Why Program Managers do NOT raise red-flags on time

•Thu, 17 Nov, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Ever noticed that when Program Managers raise a red-flag it is already too late to fix the situation? Why do you think that is? Poor Estimates of Course! But even when a team/individual is under-performing there is often some reluctance from the PM to bring that it to the attention of management.

Reason1: Poor Estimates.

Garbage-in, garbage-out. A goal  without an action-plan is just a wish-list. The art science of estimation can fill an entire book. Not estimating a project bottom-up from the beginning is a huge risk.

Reason2: Sunk-Cost fallacy

A typical PM’s though process – The team has already spent a few days/weeks on this, maybe one day more and they will be done; and then we can worry about getting back on track. After all, how hard can it be?…

Reason3: Endowment Effect

Endowment effect refers to the  cognitive dissonance that makes one look favorably upon one’s belongings or one’s own endeavors. Most commonly exploited by the myriad try-before-you-buy sales. Their aim? get the product into the hands of potential owners so that potential-owners form favorable opinions of the product all by themselves. PM’s are most vulnerable to a similar effect when they look upon the program as their brain-child. It is almost impossible for a PM to accept it early-on when the best-laid plans begin to go awry.

Reason4: Self Evaluation

At the end of the day, a PM is evaluated on the timely delivery of product. It is natural that a PM looks at a slipping schedule as an imminent failure of his ability to run the program. In a competitive environment, it is natural that a PM would try his best to avoid a black-spot on himself. Unless a open and accepting culture is cultivated by the management, naturally PMs will make every attempt to delay the inevitable and avoid emphasizing a slip in the schedule early-on.

The Fix?

Install an early-warning system in place. This could be a modular, granular planning and time-tracking tool like JIRA.

An quicker alternative is to switch the reporting/mental model of the PMs. In this alternative reporting model:

Each project is assumed to be in RED by default. Until proven otherwise, a project is assumed to be slipping schedule and heading towards a cost/time over-run.

To lower the escalation, periodically the PM is tasked with presenting the information of the program planning and execution. If the PM can share a project-plan with effort-estimates and demonstrate that the work so far has been carried out according to their respective  initial estimates, then the escalation can be lowered from RED to a YELLOW.

A program can be designated the GREEN status ONLY if the above project-plan is very detailed and also contains the list of pending actions with their respective effort-estimates all the way to the conclusion of the program. A PM who can provide such evidence surely deserves the right to GREEN-flag his program.


Vijay Kedia’s 10 Inspiring “Rules” EVERY investor MUST know

•Sat, 27 Aug, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Saw a fantastic power-packed talk by Vijay Kedia on his experiences in the Indian commodities market over the past decades. It was an entertaining talk. Vijay Kedia explained several useful principles that EVERY investor MUST know.

If you are looking to invest in the stock market,
first seriously invest 45minutes to watch this video.

At the end of the above session,
Vijay Kedia shared the following 10 “RULES” every individual investor MUST know…

For more astute observations on the Indian Stock Market,
follow Vijay Kedia on Twitter – @VijayKedia1


The secret reason for Jobs/Employment

•Mon, 15 Aug, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Escher’s Relativity. Courtesy Wikipedia. [1]

Listening to a recent NPR episode on automation, a thought came to mind.

How will people earn money once all the jobs are automated?

What is money?

In its simplest form, money is a promise to exchange certain amount of goods or services in return. A $10 note in your pocket is a promise to you (from everyone who participates in the dollar economy) to render you goods or services worth $10, if you ever ask for them in exchange for the $10 note you currently have.

Jobs and Money

Employment (or Jobs) provide a socially accepted means of deciding the relative prosperity among peers. Anyone who works harder(or smarter) than his peers, contributes more to the welfare of the society. The relatively higher productivity is rewarded with him having more money than his peers. This means he has a larger number of “promises” from the rest of the world compared to his peers. Effectively this gives his opinion a better chance of being accepted as he can “call-in the promises” owed to him whenever someone else has any objections.

Make the world a better place
= Be rewarded with money to enjoy more of the better place.

Money also provides an incentive to do more than what is barely adequate in the present. Money is like one of those bonus lives you rack-up in a video game that will come in handy in case of trouble in the future. A nest-egg for retirement.

Jobs = an Algorithm
Money = an Implementation

… for the (re)distribution of wealth (and power).

So once the world is mostly automated and employment/jobs are no longer a necessity for the survival/prosperity of mankind, what will someone need to do to be able to lead a higher standard of living compared to his peers?

No jobs = No Money?

Once we enter an era where the survival/prosperity of mankind is a solved problem, the quest to improve productivity will no longer be the primary driving force.


Source: A theory of Human Motivation – A H Maslow (1943). [4]

Employment/Jobs will not be the primary source of money (and power). However, it is likely that money/wealth will continue to be the proxy for the relative rank of a person in the society. A job (the art/science of earning money) will transition from productivity to happiness. Once the  Physiological and Safety needs are met (Food, Clothing and Shelter), the society will transition to rewarding behaviour that fulfills the higher order needs of others like enhancing their self-esteem and enabling them to reach the pinnacle of their capabilities (self-actualisation).

Working harder(or smarter) than one’s peers, will no longer be a significant contribution to the betterment of the society. Instead people involved in satisfying the higher order needs will be rewarded with more money than their peers.

Make the world a happier place
= Be rewarded with money to enjoy more of the happier place.

So all the software engineers out there – Get an early start.

Be nice.

Share your knowledge. Help your peers at their tasks.

Maybe even write some FOSS.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relativity_(M._C._Escher)
[2] http://www.npr.org/sections/money/2016/08/03/488611449/episode-715-the-sewing-robot
[3] Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – by FireflySixtySeven
[4] A theory of Human Motivation – http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Maslow/motivation.htm


•Fri, 25 Nov, 2011 • Leave a Comment

30minutes. 26 slides. Kernel, HAL, Applications.

Developing Sensors on Android a lightning talk @ DroidCon2011.

View entire slide-deck : Sensors on Android @ DroidCon2011

CVS DroidCon2011 Talk

Presenting "Sensors on Android" @ DroidCon2011

Pasta, i love you

•Fri, 21 Oct, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Matching the pasta to the right sauce

Each shape of pasta is typically matched with a particular sauce based on consistency and its ability to hold sauce.

Baked Mostaccioli

Fresh, light sauces like olive oil or simple fresh tomato work best with smooth shapes (mostaccioli, ziti).
Oil-based sauces and thicker tomato sauces go better with flat pasta like linguine, giving it a fuller flavor.

Linguine Arrabiata

Fettucini Alfredo

Robust sauces, such as Fettucini Alfredo go well with Fettuccine, a thicker flat long shape.
Seafood-based sauces pair well with refined spaghetti especially with spaghetti ala chittara. Being squared instead of round this type of paste offers more surface for the delicate sauce to stick to.

Spaghetti ala Chittara

Penne Arrabiata

Full flavor sauces go well with tube-shaped pasta, like striated penne or shell-shaped pasta, like orecchiette.
Refined dairy-based sauces and spicy sauces go with penne. Their large diameter, combined with the ridges make them ideal to trap thick sauces, giving the pasta a richer flavor.

Mushroom Penne in mustard cream

  • Thinner, lighter sauces with fresh tomato sauce, using less oil, go best with the thin delicate finer spaghetti.
  • The thickest tubular pastas, such as ziti or manicotti, are ideal for baked pasta dishes as they hold up to longer cooking.

PS: I LOOORVE lasagna!!

My dear pink one… :)

•Tue, 15 Mar, 2011 • Leave a Comment

my dear pink one! :)

IRON(MAN) Life Support System

•Mon, 14 Mar, 2011 • 2 Comments

This device can be used to support a discombobulated head with oxygenated blood and nutrients. This is done via the tubes connected to arteries which pass through the neck. After circulating through the head, the de-oxygenated blood returns to the cabinet by means of “cannulae” which are connected to veins that emerge from the neck.

Continue reading ‘IRON(MAN) Life Support System’