Scrumming Down to Complete Projects

Everybody knows about rugby union scrums. For our purposes, perhaps it is best to view them as mini projects where the goal is to get the ball back to the fly-half no matter what the opposition does. Some scrums are set pieces where players follow planned manoeuvres. Loose / rolling scrums develop on the fly where the team responds as best according to the situation. If that sounds to you like software project management then read on, because there are more similarities’.

Isn’t Scrum Project Management the Same as Agile?

No it’s not, because Scrum is disinterested in customer liaison or project planning, although the team members may be happy to receive the accolades following success. In the same way that rugby players let somebody else decide the rules and arrange the fixtures, a software Scrum team just wants the action.

Scrum does however align closely – dare I say interchangeably with Agile’s sprints. Stripping it of all the other stages frees the observer up to analyse it more closely in the context of a rough and tumble project, where every morning can begin with a backlog of revised requirements to back fit.

The 3 Main Phases of a Scrum

A Scrum is a single day in the life of a project, building onto what went before and setting the stage for what will happen the following day. The desired output is a block of component software that can be tested separately and inserted later. Scrumming is also a useful technique for managing any project that can be broken into discreet phases. The construction industry is a good example.

Phase 1 – Define the Backlog. A Scrum Team’s day begins with a 15 minute planning meeting where team members agree individual to-do lists called ‘backlogs’.

Phase 2 – Sprint Towards the Goal. The team separates to allow each member to complete their individual lines of code. Little or no discussion is needed as this stage.

Phase 3 – Review Meeting. At the end of each working day, the team reconvenes to walk down what has been achieved, and check the interconnected functionality.

The 3 Main Phases of a Scrum – Conclusions and Thoughts

Scrum is a great way to liberate a competent project team from unnecessary constraints that liberate creativity. The question you need to ask yourself as manager is, are you comfortable enough to watch proceedings from the side lines without rushing onto the field to grab the ball.

The Future of Cloud Backup and Recovery

We came across a post on Docurated that pulled together thirty-seven suggestions for the top cloud storage mistakes user companies make. Given that cloud storage seems to be the best backup solution for now at least, we decided to turn these ideas around to sense the direction cloud backup and recovery needs to take, if it is still to be relevant in say ten years’ time.

Has Cloud Storage Largely Saturated the West?
It probably has. Outside of major corporates who make their own arrangements – and SME’s that use free services by email providers – the middle band of companies in Europe and America have found their service providers, although they may have never tested the recovery process, to see if it works.

The new gold rush in the cloud backup and recovery business is, or should be emerging markets in Asia, Africa, South America, and the Middle East. There, connectivity is brittler than over here. To be relevant in these fragile, more populous areas our cloud backup and recovery industry need to be more agile and nimble.

• It must provide a simpler service emerging commerce can afford, refresh its user interfaces in third world languages, have more accessible help, and be patient to explain how cloud storage works to newbies. In other words, it must source its call centre operators in the areas it serves.

• It must adapt to local connectivity standards, and stop expecting someone with ADSL broadband to keep up with cloud server networks running at up to 1GBPS compared to their 10MBPS at best. For user sourcing and retention purposes, these new cloud backup and recovery services must be the ones who adapt.

• It must facilitate disaster recovery simulations among its clients in calmer moments when things are going well. Are they backing up the right files, are they updating these, and are their brittle ADSL networks able to cope with their cloud service providers’ upload and download speeds?

• It must develop lean and agile systems slim enough to accommodate a micro client starting out, but sufficiently elastic to transfer them seamlessly to big data performance. The Asian, African, South American, and Middle Eastern regions are volume driven, and individual economies of scale are still rare.

• It must not expect its users to know automatically what they need, and be honest to admit that Western solutions may be wrong-sized. Conversion funnels in the new gold rush are bound to be longer. Engagements there depend on trust, not elevator sales letters. Our competition in these countries already works this way.

• It must be honest and admit cloud storage is only part of the solution. To recruit and retain users it must step back to 1983, when Compuserve offered its customers 128k of disc space, and spent an amount of effort explaining how to filter what to put there.

Cloud Storage of Data is Only One Part of the Solution
Governance reports and stock certificates burn just as easily as do servers in a fire. We must not transfer bad habits to exciting new markets. We close this article with the thoughts of John Howie, COO of Cloud Security Alliance, as reported in the Docurated post we mentioned, and these apply across the globe, we believe.
There is no single most important thing to carry forward into the future of cloud backup and recovery. We must be mindful when moving data that this can be fragile too. We must also create layers of backup the way insurance companies reinsure, that make any one cloud backup and recovery business redundant if it happens.
We hold the trust of our customers in our hands but trust is delicate too. We must cease trying to make a pile of money quickly, and become more interested in ensuring that data transferred back and forth is synchronised. The cloud backup and recovery industry needs only one notorious mistake, to become redundant itself in the ten years we mentioned.

Directions Hadoop is Moving In

Hadoop is a data system so big it is like a virtual jumbo where your PC is a flea. One of the developers named it after his kid’s toy elephant so there is no complicated acronym to stumble over. The system is actually conceptually simple. It has loads of storage capacity and an unusual way of processing data. It does not wait for big files to report in to its software. Instead, it takes the processing system to the data.

The next question is what to do with Hadoop. Perhaps the question would be better expressed as, what can we do with a wonderful opportunity that we could not do before. Certainly, Hadoop is not for storing videos when your laptop starts complaining. The interfaces are clumsy and Hadoop belongs in the realm of large organizations that have the money. Here are two examples to illustrate the point.

Hadoop in Healthcare

In the U.S., healthcare generates more than 150 gigabytes of data annually. Within this data there are important clues that online training provider DeZyre believes could lead to these solutions:

  • Personalized cancer treatments that relate to how individual genomes cause the disease to mutate uniquely
  • Intelligent online analysis of life signs (blood pressure, heart beat, breathing) in remote children’s hospitals treating multiple victims of catastrophes
  • Mining of patient information from health records, financial status and payroll data to understand how these variables impact on patient health
  • Understanding trends in healthcare claims to empower hospitals and health insurers to increase their competitive advantages.
  • New ways to prevent health insurance fraud by correlating it with claims histories, attorney costs and call centre notes.

Hadoop in Retail

The retail industry also generates a vast amount of data, due to consumer volumes and multiple touch points in the delivery funnel. Skillspeed business trainers report the following emerging trends:

  • Tracing individual consumers along the marketing trail to determine individual patterns for different demographics and understand consumers better.
  • Obtaining access to aggregated consumer feedback regarding advertising campaigns, product launches, competitor tactics and so on.
  • Staying with individual consumers as they move through retail outlets and personalising their experience by delivering contextual messages.
  • Understanding the routes that virtual shoppers follow, and adding handy popups with useful hints and tips to encourage them on.
  • Detecting trends in consumer preferences in order to forecast next season sales and stock up or down accordingly.

Where to From Here?

Big data mining is akin to deep space research in that we are exploring fresh frontiers and discovering new worlds of information. The future is as broad as our imagination. Denizon would like to travel with you into yours.

Large scale corporate transformation

Large scale corporate transformationLarge scale corporate transformation are the necessary actions required to increase performance in an organization. It leads to greater performance results and greater organizational growth. It is a lasting change and can range from getting new leaders to combining the functions of different departments. It can also involve the introduction of a new phase in the life of an organization. Large scale corporate transformation can be measured using three variables. The first variable involves determining how deep the change penetrates to all levels of the organization. The second variable measures how entrenched it becomes in the organization while the third measure determines the percentage of the organization covered in the change.

Corporate transformation is essential for a company that seeks to have a greater impact and a longer life in its business sector. The process requires time and resources. The whole establishment needs to support it for success. Not only does the top management need to back it, but stockholders and staff members also need to buy the idea. This is because when the process of corporate transformation hits a barrier, it will take the entire organization to keep it on course and complete the process. Without the support of everyone, most organizations will not complete the process.

Business transformation in recent times has begun to combine finance, HR and IT departments into one functioning piece of an organization. This has resulted in leaner, faster, and more efficient corporate entities that produce high results and has a greater impact in its overall functioning. These three key departments are the backbone of any organization, and the combination of the three creates an efficient organization that translates into high performance results.

One crucial aspect of large scale corporate transformation is IT transformation, which entails the entire overhaul of any organization’s technology systems. It adopts a more efficient platform that enhances its overall operation. IT transformation involves the use of Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and open systems. This process is the revamping of the existing technology used to support the organization and is critical for aligning the business functions to the mission of the organization. It touches on the current hardware and software and how they can best be improved upon for greater results. This process is necessary in the entire business transformation.

The question that needs to be addressed is how any organization can make this process successful. First, it requires the understanding that it is not just a goal to be achieved, but a new way of thinking embraced by the entire organization. Secondly, the leadership in place needs to be fully involved and dedicated to the process and to realize that it takes time and effort to complete such a mission. There also needs to be flexibility and adaptability in order to learn from mistakes and keep moving forward. Constant communication is also critical to ensure that everyone involved understands the current stage and the next steps to be done. Change is the only constant and is necessary for progress and success.