Friday, February 27, 2009

Communication Skills

Part 1: Technology

Nothing today

Part 2: Improving Communication Skills

In today’s world, the only thing that can take you forward or even save your job is Good Communication Skill. As you experience increases, this factor becomes very important. I found with many people that they find it difficult to accept that their communication skills need improvement. Everybody has opportunities to improve their communication skills at all times. One could be excellent in his work and may have good knowledge but if articulation capability is lacking, that person is not useful to any organization. So here are three tips for improving and constant focus on this skill:
  • Speak for five minutes on a topic. You can even record this on your mobiles and play back for your own assessment.
  • Start Blogging or Maintain a Diary. Write one paragraph a day on any interaction you had. Get them reviewed with people whom you trust and feel are better in communication.
  • Speak with people who do not know your local language but can speak English
Part 3: General – Fun

A melodious song from Dulari 1949 – Suhaani Raat Dhal Chuki. Watch the video here:

Link for Suhaani Raat Dhal Chuki


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Training Effectiveness

Part 1: Technology

Nothing today

Part 2: Assessing Training Effectiveness

I have attended many discussions and debates on this subject. Always the message I got was that it is difficult to assess the effectiveness of a training programme. I beg to differ with this message because I feel that every training program has a theme to be communicated. So the best way to assess the effectiveness is to check whether the message has reached the intended audience. So what I suggest is that at the end of every training session, one should conduct an objective type assessment test to attendees. The assessment should primarily focus on the content that was presented to the attendees. I suggest that we apply a simple thumb rule to assess the effectiveness – “If 70% of people have scored 100%, then the message has reached the audience. Anything less than 70% implies that either faculty was not good or participants were not capable to assimilate the topic.”

Part 3: General – Fun

While I was driving to office today, I was listening to the song – “Saathi Haath Badhana” from the movie Naya Daur. I liked the theme which communicates team effort and what results it could achieve. You can see the video version here:

Link to the Video

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sun TechDays 2009, Effort Overrun

Part 1: Technology Comments – Sun Techdays 2009 Hyderabad

Sun TechDays 2009 was conducted at Hyderabad from February 18’2009 to February 20th’2009. As per estimates, around 10000 Professionals and Students attended the session. This is conducted at HICC, a great convention center of International Standards. The ambience itself is excellent. This is third year in sequence the event is being conducted at this location. I had an opportunity to be a part of this for all the three years.

This year the theme is totally focused on JavaFX, the new RIA tool launched by Sun Microsystems Ltd., in competition to Adobe Flash/AIR and Microsoft Silverlight. I would suggest the following link for experimenting with JavaFX if you are a good Java Developer.


This exercise is an excellent start and gives a good feel for learning JavaFX especially the code being deployed on a mobile platform.

Visit by James Gosling, Father of Java and seeing him in person awed the crowd at the event.

I was personally elated as this time one of my team member Soby Chacko was a speaker for a session on IDM. He did a great job. Please visit


to know more about him.

I was really surprised by the capability the young generation of college students are picking up. Some students raised good questions on SQL Injection at MySQL sessions.

Also please see


for some nice pictures and videos.

Overall my impression on the Technical content was average during Sun TechDays’2009 and could be improved in terms of tracks addressing different communities with more structured flow of information.

One final point – Serving Food model needs to be improved. Instead of free floating food, packed food could be served against Identity Cards and this would result in comfort eating by the Delegates.

Part 2: Management Areas – Effort

This is in continuation of Quantitative measures. For every task assigned, one needs to know the actual hours allocated for execution and completion of the task. Again I go back to school days where we all learnt this philosophy of Time and Work. Estimating hrs required is a challenging job and it changes from work to work and industry to industry. So whatever industry you are in, try to understand how work hours are estimated and master the process of estimating techniques. Once the hours are estimated for task completion, these are monitored as the work is executed and compared with actual hours spent. The gap results in a metric which is popularly known as “Effort Overrun or Effort Underrun”. The Effort management is a very key aspect in any task management as this will determine the Profit and Loss nature of work executed. In comparison with Schedule Overrun (Please see my earlier blog) Effort Overrun has a greater impact on Task Profitability.

Part 3: General – Fun Events at Sun TechDays 2009

Day 1:

I always used to ponder how the real fashion shows would be while I was watching them on Television Telecasts. I had an opportunity to witness a live Fashion Show at Sun Tech Days 2009. Being a Sun Employee, I had the chance to be seated in the first few rows. It was a different experience and for a while I felt that I was in placed in Page 3 crowd.
Also during the event, three young kids performed on Guitar, Drums and Keyboard. They did a great job.
Watch the videos at


Day 2:

On Day 2, there was a Dance Show and the Anchor did a great job by involving the crowd with various gimmicks and ensured that people swayed with him. However it had to be cut short due to over excitement of the crowd which was resulting in the seats getting damaged.

See you till my next blog....

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Part 1: Technology Comments

Recently my Son won an Apple iPod Classic 30GB in a competition “Transition 2009” conducted by Cognizant Technologies Limited. The topic he and his friend presented was “SOA (Services Oriented Architecture)”. They stood second in the competition. Please visit "" for more details on the presentation.

My Son gave me the Apple iPod which he won as gift to me.

Thank you my Son!!!!!

I started tinkering with the Apple iPod and here are some of my observations:

You need a computer to use iPod.

The power is from USB port – So you need to have USB power plug or a computer to charge the device.

There is no Drag Drop facility from Windows Explorer (atleast I could not see). We need to install iTunes Software for moving files and managing content on iPod.

Except for Music and Videos, other type of data is not easy to manage.

You cannot manage content from the device like in mobiles and mp3 players.

I have standardized my audio to mp3 (48kbps). Whatever format of music I collect or buy, I convert to this format. My video standard is mobile mp4 and avi formats. These formats allow me to play my audio and video files on variety of devices – Mobile, Mp3 players, DVD Players. I was happy that Apple iPod Classic supported both my audio and mp4 formats. Hence it could sit easily in my choice of devices. My current devices are N72 Mobile, N5110 Mobile, Desktop Computer, Laptop Computer, DVD Player and Mp3 players.

If you are a person who is oriented to listening audio on headphones, the iPod is an excellent device. Both sound and video quality is superb and the screen for video is nice to the eye. However I am averse to headphones. So I tried to connect external speakers. I failed with few but finally Creative Amplification Speakers could be connected and audio was great.

I have decided this device to use for mp4 video viewing on the move with headphones and at home with external Creative Speakers.

Part 2: Management Areas

Today success of any person can be measured only by Quantitative Measurement. Anything that cannot be presented in tangible format is very difficult to perceive and appreciated. So it is important that every deliverable we make, the result should be quantifiable. I will try to cover this quantification more in upcoming blogs. But today I will focus on one measure that is common in every project or task. Yes it is “Schedule”. Schedule is nothing but elapsed time that is required to perform a job. We all have learnt about this right from our school days when we learnt Time and Work principles. So if you are performing a task, the first thing you should write down is the Start Date and End Date for completion of the task. You need to keep a constant watch on tasks being executed to ensure that the timeline is maintained. Actual Excess or less elapsed time than planned elapsed time results in Schedule Overrun or Underrun. In every project, this is the first and foremost metric that is assessed. This sound simple but management of schedule adherence is a difficult task.

Part 3: General

Yesterday I saw a Telugu movie “Sasirekha Parinayam” starring Tarun and Genelia. Very loud on sound and a poor attempt to redo hindi movie “Jab We Met”. This movie can be ignored and one can watch this on TV whenever it is telecasted. Only one song is melodious in the movie.

See you in next blog....

One interesting observation on JavaFX….

There are some blogs that are bashing JavaFX with a statement that Flash and Silverlight are far ahead and JavaFX is late in the market. Maybe… But both Flash and Sliverlight are not seen much on Mobile Platforms. JavaFX has great potential on Mobile Platforms as there are many mobile devices that support Java. And Mobile Platform cannot be neglected. So if JavaFX is adopted, one could develop applications once and they could be deployed on standalone basis(like AIR), on Web(Flash and SilverLight) and finally on Mobile Platform(where options are very limited). JavaFX has been launched and definitely has great potential in future. Advise – Do not neglect this technology. Learn it. It could be useful in future career.