April 20, 2015

5 Easy Tips to Deal with Conflicts Within Distributed Agile Teams
After being a buzzword for years, Agile has now become the go-to development methodology for most entrepreneurs. However, if your development team is remote, working on agile is a challenge. In this article, we highlight some conflicts which arise while you are working with distributed agile teams. Let’s identify these issues and understand how you can deal with them. ... Communicate regularly and effectively. Having face-to-face interactions helps. If you meet them personally, say once or twice a year, it works wonders in fostering the connection between you and your team. Building socializations platforms and creating opportunities for informal conversations is also a good idea. Team building sessions also help. Gaming sessions and co-worker trivia can come in handy when establishing a better relationship with your remote team

How to make more successful enterprise software purchases
By the time the requirements analysis is complete, an organization should know what they need in detail, and why they need it. An inadequate requirements analysis sets the stage for a troubled implementation project with ballooning costs. Part of the problem of ballooning costs is caused by waiting for the implementation stage to flesh out requirements in sufficient detail. However, there are many benefits to doing this work early on in the project, namely at the requirements analysis stage. ... It is difficult to estimate accurately the time and resources needed for implementing the software when the requirements are written at too high a level. A one-line requirement can encapsulate weeks or even months of work for the unwary. Far better to provide the detail needed to get more accurate implementation estimates.

Five silver linings of the public cloud
one of the most significant positives has been the speed at which Seaco can recover from system failures. Its recovery point objective - the maximum period that data is unavailable following a major incident - is down from 12 hours to one hour and its recovery time objective - the time it takes to restore a business process after IT-related disruption - was reduced from three days to two hours. ... In its early days, the firm spent millions of dollars building 1,000 foot datacentres in London and Washington. But as demand for its services increased it found it became "very expensive to keep every feature of the platform behaving with globally consistent performance".

With data analytics, no more Pontiac Azteks
Analytics exponentially expands the zone of what can be known. For-profit executives and hard-working public servants no longer need to make stuff up as they try to achieve organizational objectives. Nowhere is this truer than in the world of product development, especially with respect to bringing insights about customers to that process.  In the middle of the last century, during the era on Madison Avenue of Mad Men, the focus group was the cutting-edge method of doing this. Consumers would be brought in to spend a few hours in a conference room at a company’s marketing department or ad agency, and they would be asked things like how they used a product and what they wanted from a category of products.

Protecting infrastructure secrets with Keywhiz
To protect secrets stored on the server side, every secret is AES-GCM encrypted with a unique key before being stored in a database. This unique key is generated using HKDF. Square uses hardware security modules to contain derivation keys. Services get access to secrets through KeywhizFs. At Square, each service on every host has a directory where a KeywhizFs filesystem is mounted. Services merely have to open a read-only “file” in that directory to access a secret. Performing a directory listing shows which secrets are accessible. Local access control is straightforward; traditional Unix file permissions are used for the secret “files.” The advantage of a file-based representation is that nearly all software is compatible with reading secrets from files.

Meet the Cybersecurity Company Helping Sony Fend Off Hackers
Though not a household name, the Milpitas, California-based company has become a go-to security firm when big companies fall victim to cyberattacks. ... So when Sony's Los Angeles security team realized the studio's network had been breached, they asked FireEye to help figure out exactly what had happened and where the systems were vulnerable. That's the first step for many FireEye clients, most of which then ask the company to repair and improve their data defenses. "We were founded on the idea that cyber­attacks would ultimately overrun all existing defenses. Now this has been overwhelmingly demonstrated," says Ashar Aziz, the company's founder, chief strategy officer, and vice chairman.

IT consulting: Is moving out on your own the right move?
It's understandable why you might be considering going down the consulting path. For some, a full-time position can grow stale from working in the same environment, seeing the same people and dealing with the same problems day after day. "There can be an inherent lack of diversity, more limited exposure to different approaches. You may only experience certain types of projects once and only have one shot at success -- for instance, a major CRM application implementation," says Levine. Many times in your career you may find yourself at a crossroads. Neither direction is the right or wrong path, but if you consider the pros and cons carefully, you should be able to make the smarter choice. To help you get closer to the answer, we spoke with c-level tech experts to find out what you need to consider.

The VR growth cycle: What’s different this time around
Long story short, high-end VR would get crushed under its own weight long before it hits mass-market size. On the low end, total cost of ownership is lovely: $20 for a drop-in viewer and you have access to loads of two-minute, snack-sized VR that is cheap enough to produce that developers can create free, free to play, $.99 and ad-supported VR all day long. Now, the danger at the low end is that it passes from novelty into fad, instead of into a must-have, transcendent part of our everyday experience. I personally think we need to come at this from both ends to fully explore the potential of this as a business. And if I had to bet on one, I would bet on something closer to the low end. Maybe not Cardboard, maybe a cheaper edition of Gear VR. But something affordable to consume and produce. That will get the market to bigger numbers, faster.

Microsoft readies first developer preview of its new microservices Service Fabric
Using this Service Fabric, Azure applications can be decomposed into smaller components, a k a microservices, that can be updated and maintained independently of the underlying infrastructure. The Service Fabric enables the various microservices to communicate with one another via programming interfaces. Russinovich said last year that Microsoft was using the Service Fabric technology to run pieces of the Azure core, as well as services including Skype for Business (Lync) and the Azure SQL Database. Microsoft officials said today that the company also has used Service Fabric in building/deploying Intune, Event Hubs, DocumentDB and Cortana. Customers will get the exact same Azure Service Fabric framework technology that Microsoft uses internally, not a subset or different version of it, according to an April 20 blog post announcing the coming service.

Interview: The software processes behind Hailo's success
“Our developers provision their components and the system takes care of placing the service where it needs to be running, routing traffic to it and bringing feedback to the developers, who can control how much traffic is routed to the new service,” he says. This allows the development team to see if they have built something that does not work. “It is important for us to get the services we develop into production as quickly as possible, so we have automated testing, starting with the Hailo application and going back through integration testing of all its constituent components,” he says. One of the challenges a traditional software development team faces with DevOps is how testing and quality assurance fits in with continuous development and rollout.

Quote for the day:

"The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes." -- Tony Blair