers must mobilize their teams, they must inspire their teams and help change behavior. ‘It is a journey and the Leadership team must be on the same page’, they must be more visible in the organization, attending Service Management meetings and asking questions that make people think from a different perspective. ‘Changing culture requires communication and reinforcement through words, deeds, policies, processes and decisions every day of the year’!
One of the key success factors we discovered from engaging with numerous organizations was managers defining together with their teams ‘undesirable behavior’ and ‘desirable behavior’. A number of managers have used ABC of ICT workshops to capture customer perceived ‘undesirable behavior’ and then played a business simulations such as Apollo 13 to confront teams on what ‘Customer focused behavior’ or ‘effective team working’ really means, to test and develop desired behavior and capture improvement suggestions.  As one manager said ‘My job is to give the team mastery, autonomy and purpose, In the simulation they gained the mastery to translate theory into practice, I gave them the autonomy to take away and apply THEIR own improvements. In the game they experienced the impact of improvements they could realize together, which gave them a shared purpose… the shared experience helped create buy-in and energy to change…now my job is to facilitate the transfer to the day to day work and to ensure we don’t slip back into the old ways of working’.

Mmmmmmm……makes sense! What is it? – Middle Managers Must:

Meaning: Middle Managers Must give meaning and purpose to teams, relating to customer value. The framework (ITIL, Prince) is not the goal! It is the results and value they achieve
Mobilization: Middle Managers Must mobilize their teams to improve their own work. To work as teams, to effectively collaborate.  The people that know the best what needs improving are generally those at the sharp end!
Motivation: Middle Managers Must Inspire their teams and externally motivate them through consequence management: recognizing and rewarding desirable behavior and confronting undesirable behavior. Changing peoples attitudes and fostering intrinsic motivation in their teams.
Mastery: Middle Managers Must master leadership skills and capabilities to ‘Make change Happen’! At the same time ensuring teams have Mastery (skills), Autonomy (to change the way they work) and purpose (clear shared goals). Middle Managers Must master management of change, addressing attitude, behavior and culture.
Maturity:  Middle Managers Must foster a culture of CSI (Continual Service Improvement) in their teams. Improving your work IS your work, CSI should be a core capability for IT organizations to continually align their maturity to meet the ever changing world and pressures facing them from both the business demands and technology advancements.
Measure: Middle Managers Must ensure they are able to measure and demonstrate value . making what they do meaningful to their stakeholders.
Mandate: Middle Managers Must have the mandate from executive management to be able to lead. Executive managers must empower their management teams and support them in removing barriers to success. Executive managers must demonstrate this mandate by  ‘walking the talk’. As one CIO said to me ‘It starts with me leading by example and committing the time, effort and resources to making the transformation succeed’.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Create a Mind-Changing Presentation

Reading this blog article will take you only 12 minutes — 12 minutes to find out how to draft great presentations and to become a more effective and convincing presenter. Twelve minutes which can change your professional – and most likely – also your personal life.
So, what´s the reason for this article? Last week I attended (another) of those meetings where most of the speakers stared 80% of the time at the screen just to read every single bullet point on each of their cluttered slides. I believe that after three minutes tops the audience fell in a deep trance and was neither able nor willing to follow many of the presentations any longer.
I am not the most talented speaker nor presenter. Over the years, however, I have continuously worked on improving both the quality of my slides and my presentation skills. With focus and vigor I thoroughly prepared and rehearsed each presentation. After each meeting I would have asked – and I'm still doing it today — colleagues and team members for their honest feedback to improve again for the next one.
Besides that, there are two experts who have strongly influenced my way of delivering speeches and presentations. I have not visited any of their — nor any other related — seminars. Instead I read their books, and practiced, practiced, practiced.
One of them is communication expert Nancy Duarte who wrote two excellent books on the subject: "Slide:ology" and "Resonate." I strongly suggest you read at least "Slide:ology." To get a taste of her approach watch the following short video clip.
The second person who strongly encouraged me to think differently and more creatively about the preparation, design, and delivery of presentations is designer and communication expert Garr Reynolds. His beautiful book "Presentation Zen" combines solid principles of design with the tenets of Zen simplicity. It is very clear, direct, takes just a few hours to read and can help you to save days of work by developing straightforward and very effective presentations.

Some of Garr's key points:

Use multimedia wisely. Presentations must be both verbal and visual. Don´t overwhelm your audience with too much information, animations and pictures. Question: Can your visual be understood in 3 seconds? If not, don't use it!

Include short stories to explain your main points. The best presenters illustrate their points with the use of stories, especially personal ones. Stories are easy to remember for your audience.

Respect your audience. There are three components involved in a presentation: the audience, you, and the medium (e.g. PowerPoint). The goal is to create a kind of harmony among the three. But above all, the most important thing is that you get your audience involved and engaged.

Limit your ideas to one main idea per slide. If you have a complicated slide with lots of different data, it may be better to break it up into 2-3 different slides.

Move away from the podium. Connect with your audience. If at all possible get closer to your audience by moving away from or in front of the podium.

Take it slowly. When we are nervous we tend to talk too fast. Get a videotape of one of your presentations to see how you did — you may be surprised at the pace of your talk.

Keep the lights on. If you are speaking in a meeting room, etc. the temptation is to turn the lights off so that the slides look better. Turning the lights off — besides inducing sleep — puts all the focus on the screen. The audience should be looking at you more than the screen.

In addition I have two final pieces of advice:

Keep it simple. Avoid cluttered slides. Be brave and use lots of "white space" or, how the pros call it, "negative space." The less "chunk“ you have on your slide, the more powerful your message will become. Already Leonardo da Vinci knew: "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."

Talk "to" the audience. Never turn your back towards the audience. You do not want to conduct a monologue with the screen. Look at your audience instead and make good eye contact. Try looking at individuals rather than scanning the group.

Well, how have you experienced the last 12 minutes? Have you enjoyed it? Are you now ready to embark on the exciting journey to draft and deliver really mind-changing presentations?

I bet that you are! I bet that you can do it! And I bet that you will do it!

Best regards,

Andreas von der Heydt | Consumer Goods Club

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Top 7 Delivery problems in IT Projects

Top 7 Delivery problems in IT Projects

1. Not Enough time

Whether it’s a misunderstanding of the complexity of computer system designs or some other reason, many times little time is devoted to gathering the necessary data. Because this is one of the first steps in the process, when adequate time isn’t given to data collection, everything else suffers.
Likewise, enough time is rarely allotted to creating a good design. While the planning stage may not offer the excitement that development does, it is equally, if not more, important. Lack of planning in the design phase almost always leads to ongoing changes during the development phase. When this happens, budget dollars and man-hours are eaten away.

2. Open the lines of Communication

It sounds like a cliché, but communication is absolutely vital to the success of any project. The communication between the development team and the users, and also the communication inside the development team must be crystal clear. Does everyone understand you? Do they know exactly what’s expected of them or have you assumed they know? Do they communicate well with each other? With users? With other departments?

3. Testing a new program in Production Server

Testing in the production server leads to a breach of security, which can lead to “immediate” release without testing which can ultimately disrupt the production environment.

4. Inadequate Testing

Experience and studies show that testing is almost always pushed to the end of the development cycle. Since the development is usually bad, the testers run out of time. The result? Running over schedule and over budget. Not to mention the release of an inadequate product.

5. Pressing the button too tight

When you have unrealistic goals for a project’s budget to start with, chaos is bound to set in. Departments fall behind, resources are slow to arrive, and – because of budget constraints – the project, once again, runs off the road.

6. Never/Rarely checking the progress of the project

As the project goes along, the unexpected happens. Various people implement their ideas as to how to fix these challenges and – when launch day comes – you’re surprised with an entire list of challenges that need your immediate attention.

7. Not reviewing existing standards

Do most or all of your projects run late and over budget? Do you keep the same standards in place time after time? How’s that working for you? If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you get. Let’s face it, things change, and if you want to keep pace, you have to change, too.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Seven Surefire ways to Communicate!

  1. Demonstrate enthusiasm - everytime “Inspiring leaders have an abundance of passion for what they do. You cannot inspire unless you’re inspired yourself. Period. Passion is something I can’t teach. You either have passion for your message or you don’t. Once you discover your passion, make sure it’s apparent to everyone within your professional circle.”
  2. Tell clearly a compelling course of action. “Inspiring leaders craft and deliver a specific, consistent, and memorable vision. A goal such as "we intend to double our sales by this time next year," is not inspiring. Neither is a long, convoluted mission statement destined to be tucked away and forgotten in a desk somewhere. A vision is a short (usually 10 words or less), vivid description of what the world will look like if your product or service succeeds.”
  3. Make sure people understand the benefit. “Always remember, it’s not about you, it’s about them. In my first class at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, I was taught to answer the question, "Why should my readers care?" That’s the same thing you need to ask yourself constantly throughout a presentation, meeting, pitch, or any situation where persuasion takes place. Your listeners are asking themselves, what’s in this for me? Answer it. Don’t make them guess.”
  4. Give more examples till people understand. “Inspiring leaders tell memorable stories. Few business leaders appreciate the power of stories to connect with their audiences… No amount of data can replace that story… Stories connect with people on an emotional level. Tell more of them.”
  5. Invite participation. “Inspiring leaders bring employees, customers, and colleagues into the process of building the company or service. This is especially important when trying to motivate young people. The command and control way of managing is over. Instead, today’s managers solicit input, listen for feedback, and actively incorporate what they hear. Employees want more than a paycheck. They want to know that their work is adding up to something meaningful.”
  6. Reinforce an optimistic outlook. “Inspiring leaders speak of a better future… Extraordinary leaders throughout history have been more optimistic than the average person. Winston Churchill exuded hope and confidence in the darkest days of World War II. Colin Powell said that optimism was the secret behind Ronald Reagan’s charisma. Powell also said that optimism is a force multiplier, meaning it has a ripple effect throughout an organization. Speak in positive, optimistic language. Be a beacon of hope.”
  7. Encourage potential. “Inspiring leaders praise people and invest in them emotionally. Richard Branson has said that when you praise people they flourish; criticize them and they shrivel up. Praise is the easiest way to connect with people. When people receive genuine praise, their doubt diminishes and their spirits soar. Encourage people and they’ll walk through walls for you.”