March 10, 2006

Risks of Online Auction

I heard some discussions around what the price of the most expensive item sold on eBay. I have some sources telling me that it was to the tune of $4.9 million (apparently a gulfstream II jet was sold online). eBay generated $8 Billion dollars in value of transactions with about 104 million registered users and 45.1 million active users. With such a high volume of users, trades, auctions and cash transactions, some questions that arise are
How safe are these transactions?How is identity theft prevented in online auctions?What resources are available to average buyers and sellers to guarantee a fair trade?Whose responsibility is it to ensure that fair trade happens and fraud is prevented?The last I know on this topic (something I heard from a leading online auction company employee) is that the onus of detecting fraud still lies in the hands of the user. As a buyer, I am expected to determine if a seller fraudently raised the prices (using a duplicate id or other means). I was told that users are quite smart these days and they figure out detailed information about frauds including originating IP address. I consider myself pretty computer savvy but I would still not be able to determine with any level of certainty whether I was (or was not) cheated on eBay, let alone tracing who was involved in the fraud.

So the only advice for online auction users (especially if you are going to buy your next gulfstream jet or your next home) is to find ways to verify that you are getting a fair trade in the transaction. Attached below are some resources including articles on online auction frauds and the FTC advisory!

Posted by vdakshin at 06:42 PM | Comments (0)

Measuring Project Success

The way we measure success of projects has a lot to do with the issues of accountability and ethics in corporations today. How do we say projects are successful? Why do we say a project is complete when the project tasks are completed? Why is measuring the success of the project included in the list of project tasks? Corporations always complain about consultants who implement or make recommendations about projects but are not around to see if the project was successful. Why do such client organizations pay the consultants before measuring the success of the projects? Why are such measuring mechanisms included in the contracts?

To introduce ethical behavior, ownership and accountability, our fundamental approach to project management and measuring the success of projects should change. A project should not be marked complete till the success parameters (ROI, production improvements, savings, cost control, efficiency etc) meet the required criteria. Once a solution has been implemented, instead of saying the project is complete, the project should go into the critical phase of "Project Measurement". It is only at the end of this stage we can call the project complete and both celebrate the success of the project or measure the losses. Consulting companies and consultants should be paid after this stage. This approach will promote accountability and corporate ethics.

Below are some resources which describe project success measurement, tips for better measuring processes and factors affecting project success. Though most of these resources are quite valuable, not all of them prescribe project success measurement as a step in project management or as an ongoing exercise.

Project Management Partners
Tasmanian Government Project Management Guidelines
Tips from Technical Pathways
Advogato Project Management advice

Posted by vdakshin at 06:41 PM | Comments (0)