What are your major hurdles in wanting to sell stuff online?

May 31, 2010 at 5:00 pm (Uncategorized)

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November 26, 2009 at 12:30 pm (social media)

A business acquaintance posted an interesting blog post about a study that finds that social media engaged companies have a better return on investment.

 The top companies are as follows.

  1. Starbucks (127)
  2. Dell (123)
  3. eBay (115)
  4. Google (105)
  5. Microsoft (103)
  6. Thomson Reuters (101)
  7. Nike (100)
  8. Amazon (88)
  9. SAP (86)
  10. Tie – Yahoo!/Intel (85)

As an ex-program manager of an ecommerce company I had a bit of a problem with the conclusion of this study. First off, most of the companies in the top 10 are internet based companies, so saying they engage in social media is like saying flowers benefit from the sun. And isn’t Yahoo, of as late, the poster child of what not to do in the internet?

Second, there is a more interesting list in the data than the top ten. Once you account for companies (7 out of the top 10) that are basically internet/software/or computer hardware companies that either relies heavily on the internet as a core part of their business model or the internet has had a major impact on their business model you have a truly unique list where you could extract some good lessons on if and how social media has helped these offline companies.

The excluded companies are EBay, Dell, Google, Microsoft (Bing-search), Amazon, Sap, Yahoo and Intel.

My new list would read as follows. I go to twelve for the exact reason I stated above. (Complete original list.)

  1. Starbucks
  2. Reuters
  3. Nike
  4. BlackBerry(?) (G3 Internet anywhere)
  5. Accenture (?) (Software Consulting)
  6. Pepsi (as long as it’s Pepsi the carbonated soft drink and not PepsiCo the snack conglomerate). But still their success is on Sports partnerships across the global, and probably not social media.
  7. MTV
  8. Disney (as long as it’s Disney the brand and not Disney the largest media and entertainment conglomerate in the world)
  9. Adidas
  10. Toyota
  11. Ferrari (doubt they have a Social Media aspect to their marketing plan)
  12. H&M

My conclusion, is it social media that has kept these companies thriving, or is it another customer centric ideology?

 But this gives me a launching point to research my Social Media for the fortune 500 crowd. Read my blog post about why I don’t think social media is right for the small business.

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Complimentary Webinars

November 6, 2009 at 10:15 am (project management, Webinars) (, )

Complimentary Webinars brought to you by Boston University and Corporate Education Group.

I don’t believe there are PDU’s for these seminars but furthering your knowledge should need no PDU.

The Missing Link:
Interpersonal Effectiveness for
Project Success

Date: November 11, 2009
Click here to register

Tools of the Trade:
Core Competencies for the Business Analyst

Date: November 18, 2009
Click here to register

Project Management Professional® (PMP®):
The What, the How, and the Why!

Date: December 2, 2009
Click here to register

Conflict: Making It Work For You,
Not Against You

Date: December 10, 2009
Click here to register

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PMBOK 4th Edition: New and Improved?

October 9, 2009 at 2:09 pm (pmp) (, , , , , , )

As many of you know, the PMBOK has a new edition, numero Four!

PMBOK 4th Edition

PMBOK 4th Edition

For test takers and those that like to further their PM knowledge I will breifly lay out the changes to this new edition.

For those of you that have been studying the PMBOK 3rd Edition in order to take the test, I have bad news for you. You took to long and it’s time to order up the 4th edition, study it instead, because you can no longer take the 3rd Edition based test. For those I will briefly go over all of the changes (but you still need to read the new edition, I’m sorry).

I will start with the changes that I think further PM knowledge for those who are only interested in seeing what PMI as added. I will layout the two or three of the greatest areas of impact for your reading pleasure. Also it’s a smaller list than the other.

So let’s begin.

5.1 Plan Scope is now 5.1 Collect Requirements

Plan Scope has been eliminated, deleted, or Terminated, if you will. I never liked PMI’s definition of Plan Scope anyways which says,

“Creating a project scope management plan that documents how the project scope will be defined, verified, controlled, and how the WBS will be created and defined.”

To me this says you already know many of the end details of a project. Hello, we barely have the high level statements at this point!

PMI seems to realize this and takes a step back by eliminating the Plan Scope process and replaces it with the new and improved, Collect Requirements.

5.1 Collect Requirements – The process of defining and documenting stakeholders’ needs to meet the project objectives.

Yes! Yes! Yes!

This also introduces the Stakeholder Register for the first time. This is really important aspect on the 3rd Edition exam which, ironically, was not directly mentioned in the 3rd edition PMBOK. So the inconsistency between the text and the exam is now eliminated.

Now you have what I think are the two most important foundational aspects of ensuring that a project management plan is complete, now directly contained within the PMP methodology.

Notice I didn’t say the two most important aspects that make a project is successful.

Tune in next time as I cover the new process 10.1 – Identify Stakeholders.


PMBOK 4th Edition pg 105 and pg 246

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PMP vs Agile – Round One

September 23, 2009 at 1:32 pm (Agile)

This question was posted on LinkedIn today.

What is the best PM Methodology? Will all these large number of new methodologies stand the chance next to the good old Waterfall?

My response.

As a recent convert to the PMI world I have noticed that Agile and Scrum are tactical tools and PMP is a strategic tool.

PMI is 30+ years worth of real world experience and I really hate it when someone disregards PMI lingo as buzz words. To me it shows that they do not full understand the PMP methodology. This is part PMI’s fault by having such a high barrier to entry through cost, the years of experience prior to, continuing ed, etc… But whether or not you want to get the PMP behind your name and pay the money to be in the club, one should still study its methodology because you are studying 30 years worth of collected, real world knowledge and experience. I feel it’s the first place one should go to increase their PM knowledge (and certainly not the last).

Agile and Scrum could be considered open source and thus have no barrier to entry, they flexible by design, and have appeal with workers who like details and could care less about the over all strategy. Using Agile as an employee management tool increases employee motivation and buy-in which increases the chances of a projects success.

Agile works best where the project and its requirements are ambiguous. You deliver a working product earlier and make it better with each iteration, which helps keep morale up and the instant gratification high. Agile also brings a new set of employee best practices to software development methodology but can’t solve the whole problem of project management by itself (critical path, cost estimation, cost monitoring and controlling, scope creep!, etc.) The dirty secret is you have to have a pretty self-sufficient team to run it in true Agile fashion.

Also, every Agile project can be said to be delivered on time and thus a success because you always deliver the date regardless of the requirements. Agile isn’t constrained by the Triple Constraints.

I’m not really bashing Agile, I will run a software development project like an Agile project, but I’m still going to do the 44 processes that the PMP requires.

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Harvard Study Shows Most Social Media Sites Are For Looking At Pictures

September 16, 2009 at 8:08 pm (Internet) (, )

A recent research study by Mikolaj Jan Piskorski of Harvard Business School recent conducted a study of Social Networking sites that espouses what I have been saying about Social Media like FaceBook and Myspace as places to advertise for sometime. 

For one thing, findings show that people don’t click through on advertising on social networks. A good analogy is to imagine sitting at a table with friends when a stranger pulls up a chair, sits down, and tries to sell you something while you are talking to your friends. You will not get far with a strategy like this.

You can read more here

Mikolaj Jan Piskorski is an associate professor and a Marvin Bower Fellow in the Strategy unit at Harvard Business School.

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More Free PM Webinars from Journyx

September 16, 2009 at 9:16 am (Webinars) (, , )

journyx logo

Free PM Webinars from Journyx

Join Journyx for a series of complimentary 30-minute webinars designed to empower Project Managers, PMO Directors and others tasked with executing 100s of projects on time and on budget with the right resources.

Each webinar has multiple dates for attendence.

Extending Microsoft Project
Planning a project is only the first step in getting things done. The right project manager knows how to take these plans and make them a reality. While Microsoft Project is an important project planning tool, it does not enable project execution without a little help. We’ll give you that help.

3 Critical Components Of Project Success
Gartner reported that in 2008, 1 in 3 technology projects failed. Explore 3 ways to improve your odds of successfully completing projects on time, within budget, and to scope as planned.

Sledgehammer Or Flyswatter? Choosing The Right-Sized PPM
Learn how to choose the solution that will best fit your organization and provide real, tangible results, as well as how to define your requirements and evaluate the right features.

Successful Project Execution
How do successful project managers take projects from abstract plans to concrete results? This webinar focuses on the ways in which PMs can build a bridge between project planning and resource management to ensure successful project execution every time.

Improve Project Execution With Better Resource Management
Learn how to smooth the resource utilization curve, understand where your project is, determine the “I” for the ROI of your project, and maximize your most valuable asset – your employees.

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Free PM Webinars that earn PUD’s? Say It Ain’t So!

September 15, 2009 at 10:47 am (Webinars)

Thought I would pass this little gem on. Be sure to view the webinar as it happens because it cost $29.99 to view the archieved event!

CAI and the IT Metrics & Productivity Institute are proud to present

The 2009/2010 Software Best Practices Webinar Series

The Software Best Practices Webinars Series is dedicated to improving the practice and management of software development and maintenance world wide. All live webinars are FREE and have been accredited with PDU credits by PMI’s ISSIG group. Each webinar is worth 1 PDU credit. Topics covered in 2009 will include:

  • Software Measurement
  • Software Project Estimation
  • Software Testing
  • Software Project Management
  • Software Benchmarking
  • Rapid Application Development
  • Legacy Systems Support
  • Agile Development
  • Software Six Sigma
  • IT Project Governance
  • IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL)
  • Outsourcing Best Practices

Each webinar will feature an expert speaker who has extensively researched and successfully applied best practice principles to the development and maintenance of software.

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Think Outside-the-Box. Free RFP Webinar.

August 25, 2009 at 12:08 pm (Thinking Outside-The-Box)

I’ve been talking with a possible client to do some consulting work on their social media website. Initially they would like to draft a RFP (Request For Proposal) to get the core technology in place.

 A RFP is where you outline the work you need a third party to perform and ask them to detail how they will preform the work and why they are the best at fulfilling your needs. In the procurement process you also identify how you will rank and qualify the bid responses from the RFP.

 As I searched my templates, looked online, and contact peers, I soon realized that there is no perfect RFP. Why? Because the people drafting the RFP know only their high level needs, usually as an outsider to the technology in question.

 Which got me thinking Outside-the-Box, who would be the best person to draft an RFP?

 Well, the service provider! The service provider receives RFP’s almost on a daily basis. Responding to RFP’s is very time and resource expensive. So what if the service provider could answer less RFPs and get twice the business? How could they do this?

 They could achieve this increase in bids offered by reviewing the RFPs they have already received and combine those into a best practices webinar for businesses who are looking to employ the services that the service provider offers.

 A free webinar would be a very valuable resource for those needing to form one. By eliminating this road-block and decreasing a company’s time to complete an RFP, you increase the ramp-up time which means more business for the service provider.

 The drafter of this webinar will automatically be considered for the Proposal because of the inherent value created, if not end up being the default, go-to service provider for entrepreneurs.

 So, web providers, get busy with the RFP webinar. My business and money awaits you.

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SCRUM in Under 10 Minutes (HD) by @hamids

August 24, 2009 at 12:57 pm (Agile) ()

Learn the SCRUM software development methodology in less than 10 minutes. By the end of this fast-paced video, you’ll know about burn-down charts, team roles, product backlogs, sprints, daily scrums and more. 

Hamid Shojaee is the founder of Axosoft. They build software development and project management tools (such as bug tracking, wiki, scrum, etc.) for software development teams.

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