Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Project Risk Management
“Who are the project stakeholders? Keep in mind that you work for a publicly-owned company and the customer is the Department of Defense” (CTUOnline; 2006).
• Apply the basic competencies of the project manager in understanding and planning for risk
• Use effective communication techniques.
• Communicate risk effectively to all project stakeholders (CTUOnline; 2006)
According to chapter 2 of the PMBOK guide, the “Projects and project management are carried out in environments broader than that of the project itself” (PMBOK Guide; 2004, p 19).
The project stakeholder organization is made up of those who front the resources, and back the bonds and funds to make the projects possible. The ones who own a stake in the monetary underwriting of projects are often called, stakeholders or sponsors. Also, as described in section 2.2 PMBOK Guide, the interdependence of the project management and the stakeholders is prevailing, and immediate (2004, p 25-26).
Essentially, the sponsors whether individuals or organizations, are willing to risk involvement and funds to see the project completed. Project management teams are obliged to “determine [stakeholders’] requirements and expectations” and proportion the measured risks accordingly. The goal is to “ensure a successful project” (2004, p 25-26).
The most feared word in the relationship between stakeholder and project management is: ignore. The stakeholders and sponsors have started the ball rolling, and it is imperative they contribute throughout the project life cycle. Smartly the Project Manager, who is the captive liaison for the project continuity, must never fail to update, and reiterate essential knowledge to the stakeholders. Expect dramatic damage reports should one ignore the other.
Therefore, in this instance of project length of 5 years or more, and resource provided by hefty supply chains, the stakeholder list is rather extensive. The best placement of the stakeholder is in the shared values and norms of each knowledge base in the project. Therefore the sponsors vary according to the category of their financial responsibilities.
In larger category the stakeholders are the Project Management Organization, and the Customer/ End-user of our Department of Defense project. The cross-functioning influences of multiple categorical stakeholders will play heavily in the “acquisition and final use of the war machine developed” (2004, p 25-26).
PMBOK Guide claims the “key stakeholders on every project include:
• Project Manager
• Customer/ End-users
• Performing organization
• Project team members
• Project Management team
• PMO (2004, p 25-26)
The initial response to the question: “Who are the project stakeholders, bearing in mind the DOD is the end user stakeholder,” is in a stakeholder analysis. During the Scope definition as discussed in PMBOK Guide chapter 5, it is important to “identify influence and interests of the various stakeholders and document their needs, wants and expectations” (2004, p 110).
As all analysis is quantitative, “the analysis diligently selects, prioritizes, and quantifies” those conditions. The Guide also states there is “high risk in quantifying expectations” that are non-specific, such as “customer satisfaction” (paraphrased, (2004, p 110).
The scope places high priority on the identification of the stakeholders. As part of our exercise the stakeholders can be declared in the statements of the scope risk management phase. Certain assumptions in the scope risk management have to be proven if found false, especially if the assumptions are part of the stakeholders’ claims. The same can be said for scope boundaries, and “scope priority requirements risk management” (2004, p111).
According to PMBOK Guide: Quality risk management also is paramount to end-users’ enduring stability. The various quality standards for industry apply as reference to a quality expectation. Improper inspections, lack of maintenance, or rushing through a task can produce negative consequences for “any and all of the project stakeholders” This is an understatement when the negative turns out to be a plane crash due to “defects, poorly organized user documentation or numerous extraneous features” (2004, p 180).
Some Quality Standards Organizations in context are:
• International Organization for Standardization, ISO
• Total Quality Management, TQM
• Six Sigma
• Failure Mode and Effect Analysis
• Design reviews
• Voice of the Customer
• Cost of Quality, COQ
• Continuous Improvement
• Communications Planning
• Performance Reporting
• Risk Management
(2004, p 180)
Conclusion: Who are they?
1) The Project Manager is the elected liaison from the ranks, placed by the stakeholders
2) The Customer end-user is the US citizenry as represented in the Department of Defense:
a. The class of military personnel due to use and maintain the end product
b. B2G, business to Government, B2B, and B2C; all lien-holders and bond holders
3) The Performing Organization, or PMO, is the labor groups who are affected by the completion or non-completion of the project. This could be a large group in this case.
4) The Team Members are the “dozen nuclear scientists, engineers, and technology professionals including military personnel” and all their distaff members
5) The Project management Team is my esteemed colleagues
6) The Sponsor is the US government Department of Defense, DOD
7) The Influencers will have been identified as stakeholders in each of the risk management knowledge phases such as:
8) Members of Committee in Legislatures, the Judicial, or the Executive
a. Security Organizations
b. Environmental organizations
d. Risk Management Organizations
The list includes but is not limited to the above. It is abridged for this discussion, though it will include in the end many watch groups, accounting branches and other business groups local, nationally and internationally.
CTUOnline (November 2006) Task Detail, MPM450 03 0604B Managing Project Risk and Opportunities
Pmi org (2006) retrieved from web, Nov 15 2006 Project Management Institute (PMI) The Largest Project Management Association. Retrieved October 19, 2006, from pmi org info default asp
PMBOK; (2004) A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, PMBOK Guide, third edition, 2004 project management Institute, 4 Campus Blvd, Newton Square, PA 19073 USA
Monday, November 27, 2006
Task Detail: “Julie Hogan is JavaJoy's National Sales Manager, and is in the process of rolling out JavaJoy's first non-coffee brewing system - a tea brewer. While the sales channels are the same as for the coffee brewing equipment, the end users (tea drinkers) are certainly different. Julie is desperate to know how the new product is being received because she needs to give the manufacturing department a production forecast for the coming quarter - and the forecast is due in two weeks! Assuming some time to work on this project:” (CTUOnline; Nov 2006)
1. What information can you develop for Julie in the time frame available?
Of the six market research rationales listed here, the first four can be somewhat achieved with some elegance in the next two weeks. The last two require more effort, and will be difficult to wrap up without quantitative research or refined interpretation for additional qualitative research. Marketing will pursue these objectives:
1) Clarifying Research Question
2) Proposing Research
3) Designing Research Projects
4) Attempting Data Collection and Preparation
5) Attempting Data Analysis and Interpretation
6) Reporting the Results (Cooper, D; 2006)
Assumption: Julie Hogan is a live wire with 500 amps of persuasion at her finger tips, as National Sales Manager. She can weld the project shut with just a little more marketing information. Moreover, if we read ahead in the task list -- the mind of Sanchez-- she is headed toward becoming the international sales manager.
The information needed is: How many units TeaJoy Brewers will we produce in production cycles following roll out? For a “congealed” data standard, hurry up method is not the best way to go. But, supply chains in manufacturing wait for no one.
At last measure Julie Hogan is 94% of the way to unleashing the new tea brewer. She is only 1/8 of an inch away from welding the deal closed. However, Mrs. Hogan, without a production estimate is at the farthest point from her marketing goal as a person can be. So she must ask key questions of key persons, soon. Sitting on the production estimate will make the TeaJoy trial a short-run.
2. What you would say to Julie. Submit 4 – 5 paragraphs which describe a type of marketing research she can use to gauge the consumer’s response to the tea brewer.
We must not lose face. Therefore we look at this opportunity to incorporate a time line of events. Two weeks is ten working days, or fourteen days when including weekends. To hit upon the most pertinent research question most apt, is to promote. Guidance for production quantities depends on resources that are hidden in end-user customers’ opinions, and vendors’ inputs who sell the equipment. To contact busy people during their work day is nearly impossible, unless the surveyor has a lure. The actual lure is right under our noses, in the form of the internet.
Proposing a type of research that is last minute and relates to work schedules we consider the various time frames. The manpower hours needed to find reliable numbers for this last minute decision is more or less 10 days x 8 hrs = 80 hours available in the traditional work-a-day. In contrast, internet is available 24 hours at seven days or a total of 24 hrs x 14 days = 336 hours available. Why not multiply our TeaJoy exposure to the maximum?
Much greater hours, 4 to 1 more, on the internet suggests immediately go to a free web business log site, known as Blog, and write a new, free Tea Sippers’ ‘Blog. On your new TeaJoy web Blog site. Advertise free tea-related prizes for entering preference surveys, or promise a door prize such as the newest Play Station, for how many, how much and when is tea preferred as an end-user or as a reseller. Sounds easy? It is. As national sales manager Mrs. Hogan has a large e-mail list she can invite to visit new TeaJoy Blog site, over and over, 24/7.
Moreover, since production predictions calls for extreme marketing research that exposes benchmark cases correlated to TeaJoy roll out, that is concurrent task to pursue. For instance, Julie Hogan might have a teenager at home who can type in some keywords to browsers, and activate some secondary sources for starters. That is not because Mrs. Hogan is not comfortable with the net, it is because her own child will work more cheaply than others, and probably has some web technique, and empathy for her mother’s task. This action could enhance the roll out in several ways, to make an educated production turn round: as in “Customers Seven Steps in the Benchmarking Process” (1-HBR; Nov 06).
3. Include the information that could be obtained.
A quick visit to Harvard Business Review publishing website revealed some favorable Key words. No doubt clear evidence in secondary research can be gathered from efforts online and from regional business agents, using incremental planning approach:
1 “Functional areas within JavaJoy to be benchmarked
a) partners that will benefit most from benchmarking
b) based upon cost, importance and potential of changes
2 “Identify key factors and variables with which to measure functions
a) financial resources
b) Product strategy.
3 “Select best-in-class companies for each area to be benchmarked
a) lowest cost
b) highest degree of customer satisfaction
c) can be direct competitors, foreign and domestic
d) parallel competitors with replacement or substitute products or services
e) latent competitors which might backwards- or forwards-integrate into your market
f) Out-of-industry firms with whom do not compete such as FedEx or Wal-Mart logistics
4 “Measure performance of best-in-class for each benchmark considered
a) SEC, Government
b) Companies themselves
c) Trade associations, Articles in press or trade journals
d) Analysts in the market
e) Credit reports
f) Clients and vendors
g) Interviews with other organizations willing to share their prior research or ‘swap’..." (2-HBR; Nov 06).
In this comprehensive and helpful outline form HBR Five, Six and Seven headings relate to data analysis.
“...5. Measure [TeaJoy Brewer] performance for each variable; begin comparing the results in an ‘apples-to-apples’ format; determine the gap between your firm and best-in-class examples.
6. Specify those programs and actions to meet and surpass the competition [to enhance] potential areas discovered...
7. Implement these programs”
(Paraphrased; 2-HBR, Nov 26 2006)
The last increments of our hurry up tasks include careful analyses leading to descriptions of very speicialized:
• Marketing analysis: A major un-met need among certain groups of customers, or target markets
• Product description: Ideas for a product to meet the need
• Competitor analysis: Major competitors to the product
• Advertising plan: How the target markets will be informed of the new product
(4-HBR, Harvard Business Review, Nov 2006)
4. Discuss your thoughts on the accuracy of whatever information you are able to gather in two weeks.
Accuracy will be low, but best practices will have been used. In context of the first four stages of qualitative data collecting, from the above discussions that introduced six major stages of marketing research: TeaJoy will be unable to prepare a unified production schedule for the manufacturing departments at the end of 336 hours.
The first four increments can be pursued quickly and possibly resolved in qualitative analysis. The final two analysis stages require the attention of those who are very busy, and hard to track down, owners and executives. Our research will entail "How to Mobilize the Executive Team for Strategic Change" to create the proposal that is due in two weeks or sooner (4-HBR, Harvard Business Review, Nov 2006).
Costs of producing it over the course of the year, Julie Hogan’s TeaJoy Brewer will be produced in a manner that reflects demand. In any new venture the cost accounting management is vital to establishing the price the consumer will pay for our product.
Julie Hogan will be very busy doing her regular tasks, and her related follow up duties of coordinating final promotions, printing and sales reps for the two weeks up to roll out. The final data analysis is up to the marketing department. A TeaJoy task team could be appointed to follow through with the best-case demand percentages most expected. Accuracy remains in the data analysis, as to how many units to produce next year. So let’s get cracking on the internet, and e-mails.
Working in this framework we will build on JavaJoy qualitative market statement, and make a benchmark with new products for our customers. Working to improve the management of TeaJoy division we see “...there a variety of views, formats and content regarding business [marketing opportunities and research] plans” (5-HBR; 2006). “The firm can choose from a few different approaches -- from simply trying harder, to emulating the best-in-class, changing the rules of the industry or leapfrogging the competition with innovation or technology from outside the industry.
In an ideal world the marketing research could answer all the pertinent questions for a production model and the price structure. Best practices in market research will justify financial resources and product strategy. Learning and understanding can often be used to simplify framework of analysis. Therefore at the end of the promotion sound advice to TeaJoy’s Mrs. Hogan is “...Always feel free to estimate results, as exact measures are usually disproportionately difficult to obtain and often do not significantly add value to the [end result]” (3-HBR; Nov 2006)
Cooper, D, & Schindler, P, (2006) Marketing Research, New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Irwin
CTUOnline; (Nov 2006) Session: MKT 350 Phase 2 Discussion Board 1, Task List
1-HBR, Harvard Business Review, (Nov 2006) Various Approaches to Building Products and Services Approaches to Product development, Adapted “Field Guide to Consulting and Organizational Development” managementhelp org misc product-devapproaches and authenticityconsulting, 11/27/06, Harvard Business School Publishing
2-HBR, Harvard Business Review, (Nov 2006) Approaches to Market Research, managementhelp org mrktng mk_rsrch needs, 11/27/06, Harvard Business School Publishing
3-HBR, Harvard Business Review, (Nov 2006) Approaches to Competitor Market Analysis, managementhelp org mrktng cmpetitr cmpetitr, 11/27/06, Harvard Business School Publishing
4-HBR, Harvard Business Review, (Nov 2006) Approaches to Marketing Intelligence, marketing-intelligence co uk sitemap, 11/27/06, Harvard Business School Publishing
5-HBR, Harvard Business Review, (Nov 2006) the Mechanics of pricing, short term pain for long term gain, Approaches to Marketing Management bullet point com archives market BP3806, 11/27/06, Harvard Business School Publishing
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Company: Claire’s Anteeks, Incorporated
Date: June 12, 2006
To: Sheepsmell Compostholestoy, CPA; Accounting Manager at Claire's Anteeks
From: Patrick Darnell, CBW and BMW
Subject: Historical Marker – Mixed Costs Mastery
Refer: Changing the course of business for Claire’s Anteeks, Incorporated, by determining the fixed and variable portion of each mixed cost such as utility costs, maintenance costs, and beyond.
Dear Mr. Compostholestoy:
The gift of Accounting Management is not to be taken frivolously. In the business of increasing the efficiency of manufacturing and non-manufacturing numerations the result is only limited by the specificity of the query. Mixed costs are a semi-fixed-cost “plus” semi-variable-cost classification that algebraically can define the future of Claire’s Anteeks.
With mushrooming competition coming in from the globalization of manufacturing, Claire’s Anteeks may use now its new technology of mixed cost corollaries to maneuver through the ensuing storm.
Never look the gift-horse of “accounting by managerial inquiry” in the mouth, without first considering the source. Benefits to be achieved are the “higher level” of care by Claire’s Anteeks special employees and managers, who want to achieve best operating practices.
Frankincense and myrrh may only be tree sap, but like the gifts of managerial accountancy they are more precious than gold.
We in accounting management are recommending further classifications of internal costing strategies, using mixed costing technology. Internally at Claire’s Anteeks, our non-manufacturing costs and manufacturing costs can be flexible or capacity driven.
Direct and indirect costs organized by categories for “planning and evaluating” will benefit in-house security, and will make certain continuing growth and improvement of Claire’s Anteeks. Please read the following to see why I am so confident you will find compelling reasons to seek various cost strategies.
Ps. Your invoice is in the mail.
Monday, November 20, 2006
Thanks for listening.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
By Patrick Darnell
11/19/2006 Managing Project Risk and Opportunities
Project management is a liaison career, where the Project Manager is collecting information from stakeholders in the company he represents, and translating that into tasks to assign his subordinates and contractors to execute and take a project to completion. As projects roll along, the informed PM is responsible to inform his customer who hired his company in first place of how things are going. Customers will have suggestions, and upgrades, and second thoughts for pieces to drop and parts to add. Essentially, stakeholders will have last word input as to what fits core competency of their own company.
There is complexity to measure. It is implicit value our Project Manager adds as leader in his or her ability to handle divergence of strategies and risks. All core focus topics, including risk, are augmented by weighing and learning of the Project Manager. Thereby, the endorsed role, of Project Manager in charge of reserves of information to be doled out to various involved groups, is well defined.
Even when the Project Manager “brings up risk management and sees questioning looks in [the] eyes” of his project team members; his project knowledge intuition tells him that “all will soon realize that risk management means different things to different people” (Task Detail; 2006).
This discussion paper tries to pull together several layers of very comprehensive and lengthy bodies of information, to summarize the blending of many secondary resources for reason of illuminating some of the thinking behind management of risk.
George Jucan in his review of PMBOK Third Edition “provides a comprehensive classification through knowledge area definitions.” This is useful because “...One of the main reasons to estimate project complexity is to be able to compare projects” (Jucan; June 21, 2006). For example:
In some cases, maybe the human resources aspect of the project needs special attention because of high turnover or labor unrest in the specific department. For fixed-price projects, maybe the cost dimension is more important, while the first project for a new customer might have an increased focus on scope management to fully satisfy the client (Jucan; June 21, 2006).
Project Manager’s role in defined terms is; he will be able to “summarize the above considerations, and apply [to] project complexity ...as project integration management [using] indicators that:”
· Consolidate indicators of other eight knowledge areas: scope, time, cost, quality, human resources, communication, and procurement.
· Ask: Is it objective at organization level, to be valid for any undertaken project?
· Ask: Is it subjective at project level, to account for the unique characteristics of each project? (Jucan; June 21, 2006)
Chapter Eleven of the Project Management Body of Knowledge, PMBOK, identifies risk management as one of the nine most important awareness structures. Using simple scales with three choices each for “probability and for impact” we can turn the confused facial expressions to concentration on responses to early warnings of risky business (PMBOK, 2004).
Risk Management is not the act of going through the proposals and pointing out why every task has a high potential to fail. No, that is not the higher purpose for understanding risk. Truer intention rises above this single-minded intuition; rather risk identification means to remove masks of risks inherent in all projects. A risk managed is a resource conserved.
Risk is Iterative
Risk management fits the iterative processes of project management like keys unlocking closed doors to opportunities that have doors to other opportunities. “Many processes are fashioned in response to critical cost areas, and to redundancy” that indicate and rectify risk (Krajewski, L J, & Ritzman, L P; 2005). A template for qualitative risk analysis might take a form like the one in Dick Billows article.
Achievement-Driven Project Management
Probability of Occurrence
Magnitude of Impact
From this survey, the bias of risk is in two areas: 1. the probability of occurrence, and 2. the magnitude of impact.
The language of Project Management is “intensely combed through for every project in iterative trials of cause and effect to cleanse to acknowledge best practices for each project. The work is amazingly correlated as simply: Realization >> Strategic Choice >> Tactical Contingency... Moreover, sub-processes today also employ sophisticated feedback tools developed to help in cost control;” the major indicator of risks: cost overruns (Bredillet, Christophe N; 2002).
Risk is beat down by frequent reporting, and auditing of changes in iterative vernacular. A risk identified and scoring high in both “probably will occur, with high magnitude of impact” is a risk that needs further study. And to make sure the additional study will be done with controlled experiments that provide quantitative results.
Conflict is an unavoidable pretext in project context, as each entity has unique and differing thoughts, ideas, and opinions. Therefore, it is important to learn ways to minimize and manage this difficulty, in order to ensure “efficient and harmonious iterative interactions during the project’s life-cycle” (CTUOnline, Live Chat; Nov 2006).
Dick Billows, PMP, GCA of 4PM says, “We can do a few minutes of risk management on even the smallest project and get good return for the effort. Dealing with risk does not have to be a paperwork jungle.” Project managers run the risk of “fighting fires for the rest of the project... [When] even a small project can under-take a simple risk assessment process,” at the first team meetings, says Billows. “Because the sponsor wants to start quickly without wasting time on things like risk management, Project Managers often skip the risk assessment process” (Billows, Dick, 2006).
The handiest way to “prioritize our risks in terms of their significance” (Billows) for the project -- “Automated Mobile Defense System, AMDS,” -- is to use qualitative techniques like the survey template above to pre-qualify certain risk areas for higher costing quantitative techniques of risk analysis. This team and project manager have been assigned to “lead Project X, which will design, develop, test, demonstrate and deploy 10 AMDS units to a location to be determined by the DOD assuming a successful demonstration” (CTUOnline, Task Detail; 2006).
The PMBoK framework provides the fundamentals of project management in respect to the type of project to be completed and is structured around 5 basic progression placeholders. Those progressive process groups are Initiate, Plan, Execute, Control, and Close.
George Jucan in his article Complexity Matters describes time savings is “at the start... Taking your time to measure before you cut is always good advice. In a Project Manager's world, spending the time to plan the project and open up probable risks is proven to dramatically increase the chances of success” in:
· Planning: defining the scope of the project risk and putting a value to it makes the necessary campaign to carry it out.
· Executing: Now that we have identified our project risk and planned for its purpose, our next step is to put our plan into action by adjusting and...
· Controlling: we monitor all aspects of the project risk. We review and check the integrity of all inputs and outputs in respect to the project threats.
· Closing: we make sure the final product has the quality and completion that was originally planned and that all risks are conserved in documentation and covered monetarily.
Therefore, the project starts with half a day of teams “risk-storming” to identify, and qualify risks in each of the sub-processes. After that they will determine the risks most impacting the life-cycle and put some heavier tools of quantitative analysis to work. This will have unlocked potential for increased probability and impact of events positive to the project.
The beauty of project management is that with knowledge and learning, the wheel doesn’t have to be re-invented each time a project begins. Project Management Body of Knowledge, PMBoK, is a compilation of processes and knowledge areas generally accepted as best practices in context of Project Management discipline (pmi org, 2006). Each new project gives rise to opportunity to re-visit honesty and integrity. In a lifetime of projects, a little reliability goes a long way to satisfy all risks in projects.
Billows, Dick; (2006) Risk management & analysis prevention not lots of paperwork, 4PM Project management training and certification, Denver, CO, The Hampton Group
Bredillet, Christophe N; (2002) PMI July 14 2002, Seattle, International Educational Network, PPT, founding principles for the development of a value added network for global education
CTUOnline (November 2006) Live Chat, MPM450 03 0604B Managing Project Risk and Opportunities
CTUOnline (November 2006) Task Detail, MPM450 03 0604B Managing Project Risk and Opportunities
Encarta MSN online dictionary; (2003) English: American 2003
Jucan George, MSc, PMP, OCP, SSGB (June 21, 2006) Complexity Matters, [Gantt head]>home>departments>Project Portfolio Management, retrieved 10/10/06
Kotter, John P and Cohen, Dan S; (2002) the Heart of Change: Real-Life Stories of How People Change Their Organizations (Hardcover) HBS Press Book, Pub. Date: June 17, 2002, 208p
Krajewski, L. J., & Ritzman, L. P. (2005) Operations Management Processes and Value Chains, 7th ed, Upper Saddle River, NJ, AK: Pearson Prentice Hall
PMBOK; (2004) A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, PMBOK Guide, third edition, 2004 project management Institute, 4 Campus Blvd, Newton Square, PA 19073 USA
Pmi org (2006) retrieved from web, Nov 15 2006 Project Management Institute (PMI) The Largest Project Management Association. Retrieved October 19, 2006, from pmi org info default asp
Friday, November 17, 2006
"So is the hope of every blogger — or Web diarist — out there. Because everyone, whether they admit or not, wants to be heard, and a blog offers the perfect environment for just that.
Several of my readers have written to ask me what blogs ("Web logs") are all about. To be frank, I hadn't really been a big reader of blogs. But once I decided to delve deeper into the world of online Web logs and do some research, I discovered a brave new world out there. And sure, while I found some blogs to be pointless, others narcissistic, and yet others downright weird, I also discovered that there are many people out there who are interesting writers with unique perspectives on the world around them. In other words, I was pleasantly surprised, and it sucked the crabbiness right out of me — although my editor doesn't think so. (Regardless, don't worry; there are plenty of opportunities all around waiting to refill my crabby heart.)
You see, when the Internet first became a part of our common lexicon and people got a tiny amount of technical knowledge, personal Web pages became all the rage (and bane) of the Internet. I don't know how many of these are on the Net but I think I can safely say too many.
Blogs are a little different. While a blog can have many of the same qualities as a personal Web page, a blog is usually seen as more of a diary or a commentary, a core upon which a virtual community can form. (At least, that's my take on it, and from what I've read, there are as as many definitions for blog as there are bloggers.) Bloggers write about whatever is on their minds, be it personal, philosophical, or political. All of a sudden, their opinions are out there, for all to read, and their audience may just join them and create a community around one of their entries or ideas. And while personal Web pages were pretty much only for those who knew how to code a Web page, blogs can be created by anyone with an Internet connection since those who host blogs often provide the simple software and design choices that enable non-techie types to express themselves on the Web.
So what blogs are out there? There are blogs about hairless cats, blogs about politics, blogs extolling the virtues of nudist colonies, and blogs that serve the close-knit community of scientists studying the mating habits of paramecium. In other words, there are almost as many blogs as there are reasons to blog. And, according to comScore Networks, a company that provides information regarding consumer behavior in various industries, nearly 50 million Americans, or about 30 percent of the total U.S. Internet population, visited blogs in the first quarter (Q1) of 2005. That is a lot of people reading, interacting, and listening to what you have to say.
A blog by any other name is still a weird word
As I mentioned at the beginning of the column, as human beings, we have this need to express ourselves, and a blog is the perfect place to do that. Now, expression, as we know, comes in many forms, and so do blogs. Some blogs are strictly text based: the writer — or "blogger" — writes an entry every day, week, or however often he decides. If he develops a following of sorts, the audience expects to see his entries at certain intervals, and so a sort of community is formed. Some blogs incorporate photos, video clips, and lists, such as a list of links to other blogs or any other kind of sites. Sometimes readers of blogs can even provide comments, thereby enhancing the feeling of community.
So you can see why this type of communication is really catching on: If you nurture and pay attention to your blog, you can create a community out of thin air around yourself and your interests. For example, consider the blogs that gained notoriety during the last national election: Many of these bloggers became somewhat famous as their communities grew, and they were granted entry into the circles normally reserved for mainstream journalists.
Blogs can also be oriented toward business; they can perform such duties as exposing new products, or acting as forums to talk about everything from new inventions to changes in business practices. Remember that number of 50 million blog visitors in Q1 2005? Imagine the countless ways in which you can reach, connect, and correspond with your current — and prospective — customers.
You can see why blogs are growing more popular: It only takes a few minutes to set up a blog and it doesn't require that you be a computer geek.
Everyone else has one; I want one too
...and so now I have one. That's right: Crabby has her own blog. And while my blog isn't really where I post commentary and opinions, it is a place to read my column. But even better than that, you can access my blog (and therefore my column) using RSS, or Really Simple Syndication. RSS allows you to subscribe to "feeds," or content, from several sources and automatically combines the information into one list, a list that is contained in an RSS reader. You can quickly browse the list without visiting each site to search for new information of interest to you. It's ingenious, really; you don't have to bookmark all your favorite sites (such as my archive page); you just check in with your reader, see what's new and read what you want. When you subscribe to my blog on MSN Spaces via RSS, the moment I publish a notice that I have a new column, you can go and read it. Or, you can just read the intro and decide the content isn't for you right now.
More information about Crabby's blog
Get the latest Crabby columns with RSS.This article explains what RSS is
Crabby's Corner on MSN SpacesThis is my actual blog
Crabby RSS feedThis is a link to the place that explains how to subscribe to my RSS feed
Now, if after reading this column you're all hot to create a blog of your own, visit MSN Spaces. They make it nice and easy to get started and make your voice heard." (November 17, 2006)
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Brainstorm: Smaller world, bigger market
JavaJoy, Inc. was founded by Hank Sanchez in 1980
By Patrick Darnell
Marketing Research Practices
Ownership and operations at JavaJoy Inc have been sole responsibility of the owner Mr. Sanchez. First order of business is to wrestle some of the marketing responsibilities from the owner/operator, and put them into a vision statement for a strategic marketing team. This division of labor should free up some time for Mr. Sanchez to continue on his mission of providing premium ongoing brewing excellence; Brewing mastery for the Next Generation. Numerous missions for the new marketing efforts are based on the owner’s vision of brewing success as basis for growth.
Machines and apparatuses of brewing coffee are not proprietary, and probably not patented. Any device can be reverse engineered by competitors, and international knock-off artists. Mr. Sanchez’s generational process is the knowledge basis of JavaJoy Inc and is locked in the owners’ mind. The process must be further winnowed and nurtured. The process for exacting excellence in coffee brewing is after all the patentable part that belongs solely to Mr. Sanchez and JavaJoy Inc.
This discussion attempts to apply some marketing adjustments to state of affairs at JavaJoy Inc. A recent issue of VAR Business Magazine, November 13, 2006 discusses expected return on investment of some CRM decisions being made today. Also, articles discuss some anticipated growth percents for next year’s resellers. Also, the paper tries to unlock potentials of capturing market share by introducing research.
Initially JavaJoy’s new marketing manager will find indicators that identify accelerated growth. Data will then be used to build a framework for additional research in identifying customer desires. As a final point, market research will determine a path for the consolidation of the efforts of JavaJoy to enable entry into vertical markets successfully.
1. Is the shift in the coffee market an opportunity for accelerated growth?
Assumption: The direction of JavaJoy Inc is similar to typical trends, and is veering “toward service industry, because of its reputable brewing, and customer base, and is expected to increase in revenues [up to] 14% in the next twelve months” (Gonsalves, Chris; November 13, 2006).
Idea 1: Determine which internet technologies are evolving in 2006, and predetermine a quality standard based on the service end of sales, and stiffen for accelerated growth in the field service industry. Provide resources and budget for ongoing refinement of knowledge as it applies to a framework and model for growth and consolidation.
Reasons for Java Joy to expand research efforts in defining field services in an accelerated growth market:
>Twenty year history with best brewing customer services and products
>Family business with healthy growth history, generational rewards
>Brewing technology high end, excellent,
According to a recent survey by Aberdeen Group, 88% of best-in-class service organizations view the connection between the field and back office as a top strategic priority. If [JavaJoy Inc] doesn’t already have some type of communication solution in place — such as calling [field agents] via cell phones or a scheduling and optimization field service data solution — it will soon. But [JavaJoy Inc] solution can be more than just connectivity between the field and the office. [JJI] can leverage complementary technologies to make the most of its investment (Chapin, Khristen; October 2006).
Therefore, Rep Team-building will be the priority for JavaJoy headquarters. Market adjustments will be delivered by those field groups, such as resellers, specifying engineers, chains and restaurateurs. Whereas JavaJoy “markets directly to medium and large restaurant chains that maintain technical staffs who specify equipment like brewers, with the next step in market evolution is to replicate its success in “other vertical [markets]” (Task Detail; 2006).
An excellent supporting idea comes from Douglas Kern, partner and president of Thoughtful, Inc. “And it’s not just technology ...we offer professional services, sales and marketing help for our partners. We’re even venture capitalists,” says Kern. Thoughtful, Inc is “seeing record growth in businesses from ...discrete, proprietary systems to dot-Net-based integrated solutions (November 13, 2006, p 44).”
Christopher L. Smith, owner of Kettle Moraine Web & Consulting Services, Dousman, WI says “Beyond the current need for security, his own customers’ desire for growth, fuels opportunities for him, first in consulting and later in IT services” (November 13, 2006, p 46).
JavaJoy Inc will be able to draw some ideas for revenue and growth from “state of the market surveys” for Business 2 Business, Business 2 Customer and Business to Government/ Education now being published in most end-of-the-year issues of 2006 business periodicals. Essentially, shift in the coffee market means growth for JavaJoy Inc.
2. Is the shift in the coffee market a problem of retaining [good customers]?
Assumption: Customer Relations are not “fully” managed, and could be improved at all levels of operations. A vital element is missing in Customer Relations Management.
Idea 2: Begin Snail Mail campaign with US Post Office to send surveys and samples. Every reseller and specifying agent in its supply chain will have a sample of the JavaJoy Inc perfection in brewing. Then work to “find out where they [customers] want to be in the next year, two years, and three years versus their competitors. That’s what leads to the discussion of technologies and products,” says Christopher L. Smith of Kettle Moraine Web & Consulting Services.
In order to identify missing elements in CRM, follow up is to be done by agents, representatives, resellers, while headquarters supports and feeds base operations. Its mission is to gather as much “subsurface customer data as possible.” This implicit information will be added to CRM database to give whole picture spread of what JavaJoy Inc customers are expecting.
Those willing to “travel outside comfortable business locales and trudge through ...plants [and end-user establishments] stand to reap the most rewarding and long-standing engagements in the channel (Gonsalves, Chris; November 13, 2006).
Customer loyalty is too easily lost from year to year. This kind of information is locked in the minds of field personnel, who most need access to broader, “subsurface customer information.” For the ensuing five years ahead, the ambition is sharing with all agents’ the implicit knowledge of market rhythm, patterns and desires that most help to grow fertile coffee brewing opportunities for JavaJoy Inc, and all its entities.
By means of questions, Home office and field-operations groups determine consumer loyalty:
>Where does your group want to be this time next year?
>What technology will best cover lost ground?
>Is “ubiquitous CRM” actually “lifting [customer] visibility to everyone in” JavaJoy Inc (Lee, Dick; 1/31/2003)?
>As sellers of complex products and customer-service what share of the market can JavaJoy Inc expect next year?
>What is a good basis for team-building in the trenches?
>How can the JavaJoy Inc marketing policies suppress the modern quandary: “Today, if you can’t solve the problem, you can’t keep the customer” (Lee, Dick; 1/31/2003)?
>What are JavaJoy Inc customers “expecting us to make full use of our staff experience and expertise to craft solutions” for them?
>Do JavaJoy Inc customers require energetic, fastidious no slack added determination by us to “resolve difficult problems for them” (Lee, Dick; 1/31/2003)?
>Do you consider consolidation, such as merger and acquisition, as a method for reaching wider ranges of customers, including obscure and hard to reach end-users?
Discussion Three: Consolidation
3. A “shift in the coffee market” of 1990’s to present can be described as a microcosm of sort, linking the “improved brewing processes to accelerated growth.”
Assumption: Coffee consumption does not define itself in the typical market sense. Most of the contributions to the accelerating coffee market are a result of turning a good olfactory stimulus that tastes bad, as a bad tasting stimulus, to a good tasting stimulus that also smells good.
Idea 3: Brewed coffee actually does not taste as good as it smells, unless brewed in a patented way and doctored up for the taste test. That special job belongs to Mr. Sanchez and JavaJoy Inc. He has high end brewing equipment and process to achieve good tasting, good aroma corollary. Success in brewing means good margins in end-user category. But initial investment in equipment and process may cause margin problems at JavaJoy in the long run.
But what will determine the best route for JavaJoy Inc depends on what sort of regularity it is looking for: and there are certain regularities human individuals anticipate. Rhythms of desire, or, of fatigue, what some might call biological clocks, has revealed to many businesses a path for growth or decline. Complaints recur at rhythmic intervals, as the resellers of JavaJoy technology and services know all too well.
Questions for upper management to ask of themselves:
>Are we willing to decentralize our knowledge base, and publish to our resellers?
>How much will we share, or invest, in our business partnerships starting now?
>What today are General Economic Conditions at present...? In context of:>>Price sensitivity, >>Retail outlets patronized, >>Buyer preferences
>Will we have a mastery of product consumption habits and consumption of related product categories after we invest in our expansion of body of knowledge?
>Will we achieve in five years, or earlier, the obvious: “being able to provide a greater breadth and depth of products and services to a wider range of customers” (McEachern, Christina; 2006, p 46)?
>In context of time, net present values, and budgets: “We don’t want to make a $10 million purchase if it takes 10 years to pay off. A reasonable time of three to five years makes economic sense,” says McEachern, quoting John Varel CEO of FusionStorm (McEachern, Christina; 2006, p 46)?
>Is the legal environment at the firm tolerant to merger and acquisition as a faster route to making JavaJoy Inc more rounded in its offerings, to “complement current value proposition and enhance the benefits we can offer clients” (McEachern, Christina; 2006, p 46)?
The sheer number of small and midsize solution providers has climbed to staggering heights in the United States, and that could be reason enough for market consolidation. With dwindling product margin and the move to a service-based model in the channel, many of the little guys just can’t scale their infrastructure or their offerings to effectively compete (McEachern, Christina; November 13, 2006)
If we ask the decision-maker what he, Mr. Sanchez, wants to focus on in the market research, I am certain he wants to continue to perfect his brewing process. He will also divulge that he wants his officers to focus on symptoms of markets, and give missions to the various resellers. These deliverables will make advertising, pricing strategies and introducing of new products and services more enticing to customers over the next five years. Marketing Management looks forward to achieving results through conclusive descriptive cross-sectional research across the firm’s entire representative structure.
Data collection and preparation will help owner and officers alike address the rather tumultuous question to merge, acquire, or to not. A tough decision is narrowed with research that tapers the customers’ expectations.
Editing, reducing, summarizing, looking for patterns, and applying statistical techniques to data will provide advanced knowledge of customer segments, and loyalty. The lasting benefits from the market research are in confirming which vertical markets JavaJoy Inc should track and tackle.
Chapin, Khristen; (October 2006) Integrated Solutions, Three Steps to Field Service Success, retrieved date: 15 November 2006 WesP CorryPub %20PDFs ISM06
CTUOnline; (November 15, 2006) Task List; MKT350 03 0604B Marketing Research Practices,
Gonsalves, Chris; (November 13, 2006) State of the Market, don’t be chicken, VARBusiness, article p 42
Lee, Dick; (1/31/2003) CRM: Three Steps Forward, One Step back, but new “Expertise Automation” Technology recovers lost ground, High-Yield Marketing retrieved date: 15 November 2006
McEachern, Christina; (November 13, 2006) Gobble, Gobble, mergers and acquisitions heat up in the channel, VARBusiness, article p 46
Saturday, November 11, 2006
- Correlations and Questions: WAG for Nags, things to ponder while building your business
by Patrick Darnell
PIGGYBANK is actually an acronym for the frustrated academician who has been left behind by those who pander the reality found in hard statistical analysis.
“Patterns in geometric gain yield bountiful academic nosegays of knowledge.”
“Probably, investigation gives geographic yields to bolster against ineffectual knowledge.”
P (Platonic’s) What may make the oriental culture so good at math, is the formidable task of learning the complexity inherent in their pictographic, written languages. Correlation: The number of pictographs in a language, or pictorial iconography may determine the height of that particular culture’s logic system.
I (Interest) Tee shirt cotton & Denim, total sales and the advent of European Union for a one world uniform. Correlation: Just who makes all the denim, anyway? I want to buy stock in that company.
G (Greed) Need for Casual Friday vs. the advent of the 32 hour work week. Correlation: The fewer hours worked in the week, the more hours one must spend doing side work, while others enjoy leisure-tronics.
G (Gas Planets) Does the lag time in the Judicial system define its demise? Correlation: does the number of years the Judicial system lags behind technologic advances, relate to the number of years of stagnation in the US economy?
Y (Yellow/Green Politics) What if possible to introduce a variety of aardvark into Texas to rid the prairies of red ants? Correlation: What quantity of aardvarks is needed to thrive in Texas to deter the spread of the red ant, by half?
B (Bureaucracy). Why is Fiber-optics about the beginning of non-regulation of communications? Correlation: Do Communications ever return to the hands of the general public, who are party to size of optic bandwidth, available to communication moguls.
A (Angst). What is the dollar amount per newborn child, with all variables of mortality figured in, that each innocent human owes on the US national debt at birth? Correlation: The inverse relationship of the interest payments on the national debt, to the increase in US population will make a pool, of how many taxpayers to pay into the coffers in the next twenty years.
N (Nitrogen based fuel) How many carbon atoms are used in ignition of total SUV’s internal combustion engines throughout USA? Correlation: One SUV in a hundred will be outside the normal operating standards for air purity, and what is the ‘straw that will break the Ozone’s back? Is this true?
K (Pawn to King) Yes, and, how many roads must a man walk down, before others will call him a man?
I have determined that while I have a crude knowledge now of the world just outside my understanding, that it is just that, a glimpse. I would stake much on the exponential increase in knowledge, as the middle ground of human’s wakes up to the expanding knowledge bases of every enterprise. Can an explosion of this magnitude be under-studied by, for example, me, the frustrated academician?
Consider the decade in which we are living:
Ahead of schedule, the statistics community has mapped the human genome.
Before even a 386 could be decidedly put into a garbage dump legally, statisticians have put a Pentium Four in a package the size of a gnat’s eyebrow.
My child’s Neo Pet has more processing power than the Mercury rocket program, of the 1960’s.
There is an international space station orbiting the earth.
I have forgotten more word processing than my children will ever know.
Just a reminder, I will be there if you need a friend, only I might not have up to date information. Maybe that is also a disclaimer, if you later find a hole in my logic. Ciao.
_______________________________________References/ Notes/ Links
Why You Really Ought to Want to Love Your Work
Part 1: Are You Working Long Hours on the Right Career?
You Work Long Hours
“The average American manager works 42 hours per week, but a substantial number of managers and professionals - three in 10, or 10.8 million people - work 49 or more hours per week. Of male managers and professionals, four in 10 work 49 hours. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2000 report, this number of working hours is substantially unchanged since 1989. More managers and professionals are working over 49 hours, but more are also working less which keeps the number steady.”
“Comparatively, the hours that people work in non-supervisory or production jobs have steadily declined since the early 1960s in all categories except manufacturing, construction, and mining. In these jobs, hours have increased, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics Monthly Labor Review, July 2000. While the overall trend in working hours is down, with the average non-supervisory or production employee working 34.5 hours in 1999 as compared to 38.7 in 1964, this figure is skewed by workers in services and especially retail, who are working substantially fewer hours.”
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Friday, November 10, 2006
I use the same method for everything I write. The types of writing we are doing in online accelerated classes are demanding a kind of loopy journalism. Often I wonder if the tasks are out-of-date just to test our mettle and resolve. Regardless, it is the task, and if I am aggravated by it, so it seems, that is part of the dig.
I am not an Ingrate
I hope instead of looking at the dissonance, the reader, you who are also writing and probably in the middle of your careers, will see another aspect. I truly hope you will see fourteen or more business ideas in each of my papers, and sincerity in my appeals for things to change. May I please feel strongly about helping others reach their fullest potential, using the maturing reading and writing tools? In brick and mortar construct, I often aspire to be the writer's writer.
My personality is non-confrontational, and reluctant-authoritative, unless it is a statement about my experiences, which after all are hard fought in this world. Then you may get a feel of concentrated case study that makes a reader look.
Thanks once again for posting a comment that calls me out... Old Wood Improvised home-grown Dissonant. Sometimes papers I write have big flaws, like any script. It also has unedited comments, one might get the wrong impression about. For that I am apologetic, and well just a bit peeved at myself: when my thesis is over stated and the argument is randomly spotted, and unclear. I want it to pop out, but the time needed to edit it to “rendering stage" is ever unavailable.
I write as I read the sources, with no notes taken, goes directly into the paper, to be edited later. Then, I re-write up to three drafts, depending on the cuts I want to remove or add. Sometimes I get so tired of the paper I just let it go, regardless of the stage it is in. Sometimes I hang on to a paper until I hear harmony in it.
Sometimes I am focused from the beginning, and the paper is usually harmonious in voice, content and style from a predetermined palette. Much of the time my focus is not, and my humor isn’t; then the paper really starts to sound like a Hoover.
Addled attempts to make brief the long winded. Much like the befuddled mathematician forming formulae in esoteric languages, logarithms and algorithms, to a condensation of equality in a balanced formula, such as: E = MC2.
Should a postulate be for good reason, a simple formula in judicial opinion with legalese grammar? Is that more eloquent and more efficient than the best concise Declaration of Independence?
Yes that was a wise crack, because I see lawyers as inflated, modifiable clerks. The task of filing a lot of decisions has been elevated to paying a large amount for clerks to keep track of large files. After a while the whole system seems based on when the vacations schedules of the judges and the dissenting lawyers “might” coincide, so that a decision can be made. Meanwhile, the file sits in an in box.
In that system systemic, time lags behind because the counselors do not want to face the truth that they are just file clerks, inefficient at that... how can anyone place a trust in it? Or maybe because my college sweetheart became a lawyer, after using me up and dumping me to go to law school, I have dim view.
Because I am older now, and have been in the creative fields for my 39 year work history, drafting/ graphic artist/ printing/ painting and trade show, I jam as much into the assignment as is possible.
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