Now this is the right way to do it – webinar times in a big world

Kudos to ProjectTimes.

The Internet is a global thing. This means that anything that you publish on it could be read by pretty much anyone in the world. As a result, it is incredibly valuable to offer times, dates, et cetera, in a way that can be easily “localised’.

Project Times promoted a webinar, and were good enough, with the time, to add the offset to GMT. This meant that I could easily calculate what that time was in my time zone. (Rather than having to try and google a translation.)

webinar instructions

My only grumble with this, is that UTC should be used rather than GMT.
However they are both aligned so it’s not that bad.

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BA Practices in a Virtual World

BA Practices in a Virtual World

This is the another post in my “Today I read …” series where I aim to summarise. educational, articles that I have read

Previous: As a BA, be aware of your motives

IIBA Webinar – BA Practices in a Virtual World

Today I read the transcript and viewed the slide deck, from one of the IIBA Spotlight Series: BA Practices in a Virtual World (from May 2013).

I was particularly interested in this,as I am a strong believer that projects can be completed by groups, and individuals, that are located in different places in the world.

The webinar was presented by Larry Simon of the Inflection Group.

(Note – this webinar is archived on the IIBA site, but is only available to IIBA members.)

The webinar promised that I would learn the following:

  • How Facilitation has Changed
  • Building Rapport Virtually
  • Managing Participation
  • Tools for Virtual Teams
  • Demo: Powernoodle for Virtual Facilitation

This was promising.

What was covered in the Webinar

I read through the slides and then went through the webinar transcript…

After the usual introductions, etc, Larry described how the standard practice is, pretty much, getting everyone in the same room, and hashing things out, with whiteboards, and “group sessions”.

This would continue until a solution had been reached, or an agreement on what the problem was, what the requirements are, etc. There was an expectation that the classic Form/Storm/Norm/Perform would take place.

He highlighted the fact that, often, getting everyone in the same room, is not possible. This may be because of different geographical locations, or the fact that people work from home, or for any other myriad of reasons. (“Your office is where you are.”)

often, getting everyone in the same room, is not possible

The presenter describes several handy techniques and tools that can be used when holding a “virtual workshop”. Handy things that we should all write on a piece of paper and keep in our pocket for reference.

Things such as being considerate when talking, building rapport by disclosing something about ourselves that the other person didn’t know, or mirroring others (without mocking).  Finding out as much as you can about the other attendees is also a good tip (but the presenter warns that there is a fine line between being interested in a person, and stalking them.)

Taking notes during the session is also a recommended practice. Recording the sessions is also a “really good suggestion”. I won’t describe the other incredibly useful gems that get mentioned.

Then Larry describes several tools that can be used for virtual meetings. There are tools that allow for the sharing of screens,or for sharing files, and documents (anyone ever heard of Google Docs?). This culminates in a demo of

Finally, Larry gave a demo of Powernoodle, an online collaboration tool that, actually, does offer some great functionality.

There are quite a few good questions asked by the attendees of the webinar, but these were not answered in a satisfactory way (I felt).

My thoughts on the Webinar

I was expecting much more from this webinar.

I have seen large enterprise projects work where the stakeholders and the implementation team, were all spread across multiple cities, countries,and continents, where English was not everyone’s native language.

I felt the advice, and information, that the presenter gave was a bit thin. It did not have a lot of depth.

Having said that, I understand that the field of working with disparate teams is something that cannot be given justice in an hour-long webinar.

I felt the advice, and information, that the presenter gave was a bit thin.


BA Practice - expected more


The webinar can be viewed on the IIBA site (members only).

A PDF of the slide deck is available on the IIBA site here, and the transcript can be downloaded here. (Again – members only)

If you like this post, feel free to share. If you like to make a camera, please go ahead and use the comment box below. Cheers  



Recommended Reources
(Important Diclosure)

Udemy Courses

BA Practices in a Virtual World-VT Virtual Team Building and Management
BA Practices in a Virtual World-CC  Effectively Managing Conference Call with Virtual Team
BA Practices in a Virtual World-VTM  5 Habits for effective Virtual Leadership


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Virtually working – managing virtual teams


Continue reading

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Working with Global Teams: Not all in the same room

This is part of the Working with Global Teams series

Previous Post: Working with Global Teams: Pesky Time Zones Revisited


A friend of mine,Shoaib Ahmed, has an excellent blog on Agile, and Project Management. 

He’s based in New Zealand, and as New Zealand is literally so far away from “the rest of the world” (said with a cheeky wink), he has a pretty good idea of some of the challenges that are met when working in a globally dispersed group.

Shoaib’s latest post goes into this in more detail. He mentions things such as time difference, culture, and reporting lines. Click here to read what he says.

Related posts:


  • 8 Tips for Teaming Across Time Zones (

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Cultural Dimensions – How people from different countries and cultures are…different

This is part of my “Working with Global Teams” series.

cultural differences

I’ve been reading Malcom Gladwell’s book “Outliers“. In part of it, he delves into a study that a dutchman had done into different cultures.

I found this fascinating and looked into it further. The dutchman was Geert Hofstede and he had built a model that described different cultures using six different dimensions.

Now – ever since moving to a foreign country, and then starting work for an international company, I have been trying to find a way that would help me understand, and to describe, the differences in the cultures of the people I live with, and work with.

And, it seems that Hofstede’s model certainly helped with that.

The six dimensions are:

  • Power distance index (PDI): This dimension refers to how people perceive those with power. For example – is the head of the country honoured and revered, or seen as “no different than us”.
  • Individualism (IDV) vs. collectivism: – “The degree to which individuals are integrated into groups”.
  • Uncertainty avoidance index (UAI):  – Best summed up as “how many rules and regulations are in place to ensure that things happen as they should.”
  • Masculinity (MAS), vs. femininity: Is there a big difference between what are perceived as the “male” role, and the “female” role.
  • Long term orientation (LTO), vs. short term orientation: – This dimension measures how much importance a culture puts on “the future”, as opposed to how important they hold onto traditions, and the past.
  • Indulgence, vs. restraint: Hedonistic behaviour, or not.

This made it so clear for me – looking at the different cultures I have lived in, as well as the different cultures I have worked with, I was able to finally get some clarity on how the cultures differed. To be able to categorize behaviours I had seen.

Hofstede’s work is still widely use, and very relevant. In fact, here is a quote from wikipedia:

Why is it important to be aware of cultural differences?

“Culture is more often a source of conflict than of synergy. Cultural differences are a nuisance at best and often a disaster.”

Despite the evidence that groups are different from each other, we tend to believe that deep inside all people are the same. In fact, as we are generally not aware of other countries’ cultures, we tend to minimize cultural differences. This leads to misunderstandings and misinterpretations between people from different countries.

Instead of the convergence phenomena we expected with information technologies availability (the “global village culture”), cultural differences are still significant today and diversity tends to increase. So, in order to be able to have cross-cultural relations, we have to be aware of these cultural differences.

With his five (the Indulgence dimension was added recently) dimensions model, Geert Hofstede has lighted on these differences. Therefore, it is a great tool to use in order to have a general overview and an approximate understanding of other cultures and, to know how to behave towards individuals from other countries. Because, we still need to cooperate with members of other cultures, and maybe more than ever with the new problems which have arisen for several decades like environmental issues. Therefore cross-cultural understanding is indispensable.

Geert Hofstede has a site where you can compare two cultures against each other, as well as learn more. Go and see how much difference there is between the cultures. (

Other great references:

  • Wikipedia’s description of Malcom Gladwell’s book “Outliers” 
  • Malcolm Gladwell on his book “Outliers”
  • Geert Hostede’s site
  • Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions Theory (Wikipedia)
  • An overview of Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions on
  • Culturalism and Understanding of Culture
  • How to Develop Cultural Intelligence? Intercultural Dimensions
  • Culturalism and Understanding of Culture
  • How to Develop Cultural Intelligence? Intercultural Dimensions
  • Beyond your borders: Overcoming cultural differences that so often cause conflict (
  • Redefining the U.S. Hispanic Consumer (
  • Outliers: Malcolm Gladwell’s Success Story (

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