Software Engineer’s Blog

Software Engineering weblog

What is good for others should be good for us too, right?

I came across a news about ‘Pan-African e-network for education and health care‘. Interesting, indeed.

I happened to visit Nigeria a couple of years back; and, I believe, that is a country which is relatively better off among countries of that continent. I have a few friends in some other countries there as well.

Land of many great people but many there are not privileged to live with the kind of comforts, including quality health care and education, that we almost take for granted. From that perspective, I am sure, it is good initiative for the continent largely ignored.

I think it is high time for action, back in India as well. Two areas that we can hardly afford to miss is education and health care considering spread and diversity of the country. Well, almost all educational and health care institutions worth its name is on network one way or other. How far have we tapped e-Network? Real value is not in the physical connectivity but rather on content, services and collaboration within the network and world at large.

India’s recent rise into global scene owes credit to initial policies and initiatives of visionary leadership of independent India. These have laid a strong foundation for bold economic initiatives of 1990s could build on. It is important that this advantage is not frittered away amidst the euphoria. If we fail to capitalize on this, growth that we see now will be short-lived. Interestingly, India has a unique advantage at this moment with proven expertise in information and communication technologies.

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October 11, 2009 Posted by | e-Learning, Healthcare | Leave a comment

The times they are a changing!

I am thrilled to see a game changing technology “Project Natal” from Microsoft. Does it sound like an exaggeration? Watch it action to believe

It is a disruptive technology that is set to change world of gaming and the world of computing. Life will not the same any more!

October 9, 2009 Posted by | Game, Game Architecture, Game Engine, Gaming | Leave a comment

Times they are a-changing!

I am thrilled to see a game changing technology “Project Natal” from Microsoft. Does it sound like an exaggeration? Watch it action to believe

It is a disruptive technology that is set to change world of gaming and the world of computing. Life will not the same any more! Are my friends in business analysis listening? Demands of your customers would be asking for more! Are my friends in architecture/design listening? Possibilities in usability/user experience  is set for a paradigm shift! Are my friends in software testing listening? How are we to test this? You have new challenge in hand, if your hands were not full already!

October 9, 2009 Posted by | Game, Game Architecture, Game Engine, Gaming, Microsoft, Microsoft Natal, Natural User Interface, NUI, software engineering, Software Testing, User Experience, UX | Leave a comment

Patterns of healthy business: Cash flow

Taking analogy between business and living organism further, cash flow is like breathing. An organization with problems in cash flow inwards and outwards indicates a very dangerous situation. Breathing also part of being in active relation with the ecosystem with continuous exchange.

Money is the oxygen for any business. Hardly anything can be done without exchange of money within and outside. Short supply of money can be fatal and impact is immediate. This situation is result of poor performance in sales or lacunae in management of finance, or both. Impact of failure in sales is immediate, resulting in a cash crunch. Also, resources may quickly be drained out with poor financial management, leaving the organization gasping. This demands quick action with both departments working in tandem.

Note that quick does not mean adoption of desperate, ad hoc measures. Desperate measures could be too visible from the market, revealing the rot within. This makes business even more vulnerable and such measures could set the business on a tailspin especially under weak health.

What is required, at this stage, is intensive care with quick remedial action and close monitoring.

Elementary, right? Are you surprised why I am discussing this here? Can a business man, an enterpreuneur, or a professional manager make such mistakes? Fact is, there are surprisingly many business which fiddle around in these areas. There are tell-tales signs visible to trained eyes.

Watch out before decide …. to invest or work with

October 9, 2009 Posted by | Business, Management, Patterns, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Patterns of healthy business: High trust, process oriented work environment

Going ahead with my experiences of healthy business is importance of high trust, process oriented work environment. Does the title ‘High trust, process oriented work environment’ sound like oxymoron? Fact is, it is sometimes interpreted and implemented so but it does not need to be so.

Start up companies are generally driven by entrepreneurial drive, high team cohesion and intense passion about work and business. Work gets done in the best possible ways with extreme focus on execution and success in every sphere of activities taken up. Team is characterized by i) mutual respect and trust, ii) quick and clear communication and iii) continuous feedback and correction

Balancing trust and process

Balancing trust and process

Healthy business culture retains best of both worlds. In the attempt to move to a healthy business culture, companies of entrepreneurial business culture slips down to bureaucratic business culture as they grow bigger. This happens when process is introduced to “control” rather than to “enable”. This situation may be manageable where work is mechanical and mundane but drags down heavily when applied in the areas demanding creative and intellectual contribution. In an environment of mutual respect and trust, there is a lot that process can help in, when it is introduced as an enabler.

Such environments are characterized by professionals, they work with self respect, respect the peer and expect respect in return. They work not just for money but for passion as well. They are proud of their work products. Each one of them is aware of the need for checks and balances. Adoption of process is natural when process helps them do it better.

October 8, 2009 Posted by | Business, Management, Patterns, software engineering, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Patterns of healthy business: Flow of Information

Of late, I have started writing about business. Why?

I am not a management student. My endeavors in software engineering are driven primarily by my customer’s business interest rather than academic enthusiasm. There is academic dimension but that is set in the context of larger business interest rather than as an end in itself. This takes me closer to business and, more than often that not, I find that I need to work beyond the confines of software engineering for the success of software engineering efforts. That led me analyzing business. I have worked with many business organizations in the past, some of them doing great and some of them dying within. I find certain patterns revealing itself, on closer analysis.

What distinguishes a healthy business from a bad one? We come across this question often. We come across this question as managers, while looking for a change of job as well as investors. Question is, whom can I depend?

I would rather depend on someone who can conduct himself/herself well. It does not so much matter, whether he/she is favorably positioned to me or not. That can be reasoned, way forward can be made, a win-win relation can be worked out and success is achievable. The same goes for business as well. I would go with a business that conducts itself well and in a dignified manner.

One characteristic of such a healthy business is free flow of information. Information is like blood of the organization. We know that a portion of body goes dead in due course, when blood supply is cut. Information much reach every part of the organization just as blood need to reach the entire body.

It does not mean that everyone should know everything. There are certain things that any/every one should know. There are certain things that any/every one need not know. There are certain things that any/every one must not know. Overflow of information and spikes in information flow are equally bad as lack of information. Flow of information should dictated and regulated by analysis of what each unit or a person must know, may know and should not know.

Taking the analogy further, poisoned information flow can be fatal to health of the organization, just as in case of venom circulation in blood. Degree of damage would depend on the kind of venom and degree of poisoning

Major variations from this dictate is a symptom of a deeper problem within and a cause of concern

October 7, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment