Partnering up with the right software agency is crucial for achieving success in IT projects. While price is essential to consider, other aspects should also be verified, such as cultural fit, technology skills, and internal processes. A perfect fit is hard to come by, but prioritizing the most relevant criteria for your business and refining your search through them is the best approach.
Amplifyre will continue to share tips for software success in the upcoming weeks. Stay tuned! #biztip
One of the most popular tools for evaluating the quality of a #KPI is the #SMART method. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound. It recommends that every performance indicator in place should have the SMART attributes.
Smart KPIs are one the best ways for tracking and improving a project's performance. For your next project make sure you have the right KPIs to guide it towards success.
For every requirement or feature that is being set think about the risk that could be involved and how to address it. Defining risk priorities and resolving them as soon as they arise reduces the chance of a small issue becoming a massive problem.
If an unforeseen problem arises, a good tip is to create a cause-and-effect diagram to identify and fix the core issue, preventing it from reoccurring.
For more information on how to develop a cause-and-effect diagram watch this tutorial by HarvardX: https://lnkd.in/d9kmeuM
It seems simple, but many experienced professionals still tend to push for a high level of design and development at the early stages of a project. Beginning with a prototype and testing the core concept of a product early allows for more time to implement real feedback into development, saving time and money in the long run.
Guy Kawasaki, who is well known for his books on innovation and his previous work at Apple, once wrote: “The wisest course of action is to take your best shot with a prototype, immediately get to market, and iterate quickly.”
For those who want to go deeper into the topic, here are some books we recommend:
The Art Of The Start, by Guy Kawasaki Prototyping for Designers: Developing the Best Digital and Physical Products, by Kathryn McElroy
Validation reduces risk, speeds up development, and minimizes costs. The general goal is to make sure ideas have a real potential of succeeding in the market. That is usually achieved when it solves a real problem for the target customer.
There are many ways to validate ideas, like market research, customer journey maps, prototyping, user interviews, and design sprints. Finding the best way forward will depend on the nature of the idea itself.
It all boils down to testing a series of assumptions. As a guide, you can use the Reverse Engineering process, explained by AG Lafley (former CEO of Procter & Gamble) and Roger Martin in their book Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works. The framework analyzes multiple possibilities, identifying barriers and conditions, which then are used to design validation tests.
To dive deeper into the topic check out Testing Business Ideas: A Field Guide for Rapid Experimentation, by David Bland and Alexander Osterwalder. It is a practical guide to effective validation, featuring practical tips for data-driven decision-making.
The Daily Scrum is a 15-minute time-boxed event for the project team. It optimizes team collaboration and performance by verifying the previous day's results and forecasting upcoming work.
For remote teams, sticking to the routine is essential to keep the performance up. Remote work imposes a few extra challenges, but with the right strategy, it is possible to maintain speed and quality in development. So here are our tips for running remote daily scrum meetings effectively:
- Pick the best time for the meeting, taking into consideration timezones and team culture.
- Have all participants engaged in the process. If participation is lacking, identify and correct the cause.
- Make sure you have a good connection and equipment for the meeting.
- Keep it short and to the point. The goal is to stay within the standard 15-minute time frame.
- Set up a structure of what every team member needs to cover and which questions they need to answer.
Some book recommendations on the topic:
- From Chaos to Successful Distributed Agile Teams: Collaborate to Deliver by Johanna Rothman & Mark Kilby.
- The Remote Facilitators Pocket Guide by Kirsten Clacey & Jay-Allen Morris.
The appropriate methodology can increase development speed, improve communication and even prevent potential roadblocks from happening.
Waterfall, Agile, Scrum, XP, Kanban... There is a wide range of methodologies and practices available to choose from, making it difficult to pinpoint the best. And although there is no perfect option, by assessing the type of projects you manage, along with some essential requirements, it is possible to choose an efficient methodology.
Start by listing the most important parameters for the project's performance, such as speed, budget, and quality. Most importantly, you have to predict if the project requirements will change a lot in the future because some methodologies are better suited to deal with changes in scope. Then, analyze which methodology contributes the most for the top parameters you selected.
To learn more about project management check out this book: The PM Imperative: Guide for leading and managing projects, people, and delivering value, by Jahn Karsybaev, and Fred Obiero.
Do you use Scrum in your company?
Let’s describe the usual situation. Scrum normally has three roles: product owner, scrum master, and the development team members. So, now let's go over each role.
- The development team: it can be comprised of all kinds of people, including designers, writers, and programmers. This role represents someone with the right skills to get the work done.
- The product owner: they set the direction of the project according to the business priorities. Product owners must understand the customer and translate their needs into the value generated by the team.
- The scrum master: they are responsible for supporting the whole team. They support the product owner to define value while helping the development team to deliver it.
To learn more about Scrum, we recommend the book Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time, by Jeff Sutherland.
Have you heard about DevOps? DevOps is a set of practices that combines software development and IT operations. Its goal is to shorten development cycles and to provide continuous delivery with high-quality standards.
It incorporates many practices from the Agile methodology, so its concept may sound familiar. At its core, DevOps provides the opportunity to implement changes quickly, usually decreasing the go-to-market time.
According to Atlassian, the DevOps lifecycle includes phases to plan, build, continuously integrate and deploy (CI/CD), monitor, operate, and respond to continuous feedback. Despite appearing to flow sequentially, the process needs constant collaboration and iterative improvement to succeed.
To learn more about DevOps, we recommend The DevOps Handbook, by Gene Kim, Jez Humble, Patrick Debois, John Willis.
After two decades since the creation of the Agile Manifesto, it is important to question: is it still relevant?
The Manifesto was born in 2001 out of a need to find a common ground among Scrum, Extreme Programming, Crystal Clear, and other frameworks. The short document describes a set of values that defined today’s Agile culture.
But given the fast pace of innovation, it is natural to question whether the Manifesto is still relevant. And the answer is yes! Market leaders like Atlassian and LinkedIn continue to be strong advocates of the Agile Manifesto.
The truth is that there isn’t a one-size-fitts-all kind of document for implementing Agile. Instead of trying to change the classic manifesto, the best approach it to understand how to apply it to your context, in your organization.
For a newer take on Agile and how it supports digital transformation, check out Building the Agile Business through Digital Transformation, by Neil Perkin and Peter Abraham.
Check out some hot trends on Agile!
Agile Development continues to outshine traditional methodologies, providing extra flexibility and speed. But with the pandemic situation and the latest technology advancements, what can we expect for the future of Agile?
Trend #1 – DevOps is getting more traction for companies, especially for IT-based operations.
Trend #2 – Distributed Agile Teams, with a fully remote work setup.
Trend #3 - Businesses push for faster Agile transformation due to Covid-19.
For more insights on Agile transformation, we recommend the book Doing Agile Right: Transformation Without Chaos by Darrell Rigby, Sarah Elk, and Steve Berez.
As you might know, kanban and scrum provide different methods for managing complex work.
According to Atlassian “Kanban is all about visualizing your work, limiting work in progress, and maximizing efficiency. Kanban teams focus on reducing the time it takes to take a project from start to finish.”
While Scrum teams commit to ship working software through set intervals called sprints. Their goal is to create learning loops to quickly gather and integrate customer feedback.
In general, Kanban allows for more flexibility when it comes to change, while Scrum uses a more structured work with specific roles and cerimonies. There are many differences between them but both frameworks help to build better products with fewer bumps on the road.
To learn more about agile we recommend The Epic Guide to Agile, by Dave Todaro.
Remote meetings have become an essential part of our daily routines, but they also come with unique challenges. Luckily, these difficulties can be overcome if you know how to prepare.
1 - Set clear roles and expectations for all participants before the meeting takes place.
2 - Have the appropriate online meeting tools and get familiar with them. (e.g. Meetbutter, Miro, Glue)
3 - Make use of quick ice breakers to set the mood.
4 - Keep everyone on the same page with a clear agenda or slides to follow (ideally, share the material a few days ahead).
5 - Set a mute/unmute and video/no video protocol to keep things organized and running smoothly.
6 - Boost meeting efficiency with available features in your video software of choice, like raising hands, screen sharing, breakout rooms, and timers.
Want to dive deeper into the topic? We recommend The Remote Facilitator's Pocket Guide by Jay-Allen Morris and Kirsten Clacey.
With technology evolving at a super-fast rhythm, design techniques must be adapted to keep up the pace. To keep everyone on the same page, we’ve gathered 4 top UX trends.
1 - AR/VR: The rise of remote work and virtual experiences are boosting the implementation of AR/VR solutions.
2 - Mobile-first approach: developing online experiences for mobile before designing for desktop or other devices.
3 - Voice User Interface: use of speech recognition to facilitate interactions, such as virtual assistants (e.g. #alexa #googlenest)
4 - Always remember the golden rule of UX simplification less is more: cutting down unnecessary elements and focusing on core interactions (e.g. one-click checkout, easy registration & login)
To get deeper into the topic, we recommend a classic book field: 101 UX principles by Will Grant.
When it comes to selecting a service provider to hire, the decision is not always easy. But don’t worry, we have a few tips to help you get started!
Culture Fit: companies with a similar culture tend to collaborate better. Management style, corporate structures, and communication are some of the most critical aspects of culture you should check.
Tech-stack: verify if the provider has expertise with the technology and tools your project requires. Do you need a niche technology or a popular framework is enough? This plays a big role in how easy it will be to find a qualified partner.
Relevant experience: it is always best to hire a company with previous experience on a similar project or within the same industry. Finding a reference project with a similar time frame, technology and application is the right way to go.
Collaboration process: Ask about the processes the company has in place for discussing progress and deliverables. Clear processes keep everyone on the same page and better prepared to deal with potential roadblocks.
We’ve got some tips that will help your project cost estimations feel less like a guess.
1 - Document your assumptions: Your estimation is usually based upon many assumptions. By writing them down as detailed as possible your estimates gain more accuracy.
2 - Break it down to functional and non-functional requirements: Take into account users, technology and use cases. This helps you get a better picture of your project’s length and complexity.
3 - Account for unexpected situations: Include extra budget to cover unexpected problems. Also remember, software requirements almost always change over time.
Since we cannot bring here all the tips on this topic, go check out this article by our partner Mooncascade.
What are the benefits of open source software?
Open source is source code that is made freely available for possible modification and redistribution. Here are some advantages of open source:
Engaging community: a hub of developers can generate more ideas, report and fix bugs, develop and troubleshoot faster than internal teams working on proprietary solutions.
Security and reliability: because the code is available for everyone, it can be more thoroughly reviewed so that errors are spotted earlier and issues are solved faster.
Customization: open source solutions are fully customizable. You just need a team of good developers and you are able to modify the software according to your needs.
Also, remember that open source solutions are driven by the community. So, make sure there are frequent updates to the code. It usually means that the contributors are engaged and review the code frequently.
These are just some of the benefits provided by open source solutions. What other ones would you add to our list? Comment below! Want to learn more about Open Source? Check out this article by Open Project, on why to choose an open source project management software.
Before any software can actually be used, it first needs to be deployed. It can be quite a complex process, but here we will summarize what it looks like.
For those not so familiar with the term, software deployment includes all the activities that must be performed to enable its use. The most important steps of the process are:
1 - Installation: The first step is to install the created software in the production environment. Very often, a database is also installed to support the software operation.
2 - Configuration: Each application must be configured properly so that the environment is set up for the software to work as it was planed.
3 - Launching: This step consists of checking whether all the software components are properly loaded and good to go.
4 - Testing: The team must perform functional tests to ensure that all features work as they should. This step is crucial to identify bugs.
5 - Operation: Now is the time to make the deployed software available to users.
This is just a summary, but we hope now you have a better picture of the work that goes into deploying software.
To learn more about software deployment and get some tips, we recommend this article by the #AmplifyreHub partner Evertop.
Invented at Google by Jake Knapp and perfected with John Zeratsky and the GV design team, the design sprint is a methodology that enables you to build and test a prototype in just five days.
The 5 day plan:
Monday - have structured conversations to build a foundation and a focus for the sprint week.
Tuesday - solve the problem, using a method optimized for deep thinking.
Wednesday - decide which of those sketches should be prototyped and tested.
Thursday - build a realistic prototype of the solutions so you can simulate a finished product
Friday - show your prototype to five customers in five separate, 1:1 interviews.
A Design Sprint is like fast-forwarding into the future. When done correctly, you can see how customers react before investing all the time and expense in creating your new product or service.
For more information, visit: https://www.thesprintbook.com
Raise your hand if you constantly tackle problems with software bugs, features, defects, and dysfunctions.
As projects grow in size and complexity, the limits of using an Excel sheet for tracking issues begin to show very quickly.
Here is our success tip on issue trackers to make your life easier:
Polcode recommends Redmine, a platform that provides a wide range of fully customizable queries, custom views, dashboards, and much more.
In addition to this, we would also recommend OpenProject | open source project management software's bug tracking software to deliver well-tested products on time and on budget.