What You Need to Know About Project Estimations

Whether you are a project manager planning for a smooth implementation of a plan or a project sponsor on whose decisions a project depends, you cannot escape from the fact that project estimation is essential to its success. In the first place, there are three basic requirements that a project must satisfy: schedule, budget, and quality. The need to work within these essential project boundaries poses a huge challenge to everyone in the central management team.

There are various aspects that affect project estimates, such as team skills and experience levels, available technology, use of full-time or part-time resources, quality management, risks, iteration, development environment, requirements, and most of all, the level of commitment of all project members.

Moreover, project estimations do not need to be too complicated. There are tools, methodologies, and best practices that can help project management teams, from sponsors to project managers, agree on estimates and push development efforts forward. Some of these include the following.

Don’t Let Them Touch Your Soul…or Your Earbuds

“When I talked to Phyllis, I mentioned that a good pair of noise-canceling headphones had proven essential to my son for shutting-out his loud college roommate last year. In addition, it reminded me of 1995 study (here is the reference and abstract) by Greg Oldham and his colleagues, an experiment conducted in an organization, where they gave a random sample of employees the opportunity to listen to headphones while they worked (people who held diverse jobs in retail organization) and then tracked their reactions for four weeks, and compared them to people in a control condition who weren’t offered the chance to use headphones. They found employees who used headphones “exhibited significant improvements in performance, turnover intentions, organization satisfaction, mood states, and other responses.” They also found that people in the most boring and simple jobs had the most positive reactions to wearing the headphones… so there is some decent, if not definitive, evidence to support the use of headphones.”

Bob Sutton, author of The No Asshole Rule, makes a good case for using headphones at work: people who use headphones to tune out workplace noise are actually more productive. Also read I Find You Annoying, but I Can Cope.

Image by Chris Reed for NY Times.

Want to be a leader in the tech field? Then read these books

Yes, would you like to buy a book? by Oolong

Do you want to be a leader in the tech industry? Then better read these books, according to Bob Rouse, head of Society for Information Management’s Regional Leadership Forum. Top of the book pile is Mortimer Adler’s How to Read a Book, while the more interesting entries, not because of the subjects discussed, but because the list is for future tech industry leaders, include Steinbeck’s The Pearl (read in college), Machiavelli’s The Prince (required in Social Science II – Political Theories or some such thing), and Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning.

How to deal with rude people

I was still reeling with a rude treatment that I had to deal with lately when I came across this interesting post from Pick the Brain:

“…let rejection roll off your back. The key to this is not taking it personally.

“At least 95% of the time when a person reacts negatively to you it has absolutely nothing to do with you personally. Most likely they’re having a bad day or you caught them at the wrong moment. Maybe they’ve been harassed by people before and assume you have bad intentions. Or maybe they’re just not that cool and you wouldn’t gain much from knowing them anyways.”

The last reason struck a chord simply because there are people who are just plain rude and crude, and associating with them will never be beneficial to you in any way. Let the rude treatment slide, but remember that there are other ways to get even, such as dissociation, indifference, or not patronizing their business (and if you care about your friends–tell them how bad the rude dude’s business’ service is). See, unless you have reached Steve Jobs’ mythical status, there is absolutely no reason to be a jerk.

Romance, Security and Green IT

Interruptions are costly

poetryMartin Luther King, Jr. surely didn’t refer to Attention Deficiency Disorder, but his words resonates especially in this age of hyper-barrage of messages and stimuli. We are interrupted for help. We are interrupted for attention. We are interrupted by some who need to feel good about themselves.

We allow interruptions because that is all we can let into our lives and the short in-betweens when we are not running after our dreams. But interruptions are costly as hell.

The major problem of life is learning how to handle the costly interruptions — the door that’s slammed shut, the plan that got sidetracked, the marriage that failed, or that lovely poem that didn’t get written because someone knocked on the door.

— from the draft of a sermon that Martin Luther King Jr. was to deliver on the day he was assassinated in 1968