QOTD: Optimism in Computer Programming

A friend of mine published a William A. Ward quote about optimism :

William A. Ward Quote

As an IT specialist, this topic rang a bell in my mind, about another quote, which was written long ago by Frederick P. Brook, but still vivid in our daily lives :

Computer programming [...] creates with an exceedingly tractable medium. The programmer builds from pure thought-stuff: concepts and very flexible representations thereof. Because the medium is tractable, we expect few difficulties in implementation; hence our pervasive optimism. Because our ideas are faulty, we have bugs; hence our optimism is unjustified.

Frederick P. Brook -- The mythical Man-Month


As per F. Brook quote, we're still highly prone to outstanding optimism in projects' estimates. Technical risks are elusive, not well anticipated, and when activities start-up, bottom-up estimates do not take potential rework into account and dependencies are not clear enough to secure delivery dates... This is worse with teams which are made of lots of junior team members.

Although an experienced Project Manager is not able to delve into technical details, it's his responsibility to ask the right questions to unravel the hidden risks, and to secure costs and schedule.

PMP preparation - 3 advices

Now having passed the PMP exam on mid-January 2014, I want to share my experience on exam preparation.

First of all, you've got to know that I'm not the kind of person who's able to memorize tons of things by heart. However, knowing the 47 processes described in the PMBoK and their respective process groups and knowledge areas is mandatory as a starting point. You've also have to know how they're tied to each others.

Here are some advices from what I found useful during preparation phase.

PMP preparation - Quality Management Knowledge Area

Quality Approved

During my preparation phase to take the exam in early 2014, I came to revisit the Quality Management Knowledge Area.

It has always been a bit tricky for me as in software development world:

  • often calls product-related part of Quality Control "Testing", "Tests execution" and all of the related terms "Integration Testing", "Functional Testing"...
  • often confuse by calling these test phases QA which stands for Quality Assurance, which is absolutely not the case...

That being said, I went through several questions related to quality processes and did had a good hit ratio. Although I knew the issue, I still had trouble to figure out in which process which activities were conducted.

And, I finally understood clearly by reading the Mulcahy section on Quality Management Knowledge Area:

Plan Quality Management focuses on defining quality for the project and indentifying how it will be achieved.
Perform Quality Assurance is an exeucting process, so its focus is on the work being done in the project; its purpose is to ensure the team is following the processes as planned to produce the project's deliverables. In contrast,
Control Quality (a Monitoring & Control process) examines the actual deliverables produced on the project; its purpose is to ensure the deliverables are correct and that they meet the planned level of qualityRita Mulcahy

Equiped with these summary definition, it seems a bit clearer. But the last thing to remember is that there are project management processes as well as product related processes and procedures... Quality Management addresses both !

Good luck to my fellow trainees !

Who's got the burden of proof ?

JudgementThe burden of proof... Sounds a bit too legal for project managers ? Let's go with a little story...

QOTD: Gems inside each of us ?

Automn LeavesEach year, in September, as invariably as leaves change colors and begin to fall from trees...

Oct. 8th - Speaker at a Grenoble INP ENSIMAG conference on the value of internships

Cycle FullAs part of my Grenoble INP ENSIMAG Campus Manager job at Capgemini, I'm often invited to unravel some parts of corporate world to students.

Once again, this year, I'll tell them about the 4 steps of what I call the "Career endless lifecycle", the first iteration of which they'll experiment through their internship search and then during the internship itself:

5 reasons to get PMP certified - Preparation ongoing !!!

I'm currently training to PMP certification, rehearsing processes, knowledge areas, phases, and linking back to my previous experiences as project manager on different kind of projects (size, location, subcontractors...). I found interesting to share with those who hesitate 5 reasons to get PMP certified.

Conference - Grenoble - Oct. 3rd - Project management through stakes for innovation projects

Conference animated by Frédéric TOUVARD, professor at the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris, founder of Centaury, a consulting firm specialized in innovation and coaching.

The traditional management models often imposes a heavy burden on the project manager: he's got to define objectives, push hard, argue, justify, deal with resistance, explaining why changes occurs and convince them of the accuracy of new orientations. Yet there is another way which is far more exciting: an approach where all team members take ownership of the project and take the lead.

Thursday, October 3, 2013 - 06:00 pm

IAE de Grenoble
525, avenue Centrale
Domaine Universitaire
38400 Saint-Martin-D'Hères
Amphi A

Free e-books on Big Data

Back from holidays, but still in a sunny, summer mood... Got some time for reading ?

Here are 3 e-books on Big Data, edited by O'Reilly teams, which are free !

Enjoy !

QOTD: Doomed to fail ?

About undermining your project plan in order to lower costs and win a deal...

Although it may be tempting to adopt a “safe so far” attitude and hope for the miracle that would allow project delivery consistent with the flawed contract, delay will nearly always make things worse.~ Tom Kendrick

Don't do that ! Your last chance is to negotiate a couple of days/weeks before project's start-up. Otherwise, you're doomed...

QOTD: Perception and control

A quote in French today

Je ne suis capable de contrôler que ce dont j’ai conscience. Ce qui échappe à ma perception me contrôle. C’est pourquoi l’ouverture d’esprit renforce mon pouvoir.~ John Whitmore

Which would approximately mean "I'm only be able to be in control of what I'm aware of. What is beyond my perception controls me. That's precisely why openness strengthens my power."

Great leaders know the key role of perception and always try to grasp any aspects of situation by practicing active listening, trying to obliterate any kind of bias or prejudice and their openness and clarity of mind is often well received by those they lead.

Well done, Mr Whitmore !