Category Archives: Vitual CTO

  • Agile Software Development

    Why is agile software development important?

    Why is agile software development important

    Agile software development solutions evolve through self-organized teams. It encourages fast and flexible changes through adaptive planning. While other methodologies have their proponents, there’s little doubt in any Agile software development shop that this method works well. To understand why agile project management is important, you only need to look at the rewards it provides.

    Scrum and Sprints

    In Agile, a sprint is a fixed time period where certain goals are met. At each sprint, your team and often the client will meet to discuss what’s to be accomplished and what criteria need to be observed.

    Scrum agile methodology is the repeatable framework. A scrum team consists of cross-functional members, a Scrum Master or project leader, and a product owner, or person representing the client or stakeholder. All work together on sprint completion. Scrum principles allow your team to work on various features in shorter sprints as requirements emerge, rather than following a sequential process that can easily be derailed if long phases of work have to be rolled back.

    The Benefits of Agile

    Iterative
    Since agile software development is iterative in nature, features are delivered in increments, so that testing, approval, and revenue can be realized early and continue with project development.

    Quality
    One of the key benefits of agile software development comes from integration of testing throughout the development cycle. Regular, specific testing during all phases ensures that quality issues are more likely to be identified, and allows time for corrections. Meeting quality standards at each increment also ensures that the finished product will meet your customer’s requirements.

    Transparency
    Agile principles encourage user involvement and a cooperative approach. This allows stakeholders to monitor progress and examine the product for assurances that your are satisfying expectations.

    Lower Risk
    Incremental testing, user involvement, and releases make it easier to identify issues. Any changes can be captured and dealt with at any early stage of development. This drastically lowers the risk that the final product will not meet requirements.

    Flexibility
    In many other approaches to development, significant changes can result in overhauls of planning, funding, and specifications that delay progress or inflate costs. With agile project management, change is an expected part of the process. Requirements evolve as the product evolves. Transparency and incremental progress allow your clients to make timely decisions.

    Cost Effective
    Establishing adaptive policies within fixed time frames make it easier to stand by fixed budgets. Variation comes iteratively in the evolution of the product, and does not impact cost. The agile philosophy of early release of features also means the competitive edge of faster time-to-market.

    Customer Engagement
    Direct involvement of stakeholders or their representatives, along with the level of visibility into progress and response to change, creates a better relationship between your business and the client. This leads to greater customer engagement with the process and greater likelihood they will consult you on future projects.

    Better Environment
    Agile software development methods provide a better experience for software developers. Rather than dwelling on specifications and long-term planning, teams get together regularly to discuss issues and progress with each sprint. The team can make decisions and explore options on their own. This provides you more motivated and focused teams.

    Kanban

    Kanban agile methodology is more loosely structured than Scrum. It works as a model introducing change as incremental improvements. In Kanban, work is planned on a visual board as states which every work item must go through. This generally includes In Progress, Testing, Ready for Release, and Released columns. Variation may be allowed through horizontal pipes, or “swim lanes”, but Kanban is focused primarily on managing work in progress.

    Scrum vs Kanban

    You won’t find it difficult to introduce Kanban to any Agile project. Scrum agile methodology offers a tighter structure for more focus, control, and direction where these things may be lacking and development is off track. But if there are already efficient, productive processes in place, Kanban agile methodology can improve your process over time without requiring any radical change.

    Some critics of agile point out that it is less predictable, and teams and product owners don’t always mesh productively. Collaboration is essential to success. Where that’s the case, the possible benefits of agile software development make it an important strategy you should consider.

    Contact for Agile Software Development

  • Innovation ideas for CIO

    7 Foolproof ways for Technology leaders to promote Innovation in their Organization

    Digital transformation has altered workplaces so that they are unrecognizable from their ancestral counterparts. Everything from marketing to software development has been impacted by Web 2.0 and the sheer speed and precision with which data passes in the modern day. If you’re a CIO or other technology leader, how do you make sure innovation in your organization keeps you not only up to date, but moving ahead of your competition? Here are 7 surefire ways to to increase innovation in your organization.

    Bring your departments together.

    Intellectual stagnation is a creativity killer. If your team hears the same ideas from the same people day in and day out, your innovation will stall to a creeping halt. Bring your departments together to offer fresh perspectives and new ideas, and to change the course of conversation for the better. The networking team or even the janitorial staff may have a gleaming idea for the software development team that would have never been shared otherwise.

    You start the conversation.

    No one wants to stick their neck out first, especially when it comes to creative ideas. Fear of judgment and ridicule may dominate the silence. So, you start the conversation. Offer ridiculous ideas. Show them that no idea is off limits, and that building on them is key. Ask them questions, and get them talking. Make your meeting room a safe, fun place for ideas to brew.

    Write down your ideas. Keep them. Review them often.

    Make brainstorming sessions a habit. Have your organization write down all their ideas, however big or small, on a regular basis. Don’t just toss the ones that look silly. It may be the creative spark to answer a big question that has not yet even arisen. Keep them visible, perhaps on a community board, and incentivize those people who come up with the most ideas. Innovation is a numbers game, so the more ideas, the better.

    Think fast, implement faster.

    While your brainstorming sessions should be speedy and consistent, your implementation must also be quick for true innovation to occur. Test new ideas in the real world. This allows your team to course correct, which is vital for innovation. Even if one is a flop, then you can move forward, choose a new path, and not waste any more time. If your ideas are stuck behind a barrier, you’ll never know, and your competition will have already tested, failed, and found the winning idea while you’re waiting.

    “I have not failed 700 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.” –Thomas Edison

    Know what you’re after.

    This facet of innovation should lie near and dear to your brand. Who are you as a company? What are you known for, or what do you want to be known for? “Make new ideas,” doesn’t work.

    “How do we make our product faster?” “How do we increase customer engagement?” Questions like these frame the creative problem at hand, then you can ask your organization for innovative ideas. A worthless innovation that doesn’t solve a problem is not an innovation at all; it’s just fluff. Keep your innovation targeted.

    Ask your customers.

    In the age of digital transformation, your customers and fans are a simple click away, so ask them what they want! Is there a common complaint among buyers in your industry? What can you do about it? Things like Twitter surveys, or simply asking your newsletter subscribers what sorts of things they’d like to see or what problems they would like to have solved can provide a cornucopia of fresh brainstorming material.

    Nurture the creative process.

    A happy home for the creative process is not within the confines of a spreadsheet or Word document. Creativity thrives on freedom and sharing. It may look to a passerby just like staring at the ceiling. It may take the form of a conversation with someone across the office. As long as you are implementing your ideas quickly so there is always a push forward towards project goals, it is safe to give your employees some space to think.

    There is a reason companies such as Google are known both for their fun office spaces and employee culture as well as their leadership in innovation. The two concepts are inseparable.

    Some ways you can help foster creative activity are to let your employees, at will:

    • Go for a walk
    • Have a chat with their neighbor
    • Work outside
    • Listen to music through headphones

    Let the buzz of employee satisfaction carryover into their productivity, and see how quickly change and innovation become staples of your work environment. Let them out of the box, and their ideas will follow.

  • CIO Holidays

    Top 5 things on mind of CIOs this holiday season

    There has not been a time when IT has been as important as it is now. The battle for business among the IT companies is at its peak with every player seeking to get an edge over their competition. CIOs and software development experts are at pains to give their bosses this edge and this holiday; it is safe to say they will have plenty to think regarding digital transformation and how they can make their presence known. But, the top five concerns on every CIOs mind this holidays should surround these five.
    1. Innovation

    Virtually any CIO in the market is looking to innovate; it is unfortunate that when most try, it ends up in disappointment. Nevertheless, it never takes away the need to innovate. Now more than ever, they need the innovation be it in mobile apps, software development or even in data integration. Innovation and how to implement it successfully is the single greatest priority that every Chief Information Officer is left to struggle with.

    Every person in any IT capacity understands the essence of innovation and how important it is. No matter how small or big, any CIO that can crack a new way to innovate and rake in better results for their companies will be on the winning team. However, to achieve any success, resources like ideas, highly qualified teams and money are all needed.

    2. Business Productivity and Efficiency

    This is something that rings at the back of every business minded person. You want to drive up productivity without having to invest in an equal amount of resources. While most individuals in management only think about this, CIOs are tasked with actually realizing the dream. Even though innovation features top at the list of digital transformation CIOs are at pains of coming up with productive and efficient ways of going about their business. The only reason why this does not feature further up on the list of things that CIOs have to figure is because of its lower revolutionary nature compared to innovation.

    With a valid idea, most institutions are willing to throw caution to the wind pump funds in following up the idea. Which is why business productivity and efficiency will rank second in the priorities that professionals will be trying to figure out.

    3. Security and privacy

    Whether it is in line with simple mobile apps or state of the art websites, every IT user has one concern, safety, and privacy online. Of course, that means that the establishment with the most comprehensive approach to securing online presence stands to be the most profitable.

    Additionally, with more people opting for online storage of information using cloud services, the demand for security and privacy to secure sensitive information by both businesses and individuals is at an all-time high. Whether it is for their companies, for second parties or as consumer products, online security is something most CIOs will be considering. Especially given that more people are embracing the idea of storing information online as opposed to local storage.

    4. Technology Alignment with Business
    Business and technology has been the theme for years and has continued to be. Aligning your business with recent IT trends is one of the most efficient ways to grow. In recent time’s business have opted for more of social marketing as opposed to the old advert methods. This is just one of the ways that the online world is changing business.

    The task that CIOs are laden with is not only creating mobile apps or engaging in cutting edge software type of development but to ensure that IT understands what the business does, the role it’s going to play and above all, knowing what the priorities are. CIOs will also need to figure and understand how their creations affect the profit margins and business delivery and strategize on how emerging technologies can enhance the operation of business. After all, IT and software development is a business in itself.

    5. IT Cost Reduction and Controls

    If your innovation is not offering the users a more affordable and efficient and effective option or alternative to save data or any other IT-based function, then, you’re headed it the wrong direction. With the ground covered, the focus is now on the ability to produce faster, cheaper and easier to maintain IT options. To achieve the same edge as competitors, CIOs should adopt the same focus. Among the options that many will be trying to consider include a different set of management best practices, personal communication skills and even governance and policies.

    Digital transformation will always be a continuing factor that requires continued thinking, brainstorming, and innovation. It is not easy to come up with new ideas, but without a doubt, this is a process that most CIOs have embraced and have made part of their lives. The only factor that keeps changing is what they have to prioritize. This holiday, these five seem to be at the top of every CIOs mind and list of priorities.

  • Agile development OTS Solutions

    Making agile development more predictive and less risky

    Healthy sales often depend on being first to market. Innovation and rapid deployment are important to tech and startup companies. This is why Agile software development methods are so popular. It can deliver software quickly while allowing for flexibility, feedback, and risk and change management.

    Making development predictable

    But fast turnaround is only the first phase. Speed has to be balanced against performance, reliability, and costs. Your product has to be sustainable in the long term. It has to integrate with existing systems, often across a variety of platforms.
    What this all boils down to is predictability – software development that can be consistently delivered on time and trusted to meet requirements, pass quality assurance testing, and bring value to partners and customers.

    The level of uncertainty

    Many companies adopt Agile or hybrid Waterfall approaches because they’ve seen and heard that it works for today’s development environments. But because it’s flexible, small and large companies may not be using it the same way or for the same reasons.
    These methods require defining and identifying requirements and risks, planning, estimation, and incremental development through Agile timeboxes. But discovering and designing as you go along is often too big and complex, depending on both the size of the project and the size of the team. Too many people. too many components, and undisciplined management can cause things to be overlooked. Changing requirements and priorities can make an iterative process essentially useless.

    Enterprise Agile software development depends on control and visibility to reduce uncertainty. Using velocity, story points, and release reporting help create early confidence on progress and more accurate timelines. Relying on the methodology itself to reduce time and costs is a fallacy.

    Redefining the process

    The software development process should involve doing enough investigation upfront to create more reliable plans and estimates. This in turn means more faith in commitments to meeting requirements while assuring higher levels of quality. Using Agile is not about responding to changes in plans, but sticking to a plan that can incorporate change. A better plan is more likely to accommodate change without disrupting the project.

    Agile software development can reduce the “cone of uncertainty” by delivering smaller, working pieces of code, and correlating the progress with project data through velocity. As the project moves forward, predictability comes with increasing ability to deliver on estimates, and the experience translates to future projects. There is still going to be a need for changes and priorities, but these can be viewed in terms of the incremental rather than the iterative process.

    Small projects may be better realized by iteration and fast, adaptive change, depending on the team and the requirements. But larger, more complex problems will have to involve predictability in obtaining results, and that’s gained from making everything align with an incremental, controlled process. Big projects may be slowed not by requirements, risks, or even the size of the team, but by bad planning.

    Want to learn more on techniques of agile development – learn here for comparison on scrum and kanban.

  • Chasing CTO co-founder for your startups

    What you must look for in a CTO or tech co-founder?

    What you must look for in a CTO or tech co-founder.
    Nobody occupies a more precarious position in the technology world than startups. You can have the right idea and the right plan, but if you’re not able to stay ahead of the tech that drives the rest of the industry, then it can all go away.

    The problem is that there is no universal path to ensuring your technological capabilities are everything they should be. In an ever-changing world of tech, it’s dangerous to follow any one mindset or approach when it comes to staying up to date. The best thing you can do is appoint a leader within your company who is able to stay atop of all technological trends and adapt as needed. You need a good CTO or knowledgeable tech co-founder.

    For any emerging startup, your upper-level technology hires (whether they be a technology co-founder or CTO) can serve as your anchor. As the tech industry shifts and grows, they can help ensure you stay exactly where you need to be. Their value is without question, but what is up for debate is what defines a good technology expert. While you must always take into consideration your startup’s specific needs, the following are traits that any tech management specialist will possess.

    Practical Engineering Experience

    Right away, you should look at whether your CTO candidate has experience developing software technology or software products from the ground level. Nobody understands tech quite like engineers that work with it day-to-day, and any CTO that doesn’t have a background of practical experience working as an engineer will have a hard time properly appreciating the full needs of the position.

    A Proven History of Success

    Nothing speaks quite as clearly as success. Promises and plans are one thing, but the closest you can come to a guarantee that your CTO is capable of delivering is ensure they’ve done it before. Whether it’s through pioneering the implementation of a new piece of software technology within your field or even participating in the development of defining software products, your CTO should have success on their resume that speaks for itself.

    Knowledge of Your Current Technology

    Although you are ultimately hiring a CTO to advance your current technology as needed, you still need to take into consideration whether your CTO candidate is truly familiar with your current technology. Even if you are planning to move away from your current set-up soon after their hiring, if your candidate isn’t familiar with what you are working with then it will make the transition period much more difficult.

    A Deep Network of Connections

    The exact importance of an employee’s network can vary from position to position, but when it comes to a CTO, it means everything. Because a big part of your CTO’s job description will involve them having the ability to stay on top of new trends and emerging concepts, a deep network of industry insiders will help you to feel confident they have the proper knowledge base needed to be aware of such changes.

    Additionally, don’t overlook the possibility of outsourcing your technology officer position at the start. Delaying a full-time hire is not only an excellent way to offset the high costs of a tech expert but can be a great way to practically field test what you are looking for in the position as your company grows.

  • Virtual CTO

    Struggling to Get a CTO on Board? Virtual CTO is Coming to Your Rescue

    If you run a software development company, it can be difficult to find and afford the right chief technology officer. These executives earn almost $12,500 per month on average, according to PayScale. They also receive considerable benefits, bonuses and commissions. Even if you have enough money to pay this officer, you might not be able to find a qualified professional locally. Fortunately, a virtual CTO can solve these problems.

    Explanation:

    Rather than occupying offices in your headquarters, virtual officers work remotely. They share their technology expertise and help guide your company via email, specialized websites and/or the phone. Each VCTO works part-time for a variety of separate firms. This means that you only need to pay this person for as much work as you truly need.

    Advantages

    Virtual chief officers don’t only cut your software development company’s salary expenses. They also eliminate the need for a physical office with costly equipment and furnishings. Your business doesn’t have to provide a VCTO with a pension, medical insurance, an Internet connection or even a parking space. This saves your company a considerable amount of money and reduces paperwork.

    Location:

    One reason why a virtual officer costs less is that he or she can live in any region. For instance, perhaps your software firm is located in a high-wage city like San Diego or New York. A local CTO will demand considerable amounts of money because of the high living expenses. On the other hand, a VCTO could reside in northern Maine, West Virginia or another area with a low cost of living.

    Experience:

    Hiring a VCTO doesn’t just benefit your software development company by saving money. It also gives you access to someone who has worked with a wide range of technology firms. He or she will have experience with a tremendous variety of technological problems. This increases the likelihood that such a person will be able to offer beneficial guidance in almost any situation.

    Recruiting:

    Another advantage of a virtual chief technology officer is that you won’t need to spend a lot of time and money on recruitment. It’s far easier for small and moderately large companies to attract top-notch CTOs when they don’t have to employ them in full-time positions. You can find a VCTO without placing costly “Help Wanted” ads in the local newspaper.

    To sum it up, virtual executives provide a more efficient option for most software companies. They greatly reduce salary and benefit costs while giving such firms a wider range of candidates to choose from. Furthermore, this solution ensures that you’ll gain a chief technology officer with considerable knowledge and expertise. You can end the struggle to find a qualified chief technology officer by signing up for a VCTO service today.