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What – a change in direction! February 27, 2012

Posted by Russ Arnett in Uncategorized.
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Well – I have always said that surprises and new actions are what I look forward to in my professional life. It is after all good for the ego – to be professionaly wanted! Project Managers do not always act like they can handle immediate and urgent professional requirements very well – because after all – ” a little bit of planning = a chance for (some) success” jumping into the malstrom without planning is a rush into risk nirvana – Well be carefull on what you wish for. I will be sharing what I can from an assignment that I am going on, but there are certainly controls on what I can share.


Determination of Requirements February 25, 2012

Posted by Russ Arnett in Projects and Risks.
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Before going on the potential assignment for an evaluation I will need to plan out a Statement of Work to be used as a communication tool between the three interested parties.

Since the assignment as described is to do the evaluation, but not to include any vendor recommendation it will be critical to have a well crafted and concise scope of this assignment produced and signed off by the end customer.

There is going to be a short time allocated for this assignment to be completed.  The hours required really have not been discussed, but the goal as presented is to have the evaluation completed within 3 weeks.

Most of the staff to be interviewed work remotely, however some face to face meetings will be planned and will require a well planned process to be efficient and productive.

It feels that there is a good deal of risk involved for both sides with the little amount of information currently available at this time.

  1. Any estimate of time required at this point would be at best a “wild guess”
  2. Does the customer really understand that they must have an “expert” available as needed
  3. Has the customer thought thru what the potential for disruption of daily business could be by this change
  4. Has all of the critical data (if any) been identified and appropriately secured

I am currently developing a hybrid SOW for discussion and presentation if this assignment does in fact happen, and of course I am hampered at this time because of a lack of information.

More to follow ………………………..

Process Evaluation – February 25, 2012

Posted by Russ Arnett in Projects and Risks.
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In the process of discussing a potential assignment that in general will be to evaluate a current production system with the end result to provide an evaluation and suggestions on what to do to improve it.

One of the first requirements is to gain knowledge on what is the expectations of the current system and how does it fulfill those expectations.  The basic approach that comes to mind is to be able to have information about the vendor and related products that it provides and to develop additional information as well.  It should be questioned if another already installed system could replace it?

Of course the information of where else it is used and what competitors are in the market place and how do they measure up.  It is a WEB based – SQL .Net application – so interesting issues could abound.  Nothing was said at this point – but it would need to be asked – how critical is the system for day to day operations?

  1. Is the software being used the latest release?
  2. Is there a support/maintenance contract in place?
  3. What is the support history (response – customer support – etc.)
  4. Are the users trained?
  5. Has the work flow evolved to support the application?
  • Key information and basic data required
  1. Who are the “super users”
  2. Who are the casual users?
  3. What works well (in general)
  4. What does not work well (in general)
  • Some potential information required –
  1. Reports are correct?
  2. Speed of query results?
  3. Data presentation?
  4. Quality of data and related controls
  5. Quantity of data available?
  • What is not working as expected?
  • Is it the system – or is it internal work flow issues?
  • Does the current infrastructure support the system as needed?

Vendor Frustration – Continued February 23, 2012

Posted by Russ Arnett in Uncategorized.
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So – how bad can it get?  The customer is willing to wait for our vendor to get a Project Manager assigned, but when informed that the required resources to support this project will now not be available until the middle of March – (perhaps) they were understandably upset.  To understand this issue, the resources are a combination of employees and contracted help – all of who have many assignments and are considered fully loaded at 24 hours for any new process – projects assigned.  They as you can assume also have production support requirements.

Also to consider – this is a fiscal year budgeted project – and yes the fiscal year ends 6/30, which means that several approval steps may now be required unless the vendor can step up and do more than they have indicated.

Well as you can see there are now several issues and the risk level of several processes will also become issues that upper management will need to address and provide some insights and direction for the actions that are required to take place.

Vendor Frustration February 22, 2012

Posted by Russ Arnett in Projects and Risks.
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This is just to cause some thinking about the project start process.  The best projects are those where the vendor is engaged and has knowledge of the customer (you – or your sponsor).  But this seems to become a real issue and cause of frustration with the expanded reviews and cost investigations.

It seems that customer care has become less of a priority for the larger “in control” vendors.  Since these vendors have a “captive” market – customer, the pressure to provide just simple communications just is not there.  They know that the customer cannot – or will not go to another vendor, so the level of service drops.

This is true in healthcare – several large companies have the medical equipment installed and the invested capital dollars are so intense that replacement simply will not happen.

One of my current in-process projects is in the middle of trying to squeeze out the simplest of communications from the sales engineer.  This is very frustrating, and could cause some issues with the vendor assigned resources if this attitude carries into the implementation processes.

I believe that this will now cause me to become a true relationship manager for this vendor and how to calm the business users who are at the very least anxious for a very intense and critical upgrade.

The risk here – is that lack of continued communications will impact any schedule that is developed

Still working beyond retirement! | Project Management Professionals Information February 20, 2012

Posted by Russ Arnett in Meetings.
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Still working beyond retirement! | Project Management Professionals Information.

via Still working beyond retirement! | Project Management Professionals Information.

Preliminary Steps and thoughts – Vendor February 19, 2012

Posted by Russ Arnett in Projects and Risks.
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This particular project is the installation of new software that will be ran within the enterprise network and server structure.  The only evaluation at this stage has been by the professionals within the budget and business sponsors department.  The next steps will require a full technical review and evaluation which of course will have a risk to both the sponsor and the vendor.

  • Does the software work within the current customers network and server constraints?
  • Is it installed within a similar environment?
  • How is it supported?
  • What is the recovery and replacement procedures?
  • What is the maturity level?
  • What is the scheduled maintenance and update process and procedures?
  • What is the technical training requirements?
  • What is the vendor technical environment, capabilities and responsiveness?
  • What is the overview of any future releases?

These represent an overview of the information that will be required.  Share your thoughts!

Tracking a project from the beginning February 19, 2012

Posted by Russ Arnett in Projects and Risks.
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I will be starting a new project in March.  I will track this project by covering what I am doing and the steps involved.

I will be restricted somewhat due to the confidential requirements that are in all projects – but this will not restrict the type and manner of questions that will be required to determine project information for:

  • Identifying risks
  • Vendor knowledge – and reputation in the community
  • Vendor capabilities – technical and practical
  • Business user capabilities and dedication
  • Customer technical capabilities and commitment
  • Scope
  • Goals
  • Reality versus project requirements

I certainly welcome any ideas or feed back.

Look at Personal Risk as Well February 18, 2012

Posted by Russ Arnett in Uncategorized.
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Sometimes when I am going on an assignment I get so caught up in what I am about to do – I do not take the time to consider what my risks may be!

  1. Do I have all my equipment – certainly the appropriate parts – with me and properly working?
  2. Is all of my software up to date?
  3. What is my contingency plan for equipment failure?
  4. Batteries – where are the batteries?  What kind and how many?
  5. Have I loaded the reference and background information I need?  (I use Dropbox) – have I validated that it is all there?

These I know are simple – and even “DUH” items, but to maintain a professional appearance it is important that we all take time and review.

If it is a group that I have only met on the phone – or “shudder” never before – then I do put together an elevator speech to use as needed.

The Benefits of CRISC Certification February 17, 2012

Posted by Russ Arnett in Projects and Risks.
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CRISC Impacts Your Career and Your Organization

CRISC is the most current and rigorous assessment available to evaluate the risk management proficiency of IT professionals and other employees within an enterprise or financial institute.

Those who earn CRISC help enterprises to understand business risk, and have the technical knowledge to implement appropriate IS controls.

View News Release

CRISC Certification:

Denotes a prestigious, lifelong symbol of knowledge and expertise as a risk professional

Increases your value to your organization as it seeks to manage IT risk

Gives you a competitive advantage over peers when seeking job growth

Gives you access to ISACA’s global community of knowledge and the most up-to-date thinking on IT risk management

Helps you achieve a high professional standard through ISACA’s requirements for continuing education and ethical conduct

Why Employers Hire CRISCs

CRISCs bring additional professionalism to any organization by demonstrating a quantifiable standard of knowledge, pursuing continuing education, and adhering to a standard of ethical conduct established by ISACA.

CRISC employees:

Build greater understanding about the impact of IT risk and how it relates to the overall organization

Assure development of more effective plans to mitigate risk

Establish a common perspective and language about IT risk that can set the standard for the enterprise

ISACA draws on a global network of leading professionals to develop its certification programs. With access to experts around the world, ISACA is defining how IT risk is managed in current and future business environments.


via The Benefits of CRISC Certification.

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