Saturday, January 26, 2002

Universities are a great source of information. RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia has a well written Project Management Guide that consists of the following sections:Each section contains artifacts in MS Word format that can be easily tailored to your own organization and project management methodology.

One of the best online guides I've found is the ITC Project Model, which is an ongoing work-in-progress at the University of Virginia. This model has associated guides, templates and other resources. I'll go so far as to assert that this model is a PM methodology-in-a-box.

Carnegie Mellon University, home of the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) has an information exchange called The Software Engineering Information Repository (SEIR). This is a free resource that is a part of the more extensive group of SEI resources and initiatives (including CERT® Coordination Center (CERT/CC) security resources and the SEI newsletter, news@sei interactive.)

The Software Engineering Information Repository provides a forum for the contribution and exchange of information concerning software engineering improvement activities. You must register in order to gain access to the wealth of information in the repository or participate in discussions; however, registration if free. The forum is called the SEIbank and is the heart of the information exchange goals of this site.

Since it's a beautiful Saturday in Southern California I am going to enjoy the rest of the day outside.

Friday, January 25, 2002

The topic of the day is process improvement, with a good dose of project management wisdom tossed in for good measure. Starting off, Performance Architecture: Aligning the Work, Worker and Workplace is a PDF document that lays out how to accomplish just what the title promises. As IT professionals the People Capability Maturity Model (P-CMM) is another resource that provides specific guidance for organizational excellence. The P-CMM is currently in version 2.0. Two additional documents that I recommend are:
  1. Improving Business Performance Through the Use of Statistical Thinking, which is a PowerPoint presentation that introduces statistical thinking as an organizational discipline
  2. Total Quality Management in Projects - this article bridges organizational excellence and my next topic
Most IT organizations are focused on projects. Many IT professionals, however, are not trained in project management. The remedy for that glaring problem is well beyond the scope of a weblog entry, but this PowerPoint presentation titled Minimal Project Management for IT Professionals is a step in the right direction. Project Screening: How to say no without hurting your career is another gem that all project managers should read because having projects that are doomed from the start rammed down our throats is an all-too-common occurrence. Along those lines, Six Ways IT Projects Fail also points out some of the pitfalls we face and how to avoid them, and Patterns of Project Management Risk Reduction is valuable, especially if you're familiar with design patterns. Learning from the best reinforces good practices. NASA is one organization that is unarguably world-class. Their 100 Rules for Project Managers has been publicly available for years and most seasoned PMs have a copy tucked away. It is also one of the most comprehensive PM checklists you'll find. When all else fails, however, you might find Kym Henderson's presentation on Project Recovery helpful. Let's hope you never need to read this one in a panic state.

Two additional resources that I like that fit the theme of this entry are The Shangrila of ROI, which is slanted towards SQA, but is applicable to other activities, and a quick article about business case analysis.

Thursday, January 24, 2002

We want to share some papers that we've written and presentations that we've developed:The latest from the Object Management Group is their Model-Driven Architecture (MDA), which is based on OMG’s modeling standards: UML, the MOF and CWM. Get the overview document if you're interested in seeing what MDA is all about. OMG also has papers and a large number of presentations, available, which will allow you to drill down into the details of MDA. Along the same lines, A Standard for a Business Architecture Description is a document that I revisit often.

If you're interested in customer relationship management (CRM) I recommend a whitepaper titled, Developing Relationship Marketing Through the Implementation of Customer Relationship Management Technology because it addresses technical and business aspects of CRM.

Reality Test is a company that provides the people, equipment, and processes to test your systems and applications in real-life conditions. It's a great service and their site has knowledge resources that anyone involved in QA, release management or applications acceptance will find valuable. Among the resources are papers on The Business Case for Stress and Load Testing, 14 Situations where Stress and Load Testing will help your company, Cost-Based Disaster Recovery System Sizing and Disaster Recovery Plan Audits and Testing. Unlike many sites these papers are not self-serving marketing pap - they're useful and thought-provoking.

A closing note: the content in our other weblog, Postcards from the Revolution is growing. Give it a quick read and let us know what you think.

Wednesday, January 23, 2002

The best things in life are free. Lester Bromley, who created a web site to help call center professionals, provides some useful, free tools for planning and staff forecasting. The tools are: Another set of free resources is available from SPOCE Project Management Limited. The resources are for the UK project management standard called PRINCE2 (PRojects IN a Controlled Environment version 2), which in my opinion is superior in many ways to the US standard that is embodied in the PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge). The resources are: PRINCE2 CBT, which fully describes the PRINCE2 approach to project management and a risk checklist spreadsheet for Microsoft Excel. If you're not familiar with PRINCE2 take the time to read the Overview of the PRINCE2 Method.
Roberto Parrella, a university student in Roma, shared two excellent risk management resources, a collection of working papers and a collection of technical documents from a software company that specializes in risk management software and data. The company name is Risk Metrics and is well worth visiting.

I also mined a few PowerPoint presentations that I think are valuable: risk management processes from NASA's IFMP Core Financial Project steering committee outlines a complete and mature process that I recommend for any project, large or small. I also like the risk management approach outlined in the PRIMA Project presentation (this project is sponsored by the EC and is supported at the national level by a number of European countries). I also like the following project risk and opportunity management presentation because of the techniques presented and range of issues addressed.

Monday, January 21, 2002

One of the basic tenents of project management is to contain scope. Since we fancy ourselves to be good project managers we've started a new weblog called Postcards from the Revolution, which is our chronicle of observations, musings, opinions and lessons learned with respect to IT professionalsim.

Postcards from the Revolution will give us a forum where we can vent and make scathing comments (and offer advice and proposed solutions and/or opinions), while this weblog can remain focused on sharing news, tools and information that we find during our daily travels on the web.

Sunday, January 20, 2002

It's a beautiful, sunny day in Tustin, California and as soon as I turn my notes from last night's surfing into an entry and post it I'm going outside to enjoy the day.

My travels last night took me to a number of interesting weblogs, all of which impressed me because of the excellent writing and wealth of technical information each contained. My first stop was Shane McChesney's Skipping dot net log. This weblog is set up as a discussion page and three major topic sections:

  1. Book Reviews
  2. Linkfests, which contain comprehensive collections of links and information on:
  3. Tools (Linux, MySQL PostgreSQL and Python)
The interrelationships between and among the linkfest topics are shown in the SDN Content Web Map that Shane has taken the time to devise. There's no doubt that this weblog and associated content are pro-open source. The site's name, skipping dot net (skipping .NET), speaks volumes about Shane's approach - something with which I wholeheartedly agree.

Although the site that supports William Oellermann's outstanding book, Architecting Web Services, is not a weblog it is an important resource to web architects who are seeking information about web services architecture. Since Linda and I have each written a review of the book on Amazon I won't rehash it here. What makes Mr. Oellermann's site so valuable is the way it seamlessly augments the book by providing up-to-date source code, a web services test environment so you can actually test services that you've written, and PowerPoint presentations that cover a few of the book's topics.

Mark Pilgrim's weblog is a gem. If you're a Python developer Mark's site is a springboard to his online book titled Dive Into Python. If you're someone who admires a person for baring their soul while imparting wisdom and inspiration, then you'll get spiritually recharged while reading some of Mark's entries. His A lot of effort went into making this effortless essay stands out as one of the most touching and inspirational pieces of writing I've read in my life.

Joel Spolsky's weblog is another treasure trove of information and ideas. I bookmarked his The Joel Test: 12 Steps to Better Code entry and found one nugget of information gold after another in his archives. If you're interested in copyright and intellectual property issues (among other topics) you'll like Zimran Ahmed's weblog. I especially enjoyed his succinct and articulate writing style and wide range of topics covered.

Linda and I have stopped posting about Doug Kaye's book here because the most appropriate place to discuss the book is in the book discussion forum that Doug has going. Any posts here will only diffuse the discussion, and ideas will get lost in the confusion of parallel discussions of the same topic.

Finally, Linda encouraged me to post more here about the work she and I have developed jointly and independently on service level management and integrating applications and service delivery. I think the best place to post that information is in our IT Operations Management Forum, which is hosted on Delphi. This will allow for interaction if anyone is interested in those topics, and will leave this weblog less cluttered. On that note I'm off to enjoy the day and get some sun.

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