Tuesday, February 2, 2010

An Outline of Static Body Language

Purpose: Use this learning aid to investigate the static features of body language.

Body orientation
Body orientation is the position of the other person's upper body in relation to your own. This angular distance reveals how people relate to, or feel about, each other. The upper body unconsciously faces square on to, or aims at, people you like and agree with, but angles away from those you dislike or with whom you disagree. The greater the angular distance, the less rapport there is between the people concerned. Angular distance ranges from zero degrees – directly facing, to 180 degrees – turning your back.

The study of proxemics was first started by the anthropologist Edward Hall. He investigated people's use of their personal space and how this personal territory is protected from the intrusion of outsiders. Although it varies for different individuals and circumstances, it can generally be categorized as follows:

intimate distance for embracing or whispering – between six and eighteen inches
personal distance for conversations among good friends – between 1.5 and four feet
social distance for conversations among acquaintances – between four and 12 feet
public distance used for public speaking – 12 feet or more
Study of non-verbal behaviors indicates that everyone perceives a distance that is appropriate for different types of messages and establishes a comfortable distance for personal interaction. Violation of this personal space can have serious adverse effects on communication.

The postures of the upper body reflect key emotional states and, as they are made unconsciously, they are more reliable indicators of a person's mood than movement of the arms or legs.

bending or leaning away from someone is a sign of disagreement, disliking, or shyness
sudden significant shifts in posture can also demonstrate negative feelings
bowing forward with the head down is a response that shows submissiveness
leaning forward with the head up shows a positive interest in the other person
raised shoulders denotes fear or tension, while stooped shoulders signals negativity
A body posture can be closed or open. Someone who does not feel comfortable with another person will often assume a closed position by crossing arms or legs or holding an object, such as a bag or a file, in front of the body. This provides a protective barrier for those who feel vulnerable because of feelings such as anxiety, nervousness or disagreement.

Physical contact or tactile communication
Used properly, tactile communication can transmit a more direct message than dozens of words; used improperly it can build barriers and cause mistrust. You can easily invade someone's space through this type of communication. If it is used reciprocally, it indicates solidarity; if not used reciprocally, it tends to indicate differences in status. Touch not only facilitates the sending of the message, but the emotional impact of the message as well. There are five categories of touch.

functional – touch during a profession interaction such as by a doctor, dentist or hairdresser
social/polite – usually involves a handshake or a pat on the shoulder
friendship – touch to show warmth such as hugs and pecks on the cheek
love/Intimacy – prolonged hugs and the holding of hands
sexual – inappropriate in the workplace

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

My Top 10 time wasters at work

1) Web Surfing
2) Multi-tasking
3) Lack of task planning
4) Emails
5) Coffee breaks
6) Meetings
7) Instant messengers
8) Interruptions
9) Personal chores
10) Short gap between meetings

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Software Estimation Tips

Extracted from the book “Software Estimation – Demystifying the Black art” by Steve McConnell

What is an estimate?
Tip #1 Distinguish between estimates, targets, and commitments.
Tip #2 When you're asked to provide an estimate, determine whether you're supposed to be estimating or figuring out how to hit a target.
Tip #3 When you see a single-point "estimate," ask whether the number is an estimate or whether it's really a target.
Tip #4 When you see a single-point estimate, that number's probability is not 100%. Ask what the probability of that number is.

How good an estimator are you?
Tip #5 Don't provide "percentage confident" estimates (especially "90% confident") unless you have a quantitatively derived basis for doing so.
Tip #6 Avoid using artificially narrow ranges. Be sure the ranges you use in your estimates don't misrepresent your confidence in your estimates.
Tip #7 If you are feeling pressure to make your ranges narrower, verify that the pressure actually is coming from an external source and not from yourself.

Value of accurate estimates
Tip #8 Don't intentionally underestimate. The penalty for underestimation is more severe than the penalty for overestimation. Address concerns about overestimation through planning and control, not by biasing your estimates.
Tip #9 Recognize a mismatch between a project's business target and a project's estimate for what it is: valuable risk information that the project might not be successful. Take corrective action early, when it can do some good.
Tip #10 Many businesses value predictability more than development time, cost, or flexibility. Be sure you understand what your business values the most.

Note: This entry contains some tips from the above book. For the complete list of tips from the book, click here

Monday, August 17, 2009

Agile Estimation!

Have a look at the presentation that I prepared on Agile Software Estimation using planning poker.
This presentation is based on some great presentations on slideshare. I provided the references in one of the last slides.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Unveiling my blog!

After a lot of deliberation and many false initiations, I made a conscious decision to compose this blog. Hopefully, I intend to keep this space as latest as possible filling it with my "cogitations" on life in general, technologies i love, etc.