Author Archives: Jsleem

When raising my child, I don’t push him to be the first among his friends, the superior one; I try my best to avoid this because I don’t want him to start comparing himself to others unconsciously. When I want to tell him how special he is for the full marks he got; I don’t ask at all what the others did, I stress on how proud I am with his grades, and how we should always keep it up and be even better in non-school related activities.

This totally applies professionally and personally as well. There are a lot of work situations when sometimes I catch myself wondering; why this person does not treat me like X or Y? Or even on a higher level: Why didn’t our client choose to do the next deal with us in spite of our previous project success story?

Although the questions sound totally logical and there is no real problem about analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of the self/firm; the way we think and feel about the questions matters. If you compared yourself to others and started feeling bad, then you are in the wrong direction. Your head will be in a state of hatred, envy, catching mistakes for the others to prove to yourself that the other is wrong and you are correct.

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But what if you always compare yourself to only yourself? You always assess your weaknesses and work on them, you know your strengths and nurture them, working on them almost daily. Cause “Small daily improvements lead to a tsunami of success” <<Robin Sharma>>. Be sure that the improvements will be so obvious for anybody to ignore it. Your client who chose another company will recognize it, your boss and colleagues will admire it, but you should not seek the admiration in the eyes of others, you should seek it in your own mindset. And here comes the Happiness.


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The tricky part is how to prevent your mind from wandering in the wrong way of comparing against the other. So I found a great article found on Wiki-How that gives some hints about how to stop comparing to others. My advice is not only to stop it, but also to raise the younger generation not to do it as well!

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In the software development planet, it’s common to get a client request asking something like: “please change the module behavior and make it do so and so”. Five years ago, I would have implemented such requests. But now I would ask: why do you want to do so? What are you trying to achieve with the new behavior. Knowing the reason helps not only understanding the business behind the request, but also brainstorming and getting even better solutions.

Let me give you a simple – but real – example of how searching for the “why” resulted in a better solution and getting more client satisfaction.

We were responsible for building a website for one of the NGOs, which contains different fund raising programs through offline and online donations. Each program page consists of a program description part at the top of the page (rich text content describing the program, history and ways to give), followed by an online donation form.

Two months after launching the website we got a client request: “please move the donation form to the very top of the page and make the description goes below”. Such a request would have been implemented in 30 minutes easily, but we stopped for a moment and asked ourselves: “why would the client want this?”

After a phone call we figured out that there is an online campaign on a specific program focusing on online donations, and the client wanted to make sure the form is the first thing the users will see when they land to the program page.

When we knew that, we simply created anchor tags and gave the client an anchor link asking them to use it for the marketing of this online campaign. This anchor link simply lands to the program page and directly jumping to the donation form at the bottom achieving the client need, and at the same time keeping the normal flow for the site users – who want to get information about the site. And I bet that the client would have reverted to the old way of displaying a program once the campaign is over.

There are a lot of creative solutions that emerge when the client and the developer know why a request is requested. Trust me, a lot of alternatives will appear at this point, and you can choose one solution that satisfies the client needs as well as the development needs. So don’t ever claim that “the client wants it that way!”

Project closure meetings are sometimes forgotten after a project ends, reasons vary from over-happiness (or rage!) by the results, to getting the resources involved in new projects or tasks. However, I consider the closure meetings are the most important meetings in the project lifecycle. They set directions for the company/department, highlight opportunities to grow in technical ways and magnify events and sources of problems that can be avoided in the future projects.

Closure meeting should be conducted whether the project ended successfully or even if it was stopped in the middle due to any circumstances.

Important aspects to discuss in the closure meetings:
1-Start by reviewing the history of the project; how things went from the beginning to the end. Passing through analysis, implementation and testing. Talk about the dates, delays if any, just put titles to refresh the gray cells of the project staff. You can also recall how important actions affected the client satisfaction(or dissatisfaction).
2-Discuss problems and issues have taken place during the project. If it is a project that wasn’t completed, discuss the reasons, and how you can avoid these issues/problems in future projects.
3-Discuss the project schedule, effort and budget, and see how you could stick to the plans (Actuals vs. Planned analysis). Analyze if the plans and estimations were accurate or stuffed, how they affected the project resources and delivery of the project.
4-Discuss process improvement for any project function (Project management, analysis, QC, QA, Development).
5-Discuss new technologies/tools that can be added to the organization portfolio.
6-Discuss lessons learned. It’ll be great if you have a lessons learned sheet accessible to all the project members during the project life cycle.
7-Recognize the team members who did excellent performance or took good decisions … So they know that their work makes a difference, that increases the motivation of the team members.

Finally, come with an Action items sheet, and EXECUTE THEM! Get any approvals you want on them and communicate their importance. The action items coming out of a project closure meeting is the most important action items list in the company, because they are the Global items whenever done, they give a push to the company/department, individual resources and process.