How to start projects you'll actually finish?

More link-love! If the kind reader (I know there's one of you out there!) would click over to the blog of Scott Young, she/he/it (a.k.a. Sheit) will have the pleasure of reading a post that discusses how one really should be fully aware of what you're getting into when starting something (well, we're speaking about Projects, but let's be honest, it applies to most everything in life...). A quick snapshot of what you're going to be reading:

"Feature creep is dangerous in projects because your initial three-month endeavor quickly becomes a multi-year odyssey. Projectitis, or recklessly jumping from project to project without completing everything, is also a common disease. The best way to control these two problems is simple: know what you’re buying into before you pay for it."

Good solid advice - and don't forget what I talked about yesterday - keep in touch after you're done. It does wonders for good customer relations and your up/cross sale opportunities!

[Scott H. Young]

Mobile E-mail

Ah, BlackBerry. What would life be like without the genius of Research In Motion, the greatest company ever to hail from Canada, eh?

I confess, I have a soft-spot for the Berry in my heart - implementing it into three mobile operators in Central/Eastern Europe was my first real international project. Ah, the good old days. I shudder to think how bad I did (hey, I can be a general after my own battles!), but hey, we managed to get it running!

As you'll no doubt notice, I have a bit of a gadget problem - and the fact that I work in Telecoms doesn't help my other problem, which is constant availability. At work, we use Goodlink, well, they're Motorola-something-or-other by now, but hey, we're a corporation! Say you're a freelance consultant, or just plain cheap?

Enter emoze. Boy, do I like these guys. You get a free "push" E-mail service ("push", because it's not really push, but more like "poll the server every couple of minutes for new E-mail and then send it to the device") that just plain works - and works with most E-mail providers, and your corporate Outlook/Lotus too - provided that you have Outlook Web Access, or that your work PC that runs Lotus Notes is always on. And yes, it works with the Jesus Phone. Erm, sorry... iPhone.

But.. There's a caveat...

"In order to provide the emoze Software, emoze gathers and processes the following information:
  • Register Information
  • User Profile
  • Personal Data of Friends
  • Feedback Information
  • Passive Information
  • E-mail Addresses
  • Mobile Numbers"
Before you run off and start using it on your corporate E-mail, read the privacy policy and make SURE your IT is OK with it. You don't want to get fired, do you?

EDIT: Now, this is interesting... the emoze team got in touch with me, saying: has left a new comment on your post "Mobile E-mail":

Hi there!
Please note that emoze does not gather the information you specified. emoze merely routes the emails from your mailaccount directly to your phone. There is no"store and forward" and no way we can get the info you speak about. Please correct this or contact me at

Now, I'm not sure what sort of info I'm speaking about here - the above is a copy/paste from the emoze web site, and the link I gave leads back to their privacy policy - but it's reassuring to see that there's no data stored - and they officially get additional points in my book for being efficient, communicative - and reading my blog :)

In Uncertain Times, Do Certain Things

Right. I'm a thief! :) No, not really - I'm going to borrow something from our corporate blog, which I think is good advice for the season:

"The events in the financial markets these last few days certainly bring to mind one metaphor – a rollercoaster – as actions by the US Federal Reserve and other global entities target the current volatility.

Still, the uncertainties of the current financial markets provide an excellent opportunity to focus on the certainties we do know.

Conditions like these frequently result in a “hunkering down effect,” and a focus shift toward cost and efficiency that can overtake the top-line aspirations of a company’s business cycle. It’s clear that there are only two routes to a better bottom line – reducing costs or improving customer satisfaction and retention. Or even better, a combination of both.

A widely accepted constant is the value of the retained customer. And these days, a positive customer experience is considered the more powerful indicator of customer retention. The confluence of the current externalities, the rise of social networks, and numerous technology innovations make it an opportune time to take the counter-strategy of "leaning into the wave." Invest in an improved customer experience, and you just might emerge with a better bottom line than ever."

Forgetting for the moment that this is meant to sell more of our Contact Centers and IPT solutions (which I live from, so BUY THEM!), it's good advice to any Project Manager out there - your job doesn't always end when the project closes down. Pay attention to your customer. Even if you're not officially assigned to them anymore, let them know every couple of months that you're still around, still care, and are still willing to help them. After all, it was you and your team who gave them something of value - you're always the one with the quickest answer to their questions. Care about them, and they'll care about you.

Source: Zack Taylor on the Avaya Corporate Blog

Conflict management


You show up on a customer site. Your contact there is out sick, and his temporary replacement has no idea what was already done. He starts a shouting match that he'll have you all fired immediately, that the product is crap and that you're all incompetent. Of course, the fact that he never read the brief, or that it might have been good if he'd had at least glanced at the last status report has managed to escape him.

Now what?

There are many ways to calm down a heated debate (new speak for argument), in my case most of them involve finding a large server and accidentally dropping it on someones toes. (No, not really. I wouldn't do that to an innocent server.) However, since the way I'd resolve the argument in my daydream isn't something that seems to be socially acceptable - to say nothing of proper business behavior, some suggestions from the blog of Jay Morrissey might come in handy:

Your guide to resolving any heated argument
and Fight back against verbal intimidation

Check out the rest of his site too - lots of good advice to be found! []

Home office

I work either from home or from a customer site about 90% of the time. For me, it's simply easier and more relaxing to be able to work from home - no screaming (and you don't know screaming until you've heard three Hungarian girls talk about... anything...), no disturbances... Ah. Peace and quiet. I simply find I'm more productive when at home.

Now, a home office might not be for everyone - I've had some issues when I first started with people going "oh, you're at home, can you help me with ", or "can you please clean the kitchen and do the laundry" - but I've trained them well :) I don't bother getting dressed up, or "tricking" myself into going to work while still at home - I know what needs to be done anyway :) However, if you're just starting out, here are some helpful tips:

Advice for setting up a home office
[Productivity 501] via [Lifehacker]

Project Management, the 2.0 way

Hey folks.

You interested yet? Lately, I seem to have gotten some good fortune - it seems that people think I'm good at what I do. Dangit!

Time to share with the community at large (read: bore people to death). I'm on my way to being a PMP, and I envision this place as a helper to anyone that wants to get started out in this wonderful world called Project Management.

Have fun. Stick to deadlines. And be nice to me! :)