Friday, May 9, 2008

I have added a license for my work

As some of you may have discovered I have added a license to the right. Some of you now may think "This Santani guy will now be Microsoft of the blogging world. ".. No.. You are very wrong actually.

The creative commons License that I have chosen gives you as a person loads of freedom actually.

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/



You can
- Share -> copy, distribute and transmit my work
- Remix -> You can adopt my work

But if you do. You have to:

attribute my work. E.g. Say that I am the author of it in some way.

And you have to share alike. This is the best part. If you rewrite my stuff you have to share it with the same license or a similar one.

I am a firm believer of sharing and collaboration over the internet. So use my work, rewrite it, develop it more or whatever. As long as you share it with others I am happy.

If you choose to rewrite some of my stuff and publish it. Please tell me :-) Maybe I can further improve your writing again :-)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A good article that covers layouts in Ruby on Rails and use of Render

I am working a Ruby on Rails project at the moment and I have just started learning. I found this good article that covers layouts and render. Maybe some of you guys have use for it

http://www.railsdev.ws/blog/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/modular_page_assembly_in_rails.pdf

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A funny Coke ad

I just found this via Digg.com today..

It is a animated coke ad thing

Making your Internet experience more effective by subscribing to information

Are you one of those guys whom read news on-line daily? I read massive amounts of articles, blog posts, Facebook updates, Linkedin.com updates and more. Recently I had a week which consisted of masses of writing and other assignments such as presentations, seminar groups and more. I found out that I had to get more effective in the way I use the net.
I spend a lot of time on "scanning" pages for news that I want to read about. I often read just the headings. Subscription via RSS feeds was the solution for me. With RSS you can subscribe to information from various sources and a RSS reader can give you a list of updates from your chosen sources.

What is RSS?

RSS have been along for a long time and over the years many websites have started to publish such feeds. RSS is a way of subscribing to information like newspapers, blogs, Facebook updates and other stuff. RSS often give you the heading of an article and the introduction. This is often enough to interpret the contents of the article.

For more technical information about RSS you can see the Wikipedia article about RSS at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSS

How do RSS work?

Most websites publish their articles in HTML format, a format that your web browser changes into something useful like the article that you are read now. Websites can also publish in a RSS format which is meant to be read by computers. RSS readers like Google Reader can read RSS feeds and turn it into something that you can read. By subscribing to RSS feeds you can get a RSS reader to create a list from multiple sources of information. Example: You add Cnn.com's RSS feed, you add the RSS of author Nicholas Carr at roughtype.com. Google Reader will then give you the latest headlines from both sources.

Main benefits with RSS
- Keeps you updated with sources that are not often updated. Example: Blogs of famous person that might only have a few posts a month. RSS feeds give you them directly without checking the website
- Not having to open several web pages. Everything is added to a single page where you can read the things that you want.
- You get a more effective experience and read more and use less time at finding information.

Disadvantages with RSS
- In my experience with RSS feeds in Google Reader items are not always published constantly in the RSS feed as on the external website.
- Over subscribing can give you too much to read. Try to subscribe to what matters to you.

Google Reader (http://www.google.com/reader/) a web based RSS reader
There are various RSS readers out there. Some are web based like Google Reader while others are offline applications that do the same job. Wikipedia have a list of "feed aggregators": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_feed_aggregator s
Google Reader is a web based tool for reading RSS feeds. You can add as many RSS feeds as you want and categorize them in folders.
If you want to be seriously effective here is some tricks that can make you even more effective while going through your feeds.

Shortcut keys for Google Reader:

U = Makes your left bar with subscription info go away so you can use the full width of your screen to ready feeds.
J = This gives you the next "unread" item of your feeds.

How can I add RSS feeds? Where are they?
If you use a web browser like Mozilla Firefox you can see a orange icon in the address bar (the bar where you type www.cnn.com for example). You can try this out by going to www.cnn.com. A orange icon will appear to the right in your address bar. Click it and then click on the item that you want. Since cnn.com have several RSS feeds that can subscribe to the menu appears.
The copy the feed address from the into your RSS reader, in this example I used Google Reader. If you use Google Reader you will find the "Add subscription" link to the left on your screen. Click it and the copy the feed address into it.

The essens of Project Management Motivation

Motivating team members is just one of the roles of a project manager. A team with good motivation will lead to increased productivity and quality. Keeping people motivated is also a factor that might help them stick around rather than leaving the company for a new job. Motivation is one of those things that may difference a project's failure or success.

Make people communicate with each other to build an open culture

Every person has ideas and opinions that they want to share. Set up sessions where people can share their ideas and opinions. Members will then see what kind of skill sets other members have. It also makes people connect to each other. This builds a culture where people accept others skill sets, opinions and capabilities.
It is also important to implement some of the ideas that come up. This keeps members happy and shows them that ideas are appreciated and supported.

Trust the skills of your team members
Face the fact that each member has their field of expertise. Use them as advisors when you have to take decisions. By letting team members take part in such decisions they will feel that their knowledge and expertise is appreciated from management.
Senior team members with a lot of experience are often attracted by this. People with a lot of experience often gives quality advises as well.

Give them feedback

Identify examples that a team member did very good and praise them for that. Tell them that he or she did a good job. Do not criticize people in open forums, making members feel awful in front the rest of the team is not appreciated by the rest of the team. If you need to criticize someone do it in your office.
By giving people feedback they will constantly try to improve their work. If a person fails try to make them reflect on why they failed and give the advice on how they can improve in the future.

Give team members training and education

Often projects, especially IT projects involve work in a domain where the project team is lacking knowledge. One way to acquire the knowledge needed is to send team members off to training. This motivates the members as well as improving the odds of project success.
A member can never get enough training and education there is always areas where they can learn. It is important to discuss this with your team member. Questions like "What do you want to learn more about?", "Is there any courses that you want to take that can contribute to this project?" can be a start.

Act as a mentor rather than a micro manager

Allow members to research problems and let them take decisions. Try to facilitate them and lead them on the way rather than telling them exactly what to do. By giving away some of your power as a project manager to the team members they will act a more on their own. This gives them confidence, another effect is that it improves the personal skills like decision making etc.

Summary
To summarize it is important to focus on open communication within the project team. Give positive feedback on deliveries that turn out good. Trust your team members' expertise and skill set. Be a coach/mentor for them rather than a boss that pushes them around. Many of these things might seem very obvious, but it is a lot of managers that do not follow simple things that can increase the motivation in a project team.

Effective meetings in a flash!

I guess that you have attended meetings and come out of them and wondered why. Many meetings are a pure waste of time. Some meetings are needed, but are executed poorly and come out with few results that have value. This article can gives you some tips on running effective meetings and creating more value of the time spent in them.

Tips on creating the Agenda

- The agenda should include why the meeting is needed, what topics will be covered.
- Create goals for the meeting, what do we expect to achieve in this meeting?
- It could be a good idea to try to create the agenda together with key people that
will attend the meeting. Try to focus on what that needs to be done to reach the defined goals.

A good agenda is a key factor to holding efficient meetings so spend time of creating them since they will improve efficiency in the meeting if created right.

Set goals for the meeting

When creating the agenda try to set some goals for the meeting. What are we trying to achieve by holding this meeting? These goals should be included on the agenda so people have a clear understanding of the purpose of the meeting. When wrapping up the meeting it could be good to communicate what goals that you have reached to create an understanding of achievement to the attendants of the meeting.

Send out the agenda prior to the meeting
This is maybe the most important thing to do to create effective meetings. People that are invited to the meeting should be able to see why they are invited and how the can contribute.
Also emphasize that people should prepare for the meeting. Sometimes it is useful to make let a key person be responsible of a topic on the agenda. Then the person will prepare on that topic and be prepared to answer questions around that topic.

Try to keep meetings short

Long meetings tend to lose energy towards the end. People just get tired and bored when they have to sit in meetings for hours. Tired people do not contribute to the meeting.

Some organizations have a policy to have meeting no longer than one hour. Others do their meetings while standing up rather than sitting down. The idea by this is that people do not feel comfortable by standing up for a long amount of time. Meetings will then often go down to less than 30 minutes.

It depends on the agenda and whom that is attending, but as a general rule meetings should not last more than one hour.

Only invite people to meetings that really needs to be there

Only invite people to the meeting that really needs to be there. The less people in a meeting the more productive it will be. Try to identify why you should invite that person to the meeting. What can he/she contribute with? Another approach is to talk to the person and explain what the meeting is about and then ask them if they want to attend.

Start on time and end on time

Start the meeting on time. Waiting for people that is late just bores the people that showed up on time. Do not start over again when a person that is late is coming in. Repeating information just bores the people that already have heard it. By always starting on time you are setting an example to other people in the organization. In the future they will try harder to get to the meeting on time.

It is also important to finish on time. If you do not have the time to go through all of the agenda you will have to postpone those items to new meeting. It is important to know that people that are attending the meeting often have other meetings or duties that they have to attend.

Send out minutes

Always have a person in the meeting that writes down main conclusions of the meeting and outcomes. This should not be the leader of the meeting, assign this job to another person. It could be a secretary or someone who do not have to contribute to the meeting but often it is possible to both contribute to the meeting as well as writing minutes.
Minutes should be sent out as soon as possible to people who attended the meeting. Allow people to add new information to the minutes of the feel so. By sending out minutes it creates a mutual understanding as well as it communicates major achievements that the meeting created.
In some cases it might be useful to send out minutes to other key personnel to inform them on what is going on and what the meeting achieved.

Conclusion

Running efficient meetings that reaches goals requires energetic people that contribute. Keep meetings short to keep the energy up.
Spend time on creating a good agenda. A good agenda creates understanding on what that needs to be done to achieve the goals of the meeting.
Always send out minutes from the meeting. This causes less confusion between employees after the meeting. If there is some confusion people can always turn to the meeting minutes to clarify.

I have decided to publish my writing in this blog and at Helium.com

I have decided to put my writing in this blog and at Helium.com. I used to just link from this blog and then on to Helium. But now I will publish here first and then on Helium.

I will try to post my old articles here today. Cheers!

Want to know how it looks like inside companies?

A blog called Office Snapshots posts images on how office environments looks like inside. Very interesting to see how different companies do their office setup's.

Yes. Google and all those big companies are listed on the site. Enjoy!

http://www.officesnapshots.com/

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

God 2.0

Apparently GodTube.com is now valued at a whopping $150 million USD after receiving $30 million in venture capital. I find it amazing that they value a religions based website at this price.

Another interesting issue is if that have any business model at all? To me it seem like that are long any other "tube". Traffic and users are king, Making hard cash is the second priority.


Source:
http://mashable.com/2008/05/04/godtube-funding/

Saturday, May 3, 2008

A guide on how to conduct effective meetings

I have written an article on Helium.com again.

This article is about how to conduct efficient meetings. I based it on my own experience and I used what others have written as inspiration. Feel free to comment on it :)

Please digg it if you like it:

http://digg.com/business_finance/A_guide_on_how_to_conduct_effective_meetings


http://www.helium.com/items/1028592-guess-attended-meetings-wondered

Two interesting interviews in Time Magazine: Guy kawasaki interviews Steve Ballmer and Craig Newmark has a chat with Mark Zuckberg

Steve Ballmer together with Guy Kawasaki.

http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1733748_1733758_1736191,00.html


Craig Newmark talkes to Mark Zuckberg

http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1733748_1733754_1735207,00.html


EDIT:

It is not actually interviews.. but they are part of The Time 100. So it is kind of descriptions about them.. which is interesting.

Friday, May 2, 2008

The art of copying.. China is damn good at it

According to Venturebeat.com, Xiaonei.com have raised a extreme 430 mill USD. Xiaonei.com calles them self "Facebook of China". The thing that is amazing is how Xiaonei.com looks. It is a total Facebook design copy. Layout, colors, icons everything.

No need for innovation in China since it is common to copy others I guess? I have also felt the "copy culture" in my university. People from China is really good at it. Some students in my uni buy research reports in Chinese universities and then translate them into English. By this they pass plagiarism software like Turnitin.com. The software does not take into account things that have been translated.

Another thing is that if China does not start coming up with new ideas it will always stay as the country that everybody will outsource to. Economic research shows that the companies that comes up with new ideas are the winners in terms of revenue.

China will not grow on production based industry forever. If they want to grow they have to start innovating and creating new products

Is it okay to copy others? Will China be at the stage where they are today in 20 years? Is it time to stop copying and start innovating?

Orgional article at Venturebeat.com: http://venturebeat.com/2008/04/30/xiaonei-the-facebook-of-china-raises-430m-better-funded-than-facebook/

Five years and one day since Nicholas Carr published the article "IT dosen't matter"

If you as a engineer or a person in the IT industry and now think "what is that?" you just have to read on.

In almost every lecture that I have had in organization theory, Knowledge Management, Project Management and other classes this article have always been mentioned. In my home country in the course IT strategy it was essential reading.

Even if you are a business person you will find this interesting.

You can read Nicholas Carr's blog post below about it.


http://www.roughtype.com/archives/2008/05/happy_birthday_1.php


Sorry for no writing at Helium lately. I have been sick, but I hope to get something published this weekend :-)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Use of Facebook in organisations. Nobody dares to suggest it?

I just want to share this experience I had with you guys today.

I was at a meeting together with students and staff at my university. We discussed several topics. One topic that we had up was how to get students and staff to be more social together. People were throwing out the standard ideas like hosting a BBQ, A round at the pub and stuff like that.

A person suddenly said Facebook. Not the sentence "We could try out Faceboook". Just the word Facebook. Before the person had completed the word Facebook several people shouted out "GREAT IDEA!". And by people I do not mean just students, staff was embracing the idea as well.

After this was mentioned staff and students told about their Facebook success stories. One of the staff did also mention how other organisations were using it.

My big question when I left the meeting was: Why did nobody pose the idea earlier? Both students and staff seem to have background information as well as knowledge about it.

Is it hard to accept that Facebook actually can be a good thing inside organisations? Are we scared to post bold ideas ?

At least in this meeting it was one brave person spoke up with the idea.

The idea is posted "up the system" to higher level management. I will post back when something happens in this case.

Video with Guy Kawasaki about Entrepreneur ship

I found this video this morning with Guy Kawasaki

He talks about entrepreneur ship and how to create your start up . Very funny and a great deal of lessons that you could use in the future.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3755718939216161559

Saturday, April 26, 2008

How to motivate your project team

I have written a article on Helium.com again about "How to motivate your project team". It is a good run down both if you are a project manager or if you are a team member..

http://www.helium.com/items/1018706-motivating-members-roles-project

http://digg.com/business_finance/How_to_motivate_your_project_team

If you like it please digg it so you can motivate me to write more ;-) Have a nice day!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008