Monday, November 30, 2009
http://www.interviewqsn.com/dot-net-interview-questions/index.html <-- Select topic from category on left side. http://www.questpond.com/ <-- also has free Interview Questions Books to download & list of bookshops in mumbai http://www.thinkinterview.com/Interview-Questions/c1_.NET-Interview-Questions.aspx
http://www.ugain.info/CrackingThePMP.htm <-- Tips for cracking PMP exams
http://blogs.eweek.com/careers/ <-- Blog to keep track for IT career related news
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
* Whats the main thing which Time management stresses on?
Time mgmt. stresses on direction not on speed.
*From which paradigm I should carry out my activities?
Study shows that most successful man in the world operates from Importance paradigm not from Urgency paradigm.
*Which are the four quadrants of TM & in which quadrant I should spend most of my time?
There are 4 quadrants of TM based on type of activities:
Q1 - Important, Urgent
Crises, Meetings, Deadline driven projects, Pressing problems
Q2 - Important, Non - urgent
Preparation, prevention, planning, Values clarification, Relationship building, True recreation, Empowerment
Q3 - Non Imp., Urgent
Interruptions, phone calls, some meetings, some mails, some reports, many proximate, pressing matters,Many popular activities
Q4 - Non Imp., Non - Urgent
Trivia, busywork, Excessive TV, Time wasters, Escape activities, some phone calls, Irrelevant mails.
You should spend most of time in Q2.
Q1 : You can't ignore activities which falls under Q1 like meetings, phone calls & other important & urgent work but you should be smart enough in identifying your activity whether it really falls under Q1 or Q3.
Q2 basically comprises of all main activities like planning, prevention, controlling, learning, building relationships etc.
Q3 : This is the quadrant which comprises of activities which are urgent but not important. People who are urgency addicted they consider those activities as Q1 & by thinking these are first things (which are not first in reality) they spends unnecessary amount of time doing that. If you want to increase time in Q2 activities then you should try to get it by reducing Q3 activities.
Q4 : This is the quadrant which comprises of activities which doesn't help at all in our growth. So we should try to bring it down to 0%. When a person works more from urgency paradigm he tries to get relax by escaping to Q4 activities like watching T.V., reading & sending unnecessary emails etc. There are more better ways for renewal & we should follow those constructive renewals.
*How much time successful & non successful industries spent in each quadrant?
Successful -> 20-25% in Q1, 65-80% in Q2, 15% in Q3, less than 1% in Q4 Non Successful -> 25-30% in Q1, 15% in Q2, 50-60% in Q3, 2-3% in Q4
*What are the 4 basic needs of human being?
Physical,Social,Mental & Spiritual are four basic needs. In other way it means to live, to love, to learn & to leave legacy.
*What are the 4 endowments of human being?
Conscience,Independent will,Creative Imagination & Self awareness. Highest level of Q2 activities are those which nurtures & empowers your these 4 endowments.
*Which are the two keystones out of 4 needs & endowments?
Contribution (To leave legacy) & conscience - These are most important because they provide meaning to and energize the others.
*Which are the two stumbling blocks?
Discouragement - which comes as a result of living life on illusion rather than principles. Pride - Pride in living, Pride in loving, Pride in learning & Pride in leaving a legacy. If you are doing activities just to nurture your pride then its just cotton candy satisfaction. When you are doing the things after finding real meaning to it then it will be long lasting.
*What should be the vision of my life?
As per fourth generation of TM, to live a quality of life you should have a vision which can satisfy your all 4 needs. As we know this we can not accomplish with a single role so you should identify your different roles in life & in all the roles you should have a vision which is based on values of principles.
*How can I acquire this final vision?
To acquire this final vision you should have weekly goals in your different roles. You should identify which are the first Q2 things I should carry out in next week which can lead me to my final vision in each role. Some of your most important roles are as personal development, As professional at work, As family member, As friend, Member of Society etc.
*What is the best vision out of all visions?
Raising vision in others
*Shall I go for daily planning or weekly planning?
Fourth genertion TM recommends Weekly planning is better than daily planning.
*Why balance of roles is important & maximum around how many roles I should plan out my goals in a week?
Balance of roles help in reducing stress & it also helps in satisfying all 4 needs. It doesn't mean that you should plan out your weekly goals in each role but depending on circumstaces you should try to cover goals in all roles. You should not plan goals for more than 7 roles in a week.
*What are the three circles & where I should utilise my time?
Outer circle is circle of concernInner to that is circle of InfluenceInner most circle is centre of Focus. Study shows that people who are most successful spends most amount of time in centre of Focus. Which automatically increses their circle of influence.
*Shall I spend time in producing or in increasing capacity to produce?
Society & People judges you from what you are producing. They are interested in final results. So you can't ignore producing but you should also realise that our ability of producing gets directly affected by the amount of time we spend in increasing our capacity to produce. So a proper balance is needed between two.e.g. you are spending specific amount of time with people to build relationhips. This is an act of producing. When you spend certain amount of time in learning ways to win friends & influence people (An act of increasing capacity to produce) then you will be able to build reltionships with people in less time & more effectively.
*Shall I prioritize my schedule or schedule the priorities?
You should schedule your priorities to continue working from importance paradigm.
*Shall I treat people as interruptions & continue what I'm doing to stick to the schedule?
No. Fourth generation TM suggests to operate from paradigm of building relationship with people.
*How should I categorize my weekly goals?
You can categorize it as Determinant goals & Perhaps goals. At any cost you should try to accomplish your determinant goals to keep the commitments to your self & to maintain courage. Perhaps goals are the one which you may or may not achieve depending on any other higher priorities come in the week.
*How can I achieve multiple goals in short time?
By doing multiple activities parallely. e.g u identify Health improvement & building relationship with son as 2 goals of week. You can achieve both things together by taking your son along with you while going for exercise.
*Which are tools available for orgnizing my activities?
Digital Organizer (Sharp 128kb)Software tools like MS Outlook
*Books on time management?
"First things first" by Stephen Covey (NY Times best selling book)
Agility often defined as the ability of a firm to sense and respond to business opportunities in order to stay innovative and competitive in a turbulent and quickly changing business environment. An agile firm (one that demonstrates agility) has the capabilities and processes to respond to unexpected environmental changes.
To meet business agility, shaping skills of work force is becoming very crucial for organizations. One of the ways to meet those challenges could be agile way of shaping skills.
This article proposes 3 agile ways & states significance of each using dimensions of speed, relevance & measurement.
1. Sharing Knowledge Before Acquiring
It means sharing the knowledge with other concerned colleagues before you start acquiring it yourself. Normally when we come across new set of knowledge, we tend to acquire that first before passing it to other colleagues or team members. This new approach is just opposite to that.
On speed dimension, this approach is best. If you wait to acquire the knowledge before passing to others then there is a delay associated with it. So your organization’s overall skills growth also lags behind by that many days. We never realize its impacts but it does affect organization by losing unseen business opportunities & its growth prospects.
On relevance dimension, this approach is no good. Since you have not seen the knowledge material yourself so there are chances that you may pass knowledge to others that may be less relevant to them. This will waste their & organization’s time. More matured approach could be to have a quick glance of knowledge material before passing.
On measurement dimension, this approach lacks as there is no way to measure how much knowledge others acquired.
2. Screen Knowledge Material & Direct it to Right People
An organization can form a knowledge tapping committee. Members of that can identify trends of emerging technologies, take a call on what will be the most effective learning materials, who will be the right recipients to acquire that knowledge & can set measurement criteria to measure how much one has absorbed at the end of the exercise. It makes sense to have a marketing or sales guy in the committee as he has more handle on customer’s future business needs.
On speed dimension, this approach is of medium type. Since a layer of knowledge tapping committee gets added so some delay does take place.
On relevance dimension, this approach could be the best because it involves screening by multiple people & helps in central planning by taking inputs from marketing people.
On measurement dimension, this approach is of medium type. Organization need to put extra efforts in building questionnaire to evaluate knowledge acquired in an employee. For every new skill, this quiz needs to get built up. These activities increase cost. Also there is no way to monitor decay of knowledge in person & find need of refreshing skills of individual if he hasn’t kept himself updated.
3. Build Learning Portal Site & Subscribe with Web Analytics Agencies
In this approach, organization creates extranet type web site for its employees. A knowledge tapping committee can decide which all links to provide on this site. Organization also decides to register this site with agencies like Fireclick (http://www.fireclick.com/) which is in business of providing web analytics services. Web Analytics firms provide analysis report of your site on different parameters (e.g. no. of hits on links by different users etc.) period wise.
On speed dimension, this approach is of medium type. Since a layer of knowledge tapping committee & modification of web site is involved so some delay does take place. It is slower than previous 2 approaches.
On relevance dimension, this approach could be best for knowledge material available on internet.
On measurement dimension, this approach is better than above 2 approaches. With the help of web analytics you can evaluate who has traversed what link on what date. Also last traverse date of a link for an individual can be seen. By adopting some formula for knowledge refresh needs, people can be identified. Online quiz can be put up on web site to evaluate knowledge acquisition of an employee.
This article’s contents are derived from “Sustainable Development” 1997 pamphlet issued by U.S. Information agency.
Sustainable Development fundamentally means that the economies of the world should attempt to meet the needs of today’s generations without compromising or stealing from the future generations. Sustainable development is use of natural resources and national infrastructure in a way that seeks to avoid the exhaustion of those resources – and to avoid unacceptable levels of pollution incidental to industrial & commercial growth.
Five biological systems – croplands, forests, grasslands, oceans and fresh waterways – support the world economy. Except for fossil fuels and minerals, they supply all the raw materials for industry; and provide all our food. When the environment is finally forced into bankruptcy because its resource base has been polluted, degraded, dissipated, irretrievably compromised, then the economy goes down to bankruptcy with it. It happened in past in Central & Eastern Europe. Between 1987 & 1990, China lost some 20 million hectares of cropland.
The damage to the global environment, whether it is over fishing of the oceans, the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the release of chemical pollutants or the destruction of tropical forests, threatens the health of the people & future of economy. At the end of world war II, the earth’s population was nearing 2000 million; in 1997 it was around 6000 million & it is projected to reach 8000 million in 2020. It is increasing at rate of 91 million every year. This increased population has caused stress on biological systems considerably. Forests four times larger than Switzerland are lost every year. The people of world annually release 23,000 million tons of carbon dioxide into the air, increasing the earth’s temperature & threatening the health & habitat of animal, plants & people. Scientists estimate 70 different kinds of species we lose from earth every day & they warn that in 50 years a quarter of all species could be gone from earth. IPCC scientists predict that planet’s temperature will rise by 1 – 3.5 degrees Celsius, and the seas will rise between 15-91 centimeters by 2100. It can submerge Florida, Maldives & 17% of Bangladesh land inside water.
Coal, while abundant, easily convertible and cheap produces 1.3 times the carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas that causes global warming) per unit of energy as oil & 1.8 times that of natural gas. It also contains trace amounts of toxic chemicals. China’s reliance on coal for its energy needs results in high levels of sulfur emissions which cause acid rain in China & in other countries in the region. Although the developed countries comprise only one-fifth of the world’s population, they use two-thirds of all resources consumed & generate four-fifths of all pollutants & wastes. In India, an estimated 70 percent of surface water is polluted. Less than 10 percent of nation’s more than 3,000 cities & towns have adequate sewage collection & treatment facilities as per 1997 data. Waterborne diseases account for two-thirds of all illnesses in the country.
By looking at larger picture, we are all sailing in the same boat. We have the power & enormous responsibilities to captain that boat carefully. So we can pass the earth in same status to next generations in which we received. Problems created by man can be solved by man. To achieve this, countries need to think beyond normal GDP growths. It should be GDP + Growth of trees & forests in a country + fresh water resources growth + air quality growth in cities + growth of animals + quality of education growth. That’s the way to achieve balanced social, economic & environmental growth to acquire objective of long lasting sustainable development.
This article was written way back in 2007 end when USD to INR hitted below 40 level.
Are we ready for 1 USD = 30 Rs.?
In 6 months, first half of 2007, the Rupee has appreciated more against the US dollar than it did in over one decade. The Rupee will become stronger by the day.
Have we ever thought of what will be the consequences of it if it reaches to 1 USD = 30 Rs. by 2010 or 2012 & how to tackle risks emerging out of it. This article highlights some aspects of it.
Well at first thought it might appear that 1 USD = 30 Rs. won’t happen by 2010 but looking at Indian political scenario, since elections are expected in 2 years, there are high chances that Indian government will be less aggressive in slashing the interest rates down. This will lead to lots of foreign liquidity flow into our system causing rupee to appreciate a lot in coming few years.
If rupee goes from 43 to 30 level then its gain of around 30%. To compensate that it won’t be possible for software firms to raise billing rates by 30%! This would then pose significant challenges on software firms to maintain profitability.
Now let’s look at what could be the possible solutions to counter those challenges:
1. IT firms can index prices to local salaries rather than fixed prices. Using local salaries would protect IT service providers against both currency valuation & salary inflation. A few firms have already attempted similar clauses although clients have strongly resisted.
2. Reducing the exposure towards contracts getting signed in US dollars wherever possible. One area is bringing change in practices of IT contracts getting signed in USD for countries other than US. Here strategy could be making a shift towards local currency of that country or Euro.
3. IT firm can leverage contract technicalities to reopen contract negotiations & then change prices during the process.
4. Build currency risk and hedging services into a contract. This should enable extra profit margin against dollar depreciation.
5. IT firms need to find more ways towards optimization. They need to stress on higher utilization, higher efficiency & higher effectiveness.
6. IT firm should work towards improving their employee utilization rate – the average percentage of employees who are billable. As people move from one project to other there is some natural waste. It is considered very good to be 80 percent utilized.
7. So far the approach was to take project irrespective of skills needed. Now the approach should be to take projects, only on certain core skills. If you are having multiple projects going on in certain core skills then it would result in higher utilization of your man power.
8. IT firms need to be more aggressive in slashing the costs & wastages. They should come out with more productized and templated (out of box) solutions.
9. Increase the ratio of junior staff to senior staff from a typical 8:1 to more stretched 9:1 or 10:1.
10. IT firm can consider spreading delivery costs & reducing expenses in Rupees by promoting other low cost locations such as China & Latin America.
11. IT firms can push for managed services or results-based contracts where the vendor can manage the size of the team, on site/offshore ratio or team experience. So cost of assigning senior staff will reduce.
12. Delaying the hiring of new staff until contracts are signed & in place rather than anticipating demand, increasing the ramp up time for clients. New clients should include provisions for transition phases in agreements. Client expectations of increased response time should be set accordingly in advance.
13. IT firms should introduce weekly improvement programs where they can capture ideas from employees on weekly basis in different departments & try bringing in improvement changes on ongoing basis.
14. IT firms can take advantage of stronger rupee by converting back their rupee cash assets into dollar assets & buying office space overseas. This will enable them to have long time presence in overseas at relatively cheaper costs.
15. To improve efficiency, IT firms should find improved ways to impart training to their employees at cheaper costs.
16. IT firms can also capitalize on strong rupee by importing cheaper capital goods like Xerox machines, PCs, Hardware devices, software products etc.
17. Lastly, IT firms need to increase billing rates tactfully whenever chances of taking hit of project / customer loss is low.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Tourists do not visit Antarctica during winter, when the pack ice extends its frozen mantle for 1000km around most of the continent. In any case, few people would pay thousands of dollars to experience the Antarctic winter’s near round-the-clock darkness and extreme cold – the thermometer can plummet to -50°C.
The Antarctic tour season is short – about five months, with each offering its own highlights. November is early summer: the spring pack ice is breaking up, and birds – especially penguins – are courting and mating. December and January, when penguins are hatching eggs and feeding chicks, are the height of the austral summer, bringing warmer temperatures and up to 20 hours of sunlight every day. In the late summer months of February and March, whale-watching is at its best, penguin chicks are beginning to fledge and adult penguins are ashore molting.
Cruises later in the season may be less crowded. However, the longer you wait to go, the more wildlife will already have headed out to sea.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwADGPfjerI [Video - Antarctica in 5 minutes]
http://www.coolantarctica.com/gallery/Antarctica_gallery_home.htm [Pictures Gallery]
http://astro.uchicago.edu/cara/vtour/ [Virtual Tour]