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Technology

Agile Methodology

by Randall Craig on March 17, 2017

Filed in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet,

Tagged as: , ,

Project managers the world over build Gantt charts, PERT charts, Work Breakdown Structures.  They focus on delivering on-time, on-budget.

No matter your role, is there something that can be learned from the profession of project management?

In the olden days – and sadly, “today” for many organizations – the most common project management approach is the so-called waterfall approach:

  • Market research
  • Analysis of requirements
  • Technical specification
  • Development
  • Testing
  • Bug-fixes
  • Final testing
  • Launch

This approach allowed for clear approvals at each stage, and cleverly separated the “client” of the project from those actually doing the work.

Unfortunately, this methodology has some significant disadvantages, chiefly that because of this separation, there is little or no collaboration during the project itself.  Said another way, the ground can shift during long projects, and therefore the needs may change significantly from the project start to project launch.

Enter Agile.  While the dictionary defines agile as “the ability to move quickly and easily”, from a project management perspective, agile means something very specific.  Instead of a long, drawn-out process, an agile process divides the project into a number of cycles, called sprints.  Each sprint would have three parts:

  1. Build:  Something is put together (a prototype, a pilot, etc)
  2. Test:  The kinks are worked out of the system.
  3. Demo:  Feedback is collected for action during the next sprint.

Agile Project Management

Agile provides a number of advantages over the traditional waterfall approach:

  • Real-time market research is embedded into the process.
  • There is collaboration and connection to the target users.
  • Continuous mid-course corrections and improvements.
  • Lower project risk, since progress is demonstrated continuously.
  • Faster time-to-market.

This week’s action plan:  While the example above might be for a digital development project, agile can be used anywhere.  Consider the projects that you are connected with: how many are managed traditionally, and how many are agile?  This week, begin the process of moving at least one to agile.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to www.RandallCraig.com to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
www.RandallCraig.com
:  Professional credentials site
www.108ideaspace
.com: Web strategy, technology, and development
www.ProfessionallySpeakingTV.com
:  Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders

 

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Trust, Website Security, and SEO

by Randall Craig on March 10, 2017

Filed in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet,

Tagged as: , , , ,

Whether real world or on the web, trust is a powerful factor. For users of the popular Chrome browser, Google recently made a change that is sure to give many people pause.  Consider the image below: for the first time, the word “secure” appears within the URL bar.
Secure site

Contrast this, with this next screen shot, that does not say secure:

Nestle website - not secure?

The key difference between these two sites is that the first site (mine) is encrypted (look at the URL that starts with “https”), while the second example (Nestle) is not encrypted at all.  Yikes!

Even worse is when a website is not encrypted, and asks the user for their password.  The URL bar explicitly says Not Secure:

While there are a few technical challenges – and additional costs – to serving the entire site in a secure, encrypted fashion, we strongly recommend that this be done immediately.  Chrome – and likely all browsers in the future – will more explicitly show the page’s security status: not secure is a brand-weakening, trust-losing epithet.

This week’s action plan:  Open the Chrome browser, go to a few random pages of your website, and then to your site’s log-in or subscribe page.  Does the word Secure appear in the URL bar of the browser?  If not, then insist that this change be made as a priority.  If it is there, congratulations – you get a bonus. Google will reward your site with an SEO boost, just because it is secure.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to www.RandallCraig.com to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
www.RandallCraig.com
:  Professional credentials site
www.108ideaspace
.com: Web strategy, technology, and development
www.ProfessionallySpeakingTV.com
:  Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders

 

 

 

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Insight: Software Costs in the Age of the Cloud

by Randall Craig January 20, 2017

Software has a cost, but it may not be as clear as you may think.  Yes, purchasing Excel may be straightforward, but what about CRM, Marketing Automation, a new financial system, or any other core database that requires collaboration across the organization? In the olden days, it was relatively simple:  the application was usually custom-written, and […]

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Building Front-line Buy-in

by Randall Craig November 18, 2016

If there has been one significant change in the area of marketing and engagement, it is the almost complete ubiquity of “programs”.  Some of them have names like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.  Others have names like Salesforce, Marketo, Dynamics, and Infusionsoft.  Yet despite the great fanfare, why does the system’s promise rarely materialize? Consider how the system is […]

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Avoiding tech project failures

by Randall Craig June 10, 2016

Has your organization invested in a “game-changing” software project, only to discover that the promised benefits never really materialize?  Or that the implementation was so flawed that the system is regarded as a financial and operating disaster? Sadly, this happens far more than it should… but must this always be the case?  Here are five […]

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Avoiding a disastrous CRM implementation

by Randall Craig May 20, 2016

CRM (Client Relationship Management) systems are known for two things: the promise of driving sales, and the almost inevitable disastrous implementation.  And the same is often true of other big tech projects.  But does this really have to be the case? Here are 12 key items that can make a difference between a successful implementation… or a costly mistake: […]

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Branding and Web Security

by Randall Craig April 29, 2016

What determines the confidence in your brand?  Yes, the visual identity and what people see.  And yes, the experience and interaction people have, both online and in the real world.  And yes, the social media (and traditional media) buzz – both positive and negative.  But there is another factor, hidden from most marketers, that can […]

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Viewpoint: Software as a Service – a Rocky Transition

by Randall Craig April 22, 2016

There is no doubt that software as a service (SAAS) holds great promise, but are there downsides?  And for both software vendors and their customers, is it a disaster in the making?  (Maybe.) If you are not sure what SAAS is all about, it is the movement to rent software on a monthly basis, rather […]

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Identity theft and email spoofing

by Randall Craig November 13, 2015

Think your identity is secure?  Think again – it isn’t. Consider this email that a colleague recently received from “me”: Hello Monty, How are u doing? I will like you to handle an International bank transfers for me with some other few transactions today but first,let me know the required information needed to process an international […]

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Intranet Maturity Model: Strong on the Inside

by Randall Craig September 18, 2015

Very often marketers look to the logo, web, advertising campaigns, and earned media to execute a brand strategy.  But how might they look internally to do the same?  Or rather, where might they look internally to do the same? One of the most important systems within an organization is the intranet.  While the external website is […]

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Web site testing fundamentals

by Randall Craig May 29, 2015

Most marketers understand the basics of putting up a website, but rarely get a glimpse into what is likely the most important part of the process: testing. Done properly, testing is time-consuming. When the schedule (or budgets) are tight, unfortunately, it is the first thing to go. And when this happens, errors creep in that […]

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Viewpoint: Cuba, Data sovereignty, and the Cloud

by Randall Craig February 27, 2015

Information wants to be free.  Unless it doesn’t want to be.  Nowhere was this more clear than on a recent vacation to one of the western hemisphere’s last bastions of non-freedom, Cuba. The Cubans we met were super-friendly, happy, and entrepreneurial.  The culture was replete with amazing music, history, architecture, and national pride.  And the […]

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