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Monthly Archives: June 2013

The Ultimate Project- My Wedding

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Filed under Growth & Development, Popular, Productivity, Uncategorized

A couple weeks ago, I took the big plunge and married my partner of 4.5 years. When we got engaged last year, as excited as I was, the business analyst within knew the amount of work that was now ahead of us- but mainly, ahead of me (let’s be real, most grooms just show up to the party). Shortly after our engagement, being the diligent business analyst that I am, and to my then-fiancé’s utter dismay, I shifted to project mode. Planning a wedding is no different than planning an intranet redesign or building a new timesheet application system. The same fundamentals apply:

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You Have a Plan, Right?

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Filed under Productivity, Uncategorized

How essential is planning in the whole scheme of things? Ask a jet fighter pilot. Last Friday, Brittney from Capital Ideas, along with Andrew and I got to board a plane to Cold Lake where we spent the day taking in Exercise Maple Flag.

What’s that? Exercise Maple Flag is “one of the largest and most advanced air combat exercises in the world” inviting and bringing in advanced military air personnel from all over to fly their aircrafts in simulated war situations. My bucket list got a little bit shorter that day.

It was a full day event packed with lots of tours of the military base, demos, take offs and presentations. Watching fighter jets take off from 200 feet definitely beat my typical day in the office. (The best?) Part of the experience was getting to talk to future, current, and retired fighter jet pilots. They were not only instrumental in helping us understand what life as a pilot was like, but also had the most intriguing stories and random facts. Did you know fighter pilots can be in the air for up to 14 hours straight (without bathroom breaks), or that that they always fly in groups of 2 or more (too risky to fly solo). Both completely random and useless facts that I will probably never use, and now never forget. You probably won’t either. You’re welcome.

One concept that was revisited throughout the day was the importance of getting things right on the first try – rarely is there a second chance when in flight. Being in control of a powerful machine at such a high altitude, meant making split second decisions that could equate to life or death. Think about that next time you are stressing out at work about what font or colours to use in your next PowerPoint presentation. These guys not only had to be smart, but they had to be prepared for anything that could hit them.

So what was the secret to staying alive? How does one confidently go into battle? They planned – and they planned A LOT. Throughout the day we saw countless examples of how every possible situation was accounted for in training. Thunderstorm suddenly pop out of nowhere? Covered. Engine failure? They’re laughing. They had to be able to deal with every situation in the worst case scenario – that could mean upside down, in the dark, with little to no sleep because there is no real way for to predict what could hit them. Planning was also a big part of their military strategy. Before any planes took flight, ‘teams’ were briefed on who would sent in as ‘bait’ to find enemy jets, who would be on the offense and who would be on the defence. Nothing was ever left to chance, and all instructions were followed without exception. Any deviation from the plan could mean risk, and risk could mean failure. No thank you.

The importance of planning in the military is a concept that has been around for a while. Don’t believe me? Open “The Art of War”, by Sun Tzu and take a look at its first chapter – “Detail Assessment and Planning”. I think he was on to something. So where else is planning essential to success?

We at Quercus aren’t shy when we talk about planning. We believe that it’s essential to ensuring any IT engagement is successful.  You could call it ‘The Art of Planning’, but we decided to call it PreQuel. We developed PreQuel because we believe our customers have the right to strategize and create a plan before making a major commitment. No one wants to be midflight before they find out their target is flying in the opposite direction. Likewise, you probably don’t want to be half way through your IT project before you find out your solution didn’t quite get to the core of your business problem.  With PreQuel, we’ll meet with your key stakeholders, get to the root of the problem and provide you an analysis with our recommended approach.  We’ll leave you with a strategic road map and the peace of mind knowing that we have looked at your problem from every possible angle and provided the most effective and efficient solution. We’ll start you on your path to success.

Don’t let improper project planning be the reason your project fails. For more information on how PreQuel can help jump start your next IT project, click here.

To learn more about Exercise Maple Flag, click here.

Open Explorer Window from Command Prompt

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Filed under .NET, Windows Power Tips

Ever want an Explorer window for the current directory / folder being viewed in a command prompt? Here’s a neat lesser-known command that I have used for ages:

explorer /e,.

Boom! A new window in the present working directory. Microsoft’s list of the command line options for explorer.exe shows you some other things you can do.

As great as that is, I learned today that there’s an easier way:


Don’t forget the dot. Does exactly the same thing.

You’re welcome.

PhoneGap Build: A powerful tool for building client Mobile Apps

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Filed under JavaScript

As read in Marc-Julien’s previous post on his analysis of the PhoneGap framework, PhoneGap provides an excellent framework for building mobile apps using existing programming languages most developers are familiar with (HTML and Javascript). PhoneGap (now owned by Adobe and officially renamed Cordova) has created an excellent new build tool that is very useful for developers, and even more useful for those developers building for clients.

The tool, simply called PhoneGap build, allows you to either link your build via the GitHub or uploading your project through a zip file. From there, it builds for all the mobile frameworks supported (at the time of this writing, iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone, Simbian, and Bada) and gives you a nice QR code that you can simple snap from your mobile phone and have the sample app installed there. For non-tech savvy clients, this is a HUGE save to give them a great demo of the app you’re building for them.

The signup time for this service is fast and it’s free to try for one app, so if you’ve developing a PhoneGap app, I definitely recommend giving it a try. For more information on PhoneGap build or the framework, check out http://phonegap.com.

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