Monday, May 26, 2008

Our View of Sunzi 's Strategic Approach

How we viewed the structure of Sun Zi's (Sun Tzu) strategic system:


Our Compass AE process of strategic assessment is based on the use of Sunzi (Sun Tzu) strategy principles.



/// note: The mindmaps listed above, were used in our
recent "Southern New Hampshire University" presentation.


By using our strategic assessment process, you are able to out-do your competition in terms of faster execution, minimize costs, mitigate risks, etc.

If you are interested in the specifics in using our strategic assessment process, please e-mail us at contactus(aatt)collaboration360(ddott)com. Otherwise you will have to wait for our white paper on Strategic Assessments sometime in 2009.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thank you, Dr. Fellman!

Many thanks to Dr. Fellman of Southern New Hampshire University for the opportunity to do a presentation on "Applying Sun Tzu's (Sunzi's) principles to the Global Economy" for his Multinational Business Strategy class.

We touched on the importance of strategic assessment. Like most people, everyone wants the golden template of strategy. They want a tool that enables teams to finish their project with minimal efforts and maximum results. Sorry! That does not exist yet.

Strategy is the key. The rule of general strategy is "process precedes technology". The professionals know the meaning behind that rule. They
know that technology is not the answer. It is usually a solution with limitations.


Effective strategy development starts with the act of intelligence gathering and assessing the data properly. Once the assessment stage is completed, the strategists build the big picture and then the tactical plan...

From my experience, m
ost people do not want to take time to gather intelligence and assess data.
They want to feel their objective by ad-libbing. Realistically, the improvisers usually wasted their time and their resources by feeling their way around, when they should have taken time to develop a process and comply with it. At the end, they fail more than they succeed.

Someone in the class asked me the question "If you were Starbucks, entering a new market in the Middle East, how would you use Sun Tzu's principles?"

My response was, "In order to use the Sun Tzu's strategic principles properly, one starts with the fundamental step of Sun Tzu's Art of War- "Strategic Assessment" (Chapter One). Assess and recognize the disposition of everyone in that area, then their strategic advantage of the major players and their weaknesses and strengths. ... Once that is established, recognize the competitive situations and conditions for that terrain. Know which of the nine variables that are in play for each competitor, etc. ... When this stage is completed, one can build a grand plan based on the trademarked Sun Tzu's principles. ...

Properly assessing one's grand settings is the key to building a detailed big picture (the Tangible Vision)!?.

Dr. Fellman! Thanks again for the opportunity for allowing us (Collaboration360) to share our knowledge of Chinese Strategies with you and your class.


His response was:

"The Chinese students said that on the Mainland, they don't study Sun Tzu, so they found it very interesting and also very new. They were deeply impressed by your level of knowledge and I was very grateful to have you as a guest lecturer. ... " --- Dr. Phil Fellman

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Collaboration 360's Latest Tangible Vision (Project)

Working with a local nonprofit who is organizing a multi-day sport event. This event will take place in July 2008. It is consisted of running 10+ different sporting events at many remote sites. The distance between each site is somewhere between 0.5 mile to five miles.

Today, we guided them in building their first Tangible Vision (T/V). ... Their Tangible Vision is focused on managing many operational teams that are located at multiple locales. It outlined their specific objectives and how it connects to the rest of the Tangible Vision. ... The technical intent of their "T/V" is to ensure operational efficiency from start to finish while minimizing costs and mitigating risks.

Will explain more on this new project later this month.

If your company wants the project team to operate efficiently while reducing the project costs, mitigate their risks and accelerate the time to delivery, our Compass AE methodology enables your team to do that. We will be more than happy to tell you more about our process. There is no technology cost to it. This approach works with any type of technology you might have.

You can contact us at service[aatt]collaboration360 [ddott]com.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Recommended Books for the Budding Strategists

Thomas Huynh of recently published "The Art of War -- Spirituality for Conflict: Annotated & Explained". Collaboration 360 recommends it for its unique view on how to apply Sun Tzu's (Sunzi) principles in conflicting situations.

Early this year, Mark McNeilly of wrote this great book on Washington's leadership.
We recommend it highly to those who are in need of a positive role model for strategic

George Washington and the Art of Business: The Leadership Principles of America's First Commander-in-Chief (Hardcover)

Found this book to be quite remarkable in understanding the current global picture.

The Second World: Empires and Influence in the New Global Order


The Future of the Internet--And How to Stop It (Hardcover)
by Jonathan Zittrain (Author)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Big Picture: Current Project Management Trends (updated)

"There are some new numbers to back up the unfortunate reality that many projects simply don't deliver as expected. 49 percent of organizations have suffered from budget overruns on IT projects and 62 percent have experienced schedule delays"
Tata Consultancy Services (TCS),

The study, which surveyed 800 organizations in the United States, Europe and Asia, also found that 47 percent of respondents have experienced higher-than-expected maintenance costs and 41 percent said IT projects failed to deliver the expected business value and ROI.

In short, IT projects are a chronic disappointment. --- "8 Ways To Save Your Next Project"

From a previous blog entry

Recent research by CA has shown that IT projects in the UK and Ireland go over budget with worrying regularity and great cost — one third of all IT projects exceed their budget, with one quarter overspending by more than 50pc. The main inhibitors of efficient project performance include inadequate planning, lack of visibility during development and failures in implementation.

Standish group's Chaos Report stated that 30% of all projects are finished on budget, on time, and on target.


From a previous blog entry
Current trend of project management:

* 60% of all requirements for most projects are re-written. (Borland Intl,;


* 1 out of every 4 projects never leave the starting line (Meta group);
* 30% of all projects are completed on time, on-budget and on target (Chaos Report);
* "Only 59% of our projects reach the market. In Europe only a meager 45% get shipped. ..." Jack Ganssle, (07.10.2006)


Our Assessment:
Not everyone has an endless stream of money. ... There is a limitation for everything.

Sun Zi’s essay on strategy (and other Chinese strategic classics) highlights the point of how uncontrollable costs slow down the progress of a campaign. A protracted campaign usually create the feeling of anxiety and negativity within the organization or the team.

Beside the problem of mitigating risks and accelerating "time to market" delivery, most companies possess the same problem of minimizing project costs.

How Compass AE works
Our Compass AE process enables a project team to collaboratively use the Tangible Vision to build "top to bottom" connections between the goal, the objectives and the requirements. ...

Once they sees the “connections” from start to finish, the team connects to it.

@ the end, the Compass team completes their Tangible Vision on time, on budget and on target.


... When a Compass team builds, connects and leads with their Tangible Vision, they collaborates regardless of the distance, the technology and the project culture.

If your company wants to reduce their project costs, mitigate their risks and accelerate the time to delivery, we have a strategic process that enables your team to do that.

You can contact us at service[aatt]collaboration360 [ddott]com.

We will be more than happy to tell you more about our Compass AE process and how it can help your company to operate efficiently while reducing costs.

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Basics of Compass AE (Inspired by the Chinese Strategy Classics)

Assess The Big Picture Before Building the Tangible Vision
It is important for a project team to assess their grand settings before building their Tangible Vision.

After estimating the advantages in accord with what you have heard, put it into effect with strategic power supplemented by field tactics that respond to external factors. As for strategic power, it is controlling the tactical imbalance of power in accord with the gains to be realized.
--- The Art of War, 1

Once a Compass team assesses their grand settings, they determine the advantages and the disadvantages of different conditions. Then the collaborative process of building their Tangible Vision begins.

Once the Team connected with the Tangible Vision, they are able to lead with it
One who excels at warfare seeks victory through the strategic configuration of power, not from reliance of men. Thus he is able to select men and employ strategic power." --- The Art of War, 5

The compass of the built Tangible Vision sets the realistic standards that team must comply with.
Once the Compass team leads with the Tangible Vision, they maneuver with momentum and timing.

One who employs strategic power commands men in battles if he were rolling logs and stones. The nature of wood and stone is to be quiet when stable but to move when on precipitous ground. If they are square, they stop, if round they tend to move. Thus the strategic power of one who excels at employing men in warfare is comparable to rolling round boulders down a thousand-fathom mountain. Such is the strategic configuration of power. - The Art of War, 5


Does your strategic collaborative process
do that?

If you are interested in knowing more about getting your team to collaborate as a team, please contact us at Service[aatt]collaboration360 [ddott]com.

We will be more than happy to tell you more about our process and how it can help your project team to perform as a team.

In future entries, we will explain how the Compass AE process enables your team complete their project while minimizing costs and mitigating risks.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Collaborating in the Global Economy: [The Ripple from High Gas Prices]

Rising oil prices mean less traveling. In the future, there will be more web conferencing, more virtual teams (on the high end side) and project teams learning how to collaborate as a team.

Those who travel, will not be performing at 100%.

Since most teams have problems operating from a close distance. What makes the management believe that they can get a virtual project team operating efficiently well!?.


From (April 24)
Good-Bye, Cheap Oil. So Long, Suburbia?

Why is suburbia now threatened?

Cheap oil is what made suburbia possible. But we'll run into problems with spot shortages. As we get into trouble with these supplies, our economy will suffer. Major instabilities in the system will present themselves much sooner than we are led to believe. And by that I mean the way we produce food, the way we conduct commerce, and the way we move around.

When will all that happen?
The rise and fall of oil production is asymmetrical. In other words, it'll be a steeper, rockier tumble down than the steady increase going up. My own sense of things is that we will be in very serious trouble inside of five years.

How will the U.S. have to adapt?
Virtually anything organized on a grand scale is liable to fall into trouble—government, finance, corporate enterprise, agribusiness, schools. Our gigantic metroplex cities will prove to be inconsistent with the energy diet of our future. I think our smaller cities and towns will be reactivated. We are going to be a far less affluent society.

The Collaboration 360 solution to this dilemma is having a strategic project collaborative process that enables a team to collaborate regardless of the distance, the technology and the project culture.

You can find out more about our approach on solving this challenge of collaborating without borders by contacting us at service[aatt]collaboration[dott]com.