Archive for April, 2008

Version 1.0 in Silicon India

April 7, 2008

Silicon India has carried a cover story on Version 1.0 titled ‘GlobalLogic: Incubating Ideas, accelerating innovation“.

Provides a good overview of what Version 1.0 in GlobalLogic is all about.

The Complexity of Status Reports

April 5, 2008

A colleague of mine and I were talking about one particular project where on average about 40 project/status reports were getting generated every week for management/team consumption. Both of us were astonished at this number. But the point which this colleague of mine made next was the real gem and hit the nail in the head. “What is the team trying to hide?

It is amazing to see amount of time being spent by many teams today in just generating the status reports every day or every week. And the complexity of these reports logarithmically increases as the whims and fancies of the managers. These reports today have simple views, side views, top views, bottom views, and multidimensional views – all possible views. There are graphs, excels, powerpoints, etc. Even after all these plethora of reports, one VP Engineering I had talked to, said that by the time she sat to review the reports, her biggest challenge became to make sure that everyone were looking at the same version of the reports. The reports review just became a secondary activity for her.

I am of the personal opinion that the day-to-day or weekly report should not stretch more than answering 4-5 simple questions. All the other ‘crazy’ reports which I alluded to in the above paragraph should be restricted to the ‘Retrospection Meets‘. (Assumption here is that the team is not doing retrospection meets every day or week. If they are that is another criminal waste of time.)

Over the years, I have always wondered why are we today so obsessed with seeing regular reports. Investors are keen in seeing the company financial reports, CEO is keen in seeing the attrition reports, Engineering Lead is keen in seeing the feature status reports, while a QA Manager is keen in seeing the Defect Reports. Hell, even parents are keen in getting regular status reports from their kid’s schools. The more I thought about this and talked to various people about their needs on this subject, there is one thing I have realized. The need for reports is not for seeing the past (i. e. what has happened in the past), but more from the need of seeing/predicting the future. Predictability is the main goal here.

When I think about any project status reports (whether it is a project for software product development or completing a press release article), the key simple questions which any day-to-day status reports should answer are (this is derived from Agile Philosophies) -

  1. [Effort View] How much have we completed and how much is still left?
  2. [Size View] How much have been produced?
  3. [Schedule View] How much ahead or behind are we against the planned?
  4. [Risks View] What are the things which are causing/or could cause a drag on the project?
  5. [Quality View] What is the quality of our output?

The challenge for the Project Management Team would be to see if they can answer these 5 questions in about equivalent number of or slightly more number of reports.

Thoughts/Feedback/Comments would be greatly appreciated.

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Simple facts about toys

April 1, 2008

More than a month back, I had written my views on how I felt regarding the campaign for commercial-free childhood.

In line with the above blog, I came across this nice interview (“The Parent Trap“) of Pamela Paul, author of Parenting, Inc. (This interview appeared on Salon.com). The reason I say ‘nice’ is because her views matches with mine. The interview certainly is worth a read. Jason Kottke also has blogged summarizing this article in his blog – “The business of parenting“.

Often around the lunch tables, me and my colleagues have wondered how the childhood of our kids have changed in comparision with ours – for better or for worse. I am sure that we are not the only ones who have had such conversation amongst themselves. I have always wondered what drives the over-anxious parenting or the growing exposure or needs of a child today? Pamela Paul takes an example of toy-business today and describes how ‘manipulative’ this industry has become.

Some interesting facts/tit-bits from this interview -

  • An average American child today gets an astonishing 80 new toys/year. (While I know that the number of toys/child have increased dramatically in this generation, but this number certainly blew me off)
  • While on an average individual toys are becoming cheaper and cheaper, however on an average we are spending more because we are buying many of those.
  • Also as the average number of toys with the kids today are increasing, they are also loosing interest in them fast as they are becoming less and less special.
  • More and more toys are getting bought more from the needs of making a fashion statement than its actual purpose.
  • The current rush amongst parents is towards ‘interactive toys’. Pamela makes a point that it is not important how the toys are interacting with the kids. More important is how kids interact with the toys. Got my vote on this one!
  • The best toys are 90 percent kid, 10 percent toy, the kind of thing that you can use 20 different ways and not just that it has 20 bells and whistles.

[While we are talking about the commercialization of childhood, you would certainly find this article a worth read – “The Outsourced Parents“.]

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