terça-feira, dezembro 26, 2006

PMP - Activity Duration Tools

Question from Hermann Ludwig :

"Activity duration estimating process determines the work periods required to complete each activity. Can the activity duration tools and techniques also be used for calculating overall project duration ?
Or schedule development is the only process where overall project duration is calculated ?

Manuel, can you also let me know if the CPM technique uses one-point or 3-point estimates?

Best Regards"


Hallo Hermann.

I'll try to answer to the best of my knowledge.

WBS and Activity duration estimation are related. However to calculate the overall project duration one needs to consider various schedule compression techniques like fast tracking, crashing, resourse levelling and so forth, which is a part of schedule development techniques and hence it is logical to include project duration calculation as part of schedule development.

Let's put it another way. The first and foremost activity in calculating the overall project duration is to:

- develop the sequence of activities using the network diagrams;

- find out the availability of resources for each of the activities;

- Estimate the activity duration;

- schedule the activities using critical chain techniques;

- This will give you the over all project duration.

Schedule development is essential for creating buffers based on resource availability and other other known constraints.

The CPM techniques are based on the assumption that resources are always available in abundance. So it is not realistic.

I hope it helped. If you've got any further questions don't hesitate to mail me.

Manuel Augusto Antão

terça-feira, novembro 28, 2006

ITIL - Change or Configuration Management. Which comes first? - Follow-up

( "Requestion" from Dieter Newmann )

The Service support book has several references about the need to have change in place to support ConfigM. It also describes that if you don’t have change management that you need to freeze the CMDB and manually record all changes until you do have change mgt in place – completely impractical except in the very smallest of organizations... :)

The activities of ConfigM are PICSV – planning, identification, CONTROL, status accounting and verification and audit. Control ensures that no CI is added, deleted or modified without appropriate authorization – an approved change request.
Implementing config and populating a CMDB with no process to manage it would be foolish.

Also, the cost of implementing config and the CMDB mean this process should not be the first one attempted. You would be hard pressed to get budget approval (this can cost several hundred thousand Euros for the tool, the database license, populating tools and the large amount of time it takes).

It doesn’t take much for things to go wrong and buy in wanes. You also aren’t likely to get many second chances, so tackling such a big project ( ConfigM ) too early creates a large risk.

Change does need config – how else do you properly assess an RFC? The same way most shops do it – get the people in the room that know about the systems. This is not perfect of course – lots of danger by relying on what’s in people’s heads, but, it can be done and without a CMDB what choice is there? Config however, needs change to ensure that the records are kept accurate and up to date. Change also can be ‘improved’ or formalized fairly quickly, without a lot of cost and can provide immediate benefits. This does need to be part of a larger plan to include other processes however as change mgt. left in a low state of maturity, or in isolation, may never become what it should and it might forever only be ‘change control’.

Hope it helps,


ITIL - Change or Configuration Management. Which comes first?

( Question from Dieter Newmann )

It's another case of the hen and the egg ...

In my ( not extensive ) experience of ITIL, or just plain IT operations, I have observed that a centralised Service Desk is essential to kick start the ITIL foundation. Please remember that SD is a function, not a process. In my opinion, SD is the backbone of the ITIL framework. Whether it's Service Support, or Service Delivery, Service Desk is the single point of contact (SPOC).

There would be no use of having ConfigM or change management process, IM, or PM ahead of SD. For a simple reason: When you do not know what services IT is providing to its customer, you cannot have any support process too. Hence, identify your deliverables, develop a Service Catalogue, ensure that you can support all services mentioned in the catalogue. Setup a SPOC, which is your service desk, and voila!! your first step towards service support has already been taken. You need not have complex ITIL tools to support your SD. A spreadsheet can do the job as well,as long as all requests are logged and efficiently followed up.

Do remember, SD is SPOC for the following processes:

Incident Management: To know your organisation pain area (In IT). {Can be obtained from SD}
Problem Management: To get a trend report.{Can be obtained from SD}
Configuration Management: SD can update the CIs better than any site engineer.
Change Management: All RFCs / FSCs have to be with SD.
Release Management: SD coordinates and analyses the impact.
Capacity: A trend in number of calls, PM can contribute to it
SLM: SD is the owner of SLAs/OLAs/UCs

Due to time constraint I am not able to emphasize more however I guess I've made my point.

Hope these comments are of some help.


ZMP-Zertifizierung im Februar 2007 am Goethe Institute

Hallo !

Es gibt was Neues.

Die nächsten ZMP Prüfungen finden noch im gewohnten Format in der Zeit vom 12. 02. - 13. 02. am GI Lissabon statt.

Bitte schreiben Sie sich in der Zeit vom 08. - 19. 01. 07 rechtzeitig ein, damit sie unsere Anmeldung berücksichtigen können.

PS. "gewohnten Format" = ohne Änderungen ( wegen der Einführung der GI-B2-Prüfung ... )

Hals- und Beinbruch ...


PS. Bis jetzt habe ich nichts gemacht. Ich bin total im Arsch !

sexta-feira, novembro 24, 2006

ITIL Implementation - Question

Question from Dieter :

"Hi Manuel,

I have my ITIL Foundation and Manager Training. I'd like to ask an implementation question, particularly from you, who I know have just started implementing ITIL in your organization.

1. Which ITIL module do you start with?
2. In what logical sequence did you implement the 10 modules?
3. How long does each module take?

With Best Wishes

Dieter Newmann"


Hallo Dieter.

Long time no see ...

Well, in October I started the phase of design and implementation of the Configuration Management Process for the company I work for ( PT-SI ), but prior to that there were already a lot of ITIL Processes in place, that is, in the design phase.

To my mind there are no right or wrong answers, but it depends on the situation. I can summarize :

1. If you are fighting fire or having a constant haunting pain, start from the most painful process (thereby giving the most immediate business benefits);

2. If you are trying it for the first time without customer pressure, then try the simplest (e.g. SD, IM) where you can get quick wins;

3. If have current processes in place and want to start from the most effective, that implement a CCR (which first or together, depends on IT maturity, time constraint, complexity, etc.);

4. If you are in the project mode, planning for next year, you can start with customer SLR and SLA;

5. If you are more forward thinking and want to do it right the first time, then begin with ISO20K and related Management Processes.

On the other hand, change has to come before config, else what keeps the CMDB up to date? Also, config and the CMDB are the most complex, lengthy and expensive of all the processes to implement so making that your first ITIL project is not a good idea.
Benefits and pay back way too long.

Success with ITIL needs to have some early wins that don't cost too much and can be implemented quickly. This gets you the buy in needed for the bigger projects.

In fact there are several of the processes that should be considered before config.

Ideally, one would implement change, config and release together, but since these take different lengths of time and substantially different efforts to implement, the only way to launch them together is to know the effort, plan the end date and stagger the start dates so they coincide - not very practical.

I suppose you could also build your processes, shelve the ones done first until they are all ready for launch. In my opinion also not a good idea.

Start with an assessment to understand the points of pain and biggest return for the business. Understand the business priorities and from there you can create a plan for 1-2 years to start making process improvements. Your plan should contain quick wins as well as identify the first 2-4 processes that you should formalize or implement.

Hope this helps.


PS. How is the preparation for the CPE going ?

terça-feira, outubro 31, 2006

PMP - Expected Earned Value - EEV

Question from Wolfgang :

"A friend recently told me that he found a question in the PMP exam about expected earned value (EEV).
I've never heard this term before.
I've searched on the Internet, but nothing was found about this term.
Please, can someone tell me where I could find references or a definition about this?"

I doubt that this question is counted into your passing grade.
It is probably one of those 20 "test" questions ...

My take is that this is the same EV as the one in PMBoK but used in a
probabilistic model - so it will be the EXPECTED value formula.

Anyone who has more information about this topic, please send me an email. Tnks.

segunda-feira, outubro 30, 2006

Fallacious Reasoning: "The God Delusion" By Richard Dawkins

“Science can chip away at agnosticism, in a way that Huxley bent over backwards to deny for the special of God. I am arguing that, notwithstanding the polite abstinence of Huxley, Gould and many others, the God question is not in principle and forever outside the remit of science. As with the nature of the stars, contra Comte, and as with the likelihood of life in orbit around them, science can make at least probabilistic inroads into the territory of agnosticism.”

In “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins

Uhm...How can you do that Dawkins, when your knowledge of Statistics is so frigging fuzzy (I’m using a polite word here)?

NB: This review heavily relies on probabilistic concepts (*I'm looking at you Dawkins*).

I haven't thought about this aspect of the philosophy of math in a while since my college days. I guess I could get behind the idea that frequentism is incompatible with a finite world even though it seems to work well on paper and in the head. There's also the Bayesian view which thinks about this topic differently based upon prior and posterior although I'm not sure Dawkins could salvage any of his probability arguments without question begging. One of my fantasies is to see a frequentist and Bayesian go at it in a stats smackdown/debate.

On with the argument.

I've always found Dawkin's statements strange when it comes to God's existence statistics-wise, and coming from a biologist (I thought these guys would be fairly proficient in the arcane arts of Statistics and Probability). While absence of proof is not necessarily proof of absence, absence of evidence is routinely considered as evidence of absence. Consider this thought experiment: I toss a coin intending to prove that it is a two-headed coin: neither side of it is 'tails'. The coin comes down 'heads'. Have I proved my hypothesis? Obviously not. I toss it again: 'heads' again. Proven? No. I toss it 100 more times, for 100 'heads'. Have I proven my hypothesis? No. In fact there is no number of tosses that can prove the hypothesis - though a single result of 'tails' would instantly disprove it. So the absence of that proof of 'tails' - i.e. a 'tails' result - is indeed not a proof of 'tails' absence ... but the one thing that is certainly true is that the accumulated series of 'heads' results is evidence of 'tails' absence! The more 'heads' results I get, the greater the accumulation of evidence that 'tails' does not exist, given the "a priori" assumption that both sides of the coin are equally likely to appear at each toss. So absence of evidence is evidence of absence ... just not proof. Dawkin's unfamiliarity with the laws of statistics extends to his misunderstanding of statistical issues, which is quite surprising when we consider how important statistic is for any any branch of science, certainly for his area of "expertise", Biology. Dawkins, I want you to state what his your p-value for your hypotheses that God does not exist, ok? Can we have that, please? After you state that, we can have a proper discussion on the "existence" of God.

The above-mentioned thought experiment can indeed be related to the existence of God. Every possible scientific inquiry we make about the universe which, if the universe were created by a supernatural entity, could reveal indisputable evidence of that supernatural entity but fails to do so (having a natural or mundane explanation instead) is like a toss of that coin coming down 'heads'. The evidence accumulates that no 'tails' exists. And those 'coin tosses' - scientific experiments across thousands of years - are in the millions now, and no credible evidence for a supernatural being has been revealed. It's not proof of the non-existence of God, but it's an accumulation of evidence.

Personally, I think spirituality is an internal experience which is hard to classify and something some people feel drawn to. Those who are not drawn to spirituality can seem to be angered by those who are. In the early Christian Gnostic 'Gospel of Mary Magdalena it says 'God can be found in the silence'. Perhaps, if atheists would really like to understand the pull of spirituality they should try meditation. It would certainly make a refreshing change from those who scour the Old Testament to find things to complain about (perhaps if they realised that many Christians long ago stopped taking the OT literally, they might understand the futility of such exercises). It is very clear from reading both the Old Testament and The New Testament that they are written not only by very different people and a different era, but the whole style and approach to God is very different. In the OT God is rather wrathful, extremely powerful and sometimes unforgiving. Whereas Jesus spent his whole time stressing love, forgiveness and kindness. His kindness was often commented on and often shocked people used to less kindness from their orthodox priests of the time. I think the reason that Christianity flourished is because of this new vision of a gentle and loving God. It was revolutionary and people are still struggling to love one another today. The Old Testament, on the other hand belongs to the tradition in which it was written - pre-history by numerous anonymous writers over hundreds of years. But people are usually Christians because of the new kinder message of Jesus Christ (hence the name) and not because of the OT.

Bottom-line: Dawkins has become better known, these days, as an anti-theistic polemicist (or is he a warrior of truthfulness?) than as a scientist or an intellectual. He's not out to enlighten, elucidate, or engage in the serious discourse beliefs as serious and strongly held as his deserve; rather, he seems content merely to mist all who fail to avoid him with bafflingly smug proclamations from atop the impossibly high horse upon which he is evidently stranded. He's become a rabid dogmatist as insufferable as any other dogmatist, extremist, or fundamentalist you're likely to meet, and he can't keep his mouth, or fingers, shut. By no means does my little diatribe imply that the religionists should have the stage while atheists and anti-theists must remain silent. (For ex: Which am I, anyway?) I do maintain, however, that if this man expects to be taken seriously any longer, he is well advised to procure a strong crowbar to pry his intellect open a tad (or at least learn Statistics), as well as at least enough humility to respect not only others beliefs, but others for their beliefs. He's an arrogant twat. People who accept his point of view behave as he. People who find it difficult to square his "mathematical opinions" with their beliefs (or knowledge) to the contrary (regardless of your opinion on the last two nouns) feel threatened by his rabble rousing belligerence. People who believe they are threatened generally behave as if they are threatened. What's so interesting or not self-evident about that? Dawkin's bias comes from the old platonist vs formalist split. Dawkins may see physics quantum fluctuations as perfectly real existing entities, though no one has seen any such thing directly but God is, at best a name a notion. Hey Dawkins, Quantum Physics is just a man-made representation of reality. It's not reality! Why does Quantum entanglement works? No one knows! This is all assumption. I am not a fan of organized religion and condemn as Dawkins does the terrible cruelty inflicted upon humanity by organized religion over the centuries. I am also no dogmatist. What I care about his Science. And this is why I think Dawkins is just after you for your Euros. He does not have the intellectual wherewithal nor the initiative to present cogent arguments to counter theists directly; he simply takes the stance that anything that is not conventional science is illegitimate. That is dogma and such laziness.

NB: In this review I’m not proving or disproving God’s “existence”. I’m just debunking Dawkin’s “science”.

terça-feira, outubro 10, 2006

Die neue Prüfung des Goethe-Instituts ( Das Goethe-Zertifikat B2 )

Der Gemeinsame Europäische Referenzrahmen für Sprachen (GER) definiert verschiedene Kursniveaus vom elementaren bis zum kompeteten Sprecher.

Prüfungen macht man sein ganzes Leben lang. Erst in der Schule, dann an der Universität oder in der Berufsausbildung. Geht es um konkrete Fachkenntnisse, scheint das Abfragen von Kenntnissen und Fertigkeiten leichter zu sein als bei der Frage: Wie gut beherrsche ich eine Fremdsprache? Beziehungsweise wie sind meine Kenntnisse im Deutschen im Vergleich zu anderen Sprachen? Dank dem Gemeinsamen Europäischen Referenzrahmen für Sprachen (GER) haben alle Sprachinstitute und Testautoren Kriterien an die Hand bekommen, die es ihnen erlauben, die Kompetenzen auf verschiedenen Niveaus zu bescheinigen.

Die "elementaren Sprecher" (A-Niveau) zum Beispiel können sich in einfachen, routinemaBigen Situationen verstandigen, in denen es um einen direkten Austausch von Informationen über vertraute und gelaufige Dinge geht. Die "selbständigen Sprecher" (B-Niveau) können sich 50 spontan und fliessend verständigen, dass ein normales Gesprach mit Muttersprachlern ohne grössere Anstrengung auf beiden Seiten gut möglich ist. Die "kompetenten Sprecher" (C-Niveau) können sich spontan, sehr flüssig und genau ausdrücken und auch bei komplexeren Sachverhalten feinere Bedeutungsnuancen deutlich machen.

Welche Prüfungen des Goethe-Instituts welchen GER-Stufen zugeordnet werden, können Sie in der unten stehenden Tabelle ablesen ( von der Cambridge School ). Wie aus der Übersicht erkennbar ist, fehlte auf Niveau B2 noch eine Prüfung. Dieses Goethe-Zertifikat B2 - so der neue Name - ist nun fertig und wird gerade erprobt, das heisst, es wird an verschiedenen Goethe-Instituten im In- und Ausland durchgeführt und korrigiert, die Ergebnisse werden miteinander verglichen, die Aufgabenstellungen überprüft, alies wird statistisch ausgewertet, dann werden notwendige Korrekturen vorgenommen. Das Goethe-Zertifikat B2 soll 2007 offiziell eingeführt werden.

Gleichzeitig hat man die Zentrale Mittelstufenprüfung (ZMP) überarbeitet, um eine sichere Positionierung auf C1-Niveau zu gewahrleisten.

Daher muss ich die ZMP-Prüfung im Februar 2007 ( oder am spätesten im Juni 2007 ) machen. Diese Prüfung wird sich ändern ... Ich habe schon angefangen, mich auf diese Zertifizierung vorzubereiten. Darum muss ich auch auf die neuen Versionen der Prüfungen des Goethe-Instituts nicht warten !

Viel Spass beim Üben!

segunda-feira, outubro 09, 2006

Die Verlotterung der ( deutschen ) Sprache, d.h., die deutsche Sprache auf SMS-Niveau!

Save the German Language ( and the portuguese too, come to that )! They're a shambles !

That is :"O abandalhamento da língua ( alemã )" in portuguese, "The Running to the Dogs of the ( German ) Language" in English.

For those of you who have an interest on this subject, I would recommend reading the main article published in the Magazin Der Spigel ( 02.Oct Edition ) : "Rettet dem Deutsch !". Very instructive ... ;)

The roots of some German words date back centuries, making each a tiny "cultural monument." If more Germans were aware of this, they might take greater care to preserve and promote them. German nouns, often have shorter English equivalents making the English an attractive linguistic short cut. But I mantain that what these words gain in "easiness", they lose in accuracy or clarity. The strength of German is its "concreteness", the result of many logically constructed compound nouns. Moreover, English words ripped from context and plugged without sense into German — Handy for cell phone, for example — take on new, often distorted meanings.

If I get sufficient requests I may post the entire article here ... ;)

PMP - Function Point Analysis

Question :

"Taking some practice test in preparing for the exam and the correct answer for a question on cost estimating was "Function Point Analysis". I could not find any reference to it in the PMBOK or various study guides I have. Searched the internet, and it appears this is a tool used mainly in SW development. I know I have seen recent postings that say you should be ready for anything on the exam but is this really that common of a tool that most PM's should know?
Is this a good example of what might be on the exam? Thanks in

I know ... There're lots of concepts that show up on the PMP-Exam literally out of the blue. This is one of them. You must expect this type pf things to happen. It's quite common to see concepts creeping up into the exam... It's enough to knock you out of your stride ! Beware !

"Function Point Analysis" is used to estimate the size of Software projects.

PMI focuses Project Management (in all disciplines) not just on Software Project management.

For the PMP exam all one needs to know is that "Function Point Analysis" is one of the methods used for estimating the size of Software projects.

There is no common tool for estimating all projects.

However, there are common principles in estimating that PM's can use to estimate the cost of the project like top-down, bottom-up,etc. These are already mentioned in the PMPBoK.

sábado, setembro 30, 2006

Andreas Eschbach's Bibliography

For those of you who have shown an interest.


* Die Haarteppichknüpfer (1995), ISBN 3-7951-1371-7, translated as "The Carpet Makers" (2005), ISBN 0-7653-0593-3

* Solarstation (1996), ISBN 3-7951-1406-3

* Das Jesus Video (1998), ISBN 3-7951-1797-6

* Kelwitts Stern (1999), ISBN 3-7951-1624-4

* Quest (2001), ISBN 3-453-18773-3

* Eine Billion Dollar (2001), ISBN 3-7857-2049-1 ("One Trillion Dollars")

* Der Letzte seiner Art (2005), ISBN 3-404-15305-7

* Der Nobelpreis (2005), ISBN 3-7857-2219-2

Young Adult novels

* Perfect Copy: Die zweite Schöpfung (2002), ISBN 3-401-05425-2
* Das Marsprojekt (2004), ISBN 3-404-24332-3
* Die seltene Gabe (2004)

Short stories

* "Dolls"
* "Der Mann aus der Zukunft"
* "Die Wunder des Universums"
* "Humanic Park"
* "Halloween"
* "Eine unberührte Welt"
* "Unerlaubte Werbung"
* "Der Drache im Hindukusch"


* Der Gesang der Stille (novella in the Perry Rhodan series)
* "Die Rückkehr" (his second Perry Rhodan novella as a "guest writer")
* Exponentialdrift (novel serialized in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)
* Eine Trillion Euro (short story anthology of European SF writers edited by
* Das Buch von der Zukunft: Ein Reiseführer (2004), ISBN 3-87134-476-1, non-fiction

John Clute also casts a look upon the book "The Carpet Makers" ...

For anyone interested here goes his take upon the book published on his column "Excessive Candour":


2005 Locus Recommended Reading List - "The Carpet Makers"

Quite true Pedro. I've just looked it up at home ( I've got the magazine at home ). It was published in the 2006 February issue. I'm not sure whether the list is available on their site. I can scan the list and post it here later on.

I've just ordered two more Eschbach's books : "Kelwitts Stern" ( ISBN : 3404232321 ) und "Solarstation" ( ISBN : 3404242599 ). "Solarstation" was the book after ...

Thanks for the tip.

sexta-feira, setembro 29, 2006

"The Carpet Makers" by Andreas Eschbach

I've been told that this book has already been published in english ! According to João the english translation is not clunky. Check it out at www.amazon.com.

"Die Haarteppichknüpfer" by Andreas Eschbach

I picked up this book purely by chance, but I was completely flabbergasted by it !

I've been reading Science Fiction for more than 25 years and I didn't expect to be blown away by this book. After all I think someone said that SF is dead and buried ! Not so ! This is not exactly Hard SF, but the scent is there. It reminds me of some of the Charles Stross' books ( serie "The Merchant Princes" ). Like Stross Eschbach is a true master of the form. It's not old-SF disguised as new. It's really new !

I haven't finished it yet, but I can't wait to write something about it. I've just gone on the net to find something more about this guy. It turns out that this was his first book, which came out in 1995 ! I think it should be translated into english so that more people can read it.

With his first work Eschbach shows that the German SF is not dead. The world sketched by it is just as extremely moving as strange, and without any spectacular action Supports or Super Aliens. By continuous jumps in character perspectives as well as Timelines, the author knows how to catch the reader's attention up to the end, until finally the multitude of mosaics result in a larger picture.
Even if the resolution and some other narrative aspects have more to do with Fantasy than with Science Fiction, it's still one hell of a book !

The structure of the book is very much like a collection of short-stories, but on a deeper level it's not. It's something different. There's always a thin thread that links all the chapters together ( like a tapestry ... ), but sometimes you've got to look closer, because it's hard to see and understand.

The first paragraph is quite extraordinary, because it sets the tone for the remainder of the book. It reads like a Fairy Tale, without being one ... :

"Knoten um Knoten, tagein, tagaus, ein Leben lang, immer die gleichen Handbewegungen, immer die gleichen Knoten in das feine Haar schlingend, so fein und winzig, daß die Finger zittrig wurden mit der Zeit und die Augen schwach von der Anstrengung des Sehens - und die Fortschritte waren kaum zu merken; wenn er gut vorankam, entstand in einem Tag ein neues Stück seines Teppichs, das vielleicht so groß war wie sein Fingernagel. So hockte er an dem knarrenden Knüpfrahmen, an dem schon sein Vater gesessen war und vor ihm dessen Vater, in der gleichen gebeugten Haltung, die alte, halbblinde Vergrößerungslinse vor den Augen, die Arme auf das abgewetzte Brustbrett gestützt und nur mit den Fingerspitzen die Knotennadel führend. So knüpfte er Knoten um Knoten in der seit Generationen überlieferten Weise, bis er in einen Trancezustand geriet, in dem ihm wohl war; sein Rücken hörte auf zu schmerzen, und er spürte das Alter nicht mehr, das ihm in den Knochen saß. Er lauschte auf die vielfältigen Geräusche des Hauses, das der Großvater seines Urgroßvaters erbaut hatte - den Wind, der ewig gleich über das Dach strich und sich in offenen Fenstern fing, das Klappern von Geschirr und die Gespräche seiner Frauen und Töchter unten in der Küche. Jedes Geräusch war ihm vertraut. Er hörte die Stimme der Weisen Frau heraus, die seit einigen Tagen im Haus lebte, weil Garliad, seine Nebenfrau, ihre Niederkunft erwartete. Er hörte die halbstumme Türglocke scheppern, dann ging die Haustür, und Aufregung kam in das Gemurmel der Gespräche. Das war wahrscheinlich die Händlerin, die heute kommen sollte mit Lebensmitteln, Stoffen und anderen Dingen."
( I won't even dream of translating this ... )

I hope the english edition will appear one of this days. Unfortunately I think much will be lost in the translation ( the poetry of the prose, the choosing of words, the interplay between sentences, etc ).

Those of you who know German go and a grab a copy. You won't regret it ! Those who don't, well ...

It's a crepuscular novel, filled with silences and things not said. Very strange and surreal indeed. But the strangest thing about this novel is that the protagonists of the Story, the Carpets themselves, are not described at all ! They are there, we are able to think about them, to imagine them. Maybe that's the all point.

Author's homepage : http://www.andreaseschbach.de/
( the abovementioned paragraph was extracted from this homepage )

quinta-feira, setembro 28, 2006

Witze auf Deutsch


It's already late, so I'm not in the mood to translate !

Here they go :

"Der Anatomie-Professor zur Studentin: "Welcher Teil des menschlichen Körpers weitet sich bei Erregung um das Achtfache?" Sie wird rot und stottert: "Der..., das..." - "Falsch, die Pupille", entgegnet der Professor. "Und Ihnen, gnädiges Fräulein würde ich raten, mit nicht zu hohen Erwartungen in die Ehe zu gehen..."


Herbert trifft auf der Straße nach langer Zeit seinen alten Freund Gerd wieder: "Mann, dir sieht man ja auf 100 Meter schon an, dass du inzwischen verheiratet bist - frisch gewaschene Hemden, gebügelte Hosen, blanke Schuhe...!" - "Tja", sagt Gerd stolz, "das war auch das erste, was meine Frau mir beigebracht hat!"


Am frühen Morgen geht ein Mann auf die Jagd. Im Wald angekommen, beginnt es zu regnen, der Wind nimmt zu. Der Mann beschließt, umzukehren. Er kommt nach Hause, zieht sich aus und legt sich wieder zu seiner Frau ins Bett. "Wie ist es draußen?" fragt seine Frau gähnend im Halbschlaf. "Kalt, es regnet." - "Und mein Mann, der Idiot, ist auf die Jagd gegangen."


ein hartes Stück:
Kommt der Nikolaus in ein Behindertenheim und meint: "Wer mir ein Gedicht aufsagt, kriegt ein Geschenk. "Das 1. Kind sagt ein langes Gedicht auf. "Das war ein langes Gedicht und deshalb bekommst Du ein großes Geschenk." Das 2. Kind sagt ein kurzes Gedicht auf. "Das war ein kurzes Gedicht und deshalb bekommst Du ein kleines Geschenk." Meint das 3. Kind: "Nnng ek ninnnh dn drn!" - "Und wer mich verarschen will, kriegt gar nichts!


Ein Mann sitzt allein in einer Kneipe und muss auf die Toilette. Er hat allerdings Angst, dass ein anderen sein Bier trinkt, wenn er weggeht. Also hängt er eine Zettel dran: "Ich habe reingespuckt!" Als er wieder zurückkommt, steht darunter "Ich auch."


Morgens, 7 Uhr. Die Ehefrau stellt dem Beamten das Frühstück vor die Nase, inklusive Zeitung. Sie essen, er liest die Zeitung, keiner sagt etwas. Drei Stunden später sitzt er immer noch am Tisch, liest die Zeitung, nickt ab und zu ein, schaut manchmal aus dem Fenster... Da sagt die Frau: "Sag mal, Schatz, musst du heute gar nicht ins Büro fahren?" Er springt erschrocken auf: "Mist, ich dachte, ich wäre längst da..."


PMP Question - Monte Carlo Analysis and DOE

Rita sent me an interesting question. Because it's a hard one to crack I'll let you all try to answer it before I do...

Send your contributions to the usual email account.

"Could anyone please compare/contrast Monte-Carlo analysis and Design of Experiments?"

I'll post the best answer ... ;)

PMP Question - Probability of Project Schedule

"Manuel, can you tell me the answer for the following question and the reason behind this ?

If you have a 15% probability of exceeding the project schedule you are
a. Above the mean
b. Below the mean
c. At mean"

Another question with some possible different interpretations.

Answer :

The probability that we cannot keep the project schedule is 15%. Duration of our project schedule is:

A. Above the mean of estimates.

"Exceeding the project schedule” surely means that the actual finish date would be behind the determined schedule. And if the probability of delay (so-called failure) is 15%, the probability of success is 85% (100-15).

The farther the determined schedule is from the mean (ABOVE the mean), the less the probability of delay becomes.

This a clear example of inversed reasoning ... LOL. In terms of statistics this is very common.

PMP Question - Standard Deviation

Matthias, thanks for the question ( transcribed below ).

Question :

"I have a problem with one questin about time management.
The question is:
The project manager for a project is going to use the PERT method of scheduling for the project that she is working on. using PERT calculation the variance fr the project is found to be 25 days. What is the range of values for the project duration such that here will be a least 95% probability that the actual project completion will fall between the high and low value of range of values:
a. 164 - 173 days
b. 144 - 194 days
c. 119 - 219 days
d. 159 - 179 days

My answer:

The point of this question was to recognize that the variance is the standard deviation squared. For a variance of 25 the standard deviation should be 5. 2 sd is 10 and +- 10 is the range of values that is 95% probability of including the actual value. The range of values is +-10 or 20. Answer "A" is 9, answer "B" is 50, answer "C" is 100 and answer "D" is 20. D is the right answer.
The answer in book is D but from my calculations score is 152,4 -
185,6 days. Could you give me a proper answer. Maybe I did something
My calcutations do not fit to any point."

Answer :

Variance=(standard deviation)squared so sd=5
that means that the range of values is from -5 to +5

95% probability means two times sd.
that means the range is -10 to +10 i.e. 20

This means that "D" is the correct answer !

Simple ah !

PMP Question - Privity of contract

That's a mouthful !!

Those of you who are privy ( sic ) to this sort of thing, may know how to utter this in portuguese but not me ( can anyone help ? "Prividade" ??? )!

In german it's easier because one just have to concatenate two words : "contract" ( "Vertrag" ) and "Relation / Relationship" ( "Beziehung" ) and voilá we have the new word : "Vertragsbeziehung", which means literaly "Contract Relationship".

In english "Privity" is just a fancy word for relationship ! In down-to-earth language is just plain used when two companies have a contractual relationship with each other.

Having dealt with this let's turn to the question in hand ( sent by Wolfgang ):

"When two companies have privity, what happens if one of those companies hires another company to do some work for them ? The Privity between the first two companies extends to the third company ?"

The answer is no. As we have seen above, "Privity" means relationship, and there isn't one between the first company and the third company. That means that the Commutative Law does not apply ... LOL.

Let's try to see this with an example. Company A has privity ( CONTRACTUAL RELATIONSHIP ) with Company B, but company B doesn't have the manpower or the skills to tackle this project on its own, so it hires company C. A more difficult question to pose is : "Has the Project Manager of company A a mandadory influence on what the Project Manager of company C does ?". That is the question. The answer is once again no, due to the fact that there's no contractual relationship ( Privity ) between company A and company C ! That means that company B must be involved at all times.

quarta-feira, setembro 27, 2006

PMP Question - Portfolio Management

Is Portfolio Management ( PM ) the same as the Business Case ( BC ) ? That is the question ...

In terms of Project Management this takes place in the process of Develop Project Charter by using the tool Project Selection. Before developing the Project Charter we've got to make sure that the project in question is aligned with the IT strategy of the company. PM addresses this issues directly ( among other things ).

It goes hand-in-hand with the Business Case ( BC ). I usually think that Portfolio Management comprises the BC.

The several methods that comprise the Project Selection ( ROI, NPV, BCR, etc ), all of them can be used when setting up a BC. The concept of PM is more encompassing, that is, we're deeply concerned with IT Alignment, Kill project criteria, and so forth. The bottom line is that by using PM we are accepting the fact the current criteria for Project Selection may be non-existent. By establishing Project Selection criteria we're in fact saying that we've got a Framework for choosing projects. Why use BCR and not ROI or IRR ? Should these criteria be used in tandem ? What is the underlying framework that consistently allows us to choose between projects ? Should the criteria be changing all the time ? Those are the questions that Portfolio Management tries to address. By saying this, it is straightforward that the BC is a subset of the Portfolio Management, ie, one should not be confused with the other ( they're not interchangeable ).

Portfolio Management is the selection and support of project or project investments as guided by the organization's strategic plan and available resources. That means we've got to be damn sure that we're choosing the right projects and we're also are in possession of the tools to back up those selections / decisions !

sexta-feira, setembro 08, 2006

PMP Question - IRR ( TIR in portuguese ) in Project Analysis

Question :

"The Internal Rate of Return formula as a method of project analysis:

a. uses the opportunity cost of funds as the discount rate in its formula.

b. solves for the interest rate that makes the net present value of benefits and costs from a project equal to zero.

c. results in ambiguity in some cases since there will generally be more than one internal rate of return solving its formula.

d. is preferred to net present value for business projects but not for environmental projects.

e. both b. and c. are true."

Answer :

To analyse this question we must first address the question on how to calculate the IRR.

If the internal rate of return is less than the cost of borrowing used to fund your project, the project will clearly be a money-loser. However, usually a business owner will insist that in order to be acceptable, a project must be expected to earn an IRR that is at least several percentage points higher than the cost of borrowing, to compensate the company for its risk, time, and trouble associated with the project.
IRR analysis is generally used to evaluate the project's cash flows ( CF ). That means we need to use the NPV formula in order to get the IRR :

If we make NPV=0, given the CFs, we have a polynomial with n-root. As lots of you will remember, it's impossible to solve this equation analitically. That means we must use an iterative method in order to find the root ( r = IRR ) of the polynomial.
By making NPV=0, we are in fact saying that IRR is the highest rate by which someone might borrow money for an investment without loosing money !

By looking at the options it's easy to see that "b" must be true. Due to the fact that we are trying to solve a polynomial, it means that we might get more than one solution to the equation ! That means that "c" must also be true.

All in all the correct answer is "e" !

terça-feira, setembro 05, 2006

PMP Question ? - Probability Distributions

I'm not sure this is really necessary for the PMP Exam, but better safe than sorry.

I had to look it up in the book "Introduction to the Theory and Practice of Econometrics" by George G. Judge et al ( ISBN = 0-471-60272-8 ). I've got the 2nd edition of this book. Anyone interested in buying it should get the last edition.

Here it goes.

Binomial Distribution (Success or Failure)

• A coin will be tossed 5 times but the coin is biased so that the probability of heads for each toss is 0.04. Heads is success, tails is failure.
• N = number of items in the sample (the number of coin tosses)
• X = number of items for which the probability is desired (number of Heads)
• In Appendix A we go to column N and find where N = 5
• In Appendix A we go to where p = 0.40
• Each row represents the probability of 0, 1,2, 3, 4, and 5 successes
• Add them up

Poisson Distribution

• A lightbulb manufacturer has a known defective rate of 4%. From a sample of 40, the probability of 4 or more defective light
• µ = np = (40) (.04) = 1.6
• Probability of 4 or more defective is = 1 – probability of 3 or less defective
• In the table, find where µ = 1.6
• Add up the numbers where x has a value of 0, 1, 2, or 3 (this is the P of 3 or less defectives)
• Subtract that number from 1.0
• Find np (sample x defective rate)
• Calculate up to by going to the table, finding np, adding it up
• Subtract that answer from 1 to x or greater probability

Normal Distribution (also known as Gaussian)

• If process produces parts with mean of _ and standard Deviation of _, what is the P that one random part has a measurement of _?
• Mean time of a bank transaction is 5.25 with a standard deviation of 0.75 minutes and the values are normally distributed. What is the probability that a transaction will occur between 4.0 and 5.25 minutes and below 4.0?
• Z = 4.0 – 5.25/ 0.75 = -1.67
• Go to Appendix A and find 1.67 = 0.4525
• Because we know that µ is 5.25, the probability that a transaction will take less than 5.25 is .05 (1/2)
• Therefore, the probability that a transaction will be less than 4 minutes = 0.5 – 0.4525 = 0.0475

Sampling Distributions (number of standard Deviations that a sample mean is away from the population mean)

• If normal distribution with mean of _ and SD of _. From sample of _ what is P that the sample mean is >, <, =, or between _?
• Hospital emergency room where it has a record waiting time of 30 minutes with a standard deviation of 5 minutes. If a sample of 35 is measured, what is the probability that the sample mean would be greater than 31.5 minutes?
• Do the Z calculation to get 1.77
• Find 1.77 in Appendix A (go to 1.7 and then across to 0.07)
• Subtract that probability from the .5 probability = .50 - .4616 = .0384
• This tells us that there is only a .0384 probability that, from the sample of 35, the sample mean will be greater than 31.5.

I hope it will help ...

NB : The appendix A referred in the notes contains all the tables that allow the calculation of the probabilities. On this day and age, I always use the scientific calculator ...

PMP - Formula Derivation : ( N ( N - 1 ) )/2

Wolfgang thanks for the question ... LOL ! This one was hard to crack ! I had to make a few assumptions to get it right. I would like to have your feedback on this one, because the derivation is tricky.

I hope the explanation will be crystal clear.

This calculation will help to realize the concept of communication channel.
Say, there are “n” Persons and they are having communication with each other. We need to find how many communication channels are possible here.
Take the case of the first person. He can communicate with rest of the (n-1) person. So, here are (n-1) communication channels.
The Second person can communicate with ((n-1)-1) person because his communication with the first person is already taken into account for the calculation of first person. So, here are (n-2) communication channels.
Similarly, the third person can communicate with ((n-1)-2) because his communication with the first and second person is already taken into account for the calculation of first and second person. So, it’s (n-3) channels.
Like that, if we proceed, the total number of Channels used by n person, will be = (n-1)+(n-2)+(n-3)+......+1 = 1+2+3+.....+(n-1)

We have a sum of a series for "(n-1)" number whose first number is "1" and the common difference is also "1".
The Formula for Sum of a series is: S = n[2a+(n-1)d]/2
(where, n = total numbers, a = first number, d = common difference)

So, it gives us the Total Communication Channel
=(n-1)*[2*1+((n-1)-1)*1]/2 = (n-1)*[2+(n-2)]/2 = n*(n-1)/2

PMP Question - Probability that a process will finish in less than x days

( Wolfgang, I think you should read from scratch the chapter on Time Management of the PMBoK and the same chapter of the book "Das PMP-Examen" ).

Question :

"A process has Critical path of 12 days & Standard Deviation of 1. What is the probability that the process will be completed in 13 days.
A : 10%
B : 68%
C : 84%
D : 95%"

Answer: C ! I bet you would have chosen B. Wrong !! ( As the target date is 1 SD away, one might think that the right answer would be 68% ...).

The probability of PERT estimates is 50% and it is the mean.
1 SD from the mean covers an additional population of 34.1%, 2 SD from the mean covers 47.7% and 3 SD covers 49.8%. Conversely, -1 SD from the mean covers a population of -34.1% etc.
13 days means - 1 additional day from the mean (that is 1 SD too); so from the data above the cumulative probability to complete, comes from 50% + 34.1% = 84.1% (answer C).

To better understand my affirmation, we should consider a PERT estimate as a mean of a normal distribution (although PERT is based on a beta distribution but we all know that all the distribution can be approximated by a normal distribution), thus the area under the Gaussian curve delimited by the mean is 50% of the entire area.

As with many PMP math questions, one has to read between the lines, to perceive what is really being asked.

PMP Question - Standard Error

Question :

"A process characteristic has a true mean of 150 and a true standard deviation of 20. A sample of 25 items is taken from this process. The standard error of the estimate is:
A. 0.2
B. 0.8
C. 4
D. 5
E. 7.5"

Correct Answer is C.

The Standard Error of a statistic is the “Standard Deviation” of the “sampling distribution” of that statistic. Standard errors are important because they reflect how much sampling fluctuation a statistic will show. The standard error of a statistic depends on the sample size. In general, the larger the sample size, the smaller the standard error. The standard error of a statistic is usually designated by the Greek letter sigma (sigma) with a subscript indicating the statistic. The formula for the standard error of the mean is:

where sigma ( numerator ) is the standard deviation of the original distribution and N is the sample size (the number of scores each mean is based upon).

So, Standard Error here is 20/sqrt(25) = 20/5 = 4. That is C !

The catch here was to know that a "standard error" is the same as "standard deviation". Tricky ...

PMP Question - Task Duration

Question :

"An Activity has an Optimistic estimate of 10 days, pessimistic estimate of 16 days, most likely estimate of 13 days. If your company has a quality requirement of 6 sigma, what is the duration within which this task must be completed?

A. 10 days to 16 days
B. 7 days to 19 days
C. 12 days to 14 days
D. 11 days to 15 days"

Answer :

In a Normal Distribution, the PERT duration (also called mean)
= (Pessimistic + 4* (Most Likely) + Optimistic)/6
= (10 + 4 * 13 + 16)/6
= 13

1 Standard Deviation (sigma)
= (Pessimistic - Optimistic) / 6
= (16 - 10) / 6
= 1
Mean - 6 sigma = 13 - 6* 1 = 7
Mean + 6 sigma = 13 + 6* 1 = 19

So, if the the company has a quality requirement of 6 sigma, then the task can be completed within 7 days to 19 days ( option B ).

PMP Question - Difference between Beta distribution and Triangular Distribution

The statistical distributions are used based on the type of situation you encounter during execution of the projects.

Pert Methodology of estimation of miu =(to+4tm+tp)/6 considers a Normal distribution. Where you have large number of samples (in other words Historical Information) available.

A Triangular distribution can be preferred when you have estimates based on the judgemental data submitted to you.

In all the cases what is more important from Project Management Perspective is the kind of Probability they carry for overall estimate of the project.

While Pert Method will have a smooth distribution the Triangular will have an abrupt peak at miu.

I would prefer to use Pert Method when I am having an environment of similar works being done earlier, this gives a larger spread of variability. And Triangular for an Extremely New Environment. And minimize my risks of Schedule overruns. In a small variability of the Overall Schdule.


If distribution is triangular , then mean is :

If the distribution is beta, then the mean is :

quinta-feira, agosto 31, 2006

PMP Certification - More Lessons Learned ( LL )

Welcome to secret order of PMP (you can always spot us because we spell "PMP" backwards)

I've already written a LL file, but in portuguese ... This time I'll write a LL file but in english, so that everyone can use it. I'll try not to repeat myself for those of you who do speak and read portuguese ... On this new approach I'll also try to go deeper.

1 - There is no such thing as a right Method in terms of studying for the PMP- My moto : suit yourself, know yourself.

2 - First minutes in the room : I prayed to all known Gods for about 10 minutes and then entered the hall. I was calm, cool and collected. After the GTBC experience, I was like, in a "C'mon, PMI, stop me if you can" kind of attitude, and before 15 minutes, had come down crashing to earth :). The first few questions were smashing hard, and I thought "HUBRIS!"

3 - I quickly realised that I could not spend too much time with each question so I quickly ignored the questions I couldn't answer in less than 30 sec.'s. This helped as there were quite a few easy questions later, and before 2 hours, I had finished browsing through the 200 questions once, and about 70 of them were marked. I went through one more round and now I wasn't sure only about 30 questions. Then I went through a third round - and this time I had answered all questions.
By then, about 3 hours had elapsed. I still had 1 hour. So, took a break, came back and revised once, twice, thrice all the 200 questions. Finally, 10 minutes before the clock was due to stop, I collected my wits and pressed the "End" button. 30 seconds of suspense later, much to my relief, there was the "Congratulations" message. All's well that ends well.

4 - There are a lot of questions that are " Unbelievably " situational, you can just select 2 or three " best " answers and might have many arguments supporting your answers based on experience, knowledge.

5 - Well...200 questions are a big task..so, staying focused was probably the main challenge.

6 - Also, in all questions that you are not sure of, the approach to go with should be POE (Process of Elimination). This seems to simplify things in many cases.

7 - I actually completed the exam in 3 hours but that's just me. If I stare a question for too long, my teeny-weeny brain goes for a roller coaster ride and all choices start looking fine to me. So, I had decided to pretty much (in most of the questions) go with the first option that looks and feels right to me. This approach seems to have worked ok for me.

8 - It is important to know why a particular answer is right and why the others are wrong and moreover you should be able to visualize that if a particular option/word is mentioned/omitted the right answer could change.

9 - PMP exam requires considerable project management experience, a thorough understanding of PMBOK, grasp of project management processes and knowledge areas.

10 - Key to understanding of PMBOK is to relate your project management experience with PMBOK processes & knowledge area ( THIS IS EVERY IMPORTANT ! ).

11 - Questions are from real world scenarios. Definitions, processes & knowledge areas, require thorough understanding of question and their context. If you are not able to answer any question, skip and answer them at the end. Expect questions on certain aspects not covered in PMBOK. Properly time your exam so that you have time for review of marked or unanswered questions.

12 - Understand each process in terms of inputs, T&T and outputs clearly - as in - some processes use alternate T&T even in real-life situations (ie) If PMBOK mentions 5 T&T for a particular process, in real-life, you'll probably use one or 2 of them in a particular project in real-life.
T&T for Activity Sequencing:
PDM or ADM - highly unlikely that you will use both for the same project ( I never did ! On Y2K project I almost used two ...).
Some others are like meant to be used sequentially in the same project :
(e.g) T&T for Quantitative Risk Analysis -
1) Data Gathering and Representation techniques and 2) Modelling Techniques.
If you are doing Quantitative Risk Analysis in a project, you are most likely to use the first T&T to get the data representation probabilities distributions AND THEN follow it up by using the second T&T to generate Monte Carlo simulations or Decision Trees using the output got by applying the first T&T.

This sort of understanding puts you in good stead during the exam.

13 - ITTO - I did not try to memorize them up since it was not my cup of tea. I tried to logically remember what happens in each process, focusing on Scope, Time, Cost, Quality and Risk. I wouldn't bother memorizing ITTO's for every process but yet understanding the logic behind them. If you do that you'll be able to figure out when asked. Besides it's a pain in the neck !
14 - Application of the PMBOK knowledge and process interactions are thoroughly tested in the exam. So embrace for scenarios that can totally cloud your decision making if you are shaky.

15 - To give you a couple of example scenarios think about this, "you're a PM and your client is not accepting the deliverables and repeated meetings with the client have not yielded a resolution to this and is affecting other areas of the project, what should the PM do next ?" (Choices: modify acceptance criteria, present with a scope change, inform customer it is affecting other areas of the project so unless this is resolved the team can't move further, review the quality plan)
"you're the sponsor and the PM has escalated an unresolved minor conflict to you, what conflict resolution method will you primarily use?" (so understanding the conflict resolution methods alone is not gonna help. You need to understand how /when /where these should be used and what takes precedence over what, basically the same protocol applies to all the areas in PMBOK)

This type of understanding/learning is sure to get you across the bridge.

16 - It really felt great, believe me. It was a tough challenge, and though I went in with ultra-confidence, I was brought down to earth by PMI's well-thought out challenging questions, which really need you to have experienced situations as a Project Manager. It is a worthwhile certification to have on that count alone. If you have cracked it, then you surely have done well as a Project Manager in the past and learnt a lot as a Manager. Mere cramming won't do. It was my experience which saved me rather than all the cramming.

Final note : I recommend all of you to read Wolfgang’s comment on the post „Preparação para a Certificação PMP“ ( Preparation for the PMP Certification = Vorbereitung für die ZMP-Zertifizierung ). Unfortunately he failed for the second time.

PMP Question - Network Diagram

This post is not going to be presented in german ( sorry Robert ! ) but in english, because I want everyone to understand it. A very similar question come up on my PMP exam ...

Question : "Consider the information below, in which activities A, B, and D are on one path and must be performed in the sequence, and activity C is to be performed parallel to that path. Assuming cost is important, in which sequence should crashing of activities be planned ?
Normal Time : A=4, B=3, C=5, D=5
Crash Time : A=2, B=2, C=4, D=3
Normal Cost : A=10, B=20, C=14, D=25
Crash Cost : A=11, B=22, C=16, D=27
( Time in weeks and amounts on thousand of dollars )

A. A,B,D
B. A,D,B
C. D,B,A
D. A,B,C,D"

Answer :

First of all, Task C is not on the critical path and does not really need to be crashed. The answer is B ( A, D, B ) because :
A: 4-2 = 2 weeks crash => 1K$ increase => 0,5K per week
B: 3-1 = 1 week crash => 2K$ increase => 2K per week
D: 5-3 = 2 week crash => 2K$ increase => 1K per week

So, first you choose A, because it provides you with the best crashing time at the lower cost. Then you have to choose between D and B. If you have to choose sequentially and cost is important, I would choose D because it provides you the most crash time at the lower cost.

This is a tricky question. I'm not quite sure I got it right. I'm 99,999 % sure .... LOL ! Feedback is deeply appreciated.

It's because of this type of questions that I say it's no use studying too much for this certification ... ;)

Questão PMP - Desvio Padrão / Variância

Esta é uma questão de resposta fácil, mas a forma como é apresentada, dá para desconfiar ...

Questão - "The single point standard deviation are 3,5, 10, and 3 for the critical path. What is the standard deviation for the entire path ?"

Resposta :

O "catch" nesta questão era saber que não se podiam adicionar desvios padrão ... Aquilo que é necessário perceber é que o conceito de desvio padrão do Caminho Crítico ( CC ) só faz sentido pela adição de variâncias ! Como se chega a esta conclusão ?
Os desvios padrão que são apresentados correspondem a actividades ( do CC ), logo são estatisticamente independentes, o que significa que o somatório de todas elas dá origem a um distribuição normal. Tratando-se de uma distribuição normal estamos em presença das expressões :

quarta-feira, agosto 30, 2006

Questão PMP - Riscos de Auditoria

Dado não ser possível responder individualmente aos vários mails que me enviaram sobre este tema, aqui vai um "post".

Normalmente quando se fala de riscos de IT, não nos lembramos do "IT Auditing", mas em termos muito concretos lembro-me de algumas questões PMP em que deu jeito ter este conceito "à mão". Quando trabalhei no projecto Y2K, foi uma das áreas mais relevantes. Como Project Manager tive de coordenar um equipa que se ocupou exclusivamente durante 1 mês ( praticamente a tempo inteiro ) de encontrar erros relacionados com os aspectos de auditoria associados ao risco. Atenção que esta análise de risco não incide apenas sobre a aplicação ( ie, na aplicação propriamente dita em tudo o que lhe está relacionado ), mas também sobre o próprio processo de auditoria ! Dai que seja usual separar o risco de auditoria em três tipos distintos de risco :
- risco inerente
( susceptibilidade dos recursos controlados pelo SI serem alterados sem autorização, ou sofrer danos, assumindo que não existem controlos internos relacionados;
- risco de controlo
( risco de um erro materialmente relevante dos dados da empresa não será prevenido
ou detectado e corrigido atempadamente pela estrutura de controlo interno da empresa );
- risco de detecção
( risco de o auditor de IT não detectar um erro materialmente relevante ). O mais lixado ... LOL.

Durante o projecto Y2K, a minha preocupação ia por inteiro para a necessidade de avaliar riscos inerentes e de controlo e, com base nessa avaliação, indicar procedimentos adequados para reduzir o risco de detecção a um nível que, na minha opinião, dava origem a um risco de auditoria global suficientemente baixo. E isso foi conseguido !

Existe dois outros aspectos importantes relacionados com o risco em Gestão de Projectos no âmbito de auditoria e que são : o modelo matemático e os factores que influenciam os diferentes componentes, mas penso que em termos de PMP a relevância não seja alta. SE alguém desejar, posso fazer um "post" com alguns "bitaites".

Perguntas PMP em que se fale de risco de auditoria, penso que isto será suficiente. Se alguém tiver uma pergunta concreta, envie-me um mail e tentarei responder via blog, de modo a estar acessível a todos.

segunda-feira, agosto 28, 2006

Diferenças estruturais entre português e alemão e outras coisas afins

É sabido que o Português não pertence ao mesmo ramo linguístico do alemão, logo o "sistema" translatório entre português e alemão é substancialmente mais complicado que o "sistema" entre inglês e alemão.

Passo a explicar.

Quando se traduz do alemão, as dificuldades em encontrar correspondências aumentam, por comparação com as línguas românicas, pela própria natureza radicalmente diferente dos dois instrumentos linguísticos e suas particularidades estruturais : léxico de raízes distantes, estruturas sintácticas diametralmente opostas, a diversidade das formas gramaticais, a disparidade de ritmos ( em alemão apoiados por traços linguísticos como a variedade e a ductilidade das partículas, a natureza mais sintética da língua e a possibilidade imensa de construir formações vocabulares originais ), as referências culturais distintas, etc.

"Bottom line" : o alemão é uma língua sintética, ao passo que o português é uma língua analítica. "Sistemas" tão díspares não se misturam bem ... Por vezes é necessário encontrar um "sub-sistema" de permeio, que permita fazer uma "conversão" intermédia. Só a partir deste "sub-sistema" é então possível efectuar a tradução para alemão ou vice-versa. Para a gentes da Engenharia de Software, é mais facil de entender estes conceitos em termos da analogia com código-fonte, código-máquina e código-P.

Trata-se de um método equivalente ao usando nas linguagens de programação, em que antes do código-fonte ser convertido para código-máquina tem de ser previamente convertido no chamado "p-code". Este "p-Code" mais não é do que máquina virtual que tem como objectivo a portabilidade ! Nas línguas humanas não existe uma "máquina virtual" equivalente sistémica, ou seja, cada um de nós tem uma "máquina virtual" proprietária, que usamos a nosso belo prazer.

Nalguns dos modelos mais recentes de tradução que são usados na Internet, já se tenta ir nesta direcção, mas ainda sem resultados tangíveis. Falta encontrar a "máquina virtual" linguística ...

sexta-feira, agosto 25, 2006

Faith and the Muse

Convido-os a ouvir com atenção uma das músicas "Failure to Thrive", que foi uma das minhas favoritas no início dos idos anos 90. Alguém se lembra ?

Que tal uma "playlist" com aquilo que se ouvia nessa altura ? Nham-Nham ... Pode ser que saia num dos próximos "posts".


Alguns dos vossos comentários à parte 1 do "post" "As minhas (des)aventuras pela língua alemã" foram viscerais !

Este "post" é especialmente dirigido à Cristina.

O primeiro movimento em direcção ao texto a traduzir deverá ser, em primeira instância, o do reconhecimento do terreno linguístico-gramatical, cultural e literário, da sua topografia própria e dos obstáculos que oferece. Este reconhecimento - que, a não ser feito, implica riscos de vária ordem; quedas, tropeções, desvios, desvirtuamentos na reconstituição - pressupõe, por sua vez, vários níveis de competência translatória. Na minha opinião, o bom tradutor deverá possuir uma série de competências "core", que passo a descrever : competência linguística ( o domínio das duas línguas ), competência especializada ( conhecimento das matérias de que o texto se ocupa ), competência cultural ( capacidade de reconhecer referências de ordem cultural no texto de partida, e de as resolver satisfatoriamente na língua de chegada ), competência de "transferência" propriamente dita ( preparação no âmbito de uma prática de tradução linguística com as suas regras e exigências próprias ).

Os pressupostos fundamentais da tradução entendem-se em íntima dependência destas várias competências. A "tradução" que foge as estes ditames, arrisca-se a ser classificada de "tradutorês". Temos em Português, infelizmente, vários exemplos. Vejam-se algumas traduções que foram feitas para português do Henning Mankell. Tenho pena de não saber dominar a língua sueca, pois existem algumas evidências ( comparação das edições em português, inglês e alemão do livro "Mördare utan ansikte" - "Mörder ohne Gesicht" em alemão, "Faceless Killers" em inglês e "Assassinos sem Rosto" em português ) de que as traduções deste autor sueco para português ( penso que todas na mesma editora ) deixam muito a desejar. Aliás dadas as similitudes da edição portuguesa com a edição inglesa, estou desconfiado que a tradução foi feita a partir do texto inglês ...

Não há tradução que resista ! A questão fundamental quanto a mim reside em saber quantas pessoas estão preocupadas com as traduções das traduções ??? Com o "boom" da literatura escandinava ( e.g, Karin Fossum, Leena Lehtolainen, Arnaldur Indridason, Gunnar Staalesen, Hakan Nesser, etc ) e afins, este tipo de fénomeno cada vez tem maior incidência ( não só em português ! ). Nota-se uma maior ênfase na tradução dos conteúdos e não na literariedade dos textos ( entendo por "literariedade" todo o sub-texto, ou seja, os seus "invisíveis" : ritmos, alusões, denotações, etc, em oposição a uma tradução que incide meramente na superfície do texto )! Este problema agudiza-se de forma natural quando estamos em presença de "traduções de traduções".

Estamos hoje em dia verdadeiramente no reino do "tradutorês" ...

Aguardo os vossos exemplos de "tradutorês" ( BTW, conhecem alguma sueca que possa ajudar ...? )

quarta-feira, agosto 23, 2006

As minhas (des)aventuras pela língua alemã - Parte 1

Não é raro acontecer-me perguntarem-me o que gosto mais de fazer nos tempos livres. Perante a minha resposta invariavelmente simples, "estar com as minhas filhas e a minha esposa" e "ler em alemão", as reacções dividem-se entre a comiseração face a uma catástrofe que não consegui travar a tempo e a admiração à distância, que as tendências excêntricas normalmente despertam. Se me apetece ser particularmente provocador, acrescento deliberadamente "E linguística alemã !", e delicio-me com o resultado. Logo de seguida vem a perplexidade e a desconfiança : "E gostas ?" Mas nem todas as reacções evocam a mesma atitute negativa. Acontece-me também, embora mais raramente, confesso, partilharem do meu gosto pela língua alemã e então sou capaz de divagar sobre a estrutura gramatical, de me divertir com a estrutura frásica, de me surpreender com a eficiência das palavras compostas e de saborear o forte tempero da pronúncia.

O desequilíbrio das reacções à língua alemã e o domínio das apreciações negativas têm muito a ver com os estereótipos construídos à volta da língua alemã.

Conhecer a língua alemã implica, antes de tudo aprendê-la, o que pode ser uma verdadeira aventura : abrir caminho entre as declinações, unir ideias com conjunções, marcar o trajecto com os verbos para no fim do frase não perdermos o início, escalar as construções sinuosas das palavras compostas, sempre acompanhadas por combinações de sons nunca antes ouvidas, é de facto uma experiência marcante, onde o desafio se alia à persistência e as dificuldades são tão importantes como os avanços.

E porque os esterótipos negativos são normalmente o exagero das virtudes, é decerto possível encontrar também razões para, se não gostar, pelo menos compreender a língua alemã. Avaliá-la implica aprendê-la e este é naturalmente um processo moroso ( para quem não a assimilou na infância ! ) : Mark Twain calcula serem necessários trinta anos !!!!! No entanto, se a expectativa de vida ronda as oito décadas, há esperança de ainda o conseguir a tempo !!! eh eh eh

Prometo voltar brevemente a estas deambulações linguisticas ...

Os caminhos da tradução

Obrigado a todos pelos comentários relativos à "tradução" do poema "Der Zauberlehrling" de Goethe. Sim, eu sei que fui temerário ...

Há uns anos lembro-me de ter lido uma crónica do Eduardo Prado Coelho, em que ele afirmava que as intervenções de um político ( de quem não me lembro do nome ), pareciam traduções do alemão. Isto pode ter várias interpretações. Ou as intervenções do senhor em questão seriam confusas ou, então, seriam as traduções feitas a partir do alemão, elas sim, confusas e artificiais ! Não me parece que nenhuma delas seja verdadeira. O alemão é uma língua hiper-estruturada, impositiva, substancialmente diferente de, por exemplo, o inglês ( apesar de provenientes do mesmo tronco linguistíco ).

Isto leva-nos à velha questão : ler no original ou ler uma tradução ( seja ela em português, inglês, etc ) ?

Poderá afirmar-se que há línguas pragmáticas ( inglês ), línguas metafísicas ( alemão ). O alemão é uma língua dúctil e cheia de surpresas, um instrumento que nos disciplina, nos refreia a tendência para a imprecisão, uma língua que se preocupa em dizer o essencial, sem lixo de qualquer natureza.

Ler traduções em português ( seja de língua for ) é arriscarmo-nos a ler outra coisa, que não aquela que o autor verteu para o papel no original ! Além deste facto, acresce dizer que as edições em português são quase sempre mais caras que as originais.

Com isto, não quero dizer que devam ser eliminadas as leituras "traduzidas", mas sim que devemos ter cuidado nas escolhas que fazemos. Duma maneira geral as traduções que são vertidas para o alemão e inglês são de grande qualidade.

Infelizmente em português há "traduções" que o não são !

Das Blog oder der Blog ?

Ja, das ist korrekt João, aber ich habe das Internet nachgeschlagen, und dem Duden ist es egal ( siehe Abbildung rechts ).
Zum grammatischen Geschlecht ist zu bemerken, dass ausschließlich "das Weblog" oder "das Blog" korrekter ist ! Aber "der Blog" ist auch möglich.

Das deutsche Wort, das dahinter steckt, ist wohl das Log(buch), genau wie im Englischen. Das hat seinen Ursprung zwar sicher im altgriechischen "Logos", ist aber ein längst eingedeutschtes Wort.

Die Regeln für die Adaption von Wörtern aus anderen Sprachen sollten also nicht zur Anwendung kommen - bzw. dann schon eher aufs englische Blog angewendet werden.

quinta-feira, agosto 17, 2006

Der Zauberlehrling de J.W. von Goethe

Finalmente atrevi-me a ler ( e a tentar verter para a língua de Camões ) este poema de Goethe que já conheço há alguns anos.
Deste vez decidi ser mais temerário. É para traduzir ! Gosto particularmente deste poema, pois adequa-se ao trabalho de Consultoria, basta ohar com atenção para o título ... LOL !

Ora bem. Sai então uma tradução pessoal do poema "O aprendiz de feiticeiro" de Goethe

Hat der alte Hexenmeister / O velho feiticeiro
sich doch einmal wegbegeben! / finalmente desapareceu !
Und nun sollen seine Geister / E agora o seu espírito
auch nach meinem Willen leben. / viverá também de acordo com os meus desejos.
Seine Wort und Werke / Olhei com atenção para os seus feitiços
merkt ich und den Brauch, / e acções e como usá-los,
und mit Geistesstärke / e com a ajuda do espírito
tu ich Wunder auch. / também farei maravilhas.

Walle! walle / Muralhas ! Muralhas !
Manche Strecke, / Uma distância,
daß, zum Zwecke, / que para as minhas intenções,
Wasser fließe / a água jorrará
und mit reichem, vollem Schwalle / e, com um abundante precipitar de águas
zu dem Bade sich ergieße. / servirá para o banho.

Und nun komm, du alter Besen! / E agora vem cá, sua velha vassoura !
Nimm die schlechten Lumpenhüllen; / despe essas trapos;
bist schon lange Knecht gewesen: / já foste uma serva há tempo suficiente:
nun erfülle meinen Willen! / agora satisfaz os meus desejos !
Auf zwei Beinen stehe, / Aguenta-te firme nas pernas ,
oben sei ein Kopf, / que haja uma cabeça no cimo,
eile nun und gehe / agora apressa-te e vai
mit dem Wassertopf! / com a bacia de água !

Walle! walle / Muralhas ! Muralhas !
Manche Strecke, / Uma distância,
daß, zum Zwecke, / que para as minhas intenções,
Wasser fließe / a água jorrará
und mit reichem, vollem Schwalle / e, com um abundante precipitar de águas
zu dem Bade sich ergieße. / servirá para o banho.

Seht, er läuft zum Ufer nieder, / Vêde, flui para o rio,
Wahrlich! ist schon an dem Flusse, / Concerteza ! já está junto ao rio,
und mit Blitzesschnelle wieder / e, com a velocidade de um raio já está de
/ volta
ist er hier mit raschem Gusse. / aqui com uma rápida enchurrada.
Schon zum zweiten Male! / agora pela segunda vez !
Wie das Becken schwillt! / Como a água sobe na banheira !
Wie sich jede Schale / Como cada bacia
voll mit Wasser füllt! / está cheia de água !

Stehe! stehe! / Pára ! Pára !
denn wir haben / Porque nós temos
deiner Gaben / a noção certa
vollgemessen! / das tuas capacidades
Ach, ich merk es! Wehe! wehe! / Oh, estou a ver ! Ai ! Ai !
Hab ich doch das Wort vergessen! / Esqueci o feitiço !

Ach, das Wort, worauf am Ende / Ah, o feitiço pelo qual finalmente
er das wird, was er gewesen. / se torna novo o que antes era velho.
Ach, er läuft und bringt behende! / Ah ! Corre e suavemente traz mais !
Wärst du doch der alte Besen! / Se tu fosses a velha vassoura !
Immer neue Güsse / Depressa traz
bringt er schnell herein, / mais e mais baldes de água,
Ach! und hundert Flüsse / Ah ! e cem rios
stürzen auf mich ein. / precipitam-se sobre mim.

Nein, nicht länger / Não, não posso permitir
kann ichs lassen; / que isto continue;
will ihn fassen. / Tenho de a apanhar.
Das ist Tücke! / Isto é malícia !
Ach! nun wird mir immer bänger! / Ah, estou a ficar cada vez mais assustado !
Welche Mine! welche Blicke! / Que expressão ! Que visão !

O du Ausgeburt der Hölle! / Oh, filha do diabo !
Soll das ganze Haus ersaufen? / Será que toda a casa será inundada ?
Seh ich über jede Schwelle / Apesar de tudo, já vejo riachos de água
doch schon Wasserströme laufen. / a ultrapassar cada entrada.
Ein verruchter Besen, / Uma vassoura malvada,
der nicht hören will! / que não obedece !
Stock, der du gewesen, / Fica tu que eras,
steh doch wieder still! / não ficas quieta de uma vez ?

Willst am Ende / Finalmente
gar nicht lassen? / não desistes ?
Will dich fassen, / Vou apanhar-te,
will dich halten / Vou agarrar-te
und das alte Holz behende / e rachar a madeira velha
mit dem scharfen Beile spalten. / com este machado afiado.

Seht da kommt er schleppend wieder! / Olha, aqui vem ela a acarretar mais água !
Wie ich mich nur auf dich werfe, / Assim que saltar sobre ti,
gleich, o Kobold, liegst du nieder; / tu duende, serás vencido de uma vez;
krachend trifft die glatte Schärfe. / com um barulho esta ponta afiada acerta-te.
Wahrlich, brav getroffen! / Certamente ! Um tiro certeiro !
Seht, er ist entzwei! / Olha, está cortada em dois !
Und nun kann ich hoffen, / E agora só posso esperar,
und ich atme frei! / e respiro livremente de novo !

Wehe! wehe! / Ai ! Ai !
Beide Teile / Ambas as partes
stehn in Eile / rapidamente se levantam
schon als Knechte / erguem-se de novo,
völlig fertig in die Höhe! / completas, como servas !
Helft mir, ach! ihr hohen Mächte! / Ah ! Ajudem-me, poderes divinos !

Und sie laufen! Naß und nässer / E elas correm ! Molhadas e cada vez mais
wirds im Saal und auf den Stufen. / transformam-se nos aposentos e nas escadas.
Welch entsetzliches Gewässer! / Que terrível enchurrada !
Herr und Meister! hör mich rufen! - / Senhor e Mestre ! Ouve-me chamando por ti ! -
Ach, da kommt der Meister! / Ah, aqui vem o meu mestre !
Herr, die Not ist groß! / Senhor, o perigo é grande !
Die ich rief, die Geister / Os espíritos que invoquei
werd ich nun nicht los. / Agora não consigo livrar-me deles.

"In die Ecke, / "Para o canto,
Besen, Besen! / vassouras, vassouras !
Seids gewesen. / Já não são o que eram.
Denn als Geister / Porque como espíritos,
ruft euch nur zu diesem Zwecke, / para tal objectivo, apenas o velho mestre
erst hervor der alte Meister." / vos invocará de novo."

Ufa ! Comentários para o mail habitual.

Preparação para a certificação PMP

A pedido de várias familIas cá vai então um comentário sobre o livro que considero ter sido fundamental para a certificação PMP. Não, não foi o PMPBoK v3 ... Durante a preparação apenas li o PMBoK v3 uma vez, pois pareceria mal fazer a certificação e não o ler pelo menos uma vez LOL ! Quem conhece o PMBoK sabe do que estou a falar. Este livro por se tratar de uma obra de referência, não é de todo adequado para a preparação PMP. Para isso precisamos de um documento secundário, ie, algo que "mastigue" a informação do PMBoK e que simultaneamente forneça algo mais ( como se sabe, o PMBoK não tem toda a informação necessária para o PMP ).

Na altura pedi informação a várias pessoas. Várias pessoas me recomendaram o livro "Das PMP-Examen" de Thomas Wuttke e Peggy Gartner ( das 12 pessoas, que directa ou indirectamente me recomendaram o livro nenhuma delas chumbou !! ). Infelizmente é um livro alemão ...

Numa escala de 1 a 6 dou "5" ( só não dou "6", pois a vertente prática podia ser estar mais desenvolvida. Cada "Knowledge Area" tem apenas 10 exercícios, o que é manifestamente pouco, dadas as características da certificação. Isto significa que este livro tem de ser complementado com mais "qualquer coisa", seja ela um curso ou um livro de características mais pragmáticas ).

Apesar de ter uma vertente prática ( leia-se exercícios ) pouco pronunciada, não se trata de um livro de matiz meramente teórica ! Na minha opinião a mais-valia do mesmo reside na mescla entre teoria e prática. A explanação assenta no PMBoK v3, mas sem perder de vista que nos estamos a preparar para uma certificação PMP, ou seja, estão sempre presentes na linha de horizonte questões práticas, com as quais temos de nos defrontar no exame !

O livro tanto pode ser lido de fio-a-pavio, como ter uma abordagem "toca-e-foge" ( ie, ler apenas alguns capítulos ). De todas as áreas PMP, considero que os capítulos de Procurement e Qualidade estão mesmo lá "em cima" ( quem tiver dúvidas ler documento sobre "lessons learned PMP" que está "postado" no meu site ). O capítulo de EVM também está bastante bom, pois não se limita a apresentar as respectivas fórmulas. À boa maneira alemã, é feito um enquadramento teórico e depois disso deixa de fazer sentido falar em memorização do que quer que seja ...

Um outro pormenor importante assenta no facto dos autores partirem do princípio de que os leitores têm experiência prévia de PM, ie, quem tiver pouca ou nenhuma experiência de PM tem de procurar outras fontes. Este livro tem como linha-mestra a preparação para a certificação PMP, ou seja, não pretende ensinar Gestão de Projectos ! "Tips-and-tricks" ... you know what I mean !

"Bottom-Line" : quem tem experiência de PM pode e deve usar este livro. The Others must look elsewhere. A sensação com que fiquei após a certificação é a de que não vale apena memorizar nada ... ( vidé documento de "lessons learned PMP" que está no site ). Toda a gente que conheço, que optou pela via da memorização do PMBoK, não obteve a certificação ...

Questões enviar para o mail habitual.

Saudações PMP