Techniques to deal with Desires & Wishes

Desires or wishes are nothing but our thoughts that are formed to get worldly items (it can be knowledge, wealth, pleasure, relationship, etc) that we like to acquire one or the other day. To deal with desires, we are using different techniques. Each one has its pros & cons.

Technique of Indulgence – This technique tells “If you have a desire, Go get it.” In that way, you can make sure it will be achievable in your life. Though we get the desire fulfilled immediately but we cannot say surely that it is removed fully.

Technique of Suppression – This technique tells “Whenever a desire comes to your mind, you tell yourself that it is wrong to have the thought”. Though this helps for short period, but it leads to depression. Also, this is the technique used if indulgence is not possible any more or desire cannot be fulfilled by any means.

Technique of Distraction – This technique tells “whenever a desire comes to your mind, distract it with some activity that occupies it”. Again here it helps for a short time. Many people goes to movie just to practice this technique – forget the worries for couple of hours & comes to old status once they come out of movie theatre.

Technique of Sublimation –  This technique tells “whenever a desire comes to your mind, convert it or transform it to a higher level of need (life goal) instead of indulgence or suppression”. We can practice the technique of setting an ultimate goal in mind & reminding it whenever a distracting desire or wish pops up.

Sigmund Freud says “Sublimation is a mature type of defense mechanism where socially unacceptable impulses or idealizations are consciously transformed into socially acceptable actions or behavior, possibly resulting in a long-term conversion of the initial impulse”

Sublimation is when displacement “serves a higher cultural or socially useful purpose, as in the creation of art or inventions” – Wade and Tavris

Though we are practicing all the above techniques in life, Sublimation technique is the best as it is transformational in nature with long-term effect.

Situations to use Transactional Leadership in Team

Transactional leadership occurs when the leader rewards the team member, depending on the adequacy of the team member’s performance. Transactional leadership depends on contingent reinforcement, either positive contingent reward (CR) or the more negative active or passive forms of management-by-exception (MBE-A or MBE-P). [1]

Here are some situations I can think of.

* Use CR – when you found team member is motivated with some kind of reward & you can arrive a mutual agreement with your team member on reward he is getting after the work done is expected fashion.

* Use MBE-A – when you don’t want a mistake/error done by your team member propagates further that may jeopardize the project. You actively get the statuses, problems, challenges, develop processes, ensure adherence of project processes, conduct reviews, etc so that no error goes beyond certain time period. This really required when you manages a critical project & have time to do micro management. This is used when team member is having less experience in the work area. MBE-A may be required and effective in some situations, such as when safety is paramount in importance[2].

* Use MBE-P – when you don’t really care much about the errors or deviance as soon as it occurred. You have some time to correct them & they are not critical. This is followed when team member is having good experience in the area of working.
Leaders sometimes must practice passive MBE when required to supervise a large number of subordinates who report directly to the leaders[2]


1. Significant Behaviors of Transactional Leadership –
2. Transformational Leadership (Second Edition) BY Bernard M. Bass, Ronald E. Riggio, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.,2006

Q & A – Which one to Adopt Transactional or Transformational Leadership?

One college student asked me a Question – “Which between the two should be adopted. My lecturer says transactional leader is best 4 efficiency and effectiveness. How true is this?”

My Answer:

To best of my knowledge, I agree with the existence of both leadership styles in everyone. As we displayed & practiced transactional leadership for many decades – it was considered as the best approach, but there is no complete truth in that. One need to evaluate the situation and decide whether to go with Transactional or Transformational & should not stick on to one in all situations.

Your lecturer says so because he practiced transactional in many (appropriate) situations & found to be producing results. Also transactional is practiced by teachers a lot – “praise the student who gets high grade and punish the one who takes lesser. As they get good results from their class, they will get good name from principal”. They will understand the real taste of teaching if they start practicing Transformational.

What methods & techniques are used in Project Scoping?

One of my blog reader asked me following question – “identify the principles, methods and techniques used for scoping a project?” In reply I wrote a mail explaining all the methods & techniques that is generally practiced for scoping of project. I am sharing the mail content here for everyone’s benefit.

Scoping a project involves two step process – gathering requirements & defining the scope with collected information.
Before I mention about the principles, methods & techniques for scoping, let me present some of my views about Scoping in Project:
  • Project Scope should cover everything that satisfies the customer need
  • Arriving final approved scope is very challenging task among all the activities in Project Management
  • Defining & Managing Scope is the backbone for Project Management
  • It is not a single person’s activity & it involves a group of people mainly project stakeholders. Lot of group interactions will be carried out during the requirement gathering & defining scope
  • Scoping is so vital which affects all other important factors in Project like schedule (hence delivery), cost, resources and risks
  • Generally high level of scope is available as part of Project Charter
  • Enough time need to be given to prepare & review for project scope before approval. Also any scope change after approval is going to affect the Project’s outcome
  • It is not necessary that entire project scope should be defined & available at the start of a project. It is progressively elaborated.
Requirements gathering uses various elicitation (data gathering) techniques to document exact need of the customer. Some of the group elicitation techniques are:
1. Facilitated workshops – An elicitation technique using focused sessions that bring key cross-functional stakeholders together to define product requirements
2. Focus groups – An elicitation technique that brings together pre-qualified stakeholders and subject matter experts to learn about their expectations and attitudes about a proposed product, service, or result
3. Group creativity techniques – Techniques like Brainstorming, nominal group technique, mind-mapping, affinity diagram, Multicriteria decision analysis are used to gather the requirements & define the scope
4. Group decision-making techniques – Decision on gathered information arrived using analytic hierarchy process, voting/democratic methods. Final decision will be arrived by any one of the below methods – unanimity, majority, plurality, dictatorship.
Inputs from subject matter experts(SME) plays a major role in the requirements gathering. Here are some techniques that involves SME’s:
1. Expert judgment – Judgment provided based upon expertise in an application area, knowledge area, discipline, industry, etc., as appropriate for the project scoping.
2. Interviews – A formal or informal approach to elicit information from stakeholders by talking to them directly. Different question types (like open-ended, close-ended, etc) are used to gather the requirements
3. Questionnaires and surveys – Written sets of questions designed to quickly accumulate information from a large number of respondents
Other methods to scope the project is to perform analysis on available information.
1. Document analysis – An elicitation technique that analyzes existing documentation and identifies information relevant to the requirements
2. Product analysis – For projects that have a product as a deliverable, it is a tool to define scope that generally means asking questions about a product and forming answers to describe the use, characteristics, and other the relevant aspects of what is going to be manufactured
3. Alternatives generation – A technique used to develop as many potential options as possible in order to identify different approaches.
4. Context diagrams – A visual depiction of the product scope showing a business system (process, equipment, computer system, etc.), and how people and other systems (actors) interact with it
Prototyping is creating models of deliverables help in understanding the need & articulate the requirements. Sometimes requirements gathering is performed by observation of tasks being carried out & noting down the processes, pain points and exact user steps
Here are the pointers for further reading:
Requirement Elicitation Techniques –  (Retrieved on 01/06/2014)
Ten Requirements Gathering Techniques –  (Retrieved on 01/06/2014)
Elicitation Techniques for Processes, Rules, and Requirements –  (Retrieved on 01/06/2014)
Analytic Hierarchy Process –  (Retrieved on 01/06/2014)
Of course you need to go through PMBOK 5th Edition as reference to get universal definitions.

Key Leadership Skill – Competency

No human being will work hard at anything unless they believe that they are working for competence. – William Glasser

After my induction in my first job, first work assignment I got was to help my corporate trainer in a training program. Trainer sent me a participants question paper & asked me to print 30 copies of it.

The problem was – I didn’t have enough skill to take print out – I don’t know how to connect my machine to printer, how to print a document and even I don’t know where the printer is situated. I was so shy tell him I don’t know this job or ask him right questions to do the activity. I stayed late in the evening & do something about it, but my mind filled with fear & I was not ready to face the trainer next day without completing the job.

I took time-off next day & returned the job the day after. I was hiding here and there to escape from the trainer. During lunch, he met me and asked me “why did you do like this?” I stood in front of him quietly. He told me “If you don’t know the job, tell you don’t know it & ask for help. People will help if it is possible or if it is so urgent, they will get help from others in right time. You wasted my time” & went off.

Though printing is a simple activity, it requires certain basic & sufficient knowledge and skill to produce the printouts. I can read books to get basic knowledge but that is not enough. I need to get the skill to perform the activity by doing it or by trying to do it. Like printing, every activity requires the sufficiency in skills to produce the right outcome.

Sufficient Knowledge & Skill to perform an activity is called Competency. One of the important factor that divide an experienced from an inexperienced is Competency. In a job, Expected Level of Competency varies based on role & tenure in the job (experience). In Project Management, HR Management closely deals with competency. Competency is one of the required Leadership Skills for leaders which I listed in Leadership Champions – Leadership Rubik Cube.

Let me close this post with apt quote from Roosevelt.

“Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell ’em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.”
― Theodore Roosevelt

Goals? Are you kidding?

After my new year wishes to my friend, I asked him about his 2014 goals. He replied me with a puzzling voice – “Goals? Are you kidding? Let the life go as it is.” He continued “Why should I unnecessarily burden myself with setting goals & resolutions? At the year end, I will surely have few unaccomplished goals left in my list which will make me feel bad about myself. So, no goals.. nothing”

Many of us have the same feeling like my friend. Some people like me have different opinion about goals. Type the first & foremost sentence that comes to your mind for/against goals:

1. I set goals because ———————————

2. I don’t set goals because ———————————