Project Manager – The DIRECT(or)

So I learned this cool acronym for the roles of a project manager:


DIRECT


The project manager directs the project (similar to a director who is the project manager of a movie).


Here is how the project manager DIRECTs the project:


Define – Identify the opportunity or issue that the project will address including, the vision, scope, resources, and measures of success. (i.e. the “Charter”).


Investigate – Explore options and pros/cons for each (i.e. an “Analysis of Alternatives”).


Resolve – Solve and resolve (i.e. commit to) the course of action that will be pursued (i.e. “Project Plan”).


Execute -Do the project and track/manage cost, schedule, scope, quality, risks, and actions items (i.e. “Scorecard”).


Change – Identify process and technology techniology changes, test these, fix outstanding items, and make the cutover (i.e. “User Acceptance Testing,” “Punch List,” and “Go Live Plan”).


Transition – Migrate people to the new solution, communicate the changes, overcome resistance, and conclude the project (i.e. “Communications Plan” and “Lessons Learned”).


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Wrapped In Bubble Wrap

So I thought this was an interesting risk management strategy…


One colleague joked with me that:

“Everyone should just wrap themselves in bubble wrap!”

Reminded me of that game where people put on big wearable inflatable bumpers and then smash into each other for fun.


The problem though is that sometimes we put on the bubble wrap, bulletproof vest, or seat belt, but then we get stupidly overconfident. 


We think we are protected, but nothing human in impenetrable. 


So the person with the seat belt and air bag drives too fast and off a cliff and still gets him/herself killed. 


Or the person with the bulletproof vest gets shot with a high caliber armor piercing shell or in the back of the head.


Like on many cars, where the mirror says, “objects in mirror are closer than they appear,” we need not over rely on safety, protective, and risk measures and still do stupid things.


One guy told me, he backed up into the wall in the garage, because he thought there was more room and that’s not how things looked in the mirror. 


Let’s face it, there is no bubble wrap that can fully protect us from life. 


Everyday we face risks out there, and we need to manage them with common sense or else… 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities Database

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There is a very useful article in Bloomberg about how the U.S. is taking too long to publish cybersecurity vulnerabilities. 


And the longer we take to publish the vulnerabilities with the patch/fix, the more time the hackers have to exploit it!


Generally, the U.S. is lagging China in publishing the vulnerabilities by a whopping 20-days!


Additionally, China’s database has thousands of vulnerabilities identified that don’t appear in the U.S. version. 


Hence, hackers can find the vulnerabilities on the Chinese database and then have almost three weeks or more to target our unpatched systems before we can potentially catch up in not only publishing but also remediating them. 


Why the lag and disparity in reporting between their systems and ours?


China uses a “wider variety of sources and methods” for reporting, while the U.S. process focuses more on ensuring the reliability of reporting sources–hence, it’s a “trade-off between speed and accuracy.”


For reference: 


The Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology publishes the vulnerabilities in the National Vulnerability Database (NVD).


And the NCD is built off of a “catalog of Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVEs) maintained by the nonprofit Mitre Corp.”


Unfortunately, when it comes to cybersecurity, speed is critical.


If we don’t do vastly better, we can be cyber “dead right” before we even get the information that we were vulnerable and wrong in our cyber posture to begin with.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Always Be Prepared

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It was nice going to a local festival yesterday and seeing a table set up with brochures for the kids and families on Emergency Preparedness. 


Even when we’re having a good time, we need to have in mind the possibility that things can go very wrong.


These last couples of weeks with Hurricane Harvey and Irma, we saw again the destructive forces that Mother Nature can bring. 


And today being the 16th Anniversary since the terror attacks on 9/11 and the almost 3,000 murdered at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, we are reminded of the necessity to always be ready for man-made/inflicted disasters as well. 


Now with Axis of Evil nations, North Korea and Iran, continuing to pose alarming threats to the West, the need for preparation and readiness to dangerous WMD–whether from an ICBM or a suitcase bomb–is ever present


Let’s just say until the final redemption when peace will reign on earth, we can never just rest securely on our laurels. 


Even on a sunny day, the clouds may be gathering to threaten us.  


So have a plan.  Be prepared.  You and your families lives across our beautiful and free nation depend on it. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Nuke Fear Turning To Action?

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What sane person would not be afraid of the incredibly destructive power of nukes (and other weapons of mass destruction)?


Currently, there are about 15,000 either stockpiled or poised to strike around the world. 


Enough deadly weapons to kill the entire planet!


After a frightening series of 5 nukes tests since 2006 plus 18 technologically progressive ballistic missiles tests over the last 6 months, things are escalating after new sanctions imposed to try to contain the threat–with North Korea rattling it’s nuclear arsenal with a shrill threat of attack moving to “physical action” and the U.S. shooting back “fire and fury,
” 


As to further North Korean mad progress, it was reported that they are developing a powerful new H-bomb with immense destructive power, especially towards our density killing fields:


– If such a weapon would strike, G-d forbid, Washington D.C., it could mean 500,000 dead and another 900,000 injured–let alone what this would mean in terms of a destructive decapitation to the very functioning and continuity of our government and country. 


– Even worse fatalities would occur should it strike our financial capital, New York City, with estimates of 1.7 million dead. 


Hence, the news that this is no joking matter anymore (as if it really ever was). 


Fears typically first get expressed in rhetoric, but then with greater and ever potent means for them to become reality, the risks increase for them to actually make the horrific leap. 


What happens next with the ever menacing dangers from rogue Axis of Evil nations, North Korea and Iran–and will we ever feel and be safe again, absent any meaningful social progress while they continue to absolutely and speedily advance their ever more deadly weapons programs and the means to deliver them, first class. ;-0


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

At The Doorstep…WMD

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With a new threat again of a chemical weapons attack in Syria…


The U.S. is sending clear warnings to the Assad regime–Don’t do it!


Generally, the threat of using weapons of mass destruction–chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear–have become all too blase!


Syria uses chemical weapons on its own people. 


– Iraq used chemical weapons on Iran and the Kurds


– Terrorists used chemical weapons in Japan and have threatened similar in UK


– Russia threatens use of nukes over Crimea or in a conflict with NATO.


North Korea threatens preemptive nuclear strike on the U.S. 


Iran has threatened attacks on Israel over nukes.


– Biological weapons such as Anthrax have been used against the U.S. and bioterror has been threatened in India


This list is far from comprehensive–and how very commonplace this is becoming is exactly the problem!


It is one thing (already scary bad) to have weapons that can do the unthinkable, and it is quite another to actually use or threaten to use them in such blase fashion like taking out the garbage or something!


If we don’t ensure that cooler and more stable heads prevail at the notorious red buttons around the world, then the risk of someone eventually doing something very stupid and dangerous to millions–or even billions–of lives is no longer just in the realm of science fiction anymore, but becomes so very ominous and real a disastrous possibility. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

North Korea and Iran–No Time For Nuke Time

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We are at a unbelievably critical moment in history. 


North Korea and Iran have nuclear weapons capability and are threatening and maniacal enough to use them. 


Negotiations, incentives, and phony deals have led to nothing but advancing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction with our enemies and their continued vows to kill us. 


As Iran vows to annihilate Israel and chants:

“Death to America”


North Korea vows a nuclear attack saying Washington will be:


“Engulfed in a sea of fire.”


The Talmud (Sanhedrin 72a) teaches the principle of self-defense:

“If someone rises up to kill you, kill him first.”


Preemption is justifiable if the threat is real and imminent. 


North Korea and Iranian threats are very real and getting ever more imminent as their capabilities increase–and if anything, they have been underestimated and underreported.


They have continued to build and test nukes and the missiles to deliver them to the U.S. and our allies, despite pleas as well as carrots and sticks to cease their menacing actions.


The prior administration’s position of “strategic patience” has meant nothing but indecision and a do nothing approach as things get worse and not better.


Now, we have the opportunity to destroy the deadly nuke sites before these despotic regimes hit us and our population of nearly 320 million people with a nuke first strategy!


We are a peaceful nation that believes deeply in freedom and human rights, but we cannot live under constant threat of nuclear attack on our cities and allies. 


A preemptive strike is a very, very serious decision, but we cannot wait indefinitely and let ourselves become victims of the most horrific weapons and their destructive capabilities and aftermath. 


What do we do if North Korea and Iran refuse their endless pursuit weapons of mass destruction and their threats to use them on us?


Perhaps, this is soon to be a rhetorical question if not the most dire of all decisions to make and the time to make them. 


May G-d have mercy  on us–if ever their was a time, now is the time to pray and mean it.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)