Ever encounter an old Excel VBA macro project locked by password. Chances are, you have forgotten what is the password. This method from stackoverflow is the best that I can use to unlock and remove the password easily!
Things you need will be a Hex editor. I use Textpad++ with Hex editor plug in.
You may want to backup your file before changing.
Open xls file with a hex editor in Textpad++.
Ctrl Find and search for DPB
Replace DPB to DPx
Open file in Excel.
Click “Yes” if you get any message box. It usually will show a corrupted message information.
In the Visual Basic Editor window, click Tools -> VBA Project Properties.
The VBA Project – Project Properties window opens. Select the Protection tab, tick the Lock project for viewing, enter and confirm a password, then click OK.
Enter new password.
Save and Close.
Open the file with Excel.
You will notice that there is no error message box.
Enter your new password when you open to view VBA project. Viola!
Below steps is optional to remove the password.
In the Visual Basic Editor window, click Tools -> VBA Project Properties.
The VBA Project – Project Properties window opens. Select the Protection tab, untick the Lock project for viewing, then click OK.
Save and Close.
Open the file with Excel.
Click to view VBA project and you are able to view without any password.
After 2 years of COVID-19, we are getting pretty fatigue by the different variants. This is the longest pandemic since SARS, MERS, and H1N1. The challenging part of transmission is the asymptomatic symptoms and the rate it can spread quickly, silently and sometimes deadly. This is what I hope to see and do for working during 2022.
A Relook on Mask
It makes no sense to mask on in office cubicle. This is one reason of comfort to work from home. Working environment should be comfortable and masks required only for high touch and high density crowd. I hope to see better mask design for front-liners who mask throughout the day. After all, we should invest in mask sustainability for a pandemic that is here to stay.
Hybrid working model will be the future. It will be hard to go back to before on crowded desk space and office areas. We should see the emergence of shared spaces and flexible hybrid model. Not all teams are the same and working should be flexible to the team discretion. It will be effective to converge for meetings rather being in office during alternate fixed periods. Thus, working in person is driven by needs rather than wants. I need to be in office for meetings. It should not be I want you to be in office!
Working in 2022 will continue to be challenging due to ongoing COVID-19 variants. Organisations must be flexible to maximise benefits of being in office rather than working in office to be seen. Office space should also be reconfigured for spacing. It must also be safe to remove masks so that I can work in the comfort of my own cubicle!
In the course of many project implementation, the major challenges that I seen will be system adoption resistance. Humans by nature are resistance to change. With new technologies, this is one of the most common barriers. Users will seek to provide ample reasons not to adopt the new systems. These are some common reasons that I get from users.
Common Factors of Resistance
Many users will cite these issues as reasons not to adopt new systems.
The system is not user friendly.
The features does not capture the data I wanted.
The system does not allow me to edit the data.
The system is slow.
The system does not provide reminders.
The reports does not contain what I wanted.
The report data is inaccurate and different from my excel.
You may this excuses are all pertaining to technologies. Users will not want to change existing process. Some system implementation may even results in loss of jobs. All these concerns results in total resistant from middle management to operations to resist adopting the new system. You may even find attempts to “sabo” aka sabotage the system with dirty data. Being system, dirty data will result in incorrect output like reports.
Technologies have reached a stage where many features are feasibility and cost effective. However, the issue of system adoption resistance remains. Users will give 1001 reasons to kill off system implementation. Unless firm change is implemented from top down, it is hard to remove this issue from bottom up.
Year 2022, it is still common to find project management using excel applications. It seems that much have changed for past decades. Of course, there are many project management tools that are bought and forgotten. Like all users, IT project management follows the path of least efforts. This is why I prefer the Agile approach to keep a backlog as a single source of truth to store all matters to be addressed. How should you start your backlog?
Role of Product Owner
Agile in practice differs greatly from theory. Scrum master, product owner and developers may span multiple geographies. There may also be vendors running this role. Or in some case, there is no product owner role. Organisations are slow to realise that backlog belongs and are maintained by product owner. Without this role, it is common to see emergence of multiple excels from your waterfall approach. Therefore, it is time to realise that you need this role to start your backlog.
Backlog for External Parties
A common challenge for backlog is accessibility to external parties. This happens when you have contractors as developers. Thus, you need a secured space with version control to store your backlog. There are many cloud applications that provide agile backlog maintenance. Another approach for product owner is to restrict by view only and assign backlog accordingly. This is the standard approach for many agile implementation.
To avoid multiple trackers and problems of versioning changes in excel, you may want to adopt Agile and backlog. The role of product owner is critical for backlog maintenance. Backlog provide a single source of truth for all to review and avoid missing tasks.
Interestingly, resource management is a basis of several project management. However, there is a common gap between user expectations and actual resources. Users do not have notions of how resources are acquired and utilised. There are also middle layers or coordinator teams who portray a misconception of unlimited resources. This is where you need to emphasis the reality of resource management.
In the Agile world, we need to upskill our resources to be multi talented. This will allows you to manage your resources pool with ease. To achieve fluidity, many organisations are turning to in-house resources to support core projects. Common IT support or infrastructure should be outsource accordingly. This way, you can build and retain critical knowledge within the organisation.
If you have adopt Agile, you can easily ensure a constant Agile team for your projects. Agile planning are fast and allows consistent load in sprint. You may also choose DevOps as another option to reduce the gaps in user expectations. Unlike waterfall project plan, you will not be subjected to Big Bang delivery and need to load additional resources.
Resource management have come a long way from the era of waterfall. You must reorg for Agile team structure. This way, you can retain consistent deliverables within a sprint and also key knowledge among the team. It is also time to scrap project management or coordinate role who try to arrange for resources. If you can agile, go for it and build your team.
In many software upgrade, 80% of the efforts should be spend on testing. This is because software upgrade testing can be tricky. You have to decide whether to test in depth or cover in breadth. For many project teams, the lack of application knowledge will be obvious in the execution of testing. How should you select and determine what are to be tested?
Set your Testing Objective
The key objective of testing during upgrade is to ensure all is well. Thus, there is a conflict on how much we should test. You can use objective to determine your testing coverage. I like to set my testing objective to ensure a smooth UAT (user acceptance testing). In order to achieve this overarching goal, I will need to focus on tests on common break points for software upgrading.
A key issue of waterfall process is linear testing. This is the process of unit testing, system integration test (SIT) and UAT. I usually mitigate this approach by using Agile testing to raise user confidence. From experience, test are designed to passed within a set scripts and will fail during free style user testing. The duration to deploy fix during user testing will not meet the desired timeline for waterfall. Thus, I will choose to deploy knowledgeable support to role players as users to keep testing within an agile process.
The mindset of traditional testing in software upgrade aim to test for pass. This is why many issues surface during the user testing. You should allow knowledgeable support members to test to break the software. Following test scripts may not be useful in the agile world of today.
The gold rush for Cloud have been started. You can say many organisations are caught off guard when COVID-19 pandemic hit the world hard. Many current cloud implementations are being accelerated by Cloud providers. However, it is time that you must know what you are moving forward into.
There are many Cloud providers now. Incidentally, you can also view it as the death of on premise applications. This is because many applications had shifted their development for cloud applications. With so much choices, you need to choose and pick wisely. Do not jump into cloud for the sake of it. The end of support for on premise is usually announced early. Do consider at least 2 to 3 years to plan and pick your cloud applications for any major move.
Manage your Risk
A neglected area when moving to cloud is risk management. There are many horror stories on expectation gaps for many cloud move. Do consider to apply risk management in your cloud move. You should also be prepared to use multi cloud options to replace your legacy applications. Another common risk area is containerisation of applications. Thus, you may want to pilot cloud to explore risk areas and implement mitigation approaches.
The rush into Cloud could be hasty and headache for many applications owners. It is best to plan ahead and understand each cloud providers. You should learn mitigate your risks with pilot Cloud implementation. This way, your journey into cloud will be a breeze.
In 2022, it is a good time to move your existing legacy solution design to cloud solution. Many existing migration is mostly focused on infrastructure. Although this allows you to take advantage of cloud infrastructure, you cannot utilise the full potential of it. Thus, it is time to refactor your application solution for cloud. These are some of steps that you should be starting.
Legacy applications design are usually highly coupled. Some examples are J2EE or web tiered framework where database and application logic reside within a single server. This makes it difficult for you to migrate to cloud because of dependencies. Decoupling removes and clean up these dependencies. Thus, you can move easily or change to other cloud design.
REST your Integration
Decoupling step will push you towards the usage of REST API. These steps also help you to standardise all your integration points and connectivity. You can also move your customisation out of the products and connect via REST API. This step let you remove the coupling within application. You will also find this step useful if you will decide to move to SaaS (Software as a Service).
There are two important steps to start planning if you have intention to change to cloud design. You must look into how you can decouple your existing applications. The design to use REST will help you determine on how you can easily move to SaaS. These steps will transition your legacy applications into cloud design.
It was a quick year of 2021 due to COVID pandemic. There are so many strains of COVID that we are getting used to it. Notable mention are Delta and Omicron strain. As we say goodbye to 2021, I looked forward to a year of 2022 with less restrictions. It is also a year that we will expect with more “digital transformation”.
2021 is a year of COVID roller coaster because of the impact of COVID variant and vaccines. It is a cat and mouse effects because vaccines are not a fail safe approach. The mindset to endemic is still far because of uncertainty. On the digital front, work from home remains default and IT is being spiked by the need of digitalisation. You can say that 2021 is a crossroads for digital transformation and transforming to Cloud. It will take a year or more for IT to fully aligned with business and be transformed.
Year 2022 will see many gaps created by digital transformation. As expected, many organisations started digital transformation without a holistic view from business. Like the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) era, digital transformation is viewed as IT implementation. It is Deja vu for many as we grapple with the disconnect of business and IT. Thus, I will expect to see increased hiring for “digital transformers” to help bridge the gaps.
As I see the last of 2021, the pace of digital transformation is liken to that of COVID. Uncertainty and risks are high because of many unknowns. However, it is a great year because this paves the way for 2022. I can see more exciting digitalisation ahead. It is up to organisations to grab the required resources with the mindset to bridge these gaps.
Chatbot AI (Artificial Intelligence) is still many years behind to what we see in movies. Anyone who have encounter Chatbot will find that the AI are only good to handle happy path. The true AI will be exceptions handling and problem solving. It may take a couple more years for AI to be mature in Chatbot. So, is it worth to invest in Chatbot now?
Chatbot will define Tomorrow
Although Chatbot of today does not give what we envision, it holds a lot of potential for tomorrow. Existing organisation are not structured for Chatbot or AI. By investing in a new channel like Chatbot, you will be compel to transform towards a future AI or Chatbot teams. Logic remains key driver for existing applications, not AI. With Chatbot, you can easily bridge the gap to AI.
Better Late than Never
If your organisation is conservative, they may feel that Chatbot is redundant. Other resistance could be fear of losing jobs or the need to restrict information. Soon, you will find many Chatbot equipped with AI and many other capabilities. Organisations who have been utilising Chatbot can easily gain access to AI. Thus, it is hard to find a reason not to introduce Chatbot channel into your product offerings.
There are many debates to why Chatbot is worth investing. It is correct to say current Chatbot is lacking in AI. However, you should see Chatbot as a door into AI. You should implement Chatbot to gain access to AI for the future. If it is not now, when will it be tomorrow?