May 2020: How to manage remote teams? Companies use remote teams for many reasons, starting from accommodating for distributed workforce, to cost saving, to responding to emergency situations. In some cases, remote working can be a policy for the company. Despite the bright side of remote working, like achieving work-life balance and more autonomous control for employees tasks, there are downside impacts for this setup. Lack of direct communication and face to face interactions between team members will limit opportunities for collaboration and innovation, which are a key pillar for most successful teams. To overcome this drawback, managers need to provide suitable environments for remote interaction, with clear ground rules that guarantee everybody's discipline for a meaningful interaction. Many technology tools allow for establishing such an environment in secure and flexible way, with monitoring and tracking features to keep work in progress. Still, physical meetings from time to time as possible are a considerable enabler for team success in virtual remote settings.
April 2020: Are you paying attention to Business Continuity Management? Business continuity management refers to sustaining operation of core vital business activities during disaster times. Business continuity management doesn't happen reactively on the spot when the disaster occurs, it requires advance preparation of backup plans and business continuity plans. Alternative business models, and temporary business conduct arrangements, need to be put in place, ready to be invoked and executed once the need strikes. Standby locations, and disaster recovery measures should be defined in these plans, with roles and tactics laid out. Usually all business continuity plans will employ risk management and business impact analysis techniques. Underlying business continuity plans are IT continuity plans, where IT services and tools are enabling many of business operations, in normal conditions and for disaster recovery purposes.
March 2020: What is Cloud Manufacturing? Cloud Manufacturing (CMfg) is a recently booming paradigm that tries to adopt cloud computing philosophy in the manufacturing arena. Resource pools are created, where different types of resources are made available for sharing among manufacturers. The cloud platform can be operated by the manufacturer who is offering resources for sharing, or by an independent intermediary. Resources can range from IT resources including hardware and software. e.g. design; planning; and manufacturing systems, to manufacturing machinery and plants. The ultimate goal of applying cloud manufacturing is similar to cloud computing objectives of cost savings and maximization of resource utilization, while minimizing energy consumption and waste. New technologies like IoT and big data are considered enablers for this manufacturing system.
February 2020: How to define KPIs? Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) can be defined as major metrics that portrait the status of several aspects of a certain element. They can be measured quantitatively in terms of raw numerical measures, e.g. financial measures, or quantitatively in terms of scored or scaled subjective measures. KPIs are defined based on any desired scope to understand, analyze, and improve performance of element(s) in scope. For example, they can be defined to measure performance of a process, an activity, a project, a department, an individual, etc. KPIs can be leading indicator by predicting future status and performance trends, or lagging by describing status and performance over an elapsed period. KPIs need to be realistic and to measure what they are intended to measure to provide correct guidance for decision making, otherwise they will be misleading indicators.
January 2020: What is meant by Business Analysis? Business analysis is the discipline of identifying business needs in the form of requirements, designs, and plans, in order to achieve defined objectives which deliver value to the business. Business analysis initiaives are usually implemented in the form of projects that enable changes in the organization. Business analysts communicate with all stakeholders, throught the life span of the project, to gather requirements, get feedback on partial deliverables, and keep all stakeholders engaged and informed. Techniques used in business analysis include, but not limited to, elicitation and collaboration, business modeling, process analysis, solution design and evaluation, communication and facilitation, etc. Requirements involved in business analysis cover several categories of requirements: business requirements, stakeholder requirements, solution requirements, and requirements for transition to future state.
December 2019: How to define Project Lifecycle? Every project should follow a defined lifecycle with defined phases through which the project will be managed. Depending on the industry and the organization type of business, the phases of the project lifecycle will be different. For example, software development projects lifecycle defines phases different from phases in the lifecycle of construction projects, or developmental nonprofit projects, etc. Along with defining the phases of a project lifecycle, phase gates, and inputs and outputs from each phase need to be defined. In large projects, a single phase of the project lifecycle may be managed as a standalone sub-project, with its own budget and timeline. Usually gate reviews for transitioning outputs from one closed phase to the following phase will need to be done. Project lifecycles standardized across a certain organization should include tailoring guidelines when needed.
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