PERIODICAL REVIEW OF SLA DOCUMENT

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Periodical review of SLA Document: –
Before going into the details “why we should review one of the most important documents in service delivery-“SLA”(Service Level Agreement), we must first try & understand what is it all about?
SLA is a document that carries all specifications (preferably quantifiable) of all service(s) which would be provided to the customer. It defines relationships, responsibilities of service provision organization & its customer.
Crafting of a relevant, efficient & unambiguous SLA document requires hard work, domain knowledge, expertise & a huge amount of patience.

 

A typical SLA document widely addresses below: 

 

  1. What kinds of service(s) are available along with agreed service time for each service?
  2. How service(s) would be delivered to the customer?
  3. What would be the cost of the service which is being offered?
  4. What would be the quality of service or level of service which is being delivered as per customer expectation referring to Service level Requirement document?
  5. Monitoring of defined level of service(s) & reporting on each defined criteria for performance of service(s).
  6. When a review would be conducted of initially defined SLA’s that also should be defined along with stakeholders from both parties.

There are so many details about service(s) should be elaborated with clarity in SLA document for understanding to both parties & it should be agreed by them by considering this document as formal agreement.
Here we are focusing only on why we should really review SLA document periodically?
So as we all are aware that today’s environment is so dynamic, a lot of changes are happening every day. Technologies are getting upgraded frequently for delivering better, faster, cheaper & accurate information as & when required to the businesses; IT departments are keep on trying for IT-Business alignment & in this alignment Internal IT organization (dept.) is equally important along with partners/vendors responsible for provisioning of required service(s).
So it’s much recommended to align & realign the need of service(s) to satisfy businesses expectations from IT & these need of the service(s) should be documented in SLA at the time of revision.

Below are some points which should be leading to review & align/revised SLA expectations periodically.

  1. A service or a group of services may have impacted due to any major incident or any change in infrastructure.
  2. There may have a significant change in structure of an organization &/or strategy of the organization.
  3. There may have major changes in support window/ availability of service(s) & components of IT.
  4. A new technology has evolved in market & customer organization may have an expectation of adopting the same immediately or a service provider may have to implement it due to pressure of competitive market.
  5. Significant changes in business processes & so in IT services which need immediate attention for converting & describing the requirement in SLA’s.

One must agree upon the timelines for formal reviews of SLA’s & the defined timeline also should be a part of SLA document. Informal review of SLA may happen during Monthly, Quarterly meetings. New requirements may come across with suitable justifications during daily operations of the service(s), a proper analysis of service(s) performance also a very good input to revise an SLA but these are very informal way of demanding change in SLA.

We may take several steps like below for periodical review of SLA’s & this would be a formal way of demanding the change.

  1. Identify the need for SLA Review.
  2. Plan for Review (identifying & communicating the stakeholders on SLA review)
  3. Preparation for Review (collecting the pointers on which a discussion should happen between stakeholders for SLA revival.)
  4. Conducting the review (based on the requirement from all stake holders, revised requirements to be gathered & documented)
  5. Justify & finalize the requirement in SLA’s.

 

We must apply PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) Cycle for planning the improvements in SLA’s based on identifying requirement from stakeholders & revising the SLA’s for supplier, vendor to align with the business requirement/expectations periodically to improve the service(s) performance.

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How To Reach Out

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Connecting with someone on Facebook or Twitter is easy now-a-days, but difficult in our day to day lives. Why? The reason behind it, is that we, generally, have an ability to talk or have a conversation, however, we lack in quality to connect with people emotionally or mentally. In today’s world, having positive connections-popularly known as ‘Contacts’ is necessary for growth and development. Please note, here I refer connections not on your LinkedIn page, but in your real life.

In order to connect, you need to first reach-out to people. But, How?

We always have a combination of people around us. Some are introverts while some are extroverts. Approaching extroverts are easy, but not introverts. Even in the case of extroverts, you can talk to them, but connecting, it all depends on your interpersonal skills. For developing strong interpersonal skills you need to focus on 4 key aspects.

1.    Understanding the personality of the people you wish to connect with.

The personality of an individual is a combination of different behavioral patterns. Behavioral patterns are shaped due to beliefs and values. Therefore, every person is different because of his/her beliefs and values. Hence, what Mr. A will perceive is different from Mr. B always. Thus, while interacting you need to have an ability to see from the perspective of the other person. This ability helps you strike an emotional cord easily, making connecting with the opposite person possible.

2.    Improvising your communication skills.

While communicating you need to know following essentials;

i.    Not to agitate the mind of the other person.

In the professional world, you need to maintain the composure of your mind, because more poise and calm you will be, more pleasant your words will be. While you speak always make sure not to use provoking words, either with your manager or with your subordinates. Through communication do not agitate fear or anger in the mind of the opposite person, this damages your connection and further conversation becomes difficult.

ii.    Be yourself and speak the truth.

Truth is tangible and a lie is intangible. Therefore, let your words have substance and full of facts when you utter them. If you are a manager, then your subordinates look upon you as a mentor and if you lie, you automatically lose their trust and respect. On the other hand, if you are a subordinate, then win trust by – only speaking the truth.

iii.    Bring out topics that will interest your companion.

In order to connect with people, engage them by talking about things, they are interested in. This helps you create a bond.

People, generally, have an attitude of responding where their interest lies. When you talk with your subordinates motivate them and enhance their skills and knowledge, in short learn to mentor them. On the contrary, when you talk with your seniors bring out topics on which they can talk to you and you can get enlightened.  No wonder this is an art. An art of engaging people in conversation. Once acquired reaching out to people becomes easy.

iv.    Let your dialogues be pleasant.

“Why to use unpleasant or harsh words, when kinds words are there. It is like picking a bitter  unripe fruit when a sweet, ripe fruit is easily available.”

Harsh words annoy and hurt the listeners. When you continuously use them, you get into a prolonged habit of talking unpleasantly, which gets attached to your image. If you use your words wisely communication can become your greatest armor in the corporate world that will help you establish excellent interpersonal relationships.

Apart from the above key elements, it is necessary that you avoid the following while communicating;

a)  Gossiping

b)  Judging

c)  Spreading depression and negativity

d)  Cribbing

3.    Voice modulation

The tone adds a depth and meaning to your communication. When you talk to your subordinates, speak from the base of your throat. The voice that emits from the base of your throat showcases power. That’s the reason politicians use this technique to get associated with people. In case, if you’re talking with your equivalents or seniors use politeness in your tone. We generally prefer softer, smoother, rich and warm voices as companions. Use pace when needed and slow down to emphasize. Even take a pause / long silence in between the conversation. After all silence has a power more than words.

4.    Body Language

Head movements, expressions or hand gestures make a communication more impactful. Even a simple smile is contagious. When you smile, you surely get a smile back. This is how, body moments reinforce or emphasize your saying which helps you get register easily.

Communication is the only key to reach out and make connections. Human beings are social-animals and to survive, we need fellow beings around. It’s not only about survival, but also about growing and progressing. Therefore, learn to communicate and reach out people effectively. Enhance your interpersonal skills and make solid connections that will bring out prosperity to you.

RISK MANAGEMENT IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT

Risk Managment

Project without risk is a myth. All project contents risk factors and these risk factors come into existence due to uncertainties. There is always a possibility that something might go wrong or some unknown factor could impact the project objectives. Therefore the technique of managing risks plays an important role in project management. Risk management is a process of identifying the risks, getting prepared for it and with the help of it concluding the project with result oriented ending.

Identification of potential risks in advance gives you a benefit to get prepared for it. It makes you draw an effective plan to mitigate or avoid these upcoming risks and helps you run the project smoothly. This process gives your project sponsors and stakeholders an assurance that the project will meet the set expectations giving them positive outcomes.

It prepares you and your team to face and overthrow the risk effectively.

  1. Helps you Plan

Planning is an essential part of risk management. It helps to identify the list of potential risks, their probability of occurrence, their impact on the project and strategy to tackle these risks. This plan assists in drawing project estimation to decide project cost, time and schedule.

Due to it, the project manager is able to identify internal and external risk factors that may hinder a project and further makes a strategy to avoid and mitigate them.

  1. Accelerate Results

Risk management process helps you eliminate the hurdles that enable you to complete the project on time. This makes you meet your deadline and targeted objectives. If you do not apply risk management strategies to your project then your project gets exposed to a number of unpredictable problems and it becomes vulnerable to further manage it. By managing risks on time, helps you to maximize profits and minimize expenses on tasks that have no ROI.

As it is said, ‘Stitch in time saves nine’. Identification of risk factors and addressing them on proper time helps you accelerate positive results.

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Risk Assessment

Once the risk factors are identified, they are then prioritized, as per their strengths and impacts they could cast on the project. They are then classified as Major, Moderate and Minor risk factors. The major risks are first tackled followed by Moderate and then Minor Risks.

How to crack an Interview effectively

First drill this thing in your mind that “We all are salesman” and cracking an interviewing is like selling your resume to the HR person.

Here are a few examples which will tell you, how all of us are natural salesman;

An employee asking for a raise by threatening the boss to resign is selling his services to get paid more by creating urgency.

For instance a mother who is trying to convince her young son to marry a girl of her choice – Here she is selling the the concept of having wife to her boy.

A kid asking for PS3, is selling an idea of purchasing PS3 to his parents.

A good looking dashing muscular fellow wandering around girls hostel,  is selling his personal appearance.

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So lesson number one “Remember we all are salesman first”.

In a supermarket we generally tend to go for the products with attractive packaging. In this case, the appearance of the product attracts us and later on the communication over it. However, when both these elements appeal us, we then finally make the purchase.

Similarly, appearance and your communication skills are very important. These two things make a first impression and tempt the interviewer to appoint you.

As we all know communications are done either verbally and non-verbally. The verbal communication hits the conscious and the nonverbal communication manipulates the sub-conscious.

Physical appearance falls into a non-verbal form of communication. Your apparel tells people what kind of person you are.

Example:

If you are in a formal dress it says “Yeah! I am here to do some business.”

And if you are wearing something semi-formal then it says “I do business in a chilled out way”. 

A casual dressing gives a mix kind of impression. It either suggests;

  1. The person is super chilled
  2. The person does business staying in his/her comfort zone
  3. The person is here to get a salary and just enjoy
  4. The person likes to be in his/her comfort zone to give better productivity

Now in such scenario, it depends on the organization where you are going for an interview.  It is famously said, “In Rome, do as the Romans do.” Similarly, our dressing must go hand-in-hand with the culture or the personality of the organization. It helps the interviewer relate with you and relate you with the organization.

So lesson number two dress the way the company is.

It is very necessary that you initiate a conversation before the interviewer does. It makes you the driver of the conversation and it shows that you are very confident and positive.

It can be started with a firm handshake and a steady eye contact. Another important thing – copy the body language of your interviewer. If that person is sitting upright and leaning forward, then use the same style. This helps to develop a comfort zone between you both and the interviewer starts relating with you which helps you to enter his / her favorite zone.

So the lesson number three is “Study the interviewer” “Prepare yourself accordingly” and “Then mind your body language”

The interview is not like a game of cricket where the interviewer delivers you some questions and then you bats them off with your answers.

But it’s like a speedy game of football. Here both of you are opponents, who are in a rush to grab the ball and strike a goal.  Therefore, make sure that you grab the ball first and take the control over the conversation.  You need to also continuously address counters and then start counter questioning the interviewer.

For instance, you can ask the below set of questions to begin with;

  • Feed me with some in-depth details of the job profile?
  • How was the previous guy doing his / her job in this profile, this will surely help me understand the role better.

If the interviewer asks you about your hobbies then you too can ask similar questions to him / her. This will surely help you build the rapport and mutual understanding.

So lesson number four the most important one

 “Be the driver of the communication aka interview and finally Win the Job”.

IMPORTANCE OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT TOOLS PRIMAVERA P6 AND MICROSOFT PROJECTS

Project Management is a skill that helps you manage projects systematically and efficiently. It includes – identifying needs, defining objectives, drawing an execution plan, mapping project performance, controlling the project activity and completing the project as per the demands of the various stakeholders. Today, organizations globally has understood that unless there is no proper structure and approach towards managing projects, there won’t be proper progress and development.

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To make project management more convenient there are various project management tools that help you initiate, plan, execute, control and close projects successfully. These tools are so handy that companies now-a-days depend on them for efficient completion of the project within proper time and budget in an available resources.

1.    They allow you to estimate, plan and track projects effectively: 

By using these tools, a manager develops an effective plan which includes tasks to be performed, project schedule, budget, performance tracking methods, etc. It further helps, to demonstrate project progress and development.

2.    Assigning and Scheduling Resources become easy:

These tools allow a manager to map resource performance and usage even during the critical phases of project progress. This assists the project manager assign and schedule resource allocation.

Types of Project Management Tools

Traditionally, project management tools / application had general purpose and were not evolved enough to design plans, project estimations, schedules, etc. They were just used for operational or presentational purposes.  Now, software has designed tools that make a project manager’s job more flexible and efficient.

Among the various project management tools in the market, Oracle’s Primavera and Microsoft Projects are more widely used and accepted by many organizations.

Oracle Primavera 

By using Primavera (currently P6) you get an absolute control over the project. As a tool, it allows you plan, monitor and control project , guide your team and connect with your project stakeholders efficiently. Moreover, it has a great flexibility which enables you to twist and turn it according to the size and complexity of the project. The capacity of Primavera (P6) is dynamic and it is an evolving tool that makes work easier to complete.

Benefits:

1.    Enables you to manage risk factors by monitoring and controlling project schedule and preventing from any slippages.

2.    Helps you better analyze the efforts which prevents a project to overrun its estimated budget.

3.    You can efficiently plan and monitor your multiple activities at the same time.

4.    Optimizes your project plan and helps you to utilize allocated resources appropriately as well as help identify areas where resource costs may be reduced by analyzing resource trends and costs.

5.    Helps you analyze the project through a bird’s eye view.

6.    Primavera (P6) enables you to predict variable cost and time and helps you communicate with other project resources, functional managers, project managers, and planners efficiently

7.    Keeps a check on project periodical performance and compare against past performances.

This tool is commonly used in managing larger projects especially in “infrastructure development, Construction projects, MEP projects, aerospace engineering, Oil & Gas, etc.” and gives you a great grip to handle various integrated processes. Better Tracking features, enhanced collaboration and communication mechanism and easier usability are the major advantages of using Primavera (P6).

Microsoft® Project Professional

Microsoft® Project Professional helps you mange wide range of crucial projects easily and systematically. It assists you in attaining deadlines, employing right resource and handling teams efficiently in order to bring about productive results. In short, this tool simplifies your job in managing complex projects.

Benefits:

1.    Efficiently distinguishes between the project schedule and the forecast schedule

One can track two types of schedules in MS project; the project schedule and the forecast schedule. The original schedule acts as a deadline schedule and the forecast schedule is a dynamic schedule, where you can continuously calculate and recalculate timeline through your progress information. This helps you to bring the project back on track if it’s losing the grip on the original schedule.

2.    Helps calculate task resources

Systematizes your project, which makes it easy to calculate resources (cost, time, manpower, etc.) during the inception period that is required for the completion of the project.

3.    Identifies a relationship between a task and its dependencies

Certain tasks are dependent on certain variables. MS project helps us to identify those variables during scheduling and planning the project.

4.    Enables your collaboration with your teams and resources

It keeps everyone in the team on the same page and well-connected.

Microsoft Project tool has some advantages like “matured tool being in market for 25+ years with multiple progressive versions, being from Microsoft easy integration with Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, reliable and sound support is available, desktop versions are available, etc.”

In short, in order to manage projects like a pro you need an immense knowledge of project management tools. They make you work a piece of cake and efficient at a same time.