Why the Time is Right to Consider Episerver CMS

By John Dymond, .NET CMS Architect on Nov. 29, 2016 View Comments

Gartner recently released their 2016 Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management. At first glance, the quadrant looks very similar to years past with Sitecore and Adobe leading the way. But a closer glance reveals some trends that have been echoed at Celerity during platform selection processes over the past year. Leaders are further distancing themselves from the other products in the space. The leader quadrant now only has 6 total products (down from 9). However, Episerver continues its rise among the ranks of CMS products. No other product saw as dramatic an increase over the past year as Episerver, and it is establishing itself among the top products in the space.

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Human Behavior and the User Experience

By Ken Mohnkern, Interaction Designer on Nov. 22, 2016 View Comments


While navigating a well-designed user experience feels organic and natural, the science behind that end result is very much a deliberate effort. Assumptions and whims make User Experience (UX) Designers squirm. Instead, we prefer making design decisions based on evidence and data, but when we can’t perform our own research by observing the behaviors of users, we can still avoid “guessing” what users want by following basic UX principles as we design digital systems. Many of those principles are based on well-documented studies, but some of the studies are misunderstood and misapplied to digital design.

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Behavior-Driven Development (BDD): A Common Language for Cross-functional Teams

By Gokhan Civan, Software Engineer on Nov. 15, 2016 View Comments

Effective communication is paramount in a cross-functional team delivering a software product to business stakeholders. The development process involves many people, including developers, testers and business analysts, and if they do not use a common communication framework, business requirements and test suites will become unmaintainable over time. A common language framework should be adopted to eliminate the chance of confusion amongst cross-functional team members. The behavior-driven development (BDD) practice can achieve this and much more to accelerate the software development and testing process.

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Why Quality Assurance is Imperative to Your Organization

By Gaurav Khullar, Management Consultant on Nov. 9, 2016 View Comments

In today’s fiercely competitive marketplace, formalizing a quality assurance program is imperative for every organization looking to meet customer requirements and avoid the steep cost of quality failure. As defined by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9000, quality is the degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfills requirements. ISO 9000 was created by the ISO as a way to define, establish, and maintain an effective quality assurance system for manufacturing and service industries. As you establish internal processes to fulfill your unique mission and objectives, quality standards will be individually tailored, but understanding the Three Lines of Defense Model and the potential cost of a failure is a great place to get started on quality assurance.

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A Logical Approach to Requirements Gathering

By Chris Alexion, Consultant, Service Delivery on Nov. 2, 2016 View Comments

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.

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Getting Started with Software Test Automation

By Ravishankar Parithupatturkumaraswamy, Senior Automation Tester on Oct. 25, 2016 View Comments


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:

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5 Steps to Improve your IT Security with Vulnerability Management

By Logan Biely, Project Manager on Oct. 18, 2016 View Comments


2016 has seen a rash of high profile security breaches that have impacted businesses and their customers alike. Yahoo recently reported the largest such breach in history, revealing that some 500 million customers’ data had been stolen. It is no longer enough to serve your customers, you must protect them as well. Having your information security team scanning and monitoring your network is a start, but installing a formal vulnerability management process will go much further in lowering your IT risk. Vulnerability scanning will help you to identify your risk while vulnerability management will help you to understand and mitigate these risks.

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Agile Marketing: Learn the Lingo

By Celerity on Oct. 11, 2016 View Comments

A too-long to-do list is a daily reality for most marketers. The larger issue, however, comes from that long list of tasks lacking prioritization and coordination with others on your team, resulting in time spent on the wrong tasks and missed project deadlines. Agile Marketing offers a compelling solution to this problem and helps marketing teams, both big and small, accomplish projects faster through improved communication, transparency, and innovation.

Adopting its core tenants from Agile software development, Agile Marketing is a work management methodology that can help a team work faster, leaner, and more strategically through short bursts of work and frequent feedback. Agile helps to prioritize and execute projects more quickly and helps to bridge gaps between IT, Marketing, and the Business.

Before you get started, though, you must learn how to SPEAK Agile. As you start researching and planning your team’s adoption to Agile Marketing, here’s a handy reference of the terms you’ll come across and what they mean:

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4 Ways to Keep Up with Today's Agile Trends

By Jesica Wetherhold, CSP, PMP on Oct. 5, 2016 View Comments

For Agile to deliver on its promise of improved speed, quality, and customer-centric solutions, your Agile organization needs to continuously mature and evolve. So how can you keep up with the fast pace?

Answer these four questions to ensure you’re keeping pace with Agile best practices:

1. Are you using Scrum?

Scrum is the most popular Agile approach for delivering innovative, quality products and services. According to the Annual State of Agile Report, over 80 percent of the organizations utlizing an Agile framework use Scrum or a hybrid of Scrum, Kanban, and Extreme Programming. Scrum’s popularity is not surprising, due to its many benefits, including:

  • Promotion of collaboration, continuous improvement, and transparency
  • Minimizing the pressures of predetermined timelines and unnecessary work—87 percent of respondents to the Scrum Alliance's 2015 State of Scrum survey say their team's quality of work life has improved by using Scrum
  • Enhanced productivity and innovation due to self-organizing and self-managing teams
  • Rapid inspection, adaption, and pivoting of projects according to changing customer needs
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Operational Readiness: 3 Keys to a Successful Takeoff for Any Large-Scale System

By Nicole Helfrich, Delivery Director, Project & Program Management on Sep. 14, 2016 View Comments

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 cancelled 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:

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Hitting It Out of the Park with Your MVP Launch

By J. Lawson & K. Long - Digital Experience Team on Aug. 9, 2016 View Comments

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?

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How Content Personalization Can Amp Up Your Digital Marketing Strategy

By Kathryn Markwell, Digital Strategy Lead on Jun. 28, 2016 View Comments

As a marketer, I’m sure you know by now that you’re not going to get very far with a one-size-fits-all approach. Sure, you have a target audience in mind, but are you really in tune with their needs? Your customers may be in the market for what you’re offering, but you have to find and talk to them in different ways. That’s where personalization comes in.

But how do you get started?

In a study by Adobe Marketing Optimization, 97% of marketing and customer insights decision-makers prioritized personalization as the most important capability to their company’s marketing moving forward. These numbers shouldn’t come as a surprise – the ROI is astounding. When you focus on providing personalized content to your target audience and have the proper digital analytics in place, you can expect to see increased conversions, better qualified leads, and increased loyalty.

Setting the Foundation for a Personalization Strategy
There are three pieces of the personalization pie that you need to get a handle on before you reap the benefits: personas, journeys, and goals.

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How to Make Your Site Responsive Across Mobile Devices

By Larry Levine, Senior Art Director on Jun. 21, 2016 View Comments


So you have a great digital experience that you want to take mobile. Good for you! But have you done your homework? 

According to comScore, mobile devices now claim 2 of every 3 minutes spent online. Adobe likewise reports that 38% of people will ditch a website with an unappealing layout -- but mobile devices continue to proliferate, and keeping your site functional and attractive is a huge challenge. So how do you optimize your web property to take advantage of all online opportunities?

First, you have to rethink how you approach mobile optimization. It's about much more than merely adjusting breakpoints; you must consider a whole new spectrum of user needs suited for a limited viewing area, as well as unique business/marketing goals.

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Agile Development: 4 Ways to Tell if You’re Living in the Past or Staying True to Agile Principles

By Jesica Wetherhold, CSP, PMP on Jun. 14, 2016 View Comments

Companies have a history of creating lengthy documentation that bogs down software development. In this “pre-Agile” era, requirements were established up front, testing didn’t occur until Agile methodologies developed, and the customer wasn’t involved until they were given the end product. Modifications and changes could cause an entire project to go way over budget or even fail. Everyone knew there had to be a better way.

In 2001, seventeen software gurus came together in Snowbird, Utah to eat, ski, and discuss different approaches to building software. These ‘organizational anarchists’ brought their independent initiatives with them, such as Feature Driven Development, Extreme Programming, Crystal, SCRUM, Adaptive Software Development, and pragmatic programming. Their common focus was on lightweight ways to develop software and by the end of the meeting they established the Agile Manifesto.

A principle of the Agile Manifesto states “Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.” We know it works. Its history tells a story and helps us understand the true value and impact of an Agile framework in today’s creative economy.

Ask yourself these 4 questions to determine if you’re living in Agile’s past or holding fast to its core guiding principles:

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Content First Design: 3 Reasons Why Lorem Ipsum Isn't Enough

By Kelley McDonald, Senior UX Architect on Jun. 10, 2016 View Comments

The web has always been about content. Sure, people visit websites and use apps to complete specific tasks or interact with others, but it's ultimately the content that facilitates those events.

And while elements like maps, infographics, and videos are considered content, the written word, “real” copy, comprises the great majority of what's actually consumed and exchanged online. Copy is the infrastructure on which digital content and user experience (UX) is built—the glue that holds it all together.

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The ONLY 3 Things That Matter in Agile

By Julius Weems, VP, Strategic Accounts on Jun. 7, 2016 View Comments

For the last eight years, Agile has been the buzz of every company in the IT industry. We can’t go a day without hearing Agile this, Agile development that. We have consulting companies created around Agile practices and businesses trying to ditch their traditional waterfall processes.

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Scared to Make a Referral? 4 Ways to Make Introductions Less Awkward

By Jill Lawson, Vice President on May. 31, 2016 View Comments

Has anyone at your company ever asked you to refer them to a friend or past colleague for a business opportunity? It sounds like a great idea and you want to help, but deep down you’re dreading it. Perhaps you don’t know what to do? Or if it will be mutually-beneficial? Maybe you’d rather spontaneously combust than navigate a potentially awkward situation?

Whatever the reason, one thing is for certain: learning how to connect people in your network is a valuable skill that every professional needs to have in their toolkit. The relationships you’ve built with friends and former colleagues over the years can help you establish credibility, give referrals that generate business, and even advance your own professional development and career opportunities.

Admittedly, making introductions comes naturally to me. It’s part of my job. But a recent encounter with a colleague who needed advice on approaching contacts made me realize that not everyone is as comfortable as I am. It’s time that we change that.

If you’re ready to conquer the art of the introduction once and for all, here are 4 ways to do it without feeling awkward:

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7 Ways to Effectively Manage a Product Owner Backlog

By Todd Miller, ScrumMaster, Product Owner on May. 24, 2016 View Comments

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:

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3 Myths You’ve Heard About Content Migration (And Why They’re Wrong)

By Celerity on May. 17, 2016 View Comments

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:

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Agile Scrum Framework: 4 Ways to Create High-Quality Software, Part 2

By Todd Miller, ScrumMaster, Product Owner on May. 10, 2016 View Comments

Scrum’s framework lends itself to high-quality solutions, but many loyalists need clarification on how to address that goal in the daily use of Agile methodologies.

In Part 1 of this blog, I explained two key ways to prioritize quality through Agile Scrum:

1. Use a cross-functional Scrum team to reduce external dependencies.
2. A Development should have a Definition of Done (DoD) so they know when an increment is in fact “done”.

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