Posts filed under ‘Management’

A Little Extra

Human mind is always tickling to achieve more. It sees many dreams. It craves to grab many things. A student wants to top in the class while a racer wants to be the first in the race. A CEO wants to take his company at numero uno position while a boxer wants to win gold in the Olympics. One question which prompts every mind is “how to achieve all this?” There are several “mantras” to succeed. Many a times these are situational but there’s one mantra which applies everywhere. It’s “A-Little-Extra”. It’s the difference between achievers and followers.

A Little Extra

You may like to read Sir Walter Raleigh’s story who applied this principle and grabbed the first position in his class. Or, you may like to see the video on 212 degree approach where just one extra degree heat makes water so powerful. The point is simple, “a-little-extra” always makes difference. It separates the good from the great. It gives you an edge. It helps you to achieve that first spot and it helps to remain at top. You just need to put a little extra effort in whatever you do. If you are a student and you study for 5 hours a day, make it 6 hours a day now onwards. If you are a professional who works 8 hours a day, make it 9 hours from now. If you are a blogger who writes 10 blogs in a month, make it 15 going forward. You should always remember that the difference between mediocrity and greatness is a little extra effort.

Now, the choice is yours. You want to make a difference like a human being or you want to just creep like an insect for your entire life. The difference is just “a-little-extra”.

Very recently, I gave my project 3 speech on this subject  in Salt Lake Toastmasters Club.

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April 22, 2009 at 3:28 pm 2 comments

New Year Resolution – Time Management

 When we talk about software development, we talk about certain requirements, certain design, technology, coding, testing and implementation. It goes through some process. Software engineers follow these processes to achieve the target. Initially the processes were made for the entire cycle but later people realized that we need process at every level. In 1994, Watts Humphrey wrote a book called “A Discipline for Software Engineering”. There he emphasized on the need for processes for individual software engineer. He named it PSP (Personal Software Process). PSP is a quantified method aimed to the improvement of the quality and productivity of the personal work of individual software engineers.

The PSP philosophy is largely based on reviews at every stage of the development cycle. I would not go into details of all reviews but I would definitely like to talk on the review / self-assessment we do for our TIME. The need for time management grows with our growth as a professional. Let’s talk on few things which we can do to manage our time in a better manner.

To start with we can do few things like preparing a To-Do list. Put some items in the list and prioritize them. Put a deadline also for them. Pick them one by one and finish them. The purpose should be to make that list empty. This is an agile approach which would help us to complete our work on a priority basis. It would also help us to monitor our present and future engagements.

 

todo-timemanagement

To-Do List

Start marking our hourly tasks. Let’s prepare a spreadsheet and mark 14 hours. Start filling “what did we do” for each passing hours. Make it a daily routine to fill this sheet honestly. It would help us to assess our own work. It would also help us to plan our daily work. Each individual has a high-low effort hours when he likes to work more. For me it could be in evening from 16.00-20.00 while for someone else it could be morning 9.00-12.00. This spread sheet will help to divide our work within a day. We may put the high priority task in our high effort hours and so on.   

 

TimeManagement

TimeManagement

Learn to say NO when you feel that you are overloaded with work and there’s no space in your To-Do list. This is important to do justice with your work. Everybody has a limit as how much he can work. Let’s understand our limits and work accordingly.

Let’s keep these three things as our New Year resolution and let’s follow it rigorously. 

December 31, 2008 at 9:49 am 1 comment

MBA – An Indian Way

Whenever I see an MBA course curriculum in India or whenever I talk to any fresh MBA student coming out of an Indian B-School, I wonder, what are they (B-Schools) trying to produce? They claim, we are producing future managers / business leaders. They again say, these bunches of students are specialized in Finance, these are in Systems and these are in Marketing. I again wonder, are they really managers? Are they really business leaders? Or, just domain experts?

I believe, there are two aspects of a manger. First is technical aspect, which includes the knowledge of domain, business and the second aspect is, behavioral aspect , which includes, understanding human behavior, interpersonal skills, informational expertise, decisional skills, etc. I also believe that achieving technical aspects of management is easier than achieving behavioral aspects of management.

My intention is not to blame the entire education system of India but just to emphasize on few things which should be given more importance. Let’s see how we can incorporate these behavioral aspects in our MBA course curriculum.

 When we say interpersonal skills, it includes day-to-day interaction with employees, motivation, direction and organization. The course should concentrate more on case studies, games, and scenario based role-plays to develop this skill. These techniques would be more effective than giving lectures on a particular topic.

When we say information expertise, it includes information elicitation, requirement gathering. It may be within organization, and also from outside organization. To develop this expertise, students need to be motivated towards reading, reading some good books, be selective in choosing these books, talking to different people at different level, getting a feel of competitors plan, monitoring the business scenarios. Some games can also be developed to get a real feel on all this.

The last and most important skill could be decisional skill. It includes entrepreneurship development, developing a zeal for initiating new things, developing responsibility and ownership, developing mindset towards hunting / searching for new opportunities, distributing responsibilities to balance the work, risk analysis, going for corrective action, change management, resource allocation, resource management, human skills, cultural influence, conflict management, staffing, socializing, planning, etc. There are few other trend setter decision making techniques like Snap Decisions, Grid Analysis, Pareto Analysis, Six Thinking Hats, etc. All of these skills can be developed through mental games, case studies and several scenario based role-plays.  B-Schools must try to focus on these techniques rather than going for normal classroom based lectures.

Few B-Schools have already realized this and they are transforming their curriculum. I hope to see more such new teaching technique embedment.  

December 26, 2008 at 6:25 am 1 comment

India Inc 2.0 – Will it Survive ?

Global economic meltdown has concerned many countries. People are coming up with their own views as what would be the impact? There are lots of data, statistics given on different forums. Top politicians, businessmen, and media, everybody is talking about it. I looked at different blogs, forums and noticed some interesting debates about impact on India Inc. Here are my thoughts as how India Inc should / will deal with this?

I would prefer to say India Inc 2.0 as I believe India Inc 1.0 got over after Y2K and .Dot doom. India started looking into new business dimensions and its economy grew like anything. So, let’s see how India Inc 2.0 should / will deal with this recent economical crisis.

Majority of Indian IT business derive it’s more than 70% of revenue from US economy and they are bound to hit. They will feel the heat as their clients in US will not go for more projects and more work. What could be the impact? Few Indian companies will go for cost cutting, job cutting, and few will prefer to explore new avenues. This might boost the IT product initiative in India. And if it happens, it would create a better prospect for IT business in India.

Tourism is the other sector which is likely to see the impact of this global recession. Everybody is on cost cutting path and the first thing which comes in mind is to cut the traveling and vacation cost. How the industry should deal with this? Ok, if the scenario is not cooperative enough to motivate people then how about going for some innovative things. Let’s consider some innovative ideas for tourism industry. How about promoting health tourism, spiritual tourism, and cultural tourism? Yoga, Meditation, Ashrams, Gurus, Pundits, Bodhgaya, Hrishikesh, Dharamsala, etc. could be few significant words to consider.

More than 50% of India’s workforce is still employed in Agriculture, a sector which is likely to be untouched. These are the people who are least bothered about what’s happening in urban India or the Global village. They would continue doing their regular work and their lifestyle will remain same. India Inc 2.0 can see this global meltdown as an opportunity to enter Agriculture sector. They can come up with a plan which would help this sector to grow and also to enhance the lifestyle of these people. There are multiple problems in this sector and most of them are because of lack of knowledge / information. Some initiatives have been taken by Government / Private sector companies but this recession could act as a booster for making more such investments.

Web 2.0 is another area which can help in combating this recession era. India Inc 2.0 must consider this as an opportunity to build a broader IT enabled business network. Around 10% of Indian population uses Internet and a business model based on recent happenings of Internet can surely create more jobs, more money. It would also help other sectors by providing information / infrastructure to deal with their issues in much better way.

Innovation with technology, Innovation with business model and engaging more people with growth cycle will be crucial for the next business boom. I hope to see a more confident, independent and robust India Inc 3.0. 

December 16, 2008 at 10:53 am 1 comment

Web 2.0 – relevance in recession era ?

With growing popularity of Web 2.0, companies and individuals have started taking about its pros and cons. I looked at many websites / blogs which present their views as how it would change the coming generation of net crawlers. Most of them have given several examples as how biggies of WWW industry are already changing their business function or making it compatible with web 2.0 tools. IBM is talking about how Web 2.0 will change next generation BPM while Microsoft is busy in promoting Mix 06. Google and Yahoo are on run to acquire new innovative concepts / web solutions so that they have an edge for final frontier.

In the midst of all this, I tried to find out, “how the spree of Web 2.0 can help people in fighting recession?” To answer this question, I started looking into the current and potential usage of these tools. People have started using most of the features but they can further leverage these techniques more into their applications, communications and even in infrastructure. These are some known initiatives. The next step is to actively use them, to understand the concept, to leverage them and to get benefited by them.

With Web 2.0, information can be pulled from a number of different places, and it can be personalized to meet the needs of a single user. Applications can be built on the existing applications that comprise the Web 2.0 interface. It could be said that Web 2.0 will allow the mass population to communicate with each other and spread ideas rather than receiving their information from a single authority.

Internal communication has always been a challenge for big organizations but this can be simplified by promoting Web 2.0 culture. Services like wiki, blog, forums, etc can help in better communication as well as to manage the knowledge. Initially organizations may need to do some extra effort to make people use them extensively. Later, it would become a part of their life style. Internal recruitment and other internal services will also get a boost by this initiative.

Very recently I was looking at a website called BlogTalkRadio.com. It’s a social radio network. If you want to communicate with entire world through radio, this website will provide you that feature. You can create your own live talk show which can be heard around the world without the need for fancy equipment or downloads. Great concept, isn’t it? Apart from just socializing through radio network, it also opens new dimensions for developing a revenue model. You can work with this website or even independently to draft your plans.

You may like to take a look at Podtech.net to get more inputs on Web 2.0 and some other revenue models associated with it.

There are multiple such innovative concepts coming up and with the emergence of Web 2.0 there’s surely a chance of getting into new businesses. We need to identify the correct approach and a smart and diligent effort to exploit that approach.

December 9, 2008 at 9:30 am 1 comment

CMS in Web 2.0 Era

Web 2.0 and new dimensions of web world are changing the traditional approach of CMS / WCMS / ECM implementation. New breeds of attributes are getting more attention, more popularity. Few prominent features are getting eloped while some mediocre looking attributes are receiving recognition. Earlier, workflows were considered as the heart of any CMS system but now there’s less attention on complex workflows. Instead, the focus has been shifted to search engine friendliness. The presence of data in the form suited for SEO is the key thing. Comfortable authoring and ease at integration are other prompt factors.

Commercializing Open Source Products is redefining CMS market. With Acquia releasing commercial Drupal, this concept is gaining momentum. It puts up some more add-ons and the new tool has become Acquia Drupal, which acts just like any commercial product. This initiation is just a pattern and many players are moving towards the same direction. Magnolia too provides commercial solution to its Open Source CMS with the same name.

WCMS in the form of SaaS could be the next revolution in this arena. Some players are already looking into this space. They are working with other companies who deal in this business. The idea is to sell CMS as a web solution and this is getting some serious notice.

Single point solution to several technical hurdles is another emerging concept. Customers are looking for a single point solution to problems like web analytics, search, portal, etc. It is little complex to maintain different tools for different requirements. Also, organizations want to cut down the resource / tool cost.

Changes in the web environment will surely affect the CMS implementation. It is likely to bend towards the new concepts / demand.

October 21, 2008 at 10:29 am Leave a comment

Seach Engine Optimization – I

With the growing popularity of Internet we can see the spread of websites across boundaries. Search Engines are chocked up with the never ending flow of upcoming websites. People are using different methodologies to make sure that they put up their information ahead of others. Tremendous growth and huge amount of data is becoming a challenge for new age Search Engines. They are trying some smart ways to show relevant websites on TOP of search results. One of their smart ways to decide the ranking of websites is Link Popularity Management. This is one of the major deciding factors in the ranking algorithms of many popular search engines.

To achieve high ranking in Link Popularity Management, websites need to execute a robust Link Building Campaign. There are many things which empower link building campaign. Some of them could be, open source releases, guest blogging, text link ads, publication on social networking sites, etc. Relevance of links is another factor for consideration.

Before going for strategic planning for link building, let’s understand some basics of link. There are two parts of a link.

– URL (Uniform Resource Locator) – Web address of the page.
– Anchor Text – Visible Text which points to the web address.

For example Google Mail (Anchor Text) can point to an address like http://mail.google.com (URL).

Here, “Google Mail” is the anchor text and it is one of the key elements of link building and getting a high page rank.

After formulation of link, let’s understand how many types of link can occur on Internet. There are two broad categories of links, inbound and outbound. Inbound links are links which are posted on some other website and gives a pointer to your website while the outbound links are the links which are posted on your website and gives a pointer to another website. Webmasters generally have an understanding to put links on their websites. Like, webmaster of “website A” will put link for “website B” while webmaster of “website B” will put link for “website A”. It means they are exchanging links for getting higher page rank. This agreement is called reciprocal. New age search engines are smart enough to understand this and they don’t give much relevance to links which are reciprocal in nature. So, at the time of link building we need to consider this as we don’t go for reciprocal links. It won’t suffice any objective. Though, in some of the cases they can still be useful if the page comes under the category of an important web page.

The next aspect of link building campaign is to build more natural links and avoid putting artificial links. This is applicable when we go for submission of our website address to different web directories. There are many differences which act as a deciding factor to search engines. Like, natural links will have different anchor names at different locations but artificial links will have same anchor text. Natural links will grow gradually while artificial links will suddenly grow in a great extent. So, be careful while going to web directories.

Few other aspects are also important to consider before submitting your website to web directories. Relevant Titles, Keywords, and Descriptions are very important. Title becomes anchor texts which are crucial because search engines utilize anchors to decide the relevance of the link. You should also avoid using advertising words like “the best”, “leading”, “leader”, “world’s leading”, etc. You should also avoid writing them in CAPS letter. These sound very small while developing a website but they become very crucial when we plan for SEO.

I’ll keep on updating this blog with my research.

October 3, 2008 at 6:36 am Leave a comment

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