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Reflections on Being 30

July 30, 2018 2 comments

30 years.jpg

Dear Reader,

It’s been a while since I wrote blog post, but I’m taking the occasion of recently turning 30 to reflect on what it means to me, where I stand in life now and my perspective on what is yet to come in the future.

To start, I’m glad to say it’s been hectic, rewarding, challenging, stressful at times but most importantly an enjoyable journey. Looking back at the last 10 years, I feel blessed to have been faced with many challenges, phases of life, career changes, love life changes, and I even lived abroad for a short while.

In the past 10 years, I’ve changed 4 jobs and had a complete career shift from IT into Management Consulting. In that period I’ve also earned 6 international certifications and a masters degree. I’ve establish multiple NGOs, elected to the Board in some, advised numerous others, trained more than a 1,000 youth and professionals alike, travelled to numerous countries, met some of the most inspiring people but most importantly married the love of my life and got a beautiful baby boy.

Now that I’m 30, I feel I’m at the nexus of life where I’m definitely more mature, experienced and knowledgeable than any of my previous years, but I’m also less interested in many things, less eager about proving myself here or there, less enticed by new adventures and definitely less willing to take risks.

Overall I feel more rooted in who I became, my family, my country, my friends, my network, my comfort zone in general. Yet 2 things I can’t seem to quench, my curiosity and my ambitions. I constantly feel restless to learn more and achieve more things in my life. In every avenue I take whether it being professional life, academic knowledge, volunteer work or personal/social life… I constantly am on the lookout for what is yet to come, what is next, what the future will bring.

This restlessness is sometimes a much needed fuel that keeps me going, to aspire for more impact and growth, to do more and learn more. Yet at times it somehow feels like a burning desire to take some unwarranted risks, to dedicate more time and effort in things that might not necessarily be in line with what is best at the moment, to dream of things that are not yet attainable nor practical.

One thing I know for sure is that my brain never stops pondering about the possibilities that lay ahead, the “what ifs”, the different ways I can be spending my time and effort. Sometimes I get that urge to just quit my job and break free from the never ending rat race and go freelance, do what I am passionate about, explore different options, establish some social enterprise or simply just hustle my way through life. Sometimes I feel like I want to take a whole quarter of un-paid leave and just spend time with my wife and baby, do some volunteer work, travel around different countries, experience new things that I have been wandering about.

Then reality check comes in and reminds me of all the pros and cons. It reminds me about the lifestyle I’ve put my self and my family in, about the responsibilities of being a husband and a father, about the potential of not being able to provide to my family the basic needs if things go south.  The debate goes on for a while in my head, and usually this happens late at night while gazing out from my balcony to the view of the city, the sea and nature. I realize that the 3 of them are co-existing, balanced somehow, even though some take a toll on the other, but they co-exist and have found their equilibrium (though they are ever changing, they still stabilize somehow). So I remind myself of all that I’m doing lately, from work to volunteering to quality time with family and friends. It gets me to realize that the sea ought not take over the city and nature, nor the city to overtake the others, and balance is the key to sustainability. So I calm myself down and hold my horses from going irrational.

30 is an interesting age, a time in life where one is equipped to do much more than before, but also has many more guidelines and responsibilities. It’s exciting and calming at the same time. It allows me to reflect on the many things that have passed and been achieved, and the many more things that are yet to be done. It reminds me that 3 decades have passed, and God willing, I’d have many more yet to come, so there is still time to do a lot. It gives me the realization that the world doesn’t move as fast as I hope it would, things don’t change as rapidly as I’d like, achievements don’t come by as frequently as I desire, nevertheless there is time and patience is a virtue.

For now, I’m going to take it easy and enjoy the 30s, keep on dreaming and aspiring, keep on pushing for more and learning more while still ensuring that I’m well rooted and grounded, lest I leap into the realm of the unknown.

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Starting a New Career Journey

July 31, 2015 3 comments

crossroad1Dear Friends and Readers,

For those who don’t know my career journey so far, here it is.

I come from an IT background, and more than 4 years ago, I took a Project Management Professional (PMP) course at the American University of Beirut – Continuing Education Center (AUB-CEC) in partnership with CMCS Lebanon.

Building on that, I went for the exam and became a certified PMP. In the mean time, the trainer who gave me the course, who eventually became a close and trusted friend, introduced me to the Managing Partner of CMCS. Few months later, they offered me a job at CMCS as a Consultant and that’s when I transitioned from IT into Consultancy.

3 years later, I managed to grow and develop at CMCS to become the Operations Manager in addition to having had the pleasure of delivering training courses of all kinds related to Project Management and Business Analysis, training being something I enjoy passionately. I’ve also managed to earn 3 other certifications (CBAP, PBA, GPM-b) and pursue my masters in Human Resources Management (MHRM) at AUB with a focus on Competency Models and Training Development.

This summer, and out of the blue, I got contacted by the HR of one of the big 5 consultancy firms asking me if I’m interested in joining their team based on my achievements and my LinkedIn profile.

So I went through the selection process and I’m proud to say that I’ve been given an offer, which I took.  Therefore, I submitted my resignation from CMCS and will be heading off to this firm by the end of August.

This means I’m ending a beautiful journey in a company I’ve grown to love and respect its team, its professionalism and its achievements. It’s a hard decision to leave something you are doing well at, but at the same time, sometimes one got to think numerous steps ahead.

In addition to that, I’m not only transitioning out of CMCS, but I’m also leaving the country, which is a major career and life-style change. It’s a leap of faith, and I surely hope it’ll pay off in terms of career growth, more challenges and opening new doors.

I’m proud to say, as of September 1, 2015, I’ll be having a managerial position in the Advisory and Consultancy team at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in their Riyadh Office!

As a final note, I want to thank everyone who supported me in this journey of growth and I’m glad to have met everyone I worked with, partnered with, volunteered with and given a training to anywhere around the globe!

Business Analysis Certification: IIBA’s CBAP Vs PMI’s PBA

October 26, 2014 1 comment

Business Analysis Certification: IIBA's CBAP Vs PMI's PBA

I’ve been CBAP certified for more than a year and a half now and I’ve recently earned my PBA certification as a participant in the pilot phase that PMI launched earlier this year. Thus I’m one of the first batch of certified PBA (less than 170 worldwide) and currently the only one in Lebanon with any of the 2 certifications.

In this context, I’d like to share with you some insights about the 2 certifications with a comparison to help you choose the right certification for you.

To start with, the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) has been around for more than 10 years and it works on the development, expansion and promotion of business analysis. While the Project Management Institute (PMI) has been around for more than 45 years and it works on the development, expansion and promotion of  project management.

In this context, the 2 organizations are starting from a different perspective about Business Analysis, what it means, what it entails and the reason they developed their certification (IIBA’s CCBA and CBAP Vs PMI’s PBA).

For IIBA, business analysis is a full time job and has a more holistic vision about the role of a business analyst. For IIBA, the Business Analyst’s work is not limited to only projects, requirements management, communication and evaluation of the end result, but rather it takes more of an enterprise perspective and can even assist at the strategic level.

While PMI’s focus on business analysis is more of a hybrid role for the Project and Program Managers with a special focus on proper requirements elicitation/collection, analysis, scope design, mapping, tracking and communication of those requirements with the appropriate stakeholders. In this context, PMI’s perspective on Business Analysis is more of a Project and Program based work rather than Operational or Enterprise related work. This does make sense as PMI is concerned mostly with the success of project and programs rather than in starting a new profession by itself.

Therefore, both certification will not be contradicting but rather can complement each other in some places while they have completely different audience in other cases.

Below is a set of comparative bullet points.

CBAP:

  • IIBA has been developing the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge over several years and are now in the 2nd edition of the BABOK with the 3rd due on April 2015.
  • CBAP training and certification will cover numerous details, tools and techniques for those aiming for a career in business/solution/enterprise analysis.
  • CBAP already has its name and is well respected among Business Analysis professionals.
  • CBAP fits in excellently for people working in Consultancy, IT, Telecom, Hard and Software Development.
  • For full time BA’s, CBAP provides a more comprehensive set of knowledge than it’s PMI’s counterpart.

PBA:

  • PMI has recently acquired 2 companies that have a wealth of knowledge about requirements management, project and product design, assessments  and the like.
  • PMI has a very big marketing department with massive outreach, global partners, training providers and a global network of chapters.
  • PBA is more focused on Business Analysis work within Project and Program Management, with a special focus on requirements management, scope management and communication.
  • Professionals certified by PMI (ACP, CAPM, PMP, PgMP, PfMP) will find it more natural and smooth to earn the PBA as it is aligned with PMI’s framework. For hybrid PM-BA work, it’s sufficient as the PM will not necessarily need all the info presented by IIBA.

I hope that helps and if you have any questions or suggestions, don’t hesitate to let me know.

Compilation: Management & Personal Development

July 18, 2013 2 comments
Personal Development

Personal Development

I was asked by some of my friends to compile related articles together in an accessible way. Thus, I’m posting this as a simple compilation of relevant articles under the theme of “Management & Personal Development”.

Check the links below of the aforementioned articles:

 

I hope you enjoy the articles and feel free to subscribe to my Blog for regular updates.

 

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Systems Thinking: Understanding the Complexity of Our World

June 7, 2012 2 comments

Systems Thinking is based on the field of system dynamics, founded  by MIT professor Jay Forrester in 1956. The idea behind systems thinking is to be used when analyzing change, interventions and solutions to consider how the component being under study is interacting with other components in the system.

So for example, if we’re trying to introduce new roles in the organization or solve a social issue or introduce new projects and initiatives in the community or organization…we need to consider how those interact with other parts of the system. Many of the traditional methods take a sequential approach to analyzing issues, systems think
This leads us to actually ask, what is a system? Well in a nutshell, a system is a group related, interdependent, bound and related components that interact together. So the computer you’re using is a system, organization you work in is a system, the city you’re in is a system, the country you’re in is a system. In this context, systems can be a “component” of a bigger system. Thus our world is constantly interconnected and has multiple influences from the broader system on the smaller ones, and vice versa.ing on the other hand focuses on the big picture and how are it’s components interacting thus a more complex and iterative approach.

For example, the company’s “system” is made up of:

  • Policies & Procedures
  • Human Capital
  • Facilities & Equipment

So to introduce a change in one of those 3 elements, whether it’s team performance or overall cost reduction, there will be an impact on the other 2 elements and thus in many organizations instilling some change in one element will end up leading to un-expected changes in the other and thus the “original” problem would be resolved, but other problems would’ve popped up.

The key benefit of Systems Thinking is that it provides a better way for analysis and for solving most complex problems that are plaguing our world from governments to communities to business and so on.

Systems Thinking is being used in very wide spectrum of fields today and this proves that the people are becoming aware of it’s value. Some of the fields where it is being utilized are:

  • Engineering & Construction
  • Management & Consultancy
  • Environment
  • Health & Medical Services
  • Manufacturing & Industry
  • Business Analysis
  • Project Management
  • Policy Making & Governance
  • Community Development
  • Computing & Information Technology
  • Sustainable Development

In conclusion, with the increasing complexity of our world today it becoming a necessity to be able to see the “big picture” and understand the systems we are working with or else our proposed solutions and improvements will fail to reach the impact expected with long lasting sustainability.

Lessons Learned from Working in IT

January 7, 2012 7 comments

In the following article I will try to extract the most notable lessons learned from my experience in the IT field for the past few years.

A quick overview for my dear readers who don’t know my background, I studied Computer Science(CMPS) at the American University of Beirut(AUB) while working at the Computing and Networking Services (CNS) on campus. Following my graduation I worked in IT development at a banking/financial institution while doing some free lance web-development and IT related consultancies.

Overall, I had my share of working on both hardware and software…and the lessons learned all fit in together and I will be pinpointing them as briefly as possible  in the below lines:

  • No problem is too complex. The key to success in this is to decompose the complexity of the issue into smaller manageable parts. Afterwards one only needs to resolve a group of simpler issues that fit in together.
  • Automation is the key to ongoing growth and sustainability of many companies. This is due to the fact that any requested behavior can be mimicked and coded accordingly, with as many exceptions as needed, replacing the need for human interaction with machines.
  • Technology is advancing faster than we expect. The rate at which technology is evolving allows for sophisticated solutions to be designed and implemented with growing speed and ease. What was nearly impossible 10 years ago can be developed in a week today.
  • IT team leaders can make or break the company. One of the keys for successful IT teams is a team leader who knows how to leverage the expertise of the team, provide enough autonomy while still closely overseeing the work.
  • Programming in multiple languages is becoming a must. Knowing one programming language …in our times…is no longer enough to keep with the pace of advancement and to develop the solutions the best fit the needs.
  • GUI is king. Graphical user interface and packaging became as important as the actual functionality of the solutions requested as users demand the simplest and most intuitive tools they can have. People want eye-candy with minimal intellectual effort to use the applications.

In this context, and after checking the above with some of my friends and colleagues, the same lessons apply in most fields and I will definitely be taking those lessons with me in my consultancy and management work from now on.

I hope they help you in one way or another in your career…and I’m open for your comments and suggestions as always. 🙂

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