Friday, December 29, 2006

Regaining Heritage

I found the following article on CNN, which I guess should be read by all of us. 'Software' section of this descriptively talks about Sanjeewa Weerawarna, his work and his new company.

http://money.cnn.com/2006/12/20/magazines/fortune/kirkpatrick_UN_speech.fortune/index.htm?section=money_email_alerts

In essence, this man is making us proud!

Generally its westerners who find new things on technology and pass on to us, and we just follow the trend, but here we are, setting the trend for the rest. We basically should not be just trend followers, we hail from a history of trend setting. Our kings built miracles 2500 years back before no one else could do some of those. Our engineering expertise couple of thousand years back surprises the whole world. That's our heritage, that's our history, so there is no reason why it shouldn't be our future as well. We got to escape from this 3rd world mentality and think that we can be the world leaders. During 450 years of foreign rule, our free thinking has been slowly killed, lets regain it...There is something called '1st world hypocrisy ' ,but lets face it. Not to go off the track, but this is the concept that tries to make Murali a chucker when he comes head to head with Warne. (By experience, I can say that most westerners are good, helpful and understanding, but some politicians, media and some sections of their societies try to populate those myths)

Great Sri Lankans like Dr. Weerawarna are definitely leading our way in technology sector. There are few more who do this. We have a lot more capable people, who need to come forward and lead, nothing about politics, but do different and new things to take us to new heights, these will automatically elevate us to be world leaders. Our politicians have without doubt proved over 50 years that they can't regain our heritage for us, so it's up to Technologists, Scientists, Businessmen, Authors, Sportsmen and many other professionals to step up.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

A Break

I am getting a break from work for 10 days!! This is a result of a combination of public holidays and earned leave. 25th & 26th of Dec and 1st of Jan are public holidays. I had 3 earned leaves and I am taking them on 27th, 28th & 29th of Dec, So with weekends, it makes it 10 days at a stretch.

Sasani is also taking a break from her uni work during this period.

We have planned to visit many places around here. We haven't visited much out of city even though we have been here for almost 6 months. It was mainly due to work and settlement stuff.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Reaching Out

One of the concerns at the start of blogging is, even though you keep writing, how do other people get to know that things are being written on this blog.

Reading on how blogs really work in the practical scenario explained to me that more through friends and peers getting to know about it through word of mouth and then linking you through their blogs. Commenting on other people’s blogs is also seen as a good way of reaching out people. Someone adviced me to have the blog name as a part of you signature for all the personal mail. So, now I feel like things are working out a bit. Also, I should thank Mahasen who has written a blog about me starting to blog! http://mahasen.blogspot.com/

I heard some politicians printout their Blog addresses in their campaign leaflets during election campaigns. There are so many politicians who use blogs effectively to get the ideas across to the general public. But I found some Blogs maintained by MPs that have not been updated for ages, this I think would have an adverse effect on them. If you do something, do it right, if not, don't do it! Simple as that.Blogging culture has come in to mainstream journalism as well. Websites such as BBC news, The Australian etc. do have blogs, which provide forums for interactive discussion on current affairs and interesting topics.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

BA Role is gathering momentum

10 years back, no one in the IT industry understood the importance of the Business Analyst role, but time proved that software projects need someone who can interpret business and business needs and work with the development teams to build a system that actually supports the business. Initially, it was developers themselves who did this part, but many failed systems proved that its not the right approach. The real business situation might not be visible when you look from a technical eye because you think of technical concerns even before you identify the business needs properly. Some of the solutions provided did not solve problems faced by the business but solves things that programmers considered as the business problems. Luckily, things are changing at a rapid pace now, and most projects identify the need to have someone who concentrates on the business needs and BAs are the people who serve this purpose. It’s virtually visible everywhere that the job market for BAs is growing at high rate and any major project such as an enterprise-wide system would definitely have BA resources. By experience I know that even the Programmers/Software Engineers today like to have BAs on their teams so that they do not have any ambiguities and unclear things with regard to the requirements.
Even 2 years back, it was quite difficult to find BA specific material on the web. It was IIBA who put some really interesting stuff together first, now they have gone on to develop a comprehensive BA Body of Knowledge (BOC) as well. Even wikipedia has several articles on Business Analysis/Analyst, which would give someone a one-page description of it to capture an overall picture.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_analyst
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_Analysis

About a year back, I tried to collect some information together to explain the entire BA role, which ended-up as an article titled "Business Analyst’s Role in a Software Company". I included this as a chapter of my published book titled 'A bit of BIT' as well. Many people who were interested in joining the BA track those days felt it was helpful due to the lack of information to be found. Today, I feel happy to have contributed to the growth at least slightly. I am sure what I did was very very small and almost unnoticed in the big scheme of things, but still, I think it’s the thought that matters, so I am personally happy.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Started Swimming

We started to go for swimming from yesterday. We went to a close-by pool maintained by the city council, which is located in nice area surrounded by park lands.

The decision to go for swimming was almost sudden and accidental! We were watching the Aussie selection swimming meets on TV, and got the feeling that we should go for it as well. My wife loves it and has done lot of swimming during her school days and even participated in several meets and won some as well, so it was quite naturally something close to her. For me, I always loved it but haven't spent much time on it. I went to learn swimming when I was very small, and know the basics. I gave it up after few months those days, and yesterday, I started it after almost 15 years! I was not that bad, it's a matter of getting the rhythm right for me, and I think I am getting there.

As a child, I went to Otters pool in Sri Lanka, but never went to my school (Ananda College, Colombo) swimming pool even though I have sold so many ticket books in order to collect money to build that huge pool. At uni, we were offered to use a close-by pool free ( probably uni paid money for us), but I never took the opportunity, some of my friends really enjoyed that.

Anyway, I am happy that I could start it after some time and am looking forward to it. We are thinking of going for a swim bi-weekly.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The term "blog" is derived from "Web log" !

Following on from my first blog about starting to blog, I had few interesting discussions with few people on the subject. Basically, everyone accepts importance of it, that's the bottom line. I still find it bit difficult to write on a daily basis because I am still not used to it, and find it hard to find few minutes for that even though I spend hours on the internet! Probably an issue with getting used to it.

This article on wikipedia explains how Blog has come strongly in to our lives..just believe, there are nearly 60 million blogs!!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog

Hope you will entire article, because its so amazing and gives a complete picture.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Friday, December 8, 2006

Australian Computer Society

The Australian Computer Society (ACS) is the recognised association for Information & Communications Technology (ICT) professionals, attracting a large and active membership from all levels of the ICT industry. A member of the Australian Council of Professions, the ACS is the public voice of the ICT profession and the guardian of professional ethics and standards in the ICT industry, with a commitment to the wider community to ensure the beneficial use of ICT.

ACS has a very active branch network across Australia. Branches carry out great services to the IT industry. To be honest, I was surprised at first to see ACS branches being so active and doing so many events to deliver value to its members and the IT industry at large. For example, ACS Special Interst Groups (SIGs) are trully active and are doing a valuable service to their respective areas.

Now, I have also got the opportunity to join in these activities as I have been elected to the Executive Committee.

http://www.acs.org.au/sa/news/271006.htm

Regardless of being elected or not, I was determined to be involved in IT industry activities, but this has given me an official opportunity. I have a track record of being involved in such social activities. At school, apart from my studies, I was heavily involved in extra curricular activities, even after that, I continuously spent my time on many other social activities. However, I consider this as the greatest opportunity I ever had because it is directly about the industry I am involved in. My heartfelt thanks goes to Brenda Aynsley, the outgoing Chairman, for creating this path for me. I did not have much chance to work with her for that long, but I understand she has done a great service to the ACS over the years.

With the new Executive Committee, I am sure we are going to have an interesting year ahead. Professor Reg Coutts is the new Chairman and has indicated that he is interested in strategic changes to the Society. Board also has some new faces who seemed to be very capable.

Sri Lankan Innovation

What is it about?
• World Challenge , in association with Shell, is an anual global competition aimed at finding individuals or groups from around the world who have shown enterprise and innovation at a grass roots level.


Out of 12 finalists (http://www.theworldchallenge.co.uk/2006_finalists.php), the project from Sri Lanka is the winner!!

http://www.theworldchallenge.co.uk/elephant.php

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

My First Blog

Hello All,

I thought of starting a blog page because blog is starting to gain acceptance as an effective way of communication in the modern day. More and more people now believe that Blogs are far more effective than traditional personal websites as it allows sharing knowledge and experiences on a daily basis with your peers, colleagues, friends and the community at large. My recent involvement with the ACS also encouraged me to start this as I understood that most active people in the IT industry who are concerned about knowledge sharing and improvement of the IT industry, do maintain blogs and importantly maintain them actively.

I have been reading blogs of some of my friends for a long time but until recently did not decide to do it myself. But, here I am now starting to join the rest of the active IT community who appreciate the importance of sharing knowledge, helping each other in professional development and sharing experiences of life including joy and sadness.

IT business is driven by teamwork; therefore, powerful networking between IT professionals is essential. IT evolves daily at a rapid pace; therefore life long education is essential. Due to these facts, existence of powerful communication methods and networking strategies are essential for us. Blogs serve these purposes in a great way, hence its success and popularity.

I know so many professionals who use blogs very effectively for above purposes and the silent service done by such bolgs is enormous.

I still have not given up the idea of building a traditional personal website someday but I will try to be a blogger as well. During a discussion on these lines, someone proposed that one way to resolve the debate in between a website and a blog is to do both but allow links to move back and forth in between the two. Anyway, I am not decided on the issue.

This is just a start, so I will try to upload and write more later on and make this a worth reading blog as we go along.

Bye!
Yasas Vishuddhi Abeywickrama