All posts by Mohamed Elashri

Hard Worker .. challenges for the project Managers?

How many times you see “Hard Worker” mention in all CVs your received when you hiring your team. You will see that Many People are mentioning that word in their CVs while they didn’t understand what this word Exactly Mean.

The mistake that always thought that hard working is only mean working a lot of time, but the truth is hard working is the work that challenge you to spent time digging into it till you reach the result you aimed without feeling that you passed a lot of time.

But the intelligence is to minimize that time in order to be able to manage your time between your tasks

Most of people try to keep out of this kind of tasks, but people who like this kind of tasks are achievable people who moved rapidly in their career.

One of challenges you will face in project management is to deal with lazy or non hard worker persons, when you intend to finish your tasks on time, the problem raise when your milestone raise and the work doesn’t complete probably, which will affect your project progress and cause delay, the other problem that non hard worker persons always claims for extended effort caused by their weakness or delay in accomplishing Tasks on time.

Hard Work catoon 2
source: www.cartoonstock.com

To know the lazy persons, simply ask the following questions

PM to Team Member: if you didn’t finish your task on time with accepted quality and you required spending more time over your daily work time or in your vacation shall I pay for you for this time.

You can receive many answers for that questions, committed person will never need you to ask such question , but certainly lazy person will answer yes I do my best with daily work time and this will be extra effort

The challenge for the project manager is when he have such persons like this among his team, he should work on how he could motivate them and monitoring their progress in order to take proper decision in required time.

You should be able to care about your project team, as they could affect your whole project, the time, the cost and the quality of the project.

Quotes on Hard Work

–          Every job is a self portrait of the person who does it. Autograph your work with excellence.

–          Failure is not the worst thing in the world. The very worst is not to try.

Hard Work catoon 1
source: www.cartoonstock.com

Risk Management

What is Risk?

Risk is an uncertain event or condition that, if it occurs, has an effect on at least one project objective. Objectives can include scope, schedule, cost, and quality. A risk may have one or more causes and, if it occurs, it may have one or more impacts. A cause may be a requirement, assumption, constraint, or condition that creates the possibility of negative or positive outcomes.

Known & Unknown Risks & Issues

Known risks are those that have been identified and analyzed, making it possible to plan responses for those risks. Specific unknown risks cannot be managed proactively, which suggests that the project team should create a contingency plan. A project risk that has occurred can also be considered an issue.

What is Risk Management?

Risk Management includes the processes of conducting risk management planning, identification, analysis, response planning, and monitoring and control on a project. The objectives of Project Risk Management are to increase the probability and impact of positive events, and decrease the probability and impact of negative events in the project.

Risk Management Activities

  1. Plan Risk Management: The process of defining how to conduct risk management activities for a project.
  2. Identify Risks: The process of determining which risks may affect the project and documenting their characteristics.
  3. Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis: The process of prioritizing risks for further analysis or action by assessing and combining their probability of occurrence and impact.
  4. Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis: The process of numerically analyzing the effect of identified risks on overall project objectives.
  5. Plan Risk Responses: The process of developing options and actions to enhance opportunities and to reduce threats to project objectives.
  6. Monitor and Control Risks: The process of implementing risk response plans, tracking identified risks, monitoring residual risks, identifying new risks, and evaluating risk process effectiveness throughout the project.

More Detailed Information about each activity of Risk Management Activities will blogged Separately along with related Templates and Guidelines.

Source: Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® GUIDE).” Project Management Institute. 2008.

Project Status Reporting

One of key elements of the project management is the status reporting, which communicate critical project information between relevant stakeholder, delivering effective information to the right people in a timely manner is a key to successful projects.

What information should be included in the Project Status Report?

Information included in status report differ from project to project regarding different characteristics such Project Size, involved Stakeholders, organization structure, But there are a typical information for project reporting like:

Project Budget and Costing: focus on actual cost and compare it regarding the baselined budget, the right way to present this section is through Earned Value Management (EVM)

Project Schedule: Focus on accomplished work against the schedule.

Project Milestones: status of project milestones

Project Risks: status of Project Risks and status of mitigation or contingency actions taken against the risks.

Project Issues:  reports of issues raised during the project execution and action items taken against those issues.

Project Changes:  how changes affect the project progress and what action taken against the changes and how changes handled through project execution.

How frequent should a report be produced?

The answer of this question vary from project to project based on the project size, and activity duration, it could be weekly, bimonthly or monthly in large projects.

The timely report will enable relevant stakeholder to take required decision to keep the project in safe zone.

Project Status Report Template

Project Status Report template could be found in this site under templates page.

What is ITIL?

ITIL is a public framework that describes Best Practice in IT service management. It provides a framework for the governance of IT, the ‘service wrap’, and focuses on the continual measurement and improvement of the quality of IT service delivered, from both a business and a customer perspective. This focus is a major factor in ITIL’s worldwide success and has contributed to its prolific usage and to the key benefits obtained by those organizations deploying the techniques and processes throughout their organizations. Some of these benefits include:

  • increased user and customer satisfaction with IT services
  • improved service availability, directly leading to increased business profits and revenue
  • financial savings from reduced rework, lost time, improved resource management and usage
  • improved time to market for new products and services
  • Improved decision making and optimized risk.

ITIL was published between 1989 and 1995 by Her Majesty’s Stationery Office (HMSO) in the UK on behalf of the Central Communications and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA) – now subsumed within the Office of Government Commerce (OGC). Its early use was principally confined to the UK and Netherlands. A second version of ITIL was published as a set of revised books between 2000 and 2004.

The initial version of ITIL consisted of a library of 31 associated books covering all aspects of IT service provision. This initial version was then revised and replaced by seven, more closely connected and consistent books (ITIL V2) consolidated within an overall framework. This second version became universally accepted and is now used in many countries by thousands of organizations as the basis for effective IT service provision. In 2007, ITIL V2 was superseded by an enhanced and consolidated third version of ITIL, consisting of five core books covering the service lifecycle, together with the Official Introduction.

The five core books cover each stage of the service lifecycle, from the initial definition and analysis of business requirements in Service Strategy and Service Design, through migration into the live environment within Service Transition, to live operation and improvement in Service Operation and Continual Service Improvement.

The Elevator Pitch

The Elevator Pitch “The “entryway” to your business”

It’s how you and your colleagues describe your organizational goals and the services you offer.

What is an Elevator Pitch?

An elevator pitch is a concise, carefully planned, well-practiced description of your company that you can comfortably deliver in the time it would take to ride a few floors in an elevator. It should inspire others to seek out more information about your company.

What an Elevator Pitch is not:

It is not a sales pitch. Don’t make the mistake of using the entire pitch to describe the technical specifications of your products or your implementation process. Your prospects seek the solutions which your company offers, not a specific product. Focus on the value you will add to their business.

An effective elevator pitch is:

  • Brief
  • Customer-focused “Why should I care?”
  • Benefit-driven “What’s in it for me?”

You should develop both verbal and written versions for different uses:

  • 30 second verbal: phone pitches, presentations, networking
  • 25-50 word version: email solicitation
  • Single paragraph version: brochures, website, written presentations, press releases

When to use an Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitch is the most essential piece of your marketing program. You should use it in the following areas:

  • Front page of your website
  • Brochure copy
  • Networking events
  • Email information about your company
  • Final paragraph of a press release

All employees should be comfortable communicating your elevator pitch as ambassadors for your company. Similarly, your suppliers and outside partners should also be comfortable with your elevator pitch.

Examples of Good Elevator Pitches

Hewlett Packard (HP)

HP is a technology solutions provider to consumers, businesses and institutions globally. The company’s offerings span IT infrastructure, global services, business and home computing, and imaging and printing. For the four fiscal quarters that ended October 2004, HP revenue totaled $79.9 billion.

FedEx

FedEx provides access to a growing global marketplace through a network of supply chain, transportation, business and related information services.

Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Business Plan

A business plan is an important document for any business and it can be written for a variety of reasons. Internally, it can help owners and managers crystallise their ideas, focus their efforts and monitor performance against established objectives. Externally, the business plan can act as a medium for attracting finance for start-ups or expansion.

There are many books and publications, which tell you how to write a business plan, what it should contain and how it should be used. This one is different. This is a work pack specifically designed for those who wish to raise finance.

For many Entrepreneurs, the experience of raising finance is a new one. The importance of the plan to this process cannot be over‑emphasised. Many opportunities presented to financiers are subsequently rejected. It is essential, therefore, that the entrepreneur prepares a quality document. The objective of this work pack is to help you prepare just such a document by providing you with the headings which need to be covered.

This document will assist you in preparing your plan, particularly by focusing on the possible problem areas. These issues need to be considered at the outset because, if they are not, they will certainly be raised later by potential investors. The problems should be addressed upfront and, in so doing, ensure that none of the questions asked later by investors come as any surprise.

The sections, which follow, outline the contents of the business plan with associated relevant comments designed to provoke thoughts that can assist your preparation of a business plan which will adequately convey your ability to succeed.

1.1 CONTENTS

The business plan should summarise the proposed activity and the prospects for success for the venture, paying particular attention to factors that are critical to success or failure.

The contents should be tailored to the particular individual requirements, circumstances or characteristics of the proposal. However, in general, they commonly fall within the following categories:

  • Summary
  • Current position
  • Objectives
  • Marketing plan
  • Operations plan
  • Management and staff
  • Financial plan
  • Information and control
  • Risk factors and rewards

The business plan should be written by the entrepreneur, the management, albeit possible with the help of professional advisers. The investor is backing the management and the plan must be an expression of your objectives. Experience has shown that the advisers provide a useful role in helping to determine the overall structure of the plan and can provide helpful ideas and reactions.

1.2 SUMMARY

Although preferably written last, the summary should appear at the front of the proposal.

It is essential that the summary ‘catches the eye’ and grasps the imagination of the reader by providing enough information for him to decide in principle if he could be interested in the deal.

Financiers have different preferences and are looking to invest in different situations. The summary must be clear enough for them to establish from the start whether the case is worth pursuing.

The summary should include:

  • What your product is;
  • What your market is;
  • The financial highlights, by product if relevant;
  • The finance required;
  • Management experience;
  • The potential ‘Exit” routes for the investor;
  • The unique aspects of your product;
  • Why customers will buy from you rather than your competitors; and
  • In the case of new or innovative products, what barriers there are to prevent competition entering the market?

1.3 CURRENT POSITION

This section should be a brief resume of the stage the business has reached and how the company has developed in the last few years, with reference to factual information

The following questions should be addressed:

  • What is the corporate structure?
  • Who owns the company?
  • Who are the senior managers?
  • What is the management structure?
  • How many employees are there?
  • What is the location?
  • What is the trading history?
  • What are the key financial ratios?
  • What are the strengths of the business?
  • What are the weaknesses?
  • Which areas could be improved?

1.4 OBJECTIVES

The business plan should include a clear and concise statement of the current objectives. Some factors are easily measured such as turnover or profitability targets. Others are, however, more qualitative in nature and these should not be disregarded simply because of their subjective nature. It is important to recognise that performance will be monitored against these targets by external investors at a later stage; consequently they must be achievable. Future positive and negative variances will have to be explained.

You should state the following:

  • Any turnover targets by product, if relevant;
  • Any profit or cost reduction target;
  • Any market share ‑target;
  • Any non‑financial objectives such as improving your
  • customer service;
  • industry reputation;
  • product quality;
  • Any relevant personal objectives.

1.5 MARKETING PLAN

This is a vital area, which should be explained in detail. The location and size of your market will need to be defined, together with your share of the total. Where relevant, you may need to involve third parties to substantiate your claims; guesswork will not do!

You will need to demonstrate the steps you are going to take in marketing your businesses and the impact you expect this to have. Are you assuming that your market share will increase? If so, explain why. Dependence on success from large increases in market share will often be difficult to justify.

How influential are your competitors and to what extent are they in a strong position to influence your market share? Is your market dependent on external factors over which you have no control? If so, these need to be predicted and planned for.

In summary, include the following:

  • Absolute size of your domestic market;
  • Absolute size of your export market;
  • Trends and developments expected in the market in the future;
  • Your market share;
  • The factors influencing the market; and
  • The risks associated with new markets.
  • Furthermore, you should have investigated both the competition and your customers and be able to state:
  • Who they are;
  • What the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors are;
  • What the response of the competition will be;
  • How your product is superior; and
  • The relative importance of each customer and competitor.

1.6 OPERATIONS PLAN

This section may seem more relevant to a manufacturing business but applies equally to other industries and service companies. Existing products or services should be considered in turn, and thought given to how each can be improved, developed or replaced to maintain competitiveness. Furthermore, if goods are being manufactured, or a new service is being offered it is important to consider the side effects. For example, more staff and production space may be required; raw materials purchased and stocks held may need to be increased, or specialist staff recruited. The operations plan should state how all these will ‘come together’ to achieve success.

Describe:

  • Products or Services;
  • Highlight unique qualities;
  • Identify plans for diversification;
  • Facilities;
  • Manufacturing processes;
  • Plant and machinery used in processing;
  • Organisational structure
  • Identify key positions, roles and responsibilities.

1.7 MANAGEMENT AND STAFF

It is said in the industry that financiers back people not businesses. The quality of the management team is recognised as the key factor in any investment decision. The importance of this should be borne in mind both when preparing the plan and during negotiations with potential backers.

It will be important, too, to demonstrate that the team can work together and that there are unlikely to be conflicts or confusion of roles in the future. If there has been a high turnover of senior staff in the past, explanations will be required.

The plan should include:

  • Evidence of the track record of key individuals;
  • Their experience in the industry;
  • Future executive requirements;
  • Curricula vitae for senior managers (usually relegated to appendices);
  • Identification of the key function areas e.g. marketing, finance etc. and that each of these is covered by management with appropriate experience;
  • The financial rewards to the senior executives;
  • The likely share ownership structure;
  • The ages of the senior executives. If they are likely to retire soon, what provisions have been made for succession;
  • Identification of the team leader.

1.8 FINANCIAL PLAN

Many business plans fail to raise finance due to the inadequacy of the financial information provided. Investors will be assessing the projected funding requirement and the anticipated profitability to establish whether the proposition is commercially viable, and the potential return sufficient. Ensure that the financial plan reflects the objectives set out in the other constituent parts of your business plan.

Include the following:

  • The funding requirement;
  • A summary of the projections;
  • A summary of key financial statistics;
  • The detailed assumptions behind the forecasts;
  • A summary of the sensitivity of the forecasts to the key assumptions.

 The following must be appended:

  • The detailed projections for up to 3 years including profit and loss accounts, cash flow statements, and balance sheets;
  • The most recent financial statements; and
  • Details of any sensitivity analysis.

1.9 INFORMATION AND CONTROL

Writing a business plan is not a one‑off exercise. It becomes a more valuable management tool by being used and reviewed regularly as the business develops.

Internal review of the business is only possible by ensuring that adequate management information and control systems are in place. Furthermore, external investors are likely to require that regular financial information is forthcoming from the company.

The business plan should therefore contain the following:

  • An outline of the transaction recording systems;
  • Details of the regular management reports;
  • A demonstration that the business has staff with adequate financial skills;
  • Details of how the business will be managed on a day to day basis.

1.10 RISK FACTORS AND REWARDS

It may seem strange to include risk factors in what is intended to be a selling document; however, it has the definite advantage of lending credibility to the proposal.

By including the major risks, financial and otherwise, that are likely to affect the business it demonstrates that the entrepreneur understands that all businesses have potential stumbling blocks and has taken steps to identify these and developed a strategy to overcome these problems.

The best method to consider risk factors is by a sensitivity analysis of the forecasts. Modem computerised spreadsheet packages are capable of being used extensively in this application.

The main results of such analysis should be incorporated into the plan particularly with regard to sales not reaching budgeted levels and the resultant effect on cash flow which is the demise of many new ventures.

Prepare for PMP Exam to obtain your PMP credential

To be eligible for a PMP credential, you must meet specific guidelines that objectively measure experience, education and professional knowledge.

Eligibility

  • Applicants must have 35 hours of specific project management education.
  • With a Bachelor’s Degree (or the global equivalent): Applicants must have a minimum three years’ professional project management experience, during which 4,500 hours are spent leading and directing project tasks, up to eight years from the time of application.
  • Without a Bachelor’s Degree (or the global equivalent): Applicants must have a minimum five years’ professional project management experience, during which at least 7,500 hours are spent leading and directing project tasks, up to eight years from the time of application

 

Steps to Obtaining a PMP Credential:

  • 1. Signup for an account at PMI website “not required if you will submit your application via mail”
  • 2. Complete an online application or download an application and submit via mail (faxes not accepted).
  • 3. If you meet the eligibility requirements, you will receive an e-mail explaining how to schedule the exam.
  • 4. Exam is available in 2 different formats Computer-based Testing with fees ($ 405.00 for PMI members or $ 555.00 for PMI Nonmember) or Paper-based Testing fees ($ 250.00 for PMI members or $ 400.00 for PMI Nonmember) “my recommendation apply for PMI membership it just for 100 $ so you will save about 50 $ for exam fees and also you will got more benefits regarding your PMI membership“.
  • 5. After scheduling the exam date you will receive any email with scheduling information and time.
  • 6. Individuals who attain a credential from PMI will be added to PMI’s Online Credential Registry after 7- 10 days after the exam and may immediately use the credential designation after their name.

 

The PMP Credential Examination

This four-hour examination composed of 200 multiple-choice questions measures your ability to apply knowledge, skills and techniques used in project management. The examination is developed by groups of individuals from around the globe who hold the PMP credential and is routinely reviewed and revised to ensure the best and consistently objective assessment.

25 of the 200 exam questions are “pre-release questions” meaning they are not included in your score for the exam. The questions will be randomly placed throughout the exam, you will not know which one are which.

Your score will be calculated based on your response to the remaining 175 questions. Passing score on the exam is 141 out of 175, approximately 81%

Examination Content based on project phases

  • Project Initiation: Percent of Questions 11%
  • Project Planning: Percent of Questions 23%
  • Project Execution: Percent of Questions 27%
  • Project Control: Percent of Questions 21%
  • Project Closing: Percent of Questions 9%
  • Professional Responsibility: Percent of Questions 9%

 

These ranges could be changed, it differ from one to one

How to study for the exam

  • 1. Start studying at least one month prior to when you are scheduled to take the exam.
  • 2. You must prepare yourself to study the PMBOK 2 times before entering the exam you can do it as following: 2 days for each knowledge area of the 9 knowledge areas.
  • 3. After studying each knowledge area try to summarize the major points and formulas of the knowledge area to be used later.
  • 4. Review the chapter related to the knowledge area you studied from “PMP Exam Prep by Rita Mulcahy book” if you can have it, it’s a very good book.
  • 5. Try to solve the questions of the knowledge area from “PMP Exam Prep by Rita Mulcahy book”.
  • 6. At the week before the exam review well the summary papers you made before and try to solve questions at the exam simulation software like “PM FASTrack: PMP Exam Simulation Software by Rita Mulcahy”, this will let you feel the environment of the exam before you enter.
  • 7. If you feel that you are aware from any of knowledge area, review it again and try to solve more questions and problems.
  • 8. Real Exam questions are different than questions in Exam Simulation software, it could be easier or complex, but in most time it’s easier.

Earned Value Management (EVM)

Earned Value Management (EVM)

The earned value Management involves developing these key values for each schedule activity, work package, or control account:

Planned value (PV). PV is the budgeted cost for the work scheduled to be completed on an activity or WBS component up to a given point in time.

Earned value (EV). EV is the budgeted amount for the work actually completed on the schedule activity or WBS component during a given time period.

Actual cost (AC). AC is the total cost incurred in accomplishing work on the schedule activity or WBS component during a given time period. This AC must correspond in definition and coverage to whatever was budgeted for the PV and the EV (e.g., direct hours only, direct costs only, or all costs including indirect costs).

Cost variance (CV). CV equals earned value (EV) minus actual cost (AC). The cost variance at the end of the project will be the difference between the budget at completion (BAC) and the actual amount spent. Formula: CV= EV – AC

Schedule variance (SV). SV equals earned value (EV) minus planned value (PV). Schedule variance will ultimately equal zero when the project is completed because all of the planned values will have been earned. Formula: SV = EV – PV

These two values, the CV and SV, can be converted to efficiency indicators to reflect the cost and schedule performance of any project.

Cost performance index (CPI). A CPI value less than 1.0 indicates a cost overrun of the estimates. A CPI value greater than 1.0 indicates a cost underrun of the estimates. CPI equals the ratio of the EV to the AC. The CPI is the most commonly used cost-efficiency indicator. Formula: CPI = EV/AC

Schedule performance index (SPI). The SPI is used, in addition to the schedule status to predict the completion date and is sometimes used in conjunction with the CPI to forecast the project completion estimates. SPI equals the ratio of the EV to the PV. Formula: SPI = EV/PV

Forecasting

Forecasting includes making estimates or predictions of conditions in the project’s future based on information and knowledge available at the time of the forecast. Forecasts are generated, updated, and reissued based on work performance information provided as the project is executed and progressed.

BAC is equal to the total PV at completion for a schedule activity, work package, control account, or other WBS component. Formula: BAC = total cumulative PV at completion.

ETC is the estimate for completing the remaining work for a schedule activity, work package, or control account.

ETC based on new estimate. ETC equals the revised estimate for the work remaining, as determined by the performing organization. This more accurate and comprehensive completion estimate is an independent, non-calculated estimate to complete for all the work remaining, and considers the performance or production of the resource(s) to date.

Alternatively, to calculate ETC using earned value data, one of two formulas is typically used:

ETC based on atypical variances. This approach is most often used when current variances are seen as atypical and the project management team expectations are that similar variances will not occur in the future. ETC equals the BAC minus the cumulative earned value to date (EVC). Formula: ETC = (BAC – EVC)

ETC based on typical variances. This approach is most often used when current variances are seen as typical of future variances. ETC equals the BAC minus the cumulative EVC (the remaining PV) divided by the cumulative cost performance index (CPIC). Formula: ETC = (BAC – EVC) / CPIC

EAC is the projected or anticipated total final value for a schedule activity, WBS component, or project when the defined work of the project is completed. One EAC forecasting technique is based upon the performing organization providing an estimate at completion:

EAC using a new estimate. EAC equals the actual costs to date (ACC) plus a new ETC that is provided by the performing organization. This approach is most often used when past performance shows that the original estimating assumptions were fundamentally flawed or that they are no longer relevant due to a change in conditions. Formula: EAC = ACC + ETC

The two most common forecasting techniques for calculating EAC using earned value data are some variation of:

EAC using remaining budget. EAC equals ACC plus the budget required to complete the remaining work, which is the budget at completion (BAC) minus the earned value (EV). This approach is most often used when current variances are seen as atypical and the project management team expectations are that similar variances will not occur in the future. Formula: EAC = ACC + BAC – EV

EAC using CPIC. EAC equals actual costs to date (ACC) plus the budget required to complete the remaining project work, which is the BAC minus the EV, modified by a performance factor (often the CPIC). This approach is most often used when current variances are seen as typical of future variances. Formula: EAC = ACC + ((BAC – EV) / CPIC)

USE Case Point Estimation

Use Case Estimation

Use Case Points (UCP) is an estimation method that provides the ability to estimate an application’s size and effort from its use cases.

UCP analyzes the use case actors, scenarios and various technical and environmental factors and abstracts them into an equation.

The equation is composed of four variables:

  • Technical Complexity Factor (TCF).
  • Environment Complexity Factor (ECF).
  • Unadjusted Use Case Points (UUCP).
  • Productivity Factor (PF).

UCP = TCP * ECF * UUCP * PF

Technical Complexity Factors

Thirteen standard technical factors exist to estimate the impact on productivity that various technical issues have on an application. Each factor is weighted according to its relative impact. A weight of 0 indicates the factor is irrelevant and the value 5 means that the factor has the most impact.

Technical Factor Description Weight
T1 Distributed system 2
T2 Performance 1
T3 End User Efficiency 1
T4 Complex internal Processing 1
T5 Reusability 1
T6 Easy to install 0.5
T7 Easy to use 0.5
T8 Portable 2
T9 Easy to change 1
T10 Concurrent 1
T11 Special security features 1
T12 Provides direct access for third parties 1
T13 Special user training facilities are required 1

For each project, the technical factors are evaluated by the development team and assigned a value from 0 to 5 according to their Assigned Value. An Assigned Value of 0 means the technical factor is irrelevant for this project; 3 is average; 5 mean it has strong influence.

Technical Factor Description Weight Assigned Value (0-5) Weighted Value
T1 Distributed system 2 0
T2 Performance 1 0
T3 End User Efficiency 1 0
T4 Complex internal Processing 1 0
T5 Reusability 1 0
T6 Easy to install 0.5 0
T7 Easy to use 0.5 0
T8 Portable 2 0
T9 Easy to change 1 0
T10 Concurrent 1 0
T11 Special security features 1 0
T12 Provides direct access for third parties 1 0
T13 Special user training facilities are required 1 0
Total Factor 0

Technical Complexity Factor (TCF) = 0.6 + (0.01 * Total Factor)

Environmental Complexity Factors

Environmental Complexity estimates the impact on productivity that various environmental factors have on an application. Each environmental factor is evaluated and weighted according to its perceived impact and assigned a value between 0 and 5. A rating of 0 means the environmental factor is irrelevant for this project; 3 is average; 5 mean it has strong influence.

Environmental Factor Description Weight
E1 Familiarity with UML 1.5
E2 Application Experience 0.5
E3 Object Oriented Experience 1
E4 Lead analyst capability 0.5
E5 Motivation 1
E6 Stable Requirements 2
E7 Part-time workers -1
E8 Difficult Programming language 2

Each factor’s weight is multiplied by its Assigned Value to produce its calculated factor. The calculated factors are summed to produce the Total Factor.

Environmental Factor Description Weight Assigned Value (0-5) Weighted Value
E1 Familiarity with UML 1.5 0
E2 Application Experience 0.5 0
E3 Object Oriented Experience 1 0
E4 Lead analyst capability 0.5 0
E5 Motivation 1 0
E6 Stable Requirements 2 0
E7 Part-time workers -1 0
E8 Difficult Programming language 2 0
Total Factor 0

Environmental Factor (EF) = 1.4 + (-0.03 * Total Factor)

Unadjusted Use Case Points (UUCP)

Unadjusted Use Case Points are computed based on two computations:

The Unadjusted Use Case Weight (UUCW) based on the total number of activities (or steps) contained in all the use case Scenarios.

The Unadjusted Actor Weight (UAW) based on the combined complexity of all the use cases Actors.

UUCW

Individual use cases are categorized as Simple, Average or Complex, and weighted depending on the number of steps they contain – including alternative flows.

Use Case Type

Description

Weight
Simple A simple user interface and touches only a single database entity; its success scenario has 3 steps or less; its implementation involves less than 5 classes.
L
5
Average More interface design and touches 2 or more database entities; between 4 to 7 steps; its implementation involves between 5 to 10 classes. 10
Complex Involves a complex user interface or processing and touches 3 or more database entities; over seven steps; its implementation involves more than 10 classes. 15

UAW

In a similar manner, the Actors are classified as Simple, Average or Complex based on their interactions.

Actor Type

Description

Weight
Simple The Actor represents another system with a defined API.
L
1
Average The Actor represents another system interacting through a protocol, like TCP/IP. 2
Complex The Actor is a person interacting via an interface. 3

Finally, the UUCP is computed by adding the UUCW and the UAW.

Productivity Factor

The Productivity Factor (PF) is a ratio of the number of man hours per use case point based on past projects. If no historical data has been collected, a figure between 15 and 30 is suggested by industry experts. A typical value is 20.

illustration Points

  • The number of steps in a scenario affects the estimate. A large number of steps in a use case scenario will bias the result towards complexity and increase the Use Case Points. A small number of steps will bias it towards simplicity. Sometimes, groups of steps can be reduced to a fewer number without sacrificing the business process. Strive for a uniform level of detail but don’t force a use case to conform to the estimation method.
  • Including and extending use cases increases the complexity. Count these as a single use case.
  • The number of actors in a use case also affects the estimate. If possible, generalize the actors into a single superactor. This reduces the complexity without affecting the use case. On the other hand, don’t force a generalization where none exists.
  • The values for the Technical and Environmental Factors need to be adjusted over time as actual data is obtained. The more projects that employ Use Case Points for their estimations will yield more accurate values for the perceived values.
  • The Productivity Factor can only be obtained over time. Track the time spent designing and implementing the use cases and adjust the Productivity Factor accordingly.

Virtual Team

What is Virtual Team?

A Virtual Team – also known as a Geographically Dispersed Team (GDT) – is a group of individuals who work across time, space, and organizational boundaries with links strengthened by webs of communication technology. They have complementary skills and are committed to a common purpose, have interdependent performance goals, and share an approach to work for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.

Geographically dispersed teams allow organizations to hire and retain the best people regardless of location

Reason for Virtual Team

Reasons for virtual teams center around the differences in time and space for team members.

  • Team members may not be physically collocated.
  • It may not be practical to travel to meet face-to-face.
  • Team members may work different shifts

Specifically, teams may be distributed because of the new realities facing organizations such as:

  • organization-wide projects or initiatives
  • alliances with different organizations, some of which may be in other countries
  • mergers and acquisitions
  • emerging markets in different geographic locations
  • the desire of many people and government organizations for telecommuting
  • the continuing need for business travel and information and communications technologies available to support this travel
  • a need to reduce costs
  • a need to reduce time-to-market or cycle time in general (the increasing velocity in business)

Benefits of the virtual teams

  • Best employees may be located anywhere in the world.
  • Workers demand personal flexibility.
  • Workers demand increasing technological sophistication.
  • A flexible organization is more competitive and responsive to the marketplace.
  • Workers tend to be more productive – less commuting and travel time.
  • The increasing globalization of trade and corporate activity.
  • The global workday is 24 vs. 8 hours.
  • The emergence of environments which require inter-organizational cooperation as well as competition.
  • Changes in workers’ expectations of organizational participation.
  • A continued shift from production to service/knowledge work environments.
  • Increasing horizontal organization structures characterized by structurally and geographically distributed human resources.

Main challenges in virtual teams

  • Not every type of project is suitable for a virtual organization.
  • Not everyone can perform well in a virtual team environment, the members should be self motivated and able to work independently.
  • The team member should be able to communicate clearly.
  • Result-orientation, unless the person shows clear results.
  • Managers of virtual teams also need to pay much more attentions to maintaining clear goals, performance standards, and communication rules.
  • Building and maintaining trust between the team members.

How to handle the challenge and managing the team

  • Include face-to-face time if at all possible.
  • Keep the Project Visible
  • Avoid or Reduce Communications Delays
  • Keep Team Members Visible
  • Augment Text Only Communications
  • Use Computer Supported Cooperative Work Technologies Where Possible
  • Establish Ground Rules or Group Norms
  • Take Time Out for Self-assessment
  • Recognize People
  • Learn from Experience

Types of Virtual Teams

  • Networked Teams consist of individuals who collaborate to achieve a common goal or purpose; membership is frequently diffuse and fluid.
  • Parallel Teams work in short term to develop recommendations for an improvement in a process or system; has a distinct membership.
  • Project or Product-Development Teams conduct projects for users or customers for a defined period of time. Tasks are usually nonroutine, and the results are specific and measurable; team has decisionmaking authority.
  • Work or Production Teams perform regular and ongoing work usually in one function; clearly defined membership.
  • Service Teams support customers or the internal organization in typically a service/technical support role around the clock.
  • Management Teams work collaboratively on a daily basis within a functional division of a corporation.
  • Action Teams offer immediate responses activated in (typically) emergency situations.

How to develop virtual team

  • Secure a project-based idea conducive to collaboration.
  • Build a business plan to include the team vision, purpose and goal.
  • Identify critical players to support the project.
  • Select people who can contribute their core competencies to the project.
  • Enlist their service.
  • Establish an initial meeting with members to lay down the groundwork, set guidelines and processes.
  • Strategically align all members to the projects goal.
  • Set a timeline.
  • Monitor activities and progress.


Effective Virtual Team Meetings

Four major roles to be fulfilled for effective virtual team meetings:

  • Owner: defines objectives and outcomes; works with facilitator to develop agenda and action items.
  • Participant: prepares for meeting; participates fully.
  • Facilitator: matches technology to the goals of the meeting; tests the technology prior to the meeting; responsible for meeting process (similar to face-to-face role).
  • Technologist: serves the meeting; should increase productivity. If technology is complex, a separate facilitator, or “technographer” is sometimes used to focus solely on the technology (is typically not a team member).

Five activities for all virtual meetings:

  • Selecting the appropriate technology and type of interaction (real time or asynchronous), given the purpose of the meeting; match the technology to specific agenda items and facilitation goals.
  • Manage the agenda, the participants, and the technology.
  • Leverage the agenda and use of technology to maximize recall, the opportunity to contribute, motivate, and reduce social pressure.
  • Make use of social protocols and best practices for selected technology.
  • Facilitating the effective use of technology; have a backup or contingency plan.

The following matrix assist the virtual team facilitator choose the appropriate technology based upon the purpose of the meeting:

technology matrix