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Conducting Situational Assessment

Towards improving business processes, issues that causing ineffectiveness need to be identify. Conducting situational assessment will help surfacing business pains and gaps. The activity’s approach can be either soft or hard assessment. Hard assessment is more specific using tools or mechanisme against the assessment subject. For this article we will only focus on soft assessment.

Soft assessment means that an assessment which involved interactions with subject or focus group. Activities taken might be workshops, interviews, discussions, questionaires and other related. It may look simples but in reality it is not. Sometimes involved subject came from totally different backgrounds which lead to confusion and disagreement when to achieve the result. It may due to knowledge gap and behavior inconsistency.

In order to overcome soft issues, several techniques can be apply. Below are some examples that may be follow.

1. Develop a Plot (Guideline)
Usually when assessing subject with problem queries, sometime they might turn out spelling their own problem rather than organization pain point. Constructing a flow of questions that balancing about 30% individual issues and 70% organisation issues will help a lot during analysis study.

2. Manage Interaction Between Baby Boomers, GenX and GenY
The generations gap really makes information findings so difficult. Different views raised as later generation will saying about the organization legacy and what was written to follows while the new generation urging for doing in things in new ways. Separating between this group will give you more accurate results when the felt their ideas and thought is acceptable.

3. Do Background Homeworks
Resistance always occurred when communicating with subject when delivering new changes. They could not relate the requirement to for the changes when examples given were referred to other implementation. Delivering your ideas during conversations along with cases relate to their working spaces will make subject felt being valued.

4. Put Your Self in Their Shoes
Filtering assessment questions by putting your self on their point of view. Item no 3 is the pre requisite for this techniques. By having this it will make your questions clear, straight to the point and easy to responds.

5. Target Influencer
Usually there will be somebody that will be the source of reference or blesser. Conducting any assessment without syndicating with this subject will make your proposals to be rejected. Understand properly gathered information and ensure it meet the influencer’s envision.

Each activities conducted will assist on understanding actual issues. From time to time, gained experiences is the key factor for getting good results.

Developing a Taxonomy

As part of the information management group, you were assigned to develop a taxonomy for your organization. You will start wondering how to start and what is your base. As per written in my last article (What is Taxonomy?), most of people will start with the organizational structure, which is not wrong. At the same time few other aspects need to consider. Will your taxonomy support growth? Can your taxonomy be generalize and be replicate to other departments? How to manage focus group taxonomy? And most important will your taxonomy manageable and can be govern?

Looking from above questions there are few ways to do it. Let look it one by one.

1. Organizational Structure Taxonomy
Using this approach is achievable when you are residing in a small organization. Each department having focus group. There are no overlapping functions. Enough said you and your colleague only do what you are supposed to do.

Organization Chart Taxonomy

2. Generic Taxonomy
Living in a big organization, there are often similar functions between departments. These departments will have their own admin staff, procurement, and so on. Their processes and activities were the same and govern from central unit. Thus, when developing the toxonomy all information from these groups need to capture and analyze. The output will be a generic template that can be apply to across departments.

Generic Taxonomy

3. Inherited Taxonomy
This taxonomy is an expansion of the above Generic Taxonomy. Let say there are a parent class named ”Administrative” developed for admin’s function. Then there is a need to expand this class for “Engineering Administrative” needs. What can be done is to inherit the main class to the new class with the parent class still governing the main class information.

Inherited Taxonomy

4. Specific Focus Group Taxonomy
There are certain functions that are niche in a department. There are
little possibility for it to be have in other department. Thus for this class it can stands by it’s own without depending with other classes.

Specific Taxonomy

Above methods were not the ultimate approach for developing a taxonomy. Situational analysis is vital before deciding which approach that should be taken. It will be wasted if it is too methodological by leaving business needs behind.