Scott Adams on a “real” college education

The Dilbert creator writes occasionally for the Wall Street Journal and has had some great pieces.  This past week’s entry hit on the mismatch between college student and curriculum:

I understand why the top students in America study physics, chemistry, calculus and classic literature. The kids in this brainy group are the future professors, scientists, thinkers and engineers who will propel civilization forward. But why do we make B students sit through these same classes? That’s like trying to train your cat to do your taxes—a waste of time and money. Wouldn’t it make more sense to teach B students something useful, like entrepreneurship?

The entrepreneur’s knack — “the strange art of transforming nothing into something”  — is exactly what a clever, but not brilliant, person should cultivate.  Adams helpfully includes a list of behaviors this B-student curriculum should foster: Combine Skills, Fail Forward, Find the Action, Attract Luck, Conquer Fear, Write Simply, Learn Persuasion.

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Remote Development — Tips for Managing Projects

Bas has an excellent list of tips for managing projects that include remote development teams (here).  The list itself is useful, but I particularly like how he built it.  Bas leveraged the comments from another post (here) to create this meta-tipsheet.  Below are a few of the ideas that we use quite a bit at SAP:

4. If possible, visit your offshore team during the development phase and make an effort to blend in.
5. Identify a leader you are going to be communicating with regularly and make him responsible for all updates and reports so there is no miscommunication.

SAP has an exchange program with our global delivery and global development groups based in remote locations (especially India). Also, we’ve developed a strong, independent PMO in our global delivery organization in SAP Consulting. They’re mature enough to be regular contributors of remote delivery content for our ASAP methodology (overview page here, NOTE: requires registration to service.sap.com).

7. Whichever way you choose for your communication, always support verbal communication with written correspondence.
10. The bigger the better is the rule when getting projects made offshore.

#7 applies to most projects, but never forget it for remote teams.  Tip #10 is very perceptive, as it notes “small projects are usually going to get you distracted workers who will be looking for their next assignment even while they work for you.”  Also, being “stingy” with work by doling it out piecemeal usually only attracts second-tier resources or desperate firms.

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