12 behaviours that we all need to fight against to achieve a better life

21440935350e5ccfdf4128dec42aaa7dPractising psychologist Mark Chernoff and his wife, over many years of helping thousands of different clients, have learned one thing above all: each and every one of us is capable of hurting and upsetting those around us who we care about. Here, they set out 12 ’toxic’ behaviours which they argue push people away from us.
However, if you see yourself in any of these, never despair — if you’ve been warned, you can now act. It’s never too late for self-improvement, and when we achieve it our lives and those of our loved ones will be so much better.

1. Being envious of everyone else

Don’t let envy (or jealously) get the best of you. Envy is the art of counting someone else’s blessings instead of your own. There is nothing attractive or admirable about this behaviour. So stop comparing your journey with everyone else’s. Your journey is YOUR journey, NOT a competition. You are in competition with one person and one person only — yourself. You are competing to be the best you can be. If you want to measure your progress, compare yourself to who you were yesterday.

2. Taking everything too personally

People are toxic to be around when they believe that everything happening around them is a direct assault on them or is in some way all about them. The truth is that what people say and do to you is much more about them, than you. People’s reactions to you are about their perspectives, wounds and experiences. Whether people think you’re amazing, or believe you’re the worst, again, is more about them. I’m not suggesting we should be narcissists and ignore all feedback. I am saying that so much hurt, disappointment and sadness in our lives comes from our taking things personally. In most cases it’s far more productive and healthy to let go of other people’s good or bad opinion of you, and to operate with your own intuition and wisdom as your guide.

3. Acting like you’re always a victim

Another toxic behaviour is persistent complaining that fuels your sense of victimization. Believing you’re a victim, that you have no power to exert and no power over the direction of your life, is a toxic stance that keeps you stuck. Working as a life coach with people who have suffered major trauma in their lives but found the courage to turn it all around, I know we all have access to far more power, authority, and influence over our lives than we initially believe. When you stop complaining, and refuse to see yourself as a helpless victim, you’ll find that you are more powerful than you realized, but only if you choose to accept this reality.

4. Hoarding pain and loss

One of the hardest lessons in life is letting go — whether it’s guilt, anger, love or loss. Change is never easy — you fight to hold on and you fight to let go. But oftentimes letting go is the healthiest path forward. It clears out toxic thoughts from the past. You’ve got to emotionally free yourself from the things that once meant a lot to you, so you can move beyond the past and the pain it brings you. Again, it takes hard work to let go and refocus your thoughts, but it’s worth every bit of effort you can muster.

5. Obsessive negative thinking

It’s very hard to be around people who refuse to let go of negativity — when they ruminate and speak incessantly about the terrible things that could happen and have happened, the scorns they’ve suffered, and the unfairness of life. These people stubbornly refuse to see the positive side of life and the positive lessons from what’s happening. Pessimism is one thing — but remaining perpetually locked in a negative mindset is another. Only seeing the negative, and operating from a view that everything is negative and against you, is a twisted way of thinking and living, and you can change that.

6. Lack of emotional self-control

An inability to manage your emotions is toxic to everyone around you. We all know these people — those who explode in anger and tears over the smallest hiccup or problem. Yelling at the grocery store clerk for the long line, screaming at an employee for a small error she made, or losing it with your daughter for spilling juice on the floor. If you find that you’re overly emotional, losing your cool at every turn, you may need some outside assistance to help you gain control over your emotions and understand what’s at the root of your inner angst. There’s more to it than what appears on the surface. An independent perspective — and a new kind of support — can work wonders.

7. Making superficial judgements about others

Don’t always judge a person by what they show you. Remember, what you’ve seen is oftentimes only what that person has chosen to show you, or what they were driven to show based on their inner stress and pain. Alas, when another person tries to make you suffer in some small way, it is usually because they suffer deep within themselves. Their suffering is simply spilling over. They do not need punishment or ridicule, they need help. If you can’t help them, let them be.

8. Cruelty (or lacking empathy and compassion)

One of the most toxic behaviours — cruelty — stems from a total lack of empathy, concern or compassion for others. We see it every day online and in the media — people being devastatingly unkind and hurtful to others just because they can. They tear people down online in a cowardly way, using their anonymity as a shield. Cruelty, backstabbing, and hurting others for any reason is toxic, and it hurts you as well. If you find yourself backstabbing and tearing someone else down, stop in your tracks. Dig deep and find compassion in your heart, and realize that we’re all in this together.

9. Cheating and cutting moral corners simply because you can

Cheating is a choice, not a mistake, and not an excuse! If you decide to cheat, and you succeed in cheating someone out of something, don’t think that this person is a fool. Realize that this person trusted you much more than you ever deserved. Be bigger than that. Don’t do immoral things simply because you can. Don’t cheat. Be honest with yourself and everyone else. Do the right thing. Integrity is the essence of everything successful.

10. Hiding your truth

People cannot connect with you if you’re constantly trying to hide from yourself. And this becomes a truly toxic situation the minute they become attached to your false persona. So remember, no matter what age, race, sex, or sexuality you are, underneath all your external decorations you are a pure, beautiful being — each and every one of us are. We each have light to shine, and missions to accomplish. Celebrate being different, off the beaten path, a little on the weird side, your own special creation. If you find yourself feeling like a fish out of water, by all means find a new river to swim in. But DO NOT change who you are; BE who you are. Don’t deny yourself, improve yourself.

11. Needing constant validation

People who constantly strive for validation by others are exhausting to be around. Those men and women who get caught up in the need to prove their worth over and over and over, and constantly want to win over everyone around them, are unintentionally toxic and draining. Know this. Over-attaching to how things have to look to others can wear you out and bring everyone else around you down. There is a bigger picture to your life, and it’s not about what you achieve in the eyes of the masses. It’s about the journey, the process, the path — what you’re learning, how you’re helping others learn too, and the growing process you allow yourself to participate in.

12. Being a stubborn perfectionist

As human beings, we often chase hypothetical, static states of perfection. We do so when we are searching for the perfect house, job, friend or lover. The problem, of course, is that perfection doesn’t exist in a static state. Because life is a continual journey, constantly evolving and changing. What is here today is not exactly the same tomorrow — that perfect house, job, friend or lover will eventually fade to a state of imperfection. But with a little patience and an open mind, over time, that imperfect house evolves into a comfortable home. That imperfect job evolves into a rewarding career. That imperfect friend evolves into a steady shoulder to lean on. And that imperfect lover evolves into a reliable lifelong companion. It’s just a matter of letting perfectionism GO.

f97bb2d007110cfe129fc3425274d14fThe floor is yours…
If you can relate to any of these toxic behaviours, remember, you are not alone. We all have unhealthy personalities buried deep within us that have the potential to sneak up on us sometimes. As stated above, the key is awareness — recognizing these behaviors and stopping them in their tracks.

Source: Marc and Angel Hack Life

Cervical cancer vaccine: Who needs it, how it works

Who needs the cervical cancer vaccine? How many doses? What about side effects? Get answers to these questions and more.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

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Most cervical cancers are caused by the sexually transmitted infection human papillomavirus (HPV). Widespread HPV immunization, however, could reduce the impact of cervical cancer worldwide. Here, Bobbie S. Gostout, M.D., an HPV infection expert and gynecologic surgeon at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., discusses the cervical cancer vaccine.

What does the cervical cancer vaccine do?

Various strains of HPV, which spread through sexual contact, cause most cases of cervical cancer. Two cervical cancer vaccines have Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in the U.S. — Gardasil, for girls and boys, and Cervarix, for girls only. Both vaccines can prevent most cases of cervical cancer if given before a girl or woman is exposed to the virus.

In addition, both can prevent vaginal and vulvar cancer in women, and Gardasil can prevent genital warts and anal cancer in women and men. In theory, vaccinating boys against HPV might also help protect girls from the virus by possibly decreasing transmission.

Who is the cervical cancer vaccine for and when should it be given?

The cervical cancer vaccine is recommended for girls and boys ages 11 to 12, although it can be given as early as age 9. It’s important for girls and boys to receive the vaccine before they have sexual contact and are exposed to HPV. Once infected with HPV, the vaccine might not be as effective or might not work at all. Also, response to the vaccine is better at younger ages than it is at older ages.

If the three-dose series of vaccines isn’t completed by ages 11 to 12, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that girls and women through age 26 and boys and men through age 21 receive the vaccine. However, men can receive the HPV vaccine through age 26 if desired.

Both vaccines are given as a series of three injections over a six-month period. The second dose is given one to two months after the first dose, and the third dose is given six months after the first dose.

Who should not get the cervical cancer vaccine?

The cervical cancer vaccine isn’t recommended for pregnant women or people who are moderately or severely ill. Tell your doctor if you have any severe allergies, including an allergy to yeast or latex. Also, if you’ve had a life-threatening allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine or to a previous dose of the vaccine, you shouldn’t get the vaccine.

Does the cervical cancer vaccine offer benefits if you’re already sexually active?

Yes. It’s possible that, even if you already have HPV, you could still benefit from the vaccine. However, Gardasil and Cervarix don’t treat HPV infection and only protect you from specific strains of HPV to which you haven’t been exposed.

Does the cervical cancer vaccine carry any health risks or side effects?

Overall, the effects are usually mild. The most common side effects of both HPV vaccines include soreness at the injection site (the arm), headaches and low-grade fever. Sometimes dizziness or fainting occurs after the injection. Remaining seated for 15 minutes after the injection can reduce the risk of fainting. In addition, Cervarix might also cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal pain.

The CDC and the FDA continue to monitor the vaccines for unusual or severe problems.

Is the cervical cancer vaccine required for school enrollment?

The cervical cancer vaccine — either Gardasil or Cervarix — is part of the routine childhood vaccines schedule. Whether or not a vaccine becomes a school enrollment requirement is decided on a state-by-state basis.

Do women who’ve received the cervical cancer vaccine still need to have Pap tests?

Yes. The cervical cancer vaccine isn’t intended to replace Pap tests. Routine screening for cervical cancer through regular Pap tests remains an essential part of a woman’s preventive health care.

What can you do to protect yourself from cervical cancer if you’re not in the recommended vaccine age group?

HPV spreads through sexual contact. To protect yourself from HPV, use a condom every time you have sex. In addition, don’t smoke. Smoking doubles the risk of cervical cancer.

To detect cervical cancer in the earliest stages, see your health care provider for regular Pap tests. Seek prompt medical attention if you notice any signs or symptoms of cervical cancer — vaginal bleeding after sex, between periods or after menopause, pelvic pain, or pain during sex.

Menstrual Cramps

Posted under Health Guides. Updated 5 March 2014.
Key Facts
Menstrual periods can be light and easy for some teens and young women, but for others, they can be heavy and/or accompanied by painful cramps. Cramps can be a big reason why girls are absent from school, why they miss sport practices, and why they may avoid social events with their friends.

e2adc619eaee06fe3a65c9e38df2dde5What is Dysmenorrhea?

Dysmenorrhea (pronounced: dis-men-o-ree-a) is a medical term that means “difficult or painful periods.” There are two types of dysmenorrhea, primary and secondary.

Primary dysmenorrhea is the most common kind of dysmenorrhea. Cramps (pain in the lower belly area and/or lower back) can start 1-2 days before your period comes and can last 2-4 days.

Secondary dysmenorrhea is when cramps and, for some, lower back pain are a result of a medical problem such as endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease.

What causes menstrual cramps?

Menstrual cramps are caused by uterine contractions (when your uterus tightens and relaxes allowing blood to leave your uterus). The lining of your uterus releases special chemicals called “prostaglandins.” These substances can increase the intensity of the contractions, especially if the levels rise. High levels of prostaglandins may also cause nausea and lightheadedness.

*Some or all of these problems may start a day or two before your period and can last for part or all of your period. These signs could be caused by other medical conditions and therefore it is important to discuss your symptoms to your health care provider.
Is it normal to have some mild cramps during your period?

Yes, it is normal to have mild cramps during your period because of uterine contractions. The uterus is a muscle that tightens and relaxes which can cause jabbing or cramp-like pain. However, if the discomfort is not relieved with over-the-counter medications and causes you to miss school or other daily activities, it could mean that there is another reason for your symptoms.

When you first get your period, it is common for you to be irregular, and you may not ovulate for a few months, or even for a few years. So you may not have menstrual cramps when you first begin your period. After one, two, or three years, when your hormonal system is more mature, you might have more severe menstrual cramps.

If your cramps are severe and interfere with your daily activities, don’t ignore what your body is telling you. Make an appointment with your healthcare provider, because there may be other reasons for your pain.
What other symptoms do girls have during their periods?

In addition to cramping during their periods, some girls may have other symptoms.

Symptoms may be mild to moderate and can include:

Nausea (feeling like you want to throw up)
Vomiting (throwing up)
Loose bowel movements/diarrhea
Constipation
Bloating in your belly area
Headaches
Lightheadedness (feeling faint)
Are menstrual cramps the same as PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome)?

Menstrual cramps are not the same as PMS. Symptoms of PMS such as bloating, weight gain, and moodiness happen before a woman’s period begins, and get a lot better when her period starts. On the other hand, with dysmenorrhea, cramps usually get worse the first day or two of a woman’s period and have a different cause and treatment.

What medications can I take for my menstrual cramps?

If you are having menstrual cramps, talk with your parents or healthcare provider about your options. If your menstrual cramps are painful, you may think about taking some type of the over-the-counter medication for one to two days. These medications are “anti-prostaglandins.” They help relieve the discomfort, make your flow lighter, and cause your uterus to cramp less. Look for over-the-counter medications that contain ibuprofen or naproxen sodium. Take this medicine when you first start to feel uncomfortable, and continue taking it every 4-6 hours or as recommended by your healthcare provider. Since this kind of medicine can upset your stomach, you should take it with food. Make sure you read the label to see how much and how often you should take the medication. You should not take these products if you are allergic to aspirin-like medicine or have stomach problems. It is important not to take more medicine than is recommended or prescribed.

Is there anything else I can do to help my menstrual cramps?

Natural remedies such as a microwavable warm pack or a heating pad placed on your abdomen (lower belly) may help. Soaking in a warm bath may also relieve uncomfortable cramps. Some teens find that increasing their physical activity helps; others find that resting quietly for short periods of time helps.

Acupuncture is an alternative treatment that is sometimes recommended to treat dysmenorrhea. You should also eat healthy foods, drink lots of fluids, and get plenty of rest. You can try different treatments to find out what works best for you.

What if nothing helps my menstrual cramps?

If your menstrual cramps are not relieved by over-the-counter medicine, make an appointment to see your health care provider. Use a period and symptom tracker for 2-3 months and then bring it to your next medical appointment. A record of your symptoms can help your healthcare provider figure out the best treatment choices for you.

My Monthly Period & Symptom Tracker

My Monthly Period & Symptom Tracker is an easy way to keep track of your menstrual flow, and it’s also a way to keep track of cramps, and/or PMS and period symptoms (if you have them) each month.

Review the sample Monthly Period & Symptom Tracker.
Print out copies of My Monthly Period & Symptom Tracker.
Simply make a check mark in the appropriate box (or boxes) for each day of the month. If you don’t have any flow or any symptoms on any given day, leave the box empty. Refer to the Blood Flow Key at the bottom for “Flow” definitions.
The dates at the top are the same as the dates in one month. Some months have 28 days, others have 30 or 31.
Remember to bring My Monthly Period & Symptom Tracker with you to your medical appointments.
Is it okay to exercise when I have my period?

Exercising is a good way to stay fit and healthy. Some girls like to exercise when they have their period because it helps lessen their cramps. Other girls are uncomfortable exercising when they have their period. You should find what works best for you. Talk to your coach or gym teacher if exercising is uncomfortable during your period.

Remember, if cramps or other symptoms cause you to miss school or other activities and over-the-counter medicine and other comfort measures don’t help, you should make an appointment with your health care provider.

 

7 Ways To Know If Your Man Truly Loves You

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By Dr. Charles and Dr. Elizabeth Schmitz

Every woman wants to know if her man’s love is the real thing. Knowing the answer is critical to making any future decisions about the relationship. It turns out, it’s actually pretty simple to know if his love is true or not. Here are the Seven Tests of True Love; see how your relationship measures up:

Does he ALWAYS treat you with respect?
If his respect for you is inconsistent or only occurs sparingly, your relationship cannot flourish. In love, you cannot pick and choose the time and place to be kind, considerate, and respectful. Being considerate and respectful one day and rude and inconsiderate the next is not an option. Your partner either is all of these things or he is not. It’s really that simple.

Do his actions match his words?
We all know the axiom “actions speak louder than words”. To know if he really loves you, you only need to observe his behavior. Does he talk to you with affection, care, and respect, but then bumps you out of the way when you order lunch or dinner? Does he tell you how much he loves you, but ignores you completely when you tell him what you would like to do that day?
The truth is, actions really do speak louder than words! Never fool yourself into thinking that his actions don’t matter. Put simply—he IS what he does! Ignore this notion at your peril, because it is actually the best test of whether he is capable of really loving you.

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Are you an equal partner?
When someone really loves you, they treat you as an equal partner—as a person with an equal voice (and equal value) in your relationship. If he makes all of the significant decisions in your relationship and expects you to follow his directives as a second-class citizen, then he does NOT really love you. In asuccessful marriage both partners share equally in the relationship.

Can you trust him with your life and sacred honor?
Can you honestly say, “I trust him more that life itself?” Is your trust in him unequivocal and honestly without hesitation? Bottom line—one of the underlying qualities of a great marriage is complete trust in each other. If you don’t trust your man without question, then you really need to reconsider any long-term relationship with him.

Does he tell you he loves you?
Does he do declare his love and adoration for you often and without prodding? Does his love for you come naturally and consistently? When you love someone, you tell them. And don’t fall for that old line that goes like this, “I don’t need to tell her I love her because she knows.” This notion is just plain wrong! You need to hear it (we all do). If he doesn’t tell you that he loves you, then your relationship has a problem.

Can he imagine life without you?
When you are in love, you cannot imagine life without the one you love! So try this question on him, “Honey, do you love me more than life itself? Can you imagine life without me?” If his answers make you wonder about the depth of his commitment to you, he doesn’t truly love you.
After over 32 years of researching love and marriage throughout the world, one thing we know for sure is that someone in love cannot envision a life without their someone special. If your guy suggests otherwise, he is not the man you should commit your life to.

Is he ALWAYS there for you?
In the end, a man who really loves you will always be there for you through the good times and the bad, through thick and thin. Love has no conditions. A man deeply in love with a woman want her when she is at her best or her worst. And being there for you is something he does in a way that makes you feel good (versus feeling guilty). He makes you excited about where your relationship is going. He raises you higher than you could ever be without him.

7 Ways To Know If Your Man Truly Loves You

 

 

 

 

Five Project Management Performance Metrics key to Successful Project Execution – Operational Excellence

“If you don’t measure something, you can’t change it. The process of leadership is one of painting a vision, then saying how you’re going to get there, and then measuring whether you’re actually getting there. Otherwise, you risk only talking about great things but not accomplishing them.” Mitt Romney

Continual improvement is a prerequisite for any organization’s success. A continual improvement process, also often called a continuous improvement process (abbreviated as CIP or CI), is an ongoing effort to improve products, services, or processes. These efforts can seek “incremental” improvement over time or “breakthrough” improvement all at once. Delivery (customer valued) processes are constantly evaluated and improved in the light of their efficiency, effectiveness and flexibility (Wiki).

Gauging whether there is incremental improvement and setting up mechanisms to track and measure these improvements is the difficult part and this is where Metrics come in. I am passionate about metrics and have written about my favourite performance management metrics in business, sales and human resources earlier. In this guest post, Kavita Verma draws upon her PMO experiences to list the most effective metrics that can be used by project managers to determine the success of their projects.

‘Metric’ is defined as “Standard of measurement by which efficiency, progress, performance, productivity, quality of a deliverable, process, project or product can be assessed”.  Metrics help in building predictability, improving organization’s decision making ability, and lay out what is working and what is not working within the organization and help guide the management focus in the right directions.

Project management performance metrics enable Project managers to:

  • Assess status of ongoing project in terms of schedule, cost and profitability.
  • Foresee any potential risks.
  • Nail down the problems much before they become severe.
  • Keep a check on project profitability.
  • Assess productivity of team.
  • Assess quality of work products to be delivered.

There can be different project management metrics defined based on complexity and nature of project.  However, following five performance metric groups cover all the important aspects of a project to measure during execution:

Performance Metric #1: Schedule and Effort/Cost Variance

The goal of this metric is to measure the performance as well as progress of the project against signed baselines.  This metric is very important and is the base for profitability of project. The EVM (Earned Value Management) concept, as defined by PMI standard PMBOK, is the commonly used method to track this metric. It integrates project scope, cost and schedule measures to help the PM to assess and measure project performance and progress. The principles of EVM can be applied to all projects, in any industry. Under this method, at any given point in time, project performance to date is used to extrapolate the expected costs and duration at project completion. This technique uses past performance (i.e. actuals) to more accurately forecast future performance. EVM develops and monitors three key dimensions of each work package:

Planned Value (PV): How much you planned to spend for the work you planned to do i.e. it is the authorized budget assigned to the work to be accomplished for an activity or work breakdown structure component. Total PV is also known as Budget at Completion (BAC). PV at any stage = (Planned % Complete) X (BAC)

Earned Value (EV): Earned value is the value of work performed expressed in terms of the approved budget assigned to that work for an activity or work breakdown structure component. It is the authorized work that has been completed, against the authorized budget for such completed work i.e. EV is ‘how much you planned to spend for the work you actually did’. Earned Value is also known as the Budgeted Cost of Work Performed (BCWP).

Actual cost (AC): Actual cost is the total cost actually incurred and recorded in accomplishing work performed for an activity or work breakdown structure component. It is the total cost incurred in accomplishing the work that the EV measured. I.e. how much you spent for the work you actually did. Actual Cost is also known as the Actual Cost of Work Performed (ACWP).

Using these three variables project Schedule variance and Cost variance metrics can be derived which shows if the project is running over or under budget; project is running behind or ahead of schedule, as follows:

 

Schedule Variance (SV) is the measure of schedule performance of the project. It is the difference of Earned value and the planned value i.e.  SV = EV – PV

  • Positive result means that you are ahead of schedule.
  • Negative result means that you are behind schedule.

Cost Variance (CV) is the measure of cost performance on the project. It is equal to earned value (EV) minus actual costs (AC). Any negative CV is often non-recoverable to the project.

CV = EV – AC

  • Positive result means that you are under budget.
  • Negative result means that you are over budget.

Since EVM method allows PM to extrapolate the expected costs and duration at project completion based on project performance to date, PM can develop a forecast for the estimate at completion (EAC) which may differ from the budget at completion (BAC) based on project performance. Forecasting of EAC involves making estimates or prediction of conditions and events in the project’s future based on information and knowledge available at the time of forecasting. EAC is typically based on actual cost (AC) incurred for work completed, plus an estimate to complete (ETC) the remaining work. I.e. EAC = AC + ETC.

Based on this PM can also derive another metric, Variance at completion (VAC) = BAC – EAC

 

Performance Metric #2 – Productivity: Resource Utilization

The objective of this metric is to measure productivity of resources involved in project and let PM assess over or under-utilization cases.

Utilization% = Total Effort spent by resource/Total Budgeted Effort for the resource

Budgeted effort is the planned billable work of resource. Any over-utilization and under-utilization indicated by this metric has an impact on the project’s profitability. It is important for the PM to track this metric very closely and find out the reason for deviations and the action items to bring back resource utilization to optimal level. Delayed projects, increased ramp up activities, less work provided by customer, unplanned vacations, less competent resources can impact this metric. To get better control over this metric, robust time reporting systems should be available in the organization. Using this, PM can analyze effort distribution across different project phases/activities. For e.g. Effort distribution can tell PM that how much effort is being spent on defect resolution, customer support or design activities. PM can take corrective actions based on this, if required. For instance, if the resource is complaining that customer support is taking considerable time but the effort distribution shows it otherwise, PM can see where the corrections are needed on what resource is doing. Effort distribution from time reporting systems can also tell the areas of improvement for  better estimations/planning for the next project.

 

Performance Metric #3: Change requests to Scope of work

Signed Scope baseline with customer forms the baseline for the entire project planning and development. Any change to signed scope should happen in controlled manner. So here comes another important metric for PM to track i.e. the number of change requests coming from customer for the already signed scope of work. Each and every change request, once approved by internal change control board (CCB), requires update to Scope baseline which in turn has a cascade impact on cost baselines and schedule baselines and resource plans. Uncontrolled change requests often result in project scope creep and further impact negatively on the project cost/schedule, which is the worst thing to happen for any project. PM should never allow such scope creep. Based on the magnitude of the variance from original scope baseline, CCB should decide whether to accept or reject the change request and this decision should be communicated back to customer. In case of acceptance of change request, the impact on project cost and schedule should be clearly communicated in written form to customer and a written agreement from customer secured on those from customer before proceeding.

 

Performance Metric #4: Quality and Customer Satisfaction

Throughout the execution of project, Quality Assurance should always be on the radar of project manager. Quality here is defined as the number of severe, medium or low defects delivered through the lifetime of the project. It indicates the health of the deliverable to the end user and drives the Customer Satisfaction. PM needs to define, based on project type, what severe, low and medium means. Quality should be reported throughout the life of the project; the later defects are caught, the more impact they will have on the project. Under quality metrics, following are the key ones to track:

Defect density = Total number of defects found/ Measure of size.

For e.g. in case of software projects this can be: how many defects are found in 1KLOC (Kilo line of code). In general, size measure can be considered as planned effort like ‘person day total planned effort’.

Defect age

Number of days since the defect is open and not fixed. It can also be inferred as the time customer has been waiting for their issues to get resolved,

Defect resolution rate = Total number of defects resolved/ Total effort spent

Rate of closing the open defects over a period of time. If the rate of resolution is not in line with the defects being opened over a particular time, this indicates to the PM a situation of concern.

 

 

Number of defects reported by customer

PM should keep this as a separate metric to differentiate from the defects reported out of internal testing and the defects reported by end user i.e. Customer. Customer satisfaction depends a lot on the quality of deliverable provided and on how fast defects raised by customer are resolved.

As said above, the later defects are caught, the more impact they will have on the project, it is worth to mention here about Pareto’s principle i.e. 80/20 principle, which PM can use to categorize causes of defects and late time entry relationship. As per this law 80% of the problems are due to 20% of the causes. PM can concentrate on these 20% causes impacting the project most.

Performance Metric #5: Gross Margin

Gross Margin (as I wrote in my earlier post on key performance metrics) is the mother of all metrics and the quickest way to determine if your business in on track or not and acts as an early warning system to put in place margin improvement initiatives. Ultimate goal of project execution is to bring revenue to organization with the approved gross margin. Gross margin (GM) is basically the difference of total revenue and the total cost spent on project i.e. profit.

When a project is started, certain GM levels for the project are approved by project sponsor. This approved GM value is generally based on project scope definition, duration, a forecast of resources: onsite, offshore and organization’s investment analysis. Project PNL (Profit and Loss) statement gives a way to PM for tracking his/her projects GM metric at any point of time. For this, PNL statements and forecasts should be current documents i.e. changes in project parameters need to be reflected quickly in this statement to keep the PM informed about any potential risks to project profitability. All the above four project management performance metrics impact this metric, if not handled in controlled manner. A good organizational level PNL tool rather than manual excel sheets reduces the overhead on PM here.

While working with all of these metrics, following points should be very clear in the project manager’s mind:

In my view these five project management performance metrics are critical metrics to be tracked while taking charge and during execution of a project. The continued analysis of these metrics provides additional insights into what is working and what is not, allowing the PM to make appropriate improvements. These metrics also help in building up historical data for similar kind of projects so that in future, better project planning can be done. Success story of project can be then built up based on the effectiveness of defined metrics by showing the improved numbers “before” and “after”. This ensures that the effort spent by team in collection and measurement of data for these metrics is leading to continuous improvements and not just an overhead activity.

In summary, metrics improve decision making ability by providing the foundation and rationale for the decision by making explicit what is usually implicit in the decision-making process.

So what are your experiences when it comes to project management performance metrics and tracking? What are some of the other project management metrics you have been tracking?  We would love to hear and learn from you.

References: www.PMI.org : PMBOK 4th Ed.

Today’s guest post is from Kavita Verma, PMP who is the Director – Global Program Office at a leading IT services company. She is a dynamic and outcome-oriented Program Manager with a fulfilling career spanning over 10 years of extensive industry experience in full software life cycle of requirements definition, architecture, design, prototyping, product implementation, integration and testing of Embedded Mobile Application and Platform Middleware.

Pic Courtesy : http://www.flickr.com/photos/ebonysweden/10120374843/

The Salt Satyagraha

By Manjgu

The Salt Satyagraha, also known as the Dandi March, began on 12 March 1930 and was an important  part of the Indian independence movement. It was a direct action campaign of tax resistance and nonviolent protest against the British salt monopoly in colonial India, and triggered the wider Civil Disobedience Movement against the British colonialists.

Gandhi  set  out  from  his   ashram, or   religious   retreat,  at   Sabarmati near Ahmedabad ( Gujrat state) with several dozen Satyagrahis (activists of truth and resolution) on a trek of some 360 Kilometers  to the coastal town of Dandi on the Arabian Sea. There, Gandhi and his supporters were to defy British policy of Salt Tax by making salt from seawater. The Salt Tax essentially made it illegal to sell or produce salt, allowing a complete British monopoly.  Since salt is necessary in everyone’s daily diet, everyone in India was affected.  The Salt Tax made it illegal for workers to freely collect their own salt from the coasts of India, making them buy salt they couldn’t really afford.

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Before embarking on the journey Gandhi sent a letter to the Viceroy himself, forewarning their plans of civil disobedience:

If my letter makes no appeal to your heart, on the eleventh day of this month I shall proceed with such co-workers of the Ashram as I can take, to disregard the provisions of the Salt Laws.  I regard this tax to be the most iniquitous of all from the poor man’s standpoint.  As the Independence movement is essentially for the poorest in the land, the beginning will be made with this evil.

Along the march, the satyagrahis listened to Gandhi’s favorite bhajan sung by Pandit Paluskar, a Hindustani vocalist; the roads were watered and softened, and fresh vegetation was thrown along the path.  Gandhi spoke to each village they passed, and more and more men joined the march.    On April 5, 1930 Gandhi and his satyagrahis reached the coast.  After prayers were offered, Gandhi spoke to the large crowd.  He picked up a tiny lump of salt, breaking the law.  Within moments, the satyagrahis followed Gandhi’s passive defiance, picking up salt everywhere along the coast.  A month later, Gandhi was arrested and thrown into prison, already full with fellow protestors.

The Salt March started a series of protests, closing many British shops and British mills.    The non-violent satyagrahis did not defend themselves against the clubs of policemen, and many were killed instantly.  The world embraced the satyagrahis and their non-violence, and eventually enabled India to gain their freedom from Britain.

Moving From MDGs to SDGs in Indonesia

By: Gordon B. Manuain*)

The year 2015 is undoubtedly a milestone year for all human development stakeholders across the globe. it marks a critical junction between the deadline of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the adoption of a new globally-agreed set of human development goals, officially known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Last September, this United Nations-initiated set of 17 development goals was officially adopted globally to be achieved by 2030.

It has become increasingly clear that some of the MDG targets may be missed by their due date at the end of 2015. Yet, the 15-year span of the MDG implementation, since their universal adoption in 2000, offers a great deal of lessons learned, which, if harnessed effectively, may provide substantial leverage for meeting the SDG targets by 2030.

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Learning from past efforts

From this perspective, governments, civil society groups, the private sector, academia and the philanthropic community — all key SDG stakeholders — are fortunate to have much-needed weapons in their arsenal to bring an end to the extreme poverty, which is the primary target in the SDGs.

In fact, putting the lessons learned from the MDGs to good use has been well reflected in the new development agenda itself. The SDGs aim, among others, to address what the MDGs had said little or nothing about, but which is nonetheless crucial to the successful implementation of a human development framework in the future. And, yet, at the same time, the new framework builds on the successful implementation of the MDG framework thus far.

However, the critical testing ground to testify that we have fully benefited from our experiences lies with how we plan to implement the newly-agreed development agenda.

Any entity, be it government, civil society or the private sector, working at the implementation level for a human development program, would realize that a heightened level of commitment on the part of development stakeholders plays a more crucial role than any prescriptive narrative spelled out in the goals and targets.

A well-conceived development program owes much of its successful implementation to the enduring commitment of development actors and its means of implementation.

The frequently cited problems encountered on the ground, such as a lack of coordination, a ‘silo’ way of thinking, incoherent policy patchworks, and mismanagement of resources usually go hand in hand with a business-as-usual approach by those responsible for achieving the agreed targets.

The SDG framework will not go far enough toward meeting all goals and targets if a robust mechanism of accountability is not put in place. The MDGs proved to have some important leverage in their implementation, and this, to some extent, has to do with how pressure has been put on governments to meet the targets they had committed to.

Yet, the MDGs would have fared much better if they have had a strong accountability mechanism in place to hold both state and non-state development actors to account.

Indonesia’s experiences

Indonesia’s experience with the MDG achievement offers plenty of material we can learn from. Even though some of the MDG targets related to maternal and infant mortality as well as HIV/AIDS in Indonesia will not be met, Indonesia has notched impressive gains in the MDGs.

Moreover, the commitment to meeting the MDG targets by 2015 has had the beneficial effect of providing a major boost for the country to meet its own national development goals as outlined in the national mid-term and long-term development plans.

Taking stock of what this country has performed over the past 15 years to meet the MDG targets would offer ample opportunity for the relevant development stakeholders to be better equipped to meet the SDG targets.

Mainstreaming of the MDGs into the national development plan has been a major driving force in helping the country realize these global development goals. The successful implementation of the MDGs could, to a great extent, be chalked up to the fact the MDGs are fully integrated across our own development goals.

Ultimately, the MDGs have been viewed as our own development goals, rather than an external entity superimposed on our own development plan.

Translating commitment into a legal framework to guide the MDG implementation has proved to be critically important. The presidential instruction on the Equitable Development Program, which necessitated the acceleration of the MDG achievement, issued by former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in 2010, played a catalytic role in this endeavor. It brought together all development actors nationwide under an overarching legal framework to speed up the effort to meet the MDG targets by 2015.

Eventually, the future national campaign for the SDGs could be benchmarked against the MDGs in a number of areas.

The efforts by MDG stakeholders to make the framework workable at the community level across the country could serve as a point of reference for the SDG stakeholders in planning out their approaches.

Similarly, the unprecedented level of cross-sector partnerships between the government and a vast array of non-government stakeholders forged during the MDG period should be emulated and pushed even further by the new development stakeholders.

The agreed indicators of the SDGs, which complement their goals and targets, will be not finalized until March 2016 by the United Nations. But it is essential for national development actors to come up with a well-thought-out roadmap for achieving the SDGs as early as possible.

*) Gordon B. Manuain worked for the President’s Special Envoy on MDGs from 2010 to 2014.