Do Percent Completes mean anything on schedules

Most people working on IT projects are familiar with the type of meeting where a Project Manager calls up a project plan and asks team members to report progress on particular tasks. Usually this is in the form of reporting a percent complete. Important questions are are they useful and do they mean anything? I once worked with a respected Project Manager who believed not. She worked on the basis that tasks have three states only: Not Started, In Progress or Complete.

A problem with percent completes is that they are highly subjective to the person reporting them. One team members 20% will be another team members’s 40%. A key idea of project plans is to breakdown work into chunks and work out the sequence that tasks need to be completed, i.e. which tasks are dependent on others being finished. As a project manager or scheduler, Knowing that a task is 30% complete is possibly telling you nothing more than the task was started but not finished, and that it’s not possible for a dependent task to start yet.

One rule I support that I’ve seen used in practice is the 5 day rule. This means that no task in a schedule should be more than 5 days long. If a team member identifies a task that is 20 days long, they can try to identify four separate stages lasting approximately 5 days. Using shorter duration tasks will make it more practical to track it as having only Not Started, In Progress or Complete status.

Percent Completes do have their place, for example in large construction projects that need to use Earned Value calculations to examine cost and schedule together and calculate values such as CTC (Cost to complete) tasks, but for software projects they often do not add value.

Bitcoin expert Andreas Antonopoulos

This is the first part of a 2 part interview with Bitcoin expert Andreas Antonopoulos. A highly engaging interview as he conveys many aspects including the potential of Bitcoin to reach people with no access to modern banking facilities.

Trace Mayer On Bitcoin

In this interview economist Trace Mayer gives a comprehensive upbeat account of Bitcoin and how it’s succeeding in many ways. He makes some great comparisons between Bitcoin and Gold and explains how you can start investing in this innovative financial technology.

Banks on Digital Currency and the BlockChain

JP Morgan’s Jamie Dimon recently made some comments about Bitcoin at Davos Economic forum. Here are a couple of quotes and my comments on each-

“Governments like to control currency, know where it goes to and control it for monetary purposes”.

The only way governments can and are controlling Bitcoin is by overseeing the gateway to entering the system, i.e. exchanges that buy and sell BTC for Fiat currency. Whether this is a good or bad depends on many things including how liberatarian your views are.

“There’s nothing behind a Bitcoin …. The Blockchain is a technology, and yes it’s real”

This goes along with this current trend of banks trying to separate the perceived negative connotations of “Bitcoin” with the highly innovative technology of the “BlockChain”. So here’s the deal: You can’t have one without the other. It’s like saying we don’t like the idea of cars, but engines are great. It’s the vision and value of the car (or truck or motorbike….) that drove (no pun intended) the invention of the engine.

The Bitcoin (or any Altcoin) needs to possess value as an incentive for miners to validate and mine blocks, securing the blockchain and any other ‘applications’ such as secure contracts.

This is the clip from the interview:

Bitcoin being talked about by banks (in good or bad light) is a sure sign of it’s increasing success.

Bitcoin Wallet for Windows Phone

Bitcoin wallet Application for Smartphones have been available for Android for a while, but only recently has one become available for the Windows Phone. I recently downloaded CoPay for Nokia Lumia and was impressed.

It has a simple intuitive interface. The App uses the term “bits” as its default unit for displaying values. The Bit is also known as the MilliBitcoin, representing one thousandth of a single Bitcoin unit.

It also displays has a dollar equivalent value, useful whilst the dollar remains the world’s major reserve currency.

CoPay Bitcoin Wallet for Nokia Lumia

CoPay for Nokia Windows Phone

It also has the excellent feature of being able to capture a QCode using the smartphone’s camera, for sending money. The QCode is like a barcode that can contain both a Public Bitcoin Address and an amount to send. There is no need to take a picture as such, the App will pick up the code as soon as it can read the Qcode image within the shot frame. Very simple!

Transactions will show up generally within a few seconds, although as usual with the Bitcoin Network, an initial confirmation will take around 10 minutes, with a ‘hard’ confirmation around one hour.

Like some othe wallets, CoPay uses a seed phrase, essentially a long list of random words.  Under the hood this represents a long number that can be used to recreate all the private and public key pairs within the wallet, in the event that there is a problem with the wallet or you lose the Smartphone.  Its therefore important to write down the phrase.  The App will suggest you confirm it’s correctly copied by asking to verify the order of words within the PassPhrase.

Bitcoin is now well and truly mobile.

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