Showing posts with label Cost. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cost. Show all posts

December 19, 2018

Project Management - The Best Day

So a colleague said something interesting to me about project management:
The best day of project management is usually the first day, but I want to show you that the best day is really the last day of the project.
And as I thought about this, I sort of starting laughing to myself and thinking, you know what, I think this guy has something here. 

- Day 1 of a project, everyone is usually all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. 

We're embarking on an adventure together to build something new for the organization and our customers. 

We're going to team up and everyone will contribute.

And out of the project sausage maker--poof!--like magic comes a new system or product. 

- But as we all know, things don't always go so smoothly.

With some projects, the pretty smiley faces of day 1 may quickly turn to ugly frown faces.

There is analysis paralysis, scope creep, conflicting or changing priorities, resource issues, technical challenges, or the sausage just doesn't come our right--oh sh*t!

Thus, many  projects end up going bust in terms of cost, schedule, or performance. 

That is, they end up costing too much, being delivered behind schedule, or just not meeting the performance requirements. 

You have some projects that never even truly get off the ground, have multiple resets, or get dumbed-down or even cancelled altogether along the way. 

So by the time you reach the last day of the project, many people seem like they've been through the project ringer. 

I'm sure that I've heard more than one project manager say:
Just take me out back and shoot me!

So when this colleague said that he wants the best day of the project to be the last--in terms of satisfaction with the project (not that that pain was finally over!)--I really appreciated this as an awesome goal. 

We should all look to the last day of our projects as the best--one where we can look back and say: 
Wow, great job everyone!  We really got something great done here--and we did it right!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 13, 2017

Anything Is Possible

So you're all aware of the 3 legs of project management:

- Cost

- Schedule

- Scope

I remember learning the adage that if you change any one of these then there is an impact on the others. 

For example, if you "crash" the timeline on a project to finish more quickly, then you either need more money or you need to reduce the scope. 

Similarly, if you want to cut costs on the project then you may have to extend the timeline or scale back on the requirements. 

Recently, I heard someone says the following:
"We can do anything with enough time and resources."

And when I thought about this, it's true enough.

If you provide more money and time for a project then, of course, you can do more in terms of the scope of the project.

Pour enough bucks and time into something and conceptually, we really can do anything. 

Technically, we can do the proverbial "anything," but that's only if the politics and infighting don't get in the way of progress. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 11, 2017

Bombs But No Strategy

So the good news is that we have killed about 45,000 ISIS terrorist fighters.

The bad news is two-fold:

First, there are still roughly 15,000-30,000 remaining and more being recruited all the time. 

Second, it took us 49,315 bombs dropped over two years to do this. 

So we are averaging less than 1 kill per bomb!

Sure, we are also hitting other targets like oil and gas infrastructure and tankers.

But about 20,000 of the munitions dropped are GPS precision-guided (e..g Joint Direct Attack Munitions, Small Diameter Bombs, and Hellfire Missiles) and have cost $2 billion!

That comes out to a cost of around $45,000 just for just 40% the bombs to kill each and every ISIS terrorist, and doesn't even include all the extensive military infrastructure, planes, intelligence, and people. 

And this is just a super tiny drop in the bucket compared to the $4-$6 trillion that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, after 9/11, has cost just through 2013

--That represents between 20-30% of our our entire $20 trillion national debt!

At this rate, ISIS, Al Qaeda, and the other terrorists may simply be able to cause irreparable damage and even bankrupt America.

How long can we afford to fight these extended and expensive wars against terrorism and never seem to even win--what's the strategy here? Is there one? 

(Source Photo: here with attribution to vaXzine)
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April 20, 2013

Don't Stampede On Others' Feelings

I took this picture of a cow stampede when hiking in the mountains. 

The cows first came up to us all friendly and then after staying for a little bit, decided to bolt off across the open field.

Together--it was like a mini stampede. 

It reminded me of a situation recently, where I felt bad that I had stampeded (albeit inadvertently) on someone's feelings.

We received a delivery--actually a new couch (the other one we were replacing was really uncomfortable and it was high time to go). 

At one point, I was taken a little aback when the delivery man asked me, admiring it--"How much was it?"

Not wanting to really say specifically, I just said nonchalantly, "Oh, not so much."

But the man pressed on and said, "No really, how much was it?"

I was a little uncomfortable, but I figured he's just making conversation, and honestly it wasn't extravagant  so I say in a round figure what it was. 

Then I see his face go dark, and I realized what had accidentally happened.

It was perhaps a bit much for this nice man (although I really don't know his situation, but just his facial expression).

Anyway, I felt terrible and proceeded to say something light and then we chatted for a little bit. 

I think it is important to feel for all people--trying to make the best with what G-d provides and deal with everyday tests and challenges.

We are all people--and at any moment--what befalls one, can befall anyone, so we must be grateful for each and every blessing, for however long G-d grants it. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


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July 19, 2012

What's The Internet Worth To You?



What a great question--what's the Internet or your Smartphone worth to you? 

Most people seems to say they wouldn't give these up--not even for a million dollars! 

Maybe $15-20 million--enough to never have to work again. Okay, now you're getting closer. 

Nah, I want a billion dollars to give up the Internet--that's what some people responded.

For me, I'm not certain even a billion dollars could keep me off the Internet--but I could certainly try it for a few days.

Being able to communicate, connect, learn, share, and transact online is like air and water to us now-a-days--an absolute necessity for modern survival. 

Without being able to do these things, you may as well be on a stranded island--you may own that Island (like Larry Ellison who bought the 6th largest Hawaiian Island of Lanai) and it may be quite a nice one at that, but you'll still be quite secluded and alone in the Internet age. 

Yes, the Internet and all we get from it costs only pennies on the millions (and/or billions) of dollars worth we each receive from it--and that's why on some things you cannot put a price tag. 

We're in this world to learn and grow and for that we need other people far and wide--either that or you'll need to have one heck of a big and non-stop party at home in paradise. ;-)

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February 19, 2012

The Soul of A Shoe

I took these photos today of a cross section of a shoe. 

I was surprised that this was all there was to it. 

So what costs $140???

A little cowhide on the outside, a little cushion on the inside, and a some rubber sole on the bottom. 

Add some eyelets and laces, and some stitching to hold it all together. 

While there are certainly lots of styles, colors, and sizes out there, most are sort of commoditized, boring, and non high-tech.

Where are those jet-powered rocket shoes they promised when I was a kid.

Come on Nike--"just do it."



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September 12, 2010

Earned Value Management - Made Easy

Some exceptional Earned Value Management (EVM) instructional videos. These are great whether you are studying for your Project Management Professional (PMP) exam or wanting to apply EVM to your projects at work:

  • Part I: Basic Concepts


  • Part II: Calculating Variances and Indexes


  • Part III: Forecasting Completion


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November 11, 2008

Improving Project Management and The Total CIO

IT projects are notorious for coming in late, over cost, and not meeting the customer’s needs.

CIO.com has an excellent article on ways to improve project management in an article entitled, “When Failure is Not an Option,” by Meredith Levinson (3 July 2008).

For organizations, good project management is a critical success factor!

“Project management is the number-one success factor for getting anything done in the organization. A firm’s ability to execute its strategy lies with its ability to manage projects,” according to Sam Lawler, the director of GlassHouse Technologies’ project management practice.

Yet, for years, organizations have faulted CIOs and IT departments with failed IT projects. As recently as 2004, a study by The Standish Group found that only 29% of IT projects “were completed on time, on budget, and with all features and functions originally specified.”

Project management methodologies work when business and IT work together as a team.

There are various methodologies being employed to try to improve project’s success, such as PMBOK and ITIL. However, IT projects’ success depends on IT and business people working together to achieve results; if this partnership and collaboration doesn’t happen, then no PM framework will bring us the project success we desire. Our organization’s business people are critical to ensuring project success—they develop the business case, identify requirements/functional specifications, realign and improve business processes, and test technical solutions to ensure they meet mission and business needs.

No longer is it about tossing the proverbial hot potato to IT and then pointing fingers and assigning blame when something doesn’t work right. Instead, the business and IT people are on the same team, sharing accountability, and working toward the success of the project and the enterprise.

Performance measurement is a must:

Improved project management needs to be accompanied by measurement of project success and reporting on these to executive management. We can’t manage what we don’t measure. And we need transparency to senior management to ensure that everyone—business and IT—have “skin in the game.”

Further, there are trade-offs in project management between cost, schedule, and scope/performance. Changing one affects the others, so we need to manage projects harmoniously in this triad. If for example, a project is delayed or costs more, but delivers on added functionality requested by the business, then the project can still be a success. At the end of the project, success is defined by the business!
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October 24, 2008

The ABC Strategy and The Total CIO

CIOs have a number of options with respect to upgrading their enterprise’s information technology.

Military Technology Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 8 has an interview with David Mihelcic, the CTO and Principal Director, Global Information Grid, Enterprise Services Engineering, at the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA).

In the interview, Mr. Mihelcic describes the Adopt, Buy, and Create (ABC) strategy of General Croom:

Adopt—“we want to focus on using technologies that are mature to meet our needs. Our first is to adopt something that’s already in existence” in the enterprise.

Buy—the second choice is to “buy services and products that are readily available in the commercial space.”

Create—“only as a last resort do we create capabilities from scratch.”

The ABC strategy is valuable to CIOs in that is provides a continuum of options for obtaining technologies to meet requirements that starts with adopting existing platforms, which is the most conservative, trusted, and often economical. If we can’t adopt what we already have, then we proceed to buy the technologies we need—this is potentially more risky and expensive in the short term. And finally, if we can’t readily buy what we need, then we create or develop them (usually starting with research and development)—this is the most risky and immediately expensive option.

However, I would suggest that we need not follow this continuum in sequence (A, B, then C) in all cases.

While creating new capabilities is generally expensive in the short term, it can lead to innovation and breakthroughs that are potentially extremely cost effective and strategically important in the longer term. The development of new capabilities often yields competitive advantages through performance improvements. Also, innovations can provide for new revenue sources, market growth, and cost savings. Often the enterprises that are the strongest in their industries or segments are those with a capability that others just can’t match. In fact, I would argue that our nation’s own technological advances are a critical component to maintaining our military’s worldwide superiority.

Therefore, while the ABC Strategy is a good continuum for understanding our technology refresh options, I would advocate that we use the A, B, C’s with agility to meet our needs for innovation and global competitiveness.


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