Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

Project Monitoring

Any difference between how you plan to monitor your project and how you actually monitored previous ones?

You could say this course is a total learning experience in terms of gaining any insights into project management techniques or planning. Since the project I am designing has apparently become a three year PhD program of study with all of the planning requirements that entails I have tried to anticipate a world of project cueing and positioning that I fail to completely comprehend in terms of reference and whether or not necessary cooperative and/or complimentary monitoring of stakeholders would be otherwise available.

I believe I view project planning from a somewhat historical position in terms of strategies for businesses courtesy of Mintzberg et. al. in Strategy Safari: A Guided Tour Through the Wilds of Strategic Management (1998). One of the key strengths of the planning school is evaluations and "value creations" with delineations of expected results at particular points in a chain of events. So we have been doing a lot of de-compositional sub-stratification of strategies in this course which I find fairly similar in terms of scenarios developments, what-ifs and wherefores.

Measuring actual versus expected efforts, durations, start and finish, completion, costs anticipated or unanticipated problems will be in the interests of improving performance as observance of cost, quality and time management. Therefore my monitoring of this project which I would not undertake without adequate risk mitigations in terms of funding primarily would need to meet iterative strategies and stratifications of evaluation either through forms of interviews, document reviews, questionnaires, telephone or email communication which meet several layers of external auditing standards from stakeholders in the academic and business communities of New Zealand.

Visiting Ten Step I was not surprised to see a twenty minute video which resolves and reviews everything we have been studying so far courtesy of Tom Mochal. At the same time I am learning that the cultural environment in New Zealand is somewhat traditional which might explain some economists' descriptions of generations of forecast growth under-performance over decades and generations of New Zealand's export strategies.

I also realize as Gillian White mentioned that many planners simply fill and slot in requirements rather than really taking the iterative cycle itself apart and calling it for what it really appears to be - it is a re-dressed, rehashed and reoriented PDCA cycle (which has slipped one of its discs). Plan-Do-Check-Act was an original application to permit individual self-monitoring in a collaborative manufacturing environment which allowed for full individual opportunities for improvement which benefit the group in terms of reducing errors, rework, waste and lack of accountability. It belongs to Shewart and Deming. The planners have attempted to roll with it.

This in itself was a revolution in terms of previous monitoring techniques which through Taylorism bordered on the applying or expecting of mechanical efficiencies in the work of human beings. That plans were never at fault and human beings must keep up. Deming helped humanize that a bit.

Did you adjust the time planning worksheets provided in order to be able to record your project’s progress? How will the adjustments help this current project?

I attempted to under-estimate my actual daily output to anticipate a possible increasing or cyclical rate of improvement in measuring or meeting iterative requirements in my first draft of the time and budget schedule of my project for this course. This iterative cycle which again appears to ape or imitate the Shewhart-Deming Cycle implicates critical debate regarding the efficacy of the institutionalization of innovativeness which has been rich in debate at CBC's Cross Country Check Up on the topic of Willard Boyle the latest Nobel Prize winner for Physics in "Does Canada give enough support for its scientists?"

In monitoring I will add the columns recommended in our activity notes and anticipate:

1. Frequently hurrying up and waiting.
2. Exceeding original budget.
3. A flora of multi-tasking challenges.
4. In focus, out of focus and no focus periods in terms of scope.
5. Wheeling and dealing, cajoling and out-foxing micro-managers in terms of deadlines.

As previously stated cyclical improvement cycles originated not in the iterative cycle project domain but in the Deming one with an important exception - perhaps a PC one born of union/management collusion which puts a choke on the fishbones? Personal responsibility is never abrogated from individuals to organisations in fish bone diagrams as quality is managed one person at a time. Individuals are responsible for their performance in organisations. Individual performance monitoring could not exist without it. People don't get hired or fired based on performance without it. How well self-monitoring is conducted depends not only on how well one mirrors one's organisational monitoring standards.

If my stakeholders do not soon realize my quality management training is rigorous and well tested they will miss the opportunity to profit from an asset in monitoring which this planning course learning is helping me realize I have already been taught, learned and somewhat know. This current project will be assisted by my willingness to examine and assist a nation which appears to play the loser in the global growth export game.

The Korea Herald: Investing in Korea needs nerves of steel

Investing in Korea needs nerves of steel
Rob York The Korea Herald October 16, 2009

Costello, currently working as a university lecturer in Pocheon, Gyeonggi Province, prefers mutual funds to stocks because funds do not require the daily attention that stocks do, he said.

In particular, he likes investing in the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) economies, because some of the best global investment funds are found in these rapidly-growing nations. However, even they haven't been immune to the calamities of the financial crisis.

"The last year has been terrible," he said, as he lost up to 30 percent on his investments. Now, however, most of his investments are nearly back to pre-crisis levels, and Costello still sees reason to believe that further investments will pay off.

"I wish I had started investing when I was in my early 20s," said Costello, who was in his mid-20s when he began. "I'm really concerned about my own retirement, so that's what I'm preparing for," he said.

"You're training yourself to put aside part of your monthly income. The closer you are to retirement the more important it is to have a nest egg."

Read the full article here.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Do the BRICs know? US Still Largest Manufacturer?

The U.S.A. Is Still the World's Largest Manufacturer

Full story here.

You Can't Goh Rong: Thieves Market

Worst BRIC China Becomes Best Buy for Fisher, Schiff

Oct. 9 (Bloomberg) -- China’s stocks, the worst performers among the largest emerging markets in the third quarter, are poised to rebound as investors say shares are too cheap to pass up with economic growth accelerating.

Read full story here.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Project Risk Management

Project Risk Management

Having planned the time, cost, quality and risks of your project, is there any impact on your objectives? What re-negotiation of the objectives is necessary with key stakeholders?

Impact of time planning elements: The realities of research planning are catching up with me. There would be few opportunities to work independently of a stakeholder led PhD project other than full-time in nature as my scope requires adjustment to real world standards which I am learning through this course and the realities my classmates appear to be facing.

Impact of cost planning elements: I had to reduce my self-appointed hourly consulting rates by 20% to realistically acquire annual budget resources potentially available. It pains me to make such an adaptation because I see it as a concession to the limitations of research funding evident in the systematic adoption of financial standards - which on the surface - appear to provide no obvious accountability measures for their allotments. I have been taught never to concede in business negotiations without receiving or demanding a reciprocal concession in return. For all of my costs and budget plans I should be able to observe those measures of funding allocations on a fully transparent level considering the best-practices approach I would like to fully integrate into my proposal. Otherwise I might suspect negotiations in bad faith.

Impact of risk planning elements: Attempting to minimize sacrificial income and opportunities costs and losses, I realize there is a trade-off but the net benefit of pursuing a research PhD might in fact be a negative proposition in terms of costs versus benefits analysis. To see a potential and reasonable doubling of income at the conclusion of PhD studies might be delayed or extended an additional two to three years beyond completion of the project itself whereby a sufficient number of published and peer-reviewed articles based upon it could be offered as evidence of competency necessary for the most lucrative research and teaching contracts in the USA. Failure to acquire sufficient funding to minimize opportunities costs would be the most significant risk factor with the potential to shut-down the project completely. Already approaching my forties would I perhaps see better returns on investment simply in mutual funds, indexed bond market funds and other generally applied business investment options? So far my goals in studies have been to make them pay for themselves and at a moderate level of risk.

Renegotiation of objectives: If the stakeholders are amenable to my objectives it would be based on my ability to “sell them” on the novel and unique approach of my research proposal which at the same time requires reorganisation based on the careful tutelage and recommendations of our instructor Gillian White at UTS. For example, I need to reorder assumptions and constraints in line with objectives, provide possibly fewer key focus points in the research objectives to ooze "inkily" with clarity and credibility.

How will you manage the risk you have identified with the highest priority?

Possibly I am the greatest risk to my own project? A Canadian building an Australian educational portfolio acquired while working in the UAE, cramming in OZ and returning to Korea and focusing a research proposal on an island nation called New Zealand? Is that particularly unique? Furthermore the refugee status of my humanities based undergraduate studies in the business world where roughly 80-90% of all business instructors originated should count par for the course where I have applied the precepts of international trade and business to my study and work experiences quite literally.

For example my current job appears to be up for further renewal and at four years in this position it is the longest term of paid employment in my working history. At the same time I am fully aware of this and each day feels like a step into the unknown beyond my generally term-contracted sense of employment. At the same time it sometimes feels difficult imagining working any where else. Even Professor Gugler in Switzerland recommends I remain here.

There might be more than a few Canadians who know exactly the kind of credibility I possess and demonstrate – stubborn persistence- is it grown from adaptations to forty below? I am perpetually unwilling to concede defeat tsomething I appear to share in common with my Korean employers. For a myriad of reasons I find cultural and economic barriers to personal growth greater in my own nation than many others which allows for opportunities of employment and experience with few global limitations as a reciprocal benefit of having few opportunities "at home."

My greatest risk is perhaps that of the approbation of nationally-based academics who often abhor the prospect of overseas work themselves and their perceived quality of my studies and work experiences at committee levels - perhaps a sense that I have failed to achieve acceptable goals.

On the contrary I feel blessed. I am one of the four out of ten people who get to work in the field of study for which they were prepared. For my MIB I didn’t pick UOW by accident. They are out there on the frontiers of international trade and business just the way I am completing contracts onward and upward offshore where the winds of challenge do often blow much stronger than in a cosy home port.

UOW was the longest running first entrant to the UAE market which impressed me. My online studies are sourced from the best of the pack: Concordia, Cornell, Notre Dame, and now fortunately QUT. This course is teaching me how to mitigate risks in this project proposal process and the biggest risk appears to be my credibility. Hard to believe I made the Dean’s List at UOW in 2004. I only found out a few weeks ago when I received a letter recommending me for doctoral research.

At the same time I may appear as simply an egg-head or a pseudo-intellectual no matter what self-improvement efforts I attempt to acquire. Being bald, I know I am not a scam artist. In Korea I appear to remain an asset especially if I keep learning, teaching and smiling.

So far.

Funny...I always thought this was a Korean song...

Thursday, October 01, 2009