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Shoaib Ahmed's Blog (60)

Agile or not?

Project delivery in the IT space is a fun job. You get to do interesting things, usually no two things are exactly the same and in the process get to play with technology. Life couldn’t be better. That is until you run into some oddities. Agile methods have not been everyone’s cup of tea. Ambiguity is the enemy of most bureaucratic environments. Before committing to any…


Added by Shoaib Ahmed on July 16, 2015 at 9:30pm — No Comments

Are the days of MS Project numbered?

Using MS Project is a bit of a right of passage for most people that have done project management in an enterprise scale. While many have grizzled and grumbled about the application, for a long time it was really the only one that would allow you to do what you needed to get done. What made it worse was between 1998 and 2010, there had been little new in terms of functionality and user interface that made life easy. With 2010 (and 2013) with the development of Project Server, Microsoft has…


Added by Shoaib Ahmed on February 9, 2015 at 6:10pm — No Comments

Opposite of job dissatisfaction is not job satisfaction … what do you mean?

Reading endless research papers for my MBA may finally be paying off. I’m finding one or two gems. This one from Frederick Herzberg is one such article. He contends that dissatisfaction and satisfaction actually contends with two different human needs. First, being the nature to avoid pain from the environment, second being our drive and…


Added by Shoaib Ahmed on October 23, 2014 at 1:16am — No Comments

What can accounting and finance teach project and program management?

Nearly two decades ago I took one accounting paper and did just enough studying to pass it. I was studying for an IT degree at the time and only did the paper as it was a compulsory one. Wheels have now turned enough for me to come back to doing an MBA and by coincidence, starting back with accounting as my first paper. Today…


Added by Shoaib Ahmed on May 30, 2014 at 12:30am — No Comments

Do managers need technical background?

Couple of years ago I wrote a post on whether managers needed technical background to be successful. That article had a specific focus on project management. I have recently been thinking…


Added by Shoaib Ahmed on March 15, 2014 at 1:00am — No Comments

Is productivity gains the answer to improved business outcome?

I recently ran into an old school friend. At the time we were nearing the end of high school he was the coolest dude with a job at a fast food place. He had disposable income and an old second hand car. What else do you need in life? Those of us that were planning further studies or apprenticeships got plenty of advice from him on the futility…


Added by Shoaib Ahmed on January 14, 2014 at 2:19am — No Comments

Building PMO Metrics

The Christmas and New Year is always a good time to take some time off the hurly burly of daily grind and reflect on how things are going. Towards the end of the year I did some work on what metrics would help us run our PMO more efficiently. Metrics are always difficult to establish, especially as they only tell a story once you have a baseline to measure against. This is probably a heavy topic for the first post of the year. Apologies for that.…


Added by Shoaib Ahmed on January 8, 2014 at 8:00pm — No Comments

Can you get the right reaction with the occasional verbal spray?

I was reading an article in the Harvard Business Review regarding the appropriateness of yelling at employees. It was quite an interesting article in which Michael Schrage gives examples as …


Added by Shoaib Ahmed on December 8, 2013 at 8:17pm — No Comments

Friday rant ... inventing process for finance / HR

I remember having to study Accounting 101 when I studied Information Systems. At the time I had wondered what the purpose of it was. The rationale given was that 80% of software is written either for or because of bean counters. More time goes by, I am seeing businesses becoming agile and learning new ways to deliver services faster and in a more…


Added by Shoaib Ahmed on November 18, 2013 at 12:00am — No Comments

How do I balance competing investment priorities

Organisations are forever grappling with the demand of competing investments that give a varying range of benefits. How do they go about prioritising these? Most organisations use business cases as a means to filter out the projects that deserve funding from the ones that have little or no merit. This then introduces a secondary problem of spending a lot of resources on going through a business case, which will never see the light of day. How do you make sure weak business cases do not get…


Added by Shoaib Ahmed on October 21, 2013 at 4:21am — No Comments

What the Americas Cup teaches us about management

It has taken a few days for the Kiwis to recover from Team NZ‘s slow strangling at the hands of Oracle Team USA in the Americas Cup. In the space of 8 days, they went from 8-1 up to losing 9-8 with skipper Dean…


Added by Shoaib Ahmed on September 28, 2013 at 5:00am — No Comments

When Project Managers can be dangerous

As Project Managers we are in the business of control and order. We are placed in a position of trust to achieve the desired outcomes. Most actions we take usually reflect this. The other day I was nearly caught out by something and was rescued by my architect. The worst consequence would have been some lost time in discussion. That made me think, can project managers be dangerous on projects sometimes? I think yes. Here are my…


Added by Shoaib Ahmed on September 2, 2013 at 7:53am — No Comments

How do I make decisions under pressure?

Whether you are managing projects, a portfolio or staff … bigger the size, more pressure you are under to make decisions under pressure. The pace of technology and resulting expectation means the time you had to consider options once seem to be reducing every day. Sometimes it feels like a daunting challenge to operate in this environment. What can one do about it?

Re-posted from my blog Project Management in…


Added by Shoaib Ahmed on August 25, 2013 at 4:06am — No Comments

How do I manage during uncertainty?

If you are in New Zealand, you have probably had enough of the earthquakes. Difficulties …


Added by Shoaib Ahmed on August 2, 2013 at 10:31pm — No Comments

Are conference attendances useful in delivering better projects?

I was at an industry conference at San Diego last week. Aside from the stark difference basking in 26°C, compared to the 6°C that I left behind in Wellington, what struck me most was how projects face the same challenges the world over. Having spoken to my counterparts from …


Added by Shoaib Ahmed on July 21, 2013 at 4:28pm — No Comments

Should government be in the business of IT?

I was reflecting on the news during the week that a second head has rolled in the Novopay debacle. After Education Secretary Lesley Longstone, Deputy Secretary Anne Jackson has also fallen on her sword. There has been some interesting commentary…


Added by Shoaib Ahmed on June 15, 2013 at 8:36am — No Comments

Is 'No Estimate' for Real?

No Estimates is a concept that I had not come across until very recently. The basic premise of No Estimates is there is significant inaccuracy in software development estimates. Even when you spend a lot of time estimating, it is still not necessarily accurate enough to give you an exact picture. Therefore, the time spent estimating does not give you…


Added by Shoaib Ahmed on June 8, 2013 at 4:46am — No Comments

How much financial knowledge do Project Managers need?

I attended a training seminar the other day on finance and accounting for non financial managers. It was an interesting training course. If you consider the constraints within which project managers must work to, one is financial. The last time I studied anything remotely close was accounting 101 during the first year of my under graduate degree some 17 years…


Added by Shoaib Ahmed on May 26, 2013 at 10:26pm — 1 Comment

5 things to do when projects go wrong

Anyone spending a decent amount of time in project management field will sometimes have projects from time to time that experience significant difficulties. For all the planning, it is never possible to predict all the eventualities and therefore foreseeing all risks. Projects are by nature more risky than other business activities. It is always useful to…


Added by Shoaib Ahmed on May 18, 2013 at 12:29am — No Comments

What responsibility do outsourcing organisations bear?

I have taken a bit of time mulling over this post. I was born inBangladesh, but have been an expat for most of my life. As I looked on in horror at the calamitous scenes from the garment factory collapse…


Added by Shoaib Ahmed on May 15, 2013 at 8:18am — No Comments

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