Monthly Archives: August 2012

How not to annoy people: emails, processes, and meetings

This post is a continuation of my series extracted from Scott Berkun’s book: How to make things happen. In this series, I have already shared my thought and diagrams about making decision, building trust, dealing with crisis, and about schedules.

I believe all point are pretty straight forward to understand on this topic. My key take away was: be clear in what you communicate and respect other people’s time.

 
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Schedules – impact on the team and on the project

This post is a continuation of my series extracted from Scott Berkun’s book: How to make things happen. In this series, I have already shared my thought and diagrams about making decision, about building trust, and about dealing with crisis. Below diagram is about schedules (not your personal schedule but a team schedule).

The interesting part in this chapter, in my opinion at least, was the impact of schedules on a team, it can really help the team to take ownership of the project and everyone can sees his work as a whole. I remember working on some project where the team did not have a clear understanding on where we were going. The effect on the motivation were pretty bad.

 
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Dealing with Crisis – Getting your project back on track

This post is a continuation of my series extracted from Scott Berkun’s book: How to make things happen. In this series, I have already shared my thought about making decision and about building trust.

Below diagrams show some tactics to deal with crisis in project management. We first look into the different types of crises we can run into.

Once the crisis has been identified, it needs to be controlled. To start controlling it, we need to acknowledge the crisis and start resolving all issue on step at the time.

Another important part of crisis is to resolve any human conflict you can have, crisis tend to increase people’s frictions.

Finally the rough guide to deal with crisis: stay calm, take responsibility, clear any ambiguity, and execute the plan.

This brings us to the overall diagram to deal with crisis:

 

 
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Windows Azure – Virtual server – Enable TCP connection (open the door to Internet traffic)

I finally created an account for Windows Azure, it is quite easy to do so and the cost are very affordable (if you have a MSDN premium subscription as each Microsoft employee does :)).
I never really had the opportunity learning in-depth IIS and ASP.net so now that I have this server available, I am starting!

The first step is obviously to have IIS role configured on the server (I am using a Windows Server 2012 OS). This is really straight forward to do:

  1. Open the server manager
  2. Click on Add roles and features
  3. Click ‘next’ until you reach the ‘Select server roles’ tab
  4. Check the Web Server (IIS) entry
  5. Click ‘next’ until installation is done

Once the installation is completed, you should be able to validate that ISS is running by opening the http://localhost page on a web browser. At this point you should see the ISS8 starting page.

The next step is to try to reach this webpage from the internet, this would generally require a static ip and a new DNS entry (or a dynamic ip and a dynamic dns server) BUT the people at Azure made it super simple to do. Just add a TCP endpoint to your virtual server, to do so follow these steps:

  1. Open the management portal for your Virtual machine (this can be accessed via the Virtual machines list in the portal)
  2. Click on the endpoints menu
  3. Click on Add endpoint
  4. Give any name for your endpoint, select the TCP protocol and configure the public and private port to be 80.

Once Windows Azure has completed to provision the new endpoint you will be able to access your IIS page from the outside world. Enter the DNS of your virtual machine (*.cloudapp.net) from any web browser and you should see thee IIS8 starting page.

 
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Building trust

Trust is probably the number one facilitator in people communication (after speaking the same language probably). With trust, people knows they can rely on what you commit to do. With trust, people knows what you are asking them to do is relevant to a project or team goals thus enabling them to do a great work. Below diagram is my compilation from the chapter about trust in Scott Berkun’s book: how to make things happen.

 

I already shared a diagram about making decisions, if you missed it you might want to have a look.

 
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Creating a Powershell session under a different set of credentials

Below code can be handy if you need to create a powershell session under a different credential than the one you are logged into.
This allow to support multiple scenarios:

  1. Test role base access control
  2. Increase privilege for important operation
# Avoid displaying the UI prompt when creating credential object
Set-ItemProperty 'HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\PowerShell\1\ShellIds' ConsolePrompting $true
# The user name
$userName = "<em>username</em>"
# The domain
$domain = "<em>domain</em>"
# Complete user\domain string
$UserDomain = $domain + "\" + $username
# The password (secure string)
$secure_string_pwd = convertto-securestring "<em>password</em>" -asplaintext -force
# Create the powershell credential object
$cred = new-object management.automation.pscredential $UserDomain,$secure_string_pwd 
# Change the title of the powershell console
(get-host).ui.rawui.windowtitle = $userName
# Create the Powershell session (in this example I create a session to OcsPowerShell)
$session = New-PSSession -ConnectionUri "https://<em>domain</em>/OcsPowerShell" -Credential $cred
# Import the session
Import-PSSession $session

Hope this works well for you too. Ping me otherwise 🙂

Ahmet

 
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Making decisions: Sizing up, comparing, finding options

How to make decisions[/caption]The last month, I have been reading an excellent book by Scott Berkun: how to make things happen.
This book is definitely targeting project and program managers but it has so much practical value that I would recommend reading it to any person willing to take more responsibility in its current team. Which happen to be my case :).

I made diagram of the most interesting (from my personal point of view and in my context) chapters and I am going to share some of them. Today’s diagram is about making decision, a skills that seems easy to master but without it, you can’t really go anywhere.

You will see that there are three core components of decisions making:

  1. Sizing up the decision: understanding what is a stake (impact, opportunity and context)
  2. Finding and weighing options: techniques to consider options, comparative evaluation are longer but provide an interesting range of choice
  3. Comparing: Basically a checking for the pros and cons of a decision

Making decisions

 
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