December 03, 2015

How Project Managers can be a Positive Agent for Agile

Often part of the challenge is a slug of good old fashioned misunderstanding which can be cleared up. But also reasons for this sort of ‘dysfunction’ can be as simple as the PM feels increasingly squeezed between projects running agile, senior leaders liking the results but middle management still asking for reports etc in the old style. ... So that’s working with their scrum masters and working with them through a education path where we blend in the numerous soft skills of the professional facilitator and coach to help them up skill. Equipping this community with the coaching and mentoring skills, tools and techniques is part of the answer so they can seek to engage with PMs, turn around their expectations and help them see agile as an opportunity more than a threat.


Clavis Aurea, or Does the “Golden Key” actually solve encryption issues

There are quite a few examples of the ‘golden key’ idea being brought to life. Take the most obvious use case: TSA locks, created by Transportation of Security Administration. The concept is simple: travelers use TSA-approved luggage locks with a keyhole for the authorities to use (so they don’t smash open the padlock if they think the luggage needs to be searched). There are ten master (‘golden’) keys to be used on most types of luggage locks. The idea is based on the assumption that only TSA has access to master keys, whereas petty criminals raiding the luggage trunks have to use some other means to crack the padlock. However, recently the pictures of all TSA keys leaked online, followed by their 3D models.


Network Segmentation and Its Unintended Complexity

The premise is simple: you determine where your sensitive information and systems are located, you segment them off onto an area of the network that only those with a business need can access and everything stays in check. Or does it? When you get down to specific implementations and business needs, that’s where complexity comes into the picture. For instance, it may be possible to segment off critical parts of the network on paper but when you consider variables such as protocols in use, web services links, remote access connections and the like, you inevitably come across distinct openings in what was considered to be a truly cordoned-off environment.


IoT And The Supply Chain: The Complexity of Staying Connected

Imagine a factory room covered in sensors, each speaking to each other; it’s the factory of the future. Each item is a specially created building block. They can monitor and track themselves. They even act autonomously, while simultaneously contributing to the whole. The atmosphere and system will be oriented around decentralized decision making. Each smart unit will be expected to make decisions—sounds a bit dangerous, doesn’t it? If not done properly, it would be a very precarious system. To make things worse, “micro-logistics” really does refer to the smallest “micro” possible. Every speck in the chain must work properly. The lack of common standards and a frustrating skill gap means implementing these dreamy space-age solutions is not going to be normalized for some years to come. Finally, once all of these technologies are connected, the real battle begins.


Using Big Data to Track and Measure Emotion

Conversation Analytic platforms use a bundle of algorithms called EVS (Emotional Voice Streams). EVS decodes the vocabulary and searches for relationships between words and phrases to establish the topic of the dialogue as well as sentiment, simultaneously analysing non-verbal audio cues to decode information about the emotional state of the speakers. The emotion is marked on a 5-degree scale varying from strong negative to strong positive. The value is assigned to each word. Conversation Analytics uses data stream created by EVS to discover common patterns - like expressions and events that trigger negative reactions, time of the day when customer's show highest discontent, or agents who show great talent in managing angry customers.


Farsighted or Foolhardy? A Look Back at My 2015 Predictions

While it turns out the Apple Watch was the must-have tech gadget for Apple fanatics, it “is still probably not for you,” as the New York Times puts it. Why? Well, I’ve come to discover that the killer app for the Apple Watch is in fact… the clock! I use my Apple Watch when I’m coaching the kids’ soccer to figure out when time is up… but that’s about it. And the downside? Now when a call comes in, my MacBook, iPad, iPhone… and now my watch all light up with that familiar samba tune. Does this mean the Apple Watch is a failure? Of course not, otherwise I wouldn’t have bought one. On the other hand (or wrist), niche wearables like Fitbits did shake up industries for the better. IDC noted that not only did Fitbit “experience triple-digit year-over-year growth,” it also built an ecosystem by partnering with corporate wellness groups, fashion and food companies.


Microservices dilemma: Convert a monolithic solution or start from scratch?

“Don’t Start With a Monolith” states that it is very hard to split an existing monolith into microservices if it was not designed to be split. Tilkov points out that monolithic services are often tightly coupled with loosely defined interfaces, which makes the redesign to split them into well defined microservices extremely difficult. The best way to ensure that your microservices have well defined boundaries is to design that into the architecture at the beginning. ... This is the common ground, and having these boundaries well defined is crucial for successful microservices. Fowler argues that working with an existing implementation is the best way to find this, while Tilkov states that it must be planned from the start, ideally with enough domain knowledge to avoid serious mistakes.


Mossberg: An encryption backdoor is a bad idea

The problem is that, even if the FBI served the companies with a legal, court-approved search warrant for particular encrypted phones, they couldn’t comply. The lawmen would have to serve the warrant on the phones’ owners, and try and force them to unlock the devices with a password, fingerprint, or some other authentication method. Mr. Comey does pay some lip service to the values of strong encryption. In Senate testimony this past July, he acknowledged that "it is important for our global economy and our national security to have strong encryption standards. The development and robust adoption of strong encryption is a key tool to secure commerce and trade, safeguard private information, promote free expression and association, and strengthen cyber security."


Why security will make small businesses move to the cloud in 2016

Arean argues: “Services like Office 365 can obviously never be 100% secure, but you can be safe in the knowledge that they will have a team of skilled security specialists working to eliminate threats – which is much more time and resources than most SMEs can afford to devote to security.” Yet he admits it is still ‘scary’ for small businesses to migrate their operations into the major cloud vendors. “Even with public cloud platforms like Microsoft Azure, AWS or Google, which make the process much simpler, there is still work to be done in making cloud services more accessible and more intuitive for first time users,” Arean explains. “It very much still requires a ‘hold your hand’ approach to set it up which needs to be simplified in order to facilitate more widespread adoption.”


Why Agile Fails in Large Enterprises

When you transition to agile, it requires a significant shift in culture. However, some teams still use waterfall and other legacy strategies for certain operations, which can lead to agile failure. According to the ninth annual State of Agile survey by VersionOne, 42 percent of participants noted that their company culture was at odds with core agile values, and 37 percent felt pressure to follow traditional waterfall processes. To make things worse, participants cited lack of management support and unwillingness of team to follow agile as reasons their agile projects failed. ... However, as the survey revealed, 44 percent of respondents cited that ability to change organizational culture as the biggest barrier to further agile adoption, while 32 percent believed pre-existing rigid/waterfall frameworks are to blame.



Quote for the day:


"If business leaders don't engage cybersecurity action and oversight, they put their entire business at risk." -- Chris Furlow