Pick1Finger- An amazing game to play with your kid

I was waiting to meet the principal of Blue ridge public school( http://www.blueridge.in/school.htm ). My daughter was to have interaction for admission confirmation and I was wondering how to keep her engaged. I accidentally developed this game and this not only made the wait time fun but also helped us discover the inclinations of our kid. This is a wonderful game which can be played with just a pen paper and people. Enjoy

Objective : To know your family better and have fun .

Apparatus : A pen and paper

Set up :  Let your kid play the king or queen. Make two columns to record score for yourself and your spouse.

Game :  Let the mother begin. She proposes one thing which the child is going to find difficult to refuse and spreads out the index finger for example Veg Burger. The father makes a countermove by suggesting something which the child will find more difficult to resist say Chocolate Cheese toast and raises the index finger. The child then picks the option which s/he likes most. The person whose finger is picked gets 10 points and the other one gets 5 points. If the child picks both then the points are split 7.5 each. Do 2 rounds of 5 questions each and you will find that all three get deeply involved and the fun increases with more counter moves.

Next you can make mother the queen and the child and father battle it out to see who knows the mother better.

Guidelines : A category cannot be repeated, and the countermove should be in the same class. For example blackberry or iphone , or strawberry or lichee.  Movie or theater etc

Benefits : 1) Improves child’s tactical thinking.

2) Improves bonding and understanding in the family .Helps avoid television

3) Quick and easy to play anywhere. Even at Doctor’s chamber

4) Random ness shows various aspects of imagination

5) Wide variety of choices to offer, an open ended game with quick decisions

Variants : Can be played with grandparents, or family friends or farewell of team members or at birthday parties

Attendance By Exception

Startups are born in womb of groudbreaking innovations and that happens in huge spurts. Having kicked out the corporate access cards or signs of bondage ( Some femmes call it Mangal sutra ) we started writing in a register our presence in an out time.  We found that writing attendance was ridiculous. We got up out of beds at 5am somedays and were working till we dropped off at 8 am.  Reached office at 11 and were leaving for home @ 0100 am. What time do we write in ? If you feel that start up is torturous , Hang on…. Think if Picasso felt tortured when painting the whole day or Zuckerber was tired trying a hack or building the facebook.  I found this sense of time entry utterly ridiculous and gave it a deep thought. I suddenly realized that I only need to monitor the day I didnt live passionately. Those days are very less. We have done away with attendance system. The only thing Simplibuyers do is inform a day off. We have abolished the ridiculous 4 minutes we spent in the morning and evenings in making entries. Its a happy world starting up. Hope more organizations like this erupt

Mr Advani continues to amaze

Apropos :



Advani definitely can do a lot of rehabilitation post 26/11. We should give him Kasab and 5 more hardened terrorists whom he will take to Terror capitals ( Kandahar , Kabul) to negotiate with the master minds of 26/11.

What we should not give him is a return ticket. He will be delighted to have his grave near Jinnah ( He strongly adores) Jaswant wont mind giving him company there.

Dashboards and the helluva noise about them


 Driving sans dashboard


 Imagine you are put into a car ,You have to drive it to a known destination. The car has a beautiful dashboard but none of them will work unless you manually update their values. How good will it be if you have to pop a dipstick inside the fuel tank to find how much fuel is there and then update the fuel meter. You go to the battery compartment, use a voltmeter to measure battery voltage, come back and update the dashboard. You go to engine compartment, measure the temperature of engine oil and update the temperature meter and so on . 

This brings us to 2 major questions : 

  1. How often should  you get down from car to measure and update the dashboards ? 2 hrs? 60 minutes ? every 30 minutes ? every 10 minutes ?
  2. If you  have to tell outsiders why your car is not driving correctly , will you have a feeling that if only I didn’t tell you every 15 minutes what my vehicle parameters are, I would have reached home by now? 

Too much is being made out by various organizations on Project Dashboards. The Senior Management often believes that this is often the epicure of all project problems. Once they get dashboards, they can parade each project manager whose projects have parameters in red. This zeal of CEOs/ COO/ VPs results in passing a whip whereby once in a fortnight/ week a mail is sent to all. The Project manager stops all his activities, tells all team members to stop activites. They just do one thing, collect all metrics dump it on a spreadsheet. The sheet then is sent for consumption by the Sr Management. Once this exercise is complete, this gives a sense of superiority to management who believe that they have reins in their hands. All is good with this process only till you abstract yourself and look how in reality things work.



In ordinary/ extraordinary cases ,what is done is: A  not so old vehicle of  reliable make  is bought, the dashboards are automated, most consumables( Fuel, radiator coolant, battery level, tyres etc) are adequately filled, the driver is suitably skilled and licensed to drive. While this is true for ensuring even VVIP motorcades; For Project management , the sponsors take an entirely tangent route. No body buys a reliable vehicle ( Project Mgt Processes viz PMBOK or PRINCE) ,) The approach followed is : They make their own vehicle ( PM proceses), Every one wants to get the metrics manually updated , the PM does all that the guys with passive car dashboard was doing . they do not ensure that the Project driver is licensed (PMP, PRINCE certified) or at times if s/he is licensed , tell them to run the project not in sync with licentiate rules but narrow current priority.  The PM finally rams the project into the wall wondering what went wrong. He had learned driving projects on his own could crank the project to start and had some idea on steering and brakes too…    An investigation is ordered, PM screams at management, management screams at PM, PM screams at team members ,every body thinks somebody else was to blame. 

  There is a price, unfortunately

A driving parameter gone wrong has to be immediately addressed, whats needed is LIVE feed to PM on whats going wrong at that instant, not a court of inquiry once in 15 days to let a PM find out whats wrong and then non drivers telling her how she should drive.. Its time world bodies standardize the framework of PM dashboard , all project based companies embrace them and licensed PM drive all projects. Every thing good happening in the world is probably attributable to projects.

Swine Flue- When there is blood on floor, its party time for vultures

Ever since the pandemic has broken out a fear has gripped people. As always, fear leads to loss of rationality and scientific temperament I see people with masks of all kind all around me in the company. Those with fat pay cheques with more Fancy ones, those with average salaries wearing surgical ones and then the poor ones with hankies and Saree covers. I decided to do a reality check on the things I believe most Physics and Maths. Here are the small findings :


The effectiveness of N95 is for particles >= 0.3 micron . Please refer specifications from 3M on what this mask is intended for

See this : http://solutions.3mcanada.ca/3MContentRetrievalAPI/BlobServlet?locale=en_CA&lmd=1237472427000&assetId=1180611196913&assetType=MMM_Image&blobAttribute=ImageFile


The size of H1 N1 is  0.08 to 0.12 micron

Considering even  the largest virus

No. of Viruses which can pass through each pore of N95 mask  = 0.3/0.12  = 2.5 

This is equivalent to open access door(5 ft) and humans( 2 feet wide) passing through it. 

With N95 masks who are we trying to fool H1 N1 or ourselves. Its meant for protection against sand, welding, sweeping and grinding as per 3M . 

Also , if N95 is not a right solution , any other inferior solution is a greater waste 

I am surprised all doctors and US CDC ( Center of Disease control) are recommending it and we are jumping the bandwagon . If this is adding to the topline and bottomline of a stinkingly rich US company 3 M can you guess if this mutually beneficial to whom.


Judge for yourself if you are spending right!!! 

The verdict on masks on one of the most reliable site(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_flu_pandemic) is : 

Masks may be of benefit in “crowded settings” or for people who are in “close contact” with infected persons, defined as 1 meter or less by the World Health Organization and 6 feet or less by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. In these cases the CDC recommended respirators classified as N95, but it is unknown whether they would prevent swine flu infection.[218] According to mask manufacturer 3M, there are no “established exposure limits for biological agents” such as swine flu virus.

The UK Health Protection Agency considers facial masks unnecessary for the general public[219] and some experts feel it may lead to a false sense of security. Masks are not generally provided by airport security or airlines although the CDC recommends the use of surgical masks in some circumstances.[220] other U.S. officials stated in May that if the flu virus does in fact reach pandemic proportions, “there won’t be enough face masks to go around.”[221] 

What to do ? 

Just like bottled water , get oxygen cylinders and face shields( If you can afford and really want protection). That will be fair and rational protection if you can afford. If not, avoid crowd, keep hygiene and avoid wasting money and convenience.

Also Ram Dev Baba is claiming Pranayam saves you against H1 N1 by increasing immunity. Here are few logical deductions :

Q1 :Who is the Biggest Champ  of Pranayam ?

Ans 1 :Baba Ram Dev

Q2 : Who should have biggest immunity ?

A2 : Baba ram Dev and his regular disciples.

Q3 : How can we substantiate this ?

A3 : Sponsor a trip of Baba and his chelas to Pune’s  Sassoon and Aundh hospital. Confine them to critical ward inhabited by H1 N1 detainees without medicines . Let them come out after 5 days unaffected by Swine Flue to declare final Victory of Yoga over allopathy. It will be the best reality show ever . Bigger than Big Boss.

Also, it will be good if some homeopathic jokers are also thrown in to verify their claims.

I am willing to donate Rs 1000/= for this cause how many do you want to ? 



Onsite Punches Offshore rebounds, A case study

In an offshore software developement project I recently heard an interesting story. In this, the Program Manager in US who was owner of the project tried to find an easy scapegoat. The case was that of an Environment person Onsite not able to get the Development environment “Up and Operational ” and tried to blame it on the Developers .The Program manager supported his onsite Lieutenant and got ballistic on the Offshore team. What followed was an interesting war in search of truth and self esteem by the offshore team. Interesting to look at the summary 5 minutes presentation planned for this

The build
The build
The result

American Customers ,Indian Sellers, the outsourcing story

 Once an American lady went to a Shop in Bombay . She was looking for a sky blue cloth piece. The shopkeeper was a talkative young man. He rated himself high on gift of gab. He opened reams and rolls of cloth in front of the lady . She kept on giving unapproving glances but the guy was persistent on showing all hues of blue he had. At the end ,the lady went away screaming , frowning at the man. The shopkeeper was still wondering why the woman was angry at him when he tried his best to please her. The woman was wondering why the man he didnt tell her in the first place that he didnt have sky blue.

This brings us to the eternal war between Sales and Customers. Some months back, a professional manager was a passive part of staffing proposal made to an American customer. The customer had specific skill and experience requirement for this major project he considered complex and critical. The Indian proposer knew he didnt have the exacting bodies with him. He didnt want to loose this major project (revenue) and wanted to grab it at all costs. He had a huge presentation lasting an hour, in which he tried to sell as many developers he could. Had he been successful , he would have bragged all over the organization and told every one how a sales pitch is made. Unfortunately, this was not to happen. The American knew exactly what he wanted and all the gloss, high words and candyfloss failed to make an impact. We had a repeat performance of American lady and cloth-seller .Each side wondering what was wrong with other. The customer was portrayed as an unreasonable tough nut who would always have his way.

A few months later , I met another Senior manager who prided himself as the best software sales person ever. He had umpteen heroic tales to tell about how he made some of the most incredible sales ever. On one occasion ,he crawled below the desk of a person and pleaded that he would be exterminated ,his children would starve if he didnt get that order. The Purchaser yielded and gave him the order. This guy came out of room , wiped out the tears and laughed out loud – “Kya ullu Banaya“( What an owl , I have made of him) .

The sales hero then said , ” The mantra in sales , is to never say no” . He said they used to cook up any kind of resume customers had in mind. The guys were shoved into flights to USA with ‘ How to master ….. in 12 days” books which they read   through in their journeys and brought us huge revenues. What mattered to him were numbers and as long as they were ticking he couldnt care less for any thing that went against it.

A few months passed and the American customer again came up with a huge requirement. This time too ,he was clear about what he wanted. The Indian reaction was again to pitch up every available resource for consideration. They wanted to bag all staffing positions. This was a Do or Die situation and an immense opportunity to meet the ambitious growth targets.  The customer had a nasty and ruthless reputation,the company didnt have matching resource. They were hectic parleys into instantly cooking the resources. Some body suggested that we give raw resources a 7 day workshop and they would deliver. The dates were committed by which full staffing commitment will be met. Every one out of projects, bench, recruitment pipeline was considered.

The manager this time however took a different approach. He knew , the organization wont be able to provide all resources needed for the current assignement . He chose not to project the misfits as worthy candidates. He ran the risk of loosing the opportunity as the customer wouldnt staff the project half here and half there.  He candidly faced the customer and said, he only had half the staffing number available. The other candidates proposed by the company were not the ones he was convinced about and hence himself filtered them out. The customer said, he was heavily disappointed with the proposal. His requirements were not met. He awarded the project to the company nevertheless and asked him to look for more resource in an extended time-frame.

The manager was amazed. He had little or no hope of getting this project with a meager proposal. His conscience , however was clear. He had not fudged anything.  He had decided to break the psyche of  ” Never say No ‘ to customer.  He decided to reject the irrelevant candidates himself rather than let the customer discover it. He chose to say – ” I dont have , what I dont have“. This worked. Probably , the new age of Indo American synergy has arrived      


PS: The cartoons and illustration are images available on google image search. The creators have copyright on them. They have been used because of their relevance and i give credit to them for putting them up online.

Commemorating 1000views of this post, I have written one  more article on Project Management Dashboards :