Managing Virtual Software Development Projects

I recently wrote an article for the website Project Management Planet on the topic, managing virtual software management projects. The article came via Elance, a freelance website that I use at times to outsource project work or to work on projects myself. The site owner was very interested in my experience as virtual project manager and needed me to write 1200 words on it. While writing is not my bread and butter, I complied mostly because I did want to share my experience on managing projects virtually and because I can get some Cat-C Professional Development Units (PDUs) from PMI since I needed to do some research to substantiate my article.

The link to the article and website is above, have a read and let me know what you think.


Of direct debits, standing orders & subscriptions in Britain

RBS, Santander, Lloyds TSB, Halifax, Barclays, HSBC

This post has been in writing ever since I came to UK, got my own bank account, set up a direct debit and used my card for online subscription payments. Mind you, it has been a very unnerving experience since even after 6 months here, I am surprised when:

  • a transaction occurs 2 to 3 days before the given date of a charge
  • there is no acknowledgement or receipt sent by the company that has charged you a fee (which they will days before it is set to renew)

Continue reading

Have you ever worked on a successful water project in rural South Asia? What made it successful?

Last year I worked on a rural development project in Pakistan for 30 handpumps and here is my story. 

The Problem
There is a small village (about 500 families) in district Haripur, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where Afghan refugees had settled for about 20 years, once they left, the land soil had been utterly destroyed for conventional farming and the wells had also dried. As a result, parents weren’t sending their kids to the local school and sent them off to the closest river about to collect water for farming, washing etc.

The Solution
The village formed a committee (community organisation) and submitted to the local council for handpumps to be installed all over the village. Continue reading

On Using Quora

For information junkies and those who love to enlighten, Quora is a wonderful place to be. It is a world of its own and so far there is no competition on the horizon for it. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn have their own niche uses. Facebook to stay in touch with family and friends, Twitter for sharing links and getting in touch with people directly and LinkedIn to keep tabs on who is doing what. Quora brings Twitter’s ability to connect directly with people to a forum where everyone gets to learn from one answer. Ever wanted to ask an Iraqi what the war meant to them? A detailed first person account is there. How about, asking J J Abrams on how he started making movies? He gives an answer when he has time from making movies of course!  Continue reading

7 Life Lessons from Harry Potter

Coat of arms of Hogwarts, the fictional school...

Image via Wikipedia

I am a huge fan of the Harry Potter series. For me it is a wonderful escape into an alternate world that manages to coexist with mine. It offers mystery, adventure, laughs, some romance and most important of all instructions on life itself. While there are many insights and goodies throughout the series, some are truly thought provoking and downright brilliant. Mind you, these concepts have been elucidated time and again over the course of centuries by various philosophers. For me however, it is the ease, clarity and simplicity of how each is described that makes them standout and get me to write this post here.

1. The Unforgivable curses

In the Goblet of Fire, their new Defense against the dark arts teacher, shows his students the unforgivable curses. Each curse is a fantastic embodiment of our basic human rights i.e. to kill a person (the killing curse), to inflict pain (the cruciatus curse) and to control actions of another human being (the imperius curse). Continue reading

KFC Food Blues: Dine In, Takeaway and Delivery

Colonel Sanders is the official face of KFC, a...

Image via Wikipedia

Early this month I had the misfortune to experience a new ‘low of food standard‘ set by KFC Pakistan. It had been months since I had eaten a KFC meal and as such it had slipped my mind that since last year their food has declined; while it is fairly ok for dine in, it is generally an absolute disaster if  delivered. Anyhow, I called their UAN and placed an order for a Zinger Extreme meal, they gave me a delivery timeline of 30 mins which was acceptable and believable since the KFC outlet is less than a kilometer away from my home. The delivery boy arrived at the 50 minute mark with someone else’s order. Continue reading

Nokia N900 – Software update plus worldwide sales figures

Gartner’s latest estimate suggests that less than 100,000 units have been sold ever since the N900 launched; five months ago. This when compared with 8.75 million iPhones sold from January to March and the 135,000 Nexus One sold in 74 days is very clearly a miss for Nokia. I always knew that the device was never aimed to cater for the masses but then again the geek in me wishes that this device had garnered the attention it so rightly deserves. According to Alberto Torres, head of Nokia’s solutions business, “Sales have substantially exceeded expectations.”

In some better news, the N900′s Maemo 5 OS got a version upgrade. The new 1.2 software update V10.2010.19-1 is now available worldwide and includes several enhancement including, face to face video calling via Skype and Google Video, a better email experience, bundled Facebook IM Chat, improved OVI Maps and a few other features.

To download the update, choose the N900 device, and click download.

Nokia X6 -16GB Reviewed


The Nokia X6 is a S60 5th Edition device with a responsive capacitive touch screen and tactile feedback. The device has a 3.2″, bright nHD (640 x 360 pixels and 16:9 aspect ratio) display with homescreen featuring Contacts Bar and Media bar and Application shortcuts. Other features include a 5 megapixel Auto Focus camera with Carl Zeiss optics and dual LED flash, integrated A-GPS with Ovi Maps 3.0, Bluetooth 2.0 +EDR, and USB 2.0 High-Speed connectivity.

That said, Nokia announced back in Jan 2010, that it will officially drop Comes with Music with its X6 16 GB handset and offer is for 1/3 its price. The move was excellent since it now gives consumers a chance to buy the phone – without music – without over extending their budget. Yes, thats it. The phone does not send you completely into the red like the N97 and lets you enjoy its excellent music capabilities, camera, WiFi/3G internet and basic phone facilities that we come to expect from a well honed phone manufacturer like Nokia. Did i mention that it has a touch screen as well?  Continue reading