Agile Applications

Will the Nokia-Microsoft alliance slow down Androids pace?

Posted by | Agile Applications, Blog, Global Technology Market, Google Apps, Google OS, iPhone, Microsoft, Microsoft Windows, mobile application development, open source | One Comment

As part of a new agreement, Nokia will adopt Windows Phone as its choice smartphone platform, and Bing will become the default search engine on all of Nokia’s phones! This is the hottest news in the tech industry. This is a bold move by Nokia which is still the market leader in mobile hardware but being outclassed by Android and iPhone in the smartphone arena. Samsung on the other hand is working hand in hand with Google to sit on top of the Androidmarket.

The question is why Nokia chose to go for Windows over Android?  I think there could be several answers to this question.  The one that comes first to the mind is the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Nokia’s growth is falling in hardware sales and Windows is finding it difficult to maintain its market share.  This gets more interesting with Apple’s obstructive strategy towards supporting other OS or Apps. HTC is on a speed boat too and trying to tackle Samsung! Blackberry however is getting squeezed like


never before and is taking its last breaths with the help of BB services.

Coming back to the question, what can Nokia do with Windows which it wasn’t able to achieve with the Symbian OS? What other rational options did Nokia have and what flaws do you see with respect to its current alliance with Microsoft? Did it just happen cuz the current CEO of Nokia has previously led Microsoft and getting both managements strategically aligned was easier? If Nokia and Windows succeed to outclass Android, will the entire hardware vendor market fall which are surviving on Android OS products? Please share.

SEO – Standing one in a million or standing one of a million

Posted by | Agile Applications, Blog, Cloud computing, Enterprise Software, Innovative Business Models, Search Engines, social networks | No Comments

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization is purely a dynamic and malleable curriculum that requires a lot of flexibility and agility. It is a process of empowering the distinction and perceptibility of a web page among the whole network of web pages and web sites. This can be assisted as a consultant who can optimize projects on behalf of the clients.seo

The necessity of SEO has emerged lately, according to a study, 68% of the total searchers go only through the first page, and more likely the others don’t go beyond the third page. So for being among the top 30 searches, inevitably requires a lot of intellect.

The origin of SEO was dated back in mid 1990’s when Webmaster and the content provider had started their sites to be optimized. This process of optimization involved the submission of web address to the search engine, which in return dispatches spiders to navigate and pinpoint the given page. Then those spiders collect links to other pages and return the page that is to be indexed. The search engine then starts downloading and simultaneously stores the pages.

Then later in the year 2005 AirWeb, an annual conference was conducted to converse on the very obvious issue of search optimization.

Now at present there are different techniques involved in SEO that may include meta tagging, adaptability of keywords, designing of complex and multifarious searching algorithms, indexing, back linking, assorted targeting of images and texts, PPC(paying per click) etc.

SEO has a great impact on one’s business and companies are spending a vigorous amount on this vicinity, as it opens the gateway for the consumers to establish well in the market and to stand one in a MILLION.




Isn't the new Facebook too inquisitive?

Posted by | Agile Applications, Blog, facebook, Internet, Media Regulation, Privacy, social networks | 2 Comments

Facebook recently updated and incorporated several changes to its social network. On the surface these changes seem to be more of the UI but when you closely go through the Edit Profile area you will come across some extremely uncomfortable questions that a smart person would never answer.  Facebook is now acting like a curious and annoying child..lol

The new profile now asks you questions like where did you work, on what project and it also allows you to tag the friends you have added on Facebook-on that particular project. Similar questions in the activity area, for example if I have entered ‘clubbing’ as an activity, Facebook would want to know with who along a short description. More information leads to more data therefore more targeted marketing and data selling(which I am sure Facebook does). A lot of people would argue that being a user you can opt out to enter such detailed information and that you cannotfb blame Facebook, but for unaware and less knowledgeable users isn’t there a need of public privacy protection and monitoring cell to limit the information hunger of the social networking sites, and protect the users from this invasion.

Another significant aspect of the new Facebook update includes extremely low visibility of the Facebook Applications except those owned by Facebook. Therefore Facebook has shrewdly and strategically first provided high visibility to open Applications and developers and as soon as it reached the planned user and time on site target to be attained from those applications, it has suddenly vanished the visibility of external applications to monopolistically re-gain the complete ownership of data with no sharing. As gradually the external applications will have a drop in number of users, Facebook can raise its advertising and data prices. Also note that during the process of ‘un-applicating’ itself, Facebook gained user support as users started getting annoyed by regular updates and feeds from the applications(which could have been controlled by Facebook).

What are your thoughts on this matter?

Is Google acquiring Groupon to kill competition or capture an untapped market?

Posted by | Agile Applications, Blog, Business Dynamics, Global Technology Market, Google Apps, Outsourcing & Agility, Web 2.0 | 4 Comments

Google is near a deal to acquire Groupon, the pioneering online discounter, for as much as $6 billion, people with direct knowledge of the matter told DealBook on Monday. A deal, in the $5 billion to $6 billion range, could be struck as soon as this week, these people said, cautioning that the talks could still fall apart. The deal would also be Google’s boldest foray in local business online advertising, a large and untapped market it has been trying to get into, most recently.

The Groupon deal offers 50 to 90 percent off retail goods and services, via restaurant certificates to skydiving lessons. It has grown beyond local merchants to encompass retailers like Gap and other large producers, which offered a google-groupon-buy-large1nationwide deal this summer. On the day of the Gap promotion, Groupon sold 440,000 units and generated $11 million in revenue.

Groupon’s success has helped turn the company into a cash-generating machine, signing up more than 12 million registered users and reaping more than $350 million in estimated annual revenue.

An other opinion says that Groupon is sheltering itself by offering the acquisition to Google  so it can face rivals like Yahoo and Facebook in future.

People argue that M&A adds no value and this is one of those cases. M&A adds value to companies with strong and preditable cash flows and business models. Both Tech and Healthcare M&A is questionable and oftentimes results in little to no value-add.  However we know that Google is no-ordinary organization and an acquisition by Google must have been done after several marketing researches and financial studies.

Do you think that Google is acquiring Groupon to kill competiton or capture an untapped market? How do you think it will benefit Google and do you think this bid is inflated?

Article Reference: http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2010/11/30/google-is-said-to-be-close-to-buying-groupon/

Prepared for the Mobile app-pocalypse ?

Posted by | Agile Applications, Apple, Blog, Business Dynamics, business process automation, Cloud computing, Google Apps, iPhone, mobile application development, SaaS, Web 2.0, Web Broswers, Web Browsing | No Comments

Mobile apps are all the rage. More than a half-million apps are downloaded every single hour, and the average smartphone user has 22 apps. But the future is cloudy if you are trying to be a leader in the mobile paradigm via an app. According to a research after six months, only 1 of those original 22 apps is still in use. On top of that, a debate is raging as to whether apps will survive a more sophisticated mobile browser fueled by HTML5.

Mobile Web browser may go beyond what apps can offer, thanks to HTML5 (the next evolution of the markup language that supports almost every website in existence).

To expect typical mobile users to show much loyalty to more than a small handful of apps. But increasingly at least one of those must-use apps probably will be an HTML5-compatible mobile web browser. This means that the mobile web may be a more promising long-term strategy for anyone who wants to deliver mobile content, services, or experiences

What are your thoughts and how are you preparing yourself for this transition?

Reference: http://edition.cnn.com/2010/TECH/mobile/10/20/html5.smartphone.apps/index.html

Ephlux Mobile Application Services www.ephlux.com/mobile/

Supply Push to Demand Pull – How much is IT putting in?

Posted by | Agile Applications, Blog, Enterprise Agility, Enterprise Software, Global Technology Market | 5 Comments

Supply push to Demand pull – How much is IT putting in?Companies, in the ‘historic’ days, based their supply chains on a simple formula: ‘Push in more and the supply is gonna make its own demand’. Today, supply has been deprived of this ‘demand-creating autonomy’. A lot of things along with higher availability are required to push up demands. Advertising, broadcasting, promoting and not to forget – twittering are some examples. Here, producers need to make more, stack up shelves and then wait till their makings get in the shopping carts.

However, if this model is turned upside down – the customer asks for a product, the company makes it and it is delivered – It becomes a demand-pull. Somewhat like a ‘dial-up’ pizza shop, where you can get the topping of your choice.

However, it seemed impossible for big companies to switch over to the demand-pull model, most of them were worried about drop in sales or high implementation costs. When Dell Inc. introduced the mass customization order processing systems, others followed. Since then, a large number of companies are giving preference to get customer orders first instead of piling up huge inventories.

However, getting orders is just a slice, making it fast and delivering it fast makes the whole cake. And to make this cake, companies require highly integrated business process workflows to keep their suppliers, distributors and customers at their tips – all at once.

This demand – pull model is not only helping companies reduce inventories, but also helps achieve high levels of customer satisfaction through responsiveness and flexibility. However, there are some drawbacks to going Rambo with ‘demand-pull’. Companies need to spend a fortune for a responsive – ad hoc system. Next is to persuade suppliers and distributors to join the ‘make-over’ – one of the most difficult matters to deal with.

What do you think –Is demand-pull applicable to every business model, or is there room for the supply-push strategy today? How can IT contribute towards automating both paradigms effectively, and efficient transition between them? Comments appreciated.

Why General Agile Is Not Enough – Why Scrum Wins

Posted by | Agile Applications, Agile Project Management, Agile Quality Assurance, Blog, Business Dynamics, Communication, Enterprise Agility, Requirement Analysis, Scrum, Uncategorized | 10 Comments

The simplicity of Scrum. The high visibility. The collaborative approach. The frequent delivery of product. All in all, Scrum really did transform the relationship between IT and the business units. And transformed our ability to deliver.

However general agile is more loose ended with less control and prone to unstable delivery and project management. What are your thoughts?

Apple strikes back at Google with iAd…Can Apple really out-Google Google?

Posted by | Agile Applications, Blog, Business Dynamics, Global Technology Market, iPhone, Software Development | 11 Comments

The growing rancor between Apple and Google has been generally fed by Google’s attempt to outdo Apple’s iPhone with its Android software. But now Apple is taking aim at Google’s bread-and-butter–online advertising–with plans to introduce a mobile advertising platform called iAd along with the release of the iPhone OS 4.0 software later this summer.

Apple’s strategy is to give iPhone developers and corporate marketers a way to incorporate sophisticated and compelling ads in iPhone applications by essentially allowing them to build an application within an application. CEO Steve Jobs demonstrated several ads created using iAd, such as an ad for the upcoming Pixar film “Toy Story 3″ that included trailers, games, and other content that could be accessed from a portion of the screen at the bottom of an application.

Users probably aren’t going to like it, but developers struggling to build businesses around free iPhone apps will. Corporations looking for better ways to reach potential customers will. And a new breed of firms specializing in marketing services around iAd will.

Google put on a rosy face Thursday. “This is more evidence of how quickly mobile advertising is evolving and growing,” it said in a statement primarily intended for the Federal Trade Commission lawyers potentially gearing up to block its $750 million acquisition of AdMob, a company Jobs acknowledged Thursday that Apple also tried to buy.

But this sets up a battleground for how advertising evolves on mobile platforms. Apple is declaring that the best way for marketers to reach mobile users is through iPhone applications, rather than the Web at large. Google and AdMob, on the other hand, are much more focused on ads delivered in the browser on mobile Web pages. And Apple made some compelling arguments Thursday about why its plan could be more effective.

Jobs said that the average iPhone owner spends 30 minutes a day using applications. So there’s an awful lot of potential ad impressions at play, but mobile ads inside iPhone apps are even more annoying than desktop ads because should you happen to click on one, you’re taken away from the app and into the browser.

iAd will allow marketers to make ads that essentially stay within the app, and that will also allow them to make ads that take advantage of all the features the iPhone operating system can offer. This could potentially be more compelling to users (assuming they aren’t cold to the idea of ads in general) and will definitely command premium prices within applications, as compared to Web ads.

It’s also a manifestation of Apple’s desire to control the entire experience on the iPhone from top to bottom. Ads will likely have to go through some sort of review process, although Jobs indicated that it wouldn’t be quite as strict as the app review process itself.

How will Google respond? It could offer something similar within Android applications, although it would be a bit of a departure from Google’s desire to offer an open software platform and promote the idea of Web ads and applications as superior to desktop ones.

The problem for Google is that the mobile world is much farther behind the desktop world when it comes to exchanging native apps for Web apps. The iPhone itself is evidence of that: software developers practically demanded native access to the iPhone after Jobs initially tried to convince them to build mobile Safari applications, and those applications have proven to be the most compelling way of interacting with the Internet for iPhone users.

And Google’s essential strength–search technology–is not the primary way of discovering new products and services on the mobile device. App stores are that bridge at the moment: AdMob CEO Omar Hamoui recently compared the mobile world to the early days of Yahoo, when its directory-style approach was an effective way of organizing the Internet.

Someday that will likely change, and mobile search is already a significant part of the mobile experience. But until then, iAd will deny Google the ability to provide its huge group of ad partners the most compelling advertising experience on the one of the premier mobile devices on the planet. Even if the AdMob deal goes through and Google is able to sell Web-based ads in iPhone applications, Apple will control the premium experience, and give developers 60 percent of the revenue from iAds.

Apple has stewed for years as it has watched Google encroach on its territory with products like Android, Chrome, and eventually Chrome OS. Thursday, it struck back, and Google’s response should be interesting.

Reference: http://news.cnet.com/8301-30684_3-20002079-265.html?tag=TOCmoreStories.0

Agile Development ……the dynamic way for the dynamic world

Posted by | Agile Applications, Agile Project Management, Agile Quality Assurance, Blog, Business Dynamics, Communication, Enterprise Agility, Microsoft, Outsourcing & Agility, Requirement Analysis, SOA & Agile Applications | No Comments

Agile Software Development is a methodology for software development that promotes development iterations, open collaboration, and adaptability throughout the life-cycle of the project. With Ernst…

Google Goggles: will we finally ditch the travel guidebook?

Posted by | Agile Applications, Blog, Business Dynamics, Global Technology Market, Google OS, Search Engines, SOA & Agile Applications, Web 2.0 | No Comments

Now that Google is translating the world through our smart phones, is there still a need for a travel guide?

The death of the travel guidebook has long been prophesied because of the explosion of travel information online, but travel blogs and forums have not had the swingeing impact that the doomsayers foretold. In fact, the expansion of fashionable guidebook series from the likes of Wallpaper City Guides and Luxe City Guides, in recent years, suggests the guidebook is thriving.

The latest advancement that was labelled as a threat to guidebooks was the launch of Wikitude World Browser at the end of 2008. It works by overlaying information from Wikipedia over a real-time image that you’ve snapped on your mobile phone. It’s called augmented reality (AR), a techie buzzword that covers any overlay of the “virtual” over the “real”. Wikitude is available on Google Android phones and recently became available on some iPhone models, available for download on iTunes.

Adoption of AR travel apps is still in its infancy, but now Google has entered the market with the launch this month of Google Goggles, it could push mobile phone-enabled travel commentary from the obscure to the fashionable.

The name itself, AR, is an insight into the future – perhaps one day we will navigate an unfamiliar city wearing an eyelense that overlays information about the city onto the landscapes we are looking at. But back to the here and now, Goggles is the latest advancement.

You are in the back streets of Venice, you’ve escaped the crowds, and you’ve come across a pretty church.

The warden speaks no English and there’s no turnstiles, no leaflets and no tour guides. Previously the discovery would have had you reaching for a guidebook for information: when the church was built, a commentary on the frescoes, and so on, but take a snap of it on your smart phone and Goggles will return a list of search results with information about the church.

It works by using image recognition against Google’s many millions of databased images to figure out what you’re looking at., in combination with GPS to suggest information about what is nearby.

If it’s a hotel you are looking for information about, you can of course type the name into a search engine browser, but by opening the Goggles app on your phone and snapping a picture, you’ve saved yourself a fiddly bit of typing on a touch screen or mini keyboard, and you can quickly access user reviews from sites like Tripadvisor or compare prices using online travel agents.

What’s more interesting is what comes next. Want to read up the tasting notes of an unfamiliar wine when you’re eating in a Tuscan trattoria? Take a snap of the wine label and if Goggles can match the image to its database you can read up reviews and also see what kind of mark-up the restaurant is adding. It works also for souvenirs – take a snap of a product and Goggles will find it online and tell you where it’s cheapest and a bit more about it. It’s a service that Amazon has also been experimenting with, its app allows consumers to compare online prices with the price tag in the shops.

At the moment the technology is not infallible, and Google is first to admit that. I tried taking pictures of some food items to see if Goggles could figure out what it was – the idea being that an unfamiliar plate of exotic food could be deciphered before finding out too late that you’re chewing a goat’s eyeball, or such like. But Goggles wasn’t quite clever enough to figure out the food. Not yet, anyway.

A statement on the Goggles information page reads: “”Works well for some things, but not for all.” The product is continuously being worked on and upgraded. One nascent Goggles tool will translate a menu in a foreign language.

At the moment Goggles is available to Android phone users with the version 1.6. Google hopes it will soon be available as an iPhone app.

Google’s open source approach to development means there are many companies working on AR applications. Layar is one example, an AR tool that has recently launched fun products like a historical tool that lays a virtual reality of the scene you are looking at from hundreds of years ago – for example the Coloseum in Rome reconstructed, with gladiators and lions, or a Beatles tour that overlays the Fab Four onto the road crossing at Abbey Road to recreate the eponymous album cover, and provide information about the band.

Far from being left behind, guidebook publishers are also experimenting with AR. Earlier this month, Lonely Planet made information from its Compass Guides series available on Android phones in the US, overlaying guidebook information on top of real time images. The race for the AR travel guide is hotting up, but with smart phone adoption still around 5 per cent in this country, the guidebook is safe for now.

Reference: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/travel/news/article6965342.ece

Is The End of iPhone App Store Rejections Coming?

Posted by | Agile Applications, Apple, Blog, Business Dynamics, iPhone | 8 Comments

The iPhone app rejections for content-related reasons may soon be a thing of the past, thanks to new Web-app technologies that let iPhone developers work around the official app store.

There’s been a bit of a debate and discussion in the iPhone developer community, led in part by developundit John Gruber, about “Web apps” versus “native apps” on the iPhone. Up until recently, in my mind, Web apps were hideously inferior to even the most pathetic native app, largely because of their inability to store data locally on the phone and function when AT&T’s notoriously-unstable network decides to take a holiday. Gruber has more esoteric, but important concerns about user interface.

But recently, developers have (re?) discovered some major ways around the App Store’s policies, thanks to Web technologies.
•A few weeks ago, some enterprising pornographers blew through the App Store’s prohibition on pr0n by launching the Sex App Shop, which uses HTML5-like technology to create native apps that reside on your device, but use Safari as a code interpreter. The same technology had been used previously for a magic-tricks app, but porn tends to catch people’s attention.
•Finally, and this is probably most important, Gruber is promoting an Apple API called PastryKit, which appears to give more and better UI control to Web app developers than we’ve seen before.

To some extent, this is why we gave a Technical Excellence Award to Palm’s WebOS – like Palm, Apple seems to be finally merging the worlds of “Web app” and “local app” in innovative and useful ways.

Obviously, native code is still better for a lot of things, such as games. But these somewhat-new Web technologies seem like a great alternative for folks frustrated by the App Store’s content-based rules. Are we going to see more iPhone developers going the Web route to create “virtual” native apps from here on out?

Reference: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2357276,00.asp

Has Firefox Peaked?

Posted by | Agile Applications, Blog, Enterprise Agility, Global Technology Market, Google Chrome, IT/BPO Bundled Services, Outsourcing & Agility, Search Engines, Uncategorized, Web 2.0, Web Broswers, Web Browsing | 42 Comments

It was exactly five years ago Monday that Mozilla released version 1.0 of its open source Firefox Web browser, and fans around the globe marked the occasion with a multitude of special events held as part of the “Light the World with Firefox” campaign.

Celebration ideas were plentiful at the Spread Firefox Web site, while photos of the results were available on Flickr. A Mozilla-sponsored contest, meanwhile, invites Firefox fans to design a celebratory poster image.

With 330 Million Users Firefox rose from the ashed of Netscape with a lot of emotional attachments. The security features of IE were a great concern for enterprises and Firefox proved to be a better browser in terms of video streaming as well.

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, currently the market leader, holds 64.64 percent, while Safari, Chrome and Opera hold the next three spots with 4.42, 3.58 and 2.17 percent, respectively, according to Net Applications’ October data.

Indeed, Firefox’s market share is a testament to the magnitude of its achievements over the past five years.

Whether Firefox streaked into prominence as a Web browser on its own merits or because it was the likeliest alternative to a problem-ridden Internet Explorer is debatable. What seems clear as the open source browser turns five, however, is that Firefox is unlikely to make further headway among IE users on the security argument alone. So, what’s next for Firefox?

Reference: http://www.linuxinsider.com/story/68599.html?wlc=1258366018

Is There a Dark Cloud Over SSL's Green Glow?

Posted by | Agile Applications, Blog, Business Dynamics, Ecommerce security, ssl green glow, SSL Security, Web 2.0, Web Browsing | No Comments

Just about any major browser to sign on to a secure Web site like a bank’s or credit card company’s, and chances are the URL bar will glow green. Thats the mark of extended validation SSL protection, a widely used security system. The effectiveness of that system, however, has come under scrutiny by security researchers who see a way around it.  Netwoshield-logo6rk security workers concentrate on updating patches & making sure only validated users can access the corporate LAN (local area network). Meanwhile, security researchers hunt for existing but unidentified infrastructure flaws that could let in the bad guys. That seems to be the case with a common browser flaw that allows attackers to silently exploit compromised SSL encryption.
Researchers recently found what they contend is a serious flaw in handling Extended Validation SSL in popular Web browsers. This could place users of EV SSL-protected Web sites at risk from silent man-in-the-mid attacks. That green glow of EV SSL in the browser is often pitched as the silver bullet to thwarting phishing attacks. The new findings suggest users cannot trust that warm & fuzzy feeling when they conduct e-commerce activities.
Microsoft is aware of the Black Hat presentation but often regards such scenarios as somewhat contrived. The alleged threat is based on EV certificates failing to successfully mitigate against man-in-the-middle attacks in which an attacker has acquired a domain validated (nonEV) certificate for a specific Website, according to the IE maker. Extended Validation was developed to help prevent fraudulent transactions using impostor Web sites set up to look very similar to actual corporate Websites. Its current implementation is effective against these specific attacks but is not designed to deal with attacks in which an attacker has a fraud domain-validated certificate for an actual corporate domain.

Reference: http://www.technewsworld.com/story/Is-There-a-Dark-Cloud-Over-SSLs-Green-Glow-67896.html

GOOGLE OS vs MICROSOFT WINDOWS!!….Who will win the battle and who will win the war?

Posted by | Agile Applications, Blog, Business Dynamics, Enterprise Software, Global Technology Market, Google Chrome, Google OS, Microsoft Windows, Web Browsing, Windows 7 | 30 Comments

Google is jumping into Microsoft Windows territory — and threatening to change the way personal computers work — with its own version of a computer operating system.
The company says the forthcoming Google Chrome OS will revolutionize how computers operate, putting more emphasis on Web functionality, making computers faster and opening them up to helpful tinkering by outside program developers.

A trim and speedy Google operating system, which has been buzzed about online for some time, is interesting for several reasons — even if you think it could flop out of the gate.
The first is that Chrome OS will be available as “open-source” technology. That means software developers will be able to mess with the code behind the system, allowing them to develop new applications for it.
In essence, it puts the users in control. This wisdom-of-the-masses philosophy flies right in the face of Microsoft Windows, which keeps its code locked away.

The open-source nature of Chrome OS also has led to some speculation that the software will be free, as many open-source platforms are. Google Inc., based in Mountain View, California, hasn’t commented on price as of yet, although most of its services, such as Gmail and Picasa, are free.

Second, Google’s operating system supports another buzz term in the tech world: cloud computing. That phrase means a bunch of things to different people, but it essentially refers to the idea that a lot of computing can be done through Internet servers instead of on the computer that’s sitting in front of you.

Cloud computing, in part, is behind the rise in netbooks — small laptops that are essentially portals of entry into the much greater vat of information, storage space and computing power that exists “in the cloud.”

Reference: http://edition.cnn.com/2009/TECH/07/08/google.chrome.os/index.html

What do your predict for Google’s OS and Microsoft’s response..Who will win the battle and who will win the war?

Is It Quality Assurance or Quality Control?

Posted by | Agile Applications, Agile Project Management, Agile Quality Assurance, Blog, Business Dynamics | 17 Comments

Reference: http://www.technewsworld.com/story/Is-It-Quality-Assurance-or-Quality-Control-67397.html

Is there a difference between quality control and quality assurance? Just night and day. Unfortunately, many companies believe they are the same, when in reality the differences are overwhelming.

Quality control, or black box testing, is chartered to ensure that the product is going to meet the user’s needs — not just to demonstrate that the program runs. A program can run and still not meet the user’s needs. The involvement of QC begins with the project specification. How can a tester test without knowing the client’s expectations?

There should be ongoing processes or standards to help differentiate what the client needs and what the client wants or expects. Clients normally want everything, but are not always willing to pay the price. The quality control people have to understand in great detail how the client will use the product in its environment. “It works on my machine” is not acceptable. Will it work on the client’s machine? This is the key to the success of the project.

QC will also have to test whenever there are changes to the product. Changes such as enhancements and fixes for bugs — perceived or otherwise — have to be tested. Often, there is no project manager involved during these processes; project management is not always available or assigned to the product after it has been released and comes back for maintenance.

Quality assurance, on the other hand, is concerned less about whether the product works than how it came together. Were proper processes followed? When it comes time for maintenance, will there be notes and references to fall back on? Have the test scripts and test cases been saved? Were there any lessons learned during and after the project? Quality Assurance owns the product from cradle to grave. Project managers may come and go, but responsibility for ensuring the product is maintainable and reliable during its lifetime rests with QA and QC.

Start With Quality Control

Let’s say that a tester has uncovered a problem. The first thing the QC people will do is document the problem. Failure to do this could mean the problem disappears, and no one knows how it was discovered. The tester documents the problem in the form of a problem report, referencing the specific requirement that failed, what the program should have done, what it did do, and why it doesn’t match the specific requirement.

The tester will also include any test scripts and test cases used to uncover the problem. Over 90 percent of test cases should come from the requirements. This is why the requirements-gathering process is so important. Then the tester will submit the problem report and go on to the next test.

All test scripts and test cases need to be saved, as they will be necessary to do regression testing during enhancements and bug fixes. If the cause of the problem is not identified and addressed, the problem will reappear later on — and again and again. Money will be saved by uncovering problems and documenting them as the project goes along, rather than waiting until the very end. Lessons learned is an ongoing process, not just one to be done at the end of the project.

One of the biggest complaints from testers is the lack of sufficient time to test. If they don’t have time to test, where will they find the time to work on lessons learned? They are too busy testing. However, it is not the quantity of testing that is done, but the quality of the testing efforts that matters the most. This is why it is so important for testing to be involved early in the process.

Enter Quality Assurance

Quality assurance enters the picture to uncover why a problem occurred and determine how it can be prevented in the future. After the problem is resolved, the tester will again retest the module or program to ensure it is fixed. Then it will be necessary to retest all of the modules that might be affected by the fix. This can be an overwhelming task if the tester and programmer do not have access to a “traceability matrix.”

A traceability matrix is a matrix that cross-references each program and test case to a specific requirement. Any time a change is made to a particular requirement, the traceability matrix will be able to identify what other programs could be affected by the change. There is never enough time to retest everything; thus, the traceability matrix will ensure that only those programs that might be affected will be retested.

The regression testing will reuse those scripts and test cases that have been previously stored, so it will not be necessary to rewrite them. This process is also necessary whenever an enhancement or fix is implemented into an existing product.

It is the responsibility of the tester to store test scripts and test cases in a folder that is external to the project. If the company is looking for repeatability and reusability, it will need to have access to these folders on every project. Don’t store them in the test plan.

Since most QC testers are intimately involved in the operation of the product and ensuring it will meet the client’s needs, who will do the administrative portion of the processes? Again, this is where QA comes in. The QA group must interface with everyone involved in the project. Nothing in the project should be modified without interfacing with the QA group. QA is concerned with standards, repeatability, and lowering costs. The QA group doesn’t know how to do many of the things that occur day to day in the processes, but it is chartered to ensure that these processes will remain the same, and everyone will use them.

Feedback Is Crucial

If you give the same requirement to 10 programmers, you will probably end up with 10 different versions of how to achieve it. QA’s job is to extract the best one, document it, and make it a standard. QA has to work with other people in each department and solicit input on how things should be done. Then, the QA group takes all of these inputs and goes through them and decides on the best one. The best one is then submitted back to the department for final review. When approved, it becomes the standard for the group and the company. The process may have to be repeated a few times to ensure that all participants give feedback.

Soliciting feedback is crucial to the success of companies. People come and go, but products remain out there in the field for years to come. Look at Y2K. How much money was spent on undocumented processes that were not in danger of failing? How much money could have been saved if standards were in existence, and QC and QA did the right job?

Both quality control and quality assurance are full-time jobs and are very time-consuming. They require different skills and resources. Both of these groups work together on the product from cradle to grave. “QA tester” is a misnomer. It is very difficult, if not impossible, for one person to do both jobs EFFECTIVELY. People who have both responsibilities almost invariably admit that they are unable to do both, yet they are assigned that responsibility. So, if they can’t do both, which one will get the higher priority?

That is obvious. Testing is more important. Yet is it really? If we never improve how things are done, will we ever do better? “Working smarter not harder” is a very realistic expectation — but how can we work smarter if we haven’t learned from our previous mistakes? Ongoing documentation on how processes were done is a QA responsibility. It will save time and money in the long run, and the company will become more efficient and profitable.

Google's new application Latitude, is it an invasion in to your privacy or a better way to stay connected?

Posted by | Agile Applications, Blog, Business Dynamics, Global Technology Market, SOA & Agile Applications, Uncategorized, Web 2.0 | 16 Comments

New Google software, Latitude, lets cell phone users share their location with others. Google hopes it will help people find each other and keep track of friends. To protect privacy, Google specifically requires people to sign up for the service. Also people can share their precise location, the city they’re in, or nothing at all.
But so far the audience is literally ‘scared’ of the application. People are freaked out for being located by their friends and family.

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How can companies sustain their technological endeavors in the current financial crisis?

Posted by | Agile Applications, Blog, Business Dynamics, Enterprise Agility, Enterprise Software, financial crisis, Global Technology Market, Uncategorized | 16 Comments

Information technology is a driving fuel for any organization today. As important as sales, marketing, HR or any other supporting department for an organization to survive. In the current financial crisis where its difficult to come out of the debt, it has become almost inevitable for organizations to carry out their plans to be on the forefront of I.T. and have a competitive advantage over the competitors. Keeping in perspective this scenario how do you think a company providing technology solutions and a company utilizing the services/solutions can sustain their technological endeavors?

Your predictions/recommendations for application development? Open-source, Commercial or Mashups?

Posted by | Agile Applications, Blog, Business Dynamics, Enterprise Agility, Enterprise Software, Global Technology Market, SOA & Agile Applications | 11 Comments

As we move to 2009, it’s important to put down the champagne glasses for a moment and consider all of the big technology stories that have come across over the past year.

Next-generation applications have been simmering for years, but they’ve yet to reach widespread acceptance. Many believe that this year developers and architects will start recognizing the power of user interface design with Microsoft Silverlight, Windows Presentation Foundation, and Microsoft Surface. The economic downturn has decimated 2009 budgets, but Office Sharepoint Server – and its recently launched cloud-based counterpart, Sharepoint Online – look poised to continue growing. Cuz Sharepoint is viewed as a way to reduce travel costs while facilitating communication between vendors and supply chain elements, making the product more strategic than ever. Delivering Sharepoint as a service is one way for Microsoft to bring Sharepoint to more small and mid-size companies, and it’s possible that Microsoft could tailor an offering to the specific needs of these firms.
Slated for launch in the second quarter of 2009, Microsoft’s Windows Azure cloud-based development environment will lower the barrier to entry for channel partners to offer Microsoft enterprise applications. With the economy forcing organizations to be more effective in their IT operations, and Microsoft Hyper-V Virtualization proving to be reliable and dependable, many solution providers expect Hyper-V to become standard in data centers by the end of 2009.
The early commercial open-source vendors like MySQL and JBoss were able to build decent businesses on top of a license/support-only business model, but over time we’ve seen that approach is difficult to grow beyond a certain threshold. Red Hat becoming a Gorilla might take place this year. JBoss is contributing to Red Hat success. The most fundamental trend is that open source continues to be more and more of the core fabric of IT, specially at the OS, middleware, and DB layers.

Gartner reports open source database adoption growing at 50 percent over last year and troubles for Microsoft on the contrary.

How does onshore presence throughout the SDLC compliment the offshore team and the client?

Posted by | Agile Applications, Agile Project Management, Blog, Communication, Enterprise Agility, Outsourcing & Agility, Requirement Analysis, Vendor Relationship | 15 Comments

My question is based around the importance of an onshore consultant for business analysis, requirements gathering and providing a front face to the client in an outsourcing/offshoring scenario.
IMHO there are several advantages such as solid communication(specially if the onshore consultant is from the same cultural and ethnic background),  efficient requirements gathering, project security and higher trust levels.

How is the Shift to SOA Repurposing Priceless Business Logic ?

Posted by | Agile Applications, Blog, Business Dynamics, Enterprise Agility, Enterprise Software, SOA & Agile Applications | No Comments

Service-oriented architecture represents an alternative to the slash-and-burn approach to system modernization. Transitioning to SOA takes a lot of planning, and it’s best to start small. Vendors are also lining up with products meant to ease implementation.

SOA transition” is buzz term growing in popularity among IT managers, especially when they meet with corporate boardroom residents. Businesses are transitioning into service-oriented architecture by tapping into the increasing number of SOA products software makers are creating to meet this new interest.

However, for the uninitiated, SOA is just another entry in the mushrooming jumble of acronyms and alphabet soups business technology users must digest. The world of e-commerce is undergoing a transition toward greater use of SOA. Its proponents claim that SOA holds real promise to drive further adoption and greater efficiency for e-commerce.

SOA can be a powerful asset for IT organizations, enabling them to unite disparate systems using well-defined, common standard interfaces. One should not view SOA as a new technology, however. It is a flexible business process that can help adopters cost-effectively deliver increased value to their customers.Rather than throwing investment money into “rip and replace” strategies that involve complete software rewrites, application modernization with SOA enables organizations to reuse valuable business logic within applications that can seamlessly integrate with newer, Web-based systems.
What is the impact on the average developer’s day-to-day activities? What new skills are required? How do you enforce good governance? How do you think SOA will impact the Business Logic of Work flows in your organization?

Go Agile: Improving your team’s attitude and thinking pattern

Posted by | Agile Applications, Agile Project Management, Blog | 4 Comments

Blog1In this era of highest competition and with timing being the need of the game, every organization has to become more kinetic and futuristic to outperform their competitors. To achieve this they need to provide customizable services for every client and respond in zero time, this level of servicing can only be met if an organization has a strongly dependable and motivated team.

In conventional organizations the hierarchical architecture of human resources promote many negative thinking patters and a defensive rather than supportive culture between teams. At some point in our careers all of us might have experienced the rigid, defensive and non cooperative behavior from teams against each other, the main reason being the conflicts of interest.

We have experienced that conventionally whenever a project is initiated the focus and vision of the technical teams and business teams are entirely different; the business teams are focused on providing the maximum profits for the client when the technical teams want to limit the requirements as much as possible while cushioning the estimates to ease the processes. Some of the issues that arise from these strategies are as follows:

Self defense Strategy: The teams tend to get on the defensive side especially if any requirement/functionality gap is identified late in the software life cycle. The outcome of the blame game is often a shift of focus and thus deliveries and project schedule is affected.

Rigidity: Often time developers consider their code as their “brain child” and can’t take criticism against that. This attachment towards code makes them rigid towards understanding the actual requirements and accepting the flaws when the business team pressurizes the technical team to retain the client.

cuttingedge technologyNot owning the project: Since conventionally the business & management teams are the ones communicating with the client and the development team just coordinates with the respective business managers, the development team does not share the vision of the business team. This demarcation prohibits the development team to understand what the solution means for the client and thus they do not feel any attachment to the project.

These scenarios create a negative competition within the organization limiting the performance and grooming of every team member and the energy is wasted in the conflict resolutions rather than improving skills and qualities. Since the developer is asked to concentrate on the technical side only neglecting the business aspects the leader within dies.

 The Dynamic Commandments Of Agile ModelThe futuristic approach of Agile development model, in addition to other advantages, promotes a culture of “team work” and “positive” thinking. The theme of agile encourages technical teams to involve with the business teams at all stages and promotes communication of actual technical squad with the client rather than a business manager as an intermediary. This model solves various issues of attitude and improves the team and the team members on the whole by following some guidelines as below:

Developer on the driving seat

In any agile model the technical team is given the driving seat allowing them the space to interact with the client and the stakeholders to understand the technical as well as the business aspects and requirements of the project. This not only increases the understanding but also improves the motivation level of the team.

Own the client/project

Since the technical team is the one in charge of the project they develop a sense of ownership towards the client and the project which is a key to success in any scenario. This improves the relation between the business and technical teams too as now their focus is to service the customer better and create a success story for the organization.

Engage in the process

As the technical team is engaged with the client and business managers while planning and budgeting the project, their thinking patterns improve and their managerial and leadership skills are polished.

Auto training for leadership/management skillsSuch interaction of the technical team and the responsible roles provides an automatic training of the resource grooming their interpersonal and business skills and that in turn is beneficial for the organization on the whole.

 Efforts’ worth

The direct appreciations from the client and the demonstration of actual benefits that the product/solution is bringing to the client ,gives the development team a  sense of accomplishment and they can see what worth their efforts were.

Self-Adaptive & Organized

Agile models force the teams to be adaptive in order to change the course of their process and activities according to the scenario and requirements. The self organization and adaptive behavior makes team members more responsible in their roles and crafts a good leader out of them.

Are You An Agile Evangelist?

Every organization that wants to be on the Agile platform must create dynamic channels to enable that all the teams are wired and up-to-date on all information. In order to improve your teams, promote a culture of skill development where your team reinvents themselves, are capable of handling unexpected and are given freedom of taking decision and initiatives. Being an Agile evangelist you have to encourage your teams to interact and coordinate with partners, customers and other teams.

For more details on how are such teams are built and managed please read the whitepaper “Building And Managing Self-Adopting Teams”

We being the followers of Agile beliefs have invested our energy in building teams on the agile manifesto and have experienced some leaders and managers out of our technical teams who have managed the projects, retained a happy client and have save the cost of tiresome HR processes to find good managers and leads.

We are still implementing the manifesto to further explore the opportunities it brings to a company, share your experiences and best practices with us to endorse a better team work culture.

Just-In-Time Requirement Analysis in an Agile Model

Posted by | Agile Applications, Agile Project Management, Blog, Communication, Enterprise Agility, Requirement Analysis | 13 Comments

Are Software Artifacts like an inventory getting stale?

It is important to understand that there’re no perfect business requirement specification – and any specification you make HAS to change even days or weeks after you’ve completed a detailed analysis phase. A very detailed upfront requirement specification is analogous to storing high upfront inventory in a warehouse getting stale every passing day.

Does Just In-Time Requirement Analysis save cost and increase output?

Given this fact, you need to apply a concept called ‘Just In Time Requirement Analysis’. This however requires a candid and upfront sharing of the business domain, opportunities and threats with all stakeholders involved.

Having a high level business concept, architecture and scope is essential. However, brainstorming throughout the development life-cycle will then result injust-in-time requirements which are most relevant to the business. Supplement this JIT requirement analysis with a solid high fidelity prototype which can serve as a strong visual and contextual communication tool for the requirements between the users and developers.

High fidelity Prototype OR Detailed Documentaion?

Picture is worth thousand words… and a high fidelity prototype is worth more than tens of specification documents. A prototype which all stakeholders can touch feel and own will solve most of the issues related to requirement failures and change management chores. Change will be accepted and owned more easily and traced more visually.

Is Just-In-Time Just Right?

Just-in-Time Requirements analysis significantly reduces project risk and shortens development time. It ensures the most important parts of a system – as defined by the business stakeholders are being worked on at any given point in time and only defines requirements when they are needed. Yes, this is a paradigm shift from a more sequential waterfall-based approach.

JIT requirement analysis is one of the corner-stones of agile development philosophy. For more details read ‘Requirements Modeling’ whitepaper our Business Research team has prepared.

Impact of US credit crisis on outsourcing?

Posted by | Agile Applications, Blog, Commercial Models for Agile Outsourcing, Communication, Enterprise Agility, IT/BPO Bundled Services, Outsourcing & Agility, Outsourcing Advice, Vendor Relationship | No Comments

A widely-debated topic these days is the impact of US sub-prime crisis on outsourcing. I came through an interesting question on LinkedIn from Phil Fersht, an outsourcing advisory guru who runs a blog ‘Horses for Sources’. Following is my take on that:

World is getting flatter at all ends
World is getting flatter at all ends… As long as you’re agile you’re doing fine. What I mean is that the distinction/advantages between onshoring and offshoring from a quality and commercial angles would keep blurring as we move forward.

So either due to weakening dollar, quality concern, stronger Asian economy or whatever other factor it would make more sense for busienss processes to be best-shored; not merely onshored, near-shored or offshored.

Get agile for tougher business challenges
Credit crisis, economic slow-down and many other factors which make the business environment more and more competitive only make the case for best-shoring stronger for companies around the world. Its all about remaining agile to meet and beat the economic pressures and business challenges.

Company sitting in China might want key functions to be performed in the US and vice versa. Similarly, a UK company with its IT team in Eastern Europe might want its sales team in US, its manufacturing team in China and its strategic team in UK.

Its ‘Enterprise Agility’ not ‘Labor Arbitrate’ that will remain the offshoring driver!
Slowly but surely labor arbitrage would no longer remain an offshoring driver. The only staffing/sourcing strategy that would work is the one which makes the company glocally (globally/locally) agile and effective to create and retain their value in both short and long terms. Also talking of agility, a trend of more and more ITO/BPO convergence is on the way to make this dream of agility really come true in an outsourced setting.

Captive Teams – An alternative to Captive Centers

Posted by | Agile Applications, Blog, Commercial Models for Agile Outsourcing, Enterprise Agility, IT/BPO Bundled Services, Outsourcing & Agility, Outsourcing Advice, Vendor Relationship | No Comments

A key option to consider while making your outsourcing/offshoring decisions is that of ‘Captive Teams’. The middle-ground between the captive centers and a 3rd party outsourcing provider is to have captive teams (dedicated resources) contracted through an outsourcing provider.

Best of both the worlds!
This gets closest of getting the benefits of both the worlds. With a captive team and a reasonable contract duration, 1 year plus you can negotiate a good monthly rate per resource. This relieves you from worrying about the over-head costs and local administrative issues of the offshore provider… and at the same time have stronger control and flexibility in how you would like to use the resources on multiple projects.

Allows for Agile and Change-friendly Delivery Models
Further, it allows you to utilize the more dynamic delivery models such as Agile to smooth out the frictions which are caused due to change management during the delivery. Offshore outsource provider likes this model even at a lower cost per resource, as it provides them firmer cash-flow projections… which in turn keeps them motivated to provide more flexibility to the otusourcer.

Win-Win for Both!
Its almost always a win-win for the outsourcing provider and the customer… Ephlux has experienced working in almost all the 3 models (Fixed Price, Dedicated Resources, T&M)… and we’ve found this captive team model which we call ‘Power Team’ to be the best in terms of a good win-win balance between both the parties.