Project management profession has gradually taken a quantum leap within a period of 10 years. According to PMI® Project Management Talent Gap Report®, by 2020 this industry is set to grow by $6.6 trillion, creating 41.4 million jobs around the globe. This valuable credential gives you an upper hand in the competitive job market and prepares you to undertake great responsibilities. No matter what industry you choose to work in, PMP® certification proves to be a huge asset that helps you move forward in your career and increases your monetary value as well.
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:
- What kinds of service(s) are available along with agreed service time for each service?
- How service(s) would be delivered to the customer?
- What would be the cost of the service which is being offered?
- 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?
- Monitoring of defined level of service(s) & reporting on each defined criteria for performance of service(s).
- 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.
- A service or a group of services may have impacted due to any major incident or any change in infrastructure.
- There may have a significant change in structure of an organization &/or strategy of the organization.
- There may have major changes in support window/ availability of service(s) & components of IT.
- 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.
- 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.
- Identify the need for SLA Review.
- Plan for Review (identifying & communicating the stakeholders on SLA review)
- Preparation for Review (collecting the pointers on which a discussion should happen between stakeholders for SLA revival.)
- Conducting the review (based on the requirement from all stake holders, revised requirements to be gathered & documented)
- 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.
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.
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;
c) Spreading depression and negativity
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.
Actions can be controlled, but results cannot. Therefore, concentrating on improving your actions or performance is more important rather than focusing on the results. If you achieve excellence in your performance success comes naturally. However, the challenge is – How to achieve excellence.
Here are some rules that will help you achieve excellence in your performance:
While hiring employees, many organizations tend to have an Average Approach. To elaborate this further, we’ll take an example of a call center project. Here, an XYZ company plans to hire staff to start up a call center unit. For this the board comes together for a discussion and they conclude that they will expect 10,000 calls a day. The board takes an average and decides that each person can handle 60 calls a day and they require total 167 employees to set-up a division.
Yes, no wonder this is a right way of calculating which further helps you to keep your odds. However, if an employee, who has a capacity to handle 200 calls a day joins, then his / her performance comes down to average.
Therefore, if you plan to be excellent in your performance try to challenge yourself by stepping out of the convenience because convenience always gives birth to an average performance and mediocrity.
-Dr. Subhash Chandra Goel, chairman of Essel Group, an Indian conglomerate.
Companies when mapping employee performance, usually, pin-point average / below average performers and take efforts to give them training in order to help them excel. Yes, it is right, organizations must look forward to help people improve their performances. But, on the same time they need to conduct advanced training for employees who are excellent. This will create a generation of excellent performers.
Rule 2: Set Achievable Targets
The targets make achieving excellence easy, but they have to be specific, attainable, measurable, realistic and timely. Abstract targets are just fairytales and unachievable.
Thinking about your goals in this fashion helps you perform extraordinarily.
Rule 3: Take risk which can be easily paid-off.
Risk is an important factor while you are aiming towards being excellent in your performance. However, while you take a risk make sure it’s not blind. Always calculate the consequences and analysis, whether you are ready for it. If it backfires, you must have resources and potential to pay the risk off easily.
This applies while taking a loan. The first thing you need to check is your financial backup and look for ways how you can pay the loan off, if your business fails. Do not take a risk without proper analysis of the consequence.
Think for the best, prepare for the worst while you take a risk.
Rule 4: To be excellent you require certain skills like – Mapping the talent, relating to it and excelling in it.
1.Mapping the talent:
To be excellent, know your talent. It is important that you know your strengths and inner qualities. This helps you jotting down your interest and which further exceeds you towards excellence.
If your organization aims to excel then choose a right talent as per the position.
2.Relating to the talent:
Once you know when your interest lies and what is your talent then get attach to it.
For an organization – it has to get attach with the talent, in this case employees. An HR has to connect employees with each other and build a family.
3.Excelling in it:
Increase your knowledge about your talent. For instance, if you have a good voice and you are a good singer, take up training to excel. Because learning something you love makes your path towards excellence smooth as butter.
For an organization, given training to your employee to strengthening their talents.
Striving to be excellent is good, but make sure you even learn to accept Failures. Success can make a person arrogant, but the failures keep the person humble, therefore, to be excellent failures are also needed. Remember, this fact that failures are inevitable. However, it’s not the end of everything. So, do not get disturbed or depressed. Mild depression is normal, but if it exceeds then its toxic. Failures give you an opportunity to learn from the experiences. So welcome them with open arms.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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;
- The person is super chilled
- The person does business staying in his/her comfort zone
- The person is here to get a salary and just enjoy
- 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”.
There are leaders who lead. There are leaders who guide. There are leaders who empower others. But there are very few leaders who are able to manage a crisis situation and lead a team through it.
The crisis is a sudden occurrence of unplanned and unexpected events that causes instability within an institution which leads to a major disturbance among the individuals who are the part of that institution. This institution could be a family, profit/non-profit organization, educational body or any other organization that works as a team. A team leader, head of the family or CEO of an organization plays a very important role in managing these catastrophic situations.
Here are some examples of excellent leadership who not only managed the crisis but also restored the organization’s image.
- Mary Barra became the first lady CEO of General Motors, in 2014. She attained a mark of two months and the company faced a disastrous situation. It came across in the news that GM had sold 1.6 million cars with faulty ignitions for more than 10 yrs. Due to this defect; more than a dozen lives were killed. Through a PR activity, Marry Barra took a complete responsibility of this crisis. She apologized by saying, “Something went really wrong… and terrible things happened.” Though media initially criticized this move of hers, but later on, the same media made statements like “She showed a ‘Human Side’ and that’s what a leader has to do”. The Huffington Post published an article on her saying, “GM’s Barra Leads from the Front.” The New York Times wrote a piece on her initiatives saying, “GM Chief Steps Up to Handle Safety Questions.” In 2015, she was listed number one in Fortune’s Most Powerful Women list.
Moral: Leaders motivate and say, “Together we fall, together we rise”, but here is a leader who takes complete accountability for the actions committed by the company as a whole. She had shown courage to take the blame and responsibility to resolve the issue from its root.
- In 1993, PepsiCo came into limelight with a news report saying that a syringe was found in a can of Diet Pepsi, in Washington State. The CEO Craig Weatherup and FDA were very confident that this claim is a rumor. Therefore, Craig personally came in front of the national television with visual evidence that proved, he was right and the news was wrong. This visual proof was a surveillance tape showing a woman inserting a syringe into a can of Diet Pepsi. He made his PR team produce a series of videos that showcased how the soda canning process worked.
Moral: Weatherup’s trust in his product and company made him strong to investigate and produce evidence that helped Pepsico restore their image. This example of excellent leadership shows that a leader must trust his organization in the crisis situation and must take aggressive stands wherever required. In this way, Craig successfully suppressed the rumors and the sales were recovered within several weeks.
- In 2003, Cadbury found itself tangled into a hurricane, when many people from Mumbai found worms in their Dairy Milk Bars. Bharat Puri, the managing director of Cadbury India, took control immediately and improvised the packaging in order to stop further infestation. The company invested Rs. 25 Crs in order to upgrade their machinery and packaging. Even the 5 Rupees bar had a double packaging. All types of Cadbury Bars were first wrapped in aluminum foil and later enclosed the bar in a ploy-flow pack which was sealed on all sides. In order to, improve their Brand Image they signed Amitabh Bachchan as a brand ambassador. A high profile TVC was produced showcasing Amitabhji visiting the Cadbury plant, inspecting the process and finally consuming a chocolate bar. The company made a comeback and the sales were restored successfully.
Moral: The Company who had a pride in itself for its spotless image faced a disaster in which it was responsible for the infestation. But Mr. Puri took immediate actions and took a lead to manage the crisis. He led and found a way out to deal with the crisis.