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A project manager acts as the primary link between business and technical teams. A project manager is responsible for maintaining the project schedule, developing project estimates, working with external teams and tracking project issues. The project manager belongs to either the technical team or the project management office (PMO). The project manager works with business teams, technical teams, business counterparts, testing resources, vendors and infrastructure teams.

A project manager is often challenged with diagonally opposite views from the business side and technical side. A project manager’s success depends on balancing the needs and emotions of both sides.

Understanding the Requirements
A project manager must familiarize with the project’s requirements as defined by the business or product managers. This will help you understand the business vision behind the project. You will need this knowledge while negotiating with the technical teams.

Understanding the Technical Landscape
A project manager must also understand the technical systems, resource skills and infrastructure capabilities available for the project. Business teams come up with expectations that are sometimes beyond the capabilities of the technology team. It is the responsibility of the project manager to understand the technical capabilities available to the project.

Walkthrough of Business Requirements
This is a critical step in the project delivery process. The project manager must invite members from the business team, technical team, testing team, infrastructure team and vendors. The project manager must encourage the various stakeholders to ask questions about the requirements. Any prototypes available must be demonstrated in this meeting. The project manager must find answers to all questions resulting from the requirements walkthrough. The project manager must get the final version of the requirements approved by all stakeholders.

Managing Conflicts in Timelines and Budgets
All project managers will face the conflicts arising from shortened timelines and limited budgets. Business teams typically demand many features that are nearly impossible to deliver within short timeframes. The project manager must work with business and technical teams to prioritize the requirements. If the project is executed in a product development organization, then the project manager could utilize agile methodologies to deliver projects incrementally. In this case, the project manager may be required to act as a scrum master to facilitate scrum meetings between various stakeholders.

The Art of Saying “No”
As a project manager, you may be forced to say “no” to demands from both business and technology teams. However, it is important to create a win-win situation for all parties when you are faced with conflicting demands. You can work with the stakeholders individually before bringing all parties together. Most stakeholders prefer to work together. The success of a project manager depends on how effectively he or she can bring out the best in everyone, driving everyone towards a common goal.

Finally, the job of a project manager is not to satisfy the demands from all corners. The project manager must identify the essential deliverables that will meet the business needs, with a solid understanding of what is possible within the limits of technology.

 

Related:

Smart Project Management: Best Practices of Good Managers

Is Agism an Issue in IT?

The original article was posted by Michael Veksler on Quora

A very well known fact is that code is written once, but it is read many times. This means that a good developer, in any language, writes understandable code. Writing understandable code is not always easy, and takes practice. The difficult part, is that you read what you have just written and it makes perfect sense to you, but a year later you curse the idiot who wrote that code, without realizing it was you.

The best way to learn how to write readable code, is to collaborate with others. Other people will spot badly written code, faster than the author. There are plenty of open source projects, which you can start working on and learn from more experienced programmers.

Readability is a tricky thing, and involves several aspects:

  1. Never surprise the reader of your code, even if it will be you a year from now. For example, don’t call a function max() when sometimes it returns the minimum().
  2. Be consistent, and use the same conventions throughout your code. Not only the same naming conventions, and the same indentation, but also the same semantics. If, for example, most of your functions return a negative value for failure and a positive for success, then avoid writing functions that return false on failure.
  3. Write short functions, so that they fit your screen. I hate strict rules, since there are always exceptions, but from my experience you can almost always write functions short enough to fit your screen. Throughout my carrier I had only a few cases when writing short function was either impossible, or resulted in much worse code.
  4. Use descriptive names, unless this is one of those standard names, such as i or it in a loop. Don’t make the name too long, on one hand, but don’t make it cryptic on the other.
  5. Define function names by what they do, not by what they are used for or how they are implemented. If you name functions by what they do, then code will be much more readable, and much more reusable.
  6. Avoid global state as much as you can. Global variables, and sometimes attributes in an object, are difficult to reason about. It is difficult to understand why such global state changes, when it does, and requires a lot of debugging.
  7. As Donald Knuth wrote in one of his papers: “Early optimization is the root of all evil”. Meaning, write for readability first, optimize later.
  8. The opposite of the previous rule: if you have an alternative which has similar readability, but lower complexity, use it. Also, if you have a polynomial alternative to your exponential algorithm (when N > 10), you should use that.

Use standard library whenever it makes your code shorter; don’t implement everything yourself. External libraries are more problematic, and are both good and bad. With external libraries, such as boost, you can save a lot of work. You should really learn boost, with the added benefit that the c++ standard gets more and more form boost. The negative with boost is that it changes over time, and code that works today may break tomorrow. Also, if you try to combine a third-party library, which uses a specific version of boost, it may break with your current version of boost. This does not happen often, but it may.

Don’t blindly use C++ standard library without understanding what it does - learn it. You look at std::vector::push_back() documentation at it tells you that its complexity is O(1), amortized. What does that mean? How does it work? What are benefits and what are the costs? Same with std::map, and with std::unordered_map. Knowing the difference between these two maps, you’d know when to use each one of them.

Never call new or delete directly, use std::make_unique and [cost c++]std::make_shared[/code] instead. Try to implement usique_ptr, shared_ptr, weak_ptr yourself, in order to understand what they actually do. People do dumb things with these types, since they don’t understand what these pointers are.

Every time you look at a new class or function, in boost or in std, ask yourself “why is it done this way and not another?”. It will help you understand trade-offs in software development, and will help you use the right tool for your job. Don’t be afraid to peek into the source of boost and the std, and try to understand how it works. It will not be easy, at first, but you will learn a lot.

Know what complexity is, and how to calculate it. Avoid exponential and cubic complexity, unless you know your N is very low, and will always stay low.

Learn data-structures and algorithms, and know them. Many people think that it is simply a wasted time, since all data-structures are implemented in standard libraries, but this is not as simple as that. By understanding data-structures, you’d find it easier to pick the right library. Also, believe it or now, after 25 years since I learned data-structures, I still use this knowledge. Half a year ago I had to implemented a hash table, since I needed fast serialization capability which the available libraries did not provide. Now I am writing some sort of interval-btree, since using std::map, for the same purpose, turned up to be very very slow, and the performance bottleneck of my code.

Notice that you can’t just find interval-btree on Wikipedia, or stack-overflow. The closest thing you can find is Interval tree, but it has some performance drawbacks. So how can you implement an interval-btree, unless you know what a btree is and what an interval-tree is? I strongly suggest, again, that you learn and remember data-structures.

These are the most important things, which will make you a better programmer. The other things will follow.

As someone who works in many facets of the music industry, I used to seethe with a mixture of anger and jealousy when I would hear people in more “traditional” goods-based industries argue in favor of music content-based piracy. They made all the classic talking points, like “I wouldn’t spend money on this artist normally, and maybe if I like it I’ll spend money on them when they come to town” (which never happened), or “artists are rich and I’m poor, they don’t need my money” (rarely the case), or the worst, “if it were fairly priced and worth paying for, I’d buy it” (not true).  I always wondered if they’d have the same attitude if 63% of the things acquired by customers in their industries weren’t actually paid for, as was conservatively estimated as the case for the music industry in 2009 (other estimations put the figure of pirated music at 95%). Well, we may soon see the answer to curiosities like that. Though one can say with tentative confidence that music piracy is on the decline thanks to services like Spotify and Rdio, it could be looming on the horizon for the entire global, physical supply chain. Yes, I’m talking about 3d printers.

Before I get into the heart of this article, let me take a moment to make one thing clear: I think these machines are incredible. It’s damn near inspiring to think of even a few of their potentially world-changing applications: affordable, perfectly fit prosthetic limbs for wounded servicemen and women; the ability to create a piece of machinery on the spot instead of having to wait for a spare to arrive in the mail, or en route if your car or ship breaks down in a far away place; a company based out of Austin, TX even made a fully functioning firearm from a 3d printer a few months ago.

If these machines become as consumer-friendly and idiot-proof as possible (like computers), it’s possible that in a matter of decades (maybe less), a majority of U.S. households will have their own 3d printer. There’s also the possibility they could take the tech-hobbyist path, one that is much less appealing to the masses. Dale Dougherty of Makezine.com estimates there are currently around 100,000 “personal” 3d printers, or those not owned for business or educational purposes. I don’t think they’ll ever be as ubiquitous as computers, but there are plenty of mechanically inclined, crafty hobbyists out there who would love to play around with a 3d printer if it was affordable enough.

That being said, is there reason to worry about the economic implications of consumers making what they want, essentially for free, instead of paying someone else to produce it? Or will the printers instead be used for unique items more so than replicating and ripping off other companies’ merchandise in mass amounts? The number of people working in industries that would be affected by a development like this is far greater than the number of people who work in content-based industries, so any downturn would probably have a much larger economic implications. Certainly, those times are a ways off, but a little foresightedness never hurt anyone!

One of the most recent updates to the iPhone, and more specifically the operating system that is packaged with the iPhone, iOS, brought one of the most fantastic and phenomenal updates ever: an update to Maps. Maps has been used as an application that provides an easy way to find routes, and (obviously) maps about certain areas, businesses in the local vicinity, and also leaving pins on favorited locations, or pins where you have explored, and for many other reasons. However, although Maps has always been a great way to travel with, it has always been redundant to travel with, also. When you used Maps a while ago, you had to route your map, and then manually click each next button as you reached each turn or freeway exit, and the like. So, if you had to turn left on a certain street, you had to tell your phone you had done so, so it would give you the next directions. As a result, it could become very dangerous to always have your phone out, looking at it, while you are on a high-speed freeway. But, the newest update solved that, and brought a great amount of new features.

Using Maps GPS

Using Maps is as easy as it gets. Most of the time, when you are using Maps, you are using it to search for a location, and finding a way to get there. To start off, let’s search for the nearest mall, and routes to get there. Simply search a nearby mall you know about, or search the general word “mall” by tapping on the top text box, and typing in mall, and searching. Pins will drop down on the screen, and locating the mall by zooming into certain streets and locations will help you find the mall you want. Once you find the mall you desire to go to, click on the blue arrow, and scroll down, and tap on the button that says “Directions To Here.”

 

As a result of tapping on that particular button, a new window should show up asking where your starting location is. On default, this location is your current location; if it is anything else, simply type in the starting location into the top address bar, such as your house. Once you are ready to go, tap on route, and you should be ready to go. Well, not exactly. One of the best features that has been implemented in the new system is suggested routes, and alternative routes. If you don’t like to drive on certain streets, or roads, the system provides you with different methods to get to your destination, which may avoid a road you don’t feel like driving on that certain day, or time, or you simply don’t want to take the freeway. It’s all okay, as Maps provides you with many different routes to take. Once you find the route you want (by tapping on the certain route’s outline), click start, and you should be ready to go. Make sure you turn up your volume so you can hear the directions!

Maps for Alternative Transportation

Tech Life in Illinois

The Illinois Institute of Technology has various research centers such as the IIT Research Institute, the Institute of Gas Technology, and the Design Processes Laboratory as well as a technical facility of the Association of American Railroads. No state has had a more prominent role than Illinois in the emergence of the nuclear age. As part of the Manhattan Project, in 1942 the University of Chicago conducted the first sustained nuclear chain reaction. This was just the first of a series of experimental nuclear power projects and experiments. And, with eleven plants currently operating, Illinois leads all states in the amount of electricity generated from nuclear power. Approximately 35% percent of residents are in management, business, science, or arts occupations.
If confusion is the first step to knowledge, I must be a genius. ~ Larry Leissner
other Learning Options
Software developers near Des Plaines have ample opportunities to meet like minded techie individuals, collaborate and expend their career choices by participating in Meet-Up Groups. The following is a list of Technology Groups in the area.

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A successful career as a software developer or other IT professional requires a solid understanding of software development processes, design patterns, enterprise application architectures, web services, security, networking and much more. The progression from novice to expert can be a daunting endeavor; this is especially true when traversing the learning curve without expert guidance. A common experience is that too much time and money is wasted on a career plan or application due to misinformation.

The Hartmann Software Group understands these issues and addresses them and others during any training engagement. Although no IT educational institution can guarantee career or application development success, HSG can get you closer to your goals at a far faster rate than self paced learning and, arguably, than the competition. Here are the reasons why we are so successful at teaching:

  • Learn from the experts.
    1. We have provided software development and other IT related training to many major corporations in Illinois since 2002.
    2. Our educators have years of consulting and training experience; moreover, we require each trainer to have cross-discipline expertise i.e. be Java and .NET experts so that you get a broad understanding of how industry wide experts work and think.
  • Discover tips and tricks about Google for Business programming
  • Get your questions answered by easy to follow, organized Google for Business experts
  • Get up to speed with vital Google for Business programming tools
  • Save on travel expenses by learning right from your desk or home office. Enroll in an online instructor led class. Nearly all of our classes are offered in this way.
  • Prepare to hit the ground running for a new job or a new position
  • See the big picture and have the instructor fill in the gaps
  • We teach with sophisticated learning tools and provide excellent supporting course material
  • Books and course material are provided in advance
  • Get a book of your choice from the HSG Store as a gift from us when you register for a class
  • Gain a lot of practical skills in a short amount of time
  • We teach what we know…software
  • We care…
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