Category Archives: Career Development

When to Hire a Consultant

This Post was written by Christopher Hughes
Date posted: May 7, 2018

Image https://pixabay.com/

Businesses bring on consultants for a variety of reasons. Whether they’re looking to save time or they need a third party’s opinion, consultants offer a range of services. But, how do you know when to hire them? If any of the below paragraphs resonate with you, it may be time to add a consultant to your team.

  • You’re doing something new and need expertise
    • New software, technical experts, no one in house and you’re missing the core tech
  • Need more capacity
    • Understand how/when it will be done, but you just need extra help
    • Keep reputation for being fast and on-schedule, making deadlines

What’s ahead overwhelms you
Is your project running smoothly, but you know your team could still use an extra set of hands? Is the project about to require more manpower than what you have available? That’s where consultants come in. Remember, consultants are highly skilled, temporary employees who are there to focus on your business’ request. You won’t have to call upon any of your permanent employees. They can concentrate on their work and stay productive while the consultant focuses on the task at hand.  

You need an outsider’s perspective
It’s not uncommon for businesses to bring on consultants simply because they need an unbiased opinion. Whether you need a solution to the problem you’re trying to solve or you need some innovative ideas to revamp your project, adding an outsider’s perspective can make a world of difference.

You’re ready to hear the truth about your business/project
Consultants have to be honest with you about the business strategy you’re working on or the direction of the project, and you have to be ready to listen. Occasionally, people in leadership positions become defensive when a consultant delivers his/her opinions. Remember, you hired a third party to objectively review the situation and offer their expertise. Now it’s time to hand them the reigns and learn about what needs done.

Reach out to us if you’ve decided it’s time to hire a consultant! Don’t forget to follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter for job postings and industry insights.

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How to Build a Successful Team

This Post was written by Scott Deutsch
Date posted: April 23, 2018

https://pixabay.com

Building a successful team is about more than putting people with great talent together. It’s a detailed process involving clear communication and getting to know your members. Moreover, the longevity of a team stems from your ability to stand out as a strong leader. As you begin assembling your group, read our tips on how to build a successful team:

Establish relationships
As the leader, it’s your job to know each member of the team. Figure out their skill sets, their strengths and weaknesses, and their professional goals. Once you understand these, you can place each person in a role that will make them shine.

You need to understand each member individually before you can begin to help them grow close to one another. Learning more about your employees helps you find ways to motivate them, individually and as a group. From there, you’ll be able to foster the relationships between each member.

Set goals and provide incentives
Setting short and long-term goals does wonders for team productivity. It establishes a foundation with which to work off of and makes daily tasks easier to manage. Consider recommending an agile approach. Continuously check in with everyone to evaluate and discuss their progress toward the higher goals.

When certain goals are met, try providing incentives where possible. This could be bringing in breakfast, offering a day where they can work from home, or giving out gift cards. It’s no surprise that incentives like these are an effective motivator.

Additionally, go the extra mile to explore what doesn’t work with motivating your team. Remember, it’s just as important to understand what demotivates people as it is to know what motivates them.

Create a culture
Just as your organization has its own culture, your team will develop one as well. As the leader, investigate what your team members consider to be important beliefs and behaviours. How do they picture working together? What do they expect when they enter a group setting? By diving into this, you can help spearhead your team culture. Create your values and expectations together so everyone is on the same page and satisfied with their work environment.

Promote transparency
A successful team communicates clearly with one another. Not only do your members keep you in the loop, but they keep each other involved as well. Don’t forget to offer feedback on a constant basis. It’s a mistake to wait until something has gone wrong to then sit down and discuss the issues. To avoid feelings of constant scrutinization, communicate frequently and informally.

With these steps in mind, remember that every successful team is different, and you need to be aware of the nuances and dynamics of your team. Be flexible enough to adapt to what they need while still maintaining your role as the leader.

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The Most Interesting Software Development Accounts to Follow

This Post was written by Darcy Uustal
Date posted: April 9, 2018

Collaboration and sharing knowledge is a staple of the programming community. Software developers share open source projects and contribute to forums as a way to better themselves and others in their field. Since this is the mindset of many programmers, Twitter is the perfect medium to engage with other technical professionals. If you’re looking for insights from other developers, check out my list of who to follow on Twitter:

Paul Buchheit @paultoo As the creator and lead developer of Gmail,  it’s pretty easy to understand why Paul made the list. Follow him for lighthearted tweets and informative retweets.  He also coined Google’s former motto, “Don’t be evil.”

 

Federico Cargnelutti @fedecarg Federico is a Senior Software Engineer at BBC who blogs about software architecture and PHP. Follow him for tech news, tutorials, and other helpful links.

 

Vanessa Hurst @DBNessFounder of Girl Develop It, Vanessa is a strong advocate for inspiring and empowering people to “use computing to improve the human experience.” Follow her for informative retweets from women in the computer science field.

 

Reto Meier @retomeierReto is the author of Professional Android Application Development and a Developer Advocate at Google. He also makes frequent appearances on Google Developers YouTube series, Build Out. Follow him for tweets on all things Android.

 

John Resig @jeresig John is an expert in JavaScript programming and the creator of the jQuery library. He works full-time as a Frontend Architect at the Khan Academy. Follow him for JavaScript tips.

 

Jennifer Dewalt @JenniferDewaltJennifer made her claim to fame by making one website a day for 180 as a way to teach herself to code. Since then she’s founded multiple startups, one of which is Zube. Follow her for technology news and inspirational retweets, like this one:

 

David Heinemeier Hansson @dhhThis Danish programmer is the creator of Ruby on Rails as well as the founder and CTO of Basecamp. He’s also a racing enthusiast and even won the 24 Hours of Le Mans, one of the oldest active sports car race. Follow him for business and Ruby on Rails tips.

 

Jeff Atwood @codinghorror – Jeff is one of the co-founders of StackOverflow and Discourse.org. His blog, Coding Horror, covers software development topics and his experiences with them. Follow him for an entertaining human side of software development.

 

Jesse Stay @JesseJesse is regularly featured on Techcrunch, Mashable, Venturebeat, Readwrite, AdWeek, Forbes, USA Today, and The New York Times. He used to work as a software developer for Facebook and now spends his time speaking, writing, and reviewing tech. Follow him for technology news and events.

 

Paul Irish @paul_irish Paul works on web performance as a Frontend Developer at Google. He’s passionate about making the web tools better for developers. Follow him for updates on web and app development.

 

Who is on your feed? Let us know who you love following and why!

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An Overview of Scrum Methodology

This Post was written by Christopher Hughes
Date posted: April 2, 2018

Agile methods assist project managers by increasing productivity as well as efficiency. In case you’re not clear on this, Scrum methodology is an agile way of managing a project, while Agile is an umbrella term. It’s one of the most popular frameworks for implementing Agile, especially in software development. The more organizations realize the benefits of Scrum Methodology, the happier and more productive its employees will be.

An Overview
Scrum teams typically consist of five to nine people, and do not have any form of leader who delegates tasks or makes final decisions. This is to facilitate team unity. With this setup, the team addresses any issues together, making each member an integral part of the whole. While there is no hierarchy, there are three important roles in a Scrum team: the Product Owner, the ScrumMaster, and the Development Team.

Teams that use scrum methodology experience:

  • Higher productivity
  • Higher-quality products/results
  • Reduced project time
  • Stronger team dynamics
  • Happier employees

The Scrum Sprint
A team’s project progresses through the use of Scrum events, sometimes called ceremonies. A Sprint is a set block of time, usually between 2-4 weeks, where specific tasks are completed. After that, a Sprint Review should occur to let team members present what they completed. Here, the Product Owner compares the completed work to the Product Backlog. At the end of the sprint, a final meeting, called the Retrospective, takes place. During the retrospective, the team discusses what went well, improvements, and the overall performance during the sprint. It’s also a time to update any strategies for the next sprint.

The product backlog serves as a detailed, prioritized to-do list. It outlines all requirements for the project and sometimes considered as the most important document. During each sprint, teams should refer to the product backlog to create a Sprint Backlog. A completed task from the product backlog should be added to the Increment. The increment summarizes all completed items since the last software release.

The Daily Stand-up, or Daily Scrum, is fairly self-explanatory. It’s a short daily meeting that the team conducts to help prioritize tasks and ensure all members are on the same page. Keep in mind, this meeting should only last about 15 minutes; it’s meant to facilitate collaboration, not status updates.

Top 10 best practices

  1. Develop the Product Vision and Product Backlog together
  2. At the start of your project, try using organizational tools like whiteboards, sticky notes, and spreadsheets to put your project in order.
  3. Be consistent with the Daily Scrum – conduct standing meetings to keep them short and meet at the same time each day
  4. Don’t underestimate the benefits of a retrospective – encourage all team members to seriously review the events during the last sprint and work to improve
  5. Not all items in a product backlog will be developed, but it should contain all possibilities despite this
  6. Have a healthy balance of documentation – prioritize what should and shouldn’t be
  7. Consider Agile/Scrum software programs to help your team stay organized and on track
  8. Never adjust your sprint’s time block – strictly follow it, otherwise your team might continue the process of extending deadlines
  9. Be proactive with quality assurance
  10. Include the client – update them frequently enough to ensure your team grasps what the client desires and make sure you don’t lose sight of it

What would you include on your list of best scrum methodology practices? Let us know on LinkedIn and Twitter!

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