It's the typical Agile transformation story. Management hears about the marvels of Agile. Team attends Agile training. Team starts Agile project. Team sees little to no results and insist Agile doesn’t work and it would be so much faster if they just went back to what they had before. Sound familiar?Read More
Designing for rational decision makers is designing for an audience that doesn't exist. How can our understanding of cognitive biases help us build experiences that users will love?Read More
To state it plainly, estimating software development projects is no easy feat. A traditional, waterfall approach involves a lengthy requirements gathering effort, resulting in complex documentation and a project plan with estimated hours and dollars. Today, Agile development methodologies have largely become the new normal, with a key benefit of providing the ability to quickly assess how long it will take to complete a project and how much it might cost.
We advocate for quickly building a high-level feature list and using Relative Story Point Estimation to more accurately estimate costs and level of effort.
Have you ever been in an interview where you were asked the question “As a tester, how do you learn a new system?” Was your response “I will read the requirements and or system documentation”? Your response to the question should be: “Is this a new or existing system?”
This distinction is what can make all the difference between marginally knowing and fulling understanding the system. If it's a new system, you should respond with, “I will ask for all of the requirements and functional specifications available and start reading and creating test cases based on this documentation.” However, if it is an existing system, your best response would be, “If there are no existing artifacts I would go into each page/screen of the system and create a baseline regression test.”Read More
The Capability Model and the Value Stream are important tools to an organization for different reasons. The Capability Model, a model of an organization’s ability to successfully perform a business activity, helps an organization understand the capabilities developed through the execution of the business model and makes the executive decision-making process more seamless. Likewise, Value Stream Mapping, a Lean tool for capturing an organization’s process to create a product, helps management visualize the processes that add value directly to the customer and those that do not. However, the effort to capture an organization’s Capability Model and Value Stream can be quite daunting. It requires significant time commitment from staff, dollar commitment of external consultants, or a combination of both.Read More
Software test automation makes use of specialized tools to control the execution of tests and compares the actual results against the expected results. With automated testing, you can record and playback predefined actions or scripts and report upon the results quickly and efficiently. While it requires an upfront investment, the benefits are clear.
Here are three reasons why software test automation will help your organization:
True or False:
New product ideas primarily come from management in my organization.
Recently, Celerity’s Agile experts put together an interactive webinar on Mastering Agile Product Development – an area where many attempt to conquer but few succeed. Their first question to the audience was:
The audience was split 50/50 on their answers. The next question asked if securing funding for a product was difficult. Once again, the audience was split down the middle. The same respondents, however, who agreed that new ideas come from management also said that funding a product was not difficult.
The barrier to entry into user testing has never been lower. Forget size and budget. Companies who interact with users on a regular basis will swim, while others sink. Despite the ease of entry, many still neglect testing and rely on internal opinions to guide product decisions.
Though investing in a user researcher is ideal, this hurdle shouldn't stop you. Look on your team for a strategic thinker and good listener to get started. When you witness the insights and aha moments that come from a test, the value will be clear as day.
These 5 steps are a simple introduction to user testing for non-researchers. It's a flexible process to follow, avoiding the complexities in favor of action. With clear goals, and a sincere desire to gather honest feedback, you're already well on your way. Jump in and get started. You may never look back.Read More
After you’ve spent months preparing for the launch of a large-scale initiative, the last thing you want to experience is a deployment debacle due to untested systems and unprepared users.
I recently attended a project management training class that referenced one of the airline industry’s worst. It’s a textbook example of what can happen at deployment with any system when certain, seemingly mundane, operational functions are dismissed during testing.
It happened on March 27, 2008, opening day for Terminal 5 at London Heathrow Airport, which today is hailed as British Airways’ most technologically advanced and lavish terminals in the world. On launch day, however, Terminal 5 suffered debilitating operational glitches like a malfunctioning car park system and its baggage software being left in test mode. These operational software glitches caused a cascade of issues, including 23,000 misplaced bags, 500 canceled flights, and a 5-day recovery from the debacle.
The pains felt by employees and travelers of Terminal 5 could have been avoided with focus on a few key areas that are often forgotten due to inexperienced project leads or lack of resources to support these operational readiness efforts.
Here are three steps to ensure a smooth takeoff for any new system:Read More
Is your business focused on mobile? Mobile web browsing has long since surpassed desktop browsing and users are spending, on average, more than three hours per day on their mobile devices, 90% of which is spent in apps. What does this mean for you? Mobile is everywhere, so not having a mobile strategy is no longer an option.
It’s a common mistake to assume that you only need to develop a mobile app, release it to the AppStore, and call it a day. Your mobile strategy may only require a mobile website, or it may rely heavily on a suite of mobile apps, or it may fall somewhere in between. But it needs to be heavily integrated into your overall web and marketing strategies and afforded a high level of investment and commitment similar to your web strategy.
Successfully generating mobile ROI requires a solid plan and a lot of work beyond developing an app. Instead of thinking in terms of an “app,” think in terms of a “mobile experience" that will keep users engaged and coming back for more.
Here are six key considerations you'll want to focus on as you develop a mobile strategy:Read More
I have learned over the years that tried and true quality assurance (QA) practices work great in a waterfall approach. QA is regimented by nature and lends itself perfectly to the methodical nature of waterfall development, only with a lot of extra fluff. Can we cut out some of that fluff to match the streamlined nature of Agile Scrum development? I believe we can trim down some of the QA practices included in waterfall, keeping the highest quality of standards and even improving on them by being more efficient with our time.Read More
Requirements gathering is a critical, foundational step in all software development. It will either set the project on a course to great success if done well or doom it to failure if done poorly. As Janet Leon pointed out in her blog, The True Cost of a Software Bug, the earlier you catch a bug in the software development life cycle, the less costly the bug will be. So it should be our goal to get the requirements 100% correct in order to eliminate bugs. With the stakes high and the challenges many, here are a few items to consider during requirements gathering that will ensure your project charts a successful course.Read More
The digital and marketing landscapes are shifting. User expectations are becoming more and more demanding and customers anticipate a timely, personalized, and integrated experience with your brand across all devices and channels.Read More
Product backlog management is an art form that requires relentless attention. As a Product Owner, it’s your responsibility to run a well-oiled machine and keep the product backlog healthy. This includes accommodating stakeholders, development teams, and most importantly, users. But how do you manage a product backlog in a way that is effective and results-driven?
Here are 7 tips from an Agile Product Owner who’s been around the block:
Website redesign or re-platforming projects are often the most exciting and dreaded undertaking for marketing teams. No matter how much you look forward to a shiny new CMS, there’s no denying that the arduous task of content migration can zap some of the joy out of the process.Read More
Let’s face it – Content migration is complex. Like, really complex. After all, CMS solutions hold a lot of important data and moving it to a completely new system is risky business. You don’t want to be that person responsible for losing documents, lengthy downtime or underestimating the project entirely. It’s time to get realistic about the process.
Here are 3 myths about content migration that often lead to misguided projects. Let us set the record straight:Read More
For most application workflow projects, the Agile development methodologies have proven a superior approach over the traditional waterfall method.
But even with a proven delivery method like Agile, insufficient understanding of business processes can derail your project. This is especially true when the project involves a complex workflow component.Read More
Throughout my project management career, one of the areas I consistently strive for excellence in is communications. I feel it is critical to the success of any project—big or small—so I wanted to share five ways that I effectively manage communications for my projects.Read More
Change is hard. Have you ever heard the following objections to innovation from your organization? “My department is unique.” “That sounds great in theory, but it wouldn't work in our environment.” “An outsider doesn’t understand the way we operate.”
Business Process Management (BPM) consultants hear these objections at the beginning of virtually every project we undertake. It’s true that we’re not experts in every field; but we are experts in process improvement and efficiency. We understand that every business is different and that most organizations are, at best, minimally resistant to change.
By partnering closely with your team’s stakeholders, listening to their needs and understanding their positions, consultants prove that fresh tools and strategies can be implemented in harmony with existing structures and cultures to produce incredible results.
Here are five reasons why organizations should make external BPM consultants an integral part of a continuous improvement culture:
No, that’s not your Most Valuable Player—it’s your Minimum Viable Product!
For die-hard baseball fans, Opening Day is full of limitless possibilities. The air sings with hope and excitement. The whole season lies ahead, culminating perhaps with a trip to the Series! (Oh, and don’t forget about the hot dogs.)
That same feeling of excitement ignites in product executives the moment their digital product goes live. They are the biggest fans—and most rabid competitors—of all. But how can you bat 1,000 in such a competitive space? How can you ensure that your minimum viable product (MVP) or minimum marketable product (MMP) will last the season?