Saturday, December 29, 2007

Back at it.......

I've decided (not sure why) to build another web site - IT Project Guide - in addition to this blog. One reason is to better structure information (resource links to people, tools, etc.)

More for my own sack of categorizing info then anything else.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


and a link to the author's site:
It's always inspiring to see real genius...eye opening and encouraging. I now have a greater appreciation for Information Architecture and a reinforced understanding of what right looks/feels like.

Great List of Internet Marketing Blogs
great job by Tamar Weinberg

Sunday, December 23, 2007

State of MASystems

A short time ago I started a small - sort of - made up project -

To some extent it was to provide an example how I would approach task discovery and some extent to get my Martial Arts site going somewhere (a million dollar idea worth 5 cents). As part of the process I selected Drupal, CakePHP, etc. as the tech platform with some very beneficial results. The benefit?
  • deeper understanding of the open source community
  • GREAT appreciation of Drupal (IT IS POWERFUL!!)
  • GREAT appreciation of CakePHP! (POWERFUL - IBM, etc. are utilizing it)
  • MVC - Model View Control and what it really means
  • LAMP - better appreciation of the #1 platform for the internet
  • Understanding of what the service industry could be - give the product away and provide the service (take all the fish you want, if you want them cleaned and cooked - well, that's $1 an hour)
What did I deliver (still incomplete web site....oh well)
  • LAMP setup on my laptop (Ubuntu, Apache 2, MySQL 5 and PHP 5)
  • Drupal setup on laptop and website (v 5.5)
  • CakePHP setup on laptop and website
  • base sites via Drupal, base test apps via CakePHP
  • Multi-Site setup via Drupal (WOW! this is amazing!)
  • Use of scaffolding in CakePHP (another wow!)
  • Review of MANY Drupal Modules
It's amazing what you could learn when determined and open to new ideas and ways....sometimes when you're under strict time driven deliveries you loose opportunities...the real finding (read but did not fully appreciate Slack via Tom DeMarco)

Next Steps?
  • get more in-depth knowledge of Drupal, CakePHP, etc
  • refine my PM/Task approach
  • look for the next path
  • someday finish up the web site

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Back to Excel

Starting a new project, to get out a plan quickly I used MS Project (I really find the entry easy, but the program itself is useless.....why?). MS Project, I find, is easy to use for initial entry and then drags you down with every other step.......when I do try to use it, I spend more time updating/maintaining it then working on the project.....OKAY - enough complaining. I've used other tools, mostly web based, including QuickBooks, etc. (see comparison)...but at the end of the day I'm back to MS Excel (no, not even Google Docs). You don't have the comforting tree view, but the entry, ease of update, ability to add uniqueness at any level and ability to display multi-dimensional data is just plain amazing. I still remember when Lotus 1-2-3 first come out...the simplicity, data depth, etc. was there from the start. I guess in some way this relates back the the prior post about Domain Driven Design - the PM tools are accurate, but wrong....anyone up for a deep PM tool discussion and perhaps development effort?

Domain Driven Design - another must read

Just started into the book and it's GREAT! So far the discussion has been about the need to understand the problem domain (business domain- whatever) and without doing so the results are at best correct but shallow. I still remember an old boss once commenting on a person's report - '100% Accurate but wrong'. The wrong job perfectly implemented - is still wrong.

Friday, December 14, 2007


'Gee son, I remember when there were database servers for each application....we had to walk up hill both ways to get to them....'

Amazon is taking the next logical step in providing DB functionality to it's existing file and computing clouds............simply amazing!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Project Charter

I'm sure all PM's know what a project charter is...right? According to wikipedia it's a'...a statement of the scope, objectives and participants in a project...' - is that correct? Just a statement? Unfortunately in many cases that's just what it is..a statement of intent that is soon forgotten. A charter provides the PM with the authority to 'get the job done' based on the conditions within it....a bit of a different perspective, but one that make the document a lot more meaningful. Once signed, the PM is responsible (yes, the PM is responsible) to fulfill the directives in the charter who's end result is the accomplishment of the given goals/objectives. Be careful what you present and what you agree to......taking responsibility is a lot tougher then agreeing to a statement. This is what the big paycheck is all about. You, the PM, have a responsibility to fulfill and deliver the goals/objectives with the best interest of your clients in mind.....put the Gantt chart down, forget about PMBOK best practices and put your priorities in order...deliver the added value that will ensure project success...and have some fun.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Amazingly Powerful

So - another long night......but I feel that I've found the trail of the Ox. After setting up Ubuntu 7.10 I decided to take on the challenge of LAMP. Initially I was thinking that given the each of the Ubuntu install LAMP would be a single install package...and it is for the Ubuntu Server version, but not the desktop version....and I've come to clearly find out that not all install how to web articles are built the the end of the night (early morning) everything was up and running including Drupal (why not - right?). All I have to say is that the LAMP combo is powerful. A complete OS, Web Server, Database Server and PHP interpreter running on a old desktop....with a CMS tool to kick source proves itself again. A little bumpier then the Ubuntu install....but doable in a night and the potential of anyone wanting a complete web server having one for free is simply amazing and unthinkable not to long ago. I am impressed.....

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Gutsy Gibbon

Well the Ubuntu Linux distribution is nothing short of amazing. Took all of about 10 minutes to install and connect to the internet. I also installed WINE (Windows environment) and some windows apps (like NuSphere PHPed)........Smooth, solid, clean.....this is what an operating system should be and it's FREE! Beware MS Windows...........

Friday, December 7, 2007

PHP in Action

Great book - the author provides great info on PHP and more importantly objects. He takes a very practical approach to the use of objects in coding...a must read.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Can a Project Manager not be a Subject Matter Expert?

Can a Project Manager NOT understand the underlying 'subject' that she/he is managing? If you ask a typical PM looking for a job or looking for a promotion, etc. the answer is yes...because the PM manages the project not the actual work.....reality is something different though. As hard as some people try to justify a PM's ability to be isolated from knowing the underlying business (very important) or technology - the lack of that understanding adds risk to the project which if looked at would most likely out way the benefit of the PM's role itself. PM_Value = (Reduction_of_Project_Risk *100) + Increased_Project_Effectiveness + Increased_Project_Efficiencies...or something like that. So, if you're a PM that is working in a business you have no understanding of and in a technical environment that you have no grasp would you be able to know what the risks are? which risks are most likely to occur with the highest impact??? Ask people? If you don't know the subject how would you know which people to ask? by asking other people? people who themselves might not know? Doesn't this lead to increased risks?

I've heard over and over that a PM should be measured by how successful the project was managed not how successful the actual project was.......gee......try to explain that one to a high level exec who just lost millions on a project but has a well run project and nice project plan...

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Doodlekit! Amazing!

I read an article on TechCrunch regarding DoodleKit.....both of my kids easily set up web sites and continue to add to them (for how much longer....who knows....). It's an amazingly easy to use web site development approach with free hosting...built in tools, etc.......A MUST CHECK OUT SITE!

Judah Maccabee - Happy Hanukkah!

Somehow, somewhere, growing up I was told of the story of Hanukkah where Judah Maccabe defeated Assyrians who greatly out numbered him - AFTER- Momma Maccabe fed him and his troops (family) magical potato pancakes........when they cleaned out the Temple and found only enough oil for one day that lasted 8 all the success, etc. was attributed to GOD's define influence......great story - right? I still think it's the real one.......anyway, getting to the point:

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Google Apps - next steps

Here's an interesting insight into where Google Apps is going:

I've used Google apps for a small martial arts site:
I found it easy to use - AND - free! There are some things I would like to see changed...but that's another story. The interesting item in the above post is the inclusion of project management within the new version.....similar to Microsoft SharePoint
SO - it seems PM is being rolled into the same environment that is being used to develop and deliver web sites.......makes sense to me. Times, they are a changing. Time for PM'ers to understand the trend and take advantage of it - no longer will PM'ing be a side dish and not's now being incorporated directly into the process....time for the PM vendors out there to develop a Google Social like interface before it's developed for them...a standard interface, rules, roles, etc. (sounds like PMBOK to me...hopefully more usable).