Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Advice to men on women

This November 12, I'll turn 32. This October 17, I would complete eight years of my life as a married man. That is quarter of my life. I was a guru in many things when I finished eight years on this planet. I was considered a tech guru when I finished working eight years in the software industry. But, when it comes to women I would still rate myself 0.01 on a scale of 0 to 1 billion. I know of older people who have been married for half a century or so and their experience makes them stand on 0.02 on that scale. I guess no man in the history of mankind has made it beyond 0.05 on that scale.

So, what is this blog about? Well, eight years ago my rating was 0.0001. And I learnt a lot to come up to 0.01. I just thought I would share some of my experiences and help others climb a little on that scale.

History is proof that humans invented, discovered and stumbled upon most of knowledge during the most bitter of wars. Same happens in any couple's life. Peacetime is spent saying mushy, mushy, sweet nothings (they actually are nothing, mostly). A fight is when we, men, learn the most. Albeit the hard way. So, in a fight remember:

1. NEVER Say "Calm down": It might seem natural to ask a woman who is freaking out to "relax", to "calm down". Do it and you will see just the opposite happen. By asking her to "relax", you are essentially saying that she is acting crazy and you are the sane bloke around. You are implying that she has no reason to be upset or throwing tantrums about. Any wonder she would be infuriated even further? So, "relax" yourself first and then say something like, "I'm just as upset about this as you are. Let's deal with it together." That will help her, actually relax.

2. Silence is NOT golden: I used to think that if I just shut up, it would all go away. Time will take care. You know what? It won't. Not properly, at least. Say something that 'she wants to hear'. Not something that 'you want to say'. And remember not to say "relax" :-)
I agree that there is a risk of upsetting her even more, but that is a risk worth taking.

3. Dare not utter "I love you": A fight is the last place to say that. Chances are, you didn't say that enough in the peacetime and hence you have the war. But, this is not the time to make up for it. Say something like:
a. [insert a detailed explanation, an confession even]
b. "It won't happen again"
c. "You are right, this is all my fault"
And don't undo it all by following it up with a "but...". Just shut up after this. Ah, there is another thing you could say
d. "I love you"
That is fine after you have apologized, confessed or calmed her down. Not before.

4. NEVER say "I was always like this. And you always knew it": And this always fails. That is not gonna help a bit. You are again implying that she is wrong. And the implication is direct, on her face. We, men, would hate that ourselves, wouldn't we? You know what? Women hate it even more.

5. Agree, Acknowledge and thank her that she "left her family for you": Never say things like "what? haven't I?" (remember who was the bride?) or "you were in hostel years before we got married anyway" or, worst of them all, "yeah! big deal".

6. Mother of all rules: If there were a golden rule, it would be this: let her speak, and never try to shut her up. Don't remain mum either. Speak lesser but more appropriate to her. This holds good even in peace time.

So, you must now be thinking, "wow, this guy knows so much". Let me tell you something- no guy can know these things about women all by himself. It takes a woman to know a woman. I took the above points (except the last two) from a magazine called "Men's Health". Read the original written by a lady called Sarah Miller here.

I guess my rating after reading it all can now stand at 0.04. Yippie!!!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Web 2.0: Awesome video

Almost every candidate I have interviewed lately, for positions ranging from User Interface Designer to a Tech Project Leader has inevitably said something about Web 2.0. But, when asked what do they understand by web 2.0, not everyone seems to know. Here is a fantastic video made by Michael Wesch, Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University, USA. In under 5 minutes, it beautifully tells you what web 2.0 is all about.

Awesome. Isn't it?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Software Projects: Quantifying Soft Factors

Process, as we all know, is an important variable in the equation for software project success. But, just how important? If a fairy God-mother were to give you just one wish towards your project's success factors, what would you ask for? That everybody adheres to your organization's "established" processes? Or that you had just one or two more senior developers? Or that your staff worked in quieter environment? Or how about a team entertainment budget?

Today, I read a relatively old (Nov/Dec 2001) article by Steve McConnell titled "Quantifying Soft Factors" It beautifully and very convincingly emphasizes the role of non-process soft factors. What Steve is trying to say (and I second him) is that process is a necessary but not a sufficient factor. It has been my experience too that motivation, environment and "experience in the team" are far more critical than a CMM Level 5 certification and adherence.

I conduct a three day training program in my company titled "Team Leadership and Project Management". Of the three days (two hours a day), I spend just about one day discussing Project Management. Many people have asked, "why not spend more time, as this is more important?" I have always said, "PM is important, but a Manager must develop other soft skills before you could expect him or her to execute effective project management". Steve's article kinda backs this up for me.