Dev Project Management

How to search in databases spread all over the company

The problem

Knowledge is spread all over the company and hidden inside excel files. During the development of new products it is crucial to have a state of the art of what has been already done to save money.

The context and some contraints

  • Engineering department
  • Each engineer manages its own formatted list of product datas using excel

    Examples of lists
    Examples of lists
  • The headers may have different names (example : list 1 refers to temperature as  « Max Temperature » while list 2 refers as « T »)
  • The values may be in expressed in different units (exemple : list 1 expresses the temperature in °C while list 2 in Kelvin)
  • No extra work for the engineers

My solution

  1. Using a scheduled task, the different excel lists are uploaded from the windows file system onto the company server

    Scheduled Task
    Scheduled Task
  2. Using a server scheduled task (cron), the excel files are converted into sql format
    List 1 in sql format
    List 1 in sql format

    List 2 in sql format
    List 2 in sql format
  3. A conversion sql database helps to uniform the parameters designations and units
  4. The result is quite powerful

    Result from the master search
    Result from the master search


With this method, we authorise the engineers to work with their own excel files and still provide a solution to search among all the different files.

Future improvements

  • Make sure that there is an unique identifier for each excel lines so that any project can make reference to it.
  • Auto update the sql databases structure to match structure changes in the excel files.
Project Management

Valuable note conversion

Taking meeting’s notes or minutes is one thing.

It helps the note taker to remind himself about important facts discussed in a meeting or during a presentation.
You can make them way more useful if you convert them into organized knowledge.
Under organized knowledge I mean a document recorded in the company database.
A good practise would be to convert every items of your freshly-taken notes into :

  • An assigned action with due date
  • An update of documentation like a specification or a handbook
  • An update in the project decision log
  • An update in the risk (or opportunity) register
  • A short communication to colleagues
  • A planning update
  • A change in the software
  • Whatever you want but something else than a hand written document than no one will use

Don’t wait too long to do this. Try do do it live or at least within one week period.
Doing it quickly after the meeting prevents :

  • People to wait too long for your feedbacks
  • Having to convert tons of notes at once.
  • forgetting anything

This seems obvious but sometimes it is useful to recall obviousness.

Note that this process is a lot easier is you take your notes paperless.


Going Paperless

This idea was going through my head for a couple of months and I am now determine to give it a try : Going Paperless. I would like to stop using notebooks at the office.

Motivations :

  • It’s green
  • It will probably contribute to a better management of my project notes
  • I could travel lighter
  • My paper book has a lack of functionalities :
    • I cannot use Ctrl+F to find in my paper notebook !
    • I can tag my notes but I cannot rearrange them by tags!
    • It is difficult to share my notes with colleagues.
    • I cannot paste pictures within my notebook.
    • If I lost my notebook in the train, I lost everything !
    • I have to retype everything when I am at my desk in front of my computer

What I think I need :

  • An ipad with sim card
  • The Evernote suite : Evernote, Penultimate, Skitch
  • A stylus
  • A keyboard for ipad
  • An Ipad case that can hold the keyboard and the stylus

I will start in september and keep you posted about how it goes and if I am missing the paper. Please if you have any suggestions feel free to post a comment below.

Project Management

My Favorites Project Management Tools

A little update after one more year of practising as a pm :

I have separated tools by usage (project management core activities):


  • Ganttproject
  • MS Project
  • Excel



File Collaboration

  • Google docs
  • Office 365
  • Dropbox
  • Windows file system


  • Slack
  • Basecamp
  • Skype
  • Emails

Knowledge Management

Task Management


  • OneNote
  • Google docs
  • Word
  • Power Point


Une liste de mes brunchs et restaurants préférés à Lausanne.


  1. La Couronne d’Or
  2. L’Hermitage
  3. Le Café de Grancy
  4. Tom Café, au Musée Olympique
  5. Le café des Avenues
  6. La Café Saint Pierre


  1. Nadanam
  2. Brasserie du Palace
  3. L’Eléphant Blanc
  4. L’Orchidée
  5. Fratel e Napule


  1. Café des artisans
  2. Bar Tabac


  1. Le Café Saint Pierre
  2. Midi 20

Les prochains sur la liste à essayer :

  • L’Antica Trattoria
  • Le petit boeuf
  • Le Tramway

Pour d’autres adresses, visitez mon profil tripadvisor.

Bon Appétit.


RFID pour controle d’accès de salle de sport ou de danse

Voici mon dernier petit développement. Un système de contrôle d’accès par badge pour salle de sport ou salle de danse.

Principe :

Chaque client à une carte associée à son profil. Chaque fois que le client veut rentrer dans l’école, il passe sa carte devant un système autonome. Le système doit juste être branché à l’électricité. Le système dialogue avec un serveur qui renvoie l’image du client et toutes les informations associées à son profil. Le système est déjà couplé avec le CRM que j’ai développé mais vous pouvez aussi le coupler avec votre propre système de gestion client.

Démo :

Prochaines étapes :

Installation dans une école pilote

Si vous êtes intéressé, je le vends. Pour les tarifs :

Project Management

The role of an expert knowledge manager

As I go on with the development of the and especially the Document Managing System (DMS) function, I came across the definition of a key role in knowledge management : expert knowledge manager.

Let’s assume that I have a document database in which documents cover different fields of expertise (like steel materials and ceramic material). I can define one (or more) colleague(s) as an expert in a given field; For example, Bruce is defined in the system as an expert in ceramic materials.

The document creator (let’s say a colleague from the ceramic material engineer department) has not been able to fill in every form field (or attributes) when submitting the document. I really don’t want to make all field mandatory because it may make the document creator reluctant to add its document to the database. That is why, the system let him submit its document with an incomplete form and as a consequence the entry in the database has some missing information.

Here comes the Expert Knowledge Manager in action.

The DMS will regularly ask the right Expert Knowledge Manager to fill in the blank fields. If a document cover the ceramic material subject then Bruce will be asked to improve the database entry. In other words, the expert knowledge manager make sure that all documents in his field of expertise are well documented and can be found in the database.

The philosophy behind is always the same : a DMS will work only if all documents are properly defined and all attributes are correct.


Dev Project Management, your everyday tool for logging projects activities is a Rocket for Project Manager

  • Log any activity related to your projects
  • Manage your todo list and log completed items
  • Assign task to your colleagues
  • Log Lessons Learned
  • Log Risk & Opportunities
  • Log the work hours and generate weekly time report
  • Generate Monthly Management Report (MMR)

You can use it here as a SaaS here : (it is free!)

Cool stuffs:

  • Fully smartphone responsive
  • Manage different users and admin
  • Manage all the project knowledge
  • Organize a document index from any xls/csv file


More infos & screenshots soon.

Your feedbacks are welcomed


Brainstorming on communication in R&D department

The following notes came from a meeting that I had with colleagues on how to communicate efficiently within the department (R&D department)

Why do we have to communicate, why sharing knowledge ?


  • Brainstorming and idea creation are facilitated
  • Duplicate work can be avoided
  • Decision can be taken faster and in a more efficient way (better alignment)
  • Faster and easier involvment of new colleagues
  • Living Experts knowledge is captured


  • People have access to the same level of information
  • The team feels as a team (people cohesion)

Target Audiences

A R&D department (technician, engineer, researcher and project manager). The people are not necessary  in the same office.

What & How

  • Technical Communication / non-Technical Communication
  • Spoken Communication / Unspoken Communication
  • Live Communication / On-demand Communication
  • Short, middle and long terms communication
  • Face-to-face meeting: Technical Day, Local Pulse
  • Web conference : Technical Meeting
  • Newsletter : Monthly Management Report
  • Reporting : Portofolio Management tool, project presentations, project planning, technical notes

Communication strategy

Process committee meeting

Who : A small group of three persons
What : Innovation process update, administrative process update
When : 3 times a year
Time frame : long terms
Benefit : workflow efficiency, faster work

Department Day

Who : the whole team
What : 1 thème (example : communication faire savoir), 1 day
When : Yearly
Time frame : long terms
Benefit : En plus de la thématique, le team building

Department Meeting

Who : The whole Team
What : Team communication on non-technical subjects, work climate analysis, general information
When : monthly
Time frame : short terms
Benefit : Communicate every day life’s problems

Technical Day

Who : The whole Team
What : All projects are discussed during 1 day in a neutral location. Difficulty due to high Volume of information. Interactive communication
When : Yearly
Time frame : Long terms
Benefit : Same level of knowledge on the current project progress

Technical Meeting

Who : The whole Team
What : 1 project is presented during 45 minutes and the audience can interact. To be experiemented.
When : Monthly
Time frame : Middle terms
Benefit : Interactive communication, OPTIONAL attendance, could lead to a technical handbook

Local Pulse Meeting

Who : The whole Team
What : 1 hours, 3 minutes per person, weekly log of the project (incl. Risk, decision, problems)
When : Weekly
Time frame : short terms
Benefit : Risk sharing, problem solving, resource allocation

Global Pulse Meeting

Who : 2 to 3 persons from each geographic site, we call them connectors
What : 1 hours, similar to pulse but global, format to be defined/experimented
When : monthly or weekly
Time frame : middle terms or short terms
Benefit : interactive global communication

Monthly Management Report

Who : The whole Team
What : Report current month achievement and updates
When : monthly
Time frame : middle terms
Benefit : information on-request

More relative to KM than to Communication

TPD Knowledge Transfert Session:

  • Experts are training new employees
  • People receiving the information should report the learning (Technical Note)
  • The expert review and sign the technical note

Actions and next steps

Risk : Overcommunication -> No time for « real » work

  • Test the different new communication vector and give feedback
  • Work on the most appropriate way for non disruptive communication
  • Example : notify people when a new document is created in the knowledge base
  • Understand on how people look for the information, to do so identify some « profils » to perform the study : Technician, researchers, managers, …
  • Work on how to train people to locate the information

Workflow for document approval

This post describes a simple workflow for document approval.

In a company, most of the time, documents need to be approved before sending to a customer or even before distributing it to colleagues.

The first things to do is to define roles :

  • A writer
  • A reviewer
  • An approver

The writer submit a document using the standard dms (document managing system)
During the upload he is asked to choose, among a list of person, a reviewer.

The list of reviewer should be based on the type of document and the content of document. The list should propose a list of expert users. This means that the list should be constructed in advance.

The document is uploaded with metadata :

  • date of submission
  • writer username
  • proposed reviewer username

The proposed reviewed is notified by email or in the dms dashboard that a document is pending for review.

Two options:

  1. The reviewer can review the document
  2. The review cannot review the document (for time reason or because he think that he is not the most suitable expert in this field)

In the first case, the reviewer has the following options :

  • Mark the document as ok for approval
  • Correct the document, upload the corrected version and mark as ok for approval
  • Ask the writer to modify the document and gives him his comments and mark the document as awaiting writers corrections

to be continued