IBM architect Tilak Mitra takes the viewpoint of a proposal leader and highlights the major steps one needs to follow, to ensure the development of a high-quality proposal.

Covers the Basics, Good to brush up in case we are forgetting something.

Check out the details here.

This article is a primer on DAO design pattern, highlighting its merits and demerits. It then introduces the Spring 2.0 JDBC/DAO framework and demonstrates how Spring addresses the drawbacks in traditional DAO design.

In my last post, I talked about Inefficiency and how it might bring rewards to your inefficiencies. Today, we shall look what options are available for Ram.

We shall try to examine what options are available for Ram.

Option 1 – At that moment, when Ram would have heard that Shyam is going onsite, he would have multiple thoughts in this mind. The first and the obvious reaction is to get frustrated. Ram’s morale will go down and in his day to day activities; he stops taking interests. Ram starts looking for other options in the market. The way the IT market is going, getting a new job and at a better salary is very easy. The moment, Ram gets his first offer, he puts in his papers.

Now, the moment Ram puts in his paper, the leadership gets into action and now Ram will be given multiple options – he will be send onsite, his salary will be hiked in next cycle and what not. Ram may/may not withdraw his resignation based on the job offers he has in hand and what he is being offered. If his wishes are fulfilled, he withdraws his resignations.

I will call this the easy option. Why? Because putting in your papers is very easy and shows lack of character. The first minor obstacle in your career and you choose the “Patli Gali” (means the easy path) option. What is the guarantee that in the next company Ram will get what he wants? One can observe several such candidates who change companies like diapers, the moment things get dirty.

Option 2 – This option is the difficult one. The path of courage and taking a stand has never been easy. When Ram heard that Shyam is going onsite, he needs to remain calm and see the situation from the organization’s point of view. The requirement is immediate and Shyam is available. Let’s see what Ram should be doing.

1. Communicate - Ram needs to talk to his manager or supervisor and apprises them of the situation. He needs to tell them about his career plans, his aspirations. Remember, if you do not tell what you want, how you expect to get it.

2. Understand – When Ram joined this project, he needs to be aware of what his expectations are and how the project assignment helps in achieving those. Majority of time, mismatch of expectations is the root cause of problems. Talking to your manager/supervisor and understanding the role, duration and expectations from the project is very important. If you know, what you are entering into, there will less of frustration.

This starts from the day, one starts talking to a potential employer organization. One needs to ask questions and understand the company policies and working culture.

3. Availability – If Ram wants to move out of the current role/ assignment, he needs to make sure that there are members in the team who can do his work in his absence. If you can not move out of your current role/assignment, you will not be able to take up the next role or the assignment. You need to make yourself redundant. You will have to work with your manager/supervisor for the same.

All the above steps require patience on Ram’s part. Things will not change in one day. But, if Ram follows the option 2, he will come across a person of formidable character. He will demonstrate qualities like – leadership, mentorship, communication and ability to create a win-win situation for both the organization and himself.

In my next post on the same subject, I will try to cover what organization can/should do to make sure Ram does not feel frustrated.

In addition to the Lotus Domino-based portlets, IBM WebSphere Portal provides Common PIM Portlets. Common PIM Portlets (CPP) can have four different back-end mail servers: Lotus® Domino®, Microsoft® Exchange, IMAP, or POP3. This means that the Portal Administrator can configure a portlet in WebSphere Portal to access your mail account if it is based on one of these back-ends.

Currently, there are two Common PIM Portlets available with WebSphere Portal:

* Common Mail Portlet
* Common Calendar Portlet

The Portal Administrator can configure the Common PIM Portlets by clicking the Configure page icon.

Once the Portal Administrator has configured the PIM Portlets, users can access the Common PIM Portlet user interface by selecting the 'My Work' tab at the top of the Portal screen. If the 'My Work' tab is not visible, click the little white right-arrow on the left side of the tabs to scroll/shift your tabs over and expose the 'My Work' tab. Once the 'My Work' tab has been selected, the PIM Portlet user interface appears, which defaults to the E-mail page containing the Mail portlet. To access the Calendar page/portlet, click the Calendar tab.

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One of the observations I have made during my experiences in the IT Industry is how being an inefficient professional can actually get you ahead of your peers.

I will illustrate a scenario where we see how 2 people join an IT organization at the same time and how inefficiency can actually help you move ahead of your peer.

Ram and Shyam are 2 Java developers who join an IT organization around the same time. Both want to go onsite. Both of them get assigned to work for a client, who is developing a J2EE application. The Project Manager assigns development of 2 modules to each of them. The modules need to be completed in 2 week time frames.

Ram being the efficient worker, gets on to the task diligently. Ram goes through the requirements, the design and starts working on the development of the module. Ram puts in extra hours and wants to impress the Manager also.

Shyam being the slow and inefficient one starts going through the documents at a leisurely pace. He is also not putting any extra hours.

At the end of first week, Manager comes around to get the status of the work. Ram has made significant progress and will be able to finish his work with 2 days to spare. Shyam on the other hand has not made much progress and his module will actually slip by more then 2-3 days. Shyam will numerous reasons on why he is not able to make much progress – clarifications on requirements, design and what not.

The Manager is really worried. He needs to make sure the plan does not slip. He sees that Ram will be able to finish his work 2 days in advance. So, like the PM he is, he assigns Ram to work with Shyam and help him to come on track.

Ram upon completing his work, starts working with Shyam and see that’s lot of work needs to be done. So, he starts putting extra hours to get the work on stream.

Manager sees how Ram has bought the work on stream and how he is proving to be a valuable and critical team member.

Now, here usually 2 scenarios typically get played out.

Scenario 1:
Now, as part of the project, out of the Ram and Shyam, one has to go to onsite to help in the application deployment(can be replaced with another task). Ram should have been the obvious candidate. But, Ram being the critical, hard working and having knowledge of 2 modules can not be spared. So, Shyam gets the nod and is asked to fly. Once, Shyam reaches the client place, again, he is not up to the mark. So the manager asks Ram to help Shyam in the application deployment from offshore. Ram starts working in the client times and helps Shyam in the application deployment. At the end, when the project is successful. Since, Shyam was the face the client was seeing, he sends out an appreciation mail citing good work done by Shyam. All the program management sees the mail and Shyam is heralded as the hero.

Scenario 2:
The PM need to ramp down the team. Since, Shyam is neither performing nor critical. He is the obvious choice. Shyam is released from the project. Now, the organization gets a new project and needs to send someone to client’s site to study the requirements. Ram would have been an choice, but his PM can not release him immediately. So, Ram gets ruled out. Shyam is available and has a valid visa, becomes an automatic choice. Remember, the key here is having a valid visa and availability. The experience or skill sets does not matter. The project needs to start in 2 weeks and it is difficult to get visa for anyone else. Neither it is possible to recruit someone in such a small time span. So, Shyam flies to client site.

In both the scenario’s, Ram efficiency got punished. First, he completes his work ahead of time, so he gets pressed into helping Shyam. End of day, his knowledge of 2 modules and hard working attitude makes him a critical team member, who can not released from the project. So, he misses out both the opportunities to go onsite.

I know, this might seem to be a very specific scenario, but I see this playing out in every project.

I am not saying that Ram does not gets rewarded for his hard work. The PM might give him spot rewards.

But given the moment, when Shyam goes onsite, Ram is unable to fan tom any reasons why despite doing so much good work, he is still at offshore.