Work to live or live to work…that is the question. Whether trying to balance work life with family life or personal maintenance, prioritizing between the two can definitely be challenging. And although women and men suffer from work stress in different ways, they are both still struggling.
Often in web design, we run into situations where a particular design goes through many iterations in an attempt to find a creative solution. At some point, we have looked at the design so much that we are unable to see small issues, and sometimes even larger issues, because we have become blind to what has become so familiar.
This design fatigue can make a Web Designer or Information Architect feel like they’re stuck in quicksand, suddenly we are stuck and the more we push the more stuck we get.
As you know from Part 1 of the “Adding Agile Practices to a Waterfall World” series, bringing a balanced approach to your development process with a mix of methodologies can lead to the best results. As discussed, adding an agile pre-planning session to your development process will set you up for a successful release planning session. This second post will discuss adding a daily stand-up meeting to your waterfall process and the necessary elements to make it effective.
The stand-up meeting is a must-have agile event and for good reason. The meeting, if done correctly, can add a lot of value to the team and process by combining a bunch of typical management practices into a single daily meeting. All types of projects, including those working in a waterfall process, can effectively use this agile technique.
During a recent gathering, an acquaintance asked me what I did for a living, and I told him that I was a Business Analyst (BA). He wasn’t in the Information Technology (IT) industry and seemed genuinely interested in what my role as a BA was, so upon further inquiry, I tried to explain and gave him a pretty standard definition of a BA: “I work as a liaison among stakeholders, in order to elicit, analyze, define, communicate, and validate business requirements.” After I was done explaining, he paused for a while and remarked, “So, you write requirements!” Well, if you think about it, we do write requirements, but is that all we do – write requirements?
How do you make your purchasing decisions? Are you loyal to a specific brand, do you buy things recommended by your friends, or do you Google everything first? If you find that you are turning to the web before you buy, you are not alone. More and more consumers are making purchasing decisions based on user-generated content (UGC).
According to a recent blog on Hubspot :
- 80% of consumers look for recommendations from people they don’t know
- 51% say these recommendations are more important than opinions of friends and family
- Reviews are key to purchases of electronics, cars, travel, credit cards, and insurance
Here are three tips to help you incorporate UGC into your marketing strategy:
Most project managers have the ability to create impressive-looking Gantt charts or crank out status reports, but those so-called “hard skills” aren’t all it takes to be successful in the role of project manager. “Soft skills” are needed too. What are soft skills? Wikipedia defines “soft skills” as “personality traits, social graces, communication, language, personal habits, friendliness, and optimism.” All the Gantt charts and status reports in the world will not motivate a team to rally together and do challenging work to get a project done. But when the team has a project manager with whom they have a relationship, and who has gone the extra mile for them, then there is a reason for team members to do whatever it takes to insure a project succeeds.
Master These 4 Soft Skills
So what can a project manager do to succeed in their role while keeping morale and efficiency at a high level for the life of a project? I suggest these four steps:
For Business Analysts writing business requirements, one of the concepts they are asked to respect is “traceability.” Traceability is the connectedness of scope and requirements among all project documents. Traceability provides the ability to find the origin of each business requirement in the approved project scope, and to follow the development of each scope item as it progresses through the life of a project.
How traceability is managed
Some organizations manage traceability very carefully using a traceability matrix. A traceability matrix has columns for each project document (like scope document, business rules document, functional requirements document). Columns in the matrix for each project document are populated to show how each requirement in the scope document is connected (or “traces”) to one or more specific rules in each of the other documents. And working backwards, the matrix also shows how each rule in a project document traces to one or more specific requirements in the scope document.
A valuable aspect of the Agile project methodology is its ability to gracefully manage change. As much as folks don’t like to admit it, we know that project requirements change throughout the life of a project. Even when much time and effort is put into requirement analysis at the beginning of a project, adjustments in business priority, new products or vendors, revised regulations or missed requirements can all result in changes after development has begun.
With the e-Commerce Revolution upon us, the average consumer can now shop for a brand through various channels: phone, tablet, web, and retail stores. In order to meet this demand, companies have had to adapt to this revolution by quickly creating these new channels where their customers can go to shop. Unfortunately, for some time, these different channels were run like separate businesses with different sales goals, which prevented them from coordinating efforts. The separate goals caused promotional offers and pricing to differ. This proved to be problematic when consumers found a product online but chose to purchase it in the store. With consumers becoming increasingly channel savvy, retailers now find themselves all facing the same need to embrace Omni-Channel Retailing.
Steven R. Covey, a personal hero of mine, passed away in 2012. Steven Covey was an American educator, author, speaker and businessman. He was best known for his bestseller The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Covey was a professor at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University at the time of his death.
Covey was a bit baffled by his success. He said he was simply telling people what he thought they already knew. All that people had to do was “form habits out of their best instincts,” he said, calling his “Seven Habits of Highly Successful People” natural laws, like gravity.
Covey’s seven habits are:
1. Be proactive
2. Begin with the end in mind
3. Put first things first
4. Think “win-win”
5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood
7. Sharpen the Saw
Although these habits appear to be personal behaviors, thousands of business leaders flocked to his talks each year to learn how to apply these “habits” across companies, processes, projects – virtually every aspect of industry, work, and organizations.
My personal favorite is #2, “Begin with the end in mind.” While it applies to lots of circumstances, I believe it can be applied specifically to the process used to design web sites.