Nov 24, 2014
Vera Makki
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Now Reading: Project Management

Project Management

Prioritas

Kendala di setiap korporasi saat ini adalah bagaimana menentukan prioritas. We have so many things to do at one time, yet we think that each item deserves to get a priority label. Prioritas dipilih berdasarkan tingkat urgensi dan kepentingannya. Semakin urgen dan penting, itulah yang harus segera dikerjakan. Namun seringkali urgent bersifat buru-buru, sehingga hasilnya tidak maksimal. Ada yang menyatakan bahwa urgency terjadi karena penundaan. Seandainya kita pandai memanajemeni pekerjaan di kuadran penting, tanpa harus dibebankan dengan urgensi, maka prioritas dan kualitas pekerjaan dapat dijaga.

Kenyataannya, saat ini kita sering terjebak di kuadran urgent and important. Setelah dianalisa, bukan karena kita menunda pekerjaan-pekerjaan penting, namun terlalu banyak pekerjaan penting. We’re struggling to prioritize because too many priorities. Belum lagi jika ada permintaan dari atasan, dimana apa pun titah dari atasan, selalu menjadi urgent and important (as simple as photocopying). Well, that’s the brutal fact. Semakin tinggi suatu jabatan, orang tersebut akan semakin dicap sebagai ‘urgent and important’. Bener gak?

Managing others’ expectation

Yang terpenting dalam bekerja adalah mengelola ekspektasi kolega kerja dan atasan. Kita harus memiliki sikap bahwa saya memiliki prioritas, saya yang menentukan prioritas saya, apabila ada permintaan ke saya, beritahukan tenggat waktunya dan saya akan mengelola waktu saya agar dapat memberikan bantuan sesuai tenggat waktu yang diberikan. Hal ini memberikan kita pelajaran akan pentingnya respek. Saat mendesak, seringkali kita meminta bantuan kolega dalam sekejap. Saat hal ini terjadi, how to ask menjadi satu hal yang krusial. Jika kita salah bersikap, bisa-bisa kita justru diomeli karena dianggap tidak menghargai waktu dan prioritas orang lain.

The importance of project management

Bagaimana menyiasati kondisi urgent and important? Selain merusak kesehatan lahir batin, bekerja dalam kondisi ini bisa juga merusak profesionalisme, kecuali memang isu atau krisis benar-benar terjadi di luar kuasa kita (force majeur seperti kebakaran, banjir, kecelakaan, dst.)

Hari ini saya membeli buku ‘Project Management’ keluaran Harvard Business Review. Buku setebal 166 halaman dan seharga 299,000 ini (artinya satu lembar seharga 1800 perak doang) dibagi ke dalam 4 fase: planning, build up, implementation, close out. Di dalam setiap fase terdapat beberapa chapter yang ditulis oleh orang yang berbeda seperti Ron Ashkenas yang sudah berpengalaman dalam melakukan project besar.

Yang saya suka dari buku ini adalah tersedianya chart atau diagram yang membantu kita melakukan manajemen project, seperti Gantt Chart atau PERT chart. Buku ini secara efektif menyajikan cara melakukan project management secara ringkas dengan cara-cara untuk mengidentifikasi secara cepat dan komprehensif akan deteksi masalah secara dini, termasuk apabila ada pekerjaan yang berpotensi untuk pindah dari kuadran penting menjadi urgen dan penting.

Apabila deteksi dini dapat dilakukan, maka kita dapat mencegah terjadinya rush atau isu dalam project yang dijalankan. This is a good, recommended book for you who are often in a deep shit due to time management. Selamat membaca!

(Written by @vera_makki)

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Aug 27, 2013
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Navigate Unfamiliar Terrain dengan Kendaraan Diesel Mercedes-Benz ML 250 CDI

Tahun ini, tepatnya di kuartal kedua, Mercedes-Benz Indonesia memasuki babak baru dalam portofolio produk-nya dengan memperkenalkan standar terkini di kelas diesel SUV, yang mengedepankan efisiensi bahan bakar dan angka emisi rendah. Produk terbaru ML 250 CDI, yang dilengkapi mesin berteknologi Euro 4 Diesel, saat ini paling maksimal bila menggunakan bahan bakar Pertamina Dex.

Peluncuran ML 250 CDI dan penandatanganan MoU (nota kesepahaman) diwakili oleh Dr. Claus Weidner, Presiden & CEO Mercedes-Benz Indonesia, dan Stephan Moebius, selaku Direktur Penjualan dan Pemasaran Mercedes-Benz Indonesia. Dari pihak PT Pertamina (Persero) diwakili oleh Bapak Suhartoko, selaku Senior Vice President Fuel Marketing & Distribution.

Keunggulan Mercedes-Benz ML 250 CDI

Engine & Performance – Kendaraan 4MATIC, dengan kapasitas mesin 2143 cc ini dapat melaju ke berbagai medan dengan tantangan yang berbeda-beda, berkat kemampuan dari mesin 4 silinder turbo diesel yang menghasilkan kekuatan 204 hp dan 500 Nm torque. Dengan kinerja mesin seperti ini, ML 250 CDI dapat berakselarasi dari 0 hingga 100 km dalam waktu 9 detik, dengan kecepatan maksimum 210 km/jam.

ML 250 CDI juga dilengkapi dengan fungsi ECO start/stop dan electric steering serta sangat hemat bahan bakar dengan konsumsi rata-rata 6.3 Liter/100 km dan keramahan lingkungan dengan emisi karbon dioksida rendah, yaitu 166g/km. Mobil ini juga dioptimalkan dengan transmisi otomatis 7G-TRONIC PLUS yang menonjolkan ketepatan pergeseran gigi, suara mesin yang lebih halus dan efisiensi bahan bakar. Berkat daya tarik koefisien sebesar 0.32cd, mobil ini dinobatkan sebagai salah satu SUV paling aerodinamis di dunia.

Safety & Comfort – Fitur utama keamanan dari ML 250 CDI adalah PRE-SAFE®, Electronic Stability Program, Adaptive Highbeam Assist, Brake Assist, Attention Assist, dan Tire Pressure Loss Warning System. Untuk menambahkan kenyamanan, mobil ini juga dilengkapi dengan Intelligent Light System dan Active Parking Assist. Mengemudi atau menjadi penumpang, fitur entertainment audio 20 dengan CD Changer dan sistem pengeras suara HARMAN KARDON akan membuat perjalanan semakin berharga. Audio system ini juga dapat dihubungkan dengan IPod atau IPhone melalui Media Interface yang tersedia. Lebih lanjut, fitur Bluetooth yang ada di audio system juga dapat disambungkan ke berbagai gadget komunikasi.

ML 250 CDI akan tersedia pada bulan Juni 2013 dan akan dijual dengan harga Rp 949.000.000 (off the road).

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Aug 27, 2013
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Don’t worry, it is safe to drink Kopi Luwak!

-OLD POSTING-

Elvera N. Makki, Contributor/Houston, Texas

The Jakarta Post, Features News – Friday, February 18, 2005

Do you dare drinking Kopi Luwak, a coffee which beans are coming out of Luwak’s feces? Is it safe enough for your stomach?

“Yes, it is” said Adjunct Professor Massimo Marcone, a food scientist from University of Guelp, Ontario, Canada, “although the beans has passed through luwak’s digestive system, my test shows that the counts of bacteria are lower on Kopi Luwak than on regular coffee. A strange finding but one that has been subjected to a repeated battery of scientific tests.” he added.

Marcone has been studied about Kopi Luwak for two years. He traveled to Indonesia in 2003 and came back about a month a go for additional research.

“As a food scientist, I’m skeptical that anything being in contact with feces is safe,” said Marcone. “But tests revealed that the Kopi Luwak beans had negligible amounts of enteric (pathogenic) organisms associated with feces.”

In fact, the luwak beans on the market are quite clean. The local Indonesian collecting the beans perform an extensively wash under running water after collection, which dislodges bacteria.

He also analyzed that the “cherry,” or endocarp surrounding the bean, was not completely digested by the Luwak; hence, it must be removed during processing. “This likely leads to a more thorough washing process.”

Including on his research was whether or not passing through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract of the Luwak was in fact affecting the flavor of the beans, making it uniquely different from the regular ones.

So together with other members of his department, he completed a series of tests on the Kopi Luwak beans and compared them with Columbian beans, which were used as a control.

First, they examined if there was any color differences between unroasted samples of the two beans. Using a colorimeter – an instrument that detects different colors – they found that the Kopi Luwak beans had more red and yellow tones, whereas the control beans were more greenish in color.

Then, the surfaces of the two beans were examined using a scanning electron microscope. The Kopi Luwak beans were found to be smoother than the control, indicating that the gastric acids and/or enzymes of the Luwak were exfoliating the surface of the bean, explained Marcone.

Pitting was also observed on the surface, and the next step was to determine if the acids and enzymes were actually penetrating the Kopi Luwak beans, affecting them in some way.

Electrophoresis – a method that “fingerprints” proteins – was used to determine differences in the protein content of Kopi Luwak and control beans. The Kopi Luwak beans were found to be lower in total protein, meaning that proteins were partially broken down and leached out during their travel in GI tract of the Luwak.

This has the potential to affect the flavor and aroma of the beans because as we may all aware that proteins are responsible for much of the flavor, particularly bitterness. Since Kopi Luwak beans have less protein, they may produce a less bitter coffee, which for some people has made it a premium taste.

Analysis of the volatile compounds that also responsible for flavor and aroma also showed that they were significantly different than the control, further indicating the potential for Kopi Luwak coffee having a different flavor than ordinary coffee.

It’s also believed that fermentation process inside the luwak’s digestive system could give the coffee a unique flavor, “More tests need to be completed, though, to determine if in fact a flavor difference is occurring.”

In the coffee industry, wet processed or fermented coffees are known to have superior flavor to dry-processed coffee, “When coffee cherries are processed through the digestive track, they actually undergo a type of wet processing due to acidification in the stomach and fermentation due to the natural intestinal microflora.”

”The exceptional Kopi Luwak flavor could be due to the type of wet process the beans undergo in the luwak’s digestive tracks,” he said.

On the last trip to Indonesia, Marcone was stationed in Padang (West Sumatra) but the plantation he visited was in Northern Sumatra.

He met few people including the owner of the plantation who has collected over seventy kilos of the beans for this year, and he actually also enjoyed collecting his own Kopi Luwak.

If the plantation owner he met was the same person who dealt with the US specialty coffee importer LJ Cooper Co., it must be a very good news for the company that the beans are finally about to ship in.

It is obvious that neither Cooper nor Marcone revealed the detail contact of the plantation owner with me or anybody, not even shared the exact place where the luwak’s beans were found.

It is understandable since confidentiality is what matter most, considering exploitation of Luwak may occur if the name and place are disclosed.

How the luwaks eat the reddest ripest cherry and the time when they relieve themselves are very natural process. People who has a big obsession to make money out of it may jeopardize that process. They may start to breed the luwaks which has been avoided from the beginning. If this happens, no more exclusivity.

Marcone brought home some of the beans for additional research, “I will possibly publish another paper especially should there are any new findings but it will surely take time and need more research dollar.” ended Marcone. (*written by vera makki - http://kopiluwakstory.blogspot.com/)

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Aug 27, 2013
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How can a company grow by giving back?

-OLD POSTING. BACK IN 2005.-

Published on Sunday, September 04, 2005

http://www.thejakartapost.com/Archives/ArchivesDet2.asp?FileID=20050904.F04

Elvera N. Makki, Contributor, Jakarta

Ironically, this is still a question frequently asked not only by new emerging companies but also by big multinational ones, amid the era of what we call corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Nowadays people talk about it although some have no clue as to what it is and how to implement it properly, and how to make it in line with corporate business objectives.

In the United States, the CSR concept has been deeply rooted in the life of the people. According to the U.S-based Natural Marketing Institute, almost 90 percent of the American people believe in the importance of corporations paying attention to their impact on the environment and society rather than solely focusing on profit.

According to the survey made by the institute, 70 percent of consumers say they prefer to buy products produced by companies that pay serious attention to CSR activities, and nearly 50 percent stated that they would be more likely to buy stocks from such companies, rather than from those which do not really care much about the impact of their operations on the environment.

Larry Parnell, the principal of Canada-based Nomad Strategic Communications has said that most businesses, not just natural resources-based companies, need social license to operate and expand. The social license can be obtained only if the companies have a strong commitment to protecting the environment and the society from the impact of their business activities.

In Indonesia, the concept of CSR is considered new although it has actually been implemented here for a long time, such as through donating food from employees to an orphanage; fund-raising to donate consumer goods or clothes in the fasting month.

There are, however, weaknesses in those activities; first, the programs only gives momentarily support and there is almost no long-term benefit in it.

The type of help the company provides should be toward sustainability; that way, there will be strong engagement between the company and the community around it, thus, a company and its stakeholders.

One bad example of what corporations did was when they tried to take the advantage of the tsunami tragedy in order to boost their image.

Second, a good reputation cannot be achieved over night. It requires continuous commitment from the company’s management and employees. Just giving food or clothing especially on a once-off basis will not enhance the company’s image in the long term.

With that in mind, one of the key ingredients in formulating CSR programs is to firstly make it a business priority and make it a part of a comprehensive communication strategy. Public relations as the communicator should lead the way in doing and communicating the programs effectively.

Some corporations, both local and foreign, reluctantly communicate their social programs to the public and stakeholders, partially due to a belief that doing good expects no reward hence, no communication is needed. Of course such a perception is misleading.

This can be due to a lack of creativity in packaging the programs and the medium in sharing the information. CSR programs should be done seriously, innovatively and with full commitment over the long term so that they are strong enough to draw public attention.

Why is it so important to communicate CSR activities to others?

Dita Amarhoseya, Corporate Affairs Head of Citibank in Indonesia, has said that communication is a huge part of conducting CSR programs because the audience has the right to know what the company is doing for the community, especially if the company invites its customers to be involved in donating funds to, for example, communities affected by the tsunami.

She says that communicating CSR activities can create a snowball effect where people, including prospective employees or potential investors who read or hear about the programs may be encouraged to do the same and be part of the company.

The basic principle in CSR programs is to create long-term CSR activities in order to achieve the maximum impact for both the company and community.

She notes that it took approximately five years for Citibank to achieve recognition from the public and its stakeholders for its CSR activities under the umbrella of Citibank Peka (Peka is an acronym of peduli (care) and berkarya (to do good). The word peka itself means to be sensitive).

Initiated in February 1999, Citibank Peka (CP) focuses on education, communication development and natural disaster relief.

Another good example of a corporation that takes CSR seriously is PT Astra International (Astra). The setting up of Posko Banjir Astra (Astra Flood Post) in some key places during the massive floods in 2001 created an immediate and tremendous awareness among Jakartans.

Astra has developed comprehensive CSR programs ranging from community development, providing loans for SMEs, focusing on environmental, health and safety issues to giving scholarships and automotive entrepreneurship training.

One thing that needs to be improved is the provision of regular and current updates on its CSR programs to stakeholders, “That is what I see lacking in Astra and other major corporations,” says a CSR consultant Eva Muchtar.

So how to measure the success of CSR programs?

Logically, the measurement will be how far the expectations agreed upon are executed and whether the programs were completed according to the plan or not.

Parnell has suggested corporations start developing comprehensive CSR programs by conducting a thorough audit of the needs facing their communities; making resource commitments consistent with their business skills and corporate strategy; to follow through and then communicate the results both within and outside the organization.

CSR will do absolutely no harm to a company’s reputation (as long as it is done ethically), employee morale, product sales or market valuation to use CSR guidelines as a leading indicator of what investors, the government and the general public expect of corporation today.

In the long run, the corporations may well benefit as much as the people and communities their support.

Remember, actions do speak louder than words.

The writer is a full time member of Public Relations Society of America. She can be reached at blossomveras@yahoo.com

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Aug 27, 2013
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Movie Review – Elysium

Terus terang hanya satu yang membuat saya tertarik menerima tawaran suami saya untuk nonton film Elysium (dimana saya sebenarnya masih ingin menonton film yang lebih ringan seperti Turbo). Alasannya adalah: Jodie Foster.

Sudah lama saya tidak melihat penampilannya, terutama sejak akting briliannya di film ‘Silence of the Lamb’. Wajah Jodie Foster pun di film ini semakin cantik dan kece berat :D Tidak semua perempuan cocok dengan rambut pendek seperti dirinya di film Elysium. Sayangnya, peran yang dimainkan kurang menggigit, apalagi kematiannya berlangsung datar, tanpa perlawanan, tanpa klimaks yang dramatis.

Elysium tak ubahnya film yang saat ini banyak ditampilkan oleh sutradara Holywood, yaitu sejak konsep ‘brain plug-in’ diperkenalkan pada film Matrix. It’s a science fiction action-thriller yang disutradarai oleh Neil Blomkamp – seorang bocah (ya, karena usianya di bawah 3 tahun dari saya) kelahiran Afrika Selatan.

Bagi saya, film ini menarik karena mengingatkan kita dan berbicara mengenai kondisi dunia di masa depan apabila bumi ini dihancurkan secara perlahan oleh kerakusan manusia yang memporak-porandakan keseimbangan lingkungan. Secara prinsip, film ini membawa satu pesan utama seperti halnya film After Earth atau film kartun The Lorax: we need to preserve the world.

Yang mengesankan dari film ini adalah keterlibatan alur cerita yang mengedepankan sisi humanis dibalik kebrutalan dan bersimbahnya darah di sana sini. Saya terkesan dengan perjuangan sang ibu untuk menyembuhkan anaknya di stadium akhir leukemia (walaupun saya penasaran, siapakah bapak dari anak tersebut dan berharap dalam satu scene bahwa Matt Damon merupakan ayahnya). Sayangnya, film ini tak sanggup membuat saya menangis, berbeda saat saya menonton film Mr. Go atau Toy Story 3. But this film got me thinking about what the future holds for my children IF we do careless to the environment. Good reminder.

Elysium juga menggambarkan tentang ketidakadilan perlakuan (the poor stays in the earth, the rich stays in a better air of Elysium) dan pentingnya memiliki mimpi serta harapan. Harapan untuk hidup, harapan untuk menyembuhkan penyakit, dan mimpi untuk mendapatkan kehidupan yang lebih baik.

Well, overall, not bad. But I’d prefer to watch Matt Damon in Bourne series or Ocean’s trilogy :p

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@vera_makki

Current post:

Country Head Corporate Affairs, Citi Indonesia (Citibank, N.A., Indonesia)

Founder #TamanBacaAnakLebah and #BookSTech (Books, Storytelling, and Technology)

Member of: IABC (www.iabc.com) and PRSA (Public Relations Society of America)

Previous track (from recent to past):
- Deputy Director Corporate Communications & Public Affairs, Mercedes-Benz Indonesia
- Corporate Affairs Manager, Fonterra Brands Indonesia
- Communications Manager, Unilever Indonesia
- Public Affairs Manager, Indo Pacific PR
- Consultant, Ogilvy PR
- PR Officer, Hotel Mulia Senayan

Past part-time:
- Lecturer, Communications, International Program, University of Indonesia
- Radio Announcer, Ardan FM, Bandung, West Java
- Contributing writer, The Jakarta Post and various media

Highlights on Achievement & Recognition (recent to past):
- Named 50 Asia's Women Leaders from CMO Asia
- Shine on Awards from Good Housekeeping Indonesia
- The first Indonesian earned Accredited Business Communicator (ABC) from International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), San Francisco, US (www.iabc.com)

A glimpse of me:
#coffeelover #catlover . A wife, a mother of three wonderful kids. Enjoy driving a car, #travelling , #swimming , and #readingbooks . Love to #dance . Crazy about books and share them with the unfortunate children. #gogreen. #cintaIndonesia. Live life to the fullest!

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