March 19, 2014

Scrum Master Allocation: The Case for a Dedicated Scrum Master
Why cut back on scrum masters? Managers have limited headcount, and are looking for ways to stretch their budgets. Scrum masters are often not actually writing code. The functions of the scrum master are seen as supplementary, non-essential, and therefore fungible. Many organizations spread scrum masters across two, three, or even more teams. Teams are able to function without a full time scrum master, once they understand the basic agile process. The question is, what are those teams missing out on, that they could have had with a full time scrum master available to them?

Crafting cloud security controls amid a changing sphere of influence
End-to-end cloud protection is not linear in nature or execution; rather, it is globular, with overlapping segments of controls due to the elasticity of globalized business models, disruptive computing technology and a dynamic threat landscape. Regardless of the possible threat vector, tiered protection ideally will stop an attack, or at the minimum, alert an organization's security team of an incident. There is an acute need for such measures as the cloud continues to stretch the boundaries of enterprise networks, making them practically nonexistent in their traditional form.

Facebook holds back on end-to-end encryption
"If you use end-to-end encryption on email, you realize how hard it can be," Sullivan said during a talk with the press at Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park, California. End-to-end encryption can be hard for people to use and understand because it typically requires a manual process of exchanging public keys between the sender and receiver whenever they send an email or any other type of message. If Facebook users want that type of security, there are some third-party apps they can use to add end-to-end encryption to Facebook's services, Sullivan said.

NoSQL and Log Data Jump to Forefront
Although application and operating system log files still exist, the growth of the Internet of Things is starting to emerge. Everything from heart monitors for running, to brake sensors in cars to refrigerators will provide information on what a device is doing and/or doing for you. Much of this sensor information is similar to those UNIX log files from my past life. Using multi-structured formats that often don’t fit well in a relational data store, the information from sensors in machinery, GPS mapping tools and even Fitbits comes in some interesting and constantly changing formats.

BI Best Practice: Delete Most of Your Reports
The CEO was actually close to being right. By the time we were finished, we were able to delete 700 reports from the repository. The executive team went down to about 50 reports in total. This process also taught me that most companies follow a very specific pattern. The business will face a strong challenge. Executives will panic and strongly react to the challenge in front of them. They will request reports to grapple with it from many different angles. It will take about six to 12 weeks to wrap their minds around it, address it, and either resolve it, or get it under relative control.

Real Excel power users know these 11 tricks
There are two kinds of Microsoft Excel users in the world: Those who make neat little tables, and those who amaze their colleagues with sophisticated charts, data analysis, and seemingly magical formula and macro tricks. You, obviously, are one of the latter—or are you? Check our list of 11 essential Excel skills to prove it—or discreetly pick up any you might have missed.

Japan holds first broad cybersecurity drill, frets over Olympics risks
Officials have acknowledged that even though Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has passed a strict official-secrets law, the government cannot adequately protect itself from malicious internet hackers. This is a worry for America as the two allies review their decades-old defense pact to respond to new threats, including state-backed hackers. The government has also vowed to safeguard Japan's cutting-edge technology from industrial espionage. Last week, Toshiba Corp sued SK Hynix Inc, saying a former employee passed key chip technology to the South Korean rival.

SQL Server 2014: NoSQL Speeds with Relational Capabilities
Currently queries, both ad hoc and stored procedure based, are only compiled to an intermediate language. From there they are interpreted rather than JIT-compiled into machine code. This allows for a large amount of flexibility, but at the cost of performance. In the past this was acceptable, as loads increased so did the CPU’s ability to handle serial workloads. But now that is no longer an option, Microsoft has decided to build a new execution engine that relies on fully compiled machine code.

Strong CIO/CMO alliance paves way for data-driven marketing strategy
Inevitably, however, integration is needed, because, first of all, the role of marketing is to convert to a sale, so [that data] is going to be moving over to a website or to our agent system at some point. But there are a myriad of other issues marketers run into -- data security, vendor management, availability management. So there's a tendency to either have the marketing department build something themselves or to have an external provider do it, and then it goes through a cycle where it reaches some kind of road block and they need to bring it into IT. That's the methodology we need to change so that marketing includes us at the beginning and we can provide better IT service.

The Bias Against Innovation
Creative thinkers, confronted with bias, are a challenge for companies, who want to innovate. Regardless of proven creativity, innovators do badly, if not given the right environment. Creatives, who broke new ground in Bill Bernbach’s innovative advertising agency, couldn’t replicate the successes at other agencies. Steve Jobs got fired by his own company Apple, and only got hired back after the company had been driven to near bankruptcy. For the most obvious example, there is Gallilei, who was publicly made to renounce his differencing ideas after having been thrown into prison.

Quote for the day:

“The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.” -- Harvey S. Firestone

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