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Category Archives: IT Managment

Recommended Computer Room Temperature & Humidity

Recommended Computer Room Temperature

TempOperating expensive IT computer equipment for extended periods of time at high temperatures greatly reduces reliability, longevity of components and will likely cause unplanned downtime. Maintaining an ambient temperature range of 20° to 24°C is optimal for system reliability. This temperature range provides a safe buffer for equipment to operate in the event of air conditioning or HVAC equipment failure while making it easier to maintain a safe relative humidity level.
It is a generally agreed upon standard in the computer industry that expensive IT equipment should not be operated in a computer room or data center where the ambient room temperature has exceeded 30°C

Recommended Computer Room Humidity

humidityRelative humidity (RH) is defined as the amount of moisture in the air at a given temperature in relation to the maximum amount of moisture the air could hold at the same temperature. In a data center or computer room, maintaining ambient relative humidity levels between 45% and 55% is recommended for optimal performance and reliability.
When relative humidity levels are too high, water condensation can occur which results in hardware corrosion and early system and component failure. If the relative humidity is too low, computer equipment becomes susceptible to electrostatic discharge (ESD) which can cause damage to sensitive components. When monitoring the relative humidity in the data center, we recommend early warning alerts at 40% and 60% relative humidity, with critical alerts at 30% and 70% relative humidity. It is important to remember that the relative humidity is directly related to the current temperature, so monitoring temperature and humidity together is critical. As the value of IT equipment increases, the risk and associated costs can increase exponentially.
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10 Laws of Software Productivity

Productivity decreased as team sizes increase.

  • LAW 1 – Smaller teams are more efficient: The smaller the team the higher the productivity of each individual person.
  • LAW 2 – SOME schedule compression can be bought: Adding people to a project, to a point, decreases the time and increases the cost.
  • LAW 3 – Every project has a minimum time: There is an incremental person that consumes more energy than he/she produces. Team size beyond this point decreases productivity and increases time. (”Adding staff to a late software project makes it later.”)
  • LAW 4 – Productivity is scalable: Projects of larger software size can use larger teams without violating LAW 3.
  • LAW 5 – Complexity limits staffing: As complexity increases, the number of people that can effectively work on the project and the rate at which they can be added decreases.
  • LAW 6 – Staffing can be optimized: There exists an optimal staffing function that is effectively modeled by the Rayleigh function. Flat (level load) staffing is rarely optimal.
  • LAW 7 – Projects that get behind, stay behind: It is extremely difficult to bring a project that is behind schedule back on plan.
  • LAW 8 – Work expands to fill the available volume: It is possible to allow too much time to complete a project.
  • LAW 9 – Better technology yields higher productivity: More capable teams, better tools, and advanced, stable processes yield higher productivity.
  • LAW 10 – No “silver bullets”: There is no methodology, tool, or process improvement strategy out there that yields revolutionary improvements in project efficiency.

Original Post by:  Dan Galorath — 10 Laws of Software Productivity

Power Tactics

power

What power tactics do people use to translate power bases into specific action?   What options do they have for influencing their bosses, co-workers, or employees?     Research has identified nine distinct influence tactics:

  • Legitimacy.  Relying on your authority position or saying a request accords with organizational policies or rules.
  • Rational persuasion.  Presenting logical arguments and factual evidence to demonstrate a request is reasonable.
  • Inspirational appeals.  Developing emotional commitment by appealing to target’s values, needs, hopes, and aspirations.
  • Consultation.  Increasing the target’s support by involving him or her in deciding how you will accomplish your plan.
  • Exchange.  Rewarding the target with benefits or favors in exchange for following a request.
  • Personal appeals.  Asking for compliance based on friendship or loyalty.
  • Ingratiation.  Using flattery, praise, or friendly behavior prior to making a request.
  • Pressure.  Using warnings, repeated demands, and threats.
  • Coalitions.  Enlisting the aid or support of others to persuade the target to agree.

Pressure is typically tends to backfire and is typically the least effective of nine tactics. You can also increase your chance of success by using more than one type of tactic at the same time or sequentially, as long as your choices are compatible.

Quoted from the book ” Organizational Behavior  –  Stephen P. Robbins   .   Timothy A. Judge “

How to Remove a Blank Page in Word

Many Times when I create a report with MS Word I get that annoying Extra Blank page at the end of the document,  and it annoying especially when you convert a document to a PDF file and send it to someone.    I tried every thing and still ouldn’t delete that extra blank page till I found that vedio which explains how easily you can remove that page:

ActiveSync is not working on Android – for some users

When you have everything is correctly setup and your users can use ActiveSync on their Android phones, and at the same time there are some users may not be able to use it on Android, and when they setup their accounts on their phones, they have an error message “Failed to create the account. Please try again later”

After searching the internet and some forums, I found the solution:

1- Go to Active Directory users and computers

2- From the menu:  select View > Advanced Features

3- Select the user who has this problem

4- In his account properties, select the Security tab

5- Click Advanced button

6- In the Permissions tab check the box at the bottom for “Include inheritable permissions from this object’s parent”

7- You may need to wait 5-10 minutes for Active Directory to propagate the changes if have a large environment.

8- Now try to setup the account on the Android phone again.

ISA Logging only shows IP address for SecureNAT clients

I have installed TMG Client and configure it to not automatically configure the web browsers so that users can move between networks easily, then I realized that when monitoring TMG real time logs the URL field only shows the IP address for entries created by those computers with the client installed, and if the client is configured to configure the web browser, the log contain the URL domain name with no problem.

After searching on the internet I noticed that it is the normal behavior of the TMG and ISA as well that to log the hostname clients must be configured as a web proxy (adding the proxy address in the browser settings).

While doing more search I found that there is a fix from microsoft for that specifit issue and described in the KB article:  980723

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/980723

You can copy the script, save it as a vbs file the execute it in the command prompt with the cscript command.

Please note that when copy the script and try to execute it , an error will appear,  that is because the script you copy is actually two scripts for enabling the hotfix and disabling it.   The before you execute it you should delete the lower part of the script which beging with a text saying:  “Save the file as a Microsoft Visual Basic script ………….

Below is the specific part of the script that you can copy and execute it directly.

Const SE_VPS_GUID = "{143F5698-103B-12D4-FF34-1F34767DEabc}" Const SE_VPS_NAME = "LogDomainNameForFWC" Const SE_VPS_VALUE = true
Sub SetValue()
    ' Create the root object.     Dim root  ' The FPCLib.FPC root object     Set root = CreateObject("FPC.Root")
    'Declare the other objects that are needed.     Dim array       ' An FPCArray object     Dim VendorSets  ' An FPCVendorParametersSets collection     Dim VendorSet   ' An FPCVendorParametersSet object
    ' Get references to the array object     ' and the network rules collection.     Set array = root.GetContainingArray     Set VendorSets = array.VendorParametersSets
    On Error Resume Next     Set VendorSet = VendorSets.Item( SE_VPS_GUID )
    If Err.Number <> 0 Then         Err.Clear
        ' Add the item         Set VendorSet = VendorSets.Add( SE_VPS_GUID )         CheckError         WScript.Echo "New VendorSet added... " & VendorSet.Name
    Else         WScript.Echo "Existing VendorSet found... value- " &  VendorSet.Value(SE_VPS_NAME)     End If
    if VendorSet.Value(SE_VPS_NAME) <> SE_VPS_VALUE Then
        Err.Clear         VendorSet.Value(SE_VPS_NAME) = SE_VPS_VALUE
        If Err.Number <> 0 Then             CheckError         Else             VendorSets.Save false, true             CheckError
            If Err.Number = 0 Then                 WScript.Echo "Done with " & SE_VPS_NAME & ", saved!"             End If         End If     Else         WScript.Echo "Done with " & SE_VPS_NAME & ", no change!"     End If
End Sub
Sub CheckError()
    If Err.Number <> 0 Then         WScript.Echo "An error occurred: 0x" & Hex(Err.Number) & " " & Err.Description         Err.Clear     End If
End Sub
SetValue
 

Migrate windows users profiles from a workgroup to a domain

I had to  create an active directory domain for a company which is already in business for years with about 200 Desktop / Laptop computers.  All of them were standalone computers and even no specific workgroup.   We had to implement special services which require a domain to have a repository for account and be able to manage user settings.   It seemed easy at the beginning as there was no special considerations such as migrating or upgrading or moving from old domain.

A standard practice for situations like this when you need to join these computers to the new constructed domain, you will simply join the machine to the domain then you wiil need to login to the domain with the new user account to create the new profile,  then you will have to manually move all files from My Documents, Desktop,  Email settings, PST files , and so on.   This is a very time consuming task and will make IT support staff hate the idea of having a domain, especially that they lived for years without knowing what domain is.

I had to find a solution to do that in a simple way, as I thought if the files are stored on the hard disk, and the profile specific configuration is stored in the registry, then by making a change in the registry then the mission will be acomplished.

I started to search for topics on this issue, and found a lot of discussions on the internet by several IT proffisionals facing the same issues, and explaining how to make registry change, login/logoff/login/logoff then copy move,…….    It seems very difficult and risky, as we can not afford to loose (or forget to move a file) from users profiles.  And if we wanted to be wise, we should do it in the classical way.   Till I found a post in a forum from a user simply advice the users to use a a tool designed for that.

I decided to to give it a try, and it was amzing to see how it did it in miniutes without errors.

The tool is “User Profile Wizard – profwiz.exe”  and you can download it from http://www.forensit.com  and the great thing that it is FREE.

If you download its manual, you will find that it has a lot of options and a configuration that can be saved and used later and many things.   And honestly if you read it and try all the feature you will waste alot of time, while it simply can do the tasks in minutes.  You can simply do the following.

Copy the tool to the computer you want to join the domain, Double Click it, the window of user account infomation will ask you about the domain you want to join and the Domain User Name.   For eaxmple, if the computer has local user profile “User” and the Domain name is “CompanyDomain” and the created Domain username is “DomainUser”,  then you will enter “CompanyDomain”  in the field “Enter the Domain”.   And enter the DomainUser in the field “Enter The Account name” –  Check the box of “Join Domain” to let Profile Wizard join the computer to the domain in addition of creating the new profile.

Click Next to open the “Select User Profile Window”.  In this window you will choose the local user profile that you want to migrate to the domain.  The window will list all local profiles, you can select only one at a time (if you have more then one profile you can run Profwiz.exe again without checking the box of join domain and select another local profile to migrate).  Then Click Next.

The next window will ask you for the Domain User account, which is the account with permission to join the domain, it could be a domain administrator account or an IT user with privilge to joint the computer to the domain.

Normally the above procedure will not take more than few minutes depending on the size of the local profile files, and when finished you will need to restart the computer and then the user can login to the domain with all his old profile setting.

How to edit Power Point Slide Show

Have you recieved one day a Power Point slide show that you can only view and wished you could edit it to add new slides or copy some of its slides or graphics?   For me, I had, and many times I recieve this kind of files and thought it is a kind of protection of slide shows to prevent editing them, and sometimes I thought saving a Power Point presenation as a slide show helps reducing its size, but it was not like that.

A power point slide show (ppx) is a presenation file (ppt) and saved as a slide show (by save as PowerPoint Show).   When you need to edit this type of file, you can simply rename it to change its extension from PPX to PPT (just like that), you can open it with Power Point like any other presentation file.  But Ofcourse it wise to save a copy first.

Remember to enable the displaying the file extension option to be able to see extension as in Windows XP and Windows 7 it is automatically hides extensions of known file types.   To do that open windows explorer window and from Tools>Folder Option, Click on view tab, then uncheck the box beside “Hide extensions for known file types”.

If the Tools menu does not exist in the explorer window, simply press Alt key and the menu will appear.

If you have a comment, please share it below and if you have twaeks like this and want to share with us, please send to mohamed@mzedan.com

Quality management in IT Projects

 

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Project quality management includes the processes and activities that determine quality policies, objectives, and responsibilities so that the project will satisfy the needs for which it was undertaken.

Project Quality Management Processes include the following:

  1. Plan Quality: Identifying quality requirements or standards for the project and the product
  2. Perform quality assurance: Auditing the quality requirements and the results from quality control measurements
  3. Perform quality control: Monitoring and recording results of executing quality activities to assess performance and recommend changes

These processes interact with processes in other knowledge areas and each process can involve efforts from one or more person or groups based on project requirements.   Each process occurs at least once in every project and occurs in one or more of the project phases.

Project Quality Management addresses the management of the project and its product.  Product quality measurements are specific to the product and failure to meet product or project quality requirements can have serious negative consequences for the stakeholders.

Quality vs. Grade

Quality:  is the degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfill requirements.

Grade: is a category assigned to products having the same functional use but different technical characteristics.

A product can be of high quality (no obvious defects) and low grade (a limited number of features), or of low quality (many defects) and high grade (numerous features).  The project manager and the project management team are responsible of the tradeoffs involved to deliver the required levels of quality and grade.

Precision vs. Accuracy

Precision means the values of repeated measurements are clustered and have little scatter (show the same results under the same conditions).

Accuracy means that the measured values are very close to the true value (degree of closeness to true value).

Precise measurements are not necessarily accurate.  A very accurate measurement is not necessarily precise.  The project management team must determine the levels of accuracy and precision.

Project Management and Quality management recognize the importance of:

  • Customer satisfaction:  Understanding and managing expectations do that customer requirements are met.
  • Prevention over inspection:  Quality is planned, designed, and built in – not inspected in.  The cost of preventing mistakes is much less than of correcting them when inspected.
  • Continuous improvement:   The plan-do-check-act is the basis for quality improvement.  Other initiatives such as TQM and Six Sigma, should improve the quality of the project and the product.
  • Management responsibility:   Success requires participation of all team members, but remains the responsibility of the management to provide the resources needed to succeed.

Cost of Quality (COQ)

Refers to the total cost of all efforts related to quality through the product life cycle. Project decisions can impact operational costs of quality.

The Quality Management Processes:

Quality management Processes
A Process Inputs and Outputs

1.     Plan Quality

Is the process of identifying quality requirements and standards for the project and its product, and documenting how the project will demonstrate compliance and should be performed in parallel with the other project planning processes.    For example, proposed changes in product to meet a quality standard may require cost or schedule adjustments and a risk analysis of the impacts.

1.1  Plan Quality: Inputs

 a. Scope base Line:

  • Scope statement:  Project description, deliverables, acceptance criteria.
  • WBS: The work packages and the control accounts to measure performance.
  • WBS Dictionary:  technical information for WBS elements

b. Stakeholder Register:   Identifies the stakeholders with particular interests in, or impact on quality.

c.  Cost Performance Baseline:  Documents the accepted time phase used measure cost performance

d.  Schedule Baseline:  Documents the accepted schedule performance measures.

e.  Risk Register:  Contains information on threats and opportunities impact quality requirements.

f. Enterprise Environmental Factors:  Factors that influence the Plan Quality Process such as Governmental regulations, rules, standards, working conditions.

g. Organizational Process Assets:  Assets that influence the Plan Quality Process such as, quality polices/procedures, lessons learned from previous projects, quality policy as endorsed by senior management.  If there is no quality policy, the project management team needs to develop a quality policy for the project and to ensure that the project stakeholders are fully aware of the policy used.

1.2  Plan Quality: Tools and Techniques

  1. Cost – Benefit Analysis:   A business case for each quality activity compares the cost of the quality step to the expected benefit.
  2. Cost of Quality (COQ):  Costs incurred over the life of the product by investment in preventing non-conformance to requirements, appraising the product for conformance to requirements and rework.   Failure costs (cost of poor quality) categorized into internal (by the project) and external (by the customer).
  3. Control Charts:   Charts used to determine whether or not a process is stable or has predictable performance.  Control limits are set by the project management and appropriate stakeholders to reflect points of corrective actions.
  4. Benchmarking:  Comparing actual or planned practices to other projects to identify best practices, generate ideas for improvements, and provide basis for measuring performance.
  5. Design of Experiments:  DOE is a statistical method for identifying which factors may influence variables of a product.  DOE should be used to determine the number and type of tests and their impact on costs and quality.
  6. Statistical Sampling:  Involves choosing part of a population of interest for inspection
  7. Flowcharting:  A graphical presentation of a process showing the relationship among processes. Flowcharting can help anticipate quality problems that might occur.
  8. Quality Management Methodologies:  Six Sigma, CMMI, etc…
  9. Additional Quality Planning Tools:  Such as Brainstorming, Affinity Diagrams, Force field analysis, Matrix Diagrams, Prioritization Matrices.

1.3  Plan Quality: Outputs

a.  Quality Management Plan:  Describes how the project management team will implement the quality policy.  The plan should be reviewed early in the project to ensure that decisions are based on accurate information to reduce cost of rework.

b.  Quality Metrics:  Operational definitions that describe a project or product attribute and how quality control will measure it.  Example metrics: on-time performance, budget control, defect frequency, failure rate, availability, reliability.

c.  Quality Checklists:  Structured tools used to verify that a set of required steps has been performed.  Quality checklists are used in the quality control process.

d.  Process Improvement Plan:  Details the steps for analyzing processes to identify activities which enhance their value, the following areas are considered:

  • Process boundaries: Purpose of processes, start and end, inputs and outputs, data required owner and stakeholders.
  • Process Configuration: Graphic depiction of processes with interfaces to facilitate analysis.
  • Process metrics:  With control limits allows analysis of process efficiency.
  • Targets for improved performance: Guides to improvement activities.

e.  Project Document Updates:  Stakeholder register and responsibility assignment Matrix.

2.     Perform Quality Assurance

Quality Assurance is the process of auditing the quality requirements and the results from quality control measurements to ensure appropriate quality standards and operational definitions are used.  Quality Assurance may be provided by the project team, the management, the customer, or sponsor as well stakeholders.

Quality Assurance also provides process improvement to reduce waste and eliminate activities do not add value which results increased level of efficiency and effectiveness.

2.1  Perform Quality Assurance: Inputs

a.  Project Management Plan:  which also include the following:

  • Quality management plan:  Describes how quality assurance will be performed.
  • Process improvement plan: Steps for analyzing processes to identify activities which enhance their value.

b.  Quality Metrics:  As described in 1.3.b

c.  Work Performance Information:  Performance information collected from the activities to support auditing.  It includes:

  • Technical performance measures
  • Project deliverables status
  • Schedule progress
  • Costs incurred

c.  Quality Control Measurements:  They are the results of quality control activities and used to analyze and evaluate the quality standards and processes.

2.2  Perform Quality Assurance: Tools and Techniques

  1. Plan Quality Tools:  as described in 1.2 can also be used for quality assurance
  2. Quality Audits:  A structured, independent review to determine whether project activities comply with policies processes, and procedures.  They may be scheduled or random and may be conducted by internal or external auditors to confirm the implementation of approved change requests, corrective actions and preventive actions.
  3. Process Analysis:  Which follows the steps in the process improvement plan to identify needed improvements.  This analysis examines problems, constrains and non-value-added activities identified.  This analysis also includes problem identification to discover causes and develop preventive actions.

2.3  Perform Quality Assurance: Outputs

  1. Process Assets Updates:  Elements of the organizational process assets that may be updated.
  2. Change Requests:  Created and used as input into the Perform Integrated Change Control to allow full consideration of the recommended improvements.  Change requests can be used to take corrective action or preventive action.
  3. Project Management Plan Updates:  May update Quality, Schedule or Cost Management Plans.
  4. Project Document Updates:  Updates quality audit reports, training plans and process documentation.

 3.     Perform Quality Control:

The process of monitoring and recording results of executing the quality activities to assess performance and recommend necessary changes.  Quality standards include project processes and product goals.  Project results include deliverables and project management results.  Quality control activities identify causes of poor process or product quality and recommend/take action to eliminate them.  The project team must know the difference between:

  • Prevention (keep errors out of the process) and inspection (keep errors out of the customer’s hands)
  • Attribute Sampling (the result conforms or does not conform) and Variables Sampling (the result measures the degree of conformity)
  • Tolerance (range of accepted results) and Control Limits (thresholds)

3.1  Perform Quality Control: Inputs

a.  Project Management Plan: This includes the quality management plan which is used to describe how quality control will be performed.

b.  Quality Metrics:  As described in 1.3.b

c.  Quality Checklists as described in 1.3.c

d.  Work Performance measurements: Produce metrics to evaluate planned vs. actual for:

  • Technical performance
  • Schedule performance
  • Cost performance

e.  Approved Change Requests:  The timely implementation of approved changes needs to be verified.

f.  Process Assets: Assets that can influence the Perform Quality Control Process which includes:

  • Quality standards and policies
  • Standard work guidelines
  • Issue and defect reporting procedures and polices

3.2  Perform Quality Control: Tools and Techniques

  1. Cause and Effect Diagrams:  illustrate how factors linked to problems or effects.  A possible root cause can be uncovered by asking “why” or “how” along one of the lines.
  2. Control Charts:  As described in 1.2.c.  Control Charts illustrate how a process behaves over time.  They answer the question “Is the process variance within acceptable limits?” and help assess whether the application of process changes resulted in desired improvements.
  3. Flowcharting:  As described in 1.2.g.  Used to determine a falling process steps and identify improvement opportunities.
  4. Histogram:  Vertical bar chart showing how often a variable state occurred.  Each column represents an attribute or characteristic.   Helps illustrates the cause of problem by a number and heights of the bars.
  5. Pareto Chart:  Shows how many defects were generated by type or category of causes.
  6. Run chart:  A line graph shows data points plotted in the order in which they occur and shows the history and pattern of variation.  Trend analysis is performed using run charts to monitor Technical performance and Cost and Schedule Performance.
  7. Scatter Diagram:  Shows the relationship between two variables and allows the quality team to study and identify the possible relationship between changes in two variables.
  8. Statistical Sampling:  Samples are selected and tested as defined in the quality plan.
  9. Inspection:  The examination of a work product to determine whether it conforms to documented standards.
  10. j.        Approved Change Requests Review

3.3  Perform Quality Control: Outputs

  1. Quality Control Measurements:  Documented results of quality control activities.
  2. Validated Changes:  Changed or repaired items are inspected and accepted or rejected.  Rejected items may require rework.
  3. Validated Deliverables:  This is the goal of quality control.
  4. Process Assets Updates:  Such as Completed checklists and lessons learned.
  5. Change Requests:  If a corrective or preventive action requires a change in the project management plan, a change request should be initiated.
  6. Project Management Plan Updates including the quality management and process improvement plans.
  7. Project document Updates including the quality standards.

Classic Mistakes in Software Projects

Do you need to rescue a project that’s behind schedule? Add more people! Do you want to reduce your schedule? Schedule more aggressively! Is one of your key contributors aggravating the rest of the team? Wait until the end of the project to fire him! Do you have a rush project to complete? Take whatever developers are available right now and get started as soon as possible!

Developers, managers, and customers usually have good reasons for making the decisions they do, and the seductive appeal of the classic mistakes is part of the reason these mistakes have been made so often. But because they have been made so many times, their consequences have become easy to predict, and they rarely produce the results that people hope for.

Read the Original text on Classic Mistakes Enumerated