Sunday, October 29, 2023

AI and the "Last Beatles Song"

Just saw an interesting article in the Weekend WSJ. The Beatles are releasing a "new" song.  

Lennon had recorded it at home, as a demo, before he died. Then the other Beatles had recorded tracks to finish it, but they couldn't release it because Lennon's track was badly recorded, with background noise.

Now, they were able to use AI to clean it up.  The article says "Along with tambourine, electric harpsichord and other instruments listed in the credits for the song, 'machine learning' and 'source separation' are also cited."

© 2023 Praveen Puri

Saturday, October 28, 2023

When 1+1 = 3

I've spoken before about scoping out micro projects that allow you start transforming your business, and start racking up wins, even when your teams are overwhelmed with fire-fighting and keeping the lights on with BAU (business as usual tasks).

But, if these small projects are designed carefully, your organization won't just start to accumulate benefits linearly.  Instead, progress can increase exponentially as these projects enable future projects to become bigger and deliver more value.

The key is that each micro project should do two things: 

1. Deliver strategic and organizational value. 

2. Increase your teams' capacity to handle bigger. more complex initiatives.

For example, a micro project that streamlines a few database tables for a critical application can not only deliver faster, more accurate services to your clients, but it can now make it easier to build the data analytics tools that have been on the back burner because, with the old tables, the project plan was too complex relative to the resources you could afford to allocate.

© 2023 Praveen Puri

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Dad Jokes!

  • I got fired from my job at the keyboard factory. They said I wasn't putting in enough shifts. 

  • I accidentally drank a bottle of invisible ink last night. I’m in the hospital now, waiting to be seen.

  • I should’ve known inventing a boomerang with teeth would come back to bite me.

  • The difference between a hippo and a Zippo is that one is really heavy and the other is a little lighter.

  • What has fur and flies? A dead werewolf.

  • What's tiny and sounds like a pigeon? A smidgen. 

  • My Doo-Wop group broke up, so now we’re a Don’t-Wop group. 

  • What do you call a reluctant potato? A hesitator. 

  • If a bear wears shoes and socks he still has bear feet. 

  • Getting my drone stuck in the tree isn’t the worst thing that happened to me today. But it’s definitely up there.

© 2023 Praveen Puri

Thursday, October 5, 2023

The Premier League, VAR, and Project Execution

One of the most popular football (soccer) leagues in the world is the English Premier League.  For the last four years, they have been using instant replay to try and reverse officiating mistakes.  

A match this weekend shows that, despite technology, there is still a risk from human error.  Specifically imprecise communication.

In this match, between Liverpool and Tottenham, a player for Liverpool scored a goal, but the referee discounted it for being offside.  The VAR (video assistant referee) chose to review it, and the video showed that the goal was good.

The VAR then told the match referee, "Check complete. That's fine. Perfect."  

The problem is that the match referee though that he was saying the call was perfect, but the VAR meant the goal.  As soon as the match referee announced that it was confirmed offside, the VAR realized the mistake, but play had resumed and it was too late to change the call.

The problem was the imprecision of the communication.  Unfortunately, I've seen imprecise communications cause many project delays, and result in poor strategy implementation.

© 2023 Praveen Puri

The Military Asks "What's A Waist?": A lesson for Strategy Execution and Digital Transformation

I read an article in the Wall Street Journal about how the Military tries to identify out-of-shape recruits. One of the factors for judging is waist size. The problem? The different branches of the Military define "a waist" differently.  

According to the article, the only guidance from the Department of Defense is "to come up with standards consistent with established scientific principles of physical training."  Thus, the different branches have developed different definitions of a person't waist. Which means that someone could be overweight in one service, but not in another:

1. The Army says it's a soldier's belly button.  

2. The Navy says it's at the iliac crest. 

3. The Air  & Space Force says it's between the lowest rib and the hip bone. 

4. Finally, the Marines use a formula that involves the sternum.

This provides a lesson for businesses wanting to execute projects, especially digital transformation,  If requirements and needs are not precisely defined, it will cause confusion during implementation, resulting in projects failing behind, running up costs, and not delivering the required business value.

© 2023 Praveen Puri

The Under-Appreciation of Fahrenheit

Conventional wisdom holds that Fahrenheit temperatures are illogical and that Celsius is superior, with its precise logic: 0 for the freeing point of water, and 100 for the boiling point of water.

But, the Fahrenheit temperature scale is under-appreciated:

1. It's range over the same interval (freezing - boiling, 32 - 212) is larger than Celsius, allowing for more expressiveness and comparison, without going down to decimal points.

2. Fahrenheit has its own 0 - 100 logic, which is human-centric. 0 degrees is when the human body really starts to feel uncomfortable cold, and 100 degrees is when the body starts to feel uncomfortably warm.

© 2023 Praveen Puri

Monday, October 2, 2023

RPA (robot process automation)

I've worked with many clients to implement RPA (robot process automation).  The main results: reducing costs, serving more customers, and/or delivering a consistent quality of service.

Some best practices:
1. Identify processes that can benefit from RPA and, most importantly, which processes will be left alone for now.

2. Design the processes that change so that they still seamlessly interface with the processes that aren't changing, so that the whole business will suffer minimal disruption when they are implemented.

3. Don't try to do all changes at once.  Always schedule them in phases.

4. Develop each change fully before implementing it in the business.  It should be completely functionally tested to ensure that the new, automated process can handle all the conditions as well as (or better) that the current, manual process.

© 2023 Praveen Puri

Customer Journey Maps

Customer journey maps, for product management and improving SAAS apps, are very important because we are now in the Attention Scarcity Age.

Everyone is overwhelmed with information overload, and attention spans are short. If a customer interacting with your products / services encounters any friction points, which slow them down, and produce feelings of frustration, they will likely switch to a competitor who offers a simplified, streamlined experience.

© 2023 Praveen Puri