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Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is perhaps, the end of the beginning. - Churchill

2012 September 14

It has been a while since I posted anything on  my site. Today was a great day for us. 11 years and 2 months, the amount of time it took for me to become a U.S citizen. This afternoon at the USCIS office in Durham NC, I and my wife underwent the Naturalization Oath Ceremony along with 51 other individuals from 30 nations and became a U.S Citizen. Everyone can see the excitement and jubilation "in the air". As a visual manifestation of how diverse the crowd was, the officer who lead the proceedings read off the names of all the different countries that were represented, asking people to stand up when their country was read. I felt proud as the name of my first country Pakistan was called. I won't go into all the details of the proceeding but it was definitely an amazing experience.  After ceremony, seeing everyone accepting their certificates of citizenship, posing for pictures with the certificates proudly displayed, it was abundantly clear that we all felt a great sense of accomplishment, joy and pride. It was a moving experience that was also a great reminder of how difficult it was to get to this moment.

 

 

 

So, today, I am a citizen of United States of America. Today I felt that I have finally reached an end and feel like I've had a huge load lifted off my shoulders now that I'll never have to deal with U.S. immigration again, what a great feeling!  I've lived in this country for more than 11 years, took care of my family, owned a house, paid my taxed every year, completed two master degrees and eagerly waited for the time when I can apply for citizenship. And now that the moment has finally come, the one thing I can safely say I feel is "relief," an emotion I'm sure is shared by others who joined me in taking the Oath today.

Theodore Roosevelt once said, "Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty" 

 

 

Agile 2011 KeyNote - A must watch

2011 June 14

This is a great presentation by one of the best technical author, Martin Fowler. One of my all time favorite book, Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code is also written by him. In this Keynote address, Martin discusses there important topics

  1. Non-deterministic tests
  2. Good software design
  3. The current and future state of Agile

Certified Scrum Master

2011 February 13

Earlier this week, I attended a two day class for Certified Scrum Master conducted by Bob Hartman who is known as "Agile Bob". I have only one word to explain the class and instructor - "wonderful". We've been working on managing our projects at work using some sort of Agile model for a while now. I've read few books and articles on Scrum before I went for this class. However after taking class, I have a firm graps on Scrum concepts and this increased knowledge has given additional ideas on how to improve our existing processes.

 

Bob is an excellent and entertaining instructor with tremendous experience in coaching Agile/Scrum teams. You can read his blog at Agile for All. The course content was well balanced between theory and practice exercises and case studies. There were very few power point slides and every part of the course was designed to keep attendees engaged and having fun while learning the material.

 

Overall I would strongly recommend this class to anyone who is interested in learning about this topic.

Outside-in Software Development - Stakeholder Analysis

2010 October 03
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I have been reading the book title "Outside-in Software Development - A Practical Approach to Building Successful Stakeholder-based Products" as part of my MBA course work. I'll try to post few blog post outlining few important points discussed in the book. The authors primarily show how to identify the stakeholders who will determine a product's real value, shape decisions around their needs and enable teams to deliver software that achieves broad, rapid and enthusiastic adaptions. It is an on-going challenge for software development teams to build softwares that "delights" their customers. Challenges arise from the fact that precisely how one supposed to do this too this that is often left to conscientiousness and integrity. The book provides a clear framework that any development team can quickly benefit from, regardless of project scope or type.

Chapter 2, "Understanding Your Stakeholders", outlines different categories of stakeholders and describe how each one affect various aspect of products being built. Their a four distinct steps in a stakeholder analysis

  • Identify the stakeholders
  • Understand their needs
  • Communication with stakeholders
  • Align stakeholder goals with development ativities

Stakeholders are defined by people for whom you develop a software product; they affect and are affected by the products. There are five categories of stakeholders are indicated in this book

Principals: They have the authority to acquire and deploy the software product and are usually the one who have championed the need for the specific product. Their thinking is mostly focused on business value. We often call these stakeholders as "clients"

End-users: These are people who will interact with the software product. Their experience with the product will have a significant effect on the ultimate success. These end-users may take variety of roles when interacting with software product. They may be knowledge workers, system administrators, business partners or even internal staff engaged in support activities

Partners: They will make your product work in real life, such as operations teams, business partners and system integrators. In my opinion, hosting providers fall neatly into this category. They have an integral role to play to make a product "consumable" (more on this in a later blog post)

Insiders: People within the organization, such as developers, support engineers and sales, architecture and marketing teams.

I'll continue this discussion of stakeholder identification in my next post that will include "Stakeholder Goal Map", relationship between stakeholders and alignment of stakeholders' goals with product development.

 

Happy Independence Day - Pakistan

2010 August 14
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I wish happy independence day to all Pakistanis. Our azadi may not be perfect, but it is a gift we must cherish nonetheless.

Pakistan devastated by floods. Call for help!

2010 August 09
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As  some of  you already know, Pakistan has been devastated by floods. At least 1800 people lost their lives. Hundreds of thousands are rendered homeless. The magnitude of this disaster is enormous. The devastation continues as according to UN, the number of people suffering in the floods in Pakistan exceeded the combined total of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake. While the death toll in the three earlier tragedies was much higher than the 1,800 people killed so far in the floods, the UN estimates that some 13.8 million people have been affected at least 2 million more people than in the other disasters put together.

 

I urge my readers to please donate generously to help victims who are suffering through this tragedy. The most convenient way is to text the word "SWAT" to the number 50555 to donate $10 per SMS message to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to provide tents, clothing, food, clean water and medicine to Pakistan. (Dipnote) So please, share the gratitude. Send that text to donate. It only takes a minute to help.

  • American Red Cross seeks to raise $100,000 to aid its Pakistan equivalent - Pakistan Red Crescent - with teams on the ground providing food, other relief items and medical care. To donate, go to their website
  • UNICEF is providing help with water, sanitation, health and nutrition for displaced children and families. To donate, please go to their website

 

BBC Latest News Report

What Motivates Us?

2010 June 02
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tags: General · MBA

An inspiring and thought provoking short video on what motivates us. In my second semester at MBA School, we read an interesting article Why Incentive Plans Cannot Work which discusses a similar topic although with a broader application . My initial reaction to Kahn's article was utter surprise and refusal although as I started analyzing it more deeply (since I was required to critically review it), my reaction became greatly subdued. 

NCDevCon - Free and amazing conference

2010 March 09
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After a successful CFinNC, the folks at Triangle Area ColdFusion's User Group (TACFUG) are organizing NCDevCon 2010. The conference will be held May 22-23, 2010 at my favorite school - Centennial Campus of NC State University in Raleigh.

The conference will cover a wide variety of web development and design topics including ColdFusion, Flex and AIR,  Javascript and CSS. 

Just like CFinNC the registration for this event will be free and includes entry to the weekend event and to all presentations. Since attendance is limited, please register early so that you do not miss out on this fantastic conference.

Register @  http://ncdevcon2010.eventbrite.com/

Thanks and hope to see you at NCDevCon!

ColdFusion Hibernate performance optimization

2010 February 17

We are still using ColdFusion 8 at work so I have not had a chance to practically use any of ColdFusion's ORM feature aside from writing simple applications. I just wanted to use this post as a personal resource. Anders Sveen has written a short and useful blog post outlining certain things you should consider when looking at performance and optimization of hibernate driven applications.

http://blog.f12.no/wp/2010/02/16/hibernate-performance-and-optimization/

Happy New Year

2010 January 01

Happy new year to all readers of this blog. With new year, I decided to move this blog to Mango Blog from BlogCFC. BlogCFC has served me well over the years and turst me there is nothing wrong with the application. Kuddos to Ray Camden for his valuable contributions to CF community.  

I just needed a little change. I downloaded Laura's Mangoblog last night and was up and running in few minutes. The setup was quick and painless.  BlogCFC migration also ran well although I hit a snag when categories were not imported. I didn't try to investigate the root cause and created categories manually. Mongo blog is definitely outstanding especially I am amazed that how easy it is to change themes/skins. Terrific work Laura Arguello.