Sunday, March 25, 2007

We are in Super 8

SL team is now in Super 8 stage of the World Cup and our team did that in style winning all the group stage matches. India match was a great show of the team's capability to win this world cup. We watched the match over the Internet. Sky sports telecast was bought for 15US$ at Telecast was pretty good, since the highspeed of the broadband Internet here, webcast was perfect. Major matches will be displayed on TVs here, but if they don't, and if that match is really good, we will continue to watch over the Internet. Only thing is, matches start at midnight here.

Bought a PDA

I bought a PDA!!!

Well, I think it’s a bit of out of character, because I don’t really spend that much on high tech stuff. For example, I have always used basic phones (Motorola quarter of a brick size one, Ericson T28, Nokia 3310, Motorola c100, Nokia 3220 and now Samsung X150).

However, as so many people are using PDAs to keep themselves organized, it will be a real value adder, so I made up my mind to do the investment. Maintaining tasks, contacts, appointments and making notes and meeting minutes are few of my objectives. The thing that would come really handy is the synchronisation with the PC.

Model is HP IPAQ Rx 1950. Some of the features of it are:
-Wireless: Wi-Fi keeps you connected on the go.
-Music: Mobilize digital music, videos, and photos.
-Software: All new Microsoft Windows Mobile Version 5.0 Software for Pocket PC, Premium Edition.
-Design: Thin and light.
-Expansion: Secure Digital (SDIO) slot for greater storage and expansion.
-Display: Brilliant, crisp viewing area on a 3.5 inch transflective TFT QVGA 64K color display.
-Processor: Powered by the Samsung SC32442 300 MHz Processor
-USB Sync with Computer
-Memory: 32MB SDRAM, 64MB ROM
-Graffiti area and Stylus writing is very smooth and gives a natural writing experience.

User reviews for this model sounded absolutely perfect, I just could not resist myself.

Now am experimenting the new world and really looking forward to using it meaningfully!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Working with Users

One of the best things I love about my job as a BA is the opportunity it gives me to talk to the users. In most cases, its to gather/understand requirements or to document existing business processes in order to improve them within a proposed new system and other cases are things like User Acceptance coordination.

This just gives a ground level experience how businesses operate. Often we find out funny, interesting, incredible, sharp, intelligent, meaningless,, (List just goes) things people do to get things done. Every individual is unique, so whatever the systems offer them, most operational staff members create their own ways of doing things, and when it comes to upgrading the system, these little bits are the ones that create most trouble, but should be given highest attention as they are the ones that's going to generate highest user satisfaction. Sometimes, we notice little applications (done using Excel, VB), may be even just standalone ones, which serve a single purpose for just one user, and no one else is aware of it, and that user has a nice explanation why that is needed even though the main system does not provide it.

At times, I feel, BA job needs a bit of psychology awareness, because we predominantly work with people trying to extract information out of them. When it comes to large system implementations, it involves great amount of organizational change and by nature most people are reluctant to change, as they fear of being removed from their comfort zones, so its a matter of making them aware of the benefits of change and also inject feelings of securedness and better working life. Its really difficult to do a BA job without getting full support from users/business staff, so its always important to maintain a good relationship whilst keeping them enthusiastic about the work being done and going to happen through the system changes. So, all this mostly runs on soft skills rather than hard skills (Whether these should be called as Soft Skills or something else is a separate discussion and is debatable). Soft Skills ,I think that come into picture are talking, listening, interviewing, a bit of humour, documenting, emails, organizing, smart outlook using, working on time etc. Personally, I don't believe at all that I am very good at all of these, but am trying to improve myself. This long list I guess proves that it actually needs a bit of psychology.

(Pls note that neither lists mentioned are complete nor it covers all aspects of Business Analysis,,,,this is just a note on my blog as I feel about one aspect of it and it is not a comprehensive paper/article :D )

Sri Lanka Wins Against Bangladesh

We registered yet another massive victory in the World Cup against Bangladesh. We have faced two matches yet, and won both by massive margins. Technically, our Super 8 spot is not sealed, but practically, there is no way we could be out of it now.

Sri Lanka are serious fighters to win the world cup this time. I think, there are only 3 teams who can seriously think of the cup,that's Sri Lanka, Australia and South Africa.

Let's wish best for our great Sri Lankan team, to repeat the victory we recorded in 1996!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Long Weekend

March 12th is a public holiday, so, it's a long weekend. Had a good relaxing weekend.

Most of the Sunday was spent at ACS Executive Committee Planning Meeting for 2007, we met at Robin Hood Hotel in Norwood. The session was to discuss how we are going to plan SA activities during 2007 and to build up the Business Plan for the year, which would work closely with the Strategic Plans set for the future.

Earned Value Analysis

On 5th of March, ACS - PM SIG (Project Management Special Interest Group) had another session. This time, the topic was Earned Value Analysis. It was an interesting, fairly unfamiliar topic for most of us. The crux of it is to measure the earned monetary value during a project life cycle (Not at the end) and estimate the chances of doing financially well by the time you finish the project.

The presenter recommended following site for further reading, which explains the concepts in a simple manner.

Apart from this, a simple Google search could give more resources as well.

Personally, I think this more appropriate for small scale projects run by one or few people, for instance, Contractors, who offer services could very well use this to measure where they are during the project, and do an estimate on the future. Important thing about it is, it provides with a Lead indicator (indicates something regarding the future and not about the past as Lag indicators does). But for large scale projects, where financials are tightly bound to either time or milestones, I am not sure whether it will be that useful. However, its' general prediction is interesting to know though.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Sri Lankan Offshore Industry Grows Further

Asian Tribune ( reported on Wed, 2007-03-07 that SL is getting more offshore business. Following is extracted from their web news item.

"The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka and the Ministry of Investment Promotions have jointly issued ‘Letters on Approval’ for 7 new investments which include Software exports and setting up Business Promotion Offices, commonly known as BPOs.

Issuing ‘Letters on Approval, Dr.Sarath Amunugama Investment promotion Minister says these new investments would bring over 100 million rupees. A part of them are overseas investors and most of them plan to expand their businesses during a short period.

These Investments will create over 1500 direct jobs and the Minister asked them to bring more investments to Sri Lanka.

Speaking to the media on Tuesday morning at the Ministry auditorium, Colombo, Minister said the government already planned to set up a Techno park in Katunayaka to boost Software and IT related industries."

This is good news. I am bit surprised to hear about this new Techno park in Katunayaka, because as I understood, Malabe (where Millennium IT is located) was to be developed as the software park and that has not really grown that much, so, I don't know why they try to promote another place.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Visit to Gawler

Yesterday was Sasani's birthday, so we thought of going out of city to celebrate and went to Gawler, which is a small country town and is one of the first English settlements here. Drive was nice and the town was fairly big and was good for a small outing. We went a self guided driving tour (Self Driven) around the town.