Posts Tagged ‘change’

Have you always dreamed of working in the information technology field? If so, you are not alone. Many people are working dead-end jobs only to realize there is no job security. They work long, hard hours and sometimes without benefits. Many people are realizing how the information technology field creates job security and better lives. It is no wonder viewing how great financial security is in the IT field that you want to change your career goal.

Many people in different situation are seeking to change their careers. Some people are already in the information technology field and looking to join other companies while staying in the information technology field. Others are not working in the technology field and some want to earn some form of IT degrees. If you were unhappy in your current job, it would probably be a great idea to change your career. Loving your job while being paid to do it is what everyone should aim for.

Great advice before you change your career to the IT field is that you should be ready to constantly evolve because that is precisely what the IT field is doing. The IT field is never dormant, ever changing and you must be flexible and willing to change right along with the field of IT.

There are jobs in Information Technology to fit most any personality. If you enjoy being around people or you do not have great people skills, there is virtually jobs for almost every personality type in the Information Technology field.

Do not think for a second that your past experience or education will not prove relevant to the IT field. The IT field exists in any industry therefore; make sure you realize how valuable your background is as you change your career. Your knowledge and background will only make you an asset considering you are interested in the IT field.

James Copper is a writer for http://www.computeach.co.uk where you can find information on how to get a career in IT

Change Management is not easy. It is a painful process that requires the Project Manager to be both a warrior and a diplomat. You will need an arsenal of quality tools, and well honed soft skills to make it through managing a change with little or no collateral damage. I am sure you think I am exaggerating. Here’s why I am not:

1. You will have 3 factions to deal with:

A key group of stakeholders will think the change is vital to the success of the project (they may or may not be right) and will be unwilling to budge until the change is agreed upon and implemented.
Another group will have no capacity to absorb the change without additional funding and/or time.
Leadership. You are not likely to get more time. You may or may not get additional funding, but more funding is not likely to help without crashing the schedule anyway until new resources are brought up to speed.

It’s even more fun when the stakeholders who want the change are also leadership. I’m sure you’ve heard, “Just get it done” before.

2. Most people are naturally resistant to change:

Once headed in a particular direction, it’s at least irritating and often demoralizing to people who have to change direction or start over. Maintaining positive energy in the ranks is a challenge, especially if things keep changing.

3. Someone ultimately is going to be unhappy about the final decision.

In the end though, change is natural and will happen. You will be successful if:

You clearly set expectations about how change will be managed early in the project.
Decisions to make or not make a change are well informed decisions.

Key Strategies for Managing Change

Plan your butt off and define scope extremely well. Strong planning around solid scope definition is a key to minimizing unexpected change down the road.
Force quality requirements development. Don’t even think about design or engineering before you have a high level of confidence that requirements are solid and well understood. If you inherit requirements, make everyone review them and agree to them again before going too far into design. You will be pressured to run ahead because things will appear stagnant during requirements engineering. Trust me, stand your ground. It will pay off down the road.
Plan for change. It will happen regardless of how well you do 1-2 above. Developing a simple to follow process as part of your plan will help set the expectation for everyone and make it easy for you to act swiftly when the time comes.
Get the following key stakeholders to agree/sign-off on your project plan and requirements. This won’t always help when the rubber hits the road, but it does put everyone on a level playing field when that first change request comes in:
The Project Sponsor. This person will be like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde when it comes to change depending on which faction has his/her ear. If you can at least get agreement for your change management process, you will minimize snap decisions that can de-rail your project.
Engineering/Development Managers. This group will be moderately resistant to change without additional time or funding. They will be protective of their teams and will push back on requiring their people to work additional hours. Assuring them that no decisions will be made without their input will keep them from assuming a defensive posture and help drive collaboration when the time comes.
Quality Assurance or Test Managers. This group always gets screwed when it comes to change. No wiggle room in the schedule often means shortening of the QA cycle. They know it, and are already on the defensive. Incorporating quality considerations into your change management process will enable this group to describe risks to quality when certain decisions are made. While this may not ultimately change the final decision, at least this group will have been at the table with a voice.

The Change Management Plan

This section of your project plan needs to include the following:

Clear criteria for when the change management process is required
Roles and responsibilities
A simple step by step procedure that includes how to perform these key steps:
Requesting the change
Impact assessment
Exploring alternatives
Making the final decision
Drafting the tactical plan to incorporate the change and get back on track

In addition, you will need to have standard templates/tools in place ahead of time to help manage the change when the time comes.

A Change Management form or template.
A SWORD Analysis (a future article)
A Change Management Log

Change Management Criteria

The change management process is required when a requested change will likely have any impact on project scope, increase in schedule, increase in cost, or degradation of quality.

Other texts may say that ANY impact to schedule or cost require the change management procedure to be executed. I personally disagree, but you can decide for yourself.

Roles and Responsibilities

Every project should have a predefined Change Control Board (CCB) that includes at least the Project Manager, Project Sponsor, Development/Engineering Managers, and QA/Test Managers.

Your projects may require additional roles. Here are some quick guidelines:

Roles should be included if they have resources assigned to the project, human resources, HW/SW resources, financial resources, etc.
Roles should be included if they are managing projects that have dependencies on your project, or vice versa.
Roles should be included if they have oversight across multiple related projects, i.e. Program Managers or Release Managers.

Each member of the CCB will have different responsibilities. Here are some examples:

Project Manager(s)

Document the change request
Manage the change request through the process
Facilitate the CCB meetings
Incorporate approved change requests into the project

Project Sponsor(s)

Attend CCB Meetings
Make final decision to approve or reject each change request

HR managers for resources assigned to projects and System managers managing systems impacted by your project

Perform Impact Assessments as requested
Attend CCB Meetings
Participate in implementation planning for approved change requests

Release/Program Managers

Drive Impact Assessment for dependent projects
Attend CCB meetings
Participate in implementation planning for approved change requests

Impact Assessment

This is the most important piece of managing a change request. A quality impact assessment will drive an informed decision and, when the change request is approved, will ensure smooth introduction of the change into the in-flight project. Do this well.

Each group/team represented in your project and dependent projects will need to complete an Impact Assessment. Simply put, this is an estimate of additional cost and/or duration that team will incur if the change is approved. This information is compiled from all teams and then brought to the Change Control Board meeting for discussion and decision.

Exploring Alternatives

Very often, a person requesting a change will be very focused on exactly what he/she wants for a solution, and will not clearly articulate what the problem is that needs to be solved. Because of this, you should always go through the exercise of exploring alternatives. A good branistorming exercise with key stakeholders almost always results in a creative solution that will result in less drama that the originally proposed solution. This is because everyone has had a chance to voice opinion, and will be more willing to compromise. Look for another article by me titled, “SWORD Analysis, SWOT with an Edge” where I discuss a great method for exploring alternatives.

Making the Final Decision

Now that you have all of the information compiled, the final decision is made. If you have done everything up to this point as described above, the decision is simply a formality. More often than not, the decision was already made during Exploring Alternatives. But in very rare cases, it’s not so simple. In cases like that, you will need to call upon your sponsor to make the final call.

Drafting the Tactical Plan

OK – so now you have an approved change request. The final step – implement the change. Simple? Not quite.

Think of a change as a small project within the project. As such, you will need to have a plan for how the change will be implemented. This plan should contain many of the sections of the project plan, but very simplified. Your plan to implement the change should be a single page document or less.

Here are the sections you will need:

Roles and Responsibilities
Tasks, including who is assigned, and when it is due
Status reporting plan – how people can expect to be notified of the progress

The Log

Finally, you will need to track the progress of all of your change requests so that you can manage several at once, as well as keeping everyone in the know about them. Your log should contain the following sections:

ID – Simple numbering suffices
Title – A short title describing the change
Description – a paragraph that describes the change in more detail
Requestor – The name of the person requesting the change
status – Requested, Assessed, Alternatives Explored, Accepted/Rejected, Implemented (if accepted)

Add more if you like, but these are the primary sections.

Phew! I know it seems like a lot, but trust me, you will need to get good at this. Strong change management skills are what will separate good project managers from great project managers.

Keep reading and I’ll keep writing!

Steve

Steve Yuhas is an accomplished project manager with a focus on efficient software engineering through data driven process improvement and simplification. He has applied his skills to a variety of industries, and has most recently begun some personal ventures like MarketCastle.com

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With such an army of workers as our youth, rightly trained, might furnish, how soon the message of a crucified, risen, and soon-coming Savior might be carried to the whole world! How soon might the end come–the end of suffering and sorrow and sin! How soon, in place of a possession here, with its blight of sin and pain, our children might receive their inheritance where “the righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein forever;” where “the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick,” and “the voice of weeping shall be no more heard.” Psalm 37:29; Isaiah 33:24; 65:19. {Education, page 271.2}
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“Current Affairs” is the most sought after discipline not only by students but also by various professionals. Learning Space tracks Current Affairs in a most comprehensive way week after week starting from 1st January 2015.

Every week in our videos, we discuss “the chronology of important events with details” in a Main Events Format,
“detailed narration of science & technology, health & environment “ issues in a “S&T, Health & Environment” format, “in-depth analysis of important events” in a News Analysis Format, “accurate and deep understanding” in an Insight Format, “General and Banking Awareness Events” in a Question and Answer Format and
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A straightforward explanation of Climate Change: the heat from human emissions is roughly equal to exploding 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs every day. Historically, every time carbon dioxide levels increase in Earth’s atmosphere, the average surface temperature increases, ice melts, and the seas rise.

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by Martí Domínguez, Íngrid Lafita, Anna Mateu
Published in Public Understanding of Science, April 2016

In this article, we study the evolution of opinion genres regarding climate change in three Spanish newspapers (El País, El Mundo, and ABC). Analyzing the op-ed articles in these newspapers, we observe a significant change in the evolution of opinion. While denialism was very present in conservative press in 2007, 7 years later it is almost absent from El Mundo, and its presence in ABC is much lower and inactive: this shows that scientific consensus has prevailed over time and Spanish denialism has weakened, exclusively supported by political arguments by the most conservative parties.
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Raj Dhingra is a twenty-year veteran of the technology industry with an extensive track record of building strong, sustainable and profitable industry leadership positions in new and emerging categories. Raj brings entrepreneurial drive and success, and a rich depth of corporate experience across general management, business development, product development, sales and marketing functions. Prior to joining NComputing in April 2011, Raj was VP and GM at Citrix where he led the company’s desktop virtualization business from zero to half a billion dollars growth in sales over a 3 year period. As well as his leadership role in global virtualization companies such as Citrix, Dhingra has held executive leadership positions in public companies such as McAfee, 3Com, SonicWALL and startups such as IntruVert Networks (acquired by McAfee) and PortAuthority Technologies (acquired by Websense).

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

Assistive Technology Rocks My Classroom!

Submitted for the White House Student Film Festival 2014. A student with athetoid cerebral palsy shares her Assistive Technology skills and demonstrates the progression from elementary through high school. This video emphasizes the urgent need for more Assistive Tech in the classroom and it allows others to see what people with severe disabilities CAN do. Assistive Technology rocks this student’s entire World!
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