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The Brook’s Law is very famous among the software developers and project managers, and has stood the test of time. It says:

 “Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.”

That’s fine, but don’t you think that there must be a way to work around this law? After all, by adding more man-hours we are increasing the “available developer productivity” to the project! If I’m managing a project, I will go that extra mile and deploy only those developers who have experience in the technology that the project is working on.

But then this doesn’t really happen and many write-ups talk about how flouting Brook’s Law has backfired. Read one interesting case study regarding this – Changing Counterproductive Behaviors in Real Acquisitions.

It brings me to think that if Brook’s Law has proven itself correct many times, then there must be few substantial reasons for it to be so, and eventually, for the increased man-hours to not be able to deliver.

The case study mentioned above, says that following are the reasons why Brook’s Law doesn’t get defeated:

1. Geometrically increasing communication overhead that

  • Reduces development productivity, and
  • Reduces the time available for each individual to do development

2. A reduction in experienced personnel available for development (by using them for training of new personnel)

The key to understand, therefore, is to outsmart the above obstacles in order to defeat the Brook’s Law.

The communication overhead can be reduced if the right project management collaboration tool is used. For example, with BootStrapToday we offer collaborative features such as automation of recording similar tickets. It reduces the redundant communication that would otherwise be required for coordinating the knowledge sharing. BootStrapToday also intelligently identifies and assigns similar tickets and saves you a lot of time that gets translated into dollars for your stakeholders!

BootStrapToday has version control integration. It supports Git/SVN. In addition, BootStrapToday allows the team to share files through Fileshare.

Once the redundant stuff is automated, the time required for training new personnel will grossly reduce. So, what is your take? Do you think the Brook’s Law can be defeated now?

(Photo credit: www.Office.com)

I am sure we have a lot of sports lovers here as our readers. Whether it is soccer, baseball, rugby or cricket, many of us love at least one field sport. So what if we do not play? We all surely participate with a star player’s gusto while watching matches, and share the thrill vicariously!

Once a game concludes, and if we happen to be fans of the losing team, we spend endless hours discussing the mistakes committed by the team, blaming the star players, the coach etc. Everyone seems to carry an opinion and wishes if only he or she could get a chance to bring about the needed “change” in his or her favorite team. But… sigh!

Every game is a project that needs to be managed properly to achieve success – i.e., win the cup. If you look at your software project, you will see that it’s like a sports game.

The only difference here is that you may get more number of chances to improve upon your mistakes or assess the risks and have the resources to mitigate them. It is easy to draw a corollary from field sports, and extract a few project management lessons. Here are five lessons that I can think of:

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on’t get dismayed by the title of this piece. This blog carries many articles advocating the advantages of going for online project management. Yes, we, at BootStrapToday, are ardent believers of online project management. And why not? After all, our platform, BootStrapToday, is an online project management which adds intelligence, integration, and automation to SDLC; and a big share of credit for these features to be “effective” goes to it being in online (or SaaS) mode! But if you are leaning towards online project management for reasons other than these, then we would like to say that you should not go for it. Here are a few specific reasons why you should avoid online project management: 1. Foster team spirit In my earlier piece, Why Online Project Management, one of the advantages that I have highlighted is that the online project management makes ‘collaboration’ more efficient. But, the collaboration is made more effective by technologically scaffolding the communication and thereby improving it – the communication gap is reduced because of email integration option, “Wall” feature is available to make team-wide announcements or share ideas, new tickets can be added on-the-go through email, comments and attachments to existing tickets can be added through email, and email queries can be directly converted into tickets. These are the process side improvements to make collaboration more effective. But a skillful understanding of how to use these features is required of a project manager and her team. In order to foster the team spirit and build a culture of collaboration within the team, you still need to resort to offline methods occasionally such as off-site team building activities and/or face-to-face interaction with your team members. You can then extend this team relationship and thrive upon its benefits by using the features of an online project management tool. 2. Ensure data accuracy Online project management solutions come with unique benefits. For example, our solution BootStrapToday provides the easy feasibility of ‘automation’ and brings ‘intelligence’ in project management. (Click here to understand more). But if the data input is not accurate, then the online project management solution cannot ensure accuracy of the end result. For example, ‘automation’ feature frees your time from manually assigning tickets. You can define workflow for tickets by creating and assigning components to tickets, associating commits with a ticket, associating component/assignee automatically on new tickets, and generating automatic suggestion about similar/duplicate tickets. But if your workflow for tickets is faulty, then, though your process will be automated, but your end result will not be as desired by you. You may end up defining more new tickets, because an error in ticket workflow may not allow your project management solution to identify duplicate tickets.

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Tips on reducing time wastage should not only be for busy people. Even if you don’t classify yourself as a busy person, you must learn to use your time optimally and utilize the remaining free time more productively.

Similar wisdom goes for developers as well. No matter how good a programmer you are, if you can use your development time optimally, then maybe you can be productive elsewhere too, such as for pre-sales activities or just getting off from your work early and spending more time with your family!

1. Improve Communication

George Bernard Shaw once said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” Without even realizing, some organizations may not encourage frequent communication between project managers and the developers. It could just be manifested as a corporate policy or that a project manager is not people-smart and his management style discourages frequent communication.

In such circumstances if a developer discovers a serious issue regarding, for example, scheduling early on, he may still not report or follow-up with the project manager, since he considers frequent communication as undesirable. For all you know the project manager herself could have skipped or overlooked if the developer has not communicated properly the first time. These are human errors, but then they are responsible for wasting developer time.

Our platform, BootStrapToday, helps project managers reduce developer time wastage by building intelligence, automation, and integration into it. It also facilitates smooth communication flow among the team members through its collaborative features. To know more about how BootStrapToday achieves all these, please email us at support@bootstraptoday.com.

2. Avoid Premature Optimization

There are wonderful wisdoms shared by the programming experts worldwide regarding premature optimization. Donald Knuth said in his lecture during the 1974 A.M. Turing Award ceremony at San Diego, thatpremature optimization is the root of all evil. In his paper Structured Programming With go to Statements he highlights that

Programmers waste enormous amounts of time thinking about, or worrying about, the speed of noncritical parts of their programs, and these attempts at efficiency actually have a strong negative impact when debugging and maintenance are considered. We should forget about small efficiencies, say about 97% of the time: premature optimization is the root of all evil. Yet we should not pass up our opportunities in that critical 3%.

Another popular wisdom, on the same topic, is by Michael A. Jackson:

“Rules of Optimization:
Rule 1: Don’t do it.
Rule 2 (for experts only): Don’t do it yet.”

3. Use Pair Programming

Pair programming, an Agile SDLC technique, encourages two programmers working on a single workstation. Benefits? They spot bugs faster, as one writes the code (the driver) while the other (the observer) reviews each line of code simultaneously. This technique helps the duo to produce shorter programs with better designs and fewer bugs, especially since the observer has the task of keeping the strategic direction of the code in mind while assisting his partner (the driver), and the driver is totally focused on writing the code.

So, what is your take? Please share your thoughts with us. And don’t forget to share this article if you liked it. You should also get connected with us and “Like” our Facebook page to get continuous feeds on Project Management and the SaaS world.

Photo credit: http://www.dorm-room-biz.com/2012/06/01/social-networking-a-waste-of-time-or-time-well-spent/

Laggards would pose that question. As a modern day homosapien, you wouldn’t continue living like troglodytes (or cavemen) when there have been significant developments in our societies and housing technologies. Maybe cavemen were happy living their lives, (who knows), but it was in that era. Humans have always adopted new inventions and have continued to enjoy the benefits arising out of those inventions.

When we @BootStrapTodayadvocate virtual project management, it is because it has 1) some serious businessadvantages to offer 2) many feature advantages that can propel developer productivity. Online project management is the next step in the evolution of project management, brought about by Cloud Computing.

I am going to list down the feature advantages here that can help make your project management more efficient (remember, our houses are more efficient than the caves!):

Easy feasibility of ‘Automation’: Routine processes can be automated easily which can free your productive time. For example, you don’t need to manually assign tickets. You can define workflow for tickets by creating and assigning components to tickets, associating commits with a ticket, associating component/assignee automatically on new tickets, and generating automatic suggestion about similar/duplicate tickets.

Bring ‘Intelligence’ in project management: By automating ticket management, you can bring ‘built-in’ machine learning and analysis to predict software quality, fault proneness and dependency structure using developer contribution throughout the SDLC (software development life cycle). If you want to know more about this, please email us at support@bootstraptoday.com.

Make ‘Collaboration’ more efficient: In order to reduce the communication gap, and get more team members involved at every stage of the project, you can use the ‘Wall’ feature to make team-wide announcements or share your ideas. You can also have email solutions integrated with the online project management tool. It will help you add new tickets on-the-go through email, add comments and attachments to existing tickets through email, and convert your email queries directly into tickets.

Manage ‘Version Control’ better: Features, such as email integration, allow you to receive notification of ticket updates and follow tickets by adding yourself as a ‘Participant’. You can also maintain and share project documentation with your team members through ‘Fileshare’ feature, which allows the team members to access the latest versions.

Get improved reports on the ‘Dashboard’. Online project management allows you to have an up-to-date view of the current health of all your projects. You can track project progress, milestones, team progress, and recent updates – all in a single view.

Milton Berle once said, “If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands?” Well, that’s for the Mother Nature to decide, but where technology evolution is concerned, online project management tools certainly promise to provide you with many hands that you, as a project manager, must have been wishing for!

What is your take?Photo credit: http://www.eso-garden.com/index.php?/weblog/thousand_hand_bodhisattva/

As highlighted earlier in Significant IT Security Benefits From Using the Cloud, there are still many executives who view security as a significant threat to using cloud computing. The PwC IT Outsourcing and Cloud Computing Survey in 2011 surveyed 489 business executives globally, out of which there were 476 respondents to the question whether they are considering a shift to cloud-based computing infrastructure. Though 62% of the respondents to this question rated “Data Security” as serious to extremely serious risk, few other serious concerns reported were – Data and systems integration, IT governance, and viability of third-party providers.

If you belong to the above category, then you will find this article helpful. If you are considering SaaS for most of your IT needs any time soon, then there is a word of caution for you: If you adopt SaaS without a corporate wide integration strategy, then you might find yourself in the same old situation where different applications (read SaaS applications) do not talk to each other, the data is built up in silos, and integration is a nightmare project. But not all is bad. SaaS vendors do provide required API support for seamless integration. All you need is a proper integration strategy in your enterprise.

I have collated from various sources the top 3 tips for building your data integration strategies. 

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Laggards would pose that question. As a modern day homosapien, you wouldn’t continue living like troglodytes (or cavemen) when there have been significant developments in our societies and housing technologies. Maybe cavemen were happy living their lives, (who knows), but it was in that era. Humans have always adopted new inventions and have continued to enjoy the benefits arising out of those inventions.

When we @BootStrapTodayadvocate virtual project management, it is because it has 1) some serious businessadvantages to offer 2) many feature advantages that can propel developer productivity. Online project management is the next step in the evolution of project management, brought about by Cloud Computing.

I am going to list down the feature advantages here that can help make your project management more efficient (remember, our houses are more efficient than the caves!):

Read More

Every management professional must watch this video on Ideas vs Execution

Simple and Intuitive Project Collaboration- http://BootStrapToday.com (by Anand Agarwal)

Sales process is considered the aftereffect of marketing. Once the marketing is done with utmost accuracy and understanding, the sales process becomes much simpler. But if the marketing by itself creates some imperfection, then the whole responsibility lies on the sales process. Sales’ being the most vital practice for the company’s success is also responsible to decide the life of any organization. This is the reason; the sales’ is always handed over to the expertise. These expertises must have a thorough know how about the sales process, marketing, and should also posses the skills to quickly upgrade themselves with all the products and services developed by a company. He should also be educated with all the competitors and the sister products or services available in the market.

A sales executive or the person who plans the sales should give his best towards improvising the process time to time and avoid being a stereotype. Everyone in the market always looks for a new or an innovative method in the sales process. Today every organizations spends more time in training their salespersons and lacks the efforts in letting them apply their ideas so than they, instead of following the dictionary methods, can try applying changes so as to learn the people’s mind. Once this is achieved then it becomes a cakewalk for the sales person to sell his merchandise to the buyer. The buying and selling is the last step in the sales process. The rest depends only on the salespersons skills to make up to the final step. It includes proper communication, confidence, trust building, and good presentation proficiency.

Ever thought what will happen if the sales person lacks these qualities and goes according to the dictionary methods which are trained by the company? These sales executive acts as a shopkeeper and develops a habit to only sell the stock allotted to him. With this attitude and knowledge gained during training, the salesperson never increase the productivity but harms the company’s image which in the future drastically affects the life of the Organization.