Category Archives: Project Management

Reboot

28th March, 2017 and 09:00 AM.

Waiting at the office elevator in the ground floor. The lunch bag in one hand and the cell phone in the other hand….
I have the habit of checking emails in my cell phone as the crappy elevator often gives me nuts to wait for a long time..
Dragged down the messages in the email app to get the latest.. One message caught my attention, the subject says “Site down, Urgent”
Oh..yeah, there are a plethora of such messages with the same subject, as I dragged the email screen down and down and down….incessantly.
All those emails started coming from 06:30 AM today…. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to peep into my emails earlier today due to sleepless night yesterday (don’t ask me why, it is a different story.. ūüôā ) woke up late, had quick makeup for work and just rushed to the office..

Quickly opened the latest message.. It says, ” ….. Mr. M (//my respected boss’s name//) & company have made our site down…”
“F..king shit..”, were the words came out loud from me automatically… The persons standing beside me were giving me strange looks…
I didn’t care a damn, started reading the details into the other similar emails and while reading only rushed into the elevator, as I felt some sense of commotion from the fellow passengers.
Well, those emails were from one of my clients, saying his website was completely down since 19:00 that day..bombarding us and complaining the performance of the system..etc. and asking us to bring up the site back ASAP…. It is in production and nearly 30000 customers are having accounts into that site…. We are having the maintenance contract with them..
“Seems like, my day started crappy…Hmm..”…but my thoughts got interrupted, as I heard, “third floor…” from the lift boy…
Given him a thankful look and got out from the elevator.
While walking, punched the reply to the latest message, “Just reached office, we will take a look and get back to you…” and hit ‘send’ as the security was opening the main door for me.
Before going to my office, had a glance at the relevant developer seat. Empty.
Switched on my workstation monitor and logged in. Searched for the production host in the huge list of saved putty sessions in multi tabbed PuTTY.
Found the entry and double clicked on it. “My bad….” The putty console gives message, “unable to use key file, the location,blah blah blah..” Not able to login into the production Linux!
Gone to the location, E:\ in my desktop, to check for the .ppk file. Boom.. There was no .ppk file there for the login auth.
It was good, any way because it made me know why I was not able to login. My hard disk was been replaced recently and forgot to take the backup of that .ppk file.

I didn’t have much time to fiddle with keygen tool to generate a new key and all, as it is production issue. So, called up my QA person who was working remotely due to maternity reasons.
She answered my call, ” looking at the site down emails…”
Made her interrupted, “OK. Please login into the production host…and see what’s happening…I’m not able to login….here…”
“OK..”
“Can you send me the .ppk file you have, in an email asap?”, I asked her, as I wanted to debug on my own because of the issue severity and priority…

Got the .ppk file in 2 minutes… Meanwhile, figured out (googled) how to drag a ppk file into a putty saved session for the auth purposes.
“Voila”… logged into the production host… Irony is, I had to figure out some other stuff before figuring out the actual problem.

Just before starting my investigation, I had a look at our internal chat messenger contact list to see my in-house developer was at desk. No, his icon was still offline.
OK, and in a matter 5 minutes, found out (using some networking and Linux commands) that some body (???!!!???) rebooted the production box at around 19:00 that day and as some services like tomcat, apache etc. were not started on system reboot.
And the resolutions were pretty quick and cake walk, because I made our guys to document all the necessary steps in our local redmine portal.
The next steps like informing the client and deducing the new task to add some init scripts, happened pretty fast.

The reason, why I’m posting this story is not like we have got a problem, found the root cause and giving the resolution.
But it is about how the persons behave on their loss at others, seeking help, in a helpless state. Seems like, we need to think like, if such problem happened to us, how we should feel and behave instead of deriving useless meanings. It should be productive.

I don’t know.

And in a different context – this is appraisals period. Any hung-up souls should REBOOT themselves to refine or rejuvenate their inner resources in order set the targets for the coming new year… Happy Ugaadi.

P(oo)r-o-gram

He was wondering, during his experience, why JAVA needs three classes to read a file.
But the experience he got the other day was different when he was interviewing a Java Programmer (JP).

He: ………
JP: ………
He: How long you have been familiar with JAVA?
JP: Umm. One year.
He: How do you open a file?
JP: Open a file? OK. Click on the ‘File’ in the top menu bar…
He: Aha (?)
JP: Select ‘Open’, browse through the folders from the open dialogue, select the file you want and hit ‘enter’. The file will be opened. That’s it.
He: That’s it!!??!!
JP: ……….
He: ……….
…………..

And don’t ask me what was his next question to JP….

Hiring

It’s not about bottom fishing. He is looking for enough willing and able employees to fill the established gaps in the company. It’s not hiring on the hoof like wholesale filling of average jobs with people trying to be average. He is not looking for a soul mate at a singles’ bar.

It’s not about average people. There could be average jobs, certainly, average in that they require people to fit in, do what they are told and follow the manual.

But he is looking for selective, interactive and long term.

Project

“Hey, Could you take up this project?”, she asked.
“What project?”, he inquired.
“To wrap covers for school books…”
“Oh ho. How about the cost for this project?”, he questioned.
“How much effort is needed?”, she questioned this time.
“That depends on the no of books and the way we need to cover those books…”
“Ok. 30 books. Two covers for each book. one of the covers is a transparent one. Paste a label to each book. Write the content on all the labels.”, she clarified.
“Done. Will do it. Two calendar days.”
“Ok. Two ice creams.”
“Done.”, he agreed.

^ Kick-off meeting –> ROM –> SOW ^

“Hey Pallu! Do you wanna work on this project?”
“Sure, Mama.”
“Will give you one ice cream upon finishing this project.”
“OK, Mama. Would love to do it.”
“Let’s get the material (sheets, labels, books), procure tools necessary (a pair of scissors, plaster, stapler) and start work from tomorrow.”
“Right, Mama”
“Pallu! We need to do like this. One brown cover is to be wrapped first, then a transparent white cover and a sticker label for each book. We will get the class, section, roll number, subject name etc details tomorrow. For labels.”

^ Project Inception –>Resource Allocation –> Infrastructure/Environment Set up and tools –> Requirements Gathering –> Design and Analysis ^

“Here are the steps.
To cut the correct sized sheets from the rolls for all the books.
To wrap and fold the covers.
To stick the edges of the covers with plaster
To paste the labels
To write on the labels

While I cut the sheets, you can attend the task 2. That’s one milestone deliverable.
Grandma will QA this milestone and will show the status after fixing the bugs.
Third task will be assigned to both of us. Half you and half me.
I will paste the labels. You write on the labels. Your handwriting is good.
After QA, we will do the final deliverables for UAT.”

“Ok, Mama. I agree with this tasks list.”

^ Project Plan –> Work break down –> Setting Milestones –>Tasks Allocation –> Deliverables Planned ^

“Hey cut properly. You are wasting the paper!”
“OK baba.. OK.”
“But you need to fold them properly so that there wouldn’t be any sagging.”
“Right. Right.”
“Wow.. See how I’ve done this! it’s been pasted so perfect. So cute.”
“…………..”
“………………………………”

^ Project Monitoring ^

Grand ma showed a few bugs like the edges not properly done, some of the sheets are not well cut etc. They fixed all of them.
Finally delivered all the books.

^ QA cycle –> Deliverables Deployed –> UAT ^

“You have done a good job. I will think of giving you another project in the near future. Here are your ice creams. enjoy!!”

^ Project Closure ^

WWW

Why What hoW!!!

There are some common assumptions, I observed, that people make during the process of learning and exploring, for example, whenever they try to analyze and run a tool developed by somebody else.

If the tool is working for some people, it must be the right; If the tool is working for some people, it must work for me; If the tool is working for some people, all I need to do is – to follow their footsteps to make it work for me.

But what people generally forget is -to observe how that tool is working for those so called some people.

We teach our kids to learn Math, Science, Computers etc. But how many  of you teach your kids to be curious? A student who has no good math ability, or no good handwriting or not able to sit properly for just a few minutes gets immediate attention. The student with no curiosity, on the other hand, is no problem at all. They can be easily managed?

In order to make anything better, we need “Why”, “What”, “How” kind of questions. Aint I right?

What went wrong Vs What next

Sorting through a messy situation should stand out first. Once you deal with that kind of situation, you can begin the process of figuring out what went wrong. Pointing the finger of blame like – ‘who did that mistake’, ‘why did that mistake’ – kind of questions may deteriorate the progress or perfection or productivity, rather.

Let’s¬† worry less about who screwed up last time and more on what do we need to do to learn from last time and make sure we all get it right next time.

Smart people

He was in a hurry to go to the conference in the early morning. He got struck up in the traffic due to some sensitive happenings in the city. Police people placed barricades at junction points to not allow the public. Feeling disgusted, he barked at the Police gentle man and tried to explain public grievances etc.

But Police gentle man was cool and¬† just listened to his pains and said, ” First, put your pants zip on….”

********

You’re in a conference with smart people. All of a sudden they start discussing a term or concept you don’t aware of or understand, what do you do?

Do you know what is IPSec Encapsulating Security Payload (ESP)? Anything about Triple DES encryption? Secured connectivity using GRE tunneling, site-to-site VPN, blah blah blah?

If smart people in the meeting are talking about an approach or concept that you don’t know, it’s very important that you don’t just be there and nod your head sagely. I think there are two constructive approaches. The first is to ask. “Wait, I was with you until a second ago. What does that mean?”

The second approach is to write it down and not go to bed that night until you know the topic better than the person who brought it up. How else, precisely, are you going to become one of the smart people?

Being close to the target

Ram¬†and¬†Sam were working for the same company.¬†Sam was very unhappy with the way his team was working. Sam had detailed comments on how the team should really work and reach the targets. After listening for an hour,¬†Ram said, ‚ÄúRelax, Sam. Being close to the¬†target is not the same as¬†reaching the target.‚ÄĚ