Protecting Against Financial Abuse

For protection we often rely on banks, locks, password codes, credit cards, hiding places and even fighting skills. Yet, like the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes, we often deny ourselves the biggest threat to our own or organization’s wealth (and sanity).

I am talking about the addictive personality.

Here are some examples that I have personally witnessed:

A relative losing her house due to her son’s drug addictions.

(My mother’s house near break-in from harboring the mentioned drug addict.)

An associate losing money from trying to support their drug and video game addict children.

A gym owner whose gambling-addicted girlfriend put his business heavily in debt.

A military party fund that went missing to an alcoholic who had volunteered to look after it.

Rent and investments that have disappeared by trusting a drug addict.

And the list goes on.

I mention this because good health includes financial health.

Now, many people argue that the stigma of addiction is what is driving addicts towards suicide and more destructive behavior. (You will see public signs all over Vancouver stating that drug addicts are also co-workers, relatives, friends and generally nice people.) Well, the point here is to protect YOU and not intellectualize why THEY hurt your financial health. It makes as about as much sense as trying to reason with a grizzly bear or a mad dog. Forget it.

Instead, take note of the following behaviors of the addicted personalities:

1. Moody.

They often fluctuated between being sweet and charming and surly and angry.

2. Bursts over-achievement

Some addictive personalities actually perform high in academics, sales and athletics. I personally knew several high-performing martial artists and soldiers who drank heavily and fell into heavy drug use. Addictive types will so great bursts of work or productivity for short periods, giving the impression that they are high performers.

They often make a big display of any minor achievement such as doing volunteering or exercising.

3. Often sick.

4. Frequently take/request time off.

5. Frequent money problems.

They frequently borrow money or ask for pay advances from work.

6. Unethical behavior

They often lie, steal, cheat and degrade others, while co-workers and family will constantly cover up for them.

7. Often smoke

Not always, but most addicts smoke.

8. Tendency towards swearing and violence

9. Gulping alcohol

This is something that I witnessed in the military. The heavy drinkers could never just sip and enjoy a drink. They had to gulp it down. One co-worker would buy six beers at a time and down them one after another before “Happy Hour” was over.

10. Blaming others

If you ever talk to an addictive person, you will hear all about how things are “everyone else’s fault” and all of the psychological and family reasons why they excessively drink, gamble or play video games.

This list is not complete and it might even make the reader squirm a bit if it sounds too personal or “close to home.” The truth is, you are often aware that something is “not quite right” about a co-worker, employee, boss or associate and that you should keep them away from your money, home or business. Sometimes you cannot if you are a co-worker, business partner or spouse. Like martial arts, fighting and military skills, you have to be able to maintain a strong defense and preparation against such people.

It all boils down to trusting your instincts in the first place.

Stay healthy.

Stay safe.

Free Betting Advice – Bookmakers and Secrets – Basics

Bookmaker Management

The vast majority of you likely think of the bookmakers as the old enemy, cash thief, the Devil himself even!!

If you do, it follows that your likely one of the many millions of folk giving them cash, and getting little back. This is negative thinking, and any negative thinking in gambling leads to your demise.

So what can you do about it, and what difference does it make what you think of your bookmaker?

Well all my bookmakers are my friend; in reality somebody who gives me cash is a friend. Wouldn’t that be the same for you? As soon as you believe that the bookie is the kind man who supplies you with cash for a Saturday night out, or that latest kitchen appliance, then you’re on the road to improving your returns already.

Most gamblers think you can win thousands a day, and purchase a boat one week, and a new vehicle the next when you’re a pro, but you are dreaming, it takes hours of work to create a decent profit every month.

If you additionally think your friendly bookmaker will happily hand over thousands a day too you, guess what? You’ve got to be kidding. If you run a business, and you are giving the same customer cash every day for nothing, would you still do business with him? Sure you wouldn’t.

If you keep attempting to bankrupt a bookmaker, he will show you the respect you deserve for your approach, and shut your account. This is not bad nasty bookmaker, but common sense, he is attempting to run a business, and make a profit.

Now if you know you are likely to make money, and the bookmaker knows you are going to make money, you have too keep to an acceptable each week, and then he’ll be able to lay off your bets, and he will furthermore accept that the bets you put on are in addition supplying him with good info. This way you can have a decent association, although they could still limit your maximum bet. However, this method will not work with the Big 3 bookies, as they do not wish for any winners.

If working at home, you will need to plan your betting like a military mission for each bet, and spread it all around various bookies.

If you want to bet thousands, then the only answer is to do battle on the track, or on a betting exchange, and as soon as your making this much, you still have to use the same theory as above.

On Course Secrets

Just a quick tip, but one which ought to help you find extra winners while on the racecourse.

Before racing begins, hang around the bookies looking for any punters placing a nice wad of cash on a horse. If he/she is wearing a suit, it’s probably best ignoring them, as these are corporate men trying to impress their clients or boss, and likely don’t have a clue which end the head is on.

If they look like ordinary Joe Punter, but are betting big, they may be a pro. You are probably best keeping an eye on them for the first few races to make sure they do know what they are doing, and keep an eye on more than one, as professional gamblers are pretty rare.

Watch which racehorses they gamble on, and watch the race. If that horse wins, or runs well, watch to see which horse they bet on next. Again, watch the race, and the next one. After that, if you consider this person to have good expertise, you can follow what he does for the remainder of the day.

We don’t mind folk doing that, as we can’t hide from view what we do, although a few will get piddled off with being stalked! Don’t follow in our shadow though, as you will get a number of choice words, as you wouldn’t like being tailed by a strange looking person would you?

You can make contact with pros on the track, although they might not give you the days selections, the majority will offer you advice, and a number of pointers for the future.

Introducing 3 E Lottery Syndicate Systems

Gambling has always been a big business but lately big has got a lot bigger! This can be clearly seen and is quite evident from witnessing all the new casino TV adverts and professional casino websites that had been launched in 2010. We also witnessed a number of new e lottery type companies being launched with one very exciting introduction from the UK “LoveMyLotto.”

I guess it would first be a good idea to offer a quick explanation to those of you new to the internet the use or perhaps the meaning of the term e lottery:

Access to lotteries online appeared relatively soon after the internet was launched for public use it was quite common at this time for people wanting to buy tickets and searching for lotteries online to use the term e-lottery. It was quite logical at the time as most people would have access to the internet via the Microsoft e Browser, it was also quite common for many different types of companies to adopt the letter e into their company name or business logo which was to represent being on the internet.

3 Top e Lottery Syndicate Companies

I would like to make the first introduction LoveMyLotto which was introduced to the world of gambling by the company known as Jackpot store LTD: January 2011 saw the release of a never before seen e lottery product classed as a Multi Lottery Syndicate System, LoveMyLotto provide their customers 3 rather attractive packages with which to enter a number of games.

The Euromillions, Millionaire Raffle, UK Lotto the Premium Bonds and a Daily £1 Million a day draw have been amalgamated together into packages and played via one easy monthly payment. The levels are Gold, Silver and Bronze each level provides a different amount of chances into each game, this helps in providing a cost effect way to play draws with up to 200 chances a month via the Gold Package.

LoveMyLotto Create 21 Player Syndicate Teams

The YouPlayWePlay e lottery syndicate surfaced at the end of 2009 but it was not until 2010 that they started to gain a little momentum. I think that perhaps they launched a little too early as they were still without quite a few affiliate tools and banners to promote their product.

It actually seems a common trait amongst various gambling and lotto type companies to actually launch before they are fully ready, unfortunately it quite often leaves the affiliate “The person that provides the company customers” in the lurch and feeling totally under valued and sometimes ripped off.

Any how after a very slow start the YouPlayWePlay e lottery syndicate gained some real momentum turning their member’s website into something truly amazing and helping provide a much wider reach for themselves as affiliates gained more trust and respect in the brand. They provide entry to the Euro millions, the Thunderball lotto and the UK Lotto, the system is very different to LoveMyLotto as they provide an as and when you want to play in a syndicate as an option.

“Play In One Draw – Play In Ten, it Is up to you” YouPlayWePlay provide teams of up to 50 players.

Big Fat Lotteries although launched at the end of December 2010 have some very experienced minds from the e lottery syndicate business. They provide access to around 14 different lotteries via team play, there are some very entertaining Spanish Lotteries and of course they host entry to the UK Lotto and Euromillions.

The Big Fat Lotteries teams all vary in size and will depend on the lotto game played, you will also find with the introduction of a Superenalotto syndicate teams of 100 members.

The 3 companies above provide many people an interesting way of playing lotteries online they also allow players from abroad to enter games they would not otherwise have access to. They give players many more chances with which to win prizes with while taking the fuss out of buying tickets and playing.

All e lottery syndicates above permit perspective customers to create member accounts without having to play this way people interested in a system are able get the feel of the shop so to speak before spending any money, just like window shopping.

Using Neteller for Online Gambling Fun

Neteller and online gambling provide a means whereby players can safely deposit funds in order to gamble online. Neteller is one of the most popular internet-based methods to use, which securely transfers money to online casino gambling accounts. As a reliable and convenient way to transfer funds, Neteller offers seven different payment methods from which to choose in addition to five withdrawal options.

Opening an Account

While each online gambling website requires individuals to open separate accounts, Neteller only requires you to open one account with them. However, Neteller is not available in all countries so you will have to be a resident of one of the countries it currently serves. After establishing that you are in fact a resident of a qualified country, you will need to input some personal information to initiate an account. This data includes:

  • Email and password
  • Country
  • Answer to a security question
  • Full name, address and phone number
  • Gender and birth date

For verification, Neteller will send an email to the address you provided. Once verified, you will be asked to enter necessary financial information. The initial registration is the first step towards the Neteller and online gambling experience.

Making a Deposit

Several options are available to account holders who want to deposit funds:

  • Ukash–This option permits users to transfer money from vouchers they have purchased. No fees are charged for Ukash and the transaction is instantly processed.
  • Instant Bank Deposits– The user’s financial institution transfers money to Neteller using online banking services. Fees are charged but rates vary and it is an instant transaction.
  • Local Bank Deposits–This involves money transfers performed inside the bank, which goes to a Neteller account. No fees apply with local bank deposits but clearing times are not instant and vary.
  • Visa or MasterCard–A simple, immediate transfer from one of these credit cards to Neteller. A fee of 1.75 percent is applied for each transaction.
  • Visa Debit Card–This is a free and immediate transfer.
  • International Bank Transfer-No fees are involved but time of completion ranges from two to five business days.

Be aware that Neteller charges customers a currency exchange rate of 2.5 percent in addition to the interbank market rate for that day.

Withdrawals

Options available for withdrawals are:

  • Net prepaid card
  • Check
  • Bank transfer
  • Member wire
  • Bank draft

The time from the moment you perform a withdrawal transaction to the time you receive the money may range from immediately to up to 14 business days. Receiving currency that is different from the currency in your Neteller account will have a foreign exchange fee applied to it as well.

Neteller offers a safe and secure way to transfer and withdraw money while having fun playing online casino games. It is easier to enjoy these games when you know you trusting your financial information with established and reputable companies like Neteller and online casinos.

Are You Gambling When Trading Binary Options?

Are you gambling when trading binary options? If you are, it’s wise to stop and learn the industry. Why would you have a gambling mindset trading? Wouldn’t it make sense to have a plan? If you are thinking about trading, then take it serious, and learn. Do your research. Trading binary options is accelerating when you know you can make fast profits in a short time. Having an appetite for risk should be handled with care.

It sounds easy to trade binary options. You have a striking price, and an expiry time. If you predict correctly in which way the market will go, you profit a predetermined rate. This is usually anywhere between 70%-90% for winning trades. If you lose your trade, you already know what was loss. To most traders, this is considered low risk. Knowing what you will gain, if you win the trade, and knowing what you lose, going into the trade.

Have a plan and be prepared to educate yourself. Treat it as a business and take it serious. This is your money you are talking about. Why wouldn’t you want to treat this like anything else that is worth pursuing? Any new inspiring trader has to remember that slow and steady wins the race and this is what that is. Everyday, make time to learn something new. Practice your trading technique and utilize the demo account. That’s why brokers have them.

Don’t get discouraged if you are not trading successfully in the beginning. Remember that trading is a craft, and you have to put in numerous hours and practice different approaches. Through practice, hard work, and being repetitious, you will overcome the obstacles every trader faces to having a winning blueprint for success.

So are you gambling when you are trading binary options? If you don’t prepare, you will set yourself up for failure and lose all of your investment. If you are one of those people who don’t take the time to invest in themselves and learn how to trade, you will eventually lose every time. Like mentioned before, this is your money you are trading with. If you don’t have a plan to succeed you will lose and be discouraged. Many seasoned traders can vouch this. Don’t come in thinking you are going to make money from the beginning. Emphasis on trading takes discipline, dedication, and the will to be among top traders and have a successful track record. Be prepared and don’t gamble your money. Trading binary options is another opportunity for people to make money, and sometimes gets a bad rep because they simply don’t invest time to learn how to trade.

Horse Racing: The Secret Of Thinking Big Money And Not Thinking Small Money

The secret of thinking big money and not thinking little money is a frame of mind the player need to have if he or she is to make big money. The mass majority of players that consider Return On Investment (ROI) in racing usually consider making a few hundred dollars in profit over a few wagers spent. Or an ROI of a few cents or nickles on the dollars. There’s another way which is as simple and straight forward but much more powerful. This is the case where you intend to play racing as a job or career and play 1,000’s of races over several or more years and not as a pass time.

An example: in the course of 10 years exact at any major track in the USA when the money is summed for all wager types for such a time period it adds into more than several millions of dollars. If you sum the total for 4-5 major tracks it reaches over $30,000,000 for that same period. $30,000,000: THAT’S REAL NAVY, SON! If you’re thinking about getting 5%-70% of that then you’re thinking big money, big business and not gambling. Why? Because you’ll never see the day when gambling will net you that type of money. You need design and not luck.

Thinking small money will not do so either. And you can put your money down on that and win. The secret of thinking big money and not thinking small money in racing is to think big money in the right way. To repeat: the right way. Of course you can play the pick 6 and get lucky but you can’t repeat it at will. It was just an accident. The money is just as real of course. There’s a way to know statistically and of seeing the game a certain way. There’s a way to create a flexible firm plan.

An example of Return On Investment or ROI. In one year exact you put $500 in A and $600 in B investments. You get back $75 on A and $90 on B in profits. Turn each into a fraction and turn each into a percent. Such as: $75/$500 = 15% and $90/$600 = 15% respectively. Another example: in one year exact you put $1,000 each into investments A and B. You get back $75 and $90 respectively in profit. Turn A and B into fractions and turn each into a percent. Such as: $75/$1,000 = 7.5% and $90/$1,000 = 9% respectively. This is called rate of return.

To obtain a large percent of that money and the way to do that is to know and practice handicapping and profitcapping very well. Handicapping is predicting the order of finish positions of races well. Profitcapping is predicting the profit to be made from the in money positions from wager types and the payouts over months and years while dealing with each race on an individual and personal one on one basis. Don’t seek to make a few hundred dollars but 100’s of 1,000’s of dollars or a few millions of dollars. For this you need a business, a statistical and a thinking big money view-point. This is partially the secret of thinking big money and not thinking small money.

Beginners Guide to Australian Greyhound Racing

Greyhound racing is popular not only in Australia but also in other countries such as the United States, Great Britain, Ireland and New Zealand. These are actually the five main large-scale greyhound-racing countries in the world. Some of the small-scale greyhound racers on the other hand are Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and a whole lot more.

In this sport, the greyhounds race by chasing an artificial hare or rabbit, also known as the lure, around a track until they reach the finish line. Whichever crosses the finish line first is of course the winner of the race. This type of racing has extensively become part of the gambling business, which is why the sport has such a stronghold in the aforementioned countries despite expressed concerns of people regarding the health and well being of the dogs.

The history of this racing can be traced back in the 1870s when an experimental greyhound racing was conducted on a straight track at Hendon, beside the Welsh Harp reservoir. The sport didn’t develop though until year 1912 when Owen Patrick Smith introduced the use of oval tracks for the race and an artificial hare as a lure to campaign for a halt in the killing of jackrabbits. Greyhound race betting then started in the 1920s when the certificates system was developed.

In Australia, the Australian Greyhound Racing Association or AGRA is the governing body that regulates greyhound welfare and living conditions. The said association is further divided into various state governing bodies to help facilitate greyhound welfare regulation. One of their responsibilities is to check the greyhounds for parasites, malnourishment or any medical condition, or basically just an overall examination that will assure that the dogs are healthy and in good condition before they actually compete.

The sport is extremely popular to male working-class audiences, especially when it comes to the art of betting. If you are new to the world of betting for this sport, you should first do your homework of researching for reliable greyhound racing tips before you finally place your bet. Greyhound racing tips actually emphasize that race betting is not really a game of chance but a game of analysis and careful scrutiny.

One of the top greyhound racing tips you’d most likely find helpful is to study the dogs. This is important when placing a bet. You don’t just place your bet on any dog without considering its qualities and racing capabilities. Although you can’t know all the dogs too well right away, it would help if you try to find out first the greyhound’s age and track record. In the event that you do win, it is a sound decision to not immediately replay your winnings. Although winning a bet gives you that incredible feeling and assumption that luck is on your side, getting too carried away might just reverse the table. Keeping your winnings with you after a bet instead of betting again immediately will decrease the chances of eventually losing all your winnings.

Identifying Risks to Software Projects

Threats to software development projects are often minimized or overlooked altogether because they are not as tangible as risks to projects in other industries. The risks are there though and just as capable of derailing the software development project as a project in any other industry.

Most project managers in the information field have had the experience of planning a software development project down to the last detail, planning the effort for each of the tasks in the plan down to the last hour and then having some unforeseen issue come along that derails the project and makes it impossible to deliver on time, or with the feature set originally envisioned.

Successful project managers in any industry must also be skillful risk managers. Indeed, the insurance industry has formalized the position of risk manager. To successfully manage the risks to your software development project, you first must identify those risks. This article was written to provide you with some tips and techniques to help you do that. There are a few terms that are not directly applicable to the activity of identifying risks that are helpful to understand before studying risk identification. These are some of those definitions:

  • Risk event – This is the event that will affect the project if it should happen.
  • Threat – A risk event that will have a negative impact on the scope, quality, schedule, or budget of the project should it happen.
  • Opportunity – Not all risks are threats, some are opportunities which will have a positive impact on scope, quality, schedule, or budget should they happen. Threats should be avoided, or their impacts diminished and opportunities encouraged, or their impacts enhanced.
  • Probability – The likelihood that a risk event will happen. This is what people in the gambling business call odds.
  • Impact – Usually refers to a comparative cardinal or ordinal rank assigned to a risk event. It may also refer to an absolute monetary value, period of time, feature set, or quality level.
  • Risk Tolerance – This refers to your organization’s approach to taking risks. Is it conservative? Does your organization welcome calculated risks?
  • Risk Threshold – Your organization’s risk tolerance will usually be expressed as a cardinal or ordinal comparator using the risk events probability and impact to produce the comparator. Risks whose Probability/Impact score exceed this threshold will be avoided or mitigated. Risks whose score is below the threshold are acceptable.
  • Risk Contingency – This is a sum allotted to the project for the purpose of managing risks. It should be split into two sums: one for managing identified risks and one for managing unidentified risks, or unknown unknowns. The sum can be either a monetary amount or an amount of time.

The project manager of a software development project can look to several sources for help in identifying risks: common risks (risks common to every software development project), risks identified with the performing organization, risks identified with the SDLC methodology chosen for the project, risks specific to a development activity, Subject Matter Experts, risk workshops, and surveys.

Common Risks

There are a number of risks that are common to every software development project regardless of size, complexity, technical components, tools, skill sets, and customers. The following list contains most of these:

  • Missing requirements – Requirements needed by the software system to be developed to meet the business goals and objectives of the project.
  • Misstated requirements – Requirements that have been captured but the original intent has been lost or misconstrued in the process of capturing them.
  • Key or critical resources are lost to the project – These resources are usually single contributors, or team members with skill sets in scarce supply for which there is a strong demand in the performing organization. The potential impact of losing the resource for any period of time will be increased if they are assigned tasks on the critical path.
  • Bad estimation – The estimations for effort required for developing the software are either significantly understated (bad) or overstated (also bad). Underestimation is the most common event. Work tends to be prolonged until it takes up all the time allotted by an overestimation.
  • Missing or incomplete skill sets – The results of this risk event will be the same as the results of bad estimation, but the risk will be mitigated differently. The result of a junior programmer being identified as an intermediate programmer may be a significant increase in the amount of effort required to produce their deliverables, or a complete inability to produce them.

– These risk events should be captured by the project manager at the outset of any risk identification exercise, even though they will probably be identified by someone else on the team. Making them visible to the team in advance of any risk identification exercises will avoid time wasted in calling them out and may stimulate thinking about associated risks (“…..what if Jane were to be called away to a higher priority project, might that also cause Fred to be lost to the project?”).

Organizational Risks

These are risks that are unique to the organization performing the project. They may include some of the risks in the list of common risks, and other sources, but will also include risks that have no other sources.

The project manager should consult the archives of previous software development projects for the common risks, where project records have been archived. Gather the risk registers of all the previous projects (or at least enough to provide you with a representative selection of risk registers) and try to match risks in each register. It is highly unlikely that a risk will be common across all projects where there is a good selection of registers but you should closely examine risks that appear in two or more registers for applicability to your project.

Survey the project managers responsible for past software development projects in your organization where archives are not available. It is possible that these project managers may have archived project artifacts including their risk registers, in their personal space even if the organization does not have a structured approach to archival. Getting the benefit of seasoned project manager’s experience from past projects will also be beneficial for deciphering the risk captured in archived risk registers.

Risks will not be stated in duplicate language across different registers (or across different project managers for that matter). You will need to analyze the risk event statement to determine where two or more risk events are identical, despite different descriptions.

SDLC Specific Risks

Your software development project will be exposed to some risks and shielded from others depending on which SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle) methodology you choose to use for your project. Risk avoidance is a significant consideration when choosing an SDLC for the project and your project should choose the SDLC which avoids or reduces the impact of the risks most probable in your case. To that end the identification of risks and the choice of an SDLC are like the chicken and the egg: it is difficult to determine which comes first. Here’s a tip for sequencing the two. Choose your SDLC based on the type of software system being developed and the organization you are developing it in (How experienced is the organization with the tools and components involved? How experienced are they with each SDLC? What are the project priorities?, etc.). Once you’ve decided on an SDLC you can identify the risks associated with it and if the level of risk associated with it exceeds your organization’s risk tolerance, you can re-visit your choice.

There are risks inherent with each different type or category of SDLC. We will talk about a few of the most common risks for the most popular types or categories of SDLC.

Waterfall

Projects using the Waterfall methodology for development will be most prone to any risk event impacting the schedule and that is because there are no intermediate checkpoints in the method to catch problems early on in the build phase. Delays to any activity from requirements gathering to User Acceptance Testing will delay the final delivery for the project. Risk events which fall into the “delay” category will include: delays due to unfamiliarity with tools or components (e.g. programming languages, test tools), delays due to underestimation of effort, delays due to inexperience, and delays due to requirements contributors missing deadlines.

Delays are not the only risk events a waterfall project is susceptible to. Waterfall projects are not well designed to propagate learning across the project so a mistake made in one area of development could be repeated across other areas and would not come to light until the end of the project. These mistakes could mean that development could take longer than necessary or planned, that more re-work is necessary than was initially allowed for, that scope is reduced as a result of discarding bad code, or that product quality suffers.

The Waterfall method tends to be used on larger projects which have a greater duration than other development methodologies making them prone to change. It is the job of the Change Management process to handle all requested changes in an orderly fashion but as the duration of the project increases so too do the chances that the project will be overwhelmed with requests for change and buffers for analysis, etc. will be used up. This will lead to project delays and budget overruns.

Rapid Application Development (RAD)

The intent of Rapid Application Development is to shorten the time required to develop the software application. The primary benefit from this approach is the elimination of change requests – the theory being that if you provide a quick enough turn-around there will be no necessity for changes. This is a double edged sword though. The fact that the method relies on the absence of change requests will severely limit the project’s ability to accommodate them.

The risks that will be the most likely to occur on a project using this methodology will have to do with the software applications fitness for use. The market or business could change during the project and not be able to respond to a resulting change request within the original schedule. Either the schedule will be delayed while the change is made, or the change will not be made resulting in the build of a system that does not meet the client’s needs.

The RAD method requires a relatively small team and a relatively small feature set to support a quick turn-around. One possible result of having a small team is a failure to have a needed skill set on the team. Another will be the lack of redundancy in the skill sets which means that the illness of a team member cannot be absorbed without delaying the schedule or getting outside help.

Scrum

The distinguishing characteristic of this development method is the lack of a project manager. This role is replaced by a team lead. The team lead may be a project manager, but it is unlikely that the performing organization will seek out and engage an experienced project manager to fulfill this role. The method avoids management by a project manager to avoid some of the rigors of project management best practices in an effort to streamline development. The risk introduced by this approach is that there will be a lack of necessary discipline on the team: change management, requirements management, schedule management, quality management, cost management, human resources management, procurement management, and risk management.

The lack of project management discipline could leave the project open to an inability to accommodate change properly resulting in changes being ignored or changes being incorrectly implemented. Lack of experience in human resources management could result in an unresolved conflict, or inappropriate work assignments.

Iterative Methods

The main iterative methods are RUP (Rational Unified Process) and Agile. These methods take an iterative approach to design and development so are lumped together here. This method is intended to accommodate the changes to a project that a dynamic business requires. The cycle of requirements definition, design, build, and test is done iteratively with each cycle spanning a matter of weeks (how long the cycles are will depend on the methodology). Iterative development allows the project team to learn from past mistakes and incorporate changes efficiently.

Iterative methods all rely on dividing the system up into components that can be designed, built, tested, and deployed. One of the advantages of this method is its ability to deliver a working model early on in the project. One risk inherent in this method is the risk that the architecture does not support the separation of the system into components that can be demonstrated on their own. This introduces the risk of not learning from a mistake that won’t be found until the users test the system.

There is a trade off implied in iterative development: develop a core functionality that can be demonstrated first vs. develop the component that will yield the most learning. Choosing core functionality to develop may introduce the risk of failing to learn enough about the system being developed to help future iterations. Choosing the most complex or difficult component may introduce the risk of failing to produce the system the client needs.

Activity Specific Risks

Each activity in a development cycle has its own set of risks, regardless of the methodology chosen. The requirements gathering activity has the following risks: the requirements gathered may be incomplete, the requirements gathered may be misstated, or the requirements gathering exercise may take too much time.

The design portion of the cycle will have the following risks: the design may not interpret the requirements correctly so that the functionality built will not meet the customer’s needs. The design could be done in a way that calls for more complexity in the code than necessary. The design may be written in such a way that it is impossible for a programmer to develop code that will function properly. The design could be written in a way that is ambiguous or difficult to follow, requiring a lot of follow up questions or risking bad implementation. There may be several stages of design from a Commercial Specification all the way to a Detail Design Document. The interpretation of requirements through each stage exposes the stated requirements to misinterpretation.

Programmers may misinterpret the specifications, even when those are perfectly written, risking the development of an application that does not satisfy requirements. The unit, function, and system testing may be slipshod, releasing errors into the QA environment that consume extra time to resolve. Different programmers may interpret the same specification differently when developing modules or functions that must work together. For example, a section of functional specification may deal with both the input of one module and the output of another that are given to two different programmers to develop. The risk is that the discrepancy will not be found until the software is integrated and system tested.

Testing here refers to Quality Assurance testing and User Acceptance testing. While these two activities are different from a tester perspective, they are similar enough to lump together for our purposes. Actual testing effort may exceed the planned effort because of the number of errors found. An excessive number of errors found during testing will cause excessive rework and retesting. Test script writers may interpret the specifications they are working from differently than analysts, programmers, or the clients. User Acceptance Testers come from the business community so are susceptible to the risk of business demands reducing or eliminating their availability.

Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)

Subject Matter Experts are key to the success of the project because of their knowledge. Subject Matter Experts can contribute to all areas of the project but are especially important to requirements gathering, analysis of change requests, business analysis, risk identification, risk analysis, and testing. The key risk for SMEs is that the SMEs key to your project may not be available when they are promised. This will be especially harmful when the SME is responsible for a deliverable on the critical path.

Risk Workshops

Risk workshops are an excellent tool for identifying risks. The workshops have the advantage of gathering a group of Subject Matter Experts in a room so that their knowledge is shared. The result should be the identification of risks that would not have been discovered by polling the SMEs individually and the identification of mitigation strategies that can address multiple risk events.

Advice on how to conduct productive workshops is outside the scope of this article but there are a few tips I’ll give you that may help you get started:

  1. Invite the right SMEs – you need to cover all phases and all activities of the project.
  2. Communicate all the details of the project you are aware of. These include deliverables, milestones, priorities, etc.
  3. Get the project sponsor’s active backing. This should include attendance at the workshop where feasible.
  4. Invite at least one SME for each area or phase.
  5. Split the group into sub-groups by area of expertise, or project phase where you have large numbers of SMEs.
  6. Make certain the different groups or SMEs communicate their risks to each other to encourage new ways of looking at their areas.

The risk workshop does not end with the identification of risks. They must be analyzed, collated, assessed for probability and impact, and mitigation or avoidance strategies devised for them.

Surveys

Surveys or polls are an acceptable alternative to risk workshops where your Subject Matter Experts are not collocated. The lack of synergy that you get with a workshop must be made up by you, however. You’ll need to communicate all the information that could be helpful to the Subject Matter Experts you identify at the outset of the exercise. Once that is done, you can send out forms for the SMEs to complete which will capture the risk events, the source of the risk, the way the risk event might impact the project objectives, etc.

Collate the risks after you receive them, and look for risk events which are either different approaches to describing the same risk, which allow you to combine the two risk events into one, or can be addressed by the same mitigation strategy.

Lack of participation is another disadvantage of the survey or poll method. You may be able to get by with a single SME in one project phase or area of expertise but will have to follow up on reluctant contributors. Don’t hesitate to ask for your project sponsor’s help in getting the level of participation you need. You may even get them to send the invitation and survey forms out initially.

Team Meetings

So far all the sources of identified risks we have discussed have been associated with the planning phase of the project. Executing properly during the planning phase will allow you to gather a comprehensive list of risks, but they will tend to more accurately reflect risks to the earlier project phases than to later phases. Once you’ve created your initial risk register you must keep that document current as you learn more about the project by doing the work and risks become obsolete because the work exposed to the risk has been completed.

Team meetings are the ideal place to update your risk register. The issues that will be brought forward as the team discusses its progress towards completing its deliverables are often related to the risks of meeting the deadlines for the deliverable. You may want to set apart a segment of your meeting for reviewing the impact and probability scores of existing risks to determine the impact the passage of one week has had on them. You should also monitor the team for any new risks they can identify. Risks that went unnoticed when the work was first planned may become visible as the start date for the work gets closer, or more is learned about the work. The project may identify new work as the planned work is done which was not contemplated when risks were initially identified.

You may want to conduct separate risk strategy meetings with your SMEs in cases where the team is insufficiently acquainted with project risks to make them active contributors to an up to date risk register. You should use this approach in addition to your team meetings when your software development project is large enough to require sub-projects. Review each active risk in the register and analyze it for the impact the passage of time has had on it. Typically as work approaches the likelihood of the risk event and/or the impact will increase. As more of the work is done, the likelihood and impact will tend to decrease.

You should monitor the project plan for work that has been completed. Risks to the work just completed will be obsolete and should no longer form part of the discussion of risk probability and impact.

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