Sunday, July 24, 2005

Way to Go Lance Armstrong!!

What more can you say?

Seven Fingers

Lance Armstrong & his seventh consecutive Tour de France win
(Courtesy of the New York Times)

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Projects are a Wager

Last night, the PMI Silicon Valley chapter evening program topic Avoiding Project Failure & Risk Management by Payson Hall gave some great insights on the commonalities between projects and gambling. The main connection is that you CANNOT predict the future, no matter how much planning you do or information you think you have to help you, so there is always some risk involved.

There are no FACTS about the future, only expectations and assumptions.

With projects, an organization wagers X resources to achieve Y results by Z date. Risk analysis allows project managers to continue a project based on credible estimates of project costs, benefits, schedule and risks. All projects have risk because risk cannot be eliminated.

Any project can fail, regardless of the pressure that may be brought to bear on the project success. In fact, there's an official name for projects that have for all intents and purposes have failed, but they still keep lumbering on because of political or other pressures: Zombie Projects. I had always called these projects Death Marches, but Zombies works for me too.

I liked how Payson addressed the my that Every Requested Project is Possible.
Plenty of project team members try to turn themselves inside out to accomplished what's asked of them without anyone doing the analysis of whether the project is a good idea or even doable. At least in the way requested. Let alone, think about the consequences of failure. Especially after hundreds or thousands of people hours have been spent, let alone $$s or other resources.

All in all, Payson Hall's talk on the calcualated gamble of project management was a different spin on risk management. And a new perspective for me.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Tour de France Sites I Love

OK, first off, I'll admit I'm a fair weather cycling fan. I've only seen less than 5 races in person and I only follow the bike races that come on TV like the Ironman Hawaii, Giro d'Italia, Olympics Road Cycling and Tour de France. Since I like to putt putt on my bike around the neighborhood, I like to see the extreme those same bike riding skills can be taken.

That said, I want to share some of my favorite Tour de France blogs and websites. I like the ones that are clever, thorough and/or kind of dishy/gossipy. Thank goodness for these sites, because OLN as the official English language site of the TdF is NOT getting it done. You can hardly ever find anything on the site they advertise on TV as being on the site.

In Order of Entertaining-ness:

Graham Watson, The 'Texas Longhorn' fan strikes again...on a bicycle!

Tour de France 2005
Graham Watson, The 'Texas Longhorn' fan strikes again...on a bicycle!
Stage 13 - Miramas > Montpellier, 173.5 km

Graham Watson, Basso is still the freshest, but Ullrich has managed to stay with them...for now

Tour de France 2005
Graham Watson, Basso is still the freshest, but Ullrich has managed to stay with them...for now
Stage 14 - Agde > Ax-3 Domaines, 220.5

Monday, July 04, 2005

July 4th Weekend - Museums & Tour de France Stage 3

2005 was a long four day Fourth of July weekend. At night, I could hear the fireworks from Great America. I can even stand in my backyard and see some of the fireworks since Sunnyvale is so close to Santa Clara. But the days were what was memorable about the weekend.

Friday, I started the day by taking my dog Culo to Fort Funston for a walk. It was one of those days that are so foggy, you feel like a speeding fool going 30 miles an hour because the visibility is so limited by the density of the fog. Later, I went by the Stanford University Green Library to see the "The Rise and Fall of the Slide Rule: 350 Years of Mathematical Calculators" exhibit. You get to see Napier's Bones, the first mechanical calculating sticks. And find out links to other disciplines such as the fact that William Oughtred mentored Christopher Wren, a London architect. The graphic novel, From Hell, by
Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell, makes the case that Wren incorporated many occult elements into his work.

On Saturday, I went to de Saisset Museum at Santa Clara University to see Recovered Views: African American Portraits, 1912-1925. The exhibit contains black-and-white portraits were made by an anonymous African-American who lived and worked in Lincoln Nebraska in the early part of the twentieth century. Made between about 1912 and 1925, these portraits are more than just stunning images—they document life in a vibrant, middle-class black neighborhood in a small Midwestern city, a portion of society rarely depicted in any medium. You don't often see anything on African Americans in the west before World War II. There were at least 3 other photo exhibits by other artists on various topics.

Sunday, I got introduced to an excellent Vietnamese food place, Vung Tau II Restaurant in Milpitas. It's the kind of food that smells good, then when you bite into it, the food tastes even better than it smelled.

Today, I rode my bike over to the Sunnyvale 4th of July celebration. Even though it was only about 12:20 pm, the food advertised by the city was sold out and all gone. The event only started at 11 am and was going until
at least 2 pm. Excellent planning...NOT!!

Even though I'm glad to be working at PayPal, I'll miss watching the Tour de France live every morning. Last year, I was undistracted during the TdF, so I could afford to catch the pre-dawn show every day. Luckily, OLN repeats the broadcast so much, I can still see great finishes like the Stage 3 sprint to the finish today. I felt so bad for Erik Dekker and Nicolas Portal who led until within the last two kilometers before they were caught. Dekker especially gave a lot of heart. A perfect example of the power of the peleton over a few individuals.