People and Process

Random thoughts and musings all things people and process

Why Agile ticketing is a productivity hack

It's a shame that so many people think of Agile as Scrum when in fact Scrum is just a tiny implementation of the Agile methodology. The beauty of pure Agile is that you can apply it to anything - software development, marketing, manufacturing, even the handling of inbound support and service desk tickets.

SLA timers for every type of project

Time is the most precious human commodity, the one thing we can't store or accumulate. There is nothing we do that doesn't run against a clock and when we gather together in joint endeavour - like when we're in business with customers, suppliers, colleagues and stakeholders – the clock is the ticking king.

The lssue tracker is dead — long live the integrated help desk!

First there were point solutions, next there came an amalgamation of functionality and the ERP system was born. More recently we have seen a move towards the unbundling of technology and in software, the rise of the API.

When is a Sprint not a Sprint?

One of the nicest aspects of building Gemini is that we get to work on all sorts of cool consulting gigs with great customers. Many of these are with the in-house Agile teams and the more we work with teams in different organizations the more we learn that Agile is not a one-size-fits-all methodology.

How to Use an Agile Toolkit for Business Projects

The Agile methodology was developed to work primarily with software development projects. Essentially it resolves the problem that there is a gap between what was asked for and what was delivered and the solution is to work more closely with the end user and to build discrete, useful software in phases (known as Sprints) rather than take a big bang approach.

For Better Customer Experiences Open Up Your Systems

Everyone is someone's customer and we all at some time experience what we perceive to be an inadequate level of service. The provider of that service could be you and if you have enough customers and are in business for long enough it will be you, whether that is the outcome of reality or perception.

Has Agile Lost the Spring in its Step?

Nothing lasts, that's entropy for you. Shelley's famous poem, Ozymandias, reminds us that the belief we have created or mastered anything worthwhile is just mankind's hubris. Software development methodologies fall from grace *sigh* get over it.

Save Time, Save Money and Deliver Great Customer Service - Implement a Help Desk

There comes a point in the lifecycle of any successful company when in order to be efficient internally it becomes essential to be efficient externally. This can be equally true at a departmental level in large organizations, where one group of people support or assist another.

Gemini or Jira - Which Would You Choose?

With Microsoft announcing plans to ship vNext, a cross-platform offering of .Net, the long-standing debate over .Net versus the rest is about to enter a new phase. The gloves will be off for all the software vendors who build .Net products, so the Java and PHP boys are about to discover just why it is that C# is rated the best commercial software development language in the world. We'll be able to do everything that they can – only faster and in a more robust and scalable manner.

Time to Stop Talking and Build a Prototype

Someone commented when looking at our News page that the constant tick over of new releases was a clear indication of our Agile nature. This is true, we are Agile as that page does indeed show, but all that means is that we iterate our way to success.

Guerilla Sessions and the Slam Dunk Chart

Every now and again software vendor teams have to get something built fast. By fast I mean speed that defies the backlog-sprint-retrospective cycle. It helps if it is agreed by all to be essential to obtaining some competitive market advantage, though more commonly these sessions are about fixing serious defects and addressing painful product-market gaps. Such development work entails a work practice that you won't find a formal approach for, namely the Guerilla session.

SO9001 and the Challenges of the Performance Appraisal Process

Performance Appraisal. Two words that will usually raise a groan from both line managers and employees alike. It appears to be a challenging area for a majority of companies.

Your First ISO Audit and the Auditor Lottery

Your first ISO audit. Understandably you are nervous. You don't know what to expect. Of course, you'll be as prepared as you can be. Your documents are up to date and readily available to view. All attendees are fully briefed, and you've kept your diary completely clear to ensure no distractions.

Learning To Understand Software Developers

A wise man once said “beware of software developers for they are very chivalrous and will need to find a dragon to slay”. If you spend as much time as we have around programmers you will know what he meant. Back in the eighties, a smart and eager young COBOL programmer became the butt of many a joke when, entirely unbidden, he wrote some assembler code to read and write records.

Crafting an ISO9001 Quality Policy Statement

At the heart of the ISO9001 quality management system sits the quality policy statement. The aim of the quality policy is to set out, in concise terms, the way in which the company will ensure the quality of its deliverable – whether that's a product or a service – and to set out the company's commitment to ongoing improvement of the effectiveness of the QMS.

Do Project Managers Have to be Specialists?

It was over the course of the perennial argument about the pros and cons of Agile methods and ScrumMasters that the topic of Project Management methodologies reared its ugly head again. As always, the debate split into two camps, those who thought that anybody could manage a project provided they had a sound grasp of the subject matter and a rudimentary knowledge of Gantt charts, and those who thought that Project Management was a skill that required training, specialization and experience.

Time for a client-agency satisfaction survey?

You speak to the Client every day. At least once - and often more. It's simply part of the day to day management of the Client – Agency relationship. You know when they are happy with what you are doing and you know when they aren't, right? Well, to a degree, you probably are. But such day to day communication usually deals with the ins and outs of the project in hand – what is top of today's agenda.

Why Fixed Price Projects Are Bad For You

It's the age-old project manager's nightmare; dodgy spec and a fixed-price project. Why doesn't everyone accept that people will do their best and go for the flexibility and realism of Time & Materials (T&M)? These days there seems to be a strong leaning towards fixing the price of software development projects; after all, the budget is fixed so it doesn't make sense not to fix the price as well. The trouble is, as many experienced PMs know, things are rarely that simple.

ISO9001 - a never ending journey?

I think I've got this ISO9001 Quality Management System standard sussed now. Ok, I know that the 2015 version is pending and I'll need to address the changes, but a few years down the line from being a total novice, I have been exposed to multiple internal and external audits and assessors, and learnt several lessons along the way. Now with the benefits of hindsight, what would I have told myself right at the very start?

The Enemy Within

They huddle in a corner, hunched over the Gantt chart you just handed out, muttering darkly. Only the occasional, quick glance in your direction betrays that you are the subject of their reproach. You sigh and for a moment are tempted to bat for your corner, but in the end you realize that it's best to ignore them. A quick drink after work and they'll come round. Instead, you scan through the list of Change Requests, Outstanding Issues, Bug Fixes and the Financial Summary and prepare yourself for your next meeting.

Are all ISO27001 certificates equal?

When choosing a supplier that may have any access to your confidential information, it’s certainly reassuring if they have ISO27001 certification. Without doubt, maintaining ISO27001 requires significant commitment. It provides reassurance that the company in question are operating a systematic framework to identify, control and mitigate risk and also that they are being audited on a regular basis against a set of best practice requirements compiled by global experts.

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