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Prince2 Project Management

I have a friend, Shaun, who is a project manager. I've never worked with him, but I'm lead to believe he is shit hot at what he does. A while ago, he did the Prince2 certification. And up until this weekend, all I knew about Prince2 was that it had something to do with project management.

Now, to side track for a bit, as a software architect, we follow methodologies when implementing projects. Methodologies like Feature Driven Development, eXtreme Programming, the Waterfall Model, Rational Unified Process, etc, etc, which are basically instructions for the techies on how to run a project successfully. And it always amazes me, when the project managers don't know what they are doing, and screw everyone and everything up. If only they had a set of instructions on how to do their job?!

"Prince2 revealed" by Colin Bentley 2006 (ISBN 0-7506-6672-2) is in fact that very instruction book. Split into three parts, it first works its way through the terminology of Prince2, then discusses in good detail what each step of the process is about and how to apply it and finally the third part of the book discusses how to apply it to small projects, and even has lots of humerous cartoons.

I'm going to buy each of my managers a copy. Hopefully they will pass the copies on to their bosses after they read them. Also, after reading it, I'm going to start my kitchen project again, and this time, get it right!

Incidentally, on my current project, the managers have been studying towards Project Management Institute certification, for several years. It seems to go into quite a lot of depth about the tools that project managers can use, but it seems to lack the fundamental description of how to put it all together. Or at least that is what I am lead to believe when I work with these managers...

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24 Hour Clocks

We had a production issue today whereby the client was complaining that we needed to change the schedule of a component. The component reads from a DB once an hour, at 15 minutes before the hour, and uploads the data into SAP. That data then triggers a job in SAP. The problem was, the job was taking more than 15 minutes to finish, and that caused it to fail, because it 'got confused' by the clock moving into the next day, when the 23.45 schedule ran...

Why do I have to work with people who write jobs like that? Surely, that is the type of issue that 16 year olds who are programming for their GCSE's face?

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Non-technical Techies

On a conf call to Germany today, we were discussing an interface whereby we receive data from an SAP system and write it to an XML file which a custom factory floor system can pick up and process. We asked the guys in charge of the factory floor system if they could give us a DTD descriptor for the XML that they are expecting so that we could use our tools to generate the code for JAXB binding.

"Vat is zis DTD you speak of?"

"Erm, OK, its like an XSD document? The metadata to describe the document structure?", we replied...

"Hmmm... Can you please send us ze example, Ja?"

Sorry, but if you own a system that takes XML input, call yourself a techy, but don't know what XSD or DTD is, you should not be allowed near the computer. And to think, these guys work for a world class, Fortune 100 company! I can see how it got to be the market leader...

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