• Of Hammers and Ceilings of Glass

    three truths to initiate a meaningful change
    - posted on February 19, 2016 by Vsevolod Geraskin in articles about change1 life lessons1 leadership4

    Just over a year and a half ago, I hit a point in my career where I felt a change was necessary. What was once enjoyable became a chore, since I was not learning and innovating enough. And as a software professional, being in such state for a prolonged period of time is a death knell for our careers. We either keep moving forward or become obsolete. read more...

  • A Consultant's Strategy for Project Success

    how can a small business deliver large projects?

    In the last post, we asked a question of how can a small business or a consultant with limited resources and immature ad hoc processes compete with large enterprises with greater resources and well-defined processes for large projects. Almost always, the consultant's expertise would be the deciding factor for success. Thus, unsurprisingly, some competitive strategies a small business can adopt are also some of its greatest strength: niche expertise, faster decision making, and flexibility. Oftentimes, these intrinsic advantages allow small businesses to achieve more with less while maintaining greater intimacy with external stakeholders than larger companies. read more...

  • People, Product... What Process?

    examining the importance of process to successful delivery of large projects.

    Oftentimes, smaller businesses using extremely 'agile' approach to projects are focused on people and product, but tend to create and use basic processes as they go along. For instance, the planning phase of a small software project could be as simple as sitting down with the customer and writing some user stories, and execution phase would then be giving those user stories to developers to code. The control would consist of showing the customer intermediate releases hoping that the programmers hit the mark. Thus, a consultant could successfully complete a smaller project using this loose process that they created by relying on their subject matter expertise and heroics, as often happens in real life. I admit, many times I went straight to coding after meeting with a customer and was quite successful doing that on multiple projects in the past. read more...

  • PMP for under $900

    a cost effective way to prepare for and get your PMP certification

    Given you have necessary experience, Project Management Institute's PMP exam also requires you to obtain 35 hours of project management education. While that does not seem like much, project management courses at traditional institutions to earn those required hours could run into thousands of dollars. Since it is the experience that makes PMP holders stand out from the crowd, I suggest using simple online courses and material to get your PMP in the most cost effective way. It only makes sense to obtain the same end result with the least investment. read more...

  • To Convert or Not

    dealing with common issues upgrading clients to the new version of a software product

    You upgraded the client's database to that shiny new SQL server and gave them a superior software product with a sleek modern UI. And yet, you get a call next morning with the client yelling at you to revert back to their old DB3 with DOS-based interface threatening to leave you for your competitor. You reluctantly give in and put them back on the old product. The upgrade is a disaster. read more...

  • That Elusive Inbox Zero

    getting support mailbox to inbox zero while keeping clients happy
    - posted on December 20, 2014 by Vsevolod Geraskin in articles about support1 day-to-day1 customers2 task management2

    If you support a piece of software used by any number of clients, chances are you spend a significant amount of time dealing with various customer requests, the bulk of which come through the email. As part of my current position, I deal with over 300 organizations which require prompt and helpful email support. Unfortunately, urgent emails often get in the way of non-urgent, but important stuff. Spend too much time mired in day-to-day customer issues, and long-term project deadlines might start to slip. Over the course of many years, I adopted the following practices which helped me minimize the amount of time to get back to that priscine and stress-free inbox 0 state while still keeping customers satisfied. read more...

  • Agents of Change

    contributing to organizational change from perspectives of three different IT roles and six images of change
    - posted on December 27, 2013 by Vsevolod Geraskin in articles about leadership4 change management1 essay1

    While organizations could deal with various changes, such as downsizing and mergers, the Information Technology professionals are deeply involved in introduction of new technologies to organizations. In order to determine contribution to such changes from various IT positions, I identified three main 'classical' technological roles: System Analyst, Information Technology Manager, and Information Technology Consultant. read more...