Thursday, January 25, 2007

Whats in a Name!

I felt like writing something about my name! In western countries, as many other Asians (Specially Sri Lankans) , I also experience that most people find my name being very difficult to pronounce properly. We all have seen how Foreign announcers pronounce names of Sri Lankan cricketers. I face with situations where I have to show them how my name is pronounced properly and also explain the general structure of Sri Lankan names. So, I thought it's good one for the blog!

My full name is Yasas Vishuddhi Abeywickrama. Yasas means fame that you achieve by doing good things, Vishuddhi has a broader meaning. Buddhism explains about 'Visuddhi Maragaya' (Visuddhimagga) which is a fairly complicated concept. At a highlevel, The Visuddhimagga describes the progression from the purity of discipline to the nibbana, considering seven steps. 'Vishuddhi Marga Sannaya' is a literary work in Sinhalese. In general, Vishuddhi represents purity but I think this is a highly generalised way of explaining it. Abeywickrama is my surname, even though I am not very sure, I think it means something like winning over life (Or Victorious life). I must admit that I found it really hard to explain all the above!

At school and uni, I was called mainly as Vishuddhi. Here and there, I have had people who called me either Yasas or Abeywickrama. Some friends used shorten forms such as Vishu, Vishi and Vish. But at work, I have been predominately called as Yasas, even today, that is the case, some even do not remember my second name. I opted to use Yasas as oppose to Vishuddhi at work as it is more easier to be pronounced by anyone including non-Sri Lankans. At school, I didn't use my full name much, and went as Vishuddhi Abeywickrama. But later on, as I was known both as Yasas and Vishuddhi, I decided it would be better to go with my full name, therefore now I go as Yasas Vishuddhi Abeywickrama.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The most highly publicised software failure in history

I read this article on hard copy of Information Age Mag and felt that this is a really good learning source for most of us involved in this high risk industry.
http://www.infoage.idg.com.au/index.php/id;1448612665;fp;16;fpid;0

A brief version of this could be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_Case_File
Longer version from IEEE is available at http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/sep05/1455

Being FBI of USA and 9/11 probably gave it extra prominence which resulted in being highly publicised. Even if you forget the media part of it, this has been a real failure and actually an embarrassing one. When you go through the identified reasons for the failure, its clear that most of the errors that it made are fairly basic, such as requirements creep and communication problems.

When I though about it, I felt how important it is to make sure that you get your basics right during a project life cycle. For a BA, the main learning point to be taken out of this is that importance of finalising requirements and scope before moving in to development. It also gives learning points for Project Mangers and Architects/Designers.

I highly suggest everyone to read it and mainly identify the key reasons for the failure and take it as the learning out of this. Most importantly, apply that learning in projects to make sure these mistakes are not done.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The importance of IT business analysis

This a summary version of a longer version I have done previously and I prepared this one specifically to suit a larger audience. Given the importance of BA role for the IT industry, I believe it is imperative to publish materials to educate the mass audiences.

http://www.sundaytimes.lk/070107/FinancialTimes/ft320.html

Pursuit of Happyness

Watched the movie Pursuit of Happyness yesterday, which I think is one of the best I have ever watched, highly inspirational. It shows what wonders determination coupled with ability could do. From homelessness he rose to be a multi-millionaire whilst bringing up his son very lovingly even though his wife had left him at the most important hour. True stories are the ones I really like and hate to watch unrealistic stuff, just like 'Catch me if you can' about Frank Abagnale, I loved this movie. (The day-care centre that his son went wasn't a good one as he could not afford high prices, and this place had things written all over its walls, and the level of the place is apparent by misspelling Happiness as Happyness, which ultimately became a part of the title of his biography book and this movie!)

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Offshore : Working Extra Hours

I don't now work in the offshore industry, but come from such a background. I can't stress enough the importance of this industry for all the involved parties. India has already proved that it can be one of the main national income sources. Philosophically, free trade is beneficial to all parties involved even though there are many criticisms. (Criticisms against it in developed countries highlighting facts such as job-cuts,low quality is a whole new discussion)

Another side of this industry is general need to work long hours, which is not healthy for employees, but the other side of the coin is the fact that key business drivers of this specific industry such as less cost and time for deliveries and the time difference in operational locations require long hours of work. I found following article to be pretty interesting on this topic but very HR oriented.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/ew/2004/01/07/stories/2004010700110200.htm

However, I do not think this covers the whole lot of issues. For example, many companies face resource issues (including top brands such as Infosys) but still they take on any new worthwhile project on board regardless of whether they have resources or not. Offshore scene is filled with immature leadership from company management through to project management including account and location levels due to the quick promotion patterns. So these are the people who preach importance of work-life balance but shoot the concept themselves by taking on whatever the project that comes their way to make sure they do not loose the last cent possible and also come-up with unpractical project plans. Doing such plans due to client pressure could be minimised by internal (eg : Allocating more people or distributing work within team more efficiently) or external (eg : Getting client agreement in to a later delivery date) solutions. These kind of issues can not be answered by HR solutions only, but they need to be driven by core business principles.

This is a brief thing on a very complicated and vast issue and there are many more relevant things in here to be discussed.

Monday, January 1, 2007

New Year Vacation is over

Today is the last day of our new year vacation, and I start work again tommorow and Sasani starts uni studies day after. It as a good break and following were the things that we did.

Dec 23 - Lobethal lights
Dec 24 - At home
Dec 25 - Christmas in the city
Dec 26 - Victor Harbour
Dec 27 - At home
Dec 28 - Cleland Park & Mount Lofty
Dec 29 - Swimming
Dec 30 - Shopping
Dec 31 - Monarto wildlife park
Jan 1 - Temple (But mainly at home)