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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.

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.

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!

What Happens If I Have More Than One Switch With Redundant Links?

Article | Oct. 11, 2012

That depends on their configurations. For example: While it makes very good sense to include redundant physical links in a network, connecting switches in loops, without taking the appropriate measures, will cause havoc on a network. Without the correct measures, a switch floods broadcast frames out all of its ports, causing serious problems for the network devices. The main problem is a broadcast storm where broadcast frames are flooded through every switch until all available bandwidth is used and all network devices have more inbound frames than they can process.

Data Center Basics: the Differences Between IOS and NX-OS

Article | Sep. 04, 2012

As we discussed previously, Cisco created the Nexus Operating System (NX-OS) to power its next-generation data-center switching platform. While this new OS shares many similarities to the original IOS, there are some definite differences that you need to be aware of as you begin using it.

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:

What is the Difference Between Ethernet II and IEEE 802.3?

Article | June 26, 2012

The biggest difference between Ethernet II and 802.3 is the fields of their Ethernet headers. Ethernet II is much more popular - find out why in this post.

What is Twisted Pair and Does It Work?

Article | June 12, 2012

“Twisted Pair” is another way to identify a network cabling solution that’s also called Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) and was invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1881. Indoor business telephone applications use them in 25-pair bundles. In homes, they were down to four wires, but in networking we use them in 8-wire cables. By twisting the pairs at different rates (twists per foot), cable manufacturers can reduce the electromagnetic pulses coming from the cable while improving the cable’s ability to reject common electronic noise from the environment.

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.

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.

Five Secrets for Successfully Virtualizing a Data Center

White Paper | April 04, 2012

Here are some secrets, tips, and tricks for virtualizing your datacenter. We want to introduce some best practices for virtualization, while not being too biased towards one virtualization vendor or another. We'll use some common examples of products and tools that work with VMware's vSphere and Microsoft's Hyper-V, but with an eye toward virtualization in general, and not the specifics of any of the capable platforms that could be used). We will assume, however, that bare metal hypervisors, in other words virtualization platforms where the hyper visor is the OS, will be used as opposed to running a hypervisor on top of an existing general-purpose operating system (which is great in a lab, but terrible for data center projects).

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.

Cisco UCS: Spanning-Tree Need Not Apply!

Article | Feb. 15, 2012

Anyone who’s managed switches over the years knows that the Spanning-tree protocol (STP) is both the best and worst thing to ever happen to the data center at layer 2 of the OSI model. On the plus side, the Spanning-tree protocol is what first allowed us to create redundant paths within our switching infrastructure, making our data center much more resilient to outages than ever before. Anyone who’s experienced a “broadcast storm” knows the full value of Spanning-tree in the traditional switching environment. We’ve also seen many improvements in Spanning-tree over the years to make it work faster and more efficiently (i.e. Rapid Spanning-tree, Bridge Assurance, and many others).

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.

DHCP for Wireless LAN Clients

Article | Jan. 31, 2012

For us wireless folks that aren’t stellar routing and switching guys, one of the most daunting network tasks is integrating our WLAN infrastructure with the existing wired infrastructure and its services. Understanding wired design topics is pretty fundamental to installing or managing any network, so it really should be on our priority list to spruce up those skills. To give you a nudge on your journey, let’s talk about DHCP for wireless clients.

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.”

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...