Almost there

And we have received the sign off to apply for the certification for PMP.

In my mind this is the point of no return.

I have many things to report here and I will include then on my agenda.

First thing is: if you don’t have one, buy a smartphone. My new toy is an android.

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Stakeholders Influence

When categorizing the stakeholders one thing that we have to do is write down the type of influence they have on the project: positive or negative.

But what to do when we don’t know what is it? What if we are tempted to say it is “neutral”, in the sense of “this stakeholder doesn’t care if the project is successful as well as if it is unsuccessful”?

Discussing this today, with a fellow PMP at work, I got to some conclusions / decisions.

The first one, and the most obvious one, is that there is no rule on what types of classifications we can have. As with most things, the Project Manager is free to customize the project as needed. So, adding a “neutral” influence is perfectly possible.

The second conclusion is that there is no “neutral” stakeholder. There is always a small tendency on being pro or against the project. What can be done, then, is adding the “neutral” influence type and using it as a marker for reviewing this classification as soon as a better judgment of the stakeholder’s influence type is known.

The third thing is that not knowing the correct classification is a project risk. That stakeholder can be working against the project and a misclassification of him / her can lead to ignoring key factors as well as loosing opportunities to neutralize / mitigate the bad influence from the stakeholder.

The correct classification and identification of stakeholders is one of the factors that can help with project management and lead to the success of the project.

Project Management Certification

It is being a tough week since I have started studying to get my PMP – Project Management Professional – certification.

A lot of reading, studying, training, etc. going on. I am thankful that the company I work for has access to all the resources I need to study and also has many certified professionals that I can refer to and that have reviewed some documents and training courses I am using.

I have laid out a plan with some colleagues and we are doing weekly meetings that take from 1h to 1h30 to discuss what we have learned from the week’s targets.

Since we’re on the first week, our target was taking two training courses and reading the first two chapters of the PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge).

I am taking notes and using a mindmapper software to map my learnings. So, I expect to have a lot of things written here in the next months all related to my studies.

And, of course, since these are a personal effort, I still have all my usual activities going on at work.

There are some changes and I will move from full responsibility on Communications Systems and Services to Enterprise Technologies, on the platforms area, assuming the global leadership for IBM’s System I (former iSeries) platform.

It will be an interesting challenge since I don’t know anything about this technology and it will then become my first managerial experience where I don’t fully understand the technology I am managing.

I will have to rely a lot on our technical specialists, self study and documentation on the technology and processes related to it.

I also have to work on globalizing this service and keep the globalization of one of my former projects going on. I was – and I still am – responsible for laying out the foundations for it to happen and now it will be my responsibility to keep it moving, even if I am not managing the teams that work with that technology anymore.

VERY interesting challenges coming up and, of course, I will keep some news about how I am dealing with them here.

Stay tuned and enjoy 🙂

And, if you want to share some information on any of the topics I am writing about, feel free to do so.

Updates, News and New Implementations

Even though I have been quiet for a while, things are a lot busy.

I have been spending a lot of time on preparing myself to get a PMI certication and become a PMP. I had classes with the PMBOK while at College, I participated on several training courses after that, I have read many books… and even then, I don’t feel ready to apply for the certification.

It is part of my daily tasks, but what makes me believe I am not ready are the subtleties of things and some of the questions I remember from College, when studying that and thinking about applying for the certification.

On the IT field, I have been playing more with org-mode and I am almost ready with making it “talk” to my Google Calendar. Here are some hints for that:

http://emacsworld.blogspot.com/2011/05/integrating-emacs-org-mode-and-google.html

http://thread.gmane.org/gmane.emacs.help/80824

http://code.google.com/p/googlecl/

And, I am also happy with finally being able to enable the transparent background on Emacs. I have added this code to my .emacs (actually, I use org-mode to manage it as well, so the process was a bit different, but the idea is the same):

(defun djcb-opacity-modify (&optional dec)
  "modify the transparency of the emacs frame; if DEC is t, decrease the transparency, otherwise increase it in 1%-steps"
  (let* ((alpha-or-nil (frame-parameter nil 'alpha)) ; nil before setting           (oldalpha (if alpha-or-nil alpha-or-nil 100))
          (newalpha (if dec (- oldalpha 1) (+ oldalpha 1))))
    (when (and (>= newalpha frame-alpha-lower-limit) (<= newalpha 100))
      (modify-frame-parameters nil (list (cons 'alpha newalpha))))))

 ;; C-8 will increase opacity (== decrease transparency)  ;; C-9 will decrease opacity (== increase transparency  ;; C-0 will returns the state to normal (global-set-key (kbd "C-8") '(lambda()(interactive)(djcb-opacity-modify)))
(global-set-key (kbd "C-9") '(lambda()(interactive)(djcb-opacity-modify t)))
(global-set-key (kbd "C-0") '(lambda()(interactive)
                               (modify-frame-parameters nil `((alpha . 100)))))

The source for that is available at http://emacs-fu.blogspot.com/2009/02/transparent-emacs.html

The original code had the steps move in steps of 10%. I have changed the code a little to make it move in 1% steps.

And, finally, this weekend it was Valentine’s Day here in Brazil. It was really cold – with some ice on the glass ceiling from my neighbor – what contributed a lot to the romance and for my wife and I spending the time together.

Every time I am able to spend some time like this, I stop and think about how many times I am doing that and if it is not something that I need to improve. It is hard to manage all the work tasks, studies, and still get some free time to spend without worrying, but I am sure that my Number One priority should be my family.

I think that these updates were not enough for the time I didn’t post, but I am trying. This blog already has more – relevant – posts than anything I was able to keep before (maybe Multiply had more posts, but it was a different time in my life).