May 11, 2015

How Agile Has Changed Test Management
In previous times, test strategies were quite often weighty tomes used to capture everything a test manager knew about testing, their magnum opus. After creation they would be put on display for a bit before being placed carefully on the shelf and forgotten about. Test strategies, even documented ones, are still very relevant in agile teams. They often require very broad and deep knowledge of testing to drive good behaviours, which is the domain of the test manager. The trick is to treat them as living documentation, that live, breathe and grow along with the teams and people who use them. This means keeping them concise, usable, appropriate and written in a format and medium that encourages regular use, extension and amendment as ways of working change.

Know your cyber enemy inside and out
Most information security programs are fully aware of their enemy. Threat actors: hacktivists, organised criminals, nation states and opportunists are well known and documented, so you would think you are well on the way to victory. The problem is many companies and individuals stop there. Their focus resides on the outside, trying to stop the enemy getting in. But what about the inside? Think back to Sun Tzu's teachings “... know thy enemy but not yourself, wallow in defeat every time”. In other words, if you don't look at the threat from the inside then you are fighting a losing battle. ... It's worth noting that the “insider threat” is not necessarily a “rogue administrator” or “Edward Snowden”. It could be a loyal member of staff or contractor who fell fowl to a social engineering exercise and left the company open to attack because they had more access than they needed.

'Never ask a question if you don't know the answer is yes': How to present to the board
"Users have been seduced by the ease and simplicity with which they can download an app and use it to meaningful purpose. We live in an app-centric world, inhabited by people with a short attention span and with their fires stoked by expectations of performance, simplicity, usability, and - most importantly - cost." Behenna says the level of expectation associated to IT has ratcheted up exponentially. And the associated democratisation of technical knowledge has upped the pressure on CIOs to present concisely, consistently, and with absolute clarity to the board. "Apply the well-tested psychologies of usability, customer and user experience, and employ the best of those methodologies. Keep the detail in the hand-out you distribute to the board before the presentation, and use your allotted time wisely and precisely to paint a compelling picture and story," says Behenna.

The 'Internet Of Me' Is Getting Real In Healthcare
Connected technology in the context of healthcare provides the opportunity to gather the data necessary to create such personalized treatments. "It's about the Internet of Me," Karaboutis said, citing partnerships with Google and FitBit designed to help multiple sclerosis patients. "That's where we're going with this industry [in terms of technology]." At Biogen, traditional enterprise IT functions continue to be important, said Karaboutis, but the mandate for the technology organization extends to enabling the scientific and computational work that improves people's lives. "Healthcare is changing," said Karaboutis. "It's no longer about treating symptoms. It's about outcomes." Supporting that goal as a technology organization isn't necessarily straightforward. Karaboutis says the IT group has to understand the study of science and the cultural differences between technology and science.

How the tech industry is redesigning the future workplace
Tech has grown out of the garage. The audacious scale of these spaces is a bid at bettering the odds of the serendipitous encounters - bumps in Silicon Valley vernacular - which helped Building 20's occupants share ideas across specialisms. Shiny new workplaces are springing up from San Francisco to Shoreditch and Shenzhen. It 's not just technology behemoths who have embraced this way of working. The BBC's new Broadcasting House, for example, encourages hot desking, with 460 workstations in its open-plan newsroom alone. But this brave new world of work has critics. For some, open plan spaces suggest managers on the room's sidelines, watching workers huddled in the middle like prey on the African savannah.

4 warning signs that your team is not agile
But agile productivity typically depends upon the quality of the team members. It requires high IQ, high EQ, and high focus. Put someone in with insufficient subject matter expertise, drive, or decision-making authority, and the team will be chasing its tail. Further, agile depends upon the impedance match between the resources and the tasks: if a team member just doesn’t care, or can’t stand to be in the room with another team member, close collaboration simply won’t happen. Since agile is all about flexibility and fast iterations, it would be a joke if you did not assess the members of the agile team as early and often as possible to detect and correct the problem children. Fail-fast on team assignments is a best practice. If, as the Zen masters say, “how you do anything is how you do everything,” it should be possible to detect team membership issues before the first sprint has completed. Ideally, you could do that before the first sprint has started. But how?

IBM Bluemix Welcomes Microsoft's .Net
Bluemix was among the first platforms-as-a-service, or integrated sets of development tools on an online platform. Launched in February 2014 as a publicly available service and available to developers on a trial basis well before that, Bluemix has been the IBM world's rival to Microsoft's Azure with its Visual Studio online tools and Google App Engine with its Python and Java options. Bluemix is currently adding 8,000 developers a week to its total body of active users, Angel Diaz, VP of IBM Cloud architecture and technology, said in an interview with InformationWeek. ... Working with Microsoft, as of May 11 IBM has added to Bluemix a .Net Buildpack or set of tools, along with the .Net runtime, giving developers a wide mix of options: Java, the dynamic, interpreted languages (Ruby, PHP, and Python), and C and C# for the first time, said Diaz.

Interview and Book Review: BDD In Action
Many BDD practices can be useful for both agile and more prescriptive development processes. For example, writing acceptance criteria in a way that can be turned into executable form (or "executable specifications") can help ensure that the acceptance criteria are unambiguous and of high quality, though the feedback and review cycles may be slower if there is less face-to-face collaboration between the BAs and the other team members during the definition of these requirements. That said, an agile process gives the team more scope to manage uncertainty and to adapt to their evolving understanding of the requirements and the solution they are building, and practices like the 3 amigos and collaboratively defined acceptance criteria are great ways to flush out uncertainty in the requirements.

EMC: Rise of third platform could spell end for businesses unwilling to adapt
EMC’s messaging on this topic echoes the urgent rhetoric suppliers used to spout about cloud computing five or so years ago, when it was commonplace to hear organisations being warned about the business risks of ignoring the shift to off-premise technologies. While many of these early declarations called on users to act immediately, they soon gave way to a softer stance from the supplier community, as real-world tales about the challenges of moving to the cloud started to emerge. As such, proclamations like “adopt cloud or die” gave way to more measured statements that still emphasised the importance of moving away from on-premise technologies, but to an extent and at a pace that was best for the business.

The rapid rise of smartphone health care
While the MyOnlineClinic platform is still in its pilot period, Collins hopes to launch the service generally in several markets around the world, with Asia standing out as a region ripe for such a service. According to Collins, many of the often elderly patients in Australia who have been using the existing telemedicine services in the country via their PCs are reasonably comfortable now with online consultations, but getting them to do the same thing on a smartphone could require a substantial change in behaviour for some people. "Changing Australian behaviour is very difficult," Collins told ZDNet. "But we haven't restricted ourselves to the Australian market. One of our main focuses is international markets. We're deploying in Thailand, for example. In terms of changing behaviour, in Asian countries, it's much easier."

Quote for the day:

"You can't lead anyone else further than you have gone yourself." -- Gene Mauch

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