How to Streamline Quality Assurance for Agile Scrum Development

By John Mark Swartz, Consultant

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.

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A Logical Approach to Requirements Gathering

By Chris Alexion, Consultant, Service Delivery

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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7 Ways to Effectively Manage a Product Owner Backlog

By Celerity

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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Choosing an Automatic or Manual Content Migration

By Celerity

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.

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

By Celerity

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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Keys to BPM Software Success Using Agile Methodologies

By Jason Foster, BPM Delivery Director

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.

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5 Ways to Better Manage Project Communications

By Nicole Helfrich, Delivery Director, Project & Program Management

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.

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Hitting It Out of the Park with Your MVP Launch

By J. Lawson & K. Long - Digital Experience Team

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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Mobile App Development Cost: The Top 6 Budget Factors

By Jay Kissman

Recent studies show that 86% of consumers' mobile time is spent on mobile apps. To keep up with this growing trend, 90% of U.S. enterprises are increasing their investments in mobile app development.

But what slows people down from actually executing an efficient mobile app development process, is not knowing how to plan and budget for them.

Many of our clients struggle with getting their arms around scope and cost for mobile app projects because each app is unique and dependent on several key business decisions. Our work developing apps for small-, medium-, and enterprise level-clients has taught us that no matter the size of the project or budget, there are 6 things that impact the mobile app development cost:

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Create a High-Functioning Work Space with the 5S Methodology

By Celerity

In Business Process Management, Lean methodology is centered on the idea of eliminating waste. This process sounds simple in theory – “Get rid of defects, cut out steps that add no value” – but actually implementing these ideas requires strategic planning. The 5S methodology presents an organized way of eliminating physical waste and standardizing the use of equipment and processes across an entire functional unit. 5S stresses that cleanliness, organization, and standardization are key in creating the most efficient and effective work processes. The method originated from five Japanese words which have been translated into English.

Here’s how you can implement the steps:

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Episerver Ascending: Takeaways From Episerver’s 2017 Conference

By John Dymond, .NET CMS Architect

In the last year, Episerver's significant investments into its product have truly made it stand out in the competitive CMS landscape. I had high hopes in attending the Ascend conference to see what’s in store for 2017, and it did not disappoint! There was a lot of great information shared at the conference from both IT and Marketing perspectives. The following are my top three takeaways from the conference as well as some points worth considering if you are looking to grow or transform your web presence:

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Setting up Episerver to Run as an Azure Application

By John Dymond, .NET CMS Architect

Episerver is a leading CMS that helps companies create an effective user experience across all channels and devices. Episerver was recently featured in the Forrester Wave WCM 2017 and was listed as the leading .NET CMS vendor and 1 of the 3 leaders in the report. 

 

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5 Ways to Think Beyond Salary When Negotiating

By Jill Barlow and Amanda Paga, Corporate Recruiters

You’re interviewing for your dream job, and everything has been smooth sailing so far. You nailed the first interview, and you’re anxious and excited to meet the rest of the team. Your phone rings, and it’s the recruiter who initially contacted you about the position. He has great news - you’re the top candidate so far, and he is calling to schedule your final interview!

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The Price of Poor Product Ownership: 3 Ways to Doom Your Agile Project

By Todd Miller, ScrumMaster, Product Owner

Being an Agile Product Owner is a difficult endeavor. In fact, I would venture to say it may very well be the hardest and most critical product owner role on an Agile project. You have to keep the team happy and engaged, stakeholders are constantly looking for “status” updates, and you need to appease the customer by understanding their needs and delivering high value as quickly as possible.

I’ve witnessed many unpleasant Agile projects, even to the point of a project’s complete failure, because of poor Product Ownership, despit using a proper agile framework. There are a variety of reasons for that, but I’m seeing a trend of Product Owners spending their time in the wrong places.

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14 Must-Know Mobile App Best Practices

By Celerity

Mobile technology use is at an all time high as 80 percent of internet surfers now own a smartphone to access the web. It should come as no surprise then that developing a mobile app for your business can make you more competitive online. But where do you start? 

We recently published a checklist of the top 14 Mobile App Best Practices you need to consider in order to successfully build a new mobile app, or update an existing one.

Here's a snapshot of what you need to know:

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Software Development and Agile Methodologies: A Chronicle of 2016

By Celerity

As we say goodbye to 2016, let’s reflect on some of the Celerity stories that were popular this year! From trends like Agile development to personalization and operational readiness, Celerity’s consulting team has contributed a wealth of knowledge to Breakthroughs in Acceleration. Here are a few of our favorite articles:

Operational Readiness: 3 Keys to a Successful Takeoff for Any Large-Scale System
If you’re preparing for the launch of a large-scale initiative in the coming year, don’t let untested systems and unprepared users create a deployment debacle. Follow these three operational readiness steps to help build confidence in your new system and get your project off the ground smoothly. Read the full blog post.

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How Agile Can Be Embraced by Your Entire Organization

By Celerity

This post is a preview of our eBook: Leading an Enterprise Agile Transformation. Download the full eBook here.

A recent survey by Scrum Alliance found that more than 70% of Agile practitioners report tension between their teams and the rest of the organization. The reason? They are following different road maps and moving at different speeds. Whether your organization is in the early stages of adopting Agile methodologies or you have multiple teams running sprints, non-Agile influences will eventually cause your success to plateau. The breakthrough opportunity is a true, Agile transformation.

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Why the Time is Right to Consider Episerver CMS

By John Dymond, .NET CMS Architect

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


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

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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