“Encouraging Innovation through Thought Process & Social Collaboration.” © All WWRR

Thursday, February 6, 2014


The Effective Reading Primer©

                                      Reading for Effective Retention

          An Adaptive Framework for Successful Learning

 Author: ~Virginia Benedict

Publisher: OnSocial Media™: Minds Under Construction Project

Series: Effective Learning Strategies Series©


                           Making Light of Dry Reading

Reading for a class? …or reading to maintain a certification?  Are you a self-learner?

Regardless what the motivation or need driving your commitment to learn, the end goal is always the same; we read to understand and retain the subject matter before us.

Whether the reading is a requirement for a course or because you are a self-learner, the goal is always the same.  You need to understand, retain, and be able to interpret the text in your own words.  Until and unless you are able to describe the concept or method in your own words, you may or may not have fully understood the material; hence, you will likely forget what you read.

We are not talking about reading a novel or a sci-fi odyssey, which we read for entertainment and suspense thus never seem to have trouble remembering and recapitulating the story.  We are here to discuss how to effectively understand, absorb, and retain the information presented by Textbook author(s).

Study Groups[i]

Joining or organizing study groups is great and highly recommended but you still have to learn how to learn on your own before you can be successful participating or leading an in-group learning setting.  You still have to do the reading on your own.

Do Not Attempt to Memorize this Primer from the Gate.
Perform a Brief Read-Through Then Read it for Reference

Target Audience

Anyone interested in reading for success | Nursery through Graduate Students | Self Learners | Parents Reading Nursery books to their toddlers and wishing to create an interactive experience | Professional Development students of all ages and degrees | anyone interested in learning regardless of age

How To Read This Primer

You may read it sequentially from beginning to end; or you may choose to read in order of preference; or simply reading the areas that catch your interest.  Make note of any thought that come to mind

Types of Reading

Matriculating with A Full Load?

We all know how daunting the first couple of weeks of classes can be at the beginning of a semester. The syllabus for each course prescribes one or more required text, recommended reading, and optional reading for extracurricular efforts.  If we do not take control and reign in our reading during the first two weeks, we face the risks of poor class performance or worse having to cram brute-force style.

Registered for a Boot Camp?                         
Boot camps are super compressed crash courses usually lasting five days and each day eight or more hours long.  These course formats are pressure ridden for most of us because one can get information overload while attempting to absorb and create a knowledge base from the required material.

Boot Camps can be introductory in nature or simply taken to brush up before taking a Certification exam.  Usually each day and at the end of the camp you are required to take exams to prepare you for the big day.

You will be required to follow along reading and the text book(s) can be technical, dry, and complex

Reading for Success

Take a Deep Breath | Relax | Put Yourself in Neutral

The following is a systematic guide for how to succeed in fully, effortlessly comprehend, and retain the knowledge presented in a text or manuscript and enjoy the process.

Let your instincts do the work
Never Attempt Brute-Force Learning

Know Your Intuitive Learning Style

You have an intuitive native learning style usually strengthen by life early childhood development and life experiences.  Identify which of your learning styles is your intuitive one.  Learning styles are associated with the depth of our sensory perceptions.

What Kind of Learner Are You?

It is important that you understand what learning style is intuitive for you.  No matter what your learning style is this exercise will help you understand and master the content.  An excellent textbook is written with you in mind regardless of you learning style(s).

 Types of Learning Styles

  •      Visual
  •            Auditory
  •      Tactile
  •            Interactive
  •           Mixed

You can identify your learning styles through self-observation.  If you simply find yourself able to retain more information through listening to audio then supplementing it with reading or vice verse, for example, your learning style is auditory or mixed.

It is a Trial and Error Process

You will have to observe what methods of learning you enjoy the most while you are actually studying. 

Follow Your Instincts

 You may like taking notes while you are reading.  Alternatively, you may simply like highlighting along.  If you are highlighting, make sure that you understand the content you are highlighting before you continue.

Types Of Books

Electronic vs Hard Copy Formats

Although, I primarily find the electronic versions more facilitating of my learning process, I usually like to own both an electronic copy and a physical copy of a book whenever possible.  The electronic copy will be easiest to navigate, highlight, add comments, and review.[ii] 

There are many genres of books authored for the purpose of teaching and/or simply sharing knowledge. 
Assess the Type
The following is a partial list:
  •      Primers
  •     Text Books
  •      Guides
  •     Step-by-Step Guides
  •      Reference Guides

Anatomy of a Book

Regardless of its genre, an excellent book will address most or all of the following areas:  
  •  Contents at a Glance
  •  Contents
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction

a.    Guide for how to read this book
  •  Body of Work

a.    Chapter-at-a-Glance
b.    Introductions to each Chapter
                                             i.    What you will be learning
                                           ii.    What you have learned
c.     Chapter Summaries
d.    Exercises
  •  Illustrations
  • Appendix (ces)
  • Index
  • Glossary
  • About the Author(s) 
If the work omits important areas such as i) Chapter Summaries, and ii) what you have learned, I suggest that you create them for yourself once you have fully engaged in the actual reading of each chapter during the course assignments.

Where to Begin

Preliminary Research

Know the Author(s)!

1.  As soon as you receive your course syllabus begin to learn about the authors
2.  Understand whom the main author(s) is/are.  Learning about his/her academic, professional, literary experience, and background interests will help you understand his literary language with more ease.

How is the Book Structured?
3.  Outstanding books are written with you in mind regardless of your learning style
The following exercise should not take you more than ninety more or less
           4.   Examine the book by reading the back and front covers inside and out
            5.    Perform a swift assessment of how the content is organized and begin to weigh how the content is delivered by intently browsing the Contents pages.  A great book will have a “Contents at a Glance” and a detailed “Contents” area
a.    It is not important that you attempt to consciously memorize anything at this point

Let Your Intuition Do the Work

   b.    As you browse around, highlight and/or comment on anything i) that catches     your eyes, ii) creates an interest, or iii) triggers a thought that comes to mind.
   c.    PDF files beginning with Adobe Reader 10 allows you to add Sticky Notes on the margins.  You can add a quick phrase or keywords to help you remember your thoughts. MS Word files allow you to => INSERT => Comment
     6.    Browse
             a.    the Index
             b.    Appendix
             c.    The Introduction

Move Into the Guts of the Content

d.    If the chapters have i) a chapter at a glance, ii) an introduction, iii) a conclusion, and iv) questions, browse them attentively
e.    Examine the figures and illustrations
A Dynamic and Adaptive Frame of Reference
Now that you have created a mental and written framework with notes that, you can go back to when you actually begin to complete your course assignments, review them before midterms and before finals; you are prepared to take the course and succeed effortlessly. (See Appendix B for suggestion on how to organize your schedule.)

You Are Prepared to Succeed  

As you begin to actually study, you will attack each assigned chapter step-by-step in order of precedence (if applicable) by

1.    Reading the Chapter-at-a-Glance
2.    Chapter Introduction
3.    Then you will read the Conclusion
4.    Review the questions or exercises corresponding to the assigned chapter 
5.    Delve into the chapter itself
6.    Complete the assigned exercises and/or answer the questions

Follow this Methodology for Each Assigned Chapter

In fact, even though I built this framework and designed its primer to support any learning style, you should feel free to modify any segment of this process to compliment your personality.  If you do modify it, please feel free to share your best learning practices here or contact me directly and I will publish it with your consent and give you full billing.

Appendix A

Organizing Your Library

Suggested Recommendations for organizing your Libraries in order of precedence:

Electronic Library

(Indexed by keywords, topics, titles, and author)
eReference Shelf
General eLibrary

Hard Copies Library

Desk Reference Shelf
Office Library Shelf
Reference Library Shelf
General Library

Appendix B

Tools of the Trade

Microsoft Office Project
Most students today are enrolled in an official work-study program or work and while attending school.  Whatever the situation, you must manage your time effectively to prevent overload and possible failure.

I suggest Using MS Office Project to manage your work and course load.  Microsoft© offers free online courses for just about every Office Application.  Additionally, when you install MS Office you will have access to Help which contain videos and step-by-steps and how-to’s.

Microsoft Office Visio
This tool will help you create diagrams, figures, organizational charts, use cases, etc. of any method, procedure, or concept you wish to illustrate in your own logic.

[i] Refer to my white paper on “Organizing a Study Group”, OnSocial Media™: Minds Under Construction Project 2014©

[ii] I recommend that you read the article I wrote titled “Book Reviews Best Practices”, OnSocial Media™ Minds Under Construction Project 2013©

 To find out more about the OnSocial Media™ Minds Under Construction Project -  Please visit  onsocialmedia.org or you may contact me through Linkedin or G+

Comments | Constructive Feedback | Arguments | Additions | Corrections are all welcome!

As always, Thank You for taking the time to read my work.  I hope that you have been able to derive knowledge as a result of my efforts.

“Encouraging Innovation through Thought Process & Social Collaboration” © All WWRR

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Book Reviews | Software Requirements Third Edition

Software Requirements

                                                                  Third Edition

Authors:  Karl Wiegers | Joy Beatty
Publisher: Microsoft Press | O’Reilly Media, Inc. 
Reviewer | Blogger: Virginia Benedict

Target Audience

Business Analyst | Requirements Engineers | Software Architects | 
Developers | Project Managers | Stake Holders | Anyone who is interested in achieving greater business success with the help of automation |


Anyone with a keen interest in architecting an adaptive and progressive business.

Book Structure

Introduction | 32 Chapters | A well-defined Glossary | 3 Appendices | References | 637 Pages

This structure is highly comprehensive and enticing for beginners and experienced professionals alike.  I can see that both Karl Wieggers and Joy Beatty have an in depth command of the subject matter thus could presented from top to bottom, edge to center and vice verse.  

Illustrations and Figures

In addition, to outstanding illustrations, the authors provide supporting use cases and case studies

 Companion Content

 Templates | Check Lists | Spreadsheets | Other Job Aids

Reviewer | Blogger Comments

As technological advances continue to evolve, so does the need for software development methodologies.  Likewise, as re-architected socio-economic strategies emerge, the need for adaptive business models and analytic methodologies must follow suit.

If you have read the prior two editions of "Software Requirements" and have found them to expand your subject matter knowledge base, you will want to incorporate this expanded third edition into your reference library.  I recommend reading this work individually then reviewing and discussing each chapter as a team prior to commencing any software development project.  I personally recommend centering all team discussions from a security and compliance stance.

The third edition is informative and because they build powerful illustrated instructional arguments, the authors make it easy to understand and retain the concepts and methodologies presented.  Additionally, I like their conversational literary style.  I feel as is the authors are addressing me personally.

The text is well indexed and I particularly like how the authors reference associated concepts and definitions between chapters.

About the Authors

Karl Wiegers - @karlwiegers
Karl Wiegers is a software consultant, trainer, and an award-winning author of eight books and a repertoire of articles.  He has provided training and consulting services worldwide on many aspects of software development, management, and process improvement.

Joy Beatty - @joybeatty
Joy Beatty has co-authored important works that address the realm of business analysis and agile software requirements.  As a subject matter expert Beatty has guided major organizations in the building of business analysis centers of excellence. 

Beatty has worked with numerous Fortune 500 companies spanning the semi-conductor, computer manufacturing, defense, and retail industries. She is responsible for developing new service offerings that change the way their customers create requirements. She has also adapted ideas from using games in training to create courses on topics including requirements best practices, elicitation and visual models and delivered training to over 700 individuals in industry.    

Too Big to Succeed?

In Stream of Thought™...

Too Big to Succeed? 

~ Virginia Benedict
   Market Engineering Strategist

We have witness through time, that when companies get too big they become decentralized by default.  Decentralization in oversized companies gives way to disorganized and unproductive practices. That is simply because as the enterprise becomes decentralize, it begins to lose control of its mission, its visibility across business units becomes blurred, and its human assets lose focus and their interests shift to personal goals instead of the goals of the Enterprise.  
  • HR Assets become unmanageable
  • Security takes a toll
  • The enterprise becomes disenfranchised from its business model and goals
  • Quality Control of both products and services becomes a serious liability
Moving into 2014 companies will need proactively to assess their goals and objectives.  If as a business leader you think that the markets have changed and you are adopting, think again… change has not begun to scratch the surface.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Thriving in Cyber Space...

Author: Virginia Benedict

How to Thrive as a Cyber Citizen

Whether you are a Professional cyber dweller, a Social, or both, if you wish to thrive in cyber space, it is imperative that you create a pleasant and affable atmosphere around your cyber-self.

You do not have to ever give out personal data such as your birthday or divulge sensitive company information, etc. In fact, I highly recommend against it.  However, presenting facts regarding your skill sets, career path, industry(ies), hobbies, philosophy, outlook, is the way to go if you wish to develop a strong presence in cyber space.

There is a fine line between elegantly sharing with your peers in an effort to create alliances and recklessly blasting out for the sake of “sharing”.  

ProSocial Platforms such as G+ provide you the ability to design/architect your cyber identity with ease using elegant granular controls. You can decide on the fly what information you wish to make visible to whom when creating or editing your profile.
Likewise, when publishing discussion posts you can decide whether to target the public; all/several, just one of your circles, or one individual in your circles; or a community you own, manage, and/or belong to. 

Practice makes perfect...

Quality Discussion posts are also highly recommended. Always be at your best when navigating in cyber space.   It is important that you have an overall mission and that you are aware of what your vision is if you wish to be more than a casual dweller.

Remember that less is more

and that it is ultimately important that your posts are simply well written. I have always recommended the proper use of paragraphs, syntax, and grammar.

Using a word processor configured to alert for spelling errors, grammar, and style is highly recommended before publishing your post, even if you are a native English speaker. Please note that I specify the importance of English as the publishing language because it has become the Cyber Space Lingua Franca of the Twenty First Century and if you wish to thrive in this space your will need to make the effort to develop your natural language skills-sets to include English.

It is an investment

If you invest adequate time to developing a strong, adaptive, and dynamic foundation you will reap the rewards because others will circle you and thus you will build an expansive Sphere-of-Influence (SOI). 

This foundation must include your Cyber Tech skills.  That is extensively knowing and understanding the features, functionality, and tools offered by the social platform(s) within which you are interacting.  Additionally, understanding your Privacy Rights and the User Agreements the given platform imposes upon its culture will help you stay safe.  I recommend that you review profile settings on a regular basis.  In fact, reading your Privacy Rights, User Agreements and Profile Settings is the first task you must master upon creating an Account and thereafter for maintenance.  I personally recommend browsing your privacy and other settings on a regular basis to ensure that your settings are up to date since quite often platforms update features and functionality.

Join Communities

Joining special interest communities is the best way to begin creating professional alliances or to continue nurturing your existing ones. I do not know about you but my sole cyber space existence throughout the years has been to nurture my existing alliances and to always thrive to create new viable ones.

Everyone has a great deal to offer both professionally and socially.  Most everyone I know or have keenly observed throughout the years have and nurture diverse interests and they graciously want to share.  Hence, a great way to begin building presence is to +1 or Like posts that you find noteworthy and/or match your career path or social interests.  In addition, I navigate to their profile to verify if they are someone, I wish to Circle. I spot-check their followers as well as whom they follow for good measure. 

You see, that is what makes a SocioPro Networking platform a true ProSocial Networking platform... i.e., the ability to seamless circle/connect with anyone you deem worthy of mutual social interaction without negative repercussions from networks that wish to control who you can or cannot interact with.  In true ProSocial platforms such as G+, this is left to the individual and is rightfully a personal decision while providing you with tools for granular control.  Platforms that encourage anti-social behaviors by imposing negative controls do not understand the meaning of social media as a networking medium.

A Social Platform’s Lack of Vision may lead to Anti-Social Control Practices

Platforms that have no inkling on how to monetize their wares gracefully and/or wish to control your interactions, who you can contact, and how, will usually place negative controls even when you are a Premium Customer and follow/respect their User Agreement. 

Some platforms provide you the tools then they punish you for using them.  These platforms give you mix messages on what is and is not “allowed” not to mention that the code is unstable and not secure.

As a Social, dwelling in cyber space, you need to be aware and fully understand these nuances if you want to minimize your exposure and have a user experience as seamless as possible.  


What do I mean by Worthy?

From a Security Perspective

It is ultimately important that you keep yourself safe.  Architecting and building awareness of your cyber presence means that you may be exposing yourself to people from all lifestyles.  From wonderful, kind, generous, and socially adept individuals all the way to malignant, hackers, dishonest criminals driven by jealousy and petty competition, or self-hate as is usually the force driving these sorts of deviant behaviors.   Hence, you have to develop an eighth intuitive sense.  You need to trust your instincts and hone your people savvy skills more than ever.  Your motto in this realm of probabilities should be “when in doubt, Don’t.” Count to ten and allow yourself to think…

This means that the people that you interact with in cyber space must be who they say they are and that you feel good about interacting with them.

From a Professional Perspective

As a professional doing business in the professional cyber orbit, you want to introduce yourself simply and elegantly.  Always portray a transparent and seamless image.  If you wish to be construed as a trustworthy professional, you must behave like one.  This starts with developing a strong presence by creating an enticing profile.  Again, less is more.

From a Job Seeker Perspective

Marketing your skills-sets effectively is a must-develop skill. That is, whether you are seeking a full-time permanent, free-lance, temp work, or you are promoting your consultancy work.

If you are going to be able to negotiate your remunerations effectively, you will need to start by engineering an excellent campaign.  (I will write a separate blog post to address this topic in detail.  If interested subscribe to this blog or contact me directly.)

Present your target audience with a seamless means of contacting you.  G+ gives you the ability to place an eMail envelop on your profile above your marquee. Other platforms allow you to communicate with others if you both belong to the same group or you are connected.

From a Marketing Perspective

For now all I am going to say here is that traditional methodologies are no longer effective.  Creativity is no longer sufficient when targeting your market.  (I will write a separate blog post to address this topic in detail.  If interested subscribe to this blog or contact me directly.)

From a Social Perspective

Always prepare your face to meet the faces that you meet and always stay safe. 

The following link will help you learn more about how to stay safe:

Real vs. Rogue Security Software – Can You Tell The Difference.


All constructive feedback Welcome!