Diseña un sitio como este con WordPress.com

Final Reflection – TI2011

I will not lie when I say that this class surprised me a lot. I think disruptive or different styles of education and teaching are refreshing and should be implemented more in universities. In this article I will explain why my Project Evaluation course this semester exceeded my expectations and I will share some of my final learnings and reflections.

Previously, some of my colleagues had classes with Ken Bauer, but I didn’t. The common opinion was that «we don’t do anything in his classes», so I thought that was a bad thing and since they didn’t do anything I wouldn’t learn as much. This was my first surprise. In Ken’s classes, the students who really are interested learn tons without doing much work. The ones who are just heating the bench end blank at the end of the course.

In my case I was the first category of student. Since I have some experience organizing events and being a team leader, I was really interested in project management. I didn’t have an idea of what it was to be one in a professional scenario, just knew some theory. In this class I learned new theory and also connected with this world in which you meet reality. The format of the class is simple: learn theory by reading a very good book, discuss it in class and have conversations involving those read topics. Homework (which are reflections of the chapters of the book) doesn’t have deadlines and the student chooses when to deliver them. This is a double edged sword.

Luckily again, I have been reading for the past year all about time management to take control of my life at fullest, so it was no trouble facing this challenge. In case a reader is interested, my personal organization method consists of a mixture of two books: Getting Things Done by David Allen and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. Boosted by other productivity books, I am in the process of developing a reading habit, so my assignments turned out to be easy. By making reflections and discussions of the content read, understanding comes easier, so in the end I pay attention to a whole lot more concepts in a book as opposed if I read it alone and in one day.

This is the first part of the course that I liked but there are other key elements I identified that enhanced my overall experience in it. Creative freedom is one of them. The usual format in which student deliver these reflections are blog posts, just as this one, but the reality is that you can make any type of material to present your reflections. I made the first ones written since it was faster, and later in the course I got bored, so I started making songs and placing my reflections in the lyrics. This was as valid as a written blog post.

Finally, since Ken knows a lot of people, some with spectacular careers, he invited them to our sessions to discuss and answer project management topics. In this way I was able to learn more than just the theory: I saw what is like to be a project manager, locally, or international, in a big enterprise or in a startup, in the video game industry or in classic software dev, etc. It was awesome.

The main thing that I learned is that there is no secret formula to being a successful manager, because each situation is unique and every project must be handled their own way. Key common elements in success are empathy and passion. You must be able to get along with all people and work your was around them in many types of decisions. Emotional intelligence and soft skills (as Ken calls them, «the real skills») are just as important as coding knowledge. Passion is also needed, because you must be able to believe in your project. If you are fascinated with the idea you are building, you will act in the way that it will bring the best results possible.

Being the perfect manager isn’t easy. A thing that I learned is that you must know as much as the people you are managing to be the best. So if you think about it, the manager has a broad knowledge in both hard and soft skills. It is pretty tough work, but at the same time it intrigues me, I have always liked big challenges. I would like to become a manager one day, or be the creator of my own business, but the course changed my perspective. I didn’t want to be a code monkey and was planning to jump straight to managing, but now I want to observe the whole industry inside out, top to bottom, before managing.

With COVID-19 pandemic, we are stepping in a drastic change in the world, so I think managing will change a little. It would not be that drastic, but it will end up being the same job. A manager must work with the resources he has at the moment and with the environment he is at, no matter what. I have the fortune to have some remote managing experience while I worked in Apple Education, and I know it is possible to bring the same results this way. Same skills are needed, same job can be pulled off, just format changes.

In conclusion, I took a lot out of this course, and I consider it my favorite this semester. I learned that sometimes less is more with a class dynamic. I also learned that there is a whole lot more than it seems in management. I leave feeling motivated, because there is a long way to go, things to learn, experience to gain. Day after day we must keep improving ourselves to reach higher places, and I’m sure the global pandemic isn’t an obstacle.

Anuncio publicitario

The Deadline – Long awaited finale

I decided I was going to finish writing about this book by not writing at all. I liked making the Guess Song’s Name Challenge, but in these final two chapters, 22 and 23, there was not a lot of useful information to include. So instead, I’m closing this series of posts about The Deadline, by Tom De Marco, with a personal reflection.

I will first cover the last bit of useful information the book delivers. They talk about the concept of «lean and mean», which is when companies reduce their budgets by limiting the working experience for their staff. This decision, specially in the software development industry, is the worst thing that you can do to your company. Even though this book was written in 1997, they had the right ideas. Today we see that the most successful companies don’t mind spending a ton of resources in keeping their employees happy, because they know it’s the best long term decision.

Employees at Facebook enjoying life.

«Prosperous and caring – the real goal of an organization.» If you keep your most important clients (your workers) happy, they will make everyone happy, which will translate into better economic results. The last thing the book speaks about is estimates and goals. They must both exist, and they must be different because one gives perspective in a possible date, and the other is a remainder that you must do everything to get the best possible out of a project, resulting in ending right, time-wise speaking.

In conclusion, I don’t consider that The Deadline had the best plot in the world, actually was quite plain, but the real core of this book is the knowledge it offers. I really like learning with a fun little story rather than just receiving theory in the traditional way. We can tell this author was excellent in his research, because most of the lessons he teaches are still relevant to the PM subject in software development. I highly recommend reading this book, and that is all. Hope you enjoyed this breakdown of the most important concepts in my opinion and if you like reading with stories, I will also recommend a book with a similar format: Sophie’s World. This book is a novel, just as The Deadline, but instead of preaching PM stuff, they pack a whole Philosophy course inside the story. The best part is that everything is written in a simple language, so anyone, regardless of age, can read the book.

Link to Sophie’s World: https://www.amazon.com.mx/Sophies-World-Novel-History-Philosophy/dp/0374530718/ref=sr_1_1?__mk_es_MX=ÅMÅŽÕÑ&keywords=sohies+world&qid=1590428182&sr=8-1

Guess song challenge: Deadline chapters 20,21

Welcome to the latest edition of Guess This Song Challenge! The rules are the same as always: I place a song down below, which has changed lyrics, and you try to guess the name of the song. This time the lyrics come from chapters 20 and 21 from the Deadline, by Tom De Marco. Just as always, plain simple. Enjoy.

If you have trouble enjoying the song with the embedded player, use this link: https://clyp.it/udmfhpje


Always make agendas
Respect people’s timing
This way they can see
If the meeting competes them

Agendas make meetings smaller
Get inside those key players
Decisions will be much easier
And time will be saved

Large meeting are a problem
They create confusion
Consensus can’t be settled
Better cut some people

If you face a similar problem
Don’t worry I got you covered
There is a sacred ritual
To kick some people out

Like a good old ritual
There ares rules
Rules to be set
Make your meetings small
Without hurting no one

Use this ritual
To adjourn people

First say your intentions
Then wait for agreement
Choose a couple persons
Whose’s time is valued

Make them rise they say a statement
What they expect to be seen without them
Make everyone make an agreement
That’s the final step

Moving on to next chapter
They talk ‘bout code inspection
It saves time testing
Unless design is perfect

Don’t solve pathologies
They are just useless 

Guess song challenge! Deadline chapter 19

Hello everyone! It’s time for the next Guess Song Challenge, as always with original music and changed lyrics. This time the lyrics talk about chapter 19 from The Deadline, by Tom De Marco. Enjoy and hope you guess the song (this one is easy).

If you have trouble listening in the embedded player, use this link: https://clyp.it/rs0r2v1h


There I was completely baffled
By the truth The Deadline speaks
Early overstaffing is the reason
A project delays

Staffing comes after design
Not the way around
When the project has clear modules
Then it’s time to recruit staff

Design is first
Design is first
Design is first
Design is first
Design is first
Design is first
Design is first
Design is first

If you let your people code then
You will face a lot of bugs
Having a real plan on modules
Will grant optimization

Forming an ideal team
Starts with few people
Key elements to design it
The recruit some more people

Design is first
Design is first
Design is first
Design is first
Design is first
Design is first
Design is first
Design is first

Aggresive schedules don’t work

Design is first
Design is first
Design is first
Design is first
Design is first
Design is first
Design is first
Design is first
Design is first
Design is first
Design is first
Design is first
Design is first
Design is first
Design is first
Design is first

Project Management and Evaluation – Second Partial Reflection

Good morning, this time I come with the second partial reflection about the course I’m currently taking, which is Project Management and Evaluation. There were a lot of interesting things I learned, it is one of my favorite courses this semester. Here I leave my audio reflection:

If you have trouble viewing the embedded player, use this link: https://clyp.it/wh2ulb04

There is not so much to say, I’ll let the audio speak for myself. Hope you are all fine!

Guess the Song Challenge #3: Deadline 17-18-Interlude

Hello everyone, this is the third edition of the grand «Guess the Song Challenge» with twisted lyrics. As always, try to guess the original song, but the lyrics were changed to match the best concepts about chapters 17 and 18 of The Deadline, by Tom De Marco. I was going to also include the interlude of the book, but I didn’t find useful information to share, so I’ll skip it.

If you have trouble viewing the embedded player, use this link: https://clyp.it/pdfntg40


Interests here, interests there, all parties want something
Are they satisfied?
Software dev industries have poor conflicts res strats
Why they don’t recall?

Problems always rise
They’re a natural thing

So embrace them today
You must pay respect
But you never have to get them snowball my friend

Just one great tip
Address them early
Make sure everyone states their wins at start of the deal
Mediation is easy
Real easy

As I said mediate them
Cause negotiation will
Bring more problems up

If they are on same side
You must convince them that
They’re against conflict

There are simple steps
To mediate well

Mediation’s easy
But it’s not trivial
Must remember they key to make them all play around

Ask permission
To be mediator
But you have to be someone who’s impartial always
Mediation is easy
Real easy

I wish I may, I wish I might
Have this wish I wish tonight
I want to mediate, I want it now
I want this solved and I don’t know how

That is all my friends
End of the chapter 
End of two chapters, you may have guessed it
End of two chapters, mediation’s the answer

Mediation’s easy
But it’s not trivial
Must remember they key to make them all play around

Ask permission
To be mediator
But you have to be someone who’s impartial always
Mediation is easy
Real easy

Mediation is easy
Hope you guessed the song’s name

Guess Song Challenge #2: Deadline 15-16

Hello again! This time the second challenge has surfaced. The concept is the same: I play a song and you try to guess the name of it, but I changed the lyrics to match the best concepts of chapters 15 an 16 of The Deadline, by Tom de Marco. Enjoy it!

If you have trouble viewing this embedded player, use this link: https://clyp.it/lcomz4a4


If you think people under pressure
Will work better but you’re terribly wrong
Overtime will not be your fix
To your whole problem, manager, so listen

Overtime decreases productivity
So you must never apply it
If you don’t believe me
Just ask, Mr T.

On the other side, it may work
Short bursts of pressure may bring good reception
Since it will make your staffto focus more
You have to balance, few is right, but tons not

So in conclusion to chapter 15
Both are popular tools but
The truth is that they don’t work 

At aaaaaaaaaall
They just harm mooooore

And next comes a great lesson
That you must remember always
Chapter 16

They say the moods can pass from dude to dude
Imagine your manager’s mad
The mood can be transferred
To all your staff
In a little while

So you must confront angry men
And the fix will be covered next song
But now we’ll talk bout spec sheets
They must have inputs, and outputs, policies

The I/O must be an easy thing but the
Policies must tackle
All events and how they are

Ambiguous translates
to conflicts between various stakehooooooolders
Remember you must make your specs clear
People will not tell you to not be seen as weak
That’s it for this episode

Guess the song! Deadline 13-14

Hello everyone! Today I’m going to play with you a little game: Guess this song’s name, but with a little twist. I’m changing the lyrics with the most important insights of chapters 13 and 14 of The Deadline, by Tom de Marco. Enjoy it!

P.S. : I don’t sing well at all. Just trying to make this fun.

If you have problems with the embedded player, use this link: https://clyp.it/y0todmpq


Today we learn something
Process improvement
Beware of the danger
The danger

Fixed improvement approach
Cost time and money
Certifications damage
May damage

Choose just one improvement

Cuts the creative
They don’t let your admins
Take shortcuts

Every project’s different
Their natures may change
There’s no perfect process

And yeaaaaah
That was chapter 13
Up neeeeeext
Mr T. talks bout time gains

If you don’t change strategy
You will not cut time
So cut the debugging

A well implemented
Extensive design
Will grant you a bug free
A bug free

To wiiiiiiin
your staff be empathic

So caaare for theeeeem
And just understand them

The eeeeend
Of Mr .T in this chapter

More songs with this pattern

Till next guess song challenge

Galoobles data analyst wanted

Galoobles is a fictional metric used in the book.

We, as project managers must be able to think quick and effective, just as chapter 12 from The Deadline was. Today I’ll be discussing what I learned from this chapters and provide you with a little insight about the topic. Tom De Marco wrote this novel in 1997 and continues to be relevant, that is something that impresses me, considering that the world of software development is evolving in enormous steps.

In this short chapter, Lahksa gets one of the best data analysts in the whole world for software engineering projects. He is a madman packed with extensive knowledge about everything in the world. With an incredible memory, he is able to remember all numeric facts and recite them as words in a language. He gets to Morovia and four hours later leaves for another appointment in the world. What a crazy dude!

He entered Mr. T’s office and devoured all of their content. Of course, the place was looking like a tornado struck it, which was true. At the end, this analyst, T. Johns Caporous, measured each of the six projects that Tompkins was working on based of a custom metric for software effort: Function Points. This is sometimes the name that is used in real life for calculating effort in a software development project.

This metric, which Belinda liked to refer as Galoobles, was calculated by looking at the scope of the project, sizing it, looking at past effort per time in projects, and any other past data that could be useful for making this subjective metric more precise and objective. This is the main lesson of the chapter: even though we as managers do not have a universal scale expert in data analysis as Caporous, we must always measure this subjective part of the development process in order to anticipate future trends, and be able to size the project in staff and deadlines effectively.

Looking at more information about this topic, I discovered this blog post by Mohammed Sami about an in depth method to calculate effort in the software development industry. I highly suggest you check it out, it has a simple methodology that might work for your current endeavor. Until next time, we’ll see how Mr. T uses this card in his favour.