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The Business Analyst in an Agile Environment

Webinar – Recorded | Feb. 19, 2014

Agile is increasingly becoming the foundation for today's business world, and Business Analysts are essential for organizations and projects to achieve maximum success. Following a brief overview, Benjamin will tackle and dispel many of the common myths about Agile and then dig deeper into the true value Business Analysts hold for their organization. Join us for a look at the modern Business Analyst and their role in an Agile environment.

15 Most Popular IT and Business Certifications for 2014

Special Report | Jan. 01, 2014

In this report, I've reviewed the 15 most popular certifications according to our more than 12,000 North American respondents to our annual IT Skills and Salary Survey. For each certification, you'll find a brief description, the average salary, and some insight into why it is popular.

List of IT Skills

Special Report | Jan. 01, 2014

Organizations are moving strongly toward Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) access, bringing outsourced activities back in-house, and finding ways to make use of the growing amounts of data flowing in from many new sources such as social media. These factors create an increasing shift in required and desired skills showing up in IT departments. Hiring and salary surveys, such as the 2014 IT Skills and Salary Survey from Global Knowledge and Windows IP Pro, TEKsystems' 2014 Annual IT Forecast, Foote Research Group's 2014 IT Skills and Certifications Pay Index, Computerworld's annual Forecast survey, Robert Half Technology Survey, and information from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Futurestep, Mondo, GovLoop, and Dice have presented a developing picture of the IT skills that will be in demand in 2014. Here, in survey order, are the top 10 major skills and why they made the list.

Can Use Cases Really be Used in an Agile Environment?

Webinar – Recorded | Oct. 17, 2013

Agile is a set of principles requiring a significant cultural shift, new paradigms in thinking and team organization. Over the years, Agile has become "productized" or in many cases "institutionalized", creating different flavours and levels of commitment among teams and organizations. Along the way, managers and team members have lost sight of Agile's principles and tried to enforce the use of certain tools and structure where they may not belong. In this one hour webinar, Perry McLeod will explain how tools such as use cases can be successful in an agile environment, provided the principles of agile are always active in the minds of the managers and the team members that are using them. Join Perry to determine whether or not making the cultural shift towards the use case method in an agile environment is the right move for you and your organization.

What's New in vSphere 5.5

White Paper | Oct. 16, 2013

vSphere 5.5 is now available with myriad small improvements such as a faster Web Client, LACP, Autoscale and higher configuration maximums. In addition, there are changes coming such as VSAN, which may be ground-breaking in regard to VM storage of the future. Since the release of vSphere 5.5, they have not yet announced a change to the blueprint for the test. That being the case, I will say, for now, that the VCP-510 test should remain unchanged as well. My goal here is not to reeducate you on everything that you need to know for the test; instead, it is to point out the few changes that might apply in your company or organization.

Virtualization for Newbies: Five Types of Virtualization

Article | Oct. 03, 2013

Although some form of virtualization has been around since the mid-1960s, it has evolved over time, while remaining close to its roots. Much of the evolution in virtualization has occurred in just the last few years, with new types being developed and commercialized. For our purposes, the different types of virtualization are limited to Desktop Virtualization, Application Virtualization, Server Virtualization, Storage Virtualization, and Network Virtualization.

Shortcuts to Speed Your vCloud Deployment

White Paper | Sep. 17, 2013

VMware vCloud Director fashions the provisioning of the software-defined datacenter layer to allow for a full virtual datacenter deployment within a short period of time. A vCloud consists of many layers and can quickly become a complex architecture. Before any deployment, requirements should be defined so that the vCloud can be designed to offer those services needed. It is imperative to understand the many components of vCloud, how each vCloud construct fits, which allocation models are available, and what network options can be chosen.

Military Orders Process vs. Project Management Methodology, Part 2

Article | Sep. 10, 2013

Now that we have looked at the similarities and differences between the first two steps of the military decision-making process (MDMP) and the project management processes from the planning process group that align with them, it’s time to take a look at the third ste...

Virtualization for Newbies

White Paper | Aug. 15, 2013

One of the most popular topics in Information Technology (IT) the last several years has been virtualization. This paper introduces virtualization, beginning with reasons why a company would want to virtualize in the first place. One of the main reasons that most businesses like virtualization is to save money. Of course helping the budget is a good idea, but there are additional reasons to virtualize and different levels of virtualization as well. After listing reasons for virtualizing, there is a section on the early origins of virtualization and how some of the ideas introduced in the beginning of virtualization are still prevalent today. Although server virtualization gets most of the attention, there are other types of virtualization available. The conclusion lists different types of virtualization in IT, including naming some of the major vendors in each area.

Military Orders Process vs. Project Management Methodology, Part 1

Article | Aug. 13, 2013

For a project manager (PM) who has served as a military officer on a battalion or higher staff, the parallels between the military decision-making process (MDMP), the orders production process, and project management doctrine prescribed by the Project Management Institute (PMI) are difficult to ignore. Both the MDMP and the processes outlined in A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge—Fifth Edition (PMBOK® Guide) are iterative in nature, allow for the introduction of changes to the original plan, assign tasks and responsibilities, and involve the concept of managing the scope of the operation or project.

A Unified Model for Describing a Project Plan

White Paper | June 05, 2013

This paper proposes a unifying model for project plans. A distinction will be made between the outputs of project planning and the project plan itself. The significance of this distinction is to allow projects of all types to be described at a high level, in a common language, regardless of the type of analysis used to develop the plan.

vTerminology: A Guide to Key Virtualization Terminology

White Paper | April 24, 2013

One of the most important steps in mastering a new technology is learning the associated terminology or vocabulary. In the IT field, this can be a very challenging step, as much of the terminology is often used inconsistently. This white paper defines the terminology associated with IT virtualization. It is mainly vendor-agnostic, but it does provide some vendor-specific terms, product names, and feature names used by VMware, Citrix, and Microsoft.

Performance and Troubleshooting with esxtop

White Paper | April 19, 2013

The utility that many senior VMware administrators rely on to address performance and troubleshooting issues is the built-in utility called ESXTOP. The tool has been built in to the hypervisor, and can be used in both ESXi and the old ESX host. The first tool many VMware Administrators rely upon is esxtop, to check real-time performance on an ESXi host using a command-line tool such as ssh to start the esxtop CLI utility. This paper will introduce and demonstrate how to start and use esxtop, specifically looking at the CPU fields. In addition, we will cover information that can be used to help with performance issues of the CPU. The esxtop utility is an excellent tool to use when you want to observe an individual ESXi host's performance.

VMware Resource Pools: Prioritizing VMs

Article | March 11, 2013

Resource Pools are often misunderstood, disliked, and untrusted by vSphere Administrators. However, resource pools can be very useful tools for administrators who want to configure resource management without having to individually configure each VM. This leads to the administrator’s desire to explore the proper usage of resource pools.

Simplifying VMware vCloud

White Paper | Feb. 25, 2013

This white paper has three main goals. The first is to generate a better understanding of the cloud in both the business and IT communities. The second is to describe the major components of vCloud and the virtual datacenters they provide. The third is help businesses visualize and understand how vClouds could be beneficial in addressing their specific IT needs.

How To Improve Purchasing Performance By Categorizing Suppliers

Article | Feb. 20, 2013

As mentioned earlier, one of the most useful pieces of guidance that ITIL provides relates to the categorization of suppliers. ITIL describes four categories of suppliers:

The Business Process Analysis for a Project Manager

Article | Feb. 15, 2013

Enterprises, whether they are commercial, non-profit, or government entities, are operational organizations that operate through the execution of hundreds of processes. The quality of these processes affects every aspect of the enterprise and these processes are rarely static. Business Process Analysis (BPA) is the discipline of examining processes so that they may be changed to align with enterprise objectives.

VMware vSphere Essentials

White Paper | Jan. 23, 2013

This vSphere Essentials white paper will give you a basic understanding of some of the concerns or planning points to consider as you get ready to deploy vSphere in your organization. This is a glimpse into some of the essential things to consider for implementing vSphere. This will focus on some of the basics that vSphere administrators run into when installing the latest features and not realizing they still have some older versions implemented.

Service Portfolio Real World Example – Cloud Services Provider

Article | Nov. 28, 2012

In a recent post, I gave an overall description of a service portfolio and the key components of a portfolio. Here, I will describe how a cloud services provider might implement an ITIL service portfolio. A cloud services provider will regularly have a set of services under development, a set of service in live operation, and a set of services that are retired.

What is a Service Portfolio?

Article | Nov. 14, 2012

ITIL describes a service portfolio as a collection of the overall set of services managed by a service provider. A service portfolio describes a service provider’s boundaries and promises across all of the customers and market spaces it serves. I like to think of a service portfolio as describing the past, present, and future collection of services offered by a service provider. The figure below shows a high-level view of a service portfolio.

Upgrading to ESXi 5.1 - Best Practices

White Paper | Nov. 02, 2012

If you are upgrading to ESXi 5.1, there are some important facts that you should consider first. Upgrading involves many stages and processes that must be performed in a specific order. Many of these processes are one-way and do not provide a "back button." If you do not use care and consideration in your upgrade plan, you could possibly lose important data and configuration; and potentially even lose contact with your servers.

Meet Customers' Needs Through Agile Team Development

Article | Oct. 26, 2012

We already covered the first three of the twelve advantages of Agile software development. These three advantages focus on team development and refining the process. Advantage #4: Motivated Development Team The positive relationship with a reasonable and satisfied customer is only one of the reasons why many developers prefer to work on Agile projects. The other main contributor is that they tend to value working in self directed teams (which the Agile methods require for success).

Meeting Customer's Needs Through Agile Development

Article | Oct. 12, 2012

There is a reason why the Agile methods are becoming mainstream. They can work! Although every Agile practice is not necessarily appropriate for every organization, each practice has delivered real value to many organizations, and some Agile practices can be used by anyone! This four part series explores twelve ways in which the Agile methods are valuable. I’ll bet that you will find more than a few that could be valuable for you!

Which ITIL Processes Relate to a Data Center Operations Group?

Article | Sep. 19, 2012

I recently responded to a message on LinkedIn from a regular reader of this blog. He asked several questions which I will answer over the course of several posts. As part of his first question, he described a strategy report that his group is producing. The audience for this strategy report considers ITIL important to the future of their business, and so he must describe which ITIL processes his data center operations group works most closely with.

How to Apply Knowledge Management to Project Management

Article | Aug. 24, 2012

Knowledge Management examines how we acquire, organize, manage, share, and utilize knowledge and information. The Internet gives us an overwhelming amount of information on a daily basis — and the volume of information available is growing rapidly! One of the biggest challenges for individuals and organizations involved in project management is to make the best use of this knowledge and information so they can operate more efficiently, improve decision making, and sustain a competitive advantage.

Importance of Lessons Learned in Project Management

Article | July 27, 2012

Lessons learned is a theory, or conclusion, based on evidence at a given time and describes what went wrong (as well as what went right) throughout the lifecycle of a project. Although it’s completed during the project closeout process, it should occur during the entire project lifecycle to ensure all information is captured and documented. Consequences of not having a project review of lessons learned are the increased likelihood of repeating actions that might have caused:

When Learning Fails: Six Classic Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Webinar – Recorded | May 12, 2012

Everyone has been involved in a learning program or project that has not delivered its intended impact. Across organizations, remarkably similar but preventable missteps are made in needs identification, learning strategies, program development and implementation.  Instructor Tom Gram, Senior Director of Professional Services at Global Knowledge, will present six classic mistakes learning professionals make that reduce chances for success along with evidence-based practices to help prevent them. 

The Difference Between a Project and a Service

Article | April 11, 2012

During a recent ITIL foundation class, a student asked an interesting question. She wanted to know: “What is the difference between a project and a service?” To be honest, I haven’t spent much time thinking about this distinction. However, I think that those of us who practice ITIL consulting and training should have good answers to questions such as this. Here’s how I answered this question.

10 New Features for Citrix XenApp 6.5

Article | April 09, 2012

XenApp 6.5 brings a host of features and benefits that most companies will need as the technology continues to evolve and user requirements continue to expand.

An Introduction to PMI’s Project Management Life Cycle

Article | April 06, 2012

The term "life cycle" implies two things: that a process is perpetual and that the sequence of events is obligatory or uni-directional. There is no beginning or end to a life cycle and the sequence of events cannot change. A seed cannot go directly to being a mature plant nor revert back to the blossom stage.

VXLAN: What is It, and Why Do We Need It - the Conclusion

Article | March 26, 2012

In the previous post, we discussed the need for VXLAN in the cloud along with the issues it solves. In this post, we will focus more on how VXLAN works.

Incidents and Problems - Workarounds

Article | March 14, 2012

In my last post I discussed aspects of problem management in the context of a real-life situation regarding the first vehicle I owned. In that scenario, and throughout this series of posts, I’ve demonstrated a real-life situation from a standpoint of the incident and problem management processes that ITIL describes.

Virtualization: Myths vs. Facts

White Paper | March 05, 2012

Examine fifteen common myths surrounding virtualization, including many that prevent IT administrators (or their bosses) from getting the maximum value from virtualization. This paper is designed to be vendor-neutral; in other words, the basic concepts and advantages are the same whether you choose to use Citrix XenServer, VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, or one of the many Linux-based solutions. We'll break the reasons into three broad categories (Cost/ROI, Performance, and Other), allowing you to focus in on a specific area if desired, or you can review the entire white paper for a broader view.

What is the Cisco UCS Manager?

Article | Feb. 01, 2012

The Cisco UCS is truly a “unified” architecture that integrates three major datacenter technologies into a single, coherent system: Computing Network Storage Instead of being simply the next generation of blade servers, the Cisco UCS is an innova­tive architecture designed from scratch to be highly scalable, efficient, and powerful with one-third less infrastructure than traditional blade servers.

Benefits of a Cloud Based Architecture

Article | May 26, 2011

In the fourth of his five-part series, Eric Strause explores the hardware and application benefits inherent in a cloud-based architecture.

Are Production Server Reboots Standard Changes?

Article | April 27, 2011

I attended a meeting this week with a customer of mine and a potential new vendor. The new vendor was there to pitch his configuration and setup service offerings for a specific ITSM toolset. My customer has already had one bad experience with an ITSM tool configuration vendor who promised one thing and delivered much less. He ended up with a tool that’s minimally used and not configured to match his business needs. He’s looking for a vendor that can understand his business needs and priorities and quickly help him get his tool configured and working in a short time frame. Then the topic of standard changes came up. My customer asked for examples of standard changes. The vendor responded, “Server reboots are an example of standard changes.”

12 Advantages of Agile Software Development

White Paper | Dec. 21, 2010

Organizations can find significant value in adopting Agile methodologies and techniques. Agile practices can help ensure meet customer expectations, deliver products on time, and create a motivated environment that is able to quickly adapt to change. This white paper explores 12 benefits of Agile development and management, explaining why you should consider incorporating Agile methodologies into your current standards and processes.

13 Skills Every IT Pro Should Know

Article | Nov. 12, 2010

No matter which IT field you're working in, there are several skills that are useful for every IT professional to know. Here, seven experienced IT professionals working in the networking, programming, project management, and security fields, share what they believe a...

An Introduction to Procurement Management

Article | Jan. 14, 2010

Project procurement activities are often managed by specialists. By this I mean that the procurement department takes over responsibility for purchasing and contract management from the project manager. As a result of this separation of responsibilities, the steps and stages of procurement are often poorly understood by PMs. In this and the next few blog submissions, I will attempt to shed light on procurement activities and relate these activities to the PMI PMBOK.

What’s an RFC and what can they do for me?

Article | Sep. 16, 2009

No matter what book or manual you use to study for the CCNA examination, you will see various protocols and processes referencing an RFC. And, although frequently referenced, the RFCs are seldom actually included in the documentation. So, the logical question becomes...

Triple Constraints Model

Article | June 01, 2009

The triple constraints model has been one of the main staples for teaching project management for as long as I can remember. The model is generally represented by a triangle with Scope on the horizontal leg, Time on the left leg, Cost or Resources on the right leg an...