END; require_once "include/calendar.php"; require_once "include/planner-include.php"; require_once "include/header.inc.php"; ?> Almost-transcripts. No grammar correction, occasional typo.

Videos of some of my presentations - Please be kind to the server!


11. Travel plans

Categories: 2005.02.20:1 -- Permalink, Comment form

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10. Training so far

Categories: 2004.10.21:3 -- Permalink, Comment form

Software installation in a foreign language is difficult. The first time around, I selected "repair" instead of "reinstall". I realized my mistake around fifteen minutes into the installation. The second time, I used my laptop (yay!) to look up the kanji I didn't know. It was slow going, but at least I knew what was going on. I'm glad kanjipad exists.

I'm waiting for my Windows 2000 installation to finish formatting the hard disk. Our trainers don't really speak English, so I've asked them to e-mail us the design documents we need to study so that I can work on translating the specs. Aris will read up on Delphi. I think that'll work out.

I also asked about cheap places to get bento boxes so that we don't have to eat at restaurants all the time. With a lunch allowance of 800 yen, all the restaurants are too expensive.

We have a week to learn how to read specifications, understand Japanese software design, and write Java programs. I'm a bit worried about software engineering, particularly if they want to use lectures. I think we'd have an easier time with computer-mediated communication, because then I have an instant record of everything said, and I can look words up quickly.

Today's commute was one and a half hours. Longer than I expected, but apparently quite normal. We have monthly tickets, so we don't have to worry about transportation expenses unless we lose the ticket. I'll probably still spend a bit on transportation during weekends, as the paid segment doesn't give me access to a lot of tourist spots. Oh well, that's all right. =)

More stories soon.

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9. New video up: electronic dictionary presentation

Categories: 2004.10.14:3 -- Permalink, Comment form

I forgot to video the actual presentation again, so I redid it in my room.


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8. Continuation of OJT lecture

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During the part 1 session that I gave you, the importance of establishing the training plan as well as the points to keep in mind to establish communication with Japanese persons as well as personal management.

Culture shock

The next thing I'd like to share with you is culture shock. Have you heard this terminology, "cultural shock"? I'm sure this has nothing to do with you.

So what kind of images do you have in mind when you hear this particular term, "culture shock"? So how many of you have been to overseas countries before? Is this your first time visiting an overseas country? At least 80% are here in Japan for your first experience. So culture shock is the kind of symptom when the person is away from your own home country and there is a great possibility of happening to everyone. Whenever the person is away from your own home country, you are away from your parents, friends, brothers and sisters, and you are in a strange country with different customs. Everyone has a chance to have culture shock. This is just a symptom, not a serious disease. However, if you do not do anything and if you just leave culture shock to make a space in your heart and spirit, that might cause you to have serious damage to your heart.

We have a number of cases that we have experienced. One person every few years is so stressed out that these people are no longer able to carry out training here in Japan and they have to go home. The stress is something you should think of carefully. So important thing to hear again is to understand what culture shock is all about. Once you know it, and if you realize it is happening, you may find a way to solve the problem. Allow me to go into detail.

Here are the characteristics of culture shock. Culture shock may take place with a mixture of all these elements.

Try to utilize this page and you can evaluate your mental state. If some of them fit into your state, you may be suffering from culture shock. One of the important symptom is if you oversleep or are unable to get enough sleep, this is a particular symptom that you should realize. Since you are working in the IT business industry, you may need to work very hard during the weekdays, so you may need to obtain good sleep on weekends. However, you need to differentiate between physical fatigue and spiritual fatigue. If you are sleeping on weekends because of physical fatigue, it is okay. However, if you are sleeping because of emotional fatigue, it is important to realize something is happening to you. Advice to keep this handbook or paper with you so that you can use it as a guide or yardstick to measure your mental status. Whenever you are establishing communication with Japanese people and you begin to realize that these symptoms are starting to appear...

This is the second page of symptom of culture shock. You may use these as a guide or yardstick again.

This page contains how the culture shock process takes place in your mind. The horizontal line uses as index the day you arrived here in Japan from the left until the day you go home. At present you are in the excited period. Some people like to use this honeymoon period. Since you came to Japan, your mental state is quite excited, and this is the time you try to observe so many different things. However, as soon as you are thrown into a new environment or you may be asked to live in a different atmosphere, then this honeymoon period will no longer continue. So far that you have carried out so many WBT and so that you will learn as much Japanese as possible together with your friends having good drinks or discussion with friends from the same country. However, starting from 19th, you will be thrown into new environment. Some of you have to work on your own, some of you will be paired up with old acquaintances, but you are on your own. Even though the two of you happen to be receiving the same kind of training at the same company, you may not be working on the same floor. You may be working entirely on your own. At the present moment, you think, it doesn't happen to me--because you are still in the excited period. As your environment changes, your feeling may cool down, and you may enter the depressed stage. If that happens, I advise you to refer back to these two pages as a yardstick to evaluate your emotional state.

However, this kind of process takes different by person by person. For some people, your excitement will continue to grow and you don't get depressed, but that's different from person to person. As I said, it's not necessary that everyone will go through this process, but if you establish good relationship with your teachers, your state may go up. You may believe that may be end of it, no longer need to suffer, but in actuality it doesn't happen like that. You may experience little drop of your emotional state. So some people may experience number of repetitions of recovery period and then finally reach the stable accommodation period.

Please read the remaining pages so that you will have a much better understanding of what culture shock is about. The last thing I'd like to explain is the so-called re-enter shock. Once you go back to your country, you may suffer re-enter shock. You may think "I shouldn't be back. Japan was much better." While you were in Japan, you may think you hate Japanese. Once you are back in your country, you may miss Japanese people.

So far I gave you the explanation of symptoms and what kind of process you are going to deal with in culture shock. From now on, I am going to give you how to deal with it. I'm sure that all of you have the capability and ability to cope with the culture shock. You will try your best to overcome whenever you think you get caught with it. Since each one of you have different characters and personality, you may choose to have a sense of humor to get away from the culture shock. Some avoid a quick decision. Choose the way that is best to deal with the culture shock. Last page also contains the additional informations so that you can get hint for life here so that you can escape being caught with it.

That kind of chart you just saw was not something I came up with. It was made by a professional psychologist. This particular psychologist wrote in his book that the honeymoon stage is when you ask people if they have questions and they say no... That is the honeymoon stage. However, if you fail to establish good communication with the Japanese people, you may become in such a state that you no longer react, or you over-react to Japanese people's behavior and everything will become a problem.


Allow me to repeat once again, it is very important to establish your training plan. If you have any doubt or question about the training plan, then do not hesitate to ask your teachers, on the first day or second day, to make sure you fully understand what the expectations will be. That will be one of the major keys to make your training successful. Your technical knowledge or technical skill will be determined by how much the good communication you can establish with the Japanese people from your host company. And I shared with you three important rules. First is to keep punctual time, second good manners - try to utilize greetings, and third, try to keep memos. And also, I mentioned how to carry out self-management including taking care of your own help as well as abiding with in-company rules and regulations. I also mentioned for those of you who live in company dormitory as well as company apartment, try to keep the community rules so that you can avoid unnecessary problems with your neighbors. Fourth thing I gave you explanation is the culture shock, either on big scale or small scale. Each one of you may be able to suffer culture shock, so I gave you the explanation on that. I also gave you actual expamples on how to deal with problems whenever you feel you are starting to suffer from culture shock. We AOTS staff members all wish you a good start from next week. Try to keep all of these hints and ideas in your mind. So now you will have a chance to see video on OJT. This video can be quite useful information for all of you. It takes about 30 minutes.


Looking at the video, I forgot to remind you about two things. One is the money issue. As you saw during the video, you are here in Japan as trainees. So the pocket money you will receive from the company is not a kind of payment of any form. It is not a salary or bonus. If any time, the host company will ask you for overtime work, or if the company asks you to join a development team for a bonus, you have to say no. You are a trainee, not a company employee.

The second important thing is about new friends you may make while you are living in Japan. As you saw in the video, it is kind of a bad acquaintance. People may approach you and ask if you want to be a part-timer. There are people always making up new ideas and how to involve you with crimes in Japan. One of the examples we have is forged telephone cards. For example, someone may approach you asking if you want to sell telephone cards. We have had this one incident here at YKC, there were so many forged telephone cards used at this public phone, so YKC had to ask NTT to come and make an investigation. It was very unfortunate and very sad incident we had in the past. So I must ask you to self-discipline because people always make a new trap and sweet-talk you into something illegal in Japan. In that case, you must have the guts to say no. If you think you have involved in any kind of illegal act, do not hesitate to contact us at YKC as well as AOTS in general.

So I just gave you this warning, because this kind of thing may happen.

So far I have given explanation from agenda 1 to 5. Next I am going to provide you with two different kinds of evaluation sheet. The first evaluation chart I am going to provide you now, we should have given you the first day, and I am very sorry I have to give you this one at this time. So since I am giving you this yellow sheet now, you have to remember your state when you first arrived here at YKC. You have to go all the way back to eight weeks ago, and try to fill in this chart. So either tomorrow or day after tomorrow, we will give you another version where you can put your current status, or how much you know and knowledge you gained after arriving here in Japan. So that they can make a comparison on how much improvement you made. Allow me to explain why this kind of delay took place. In order to determine the established number of the questions to be asked at the initial stage, your projects still had to be established. Until those were determined, we were unable to come up with the questions. So please come and get one each and make sure to write just like you were on the first day.

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7. Afternoon lecture for your OJT

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So starting from next week we will be receiving the OJT from your host companies. As I said before, Japanese companies are very punctual in time. 5 minutes delay will bring you a negative assessment. It is a great loss to receive such evaluation or self-appraisal for being late, and that's why I have kept reminding you for the past eight weeks to be on time, so let's keep the time. So next week, 19th will be your last day here at AOTS, and you will be beginning your ojt, so it will be a new start. You will be making another fresh start as of next week, so please remind yourself to be punctual as well as other things.

So I'll give you the OJT guidance. First I would like to explain to you the outline of this day's schedule. The first part of this lecture from 1:30 to 3:00 pm will cover the things you need to pay attention to in order to make your training as successful as possible. part one lecture will be divided into three big categories. The first is the training program or training plan, the second is communication, and the third is self-management or self-control. Then we'll have a short break. Fourth agenda is I'd like to give you an explanation of the cultural shock. Lastly, you'll have a chance to see the video of the ojt as a summarization of today's lecture. I'm hoping to finish by 4:00 pm. if there is no time, I may need to skip showing you the video, so we'll see how fast we can progress. Number 6 agenda is an evaluation sheet. Number 7 is also an evaluation sheet in Japanese. I hope to complete by 4:30.


Allow me to start. I've already handed you some material, and the same thing is appearing on the screen. The first thing I'd like to mention is the training program or plan. Do you know what kind of training plan or program you will have? I hope everyone knows your training plan. I've already handed you "Do you understand your specialized technical training?". First I will ask, does everyone fully understand your training plan? If so, I may not go into detail. If any one of you are not quite sure, then I will spend some time and give you some explanation. Which way do you want? Can we skip, or do you need any kind of explanation of this?

Please take "Do you understand your specialized technical training?". Please fill in your understanding of your training plan. I'll give you five minutes. Whatever you have difficulty filling in, that means your understanding is not adequate. You are filling this in now to find out how much you understand about your training. On your first day, you need to clearly understand what you are doing. You are writing it down for your own sake. Each one of you clearly needs to understand your goal and target and objective in being here in Japan, otherwise your training will not become a success. If you don't know why you are here in Japan, these things need to be clarified before you actually go and work at your host companies. ... For example, you have your own objective or target. If your company has another objective, for example if it comes to the plant, the company wants to increase the production line, whereas the trainee may want to know the kind of management in the company. So in that case, maybe trainees' objectives and companies' objectives may not be identical, but at least they are heading in the same direction. Important thing is to make sure what you are heading for or what your are looking for, at least you and the host company have to be looking in the same direction.

In some cases, some trainees who don't know why they are receiving this OJT are embarrassed to ask. Or if you think you understand but you really don't. If you start your OJT in this manner, you will come across barriers. At the very beginning, you must clearly understand why you are here and what kind of target or objective you are aiming for. So if you look at the bottom left, that will be your first day of work with your host company. The first day has its own importance. Normally, the host companies on your first day of your work, they will promote a sort of guidance session so that you can smoothly transfer to the host companies.

My advice is on your first day, you will take the proactive approach with your teachers from the host company, and you may need to clarify all the points on which you are not clear. So if your start is carried out in appropriate manner, then for example, your training can be represented as climbing up a mountain. You know exactly what you are doing and which stage of progress you are doing. If you are able to work in this manner, then at the end, you will fulfill your objective for being here in Japan.

So far I have given you how important it is to establish your training plan in order to make your stay successful. So do you fully understand, or does anyone want to ask a question or make a confirmation? Again, allow me to stress that you will have a chance to meet your teacher from your host company either on the first day or second day, so make good use of that first meeting with your teachers.

Second agenda is about communication. You obviously will establish communication not only with your teachers but also with Japanese people from your host companies. In order to avoid any kind of miscommunication or problem, you need to bear in mind certain things. Sorry, before that, I need to mention the financial aspect.

Proper allowance

The money is quite important issue so that you will be able to fully utilize your training period. This paper covers your financial status since the day you have arrived here in Japan up until the 19th of next week. So your training cost, as I said on the first day, is subsidized by the Japanese government as well as the host company. The monies are provided to each one of you. So let's confirm how the financial status will change when you go and work for the host company. Air fare and air ticket will remain the same. You will be paid for the actual lodging allowance. You will be actually receiving some kind of lodging. Some of you may, after leaving YKC, live in a company's dormitory. The place to live will be provided to you by the host company. However, as far as I know, 80% of you will either continue to stay at YKC or move over to TKC, so your living condition may stay the same. And also you will be provided with the meal allowance of 2700 yen a day as well as personal allowance of 1200 yen a day.

Starting from 3, 4 and 5, these are the kind of fees AOTS provided to your host companies. Not a payment for you. So the cost of technical training will be provided to the company at 4650 yen a day. Cost of technical training will be paid from AOTS to your host company, and host company will be able to use this fee to purchase a PC or provide for the teacher's personnel cost as well as provide textbooks. That decision will be made by each company. And you will continue to be provided with medical service. As long as you are an AOTS trainee, your health insurance is covered by this service.

So after the 19th, you will be paid for the meal allowance as well as the personal allowance for your company. Form of payment will vary from company to company. Some companies pay every month, or every week, or every two weeks. That is up to the company. Whenever you will receive the money from your host company, please check the amount. After you check the amount, you will need to fill in the receipt. You also need to obtain a copy of the receipt which you will be signing. So my advice is better to keep a copy of the receipt in case of problem. If you have the copy, that means you have the evidence in your hand, and can easily solve the problem.

I gave you the explanation about your financial status as of next week. Does anyone have any questions? Does everyone fully understand?


Next is how to establish communication with Japanese people without making any problems or miscommunication. In order to make your training a successful one, I have tried to use this cause-and-effect diagram (fishbone). I have already explained about the proper allowance, and I already gave you the explanation about the importance of establishing your training plan and schedule by good planning. Next I would like to share with you how to establish good communication with your teachers as well as your colleagues.

First, I would like to give you a type of person who is favored and liked by Japanese teachers from your host companies. The teachers like students to take memos or put in your notes, write down the things you think important. Taking the memo whenever you listen to something very useful or important, and accustomizing to this habit, will be very appreciated by your teachers. Some companies will ask you to write a report on a weekly or monthly basis. Try to make the memo as much as possible. Important thing is obviously you will be receiving training using the computer. You may be most of the time sitting in front of the PC, and your teacher may give you important advice. While you are looking at the screen, you may think you understand. But when a change of scene takes place, you thought you understood, but it actually didn't penetrate into your mind. Don't rely on your memory, but document them, so you can always rely on your memo. Looking from your profit point of you, it's important to listen very carefully to what your teacher has to say. Most of your teachers are very busy because they are very capable persons, so they are giving your their valuable time. Don't rely on your memory, write it down, so it will give a good impression to your host company. If other teachers come and tell you other things, you can always refer to your notes and say so-and-so teacher said so a few weeks ago. ... (if you keep notes), the company thinks you are not wasting their precious time.

So the people at YKC as well as interpreter like myself will try to explain in detail, but once you go to host company, they may not speak just like we do. In that case, you should ask, "Please say it again." It is very important. Otherwise you will never get the chance to learn what they have to teach you. Some other Japanese way of establishing communication is just looking into your eyes. Some teachers say "Why don't you try it?" Clearly that is not adequate. In that case, you have to voice your opinions. And also, during these past weeks, you devoted yourself to acquiring Japanese skill. Try not to be hesitant. Try to proactively (engage them in conversation). And also, in order to avoid miscommunication with you and your teachers or colleagues, obviously you are working in IT industry in which lots of English is used. However, it is not necessary that even if your teacher uses a lot of English, they understand English well. In that case, it is better to use Japanese to avoid problems. Some of you have already purchased electronic dictionaries or have ordinary dictionaries. The methodology doesn't matter as long as you establish good personal relationships with your teachers so that you don't have miscommunication.

So in the past, here in the past, we have had a number of successful trainees. These people had two things. They had acquired the habit of taking memo. Those successful trainees had managed to create their own dictionaries based on their memos. That is a successful way of making your training. So in the past, we have had a number of successful trainees during the OJT. Their skill of Japanese was dramatically improved, and they made a great success. Try to write your own memo as well as your own dictionary. That is the quickest way to make a success. The memo is for you, not for others. You will obviously be working in different fields of IT. Try to make use of the memo and words.

In my past experience tells me that after you have worked for your host company, you will either be coming back to YKC or TKC, and you will have a chance to compare your memos with other trainees. You will have a chance to evaluate other people's notes so that you can find out how they are acquiring their skills. That kind of competing with each other may give you good results.

So as I said, as of next week, you will be with your host company's people. You are not dealing with people at YKC any more. You will be dealing with Japanese people at your company, so use your Japanese. Find a way to improve your skill.

There is another important point to be remembered. And also it is important to have the periodical meeting as well as to evaluate your progress during your training. So as I said, at the very start of your training at your host company, you need to establish your consensus--your plan and objectives of receiving the training for you and your company. In between, you need to have periodical meetings with your teachers from your host company in order to establish a consensus as well as evaluate your progress. For example, if I have no idea what kind of environment you will be asked to work in and receive your training. In the middle, you may be asked to join some kind of team. Maybe halfway, you may get lost. You might not understand what you are doing there. That is why you need to have a periodical meeting with your host meeting. If you do not do anything, you will have such a chaotic situation. My advice is to have some kind of meeting at least once a week. It is important to define the time and when. Which day and which time. An important thing is that if you do not know when you are going to have this kind of periodical meeting, then you should make a proposal. Say that you would like to have a meeting with your teacher, say every Monday morning at 10 AM.

And also, it is very important to establish a good feeling of trust between you and the people from your host company, so try to utilize your memo as well as your weekly or monthly report, and try to get as much as possible from your host company.

Another important thing to establish communication with Japanese people is that if you cannot do something, you have to say it. If you do not understand, say it. And also, you have to do three things: to report, and consult, and try to correspond. These three things are very important. So for example, if your first assignment is to create some kind of program by next Friday, the first thing you have to say is whether you can do it or whether you are unable to do it. As I said, report is very important. Your task is to complete a task by Friday. If you think you are unable to finish by Friday, in that case, you have to report to your teacher. You cannot wait until Friday. You have to say to your teacher, despite the fact that I gave you my word to finish on Friday, I don't think I can do that. You should do that on Wednesday or Thursday. You cannot wait until Friday to say I cannot do it. So if you don't say anything, then the people in the host company think you are doing okay. If you report to them that you are unable to do it, they might give you advice on how to achieve the task. Let them know your progress at all times.

Important thing is to make as much detailed a report as possible. If you are working in a plant, everyone can see your progress. If you are working on a computer program, only you can see your progress, no one else. You need to make a report saying how much progress you have made, otherwise no one will know how you are doing. My proposal is that at least once every day, before you go home, try to make a report to your teacher or manager because now you know how to send e-mail in Japanese. If the manager is not there, you can make the report every day. If the manager is there, you can make a verbal report about what you achieve every day.

And also, I would like to remind you about some of the manners. You know some of the famous daily phrases like "Ohayou gozaimasu". If you have to go home before everyone else, you have to say "Osaki ni shitsureishimasu". And also in order to establish good communication with people from your host company, try to use these useful phrases as much as possible. It will become a key for your success. Japanese people try to make a good start every morning. That is why "Ohayou gozaimasu" is important. You always greet me with "Ohayou gozaimasu", but you are doing it because you are there with your trainee friends. However, if you happen to be on your own, surrounded by 50 Japanese strangers, you may be slightly hesitant to say these phrases. My advice is the first day is extremely important, so you have to have the brave heart and try to make the first by saying "Ohayou gozaimasu" to everyone you meet in the company. That will make for a very smooth transition. So unlike manufacturing plants where everyone starts work at 8:30 sharp, working at an IT company means some of the engineers may not have slept last night, or some may be on flexible time so will come in at around 11. You may come to the office every morning at 9:00 AM and find no one there. But it's important to say the first words! I'm sure you can make a good start and you can do it. And always, a word of thanks works magic. If someone is nice to you, try to say thank you as much as possible. On your time to go home, I'm sure there will still be many Japanese working, so I advise you to use "Osaki ni shitsureishimasu." Also, if some Japanese people go home before you, then you should use "Otsukaresama deshita." OJT, what you have learned in 8 weeks of Japanese here, now you can actually use them.

And also, I would like to mention about whenever you make a mistake in your host company. Whenever you think you made a mistake, the first word to be used is "Sumimasen" -- word of apology. Because in Japan, it is important for you to apologize first. The reason for making a mistake is second issue. Important thing is to admit you made a mistake. It will give you a very good impression. If you can be able to master these basic attitudes which I have mentioned, you will be liked by your colleagues.

I would like to summarize this second agenda of communication. To make the teacher feel like I want to teach this trainee more, what you should be doing:

Self control

Next is self control or self management. First is the punctuality. Punctual time-keeping. Generally speaking, Japanese people as well as Japanese companies will keep very tight, severe time control. Looking from your benefit point of view, you need to adjust yourself into the Japanese society as of next week. Whenever Japanese people try to use the on-time time management, if you are asked to meet somewhere at 10 AM, you should be there 9:55. We have a thing, ten minutes advanced time. You should be there at least five minutes before 10.

Another important aspect is health. As you have heard during the introduction course, the Japanese season is going toward winter season. Winter season means you will be experiencing the kind of coldness you have never experienced before. That is why you need to take care of yourself really well and pay attention. The change of the season means that sometimes there are very hot days and then sometimes very cold.

And also, you will be asked to obey the rules and regulations of the company including the safety rules and regulations. However, in your case, you won't be working at a plant or manufacturing facility, so there are no dangerous rules or regulations that you have to abide. If there are any in-house rules or regulations, please obey them.

However, there is the danger may exist even in the IT industry. They must have some kind of company security code, so you may not have access into certain kind of program. You need to keep that, or you may come across some kind of trouble or incident. Please keep that in mind--how much accessible information you can obtain from that company or not.

And also, for those people staying at YKC or TKC, it is okay, but for those people staying in apartment or company dormitory, in Japan, we have very strict rules about disposing of garbage. You need to segregate. They have to be all divided. You have to abide by these rules. You will have to understand we have only a very small population of foreigners in Japan, so you should avoid any kind of problem because you don't want to get blamed. It is always helpful if you know the rules and how to do it. If you know it, then you can avoid unnecessary problems with Japanese people, and you will be welcomed and liked by the Japanese people.

So far I have managed to give you the explanation about your training plan as well as how to establish the communication with the Japanese people as well as self-management. Any question?

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6. Next session: Mr. Shinya KISAI

Categories: 2004.09.30:3 -- Permalink, Comment form


Personal introduction

I have already distributed my information in English, but because of the time constraint, let me skip it. Let me just say that I am sixty years old. My hobby is climbing up mountains. I have a plan to make a visit to Nepal on the 24th of October for trekking of the area very close to Mt. Everest. About one month ago, I attended an academic meeting in China, and I visited a number of places including Shinzen and Amoy. I heard some of you came from Mongolia. I've been to Mongolia twice in the past. That was in order to attend the Mongol academic meeting. I was invited by the universities. I have worked for Fuji Xerox for the past 34 years. For many years I've worked as a system engineer, and eventually I managed projects. At the present moment, I became the president of a company after I decided to be independent from Fuji Xerox, and I give consultations like this.


I have three things to talk about. The first is how the Japanese software industry makes progress and what will be the view of the future. The second is IT projects, issues and problems. Third point is the important of communication skills, which will be extremely helpful for you if you want to work as engineers within this kind of business environment. In Japan it's said that people are beginning to realize the importance of communication skills. When the new graduates try to apply to many different organizations, one of the criteria for hiring is the communication skill. 20 years ago, one of the priorities of the company for hiring was how well the person can work together with other people. However, 10 years ago, this criteria changed. Companies began to seek people with creativity. Nowadays, communication skill is one of the top priorities.


In order for you to either work in Japan or work with a Japanese company, it is helpful to know the brief history of how computers have developed from old days. The first computer in Japan with the name of Fuji was manufactured by Fuji Film in March 1956. Fuji Xerox, the company I used to work for a long time, is a subsidiary company belonging to Fuji Film. Around 1957, there were many numbers of computation centers established in Japan. Most of the computing centers were using the IBM computer. At that time, there were many computing centers using domestic computers manufactured by Toshiba as well as Fuji. I was engaged in this kind of business sector from 1965. 1965 was about the year when the Japanese banks implemented the first-generation online systems. During the end of 1969, the first software company was established in Japan. At the present moment, we have several tens of thousands of companies dealing with software-related work. Breakdown of what kind of work these companies are dealing with... Government-related work is 58.8%, computer maker is 21.4%, and general use is 19.8%. In 1970, IBM made the official announcement for the unbundling policy. (Slide 5)

The result of this announcement of the unbundling policy, many new companies emerged in the market. This is the breakdown of the companies who are doing business in software-related work in the 1970s. (Slide 6). This is the slide showing the hardware companies. (Slide 7) In the middle column are the domestic and export totals. Beginning from 1970s, Japanese computer-related technology as well as performance has started to increase and improve.

This is after 1975, many of the computer's technologies have dramatically improved. So I was involved in the implementation of the LAN system into the market. The market made great change in 1995 when the Windows 95 was first introduced to the market. Also, the market went through another great change when the first mobile phone was introduced into the market in 1995. This is the history of how the information industry made change. While we started information industry started for providing work for the government-related work, then went into manufacturing, then finance, then logistic and distribution, then communication, now we seem to be aiming for electric government or the person. But there are still a lot of question marks. We aren't quite sure where we are going.

As Mr. Kiniyama mentioned during his preesntation, the Japanese software industry is facing a very difficult business environment at the moment. At the present moment, we have several thousand operators. (repeats statistics from slide 11). The total turnover (global turnover) is about 70 trillion yen. As I said, at the present moment, about 570k people are engaged in software development work. In China, around same number of people graduate from institutes and go to obtain jobs in IT industries. Chinese influence is beginning to be very strong here in Japan.

Problems facing the software industry

Custom-made software

We have a number of the issues related to the software industry in Japan. One of the difference between Japan and European and American markets is that custom-made software is necessary. Most European and American companies prefer to use packaged software. That is why, since you have to make everything from scratch, the cost of system development is becoming too high. Another unique form of employment, especially when it comes to software development engineers, is that normally you will be asked to work at the client's company, not in your own.


Another problem is that software industry is facing this stratified system. You have the parent company, then the subcontractor, then the second tier, then the third tier... The added value is considered to be very small, so manhour has not been correctly evaluated. The reason because Japanese people as well as Japanese companies fail to provide information. Even the service is important. People are expected to pay for this service. This is the problem derived from the company who place the order as well as the company who receive the order. Their relationship cause the problem. In the case of software industry, most of the people working have great knowledge of engineering and technical skill, but you don't know much about selling and sales kind of knowledge. I'm sure you will immediately detect this kind of disadvantages once you go to host companies and try to receive training there. Most of the software companies in Japan are considered to be either small or medium-sized companies. As I said, we have total number of slightly more than 7000 companies in software development. six000 employ less than 100 workers. 100 million yen capitalization or less, 5000 companies. Software development become border-less, including (list of countries).

These are the top 20 companies listed in here. (Slide 13) The top 20 major software giants control at least 70% of all the turnovers coming out of this industry.

Global competition

I'd like to talk about the issues and problems relating to the information technology industry in Japan. Obviously, issues and problems common to all for the IT business can be divided into three different categories. Sales on the left-hand. In the middle is development activity. On the right is the supporting activity. There are many number of the sisues and problems coming out of these development activities. One of the biggest difficulty in the Japanese software industry is facing is very severe competition from Chinese and Thai software industries. The labor cost from China is said to be 1/10th that of Japanese labor. But Chinese labor price is going up little by little. They are still 1/3 compared to Japan when it comes to labor cost. Especially in major cities like Peking, and Shanghai, this labor price is going up slowly. So since the Chinese labor price is going up, now the focus will be Thailand, India, and elsewhere. That's why the needs of Japan and what you can provide seems to be coinciding. Maybe your labor cost will also go up accordingly. You have to take account of infrastructure and other factors.

Surprisingly, there aren't many Indians working for IT business here in Japan. It seems that Japanese companies prefer to work with China and SE Asia countries. At the present moment, IT business-related companies' focus is shifting toward stringent activities focusing on sales. Also to provide a much more strict control on project management work than before.


There is a great movement which started to take place from recent years is the shift from hardware to providing the services. And also the people beginning to think it is important to provide good consulting work, focusing on sales skill as well as the skill to provide proposals and skills to your clients.

The second is the project issues and problems.

Project management

How many of you have involved yourself in the project? Please raise your hand. In Japan, people are starting to pay attention to how important to look after management of the project is. We call it project management. So project management means that you are not asked to just develop a certain technical engineering system, but involvement of human factors is becoming to be considered very important. People skill. So in order to carry out the project, you will always confront three goals. You have to keep it within the budget. You have to deliver the project on delivery time which you promised. As well as you have to have a good outcome. So that's why you as a human being you need to establish a good plan and provide a good execution and provide a good control of your project. But most projects don't go like that. Here I wrote three characteristic of carrying out a project. These three elements I have taken out from the PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge). It's a project management association. Delivery date, service in product which is unique to your own company, and you will try to provide a detailing of the work phase by phase.

Allow me to skip...

Time, cost and scope

When you talk about the project, there are so many different kinds of projects which exist. Most of the software company dealing with the IT industry, we try to deal with the development of information systems as well as the development of networking systems. These are the main focus of our business. So allow me to give you a definition for the terminology of project management. Project management is in order to provide satisfaction for the items that were requested by the customer. You need to apply the activities, including the technological skills and methods. Whenever you will execute a project, you will face the three constraints: time, cost, and scope (the outcome of the product as well as the quality of the product). So what normally happens in the market is that your initial work is considered to be that gray small pyramid. As your project progresses, you will receive the request from your customers, and the size or cost of your project is likely to inflate. The problem most of us is facing is that obviously the scope and size of the work has expanded as you can see, so naturally the time and working hours and cost will likely increase. However, it is the matter of negotiation between the software industry and the customers how you are going to charge this extra cost. If you are not doing anything clever, then your project will end up as a project making absolutely no money. In some cases you will make red.


So this chart contains the so-called lifecycle of a project. On the vertical line shows the availability of manhour cost against the horizontal line, which shows the time. In the midphase, your manhour cost is most likely to reach quite high. At the end of the project, that manhour cost will almost become 0. This particular chart (23) shows you the incident of emergence of number of the risks in dottled color red line, and inference coming out of these risks are used with the blacking dotted line. In order to interpret this particular chart, the risk is most likely to take place at the initial stage of the project. The risk is most likely to be dissipated at the end. However, the inference coming out of the risk will become serious toward the end of the project. These three bombs show you that you are most likely to come across risks in the beginning. If you have too many risks, your project is most likely to fail at the end. In order to carry out successful project management, most important thing is to how you will make the forecasting of how many, what kind of risks you may experience at the start of the project. Risk coming out from many different areas. There are many different types of risks that you may face. So if you want to determine the performance or skill of the project manager, think of how much the project manager can see how many risks there are.

Sample failures

So from now on, I would like you to share some of the failures we have experienced.

What is the failed project? Are you familiar with the Japanese TV program called Project X, from NHK? In Japan, we have two different categorization. If the project make a success, we will call it Project X, successful. If failed, batsu or peke. So many people say that failed project, but the definition of the failed project is somewhat ambiguous. Allow me to give you the definition of failed project. Failed project is in case you are unable to deliver the requirement from your customer in terms of Quality, Cost and Delivery, that is definetely a failed project. If the company fails to make a profit, that is also a failed project. However, generally speaking, the people most likely to be referring to a failed project would be the project that does not bring profit to the company.

This is the success rate and failure rate of projects in Japan. (28). How many of you have had a success rate of what? Out of more than a few hundred project numbers, at least 73.3% are failures. As you can see, majority of the projects ended up as a failure. From now on, I will share with you a number of the failures that someone I know closely has experienced, including myself.

I only wrote down the six, but there are so many more.

Production management

This is the actual example of failure which we experienced in the manufacturing industry in the production management area. The status was that software development manhour was dramatically increased. It didn't say the actual numbers in it, but this project was about 50 million yen to start with. However, the project manhour was dramatically increased, so it ended up as 75 million yen. There were number of reasons for the failure. First one is the so-called internal reason, which was the relationship between system engineers and the sales department. External reason is that the customers came up with different requirement from different department, so the customer's requirement was not unified as one. And another third reason is that the client size, each different department keep coming up with additional requirements one after the other. As a result of that, the project should have been completed within 50 million, but the software development company spent 75 million yen. Lessons learned: one of them, just because the client give you some order or requirement using strong attitude, don't listen to him. You have to understand the essence of the project. Another thing that we have learned is that we needed to understand the system within the customers. What kind of project operating system, what kind of responsibility is in the hands of whom... These details we need to understand. As I said on the third external reason for the failure is that customers keep on adding additional requirements. Just because you are facing the delivery time, if you decide to pour additional engineers, project will not necessarily be finished as a success. That doesn't solve the problem. This kind of problem will be derived from the communication among the people.

Sales management

Second example of project failure is from the commercial side, when the sales management system failed. This was an example of receiving the ... for the finished product, which we delivered to the customer. However, this finished software did not meet the requirements of the customer. This was not a large-scale project. It was quite a small size, about 20 million yen budget. One of the reason was the internal reason. The person who worked within the sales department made his own judgment and decided to place the order using external vendor to carry out the software development work. Since then we have so many different kinds of companies engaged in software development work, you have to have eye to analyze and evaluate to whom you want to give the order to. If the sales person make the final judgment based on the cheap price, then he or she may end up with receiving the software that comes without any document, or the contents of the software itself is extremely poor or low-quality. We have a saying here in Japan, you buy cheap thing and you lose your money. So this is the kind of lesson we have learned from past company.

Engineering management

Third example comes from engineering management. This was quite a big project, with a budget of 100 million yen. The production cost went out of the way because halfway through the project, the client came up with extra requirements, and software company couldn't make a stop to it. So the external reason, the project wasn't properly functioned within the customer's company. Because this is the kind of typical failure you may experience in Japan since most of your customers aren't professionals, they don't know anything about system development. So the lesson that we have learned is that once you know the customer or the client, they don't have any kind of system to deal with the project, you have to maneouver the battle airplane with a single engine. And second lesson we have learned is that you need to clearly divide the responsibility. What kind of responsibility are in the hand of the client? If you are just told what to do, the customer wants you to do everything. You shouldn't say yes all the time. You should divide the responsibility. This kind of failure is most likely to derive as the start-up of project management is taking place and the work breakdown structure is not successfully defined. So you must not do anything which is not stipulated in the work breakdown structure. Well, it is quite true to say how the minds of your client or customer work is that they often say to you, since you are the professional, you have 100% responsibility, do what you think is best. But that is a trap. You are most likely to fall down later on. This is where the difficulty lies.

Engineering technical management

The fourth example. This is the engineering technical management system to be used for precision machinery sector. We do not have many failure like this in the past. We received the complaints from the customer because the function and performance did not meet the customer's requirements. The reason for the failure came from the internal reason. People gave the overtalking. It was insufficient technical specification as well as verification for engineering feasibility was not sufficient. The lesson learned is that we need to fully understand the needs of the customer so that the company can lead the client in the right direction, and also to say what you can do and what you cannot do--these have to be directly conveyed to your customer. And also that you must check at all times what you can provide and what the customer needs on a regular basis.

Manufacturing technology system

Fifth example is manufacturing technology system used in the product making industry. This is one of the example coming from one of the major automobile manufacturers in Japan. This project was the new IT system to be used as a start-up of building new factory. So their status was that the customer specifically required a particular technology, a new advanced technology to be used for this development. Unfortunately, the technology was too new. It was not mature enough to use on a practical level, which is why the delivery was delayed for five months. One of the reasons for the failure came from the internal reason. The software development failed to carry out verification from the technological point of view. And unfortunately, another internal failure reason, this project was managed by a project manager who was also looking after another project. So another external failure came from that this particular customer had a great interest in new technology, but when it comes to development of system, that company has absolutely no knowledge. The main contractor also had no experience, especially in the information field. So the main contractor virtually threw the project to the software development company. The major lesson we have learned is to make sure to carry out verification before you use any engineering technologies. And another important factor we learned is to make sure we identify the responsible system looking from the total project management view. Also, the project manager should have responsibility until the very end. This was quite a fortunate case because all involved party including the client company and the main contractor as well as the vendor responsible for the system, every party admitted their own fault, so nobody had to pay any penalty.


This is the last example. This is the system management development for the manufacturing industry. The delivered software had so many troubles. There was the reason for too many trouble after software was delivered. The initial requirement asked for delivery in an absurdly short time, because the client side has the specific internal reason that they need to receive the software in a very short period of time. So this was the external reason. The responsibility is in the hands of the customer, because they had a double standard. The customer said this is just the test version, but they actually meant a real version. The development company realized they had more time. That was entirely an internal reason. The double standard derived from the very serious management problem inside the company. This is again another example from one of the major automobile companies in Japan. The software company made 300 million yen deficit. It's a very huge damage. The three things we have learned from this severe experience is that even facts that needs are coming out from the customers, you must not say yes all the time. If you believe there are risks, you must provide serious control or management of these risk-related elements. You must always have discussions with customers with minutes or memoranda every time you meet with a customer.


So these kind of mistakes or the experience is taking place in daily basis here in Japan, between the companies and the clients. In order to avoid all these things, that is why you need to acquire communication skill.

Reason for the all the common failures are written on this page (thirty-six). You did not have the eye to clearly understand the requirements from the customer. Business analysis was not sufficient. Over-talking during the sales. Technology? was not appropriate. Dev manhour forecasting was not accurate enough. You have made a mistake in choosing outsourced vendor. You could not deliver your product. Insufficient sales engineer leadership. Insufficient project management capability. No infrastructure to promote the project within the customer's organization. We spent too much cost to clear all these problems.

Here is the tendency for the failed project. For some cases, you try to put on your jacket, and the top of the button doesn't match. You made the mistake from the very beginning. Incompatibility in the business. Mistake in forecasting. You didn't notice the number of the risks. Insufficient infrastructure for the management as well as the system. All these elements will eventually take you to making failures.

How to make your project a success

Up until now I have spoken about project management looking from the personal point of view. However, in order to make a success out of your projects, you need to tackle the issues looking from the organizational point of view. In order to make the successful project, you need to make your organization's maturity to bring up to a high level, including you need to have the body to provide support for the strategy, and your top management team has to have management skill, as well as some kind of standardization or methodology to carry out the projects. In the future, you may become managers or management team members. In that case, you cannot on your own achieve anything. You have to have the organizational power in order to be used to execute your projects. Having that in your mind, you can participate in a project. In Japan, whenever a project seems to fail, the people point finger at each other. The project failed because of that particular person. In order to avoid that, you have to protect yourself by establishing logical thinking using the organizational power. So this is the issue for companies is to provide much more stringent control and management of the strategy for project management work.

Shall we have a five minute break?

(You will obtain the English translation later on, so you do not need to translate by yourselves.)


So allow me to continue. From now on I will like to mention the presupposition for making the project a success. In order to make a successful project out of it, you should not depend on human factors alone. This is the organization and system, mechanization and rule, funds and resources, information, human resource and skill. This is most important factor: human resource and skill. The first thing you are asked to do is provide most stringent control for human resource. This is universal. This concept applies to everybody. In order to make a successful project, you have to divide clearly into management side of project and operational side of project. Also, you need to think deeply about what kind of responsibility and authority is given to a project manager. Often, if the PM is not given sufficient authority, that project is likely to fail. Depending on how much authority the organization is willing to provide to the project manager, the project might not work. The degree of authority depends on what kind and what size of project you are dealing with. It is important to place the emphasis on the project charter in which you will appoint a certain person to be the project manager. Often, in the case of Japan, the selection of project manager is determined verbally, not using documents. Often, you will caught with the problem if the project manager's assignment was carried out without clear order document.

Constructing a project team

How to construct a so-called project team. You need to establish the organization that will meet the targets and objectives of a particular project. And by establishing that, you will need to procure the necessary resources, including the human resource. And also you needed to clarify what kind of rules and what kinds of methods you will be willing to use for this project, as well as clarifying the degree of responsibility as well as authority for different people. In order to carry out the project management looking from the organizational structure elements, it sort of works, quite similar with the management activities. Person, product, management, information... So what will be the difference from the project against normal organizations? The project is going to be worked with a special budget and responsibilities. It's a single shot project using the matrix. However, when you define the normal organization, the definition will go like this. They have the periodical budget and you will employ the similar kind of person and the work is continual as well as the ... type of operation. So this chart is how to review your project organization system whether your project is on the function type of the project or it is truly project-oriented type or what kind of scale of project these elements will determine what kind of authority and what kind of authority you need to provide to the project manager. it has a close relationship to the kind of project itself. Important things to bear in your mind is in order to carry out the project in a very healthy and successful manner, both your clients and developers have to establish common goals. I'll skip the details. Again I will emphasize how important to establish good communication between client and developer companies. This is again the chart to review your project organization system. The top is the use project, from the user's point of view. The bottom is the vendor project management. Problem management has to be carried out by both parties. You need to establish successful communication between the two parties if you wish to achieve the successful outcome.


We will use this kind of formulation to determine whether the project is operating successfully or not. (Slide 48). P: profit, V: value, QCD: quality, cost, delivery, M: management. In order to obtain the profit, you have to have good management, so that you will eventually come up with a value.

Old versus new

Some of you already said you have some knowledge about project management thinking. What will be the difference between the legacy kind of project management and the modern kind of project management? The legacy or old type of project management relied heavily upon the personal individual skill and coordination at work site. The essence of the modern project management is to place the focus on the mechanism as well as the plan of the project. So in order to do this, you need to use the project management methodology as your platform for your activities. And then you will need to add the individual skill and knowhow, and then again add the organizational knowhow. So let's skip this page...

Project management standards

So here is the review of the mechanism of project management. This is the tendency taking place in the US. Recently they use the title called PMI. Project Management Institute. At the present moment, at least 50k people are qualified as project management people. P2M is the first in Japan project management system. It's called Program and Project Management. At the present moment, there is a movement here in Japan by introducing this PM standard or criteria to South East Asia countries as well as to China so as to encourage the system engineers to be qualified with these qualifications.

If you imagine what is the project management, then you can imagine driving your car. In order to drive your car, you need a driver's license, which is like the qualification. Methodology is like the driving rule, like stopping at red signals. I noticed there are many people who don't stop even when the color is red. Risk management is just like when you are driving a car and you encounter a car and you do not see the road in front of you. It is the same thing when you are confronting risk. So why do you need project management methodology? Using that method, you can stabilize the quality of your work and decrease the number of unnecessary work you need to carry out. However, just because you have the methodology, it doesn't solve anything. You will be asked to continuously review the system. Otherwise, this method will become just a formality.

When we talk about or think about the characteristic of the qualification, if you put too much emphasis on the qualification, some of the engineers have the qualification, but they can't drive the car, just like a paper driver. Or if you think too much about ignoring obtaining qualification, that means you are skilled driver, but you failed to obtain driver's license. So it is better to understand the qualification is necessary and at the beginning of, everyone is terrible driver to start with, but as you acquire your experience, you will become skilled engineers, just like driving your car.

From now on I would like to talk about the human resource development. When we think about the human resource development, it goes like this. At the bottom, there is the personal skill. Then we have the three pillars on top of that. Business, management, and technical. In order to carry out the successful project progress, it is essential to have communication ability as well as leadership ability. That exists within the personal skill. Being a project manager, the technical skill is the necessary condition, but it doesn't have to be 100% so.

Communication skills

Last chapter is to talk about the communication skill. It is important to establish good communication with people from the stake-holding organizations. There are so many different kinds of stakeholders that exist. You will be asked to establish good relations with all of them. (Long list from slide 58.) All these people or parties are called stake-holders. Key to a success of the project is to establish the good communication with each member of the stake holder.

Are you familiar with this term called stake-holder? (Brief excursion into explanation of term.)


What will be the structure for the communication skill? The foundation starts with the communication of the social life of the individual persons. Second is the communication to be carried out within the companies or organizations. The third one is the communication that takes place within the activities surrounding the project. So your level of the communication skill is most likely to increase as you go up the steps. We have a saying in Japan in order to establish good communication in our daily lives, it is good to have good facial expression, speak clearly, and act--agility is the key. It is very important to acquire the listen speak read and write, the basic essential. This is universal essential things.

In order to carry out the project activities, you need to involve so many different kinds of communication skills. Skill to discuss. stakeholder discussion skill. Negotiation skill. Documentation skill. Presentation skill. Unless you will clear all these communication skills, you will never become a good project manager. That's why it is important for you to acquire the skill to be a good communicator, step by step.


This is the process for the establishing communication. Most important foundation to establish the communication is to have the leadership. So this page contains the basic of communication process, start with the leadership and communication plan, formulation of relationship, consensus to be formed, and maintenance management with related partners using discussion skill, negotiation skill, documentation skill, and presentation skill. I will skip a number of the slides because of redundancy.

Important: include in estimate

Important thing to be remembered is that whenever you will establish the plan for the project, you have to include the plan for how to establish the communication with the parties involved. Reason because many of the failure of the project that we have experienced here in Japan is derived from insufficient communication plan. Most of the problem will be ended up and you'll find out the communication manhour was not included in the whole project manhour planning.

(Slide 66) This is the link of the communication as you will see the number of the links will increase when you involve more people. If your project needs 100 people involved, then you need 4450 ways of involvement. In order to avoid that, you have to organize your project team to be a certain standard. This is one of the examples. (Slide 67.) In order to determine how many communication man hour is necessary with 100 people a month, with 2500 people days using 200 thousand hours. We don't have time to calculate. It is very important to accommodate this information into your project plan.

This is the communication issue that exists among the human beings. This is an example. (p68). Some people lose their mind and say "That's not what I said..."

Other difficulties

This is another example. I understand you are all learning Japanese. One word in Japan has several meanings. That's where your difficulty comes. This kind of problem often takes place among the Japanese. So there are phonetical difference between some of the words between what you think in your brain and what comes out of your mouth can have big difference. For example, HAshi, chopstick, and haSHI, bridge. If you have some kind of gap between yourself and the customer, that will eventually lead to some serious problems.

So we wonder why this kind of communication mistake takes place. Because there's always a gap exist in the mind of the person you're talking to because the person's background and skill is different from yours.

One of the examples of how difficult it is to communicate. Let's say you had to tell someone the distance between earth and a certain star. (p71)

Often you come across miscommunication when you talk about database design with your client. Since that you are system engineer or IT engineer, you all have great professional knowledge. But if you are asked to define what is one ppm, you have to use the layman's definition for your customer. (p72)

Placing yourself in other people's shoes

This is extremely important information when you would like to do business with Japanese people or Japanese company in the future. To make sure you acquire the habit of putting yourself in a customer's position. Every individual person has a sense of value. Even though your sense of value is the very best, you should not try to push these ideas to other people. Even though your sense of value is right, if you take the attitude of pushing too hard or selling your value to other people, they will close their minds and will not be able to listen to you. From now on, you may have the opportunity to have participation in a project. However, you have to understand that the performance of the project depends on the project manager, and you will be greatly influenced. And if you happen to take participation in a particular project, you must do everything the project manager tells you to do. You have to put yourself in the project manager's position. You have to acquire the habit of putting yourself in the project manager's shoes. If you acquire all these skills, then you are most likely to become the good project manager.

Whenever we think of what is the communication skill.. Communication skill is your ability to establish human relationship. That's what communication skill is all about. In order to improve your communication capability, it is better for you to have a great interest in other people. Lastly, the communication comes from the bottom of your heart. Even though your words are not enough, if you're serious enough to establish communication with others, they will understand and accept you.


There are keys to make the project a success. To provide the strong management skill, provide the stringent control for the project management skill knowhow and methods... Before you do that, you need to improve your communication capability. The important message is here. If you happen to be a horse rider, you don't have to run faster than the horse. You just need to know how to control the horse. This is the kind of issue when you become the project manager. You always have a headache like that.

Things that we've learned from the failure. If you do something you must not do, that will lead you to a failure. Again, you make failure if you fail to do the things you have to do. The things you are supposed to do, and if you do it as you are supposed to do, you can do what you are supposed to be doing. This is a quotation from the strategy from the baseball team called Dodgers. Stick to your basics.

Questions and answers

(Thoughts on outsourcing: How to reduce the project cost, as I explained during the presentation. In the past, our project development was closed to the Japanese domestic market. Now we have deals with China, Thailand, Vietnam, India.. For example, major companies like NEC in Japan. NEC has a software house in China. For example, this summer, one of the big projects with 3000 man hour went over to the company in Dairan. Fujitsu, IBM, NTT, they are major operators in Japan, and they have the science and technology centers in a place in China. So I'm sure the big-sized project will be much more outsourced elsewhere. Maybe it will eventually shift over to Mongolia. =) )

(Thoughts on quality control: ISO 9000 series. CMM not very many. Within the PMI, there is a special section dedicated for the quality control, but it doesn't say specifically what you have to do. So the thinking is in the hands of each organization, what kind of quality control system you have implemented. However, before you start thinking about the quality control, you have to first understand if your organization or team has the project management or not. You can't just pursue quality control. You have to go through a number of processes. So it is important for the quality which you will be expected from system engineer's point of you. Another viewpoint is applied to the finished project. There are so many different aspects for quality control management. Because earlier I mentioned it is very important to establish product planning in the very beginning. That will become the foundation to assure that which you are developing.)

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5. Lecture

Categories: 2004.09.30:2 -- Permalink, Comment form

The first gentleman I'd like you to meet is Mr. Hisai, who will give us a lecture on IT-related project management. Before that, Mr. Kiniyama is the general manager of the ARC information systems inc will provide you the outline of the company. We would like to thank you very much for giving us your time.

The agenda of this afternoon is first Mr. Kiniyama will give us the outline, then we'll take a brief visit, then we'll hear the lecture from Mr. Hisai.

Good afternoon everone, I am Mr. Kiniyama from ACS software inc. So today I am going to give you a lecture for a duration of about 20 minutes, whose title is Software Development Status. I'd like to share with you the problems and issues we confront on a daily basis. Before I'm going to give you the detailed explanation, first I'd like to give you the brief history of the company. The ARC information sstems inc was first established 18 years ago, and we have a capital of 300 million yen, and we are regarded as an independent software compan.

At the present moment, we employ between 180 to 190 persons, out of which 130 are full-time, and 50-60 come from our business partners from outside. Out of the 180 or 190 people working for our company, at least 80-90% are engineers. Our main business can be divided into three business categories. First is system development on consignment basis, then consigment sales of products for general use, then system integration. At the present moment, I am acting as the general manager for operating system department, which has 5 department working. I am in charge of consignment department 5. Within our app sys dept, curr we have 58 person working, out of which manager and leader number go up to 13, and we also have business partners. Altogether we carry out around 30-40 projects a year. Most projects carried out by a team. So the kind of work we carry out within our org is the joint work together with the major sys integrators, including NTT, etc. development of system, including CRM, sales force automation... And also we carry out various other kinds of operations within our org, including product dev for manuf, like a packaged type of project, as well as business systems directly aimed for the end-users. And from now on I'd like to share with you the kind of prob and issues we are confronting, and some of the solutions that we came up with. So maybe you already know, but the business ienvironment surrounding ourselves is facing difficulty every year, and it is getting worse. So what we do within the organization to try to break up the number of the issues and problems into different categogories and try to come up with countersolution for each problem. The first is how to obtain the stable orders.

The first thing that we keep in our mind is in order for the company to stay in the market, it must keep receiving orders. So one of the way to make the survival and try to receive the stable order is differentiating ourselves from our competitors and letting our customers know about that. One of the ways to achieve this is to keep the price so that the customer is happy with us, and to make sure to improve our productivity as well as to involve ourselves in offshore development because everyone wants to have the reasonable price. The next one is to acquire ourselves with the highest skill engineering ability as well as the technical performance so that our competitors are unable to carry out specific business work, by improving our skills and performance. Another important factor we keep in our mind is make sure to bring customer satisfaction to our clients, in terms of delivery date and quality. In order to survive the competition, this is an important factor. And also another important factor is obviously I belong to the application systems department and most of us are engineers, but we will always constantly communicate with the sales department so that we can understand the needs of the customer and the market.

The second problem we are facing is the deterioration of profitability. So I am very unhappy to admit but the profitability of the company is slowly going down. Not to mention some of the proj are unable to make any money, but that is a fact. It is going down. So why are we losing our profitability? It comes from a number of reasons. One of them is that the order price is going down. The manpower amount is decreasing. We are facing very severe competition from offshore development. And not to mention our product delivery is becoming shorter and shorter in time. Our technologies are becoming diversified, and there even came about this open source system requirement. So our countermeasure is to make much more stringent personal relationship with the business partners not only from japan or domestic market but also from overseas, as well as project management, which you will be given a detailed explanation of later on from Mr. Hisai.

And third problem we are facing is something I personally don't want to mention. Long hours of work which naturally decrease the motivation of the team members. And another difficult factor for the team members is that often your work has to be carried out not in the company you work in, but in your client organization, which gives you another kind of tension. And another factor is that when the project size becomes larger and one simple project needs 40 or 50 team members, you have to work within this difficult human relationship involvement that might give you additional stress. And countermeasures for this particular problem is that we will try to pay attention to what kind of communication level that people are in, and you will look after each other's mental state, and you will care for others and they'll care for you. Another way that the company is paying attention to is to make sure to have multiple number of meetings with different level of the members, and this is the place where you can openly talk about things. We are also promoting individual meetings, including appraisals. Your mental status will be closely checked and taken care of.

The fourth problem we are facing is human resource development. As a part of the human resource development way of doing things, since we are a software dev company, it is essential for us to continuously improve our ability in things that are considered essential. We must always accumulate as much information as is useful, and we encourage our members to attend seminars. Team members must have time to learn new things and share them with others. And also, it is essential to improve the performance and skill of the managers and leaders, so they need to learn about how to manage the project as well as to improve their skills on a daily basis.

So all these activies in order to provide solutions to the issues and problems we are facing, we will try to summarize all these problems into one problem and we will be sure to set a target, and this target is broken down into the yearly action plan, and you should set goals, and check how you are progressing. make sure you are achieving the goal. So for those department who fail to reach the monthly target which was broken down from the yearly target, you will be reprimanded not only by the president but also by the management team.

From now on, I would like you to listen to what kind of way we are working for projects. First phase is even this first phase, before you even you start the project. When you go and get the project itself is considered to be phase one. we engineers pay attention to how the other department will go and start the negotiations for receiving orders until the sales department receives the firm order from the customer. During this phase one, befor ethe company will decide whether to take this order, or whether this kind of quotation is adequate or not, it will be discussed with members from all companies including engineers and salespeople so as to ensure that the project will bring profit into the company. This decision will be made by measuring the capacity as well as the level of the project itself, whether it will be difficult or not. By doing this kind of comprehensive discussion among all company members, we make sure there will be no project that will bring no profit into the company, as well as manage the risk of the company. Once, during the meeting or other area, you found out that this project may bring some kind of business risk to the organization, the company will make a proposal to the client asking for longer time, or dividing the development phase into two or three different phases.

Second phase after you have received a firm order from customer or client, then the project plan will be established by the team member, including the assistance, schedule, cost... If necessary, they will place the order for the outsourcing. We will always keep in our mind how to manage the project execution. First, we will establish a milestone, and we will check where we are now and how we are with regard to schedule. We will spend quite an amount of energy checking that.

The third phase is the actual operation and execution of the project itself. DUring the execution and development of the system, it is important to clearly understand how the operation is progressing in the correct manner, because we have so many different kinds of development models. We have to make sure we know what is necessary to do. In order to find the problem and issues before it becomes too late to tackle, we will periodically have meetings, and in those meetings we will review our progress. Once the problem or issue is detected, then we will try to make one step ahead before things become too serious, so it includes notification to customers. We may need to change our project plan. All of these things will be carried out during phase three.

The fourth phase is the actual delivery of the product. Our highest priority is to make sure to deliver the system on time, as well as to make sure to supply the quality product to the customer. And depends, case by case, some cases even after we deliver the product to the customer, we need to provide the other kinds of operational support as well as training during the implementation phase.

From phase 1 to phase 4, this is so called standard procedure to be followed in any software development. We are quite unique because we offer post-project review. What we do first in order to carry out this post project review is that we will establish a so called evaluation field containing TQCS. T: Time (delivery, shipment). Q: quality. C: cost, S. Customer satisfaction. We will make the evaluation sheet as well as the sheet for each member in the project. All these outcome from these evaluation sheet will be reflected for the future project, as well as whether you will take similar project or not. And also, the outcome of the member evaluation sheet may be used as part of the company's appraisal, to measure the performance of each worker.

So, well, thank you very much, it was very nice of you to listen to what I have to say. I have mentioned a few things coming out of the department of which I am in charge, but all these things are shared by other departments. The kind of countermeasures I have mentioned to you this afternoon, we still believe it is not efficient. We hope you can have a good time with my explanations. I think I have overspent the time allocated to me, but once again, thank you. My last word is that I wish each one of you good luck for your future, since all of you seem so very young, and I myself felt privileged sharing time with you today.

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4. Structure of the software industry

Categories: 2004.09.22:1 -- Permalink, Comment form

Didn't have my laptop for the first half.

Why do we divide labor?

This graph shows the labor cost ratio to the revenue in each Japanese industry. The manufacturing industry has a very low labor cost ratio. But wholesale/retail has higher percentage. Software development has a quite high percentage of labor cost to revenue. You can see most of the revenue is gone with the labor cost. This graph shows 75%. In this software industry, 75% of the revenue is paid for labor. The rest of the 25% is allocated for other expenses, such as administration and communication fees. I told you in the beginning that company that has a large office goes bankrupt. This is because such company has a higher ratio of administrative fee, so in the final analysis, they cannot pay for good salary to the personnel, so the personnel quit company one after another. Several times a year, I have an interview with people who would like to be hired on a mid-career hiring. Some people said they have not been paid their salary for example three months in a row, or they are paid only half of the promised salary. And then I asked why then you do not quit such company, and they always answer that they cannot afford to leave the company until the project is completed. So you may think such people are quite a fool because they are working with no pay, it's p to your judgment. In fact, there are several software development companies which do not pay promised salaries to their employees. This is because huge percentage is spent for the labor cost, so if they spend more expenses, other expenses, then they cannot afford to pay for their salary. In the case of dispatching personnel to another company, then the software development company can receive commission on a regular basis from the client. However, in the case of the custom-made development inside the software development company, you cannot receive any money from the client until the development is completed and the software is delivered and accepted by the client. So in the case of custom-made development inside of the software company, it sometimes happens that the software company cannot receive any money for about half a year or even a year. So the software development company with a bad financial situation sometimes can not afford to pay for the salary of the employees. Many software companies prefer to hire personnel from the job placement services when they need some staff. I have listed the reasons why we divide labor in the software company. As you can see, the labor cost is quite high, so the software company cannot retain a large number of employees on a fixed basis, because they have to pay a large amount of salary. If there is no job, the people are left doing nothing. To prevent such situation, companies keep the minimum number of employees in their company. Another reason is that software companies contact any software partnership company because they do not know each other's special fields, so they contact any company which might have that function. With these reasons, the Japanese software development companies work with each other in the hierarchical structure explained in the previous slide. The problems arising from the situation are listed here. The first is people who have completely different skills (not the required skills) are gathered in a team. With the explanation I have made already, people in the team lose motivation to participate in the team. The skills which people acquire in a team do not accumulate inside the software company. In the hierarchical division, people are dispatched from the lower companies to the higher companies, so it sometimes happens that people who are not suitable for the project are gathered in the same team. People who have an experience in Visual Basic but they have a different level of knowledge and knowhow in Visual Basic. The software company which receives the original order from the client wants to have personnel with specific knowledge, but people who are dispatched from the subcompanies might have only very basic knowledge. This kind of mismatch sometimes happens. This type of problems happen in operation. I will give you a specific example. The software company which receives the original order is looking for somebody with experience in the banking industry. But the banking industry is categorized into different areas of business. So the banking industry is subcategorized into foreign exchange, savings account operation, financing, equity management, and so on. So the client might be looking for somebody who is experienced in foreign exchange, but the people dispatched from the subcontractor is experienced in insurance, for example. So in this case the company looking for someone in the banking industry, but the mismatch happened. If the mismatch is discovered in the beginning, then maybe personnel is changed. Sometimes it happens that the person continues to the final stage. I will give you another example. Sogoing back to the specific problems arising from the structure... I will give you an actual example of the problem of mismatching. The recent development trend is short-term development. For example, the software development of a particular cellular phone... How long should it take for a particular cellular phone to be developed? We have to do it in four months. Software incorporated into a cellular phone has a variety of applications inside. Because of the short development period, a huge number of people are gathered. The UCS (our company) is also engaged in developing software for the different cellular companies. About 400-600 people are engaged in development for a particular phone. For example, the Sharp corporation... Cellular company like NTT or KDDI gives a specific order to Sharp corporation. NTT or KDD, the client in this case, set the specific date for the market release, and pre-announce that date to every agency in Japan. So that means market release date is concretely fixed beforehand. So Sharp receiving the order from NTT or KDDI must complete the development of the software and deliver the software by a specific date. Because of the short-term development, Sharp gathers a large number of people--400 to 600--and of course among those people there might be someone without the required skills or experience. But because of the large number of people, several people or unskilled people are not quite as obvious in such a large number of people. Of course the Sharp does not think about any personnel change or skill up of the people because it should complete the software within the specified time. So the people who have good skill have a huge workload. So the skilled personnel have to do a lot of overtime work. Unskilled worker, in turn, do they go home early? No, they don't. If the unskilled worker goes home early, then KDDI thinks there are people who go home very early, so that person is surplus. So because of the short period of development and with limited resources, there seems to be a lot of mismatching of skills of personnel to work. I would also like to give you another problem of the software development in Japan. In the Japanese software industry, actual software development process is begin before the formal contract is made. In the Western countries like United States or other countries, doing the work without formal contract is quite unbeliveable, but in the Japanese case, even the huge project or large software case it will sometimes happen that the software development wil start before the contract is made. Another problem of the software industry in Japan is that they tend to judge the engineer's ability by experience and age. You also know that the ability should not be judged by how long he or she is involved in the industry or how old he or she is. But because the software company have to gather a large number of people, the company tend to judge somebody's ability by statistical data, such as how old he or she is and how long he or she has been involved in software development. This is I think one of the reasons why unskilled people are placed in the development team. Another problem is the quotation provided by the software company does not contain detailed information. That means it is inaccurate. For example, the software development company starts the development before the specification is set. The software company uses the area which it is not specialized in. This result in the software company making lower estimate of the possible expense required for the software development. They tend to make the lower estimation about the money which will be necessary for the software development. This eventually leads to business loss on the part of the software company. And if it incurs large business loss, then the first thing should be cut down is the salary or wage to be paid to the engineers. And by the way, I think the Japanese software companies are divided into two categories: the very profitable and the non-profitable. Profitable companies have something unique, a very strong competitive edge, such as a very high knowledge of a particular technology, or highly skilled people. So the company which says "No problem, we can do anything" is usually non-profitable company. The company which says "We can dispatch people soon", such company is also a non-profitable company. I think in the near future, the company which has at least one strong competitive edge can survive, but others which do not have any competitive edge will be disappeared from the industry. So this time I would like to focus on foreign companies which made a success in entering the Japanese software industry. What kind of companies are successful in entering Japanese software industry? The foreign company that has exclusive skills that cannot be found in Japanese companies. In recent Japanese industry, Java and .NET knowledge is highly appreciated. But only with Java and .NET knowledge, the foreign company cannot compete with Japanese ones. Because Java and .NET are all covered, be able to be covered by Japanese companies within their company. So foreign company which has completely different technology other than Java or .NET, such companies cover high possibility of success. But please do not ask me what kind of specialized technique is promising for Japanese industry. If I know the answer, I would not give you, but do it in my company, Universal Computer. But Japanese quite welcome foreign companies with technology knowhow that is not covered by Japanese companies at the moment. The specific example would be SAP and Oracle in the inital stage. The Oracle was for the first time introduced to Japan by an Israeli company. The Israeli company had a hard time entering the Japanese industry, but it played a very important role in spreading the business. I think the promising area of the technology in Japan in the future is security-related technology. But developing exclusive technology cost a huge amount of investment, so if successful it will become a very profitable area, but if not, it will be a huge risk or burden on the company. More realistic answer for you to consider are the last four points. The company which can make the fast delivery has a higher possibility of success. The company which can offer a reasonably cheap price. Of course, fast delivery and cheap price alone do not make you a successful foreign company. The most important point is here. The foreign company must be accustomed to vague approach by Japanese company in terms of order. Japanese companies give very unclear specifications to company. Those who study Japanese might think the Japanese language is quite an ambiguous language. If you think that way, you will know the basic structure of the Japanese language. I myself have sometimes difficulty in grasping the intention of the potential client, whether he or she is really placing an order or not. I think the ambiguous expressions should only be used between lovers. But in fact, the using very ambiguous Japanese expressions or giving unclear response is quite the normal way of doing business in Japan, so the foreign company should be accustomed to the way of the Japanese people. I always deal with customers with vague orders. I always said to such clients, please give us specific decision. Unless you give specific decision, we cannot make the delivery date. The person in charge always answer to me by saying unless the boss decides, I cannot decide. So then I directly approach the boss of that person. And then the boss says to me like this. Please wait for another manager's meeting. I cannot decide that at the moment. So I wait for another manager's meeting. Then the boss said, there was no consensus made at the meeting, so please wait for a while. So the actually this is a true story, and another manager's meeting happens to be today, this morning, so I now have received the answer. This is a typical decision-making process of a Japanese company. Japanese people do not go forward unless everybody concerned gives a consensus. Everybody gives yes. Then we will start something. If there is only one disagreement or opposition, then we all will wait for the opposition or disagreement to be changed into an agreement. And you have to remember the Japanese word nemawashi. This is to pre-change the opposition before the meeting so that during the meeting, everyone can agree. nemawashi is adjusting the rope of the tree. nemawashi is to make a consensus, we pre-arrange and change the opposition of the people to agree to the proposal before the meeting. At the meeting, everyone can agree. If you remember nemawashi, you may be considered as a Japanese expert. You can consider nemawashi as a kind of lobbying activity in the United States. To give a certain pressure before the meeting. After the nemawashi and the consensus, we reach a final decision and then the project is supposed to be formally started. But with the limited time of the market release, we will proceed on the development first without the formal contract, so that sometimes the specification of the software is quite ambiguous or vague in the contents. So that means the Japanese client can ask you for frequent changes of the specification. If the case of dispatching personnel to the client company, then the client company can direct the dispatched personnel with the various changes. It will be more or less a smaller issue. However, in the case of custom-made development in the software company according to the request of the client, if these types of change in specifications happens, it will give a huge loss on the software company and the client company as well. In the Japanese industry, in the case of custom-made software development, if the client asks for the specification changes, the software company accepts those changes with no additional charge. Originally, software company should change, but in Japan, software companies do not do that kind of approach. This is another reason why custom-made software development results in a loss. Of course Japanese clients know the importance of eliminating frequent specificiation changes, but I myself have not seen any clients do that approach. So when you make a contract of software development with Japanese customers, you have to be aware of the fact that Japanese clients frequently change specification, and they give very vague specification. Let me go into the conclusion. Dispatching a personal with hierarchical structure in the software industry will never stop. Dismatching manpower will never stop because the Japanese software company has a weak management base and the clients ask for frequent specification changes. Anther conclusion for you is that custom-made software development has a huge risk which could result in financial loss. When you work with a Japanese company, please clarify your position. Whether you will be dispatched or not. Thsi is because dispatching a manpow case, the responsibility lies with the client. With the custom-made, though, responsibility is left with your parent company. Please be aware of the fact that the company that deals directly with client is very smalxl in number. Must software companies gtet their business from other companies. I think the software development in Japan only exists in the heavy workload on the engineers and the frequent specificatin changes. Last night, I happeen to talk to one of th engineers in our company which s involved in the development of cellphone. My company is somewhere in the middle. I have dispatched personnel to KDDI. That engineer is making a request. This engineer says he is forced to work until eleven o' clock PM, including Saturdays and Sundays. His reuest is to have one day of the week when he can go home by 9 o' clock. I have conveyed that request of him to the partnership company. The manager listened to my request, but I do not think the manager convered the request. If nothing is done to improve the situation, I think the engineer might quit our company. I advised him not to go to the manager of the partnership company but rather go directly to the compay working with the client. If that company accepts the request, then you can go home. If the situation worsens, there might be some dispute, then I will help you. I do not know if he will. I have another problem which I think is quite disturbing. The thing is, because our company, UC, is one of the subpartnership companies, I myself cannot actually go inside the building of the company that receives the order from KDDI. Because KDDI does not know my company being involved in the software team. And because of the protection of the information, outsiders are not allowed to go inside the building of the software cempan. That means I cannot actually see how much difficulty he is facing doing the work inside the software company, because I am an outsider, and I cannot be let in. I"m not sure if this problem is settled or not, but I would like you to remember this hierarchical structure of the software industry. So finally I would like to once again focus on the hierarchical structure of the software industry in terms of development, and I would like you to remember that there will be a large number of specification changes if you work with a Japanese client.

I seem to have concentrated on the embarrassing aspect of the software industry, but this is only my understanding, and of course there are many good points.

Q: Do you have any way of estimating the cost and the time for particular software development in Japan?

A: No, there is no particular way to estimate cost and time required for development. If the project is quite small scale, then we can give a more accurate quotation. However, in the larger size development such as the mega-merger of two banks, or cellphone development, the calculation will be done between the negotiation of the client and the top software company. So I will give you an example of a rather smaller-size software development project. I am often involved in production control or inventory control. So in developing production control or inventory control software. I consider various elements such as the number of items the client is dealing, the number of processes the client is going through, the number of employees in the client company... With these factors in consideration plus my past experience, I will give an overall figure to the client. Gut feeling. It might be strange for you to see, but if the person in charge of the top software company says one hundred million yen, then the cost will be that.

Q: Why do the top companies have to go through the other companies?

Two reasons. The top software companies do not know the specific situation of the engineers in the other software companies. Another reason is also ease of control. (Why not recruit?) Then the top software company has to be involved in the selection process, which is quite complicated.

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3. IT Industry in Japan

Categories: 2004.09.13:1 -- Permalink, Comment form

Toshio KANEKO (tkaneko AT res.jipdec.jp) JIPDEC: Japan Information Processing Development Corporation


I am surprised to see Minh-san again. I didn't know he was here as well. It's a small world.

The first main topic is the IT industry in Japan. Before I explain the Japanese IT industry, I'd like to explain my organization. My organization is JIPDEC. It stands for Japan Information Processing Development Corporation. It's one of the non-profit organizations of Japan. I'm not sure what non-profit organizations are in your nation. Here in Japan, there are lots and lots of non-profit organizations. My organization is very tightly-connected to the government. Most of our budget comes from the government.

Slide 2: Overview of JIPDEC

JIPDEC was established in 1967. Our annual budget is 2.5 billion year (current fiscal year). Staff members are approximately 140. Activities: surveys on IT, dissemination of IT (to publish some reports to Japanese people, or give seminars or presentations to Japanese people) and promotion of information security measures. It's very important for our society (social and industrial): security and privacy are very very important to develop IT. Promotion of electronic commerce (EC). Next is the development of information systems and training for information technology engineers. It's also very important to educate not only students but also other people.

Q: "What is dissemination?" "Dissemination means publishing, or giving seminars, gathering both ordinary people and industry people to give information on what is EC, what is the Internet...

Slide 3: Outline

So this is the outline of this IT industry. First, history of the IT industry in Japan. It's very important to understand what the IT industry is. Not only performance... We should understand the historical point. I think--I hope it'll help you improve the IT industry in your own country. Next is the Japanese IT industry and the information services, electronics manufacturing, telecommunications, broadcasting, digital home applications... These are elements of the Japan IT industry. IT is very flexible. In some countries, IT only covers information services. In Japan and a few other countries, it covers a lot more.

Digital home appliances could be new for you. This should be the next key factor for Japanese IT industry to make a lot of money.

Slide 4: History of the IT Industry in Japan

The first year in 1950s. Some people call it the dawn of the computer age. In fact, in 1956, the first Japanese-developed computer for designing camera lenses.
1960sPromotion of the IT industry.
1970sInformatization of industry. Examples: banks.
1980sPCs and networks
1990sSpread of Internet and popularization of IT
2000sSocial and economic innovation by IT: digital economy, digital

divide, e-Japan
2003Digital home appliances...

Big change from 1970s to 1980s, from large computer systems to personal computers. Both very very needed.

This is just a rough sketch.

In order to promote Japanese IT to Japanese people by using the Internet, you see how to use PC or program system.

Japanese IT industry

Slide 5: Japanese IT Industry 1/7

A clear definition will help us understand what the Japanese IT industry is. The Japanese IT industry is divided into 4 areas. Please understand that the IT industry depends on who you ask. There's no official definition of IT in Japan. This is a basic definition, though: information services, electronics manufacturing, telecommunications services and broadcasting. Broadcasting might not be familiar to you because some people might not think it's part of the IT industry, but here in Japan, broadcasting includes using the Internet or networks. That's why I put the broadcast market in this definition.

In Japan, we have two big ministries in terms of IT: METI and MPHPT. The figures I'll explain later will come from these ministries. You can use these figures in your report, but please cite your sources.

Slide 6: Japanese IT Industry 2/7: Whole IT industry

We don't have new data yet, because it takes time. So 2002 is the latest we have. This year, some fields seem to be recovering.

Slide 7: Japanese IT Industry 3/7

Automobile manufacturing: Please remember the final figure. 43 trillion yen. The IT industry was the same size as the automobile manufacturing industry.

Slide 8: Japanese IT Industry 4/7

These two categories (telecommunications and information services) are major players in the Japanese IT industry.

Slide 11: Japanese IT Industry 7/7

Our Japanese IT industry has strong dependence on the US market. If the US market declines, so does the Japanese market.


Slide 15

A big problem we had was the 2000 problem in computer systems. In Japan also, we faced that big problem. Most Japanese IT users asked their own IT people to upgrade their systems. The graph reflects that increase.

Slide 16

Most companies order custom software. We don't tend to buy packaged software, except for things like Microsoft Office. Big offices want to keep their own business style. That's why they order from Japanese service vendors.

Custom software and data processing accounted for 70%.

Q: Could you give us an example of data processing services? Example: banks have a lot of transaction data. Some banks can deal with that, but some cannot. That's why they ask information services companies to help them process that financial information. (This is not the same as database.) Data processing: adding data.

Slide 17

As you can see, custom software forms a very large part of the industry. If you want to improve your chances of getting hired or promoted, keep in mind that Japanese IT industry is mainly custom software. Of course, that means you need to learn Japanese business style. This is somewhat hard. When you learn how large the Japanese custom software market is and when you understand Japanese customs, you'll probably have a big chance to make your own business.

The US style is very different. They go for packaged software. Japanese style is fit to their own style. This is an important difference between the US style and the Japanese style.

Q: outsourcing. Not covered here, as we're focusing on market style. I don't have figures right now.

Slide 18

The figures cited are just for the ratio, not the actual market.

Electronics manufacturing

Slide 26

This is a big reduction.

60M mobile phones.

Slide 27

Mainframe sales are going down, but companies still need it for reliability.


Telecommunications is different from country to country. For example, some countries don't focus on leased lines as much, because they're hard to install. Here in Japan, 3G is a hot technology.


Digital broadcasting system. The Japanese government started this service last December. Not over the whole Japan, but only the Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka area. They started to test digital broadcasting. By 2011, analog broadcasting will be phased out.

Digital home appliances

Figures do not include mobile telephones.

A few years ago, when we went to TV Corner, all the TVs were very thick. Cathode-ray tubes. But last year or this year, those types of TVs disappeared. LCDs, plasma displays have replaced them.

Digital home appliances are becoming more important. A few weeks ago, the Japanese Cabinet said that this was something the industry should expect. Liquid crystal displays, DVD players... most have Japanese technology. We need to distinguish Japanese companies from those from other countries. It's a good opportunity to make the Japanese IT industry stronger.

((Tangent: digital camera tips. SD memory preferred over Sony, as it's more standard.))

((I wonder where they sell gadgets not available in other countries. I've seen Japanese dictionaries in Akihabara and mainstream electronics stores, but I'm looking for weird little gadgets...))

The digital camera market might already be saturated. Next market: maybe DVD. DVD and LCD penetration: not so high. This is a good opportunity for Japanese people.


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2. Lecture on Japan from a foreigner's point of view

Categories: 2004.09.08:1 -- Permalink, Comment form

The speaker has lived in Japan for 30 years, and can give us many valuable tips.

The first thing of going abroad is forget the negative things. It's very easy to say "don't do this" but to be able to appreciate the good is the most important thing. If you learn to appreciate the good of another country, it helps you improve. Always be positive. Always look for the good in a person. There is no 100% bad country or person. There's no 100% bad thing. If you look for the good thing, you'll be able to enjoy it.

Similar Asian customs. Example: taking shoes off. Not in Philippines, because of the Spanish influence, but in most Asian countries, they take their shoes off when they enter a house. Learn about the country. Learn how they think and behave. Then it's easy to ask them to train you.

Japanese people are very shy people. It's not that they don't trust you, but they just don't know how to react to you yet. When they don't know how to react to you, they put up a barrier. But once you get to know them, they're very very friendly and polite. The language itself is very polite. It's only when Japanese get angry or really don't like someone will they use impolite language or not say "please" or "thank you". Even within their own families, they are very polite.

If you're lost and you ask someone for directions and they don't know, they'll say they don't know. If they do know, they'll give you exact directions. If you don't understand, they'll take you there because they'd rather not feel guilty about you getting lost.

Japanese people have a complex for foreginers. If you talk to them in English and they don't understand or don't want to give you the wrong information, they'll just say "Wakarimasen, wakarimasen", and walk away. 30 years ago very few things were in English, so if you didn't know how to read or speak Japanese, you just got lost. Now more people speak English and the signs are in English. Young people are also going abread more. Foreigner-friendly. More used to foreigners in Japan.

They don't study English as a regular language. It's something they learn later on in school. Two years of kindergarten, 6 years of elementary school, 3 years of middle school, 3 years of high school. They don't learn English until after elementary school. Now there are television programs and parents want their kids to be bilingual, but basically most Japanese don't have any experience with English until middle school. In one week, they have four lessons. Many of the teachers aren't really used to English either. A lot of Japanese can read English, but if you talk to them, they don't have much practice for listening to English, and they aren't used to speaking. A lot of schools are trying to take native speakers as teachers, but that's still only a tiny fraction.

Japanese people like to do things perfectly. Either they do it well or they do not do it at all. They don't like to make mistakes, so they don't speak. High school students don't have conversation skills because they don't practice it in school. Best thing to do is to write down your question. Their reading ability is better than their speaking ability.

Japanese people love to go to foreign countries. It's a craze nowadays because it's cheaper to go abroad than to travel in Japan. They like to eat different kinds of food. They find it difficult to learn other languages. Japan is an island country. People on mainlands have an easier time picking up foreign languages because of the influx of people.

Japanese people love to eat. If you go to Tokyo, you'll find restaurants from each and every country. There's even a Ghana restaurant. Ethiopia, too! You can eat food from all over the world. But Japanese people's knowledge of the countries whose food they're eating is very little. It's not that they don't like it, but they learn very little about other countries in school. You talk to them about a foreign country, and they'll probably talk about the food. If you give them less well-known food, they get confused. One thing rather sad about Japan is that they're so progressive and they learn so much, but their ideas of other countries are so limited.

Japan is very systematically organized. The system of education is very nice. As soon as a baby is three months old, you'll get a card reminding you about injections, teeth examinations, and things like that. They're very thorough. They'll even tell you what kindergartens are in your locality. They make sure that all the children are well-educated. Compulsory education is up to middle school. Free education to each and every Japanese child. 99% literacy. Practically everyone in Japan can read and write at least until middle school level. They make sure you go through middle school. When you register, automatically the information is sent to the ward office. They get all the information because the schools tie up with the ward office to keep track. So suppose someone decides not to go to school, one of the teachers will get in touch with that child's parent. And when the parent says no, someone from the ward office will get in touch with the family. They make sure all the children go to school. Education plays an important part.

But the education is very limited. We have a much wider general knowledge about different countries. In Japan, though, they're very... focused. Tunnelized. No exams, either. Shock, shock. Someone who's not studying can go from 1st grade to 6th grade with bad marks. You only have entrance exams for middle, high school and university, but no other exams. In other educational systems, the constant exams force us to remember. But in Japan, they study and forget, study and forget, study and forget. They're very good at cramming. They're good at concentrated study. They can remember really well, but only for a short while. This is the only thing I find a problem with the Japanese educational system, which is why I put my daughter in an international school.

Anayway, in the Japanese educational system, they teach discipline. They also teach a lot of things. For example, swimming. Every year they learn a new instrument. They're very musically oriented. They're also very nature-oriented. They can identify species. They're very well-focused on that kind of thing. They get educated in quite a lot of different things. On the whole, they know what they're taught, but they don't learn a lot of things on their own.

Japanese schools don't ask you for opinions. They don't have debates. Japanese people don't like arguments. We have our own opinions and we know how to express them. Japanese schools don't have debates or bantering. If you ask for an opinion, you won't get a straight answer. Forget about debating with a Japanese person. Japan moves because of strong leaders. People don't disagree. That's why Japan progresses quickly. If one person is in power, everyone just cooperates. They don't fight back. Connective way of thinking. They learn this from school days. That's why they work better collectively than individually. If you take a single Japanese person, he doesn't work very well. But if you take five in a team, they'll work very quickly.

There lies the difference, you know, with the Japanese way of thinking. I think they're the only nation with this kind of thinking. Even China is a bit individualistic. Today, if you don't give your own opinion in other countries, the teacher scolds you. In other countries, parents, teachers, other people ask us our opinions. In Japan, that's not the case. Whatever is in fashion, they prefer to do that. Of course, there are many Japanese who are very individualistic, and they're the ones who usually go abroad.

Private schools are almost 3x to 7x more expensive than public schools. Japan is a very expensive country. Housing is _very_ expensive in Japan. Fresh graduates get around 180,000 yen. Almost half of that would go to housing. (Places are usually measured by mats.) A tiny room with only a toilet, a small kitchen and some place to sleep (6-mat room) can cost anywhere from 70k to 100k. So that's why most fresh grads stay with their parents and save money so that they can go abroad or get married or do other things.

In Japan, you have to pay 2 months refundable deposit, 2 months non-refundable deposit, and 1 month estate fees. Then you pay the rent of one month. Which means you need 6 months rent cash on hand. After two years (or the termination of your contract), you have to pay one month for transaction fees. Any repairs that need to be made are subtracted from your deposit, so don't count on getting it back.

Food is also very expensive. 70% of the food is imported. Because it's imported, the prices are quite high. More than half of your salary goes into food. Eating out is expensive, too.

Transportation is very good. In Japan, the trains always work on time. Suppose a train is late. On the radio and the television, there'll be newsflashes. If the train is late, ticket collectors will silently give you a slip saying how late the train was. No stupid excuses. Traffic jams is something Japan is famous for, though. That's why Japanese people prefer to travel by train.

Punctuality is a very important aspect of Japanese people. They are very very particular about time. Make sure you're on time. That's very important. A man filed a case against the Shinkansen because he was there at exactly 6 and he couldn't board the train that was supposed to leave at 6. The court ruled that in order to leave at exactly 6, the train had to close its doors by 5:59, so the man lost the case. (Another anecdote about a train being delayed and an extra connecting train being available.)

Japanese people are very afraid to show their feelings. Be very careful about what you say.

Family: Tending toward nuclear. ... present generation are pretty lax. Behavior is also becoming very Westernized. Inside, they're still very Japanese.

When you have everything, then there's a sense of dissatisfaction. Things don't work very well. There are a lot more school dropouts now. A lot more juvenile delinquents now. Life is just handed to them on a platter. The juvenile rate has gone up, but not as much as in America. That's still a frightening thing for the teachers, as if that increases, that could destroy the Japan atmosphere. More and more Japanese people are divorcing. There are more and more single-parent families. That is again another problem that has brought on more juvenile delinquency.

In other countries, we have religion as a major part of our daily lives. In Japan, religion has no place in an ordinary person's life. It's only when they're born or when they die will they deal with religion. The latest trend is to get married in a church and in a white wedding gown. Even the churches will let you get married even if you're not Christian. It's a fashion to get married. Japanese girls dream about wearing white wedding gowns and being June brides and stuff like that. Fewer youngsters are choosing traditional-style weddings. After they get married, they might wear a kimono to the reception.

If you ask Japanese people what their religion is, a lot will say that they don't have a religion as such. Their holidays tend to be not religion-oriented. Nowadays, Japan is flooded with festivals from all over the world. For example, Halloween. Only 10-12% are Christian, but Christmas is a big money-making holiday. On Valentine's Day, The guys don't have the guts to tell the girls they like them, so the girls are the ones who give chocolates. Obligatory chocolates.

Japanese people can't just accept a gift and keep quiet about it. So if I receive gifts, I have to give something back. Okaishi. Not the same amount. Maybe around half. Very very common thing. Whenever you go to visit someone's house, you have to bring a gift. Very important. Take something to compensate for the cost of your dinner.

Last thing before we go for a break. In Japan, you have to be very careful about how you talk to people. Always use the title when you're speaking in Japanese. Honorific. Even for children. (-chan is an affectionate form of -san used for children and close people.) Never call people just by name. But superiors don't call you -san. They'll call you -kun. It's an affectionate way to say that I depend on you and you're part of the family of this office. In the workplace, -kun is okay for females too.

But if you're talking to someone outside your group, you don't use the honorific to refer to people in your group. When you're part of the family and you're addressing outsiders, you don't use -san. If you don't want to make a mistake, just always use -san. First impressions are very important.

*10 minutes break*

The second half of the lecture is about office. Today, I don't think many of you are going to be going out and dealing with so many families. The most important thing is the workplace. When you're working with people, how do you behave with people? You'll be there from around 8 in the morning to 5, 6, 7 in the evening. So you have to make sure that your behavior at work is very good.

The Japanese are not difficult. They have their way of thinking. It's also difficult for them to understand what we are doing as well. How do you work in Japan? Make sure you don't offend the people. You've come here to learn something. Someone is putting in effort to teach you something. Learn how to do things properly.

Japanese people at work are very punctual. If you have to be in your office by 9:00, most people will be in by 8:50 or 8:55. They will be in five to ten minutes before they have to be there for work. If you're late five minutes, sometimes you'll be considered half an hour late, depending on the company. Be very very careful. If you're working in a company where you have to change your clothes, be there at least fifteen minutes ahead so that you have enough time to change. This is one thing Japanese people are very very careful about. The biggest complaint Japanese have about Asian people is that they're very loose about time. You are the face they know. You have to make sure you don't leave a bad impression. Your behavior always has impact.

If my boss comes up to me and corrects my mistake, I might defend what I've done. In Japan, people will first say sorry. They'll put a stop to the complaint first, and then explore the reasons for the error. They're very quick to apologize. Saying sorry doesn't mean you're wrong. You're apologizing for the inconvenience that has been caused and the time wasted. That's a very important factor.

When you're here, what you do in your country doesn't matter. You're here to learn the Japanese way of doing things. If you want to share how you do it in your country, do that afterwards. When you say right away how it's done in your company, it's as if you're not listening. When you're here, keep both of your ears open. A lot of them won't really be able to speak English. Many of them will use interpreters. You'll have double the time wasted because the same thing is said over and over again. Learn, and then tell them what you can do and what you can't do. Listening is the most important part in Japan.

Attitude in the office. Japanese people are very reserved in the office. Japanese people will never sit on people's desks or look at other people's computers or touch other people's papers without permission. No no no no. People don't like it in Japan. They're very close about their own things. They don't like having people interfere in their personal lives.

In other countries, you might know a lot about your colleagues. But in Japan, business and family are separate. Very often, a wife might not have met her husband's colleagues. Office is office, house is house. Very distinctly separated. They don't have company picnics or family days. Very often people won't call up their spouses at the office, either. (Funny anecdote about being the only wife to call up the office.) Most people use the handphone (mobile phone) instead.

Japanese people work very late. After that, many go drinking with friends. People are hardly at home. Japanese families are losing out on all that. In our countries, families are a very important part, but in Japan... Salaryman mostly just work very late and then go eating and drinking afterwards.

Japanese people eat everything. They like to eat and they like to drink. If you don't eat something, warn them in advance. It's very embarrassing for them if they make a mistake. Japanese people love to drink, and they're very good drinkers. They can drink all these things and still not get drunk. If you're not used to drinking a lot, don't try to compete with them. Please be careful.

The other thing is that if you go out with Japanese... "Let's go for lunch." Japanese people are very particular about the way they spend money. You pay for your share. They will not borrow money from each other. It's very rare. If you're going out with people, make sure you buy your own ticket. At least make an effort.

Let's say you're going out. People eat different amounts of food and drink different totals. The bill is evenly divided. It doesn't matter if you only had very little, or someone else had a lot. This is a very common practice in Japan. Girls, boys, it doesn't matter. If you're invited out for dinner, they'll just divide it by the number of people. What you're paying for is that evening, enjoying the evening together... Please be careful about that.

If someone invites you and you don't really want to go, you should always have an excuse. Don't try to compete with them. You don't always have to go. You're here on training. You don't have to spoil your health or waste your money. If you fall sick here, insurance and all is very high. Hospital rates are very expensive. You are here to learn something. Enjoy yourself, but don't get carried away. Take care of your health. A lot of foreigners come here and go overboard, and they wind up sick. Please be careful about that.

In the offices, you'll learn a lot of things. You just have to be careful. Their English is not very good. But don't get angry. Sometimes the words they use aren't quite right. All of you are better at English than they are, so just overlook a lot of things. For example, they put "my" in front of everything. The word "my" means "your own". Whenever they want to say a possessive about something, they use "my". Don't get mixed up. Just be careful. A lot of foreigners get surprised by this "my" thing. In Japanese, it's very interesting. This is a very tricky thing.

Suppose I'm working with a company and I don't like my supervisor, what do I do? Usually, you'll talk to another colleague. You'd tell them you're having a problem. But you can never go above the person. Don't give the senior person a bad impression of your supervisor. Talk to some of your colleagues and find out how to make the situation better. If you go above your supervisor, the senior person will have to take a stern step. You've given that person a bad impression. Try to resolve things with people around you.

Anecdote about a person who was too intelligent for the person who was teaching him. He was ostracized by his colleagues. Don't show off. Be humble. Don't be overconfident. Remember that you're here to learn. Once you put them down, they will stop teaching you. Japanese people lose confidence very quickly.

You have to be very careful about how you behave on the streets. Japanese people are very coordinated. You will not find someone going the wrong way. You will not find people arguing or fighting either. They don't like to sit and argue, or doubt you. If you say something is bad, they take you at face value.

No one likes disturbances here. You can't argue or make a scene on the streets. Don't make anyone 'lose face'. You try not to show anyone you have a problem. Other people are very expressive, but in Japan, body language is kept to a minimum. We all show our emotions very easily. The Japanese people always have poker faces. You never know what they are thinking inside. They'd never show their true emotions.

It's very difficult to get close to Japanese people. They always keep a barrier. They're very reluctant. Be very careful about that.

Another problem a lot of foreigners have are their expections of house stays. Japanese people don't like to invite people to their house. They don't like their private lives exposed to people. They don't want you to meet their family or see their house because they don't want you to judge them. It's very common if they don't invite you over. Their houses are very small and cramped. Japanese people like to keep their friends and family separate. Don't be surprised if they don't take you home. If they invite you for dinner, please make sure you bring a small present.

If you don't really drink, tell them you can't drink before you go out. Very common practice is to pour other people's drinks. If you don't want to drink more, keep your glass full. You can pretend to sip.

If you have to leave a party early, give more than is necessary, and then just get your change the next day.

They'll ask you where you're from and how old you are, because their knowledge of English is limited. They'll also ask lots of questions about your country.

Taboo topics: where one lives, how old one is, opinions, politics, personal lives, religion...

Good topics: weather, food... Pho is a big thing in Tokyo. Suddenly Vietnamese noodles are in fashion.

Staple food: rice and fish. Fish is a big thing. After the war, more and more Japanese people started eating meat. Fish consumption is going down. Roasted, raw, whatever. Try it. It's not very hot or spicy, but it's quite delicious. They have a number of good dishes that you should try. Some people don't like the thought of eating raw fish, but don't think about it, and just eat it. Shabushabu and sukiyaki are alse very popular. Japanese food is very good. It's very healthy. You don't put on much weight, too.

Difference between "Let's go out someday" and "Let's go out tomorrow".

Look at the eyes of a person.

... Japan is a country that doesn't want foreigners to have its nationality.

They don't like bargaining.

Meetings have very little interaction. Very slow decision-makers because they have to reach consensus and they aren't used to thinking by themselves.

"Hai" also means "Yes, I understand what you're saying."

You have to learn white lies.

Over here, girls are much bolder than guys.

If people start talking to you first, it's all right.

Homestay: important thing: take a small present for the person you are going to stay with. It breaks the ice.

They're very particular about their kitchens. Don't overinsist. Try to find a balance.

Don't mix garbage. Segregate.

... Thank you!

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1. Day 1: Orientation

Categories: 2004.08.25:2 -- Permalink, Comment form

From 9:30 to 12:00, people from AOTS, METI and other organizations talked about the course we are about to take. In the afternoon, we took written tests. I forgot the hiragana for "sa". How embarrassing! I also forgot the kanji for "sakana" (fish), and the reading for the character that means to stand up. Still, I finished the 100 kanji test easily. I barely figured out three or four on the 200 kanji test, though, so I'll need to study a lot more.

Kondo-sama said that after this program, we might be able to pass the level 2 or level 3 Japanese Language Proficiency Test. That would be rather nice.

I'm in section K. The other two Filipinos are in section L. We'll see how things turn out tomorrow.

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Login (Login, login.jsp)

Use cases
Correct user name and correct password
Account is valid Go to the news page Account is stopped (code 88) Go back to the login page and display an error message Account is suspended due to password errors (code 99) Go back to the login page and display an error message
One or both fields are missing
Go back to the login page and display an error message
User not found in DB
Go back to the login page and display an error message
Incorrect password
1, 2 times incorrect Go back to the login page and display an error message 3 or more times incorrect Disable the account Go back to the login page and display an error message
Set up of login page
1 ActionServlet.loginSetupAction
1.1 Logic.getSetupBean
1.1.1 LoginSetupBean.setCurrentDateTime
1.1.2 DB.getWelcomeMessage
1.1.3 LoginSetupBean.setWelcomeMessage
1.1 return loginSetupBean
1 save to request
1 Form.save input
1.1 Request.save input
1.1.1 ActionServlet.loginAction Bean.copyProperties Logic.login(loginBean) MUserPeer.doSelect DB.query return [valid password] return bean to Action [result is not null && password is valid] Session.save login bean [result is not null && password is valid && code < 88] JSP.Forward to home [result is not null && password is valid && code = 88] Action: set error message [result is not null && password is valid && code = 99] Action: set error message [result is not null && password is valid && code >= 88] Forward to login.jsp [invalid password && validity < 88] MUserPeer.incr [login bean not null, code < 88] return to login. forward to news [code == 88] set error message. forward to login [code == 99] set error message. forward to login


5: 優れたプロジェクトの条件

- 目的がきちんと定義されており、合目的性があること
  - プロジェクトの目的が組織として、企業としての目的に合致していること
  - プロジェクトで行われる全ての活動が目的を達成することに向けられていること。
- 対象範囲をきちんと定義していること
- 達成目標が定義されていること
  - 定量的に表現できる達成目標の設定
  - Quality (品質)
    - 一般にQualityはQCDの中でもっとも重要だと認識されている。Qualityが
  - Cost (コスト)
  - Delivery
    - スピード経営が求められている現在、Delivery(納期)の要求は厳しくな
- タイムリーな意志決定が可能なこと
  - 経営的な判断
- リスクが認識、評価されており、対応策が検討されているか?
  - リスクの持つ影響度とその発生確率から対応方針を出す。
  - リスクが現実化した時の緊急対応策、平常復帰が検討され、
- 利害関係者の足並みが揃っていること

6. プロジェクト成功への外部阻害要因

- 以下のような問題が起こらないように経営陣は手を打つ必要がある。
  - 職能別組織の反発
    - 現状維持を志向している既存組織からの反発。改革に対する精神的な不
  - 肩書きへのこだわり
    - プロジェクトを成功に導くためには現在の役職を無視した体制作りも必
  - 既存組織とプロジェクトとの板ばさみ
    - 専任体制がとれない場合、プロジェクトメンバーには二人の上司がいる
  - プロジェクト解散後の居所
    - 専任体制がひけた場合も、プロジェクト解散後の居所がなくなる場合が
  - 評価制度の問題
    - プロジェクトメンバーが上げ成果にたいして正当に評価するしくみが必
    - また、プロジェクトの成功をかぎつけプロジェクト後半からハイエナの

7. プロジェクトマネージメント概論

8. プロジェクトマネジメントの潮流

9. システム開発の3つの管理目的+alpha

限界 原価 単価 納期 +

10. プロジェクト管理の考え方


管理情報へ Tool, Meetingなど、により適確で正確な管理情報を収集し分析する。


Check & Action



各ステージ毎に作業内容と管理目標を指示し、 その実現のための作業指示を行こう。

11. プロジェクト管理の原則(1)

12. プロジェクト管理の原則(2)



BCHelp Cuong with Planner (2005.02.22)
BCSend clothes by sea mail (2005.02.23)
BCAsk about JAL Class J (2005.02.26)
BXCheck Akihabara for a puzzle box for cmarguel : Chat with cmarguel on testing.bitlbee.org (2005.02.13)
BXConsolidate cash (2005.02.20)
BXPack souvenirs into check-in luggage (2005.02.20)
BXPrepare a box for my clothes and shoes (2005.02.20)
BXArrange for luggage pick-up by 3:00 on the 23rd or 22nd ... (2005.02.20)
BXGet a box for sea-mailing clothes (2005.02.20)
BXMeet Kobayashi at 7:00 on the 8th floor of Lumine (2005.02.21)
BXPack electronics into carry-on luggage (2005.02.22)
BXGive Kobayashi-san set of notebooks (2005.02.23)
BXGive Tomoko a set of notebooks and a pack of mangoes (2005.02.23)