Tuesday, July 30, 2013

What Assumptions Need to Prove True -- To Prevent Project failure

          Most projects fail because of flawed critical assumptions such as overestimating the sale. One of the ways to avoid the failure is to have ‘what assumptions need to prove true’ mindset.

          List all the assumptions. Rank them based on the criticality and likeliness. Have your team focus on the most critical ones. Try to test the assumptions. If it does not turn out as positive as you think, perhaps you need to rethink about the project feasibility.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Do you love your job?

          No one completely love or hate our jobs. If you think about it, there are two factors contributing to the love-hate relationship:
  1. Hygiene factor: Hygiene are things like how much you get paid, how your manager treat you. Bad hygiene causes job dissatisfaction. But good hygiene does not make you satisfied. It just makes you not dissatisfied.
  2. Motivation: This is what make people satisfied. Here are examples: Challenging work, recognition, responsibility and personal growth.
          Hygiene factor is external and tangible. The company can provide it for you. But, motivation factor comes from inside and is intangible. You cannot measure it. You have to feel it.

Why Do We Hate Our Jobs

          A lot of people hate their job. One of the reason is because they choose hygiene factors, most likely financial return, over motivation. They tell themselves. It’s ok. It’s gonna take a few year until I am financially stable. Then, I’ll go chase my dream. 
          But it’s hard to let go of high paying job, especially when your salary keeps getting higher. You expand your lifestyle to match higher salary. Next thing you know is that it’s too difficult to coil back to your previous lifestyle and you have no choice but to keep working on the high-paying job that you don’t like. In a few year, you would hate your job, and your life’d become dissatisfactory. 

The Destination or the Journey?

          Sometimes what motivates you is not the end result, but the journey to the end result. In fact, happiness in career comes from the opportunity to learn new things and succeed at it, and to receive more and more responsibilities. When you learn a new thing, you get more excited and would like to learn more. When you reach the end, you feel proud. But that’s about it. There is nothing more you want to do to your final product. You might even left the product alone, and never use or see it again. 
“The pursuit of money can at best mitigate the frustration in your career.”

Tangible Compensation and Motivation

          A lot of people focus too much on tangible compensation such as salary and benefit. The reason is because their friends and family see tangible compensation as a sign of success. 
When focusing on motivation, the right question is not how much you earn, but the following questions:
  • Is this work meaningful to me?
  • Is this job going to give me a chance to develop?
  • Am I gonna learn new things?
  • Will I have an opportunity for recognition and achievement?
  • Am I gonna be given responsibility?
If you have a job which responses well with these question, the tangible compensation would become less important. 
“Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

Source: How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton M. Christensen, James Allworth, and Karen Dillon

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Finding Happiness in Your Career: Three Principles

<- Previous PostMain Post | Book review | Next Post ->

“The problem is that what we think matters most in our job often doesn’t align with what will really make us happy.”

 Three Important Principles

          There are three things we need to do in order to find happiness in our career.
  1. Priority: We need to know which one is important and which one is not.
  2. Balancing plan and strategy: Plan is about what you predict; Strategy is how you react to unpredicted events. We need to balance the use of both plan and strategy.
  3. Allocate resource: Having idea isn’t enough. You need to execute. Since we have limited resource, we need to be smart in allocating resource for each execution. 
“The trap many people fall into is to allocate their time to whoever screams loudest, and their talent to whatever offers them the fastest reward. That’s a dangerous way to build a strategy.” 
Source: How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton M. Christensen, James Allworth, and Karen Dillon

Friday, July 19, 2013

Teaching People

 What and How

          Sometimes, it is better to teach people how to think and let them come up with the answer by themselves. If you just directly tell them what do you, their prior knowledge and ego will crash with your intention to teach them. Make them come up with the answer themselves, and they will gladly accept the answer. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Are you happy?

     Are rich people happy? Some of them are. Some of them aren’t. Here are a few examples. Some of them may not have happy marriage. Some of them may get divorce. Some of them might not talk to their kids in years. Some of them might end up in jail due to financial crime.

 Good Theory

          We might have heard that we should learn from the past. That’s necessary but not sufficient. If we did so, we would be able to deal with what happened, and we wouldn’t be able to deal with new events. We need to learn to deal with future events as well. Good theory is a tool we can use to deal with future events.
“If we can’t see beyond what’s close by, we’re relying on chance on the current of life to guide us. Good theory helps people steer to good decisions, not just in business but in life too.” 

Friday, July 12, 2013

[Main] How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton M. Christensen, James Allworth, and Karen Dillon

[This is the First Post | Main Post | Book review | Next Post ->

     This is the main post in the series "How Will You Measure Your Life?" by Clayton M. Christensen, James Allworth, and Karen Dillon.  Here are what I learn from this book:

  • You can read my review [ here ]
  • Prologue
    • Chapter 1: Just Because You Have Feathers...
  • Section I Finding Happiness in Your Career 
    • Chapter 2: What Makes Us Tick 
    • Chapter 3: The Balance of Calculation and Serendipity 
    • Chapter 4: Your Strategy Is Not What You Say It Is
  • Section II Finding Happiness in Your Relationships
    • Chapter 5 The Ticking Clock 
    • Chapter 6 What Job Did You Hire That Milkshake For? 
    • Chapter 7 Sailing Your Kids on Theseus's Ship
    • Chapter 8 The Schools of Experience 
    • Chapter 9 The Invisible Hand Inside Your Family 
  • Section III Staying Out of Jail
    • Chapter 10 Just This Once...
  • Epilogue 
Book or Audiobooks?

Personally, I prefer audiobooks. It's fun, and I can listen when I'm doing something else. It also makes other activities (e.g., jogging) a lot more fun. For more detail about audiobooks, please read [this post].

There is one more reason that may encourage you to go for the audiobook version. You can get it now for FREE. Audible offers you a free trial for 14 days. Even if you get the book and cancel the subscription right away (so that you don't have to pay), you can keep the book. And, don't worry if you lost the audiobook file. Just log into audible.com. You can keep downloading the over and over again.

   About the summary: It takes time to finish up a book. And, when you do, sometimes, you want to review what you learn from the book. If you do not make  notes as you read, you might have to go through the book once again. This can be time-consuming when you are dealing with a book. But you can still flip through the book and locate what you are looking for.

However, when the material is an audiobook, it is extremely hard to locate a specific part of content. Most likely you will have to listen to the entire audiobook once again.

This book summary will help solve the pain of having to go through the book all over again.

I am leaving out the details of the books. Most books have interesting examples and case studies, not included here. Reading the original book would be much more entertaining and enlightening. If you like the summary, you may want to get the original from the source below.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Designing a New Relationship with Government by Jennifer Pahlka

           Jennifer Pahlka gave a talk at UX Week 2012. Her talk is about how Code of America work with various government. Code of America is quite interesting it's a place where, if you can take a secondment from your company, you can apply for a one-year fellowship and get a chance to help government work with citizen. To me, it's quite interesting. I think this is one of the project/company that will make this world a better place to live.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

[Book Review] How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton M. Christensen, James Allworth, and Karen Dillon

[This is the First Post Post | Main Post | Book review | Next Post ->

 Rating: 4/5
 Learning Level: 4/5
 Genre: Non-Fiction, Self-Development
Book Review:

  I picked up this book out of my curiosity to learn to ‘measure your life’. But, a lot of this book is business content, e.g., how to set the goal, how to allocate resource to the execute the goal, and so on. So, I would say this book is a bit of misnomer. If you are interested solely in ‘measuring your personal life’, this book might not be good for you.
         But this book is not all about the business. The authors show how the principles can be applied to business as well as personal life. After reading this book, I found out that one of my purpose in life would be to help others improve their self-esteem. What would be yours?

Friday, July 5, 2013

[Book Review] The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

 Rating: 2/5
 Learning Level: 2/5
 Genre: Non-Fiction, Science, Psychology
Book Review:

   A year before I read this book, one of my friends suggested me that this is a must-read book. He did not tell me why I should read this book. I respect his opinion. So, I kept this book in my reading list. And, now, it’s time to read this book. I have a mixed feeling about this book. On one hand it’s informative and provocative. It is full of anecdotes to support the ‘black swan’ theory. The idea is that most theories are built on the average. But in reality, nothing is exactly the same as the average. There’s always a sample which jumps out of the average. This sample is called a ‘black swan’. The problem is that people do not recognize it or they don’t want to recognize it. So, when the impact of the outlier is great, it can lead to catastrophic effect like the crash of the stock market, wars, and so on.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Build the Future by Brian David Johnson

Crafting Future

          Crafting future is so much different from predicting future. We can never predict future. If we could, we would have been rich by now. But, we can craft future. Our decision today will influence what will happen tomorrow. Here, we do not mean one or a few human. We, here, mean people. If we wanted to change future, we would need to change the way people perceive the future. That's how we craft the future.