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The ITIL Framework and It’s Processes

The ITIL Framework and It’s Processes

You’ve got ITIL® questions. We’ve got ITIL answers. 

Recently, a group of learners, due to complete their engineering degrees in computer science caught up with John Dell, one of our expert ITSM trainers and authors, seeking advice on careers in ITSM. This blog is an account of the conversation which will serve ITIL aspirants well. 

The learners opined that they were not very keen on programming and would like to explore what other options exist in the IT sector. They were about to graduate and were not sure there is much opportunity outside programming in IT. 

John clarified that firstly, the IT sector does not revolve only around software development. The IT industry is vast and presents plenty of opportunity. He suggested they start by carrying out a quick SWOT analysis for themselves.  

Majority of the learners cited that communication, good analytical and testing skills and leadership skills were their strengths;incidentally, coding and design were not particularly strengths for this group. The group recognized that IT support and the IT service industry would open up several opportunities, while programming and core software development were not areas that appealed to them. 

Based on this basic SWOT analysis, John suggested that the students considerjobs related to Service management. Jumping into whatITIL is all about and how it couldpropeltheir career.  

IT Management mainly involves Software Development & Management, IT Infrastructure Management, and IT Service Management. The ITILFramework refers to set of best practices, guidelines, methodologies designed by industry experts to align their IT Services with customer and business strategic goals. So, this framework provides uniform and consistent guidelines to all IT industries to define their IT Service Management processes.  

When asked whether each IT companycan come up with their own framework and design for IT service management, John answered that they actually can. He further elaborated with an illustration –  

Company A provides support to Company X and Company B provides support to Company Y. Here, A and B are Service providers and X and Y are service consumers. They have not adhered to any service management framework.  Both service providers, A and B, have unknowingly made many mistakes and faced lots of challenges in providing support to their consumers, X and Y.  After a couple of years, once the project is completed, A and B have not exchanged notes, nor learnt from each other’s mistakes. Six months down the line, B commits the samemistakes that A earlier had and vice versa. In such a scenario, would service consumers X and Y ever come back to A and B again? Not likely. When mistakes repeat,service consumersor customers will not be happy and may not return to with the project again. 

To avoid such a scenario, what such companies could do is to connect with each other and sharelessons. Such an initiative would avoid many bottlenecks and arrest many recurring challenges. 

John explained that companies, understanding the importance of consistent process, have embraced lessons from the industry and continually improvise their processes for better customer experience. 

While it may not be feasible to connect with every other company and collect their lessons and best practices in real time, not with standing that companies may or may not share that information, there is a need for a common forum or entityto collect best practices and lessons across the IT industry and formulate aframework. Such a framework formulated for the IT Service industry is called the ITIL framework. 

ITIL stands for Information Technology Infrastructure Library. When asked why it was referred to as a ‘Library’, John explained that it is a set of practices for Information Technology Service Management (ITSM) that focuses on aligning IT services with the needs of the business.  

As it is a set of practices best practices and lessons from the service industry, it is referred to as a “library”.  

Johnwent on to explain that there were plenty of reasons for the ITIL framework: 

John addressed the question with a use case: Company A is the Service Provider and Company X is the Service consumer.  Company A and Company X are in legal contractual agreement. Company A agrees to provide N services to Company X for the next 2 years. One of the agreed services is to resolve all High priority incidents within 4 hours. After a year of experience, Company A (Service Provider) becomes very good knowledge in resolving incidents within 2 hours and this has been verified as well.  

Now, Company A (Service Provider) submits a proposal to Company X (Service Consumer) to improvise the High priority incident resolution time by 2 hours instead 4 hours. The contractual document is amended. Company X (Service consumer) agrees to pay an additional amount for the improvisation of service to Company A (Service Provider). This is a good example of continual improvement.  Continual improvement results in improvising service will always increase the customer satisfaction index, says John. 

In the year 1989, the UK Government’s Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA) developed the first version of ITIL to unite IT systems in an efficient and cost-effective way.  Collecting best practices from all government agencies and private sector companies across Europe, the CCTA came up with an initial standard framework. 

History of ITILHistory of ITIL

ITIL soon grew to a 30-volume catalogue, providing a collection of all IT best practices that focused on and catered for client and business needs. 

In the year 2000, CCTA change into OGC (Office of Government Commerce, UK). The same year, Microsoft also adopted ITIL as the foundation for developing their Microsoft operations and framework (MOF). This version was focused on making ITIL more accessible and arranged the 30-volume framework into nine related categories.  

In the year 2007, ITIL was expanded and reorganized as an IT service management lifecycle, known as ITIL Version 3 (ITIL V3).  Thisversion covers the initial conception, development, transition, operations, and improvement of a service.  ITIL V3 views the activity of managing service as a lifecycle, which is a shift in focus from the individualized process/function view of the previous version.The service lifecycle concept has further evolved since.  

In the year 2011, AXELOS released a revision of ITIL that resolved errors and inconsistencies with V3. This is the updated version of the 2007, referred to as ITILv3 updated. In this version,the ITIL service lifecycle contains 5 stages:  

This forms the basis for all ITIL best practices across the globe. Since 2013, ITIL has been owned by AXELOS Ltd – a joint venture between Capita Plc and the British Government’s Cabinet Office. 

In the year 2019, due to the Industry 4.0 revolution, the current version of ITIL was launched. V4 has more practical guidance on how to use ITIL in an organization which embraces digital journey. This makes it easier for organizations to align ITIL with DevOps, Agile, and Lean work methods. With V4, ITIL adopted more of a holistic philosophy towards service management, making it broader and more inclusive for the modern IT environment. 

Having developed a good understanding of the evolution of ITIL, the students learnt about how the best practices which originated from a few European companieswere continuously improvised and revised tonow become a global acceptable Service management framework across the globe. 

The students now wanted to go deeper and asked how ITIL could help the organization to achieve its strategic goals. John explained that following ITIL practices helps organization achieve their strategic goals by: 

By now, the students were very keen and eager to know about the different lifecycle stages defined in ITIL V3 and its purpose. 

Stages of ITIL service lifecycle

John went on to explain that ITIL has five stages. The following table helps explain each stage and its purpose:

John went on to explain that the outcomes of the Continual Service Improvement become the inputs for Service StrategyIdentified improvements will help to revise the strategic goals and targets.  

Explaining what was meant by Key Performance Indicator, John defined it as a quantifiable measurement for measuring any strategic goal. This is generally agreed between Service consumer and Service Customer in the legal contract, he added. 

Digging deeper into the difference between ITILv3 and ITIL4, John explained that ITIL4 was the latest version. The two may need to be prioritized depending on the case, he pointed out.  

Explaining the available certifications in ITIL, John elaborated using the following table to help the students to understand the different certifications under ITIL.  (Source: Axelos). 

Concluding, John summarized that to get started all one needs to do is to talk to professionals to understand how the work they do contributes to creating value for customers. If everybody thinks about what they do in these terms, then the next step will be much easier. The IT world we live in is becoming more and more service based by the day and there is great opportunityIndustry leaders have seen ITIL in action and have bought into it. Most major global corporations run their services on ITIL®, and such IT professionals are in great demand. 

  • ITIL framework helps to align the IT solutions with business strategic goals 
  •  It helps to set the realistic, achievable and predictable service goals 
  •  It ensures efficient service delivery and improves customer satisfaction 
  •  It reduces costs through improved utilization of resources 
  •  It defines consistent IT roles and improves communication through standardized terminology 
  • It improves planning and continual improvement due to regular measurement and monitoring 
  • ITIL Service Strategy,  
  • ITIL Service Design,  
  • ITIL Service Transition,  
  • ITIL Service Operation and  
  • ITIL Continual Service Improvement.  
  • Ensuring quality of IT services meetsService consumer’s expectations and needs 
  • EnsuringService consumer can use IT services whenever and wherever they are needed 
  • Ensuring organizations can improve Customer satisfaction by building and maintaining positive business relationships 
  • Ensuring that organizations maximize value for money from their service providers 
  • Allowing organizations to benchmark their IT services and maximize ROI 
  • Allowing organizations to demonstrate and quantify the actual value of the services they provide 
  • Allowing organizations to forecast, influence, and respond to demand IT services in a cost-effective manner depending on fluctuating demand situations 
  • Allowing organizations to minimize IT service disruption 
  • Research & References of The ITIL Framework and It’s Processes|A&C Accounting And Tax Services
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    Is It Illegal to Make Fake Pay Stubs?

    Is It Illegal to Make Fake Pay Stubs?

    July 25, 2020 Comments

    Articles

    If you’d like to make pay stubs, you must ensure you’re making them legitimately.

    Pay stubs are some of the most common documents you’ll get when working. They often come paired with paychecks because they provide information about one’s earnings.

    The problem with pay stubs is that they can be easily misused by those that are trying to seek loans. Most lenders accept pay stubs as proof of income, but providing incorrect information can come with harsh penalties like jail time.

    Read on to learn more so you can avoid getting a penalty for fake pay stubs.

    Pay stubs are documents that are commonly used by employees to keep track of their income. Aside from recordkeeping, they can be used as proof of income when applying for things like loans and apartments. Although they’re usually provided by an employer, anyone can make a pay stub providing that they use the correct information.

    You’ll find on a pay stub a variety of information about an employee’s wages and where they work. With all of the information, they can use their pay stubs for reference when doing taxes or meeting lenders.

    People often apply for things like home mortgages, auto loans, and credit cards with their pay stubs. However, they can be used for any type of loan if the lender accepts them.

    If you’re trying to take out a loan, you can bring your pay stubs so that they can get an in-depth look at your income. It’s best to bring bank statements, as well, to further prove your income.

    The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is something that was implemented by the government to prevent employees from getting underpaid. The FLSA covers things like how much minimum wage is, who’s eligible for overtime pay, and what procedures businesses should do to keep records.

    The FLSA affects all employees and businesses, and one of its major flaws is that it doesn’t require pay stubs. Although employers are legally required to document how much an employee works and earns, they can use any method they’d like.

    While the FLSA provides general guidelines for businesses across the US, some states require employers to provide employees with pay stubs. If you live in a state where it isn’t required or you’re an independent contractor, you’ll have to make them yourself.

    For those that live in a state that requires pay stubs, you can be assured that you’ll see the same information on all pay stubs no matter where you work. The exact requirements vary depending on the state, but you’ll need to have several pieces of info for a pay stub to be considered legal proof of income.

    The most common information on pay stubs are the employee’s name, address, and their social security number. They also contain info about where they work, how many hours they’ve worked, and what their hourly wage is.

    Pay stubs will also contain outlined details of where your money came from and where it went. Things like gross pay, deductions, and net pay will be listed, making it easier for documentation.

    You don’t have to worry about something like jail time for fake pay stubs because your pay stub will be legal if the information is correct. The only difference between making a pay stub and getting one from your employer is that they do all the work for you.

    If you want to make a pay stub, all you’ll need to do is find a program that gives you the tools to format the pay stub. The most common ones people use are Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel.

    Both of these programs are spreadsheet programs and provide similar features, but Google Sheets can be accessed from anywhere via a web browser. Microsoft Excel offers many more features, but it can only be accessed from computers that have it installed.

    You can also go with an online pay stub generator. You’ll get access to a fake pay stub template that can be used to fill out your info. After filling it out, you can print real pay stubs and use them as you’d like.

    When filling out the stub, most of the information is self-explanatory. However, you’ll need to know how to get your numbers for gross pay, deductions, and net pay.

    Gross pay is the entire amount you’ve earned in a given pay period. Let’s say you get paid every two weeks, you’d have a bi-weekly pay period. If you work 40 hours a week and earn $20 an hour, your gross pay would be $800.

    Deductions are anything that comes out of your check and is sent elsewhere. For example, Social Security taxes and state taxes are deductions. You’ll need to refer to the IRS Employer’s Tax Guide to figure out how much you should be deducting because the number will vary depending on where you live.

    To come up with net pay, you’ll need to subtract your deductions from your gross pay. Net pay is the amount of money you get to keep with each paycheck. You can also call this “take-home pay.”

    Although you can make pay stubs and use them as legal proof of income, you’ll need to avoid misinformation because you can face hefty fines and potential jail time. People often use fake pay stubs when they’re trying to get a loan, but a lender may report you if they catch you providing false information.

    Should you decide to start making pay stubs, ensure you’re using the correct information. Keep track of everything you earn and double-check what numbers you’re writing down to prevent getting a penalty for fake pay stubs.

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    Research & References of Is It Illegal to Make Fake Pay Stubs?|A&C Accounting And Tax Services
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    AngularJS: Top Use Cases and Reasons to Opt for This Tool

    AngularJS: Top Use Cases and Reasons to Opt for This Tool

    AngularJS represents a structural framework for dynamic web applications. It is an open-source, JavaScript-based front-end web platform primarily developed by Google and a consortium of individuals and companies to solve many of the challenges faced in the development of single-page applications.   AngularJSAngularJS

    AngularJS offers flexibility in coding like no other framework due to its simple design architecture. In terms of simplicity, it helps beginners to get started and make improvements to their application projects easily. AngularJS also handles heavy web applications that are exceptionally well loaded with features and components. It allows you to use HTML as your template language and allows you to extend the syntax of HTML to clearly and succinctly express the components of your application. The data binding and dependency injections ensure that we do not need to write a big chunk of code which otherwise we would have ended in writing. And all happens inside the browser making it a perfect partner for any application. The next layer data binding frameworks gains popularity due to strong demand. The foremost known ones are: 

    AngularJS is a platform and framework that uses HTML and TypeScript to build single-page client applications. The below diagram will give you fair idea of difference in traditional page life cycle vs Single page life cycle : 

    AngularJS overview AngularJS overview

    The AngularJS application is written using typescript. It introduces core and optional features when you import a collection of TypeScript libraries into your applications. The architecture of an AngularJS application is based on some fundamental principles.The basic building blocks are NgModules which provide the component compilation background. NgModules compile the related code into functional sets; a collection of NgModules define an AngularJS application. An AngularJS application often has at least one root module that enables bootstrapping, and usually has a lot more feature modules.We will not go into details as this is out of scope of this article but to give you better understanding of an AngularJS application ,let’s look at below example where we are trying to calculate area of rectangle : 

    This appears to be normal HTML, with some new markup. A file like this is called a Template in AngularJS. Once AngularJS launches the code, it uses the compiler to interpret and process this new markup from the template. The DOM that is loaded, transformed, and rendered is then called view. The Directives are the first kind of modern markup. We add special actions to items or attributes in the HTML. You would have noticed the new attribute ng-app which is a directive for initializing AngularJS apps automatically.AngularJS also defines an input element directive which adds additional behavior to the element. The directive ng-model stores / updates the value of the input field within / from a variable. 

    AngularJS is backed by Google. This is a huge relief for developers to operate on a stable code base that will offer the application maximum support. it’s a stable platform to focus on. Many frameworks are nowadays a pure bundling of existing resources. They are an integrated group of tools but they are not very elegant. AngularJS is the next generation platform where each tool was built to function in an integrated manner with any other tool. Please find below some reasons why AngularJS is considered as best among its competitors: 

    Most frameworks enforce MVC by asking you to break your app into MVC components and then allow you to write code to re-string them. This is a lot of work. As a developer we have to just split the framework into MVC components and leave everything to AngularJS for taking care. 

    AngularJS uses HTML to describe the user interface within the program. HTML is a more concise and less complex declarative language than the procedural interpretation of the JavaScript interface HTML is also less brittle to reorganize than a JavaScript-written GUI, so things are less likely to break. And when the view is written in HTML, you can put in a lot more UI developers. 

    The POJO acronym for plain old java objects are being used as data models in AngularJS and it works without superfluous functions getter and setter. You can include and change properties straightforwardly and circle over objects and exhibits voluntarily. Your code will look a lot of cleaner and progressively instinctive, the way mother nature expected. 

    Directives are the way AngularJS brings added functionality to HTML. Imagine a world in which HTML has so many rich elements ( e.g. < accordion>, < grid>, < lightbox>, etc.) that we never have to manipulate a DOM to simulate them.To get some functionality out of the box, all that our app needs to do is assign attributes to items. 

    Before displaying data on UI, filters filter the data and may include anything as simple as formatting decimal places on a list, reversing the order of an array, filtering a parameter-based array, or implementing pagination. Filters are designed to be stand-alone features, similar to instructions, independent from your device, but concerned only with data transformations. 

    All the points you have received up to now mean you ‘re getting to write less code. No need to write your own MVC pipeline. The view is described using more succinct, HTML. Without getters / setters, data models are easier to write. Data-binding means you don’t have to manually insert data into the view. Also the directives are different from the software code, they can be written in parallel with limited integration issues by another team. Filters let you manipulate view level data without changing controllers. 

    The definition of AngularJS would be incomplete without speaking of its readiness for unit test. Dependency Injection (DI) links the whole of AngularJS together. Agular’s unit tests will use dependency injection for unit testing .It mocks the data and injects into server. In reality, AngularJS already has a mock HTTP provider for controllers to insert fake server responses. It beats the more conventional way web apps are checked by creating individual test pages that activate a single feature and then communicate with it to see if it is working. 

    AngularJSis not a magic bullet. Some of its drawbacks are the backsides of its positive points, some of which are intrinsic to JavaScript inefficiency that could not be solved even with the strongest derivatives of its limitations are listed below: 

    If you want to build smart lightweight applications, AngularJS is your best bet. This TypeScript-based framework helps you to build interactive SPAs that are safe, maintainable, and easy to check. 

    Some of the popular use cases for AngularJS are as follows: 

    Anyone who likes to play video games would not have skipped the PlayStation 3 version of YouTube. Considering the vast popularity of YouTube, a structure will be needed. Because Google owns AngularJS, it has been leveraged to introduce a brand-new version of YouTube on PlayStation 3. The flexible architecture has helped Google reinvent the PS3 experience by replacing the traditional operating method with a fully new one.  

    They replaced mouse movements with basic keystrokes. With AngularJS usability, the features of native apps like YouTube PS3 can be extensively leveraged.AngularJS has made a greater contribution in playback video and smooth scrolling on the YouTube PS3. It’s the latest ultra-modern and seamless experience of AngularJS, experienced by the crowd of gamers. 

    T-Mobile discovered that its customers had to wait for content to be loaded while connecting to the app. So, to make it quicker and less complicated, they used AngularJS server-side rendering to reduce the time. They also used AngularJS so that they could use HTML parsing for search engine purposes.  

    This leading telecommunications leader has had tremendous success in their eCommerce app, which has generated a phenomenal search engine traffic. With AngularJS, the application interface has been revamped and turned into a smooth and powerful app. 

    Weather.com is one of the most popular real-time weather update websites. The credit for its success is given to AngularJS ‘s modular functionality of modules and directories that enable you to use the features of the app on mobile and smartphone devices.  

    The framework enables developers to build customizable widgets based on the device’s specific needs. Using real-time data and dynamically presenting it made it available on the Web using AngularJS technology. 

    AngularJS is super heroic, but there are situations where you can’t use AngularJS. 

    Small websites with lower targets and static content. These types of websites are better built with limited technical stacks and do not need to be used by AngularJS, as the technology will only add extra pieces of code that are not required by the website or a specific project. Example: landing pages, educational websites, event pages, etc. 

    AngularJS is not a good idea to start with for small teams and limited resources. AngularJS needs the skillful tools necessary to solve fast problems in large-scale projects. Technology should also not be used for small projects; it can be developed with other available frameworks and does not require much technological facilitation. 

    AngularJS is not a gaming app. Other frameworks, such as React, can be used to build a highly interactive UI in games. AngularJS tests every document object model before it changes its position. It is not recommended to use AngularJS in any app which require strong complex mathematical analytics mostly which is used in gaming. 

    Sharing a list of some of the renowned web applications that are driven by a versatile and robust AngularJS framework: 

    The Guardian is a leading designer and publisher, winning a variety of competitions in these fields. The Guardian website UI is created as an AngularJS app.

    The Guardian Guardian.com

    Papal is one of the world’s largest Internet payment firms. This is another one of the big websites that use AngularJS.

    PayPal Paypal.com

    JetBlue is one of the most famous airline companies in the United States as the online airline portal. The new edition of the JetBlue website uses AngularJS.

    Lego is one of the world’s leading producers of play materials. Its products are traded global and can be virtually explored at www.LEGO.com.

    Netflix is an American MNC entertainment company. It focuses on and offers streaming media and video on demand online and DVD by mail.

    Freelancer – the global leading online workplace where understanding businesses and professional service provider go to work!

    Weather.com is one of the top weather forecasting online report websites. It is also one of the biggest websites using AngularJS.

    Owned by Google, YouTube is mainly used for video hosting and sharing. This is being developed using AngularJS framework. 

    We can conclude that the AngularJS web app development framework surely has a wide range of powerful features that gives AngularJS an edge over its competitors like ReactJS. This is one of the primary reasons large-scale businesses are opting for AngularJS as their preferred choice of web development platform. 

    To summarize the key points about AngularJS. 

  • AngularJS 
  • KnockoutJS 
  • BackboneJS 
  • DurandalJS 
  • JavaScriptMVC 
  • Google assisted, and a great community of growth. 
  • Supported by IntelliJ IDEA and Visual Studio .NET IDEs. 
  • AngularJS is broad and complicated. With multiple ways to do the same thing, it’s hard to tell which way is best for a particular task. Mastering AngularJS at the “Hello World” level takes significant effort. Different developers’ coding styles and habits can complicate the integration of different components into a complete solution. 
  • When the project expands over time, you will most likely need to throw away current implementations and build new ones using different approaches. AngularJS implementations are poor in scale. 
  • More than 2,000 watchers will seriously lag behind the UI. This limits the complexity of your AngularJS forms , especially large data grids and lists. 
  • It is easy to learn and master. 
  • It makes application stable and fast. 
  • A bunch of useful features in one framework. 
  • There are tons of reasons why you should choose AngularJS for your next web app. 
  • The World loves it. 
  • We mastered it.
  • Research & References of AngularJS: Top Use Cases and Reasons to Opt for This Tool|A&C Accounting And Tax Services
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    Key Insights from the 2020 State of Agile Report

    Key Insights from the 2020 State of Agile Report

    How are agile businesses changing in 2020?  Digital.aithe creator of the industry’s first intelligent Value Stream, recently published its 14th Annual State of Agile Report, along with a survey addendum to reflect the current 2020 landscape. The report took a look into the enterprise, what Agile techniques companies are implementing, their benefits, and what’s trending. 

    The report provides the most comprehensive data in the world to benchmark your Agile practice and plan your next wave of expansion. The survey documents the experiences of more than 1,100 business and IT professionals across a range of industries and roles worldwide.  

    About 40,000 Agile practitioners, consultants, and executives have shared their insights to make this the longest-running and largest report of its kind. For the first time, it revealed insights beyond the general results by filtering the results along the demographic lines. The analysis indicates a correlation between the time practicing Agile, the ability to manage the changing priorities, and improved time to market.  

    In this article, we give you the complete lowdown on the state of Agile in 2020 including the COVID-19 impact and what’s next in Agile. 

    Let us explore the top responsesto the survey in numbers. Respondents answered their top reasons for implementing Agile techniques, which techniquesand methodologies they employ the most, what tools they recommend most, and the top benefits of using Agile. 

    Top five reasons for adopting AgileRespondents were asked why their teams adopted Agile methodologies and techniques. These were the most responded benefits: 

    This year, the reasons for implementing Agile were more about reducing project risks as opposed to reducing project costs.

    These are the five most used tactics that help teams adhere to the twelve principles of Agile.

    Top five Agile techniques employedThe Daily Standup was the most common Agile technique used in organizations. The most notable changes from last year was a decrease in Release Planning (51 percent this year as opposed to 57 percent last year) and an increase in Product Road Mapping (49 percent this year as opposed to 45 percent last year). 

    Top five benefits of adopting Agile

    We see that the top five benefits of adopting Agile are built around speed and adaptability. Project Cost Reduction was last on the list with only 26 percent of the respondents considering it to be the benefit of Agile implementation. 

    Top five Agile methodologies Top five Agile methodologies  The survey shows that Scrum and its variants are the most common methodologies used for Agile implementation. 3 percent of the respondents didn’t have any idea of the methodology used by their organization.  

    Top five Agile project management toolsTop recommended project management toolsRespondents were asked if they would recommend the tools on the basis of their experience. Atlassian JIRA and VersionOne were the most recommended tools. 

    Many organizations still learning to adopt Agilepercentage of teams using AgileThe survey showed that only 18 percent of the organizations implemented Agile for all the teams. 77 percent of the organizations had still not implemented Agile in all the company’s teams. With 5 percent of the organizations yet to adopt Agile, there is clearly plenty of area for growth. 

    Agile maturityWhile 95 percent of organizations have some form of agile process in place, practice maturity and adoption remain a work in progress. Around 50 percent of respondents report that less than half of their teams are using agile, and 84 percent acknowledge that their organizations are below a high level of competencies.  

    Areas of organization practicing AgileAgile practices are not limited to software organizations. The survey data showed that while Software Development continues to be the major area for Agile adoption, other areas like IT and Operations have also started adopting the methodology. Other areas in the organization are yet to take advantage of everything the Agile approach has to offer. 

    As per the respondents, accelerated delivery speed is the most critical measure of the success of Agile initiatives. Next is improved quality, followed by reduced risk and increased customer satisfaction. Reduced IT costs is low on the spectrum with just 39 percent considering it as important for measuring success.  

    Agile success and metricsWhen asked how organizations measure success of Agile transformations, the top measures of success were consistent with those reported over the last few years. Outcomes, customer satisfaction and business value, ranked higher than outputs like on-time delivery and productivity. 

    The survey results for this section remain consistent over the past few years. There might be some ups and downs. But overall, Customer Satisfaction and Business Value are at a higher rank than productivity and on-time delivery. 

    Agile success and metricsAs with Agile transformations, business value delivered, and customer or user satisfaction remained the top two cited measures of success within for individual projects.  

    Methods and approaches of scaling AgileAbout one-third of respondents are applying the Scaled Agile Framework, roughly another third are using other scaling frameworks, and another third stated they didn’t know/other. There appear to be several common challenges scaling agile as over 40 percent of respondents cited six different challenges/barriers with adopting and scaling agile practices. These included: resistance to change, lack of leadership participation, inconsistent processes, misaligned organization versus agile values, inadequate management support, and insufficient training.    

    Challenges experienced when adopting and scaling AgileEnterprises are adopting the framework at a remarkable rate that shows that companies want to get the benefits of a structured framework included in the Lean/Agile BoK of SAFe.  

    The lack of qualified professionals also remains one of the common challenges with insufficient leadership participation (46 percent) at number 2 and lack of experience or skills with Agile methods (41 percent) at number 6.  

    The report also shows that culture is at the primary target of change as it affects the thinking and working of the organization. 

    DevOps practices are a strong partner to agile methodologies, and 69 percent of survey respondents stated that DevOps transformation was either important or very important to their organization. But adoption of DevOps practices lags its important with only 55 percent employing continuous integrations and 41 percent continuous delivery. Only 36 percent practice continuous deployment. 

    The top two benefits targeted are accelerated delivery speed (70 percent) and improved quality (62 percent). But respondents are tackling quality first with 67 percent implementing unit testing and 58 percent coding standards, even higher engineering practices over the 55 percent on continuous integration.  

    More than half of the respondents reported that their organization was already implementing Value Stream Management (VSM) or have plans to do so. VSM is a combination of people, technology, and processes that maps, measures, optimized, visualized, and governs the business value flow using a heterogeneous enterprise delivery pipeline.  

    Each level of automation requires investment and additional work to prove its robustness. There are seven prerequisites before improving release frequencies, and that requires investment in aspects of these seven DevOps practices. Even so, there are questions DevOps teams should answer before increasing deployment frequency. 

    Currently, the Agile approach is predominantly implemented in the software or information technology sector. The benefits an organization can reap once Agile is implemented in other areas as well would be tremendous. 

    Here is a quick summary of key insights from the report: 

    The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a health emergency worldwide. Leaders across industries are moving promptly to protect employees and build resilience, as the impact of the crisis continues to mount. 

    In mid-May 2020, Digital.ai conducted a brief supplemental survey of respondents to learn more about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their Agile adoption. Supplemental findings reveal that: 

    In summary, forecasters continue to predict how long the COVID-19 crisis will last, but it seems inevitable that many organizations will be working remotely for the foreseeable future.Implemented correctly, an agile approach can help remote teams function effectively and build resilience for the future.  

    Following the pandemic, working from home more frequently (perhaps 2-3 days per week) may become an accepted norm for many companies, as this could realize cost efficiencies and prove that an agile, remote working model is productive.

  • Accelerate software delivery (71 percent) 
  • Enhance the ability to manage changing priorities (63 percent) 
  • Increased productivity (51 percent) 
  • Improve business/IT alignment (47 percent) 
  • Enhance software quality (42 percent)  
  • Cost reduction is not anymore one of the primary reasons to adopt the Agile approach. 
  • Identifying technical risk before deployment is considered very valuable by 34 percent of the respondents, which was 22 percent last year. 
  • Greater Agile maturity is correlated to the time of practicing Agile. The length of time since Agile adoption is also related to the increased ability to manage the changing priorities and improved time market. Organizations that have practiced Agile for more than 5 years have a greater percentage of DevOps initiatives and interest in Value Stream Management.  
  • Companies with 20,000 or more people are more likely to have been using Agile for 5 or more years. Companies with less than 1,000 people correlated to a higher percentage of all their teams implementing the Agile approach.  
  • More than half of the respondents stated their companies are either implementing VSM or have plans to do so.  
  • Risk and compliance increased by 54 percent to be the top value to identify and measure technical risk before the deployment begins. 
  • SAFe is the most popular scaling method, increasing 5 percent over the last year. 
  • There was a shift in Agile techniques as release planning decreased by 11 percent while product road-mapping increased by 9 percent. This change can be attributed to the increase in CI/CD and better program increment planning. 
  • Currently, Agile is mainly confined to software development, operations, and the IT sector. However, it is expected that by next year, the organization will expand agility into areas beyond developing, deploying, and maintaining software solutions. 
  • 55 percent say their company plans to increase the use of Agile in the next 12-14 months. This is an increase of 13 percent over the original survey completed just five months ago. 
  • 43 percent of organizations say their momentum for Agile adoption has increased over the past 90 days, with 15 percent saying it has increased significantly. 
  • 33 percent say they increased or expanded Agile adoption in the last 90 days to help manage distributed teams. 
  • Research & References of Key Insights from the 2020 State of Agile Report|A&C Accounting And Tax Services
    Source

    How to re-engage your employees post COVID-19

    How to re-engage your employees post COVID-19

    Slowly, but surely, we are heading back into the office. The world is reopening and we’re ready to embrace it with open arms. After months of lockdown, you might assume that employees are keen to get back to work. Unfortunately, that is not the case. 

    In this guest post, Natalka Antoniuk) shares about the challenge that Quadrant2Design, an exhibition stand company, are facing with no restart date for their industry yet. She shares insights from their experience with tips to re-engage employees and get your business up and running again.

    Employee engagement is key to rebuilding a business however, a study by Dr. Nick Keca shows that on average only 29% of employees in your company are actively engaged. They are loyal, committed, more productive and easier to retain which is why they are vital to business regrowth.

    Employee engagement as per a study by Keka Research

    Employee engagement as per a study by Keka Research  

    A fifth of your employees are actively disengaged. These are the employees that you need to work with. These individuals are physically present but are unhappy and psychologically absent. Furthermore, these employees share their unhappiness with others which can influence others who are not engaged. 

    “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs

    As a business owner, employee engagement might not be at the forefront of your mind given the current situation. With businesses starting back up, and huge VAT reductions to encourage economic growth, you are probably more concerned with customer relations and closing deals.  

    If you don’t actively work towards re-engaging your employees, this might not be possible.

    After almost five months working from home, employees have realized benefits such as saving time and money by not commuting. They are asking for flexible working patterns, the ability to work remotely, and an openness to new working styles.   

    This shift in attitudes is going to have a ripple effect when offices do reopen. Although individuals have missed the social aspect of the office, they have made it clear that they want change. Admittedly restructuring your business amidst a global pandemic isn’t the smartest choice, employers are going to have to do something to keep their staff engaged.  

    Trying to engage your employees, and keep them engaged, was hard before the global pandemic. Now, with the looming recession, job losses, two months of working from home and a virus still in circulation, it is going to be even harder.
    How do you engage employees?How do you engage employees?

    Nevertheless, the traditional methods that employers have used for years will still be effective and shouldn’t be ignored in your struggle to reengage your team. Reopening your office will take some getting used to after the lockdown. Trying to keep on top of the basic pillars of engagement will go a long way towards keeping your employees happy and motivated. 

    Employees are more engaged when they feel like their contribution has been recognized. Although remuneration, benefits and rewards are common ways to show your employee that your value their input, you might not be financially stable enough to give these kind of rewards post-COVID. So, what do you do? 

    Fortunately, over 80% of employees value recognition above any rewards or gifts. As long as your employees feel like you appreciate the work they are doing, they will be more actively engaged.  

    The type of recognition that you give your staff also matters. Over two-thirds of people believe recognition as an individual was more motivating than recognition as a team.Almost 90% of people find praise from their managers to be very or extremely motivation. And three quarters said the same thing about praise from their peers. 

    Recognizing your employees and praising them for their contributions doesn’t cost you any time or money. Look at everything that has been achieved whilst we’ve all had to work from home and get ready to offer individual praise when your doors finally reopen. 

    Employees are more engaged if they feel like there is the potential to grow and develop their career within your organisation. In fact, the majority of people listed opportunities for growth as a more motivating reason to stay at a company than receiving a pay rise.  

    This is why employee engagement tends to be better in a growing company, as staff members understand the correlation between business growth and new job opportunities. The problem that most businesses will have is that the post-pandemic recession is likely to halt any growth. 

    Whether you are open with your employees or not, there will always be tell-tale signs whether your business is growing or taking a hit. If your staff feel like the business is struggling financially, they will likely disengage quickly. Although growth and career progression might not be on the cards right now, job security is becoming increasingly important as we enter a global recession. 

    Where possible, you need to make every member of staff feel like their job is safe. If you have made any redundancies, then they will likely feel insecure about their position within your organisation. Continue offering praise and recognition for their work so that they feel confident within their role at your company. 

    Without a doubt, the easiest and most effective way to keep your team motivated and engaged is to provide a fun working environment. Nine out of ten employees list fun working environments to be very or extremely motivating.  

    This doesn’t mean that you need to turn your office into a trendy London agency or Google HQ overnight. Simply building strong relationships and encouraging their out-of-work hobbies can go a long way. Most people are just looking for a healthy work environment. 

    Fun with employeesFun with employees

    Remember, the vast majority of people have enjoyed the time and money that they have saved by working from home. They have had more time to develop new hobbies and will likely be looking for a better workand life balance.  

    One of the things you can do to create a more fun working environment is open new avenues of communication. Make your employees feel comfortable coming to you to discuss ideas like flexible working. In building relationships with immediate supervisors and colleagues, your employees will be happier, more motivated and you will notice increased employee engagement.

    One of the problems business owners are facing is the shift in attitudes that has led to previously engaged employees feeling unmotivated and disengaged. With all of the changes that 2020 has already brought, employees are looking for a sense of normality. Having spent months out of the office only to return to a new socially-distanced environment will take its toll. 

    It is understandable when you look at the three pillars of employee engagement listed above. For months, each team member has been working from home without their colleagues around them. This segregation will have led to a decrease in praise and recognition both from management and on a peer-to-peer level. 

    Furthermore, they are likely to have lost confidence in their job security. With media headlines focussing on the looming recession and the vast number of job losses, many employees are worried about the safety of their own roles.  

    Finally, any element of fun that was provided in your work environment before has been stripped bare by the 2m social distancing requirements, plastic screens and lingering smell of hand sanitiser. Employees got used to a life working from home where they had more free time available for their family and new hobbies. Now they are back in the office with regulations in place to stop any kind of relationship building.  

    Of course, the measures we listed above will help you overcome these difficulties. But the truth is that you have a lot of things to consider at the moment. This is a global pandemic and you’re working hard making the right business decisions. Nobody blames you for letting employee engagement slip. But in doing so, you will cause more damage to your business.

    Expect unengaged employees Expect unengaged employees

    It is much harder to motivate an individual who has recently become disengaged. Although we can make assumptions as to why this has happened, you can never be completely sure. That means no employer will ever know a quick fix. 

    The problem is, once an individual becomes disengaged it is hard to get them back on course. A disengaged employee isn’t satisfied with the job that they are doing, they don’t find it exciting and they spend their day clock watching.  

    Under normal circumstance, when an employee reaches this point, they are likely to be searching for a new job. In the current situation, disengaged employees may feel trapped or threatened by the decreasing job pool. This can lead to further problems down the line as they will vocalise their issues to the other employees, and their negative attitude could start to rub off. 

    Although you don’t want negative people on your team, cutting staff could lead to further disengagement. It is also incredibly cost-effective to actively reengage a current member off staff rather than recruiting new people. So how should you do this? 

    Okay, so you might not be in the best situation to start promoting your employees and dishing out pay raises and bonuses – but you can still let your staff know that their position within your business is safe. 

    Encouraging your staff to attend training programs that enable them to develop new skills will make them feel appreciated. It shows that you intend to have them working for you in the future, giving them a sense of job security.   

    Share all the company news, good and bad, with your employees. In doing so, you are telling everyone that they are a valuable member of the team. It will help them to engage with the business, company goals, and align themselves with your mission and values. 

    Furthermore, you may find a handful of hidden talents hiding amongst your team. When an employee is disengaged, they pass the day by doing the bare minimum and clock watching. Engaged employees go above and beyond for their company. By being open about the current business situation, your team will become more actively engaged and could even provide solutions to company problems. 

    Your business goals will have to be adjusted to help you face the crisis. You may find your product offering, your distribution methods or your marketing strategy have to change. If you are open with your employees, they will already understand that their roles may change slightly moving forward. 

    Make this transition easier by sitting down with each of your employees to discuss their new roles and setting clear expectations, goals and objectives. In doing so, you reiterate the importance of every member of staff and they feel more secure in their job roles with clear targets to work towards. 

    At Quadrant2Design, we are patiently awaiting a reopen date for our industry. Normally at this time of year we are busy designing exhibition stands, however our day-to-day working pattern has changed. Rather than designing stands, we have been creating free resources to help individuals with their exhibition planning and budgeting.  

    It has been a great exercise for our highly creative team, and something that has seen different groups working together. Overall, we have found this to be extremely helpful in re-engaging our employees. 

    Believe it or not, your employees want to engage at work. Nobody wants to be sat at a desk clock watching for a third of their life. Engaging your team will not only boost your business but make your office a better place to work. 

    The truth of the matter is your employees will find it much easier to stay motivated and engaged at work if you provide the right atmosphere for them to do so. You can do this by following everything that we have outlined above.   

    Providing an open atmosphere by working on colleague relationships, particularly with supervisors and managers, and keeping the team up to date with the current business situation will be key to this. Furthermore, adjusting to the changing attitudes of staff by encouraging hobbies and becoming more flexible may also benefit engagement. 

    Offer employees the opportunity to grow and develop their career, even if you currently are not in a financial situation to promote and reward them. Letting employees know that their job is safe and there will soon be an opportunity to progress will also be key to maintaining employee engagement.  

    Finally, take it upon yourself to have a one-to-one with every individual. It could be that their job role has changed as you’ve had to adapt your business offering. Set your expectations and give them personal goals and targets to work towards in this new role. Keeping everyone on board will be crucial in business regrowth post-COVID19.

    Research & References of How to re-engage your employees post COVID-19|A&C Accounting And Tax Services
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    How to slash the high cost of software defects

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    Software defects continue to make their way into production, despite efforts to detect and resolve them before they are released. Unfortunately, bugs in production software can have a negative impact on the business, regardless of severity.

    Even low-impact defects can have a cumulative effect on your brand. But according to a new Harris Poll study of 200 developers and managers in large software suppliers, organizations that use agile and DevOps methodologies have reduced the number of production defects, and the defects that do get through are less serious.

    Here are several key takeaways from the report, as well as practical tips to help you reduce both the number and impact of production defects

    Agile software development grew out of frustration with software development methods that had a significant time lag between defining the software’s objectives and delivering the final product.

    Developers were looking for a way to build working software quickly, and get feedback from users that could help improve the product. This was win-win, because users saw value early on, and developers received faster feedback, which helped them refine their focus.

    In agile and DevOps, testing happens earlier, so defects are identified and resolved sooner. While some bugs will continue to escape into production, there are fewer than in waterfall software projects. Furthermore, if you happen to discover a defect in production, you can fix it faster when it’s an agile or DevOps project.

    Of course, a more definitive study would be obtained by repeating the same project in both agile and waterfall, and comparing the results. But that doesn’t happen, certainly not in industry. Therefore, it’s not really possible to state conclusively that there would be fewer production defects in a specific project if the project was done with agile as opposed to be waterfall.

    However, it is possible to look at the impact that production defects can have, which is what the Harris poll did.

    The survey categorized defect impacts into three levels: low-impact, defects with little or no impact on users or revenue; medium-impact, which affect some users or activities; and high-impact, which have a widespread impact on users, affect key activities, or cause loss of revenue.

    Respondents were asked to estimate the distribution of defects found in production across these three impact categories, in waterfall and agile/DevOps projects.

    In waterfall, there was an approximately even distribution across the different categories. On average, 38% of defects had a low impact, 32% had a medium impact, and 30% had a high impact. Agile/DevOps projects have a similar proportion of medium-impact defects (33%), but there is a clear tendency toward more low-impact defects (40%), and just 27% of production defects have a high impact.

    (Authors’ note: While the sample size here is small, and the analysis is representative only of those who completed the survey, these results should still be of interest. We plan to follow up with a more comprehensive study in the future, with a much larger sample size.)

    While agile and DevOps do not eliminate defects from appearing in production, any defects that do make it into production are more likely to have a low impact.

    Realistically speaking, there will always be defects that escape into production. But is it worth addressing low-impact defects, given that by definition, they have little or no impact on users or revenue? 

    The survey presented several statements to respondents, and asked them to rate their level of agreement with each. Some 84% respondents agreed with the statement that “a single low-impact defect usually has a low effect on brand reputation, but many low-impact defects may have a significant effect.” At the same time, 47% of respondents considered a defect worth fixing only if it caused an outage or data loss.

    The lesson here is that an isolated low-impact defect might not be worth fixing. But if several defects are discovered in production, they may have a cumulative, detrimental effect on your brand’s reputation even if they don’t disrupt business continuity.

    People often talk about the cost of defects, but rarely do they quantify that cost. The survey listed factors that might contribute to that cost and asked the respondents to rate them. These included:

    While each factor contributed in some way to the overall cost, 61% of respondents said that security risks contributed the most. 

    The survey categorized defects into three areas: functional, performance, and security. Respondents were asked to rate the contribution of a few elements on the business impact, for each of the defect categories. These elements included:

     

    In waterfall, functional defects mainly affect revenue, while performance defects can result in regulatory fines. Security defects, however, affect both almost equally.

    In agile/DevOps, security defects affect revenue and brand reputation more than anything, and these have more of an effect than do functional and performance defects.

    The survey examined these three categories of defect in detail, as well as the impact of defects discovered at different stages of the lifecycle, for both waterfall and agile/DevOps scenarios. 

    There is a widely held belief that defects discovered in production are more costly to fix than if found earlier in the process. The data in this study supports this, and while agile/DevOps does not prevent defects from reaching production, those that do get through tend to be lower-impact defects than those produced when following a waterfall development methodology.

    Also, it takes less time to fix defects in agile/DevOps than it does with waterfall.

    Here are the key takeaways:

    Follow these recommendations and you’ll help your organization reduce the number of defects that escape into production, and mitigate the negative affect of defects on your brand. To learn more, download the study here (registration required). 

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    Research & References of How to slash the high cost of software defects|A&C Accounting And Tax Services
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    AI in testing: 13 essential resources for QA pros

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    What if you could make software testing simple? What if it could be done without all the conversations, questions, defect reports, and metrics?

    We’ve been promised artificial intelligence (AI) as the solution to all problems related to testing, especially by those who have never tested—those who believe that what we do as testers is little more than tapping screens to make comparisons.

    Although I’ve stated that AI is coming and will change software testing forever (eventually), we’re not there yet—not even close. But that doesn’t mean we can’t use AI to support our testing efforts.

    Finding tools that meet your needs, and help with getting accurate information about systems under test, is key. Sharing all this clearly with those who can make decisions is fundamental to our maturity as a profession. 

    It’s time to use AI in your testing. Here are 13 resources for learning about, understanding, and using it effectively.

    Before using any AI in your testing (or testing apps with AI built in), it’s helpful to learn the basics. Here are several approachable resources for learning about AI.

     

    He had me at “in a hurry”! This five-and-a-half-minute video by independent consultant Raj Ramesh gives one of the best descriptions of AI as a discipline within computer science that I’ve heard. What’s better is he does it with simple visualizations, so the ideas stick. Ramesh clearly describes, defines, and organizes machine learning, neural networks, natural-language processing, and much more.

    You don’t have to be a mathematician or computer scientist to understand the field and disciplines within it.

     

    If you want a clear understanding of machine learning, this video by Angie Jones, senior developer advocate at Applitools, is helpful. Not only does Jones share what machine learning is; she also points out how genuinely stupid it can be! 

    If you’re using AI in your testing, make sure to watch this. Just because you’re using AI doesn’t mean it’s doing what you think it is, or even what you want.

    Data scientist David Fumo provides a deep dive into neural networks and a tutorial to create your first neural network in Python.

    Buckle up—this one is intense.

    With the basics covered, here are some resources for applying AI specifically to testing.

     

    Tech-career coach and former developer advocate Raj Subramanian spoke about AI and its impact on testing at the Selenium Conference in Chicago in 2018. This presentation will help you see how AI is influencing test automation, especially the use of Selenium and where Subramanian believes AI is headed in the future.

    In 2016, I attended a conference where five executives on a panel all said that AI would take over testing. I wanted to understand if they were correct, so I did the research and put together this talk, sharing it at several conferences in the US and Canada during 2017 and later. 

    The cornerstone of testing is trust. For testing to be of value, we have to trust the output from testing. So how do we trust AI testing?

    Tariq King, chief scientist at test.ai, addresses this question at Automation Guild in 2019 with his “Test Machina” talk. 

    As already mentioned, to use AI effectively in testing, we have to get familiar with it. Here are some apps and tools that have nothing to do with testing; people can use these to get a sense of what AI does.

    Okay, this one is fun

    In Subramanian’s presentation described above, he uses this Google tool. In it, you’re challenged to draw an object in 20 seconds. During that time, the AI attempts to guess what the drawing is.

    One great way to get familiar with something is play, and this tool is fun for that.

    Teachable Machine is another experiment from Google. The site allows you to try out training models for machine learning. Classify sample videos, photos, or sounds to train the machine-learning algorithms. Then try it out and see how it works. 

    Of course I had to try this! The site allows using your own video cam to record images. I created images holding up an unsolved Rubik’s Cube, a partially solved cube, and a solved cube, all from different angles. Then I classified the images into two groups—solved and unsolved.

    It did a remarkable job of classifying new images of the cube in new configurations. Of course, as a tester, I couldn’t help but try to confuse it, and I did.

    Teachable Machine is excellent for quickly setting up machine learning and doing experiments with it. Learn how AI like such as could be working for you or against you. If you’re using AI-enabled testing now or are considering it, this would be a great way to get familiar with the ups and downs of ML.

    ML is the most boundless area for exploratory testing I’ve found.

    Know your tools.

    WEKA is the Waikato Environment for Knowledge Analysis, built and maintained by New Zealand’s University of Waikato. Use it to explore data with machine learning. You can use different ML algorithms, configure them, and train them on datasets.

    WEKA was the first tool I used to begin understanding ML. While the user interface has room for improvement, don’t judge a book by its cover. The power of the tool far outweighs its looks.

    Here’s a better description from the WEKA site:

    The WEKA workbench is a collection of machine learning algorithms and data preprocessing tools that includes virtually all the algorithms described in our book. It is designed so that you can quickly try out existing methods on new datasets in flexible ways. It provides extensive support for the whole process of experimental data mining, including preparing the input data, evaluating learning schemes statistically, and visualizing the input data and the result of learning.

    I was blown away to find only one meetup on AI in testing. Maybe it’s time to start one in your town?

    Meetups are an awesome way to learn, and because of the pandemic, most meetups are now virtual, meaning you can join them from anywhere.

    The only AI in testing meetup I found is the one hosted in Santa Clara, California. Last month, they talked about “Creating a Deployable Jira Bug Classifier using Tensorflow.” I can’t wait to see what’s next for this group!

    Most AI tools are commercial, for a couple reasons. The amount of effort teams put into building AI tools for testing is huge, and the payoff for customers could outweigh the price many times over. Kevin Surace, CTO of Appvance, explained that his company’s AI tool consists of about 4 million lines of code and took approximately 250,000 engineering-hours to develop.

    I believe there will be more AI-based, test-assist tools in the open-source market over the next few years. But for now, here are a few tools that may help.

     

    Test.ai classifiers use machine learning to match elements on a webpage. These classifiers are available in a number of different languages.

    Want to use a machine-learning API for a testing idea of your own? TensorFlow is one of the go-to APIs out there for quickly implementing ML models. 

    TensorFlow makes it easy for beginners and experts to create machine learning models. See the sections below to get started.

     

    AGENT is an acronym for “AI Generation and Exploration in Test.” Find this bot generator for testing your sites in Tariq King’s repos on GitHub. 

    AGENT, using training data from AGENT-X, autonomously learns to explore a website and evaluate its actions, fields, and forms. AGENT deploys one or more exploration and testing agents to explore a web application and apply test flows as testable patterns are recognized.

    Enjoy these resources and make sure to let me know in the comments field, below, which AI tools you’re using for testing.

    Get up to speed on using AI with test automation in TechBeacon’s Guide

    Find out the top four benefits of AI-powered testing in this Webinar.

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    Download the free report “Agile and DevOps Reduces Volume, Cost, and Impact of Production Defects”.

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    Advantages and Disadvantages of Angular

    Advantages and Disadvantages of Angular

    Angular is a frontend web application development framework based on TypeScript, built by folks at Google and heavily contributed to by a huge community of developers around the world. It is a Single Page Application (SPA) framework, which means that Angular is capable and is primarily used to build single page web applications or SPAs.

    Angular logoAngular logo

    Angular is developed by the same team of individuals that developed the popular framework AngularJS. The modern Angular requires you to have knowledge of the Typescript language which is a strict syntactical superset of JavaScript and adds optional static typing and some other features to the language that otherwise JavaScript lacks. 

    The AngularJS framework was re-written and called “Angular 2”, but this led to a lot of confusion and panicwithin the developer community. To clarify, the Angular team started to use separate terms for each framework. At this point, “AngularJS” now referred to the 1.X versions and “Angular” without the “JS” referred to versions 2 and up. Since then, all the versions of the framework other than 1.X are just called Angular. You can, however, mention the version number to be more precise. 

    TypeScript is designed for development of large applications and transpiles to JavaScript. As TypeScript is a superset of JavaScript, existing JavaScript programs are also valid TypeScript programs. So, you can still use JavaScript in your TypeScript code files, but please do not do that. 

    In this article, we will take a closer look at how Angular has evolved into one the mostpopular web development frameworks and understand its pros, cons, features and more. We will leave you with a few quick tips and suggest how you can get started with understanding Angular indepth to achieve mastery over the subject. 

    AngularJS was the first version of the framework, created by Google, that first came out in 2010and it shook the developer community. There were so many amazing features that AngularJS offered. Most talked and loved of all the features that it offered was two-way binding between the view and the model.  

    So, it let us developers get rid of a lot of useless code to set up bindings and keep the view and model in sync at all times. AngularJS was golden. AngularJS became very popular within the developer community and was widely adopted.It received a lot of traction. Still, the team decided to take another step further and developed a new version which was initially named Angular 2 but later was called Angular without the “JS” part. 

    Soon after, in 2014, Angular 2.0 was announced which was a complete rewrite of the framework from scratch and unlike AngularJS that used JavaScript as the primary language, it used TypeScript. A final version of the framework, Angular 2, was released in 2016. Later, it was renamed to Angular to avoid conflicts and confusions within the developer community.  

    A lot of new changes were brought in and developers had to learn it all over again which was a tough change but was welcomed by the community. Angular opted for semantic versioning and from now on, all versions of Angular will just be called Angular. 

    Near the end of 2016, Angular 4 came out (yeah, they skipped Angular 3 to avoid some conflicts and confusions). With a few more major versions and performance upgrades in each version, we have now arrived (at the time of writing of this article) to Angular 9.  

    Angular 9 has better than ever performance and latest features. In these intermediate versions, there have been updates to the performance, CLI features, progressive-web app features, router, and a lot more. They even upgraded to a better rendering engine in Angular 9. 

    Angular 10, a major upgrade to the popular web development framework, has reached the release candidate stage, with six release candidates published as of June 17, 2020. The upgrade to the Google-developed, TypeScript-based framework focuses more on ecosystem improvements than new features. 

    Angular hascome a long way since 2012. There are benefits to using the framework and there are some drawbacks as well, especially if you are a beginner. Let us talk about the good things first. 

    The best things about Angular is that it is developed and maintained by Google. As it is backed by a trusted company, trust is well established within the community. Developers believe in the framework and in the fact that it will be maintained, and issues will be resolved, of course withthe help of community contributions. 

    Angular is actively maintained and has a large community and ecosystem. You can find lots of material on this framework as well as many useful third-party tools. Currently, Angular has around over 63K stars on GitHub, a clear indication of the popularity of the framework. 

    Angular is one of the most popular frameworks

    Github   

    Two-way data binding in Angular will help users to exchange data from the component to view and from view to the component. It will help users to establish communication bi-directionally. Two-way data binding can be achieved using a ngModel directive in Angular. This ensures that the model and the view are always kept in sync without any extra effort. 

    Angular opted for TypeScript as the primary programming language. TypeScript adds a lot of syntactic sugar to JavaScript. With TypeScript, we also get several productivity benefits. In editors like VS Code and WebStorm, we have access to robust code help (intellisense) as we type, making it easier to discover types, the features they offer, and most importantly the common syntactical errors.

    TypeScript is a typed superset of JavaScript that compiles to plain JavaScriptTypeScript is a typed superset of JavaScript that compiles to plain JavaScript

    Internationalization is the process of making sure that an application is designed and prepared to be used in regions with different languages. Localization is the process of translating your internationalized app into specific languages for particular locales. Angular can take care of most things when it comes to multiple languages. Dates, numbers, times, and other things are easily taken care of based on the locale. On top of that, the Angular CLI allows us to install the @angular/localize package and generate most of the boilerplate code necessary. 

    An Angular module is a logical unit of code that performs a certain task or takes care of a certain responsibility in the application. A normal Angular application can be broken down into multiple modules, where each module is delegated a certain responsibility. A module can comprise of components, pipes, directives or more modules.  

    Breaking down an application into modules not only allows to easily manage an application as it grows, but also offers huge performance advantages. Instead of loading all the application code at once in the browser which may cause more loading time and a slower initial render of the web page, it loads only what is necessary. This is called lazy loading.  

    Only the modules that are required are loaded initially and more modules or rather chunks of code are loaded as an when required. This offers seamless performance and smaller loading times.
     
    Every Angular app has at least one NgModule class, the root module which is responsible to bootstrap the project. Conventionally, it is named AppModule and itresides in a file named app.module.ts.  

    Dependency injection or DI is one of the most important application design patterns and Angular has its own dependency injection framework. It is typically used in the design of Angular applications to increase their efficiency and modularity. This is closely related to the previous point – modularization of the Angular app.  
     
    Dependencies are services or objects that a class needs to perform its function. The class requests services from an external resource, generally another module or class in this case, instead of creating them themselves. This allows us to delegate single responsibility to each module.
     
    The advantage of dependency injection design pattern is to divide the task into multiple services. The class will not create the dependent object itself, rather it will be created and injected by an Angular injector. Dependency Injection is technique that is used to reduce the coupling amongst various components of an application. Looser coupling allows for better testability and maintainability. 

    Routing or in-app navigation in Angular is taken care of by the Angular Router. It is a module available in the @angular/router package. Angular router is a very powerful and flexible navigational service. It usesa component called router-outlet to load various components into the view depending upon the URL in the browser.  

    Angular Router has built-in support for lazy loading components, so the modules are loaded from the server as the user navigates within the app. Huge apps have a lot of benefits because of this feature.  

    Angular was the first framework that was supported by the Ionic framework. It allows building cross-platform mobile applications for Android and iOS using the Ionic components and Angular code. As of now, more frameworks like ReactJS and VueJS are also supported but still, Angular is widely used with the Ionic framework for mobile application development.

    Angular is widely used with the Ionic framework for mobile app developmentAngular is widely used with the Ionic framework for mobile app development

    There is a huge repository of open-source packages available for Angular developers. Some of the most important packages are NgBootstrap, Angular Google Maps, NgRx, NgTranslate, AngularFire, NgxTextEditor, Angular Material, Ng2 Pdf Viewer, NgxCharts, and many more. Some of these packages are maintained by the official Angular team and most of these are taken care of by the community of developers as well. It is most likely that if you are looking to build a complex feature or a component for your application, a package already exists for you, so why reinvent the wheel? 

    So, we have seen the good things about Angular, but there is another side to the story as well. Let us talk about some of the downsides of using one of the most popular web development framework. 

    While Angular is great, it may not be the case for a complete beginner. Even if you have experience with HTML, CSS and JS, you may feel a little bit uncomfortable with the steep learning curve that it has. It brings its own notions and philosophy to the table that you need to work around.  

    Angular is an opinionated framework which means that it has its own rules that developers need to learn and follow. This can be a good and a bad thing, but the learning curve can be uncomfortable for total beginners. I would recommend that you stay patient and start slow. Slow and steady! 

    Angular is just great for building powerful single-page web applications. However, as with all single-page web applications, there is a disadvantage when it comes to search engine optimization.  
     
    Usually single-page applications are rendered on the client side and therefore web crawlers of search engines like Google and Bing are not able to see the complete structure and content of the individual pages of the websites. With this limitation in place,it is not possible to list your website correctly in search engine results.  

    However, there are techniques and packages to make this work, but it is an extra effort in terms of development. Angular universal is a way to render the Angular application of the server itself. The technology enables server-side rendering for Angular applications. Angular Universal generates static application pages on the server through a process called server-side rendering. 

    While Angular universal takes care of most aspects, it still requires a lot of setup. If you prefer to do it all manually, there are documents available to help you do that but there are gotchas that you need to watch out for. 

    Angular has been evolving. It started out as a JavaScript framework AngularJS and now the current version is Angular 9 with a total of 6 major releases in between. This can cause confusion especially for beginners. 

    Many a time, beginners struggle to understand the versioning. I have seen students learning a version of the framework, latest at the time, and by the time they finish their first project, a new major release is out. This causes trust issues. Developers, at times, feel that they must keep working on their apps and resolve version conflicts and compatibility issues. 

    With the advent of newer frameworks like VueJS and ReactJS, Angular has seen a downfall in its popularity. Just a few years ago, developers were mainly debating on whether they should be using Angular or React for their projects. But over the course of the last couple of years, we saw a growth of interest in a third player called VueJS or Vue.js.
     
    While the job market in Angular continues to expand, it has been observed that the popularity of the framework has been declining. I believe that too many versions is one of the main issues that the framework needs to address. 

    If you are building a simple app, there is a lot of boilerplate code that the application requires. Although with tools like StackBlitz, it has become easier to try code ideas and experiment without having to install anything on your computer, but if you decide to start developing an Angular app on your system, you need to install a bunch of things and the most simple “Hello World!” application will have a lot of code that you do not care about. 

    Let us take a closer look at what is in store for us in the Angular 9 version of the framework. We will delve into the latest version of Angular 10, released in June 2020, in a separate blog post. 

    The official Angular website offers a step-by-step guide on how to upgrade your existing apps to the latest version. 

    Step-by-step guide

    Guide

    Ivy is the code name for Angular’s next-generation compilation and rendering engine. With the version 9 release of Angular, the new compiler and runtime instructions are used by default instead of the older compiler and runtime, known as View Engine. You can, however, disable Ivy if you still want to use View Engine for your app. It is a huge milestone for the framework. Ivy offers faster build times and small build sizes. It also offers a new change detection system.

    The important point is that we don’t have to change how we write our applications. Ivy aims to be compatible with the existing applications. Ivy is going to be smaller, simpler, and faster as quoted by the Angular team.  

    In the demo shown by Miško Hevery, the creator of the AngularJS framework,in ngConf 2018, the Hello World application was merely 3.2KB which is significantly small although 3.2KB is the result after minification + gzip.

    Total bundle SizeTotal bundle Size

    Ivy compiles one file at a time and therefore follows the locality principle. Ivy looks at a component’s template when generating the compiled output. This process leads to faster compilation. Ivy makes sure that, if you are not using something in Angular, it does not get included. Since Ivy pipelining is simplified, templates will be part of the stack trace.  

    No more cryptic error messages when something is broken in our template syntax as we will see the exact line number where the error is. 

    The Ivy compiler has been designed to remove parts of Angular code that aren’t being used via a mechanism called tree-shaking and to generate less code for each Angular component. With these improvements, small apps and large apps can see the most dramatic size savings. 

    In Angular 9, AOT is enabled for Dev build as well. The Angular ahead-of-time (AOT) compiler converts your Angular HTML and TypeScript code into efficient JavaScript code during the build phase before the browser downloads and runs that code.  

    Compiling your application during the build process provides a faster rendering in the browser. AOT allows faster rendering of the application and also makes sure that there are a lot less asynchronous requests. According to the docs, AOT compilation with Ivy is faster and should be used by default. 

    Before Angular 9, we could only lazy load modules. Now, you can also lazy load components. It is a great way to shrink the size of your main bundle and boost the initial load of your application. Lazy loading of single components has not been possible so far. But things have changed with Ivy.  

    The latest version of the TypeScript is 3.7 and Angular 9 is updated to work with TypeScript 3.6 and 3.7. Angular 9 supports usage of the same TypeScript Diagnostics format for the TypeScript Compiler diagnostics, which will generate more descriptive error messages. 

    According to the official docs – “In TypeScript 3.7, when opening a project with dependencies, TypeScript will automatically use the source . ts / . tsx files instead. This means projects using project references will now see an improved editing experience where semantic operations are up-to-date and “just work”. 

    Angular 9 supports CSS variables or custom properties. CSS variables or custom properties allowsdevelopers to define their own variables for CSS values that can be shared between components and style rules.  

    CSS custom properties or CSS variables allow the CSS property values to be changed at runtime. The possibility that the CSS custom properties can be updated during runtimeopens the opportunity to easily create themes for newer Angular application.  

    Angular is a framework used for front-end development. This involves the client-side of the application and has little to do with the back end. 

    Are you ready to take on the best and become a master of the Angular framework? Check out the Angular Training and Certification which comes with instructor-led live training and real-life project experience.  

    This training will help you understand Angular in-depth and help you achieve mastery over the subject. 

  • Angular is best utilized for completing advanced, large-scale projects under the direction of a seasoned developer. 
  • Angular is created for enterprise-scale applications. 
  • Angular elements can be added to projects that were built using a different platform, such as React or Polymer. 
  • Angular is supported by Google. 
  • This program is not up to par with SEO best practices, so if your primary focus is search engine optimization, opt for a different platform. 
  • Angular is a JavaScript framework—not a JS Library.
  • Angular ranked second in “most used technology” in the Stack Overflow Survey of 2018.  
  • Research & References of Advantages and Disadvantages of Angular|A&C Accounting And Tax Services
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    The Ultimate Guide to Sprint Planning

    The Ultimate Guide to Sprint Planning

    The Scrum framework has been popular lately and several studies have provedthat the global share of Scrum is more than 50%. One of the reasons for the phenomenal success of Scrum lies in its ceremonies, one of its key pillars.  

    Scrum has three critical components that create the structure or a skeleton and provides a way of working to the teams and individual, namely, roles, artifacts, and ceremonies. 

    Scrum roles, artifacts and ceremonies

    Scrum has four different ceremonies to support Agile software delivery where the Sprint starts with planning and ends with the retrospective. Let us quickly talk about the four ceremonies and then we will start with our topic of the day and deep dive more into Sprint planning. 

    The event is intended to bring together everyone in the scrum team and talk about what the accomplished last, what is the plan for today and is there any impediment. This event can be categorized under daily planning and collaborative team effort to attain the scrum goal. 

    This event occurs at the start of the Sprint where the team together decides on the Sprint backlog and gains consensus on the sprint goal. They also talk about the estimation, capacity, risk, dependencies, and the timeline. This event is facilitated by the scrum master and occurs once in every Sprint. 

    This is the second last event in the print where the team showcases the entire deliverable they have been working throughout this print. This is the time when the stakeholders look at the finished product and provide their feedback. The event provides an effective platform for a collaborative approach with the client towards software delivery. 

    This is one of my favorite events in Scrum, though the ceremony looks simple, if done correctly, it can yield tremendous results. It provides the team with a chance to pause and check which things are working, what is not, and how can they improve moving forward. 

    Scrum ceremoniesScrum ceremonies

    Each of the ceremonies can be elaborated more as they are deep and dense. This article serves as an in-depthguide on Sprint planning for Scrum practitioners. 

    Sprint planning can be thought of as a ‘green flag’ that gives a go-ahead to the train called “Sprint”. The purpose of this meeting is to provide the sprint goal and ‘how’ that can be delivered. This is the first meeting that takes place in a Sprint where the scrum team comes together to create the Sprint backlog within a “time-box”, this time-box depends on the iteration length, if the iteration is of two weeks, the time-box can be up to four hours for a team of seven to nine people.  

    During the Sprint planning meeting, the product owner describes the objective of the sprint and what product backlog items can be utilized to reach that objective. Consequently, the scrum team decides how to work on ‘how’ to get the goal achieved. 

    The sprint planning meeting is divided into two parts, first part, constitutes discussion on the sprint backlog creation and the second part revolves around the capacity and estimation. The product owner must keep the product backlog stays in a healthy state, it is prioritized and has the right requirements for the team to work on. The team should also be aware of their capacity and velocity to make appropriate Sprint commitment. 

    Spring Planning meeting agendaSpring Planning meeting agenda

    The spring planning meeting is attended by the product owner, the development team, and the scrum master. All three roles are mandatory to run this meeting.  

    The product owner defines the objective of the sprint and supports the development team with the product backlog. In turn, the development team talks about ‘how’ to deliver and the approach they could take. They can also inform the product owner if the requirement is not doable (at times, the requirements might not be technologically feasible, in such cases the team can discuss the same with the product owner). The Scrum Master takes up the facilitation of the event, they make sure the team sits with an effective ‘input’ and comes out with an efficient ‘output’. 

    The Product Backlog serves as the ‘Input’ for the Sprint Planning meeting. It provides the development team with the starting point as it contains the list of requirements for delivery. The Product Backlog is owned by the product owner and hence the responsibility of keeping it up-to-date falls within their purview. The team starts with the highest priority item in the list, clear doubts (if any) and add it up to the Sprint Backlog. To make proper sprint commitment, the team should know their capacity and velocity. 

    The sprint planning meeting intends to generate a sprint goal and backlog. The output also defines the ’how’ approach, which the team will take to reach its goal. The team must understand the value of this event, as this draws a path for sprint success. The Scrum Master can help the team and the product owner to come up with an effective plan through their facilitation skills.

    Input and output of the Sprint Planning MeetingInput and output of the Sprint Planning Meeting

    As with other events, the sprint planning meeting has a set agenda and timebox which the team must follow diligently. A healthy backlog is a key to efficacious sprint planning, which means, the Product Owner always must maintain and keep the backlog updated. The team needs to be aware of the available capacity and the targeted velocity this helps in coming up with the correct commitment during the Sprint planning session. 

    A backlog is a list of requirements from the client to create the desired product. It contains new features, enhancements, bugs, Infrastructure changes, or any architectural requirement. Any work that is related to a product should be in the backlog.  

    Backlog items are placed in a prioritized list manner Every item in the backlog has an estimate it can either be a high-level estimate or the exact/close estimate, depending on where it falls in the list. Usually, the top few items in the bucket have more clarity, details, and close estimates as compared to the items down in the list. 

    Velocity is unique for every team; no two teams can have the same velocity. Every organization has a different approach towards velocity, ideally, the teams should take an average of the last five sprints. The average formula works for the teams who have been in the system for long or they have spent at least eight to ten sprints as a team.  

    Usually, velocity-based planning is done with mature teams who are aware of the product and they are good at process. With new teams, the ideal approach relies on the completed stories vs accepted stories ratio. 

    Capacity is determined by available working hours in the sprint timeline which also takes into consideration, the leaves, any holidays, and contingency hours (if required). Capacity directly impacts the output as a team and helps them during Sprint commitment.  

    While Agile development is more of a mindset than a methodology, checklists can help guidetheproduct owner, the development team, and the scrum master as they plan and execute sprints. 

    Sprint planning preparation 

    A few days out from the actual sprint planning meeting: 

    Sprint planning meeting 

    Here is a quick checklist to help you plan the Sprint Plan. You can modify and adapt as necessary.

    The planning meeting intends to come up with Sprint goal and sprint commitment which is in the form of Sprint backlog. This backlog contains a list of stories, bugs, enhancements, etc. as required by the product owner. The output of the Sprint planning meeting is also to define the approach, the task, and other activities required to achieve the Sprint goal.  

    Everything that needs to be done is part of the Sprint backlog, by the end of Sprint planning meeting the team should have a solid plan with the ownership This output is further shared with the stakeholders, management and within the team which not only helps in being transparent but it also supports the team to stay focused. 

    Scrum focuses on time boxing and hence Sprint planning also requires control over the time limit for the event. As per the industry standards, a sprint of two weeks should be time-boxed for a maximum of 4 hours. The scrum master is responsible for making sure the team sticks to the timing and helps them in coming up with the plan. Spend planning can be an exhaustive ceremony where the team brainstorms, discusses the requirements and ownership.  

    With great facilitation skills, the scrum master can ask the team to start with an item they know well and subsequently move forward. The team can utilize various estimation techniques to define a number or a story point for each requirement. They can use T-shirt sizing, poker planning, or any other technique they are comfortable with. For effective estimation, the team needs an environment that is transparent, trustworthy, and open to new ideas. This reminds us of the Scrum values and principles that form the foundation of the framework. 

    Multiple reasons can contribute to scrum planning failure. Let us look at some of the frequent cases: 

    Most of the time the product backlog is not up to date and lacks prioritization. In such cases the team struggles in defining the Sprint goal, they face difficulties in defining the Sprint commitment due to lack of clarity and details. 

    Oftentimes teams are required to work on requirements that are not feasible, or the team faces some technological challenge. 

    When the teams do not realize the capacity and their velocity and tend to over-commit, this leads to hurdles in delivery. 

    Spending too much time in Sprint planning can also jeopardize the event, the team must follow the time-box, going over minute details is not required. Scrum is an empirical process, which means You do not have to plan everything upfront.   

    The Product Owner should come up with a sprint goal and share it with the development team. The goal helps the team and staying focused throughout the sprint, they can also use baby scrum meeting to check if they are on track with the goal. 

    If the product backlog is in the Good shape, and has stories in order of priority, the team can start pulling from the top. they can even plan a pre-planning meeting, which is also known as backlog grooming who defines the upcoming sprint backlog. 

    Everyone in the team should have the sprint planning meeting invite and if required it should contain the link to video conferencing in-case of a distributed team. The team should have the data on capacity and velocity, and they understand estimations and prioritization. They can use different colored stickies to represent backlog items for example stories can be represented with green and bugs can be presented with red. As per the discipline, the team should follow timeboxing strictly, they can finish early but to go beyond the time is not recommended.  

    To course a positive sprint, you need to be very prepared and have a solid understanding of what is practicable to shape with the team you have within the timebox. This is the reason why a sprint planning session is so vital for placing the foundation for an agile development project. Let us touch base on some best practices that the teams can adopt for the smooth running of the scrum event. 

    During the sprint planning meeting, the team talks about capacity, velocity, and shapes their Sprint commitment around the confident items. Planning for uncertainties not only helps in contingency but it also reduces the upcoming risk that can pose an impediment for the team. 

    Laying out the stories or Sprint items in the form of a map helps the team in getting a tentative idea around each deliverable. this also helps in defining the internal dependencies and the teams can better plan by moving them up and down. 

    It is important to get the team onboarded together as a single group for the sprint goal. They should understand the importance and the urgency of the deliverable and they are ready to take the ownership, this also requires supporting the teammates. 

    A successful Sprint planning creates a smooth runway for the team to start their work. It provides clarity in terms of commitment, goals, timelines, and ownership. The output of the Sprint planning meeting sets an expectation with both the parties – the scrum team and the stakeholders – on what to expect by the end of the Sprint. It can be visualized as the team pulling a bucket of work from a big pile and focus on delivering that bucket with expected quality. 

    Ready, set, sprint! 

    “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” – French writer and pioneering aviator, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry 

    Done in the right spirit, Sprint planning can do wonders in sprint delivery. All it requires is a focused approach, discipline, few best practices, and a collaborative approach towards a solution.  

    If you have followed this guide, at the end of your sprint planning session you and your entire team should walk away with: 

    Now, all you have to do is the work.

    Ready to start or grow your Agile career?  

    Check out our latest courses, learn the skills and get the personalized guidance you need. 

  • Review product roadmap and vision.  
  • Ask team members to update boards and focus on moving tickets to done.  
  • Run sprint review and retrospective.  
  • Groom product backlog: Make sure every user story has a clear priority, is fully formed, and up to date with context and estimates.  
  • Choose sprint goal.  
  • Create a sprint backlog of enough user stories to fill two sprints. 
  • Ensure your entire team is present for the meeting.  
  • Start video call for remote team members.  
  • If needed, clean up old board(s) with team by checking status of open tickets.  
  • Discuss spillovers: Should these be continued or dropped? Move any spill-over tasks into the right buckets.  
  • Set the stage with product and market updates.  
  • Define the sprint goal.  
  • Create a “new sprint”. Discuss the goal and team’s capacity:  
  • Is this realistic? If not, can the team lower the scope?  
  • Worst case scenario the product owner needs to come up with a new sprint goal. A few days out from the actual sprint planning meeting: 
  • Discuss proposed sprint backlog: Let the team pick user stories and tasks that match the sprint goal and capacity.  
  • Discuss the definition of “done”.  
  • Break down each user story into individual tasks: Make sure each task has as much information as possible.  
  • Ask whether the scope of work leaves time for unexpected issues.  
  • Ask if the scope of work leaves space to tackle bugs and technical debt.  
  • Move sprint backlog of decided-upon user stories and associated tasks into the sprint board.  
  • Get verbal confirmation from the team that they know what to do.  
  • Set up due dates and times for future scrum meetings.
  • Uncooked backlog 
  • Unrealistic expectations 
  • Over-commitment 
  • Beyond Time-box 
  • Set a Goal 
  • Healthy product backlog 
  • Valuable meeting measures 
  • Strategy for uncertainties 

  • Sprint skeleton 

  • Building consensus 

  • Benefits of Sprint Planning 

  • An agreed-upon Sprint Goal and a clear definition of “done” 
  • Commitment to a realistic sprint backlog 
  • Understanding of the bug fixes and support work included in the backlog 
  • Detailed tasks for each user story with an estimation and acceptance criteria 
  • Due dates and scheduled scrum meetings 
  • Research & References of The Ultimate Guide to Sprint Planning|A&C Accounting And Tax Services
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    Sprint Backlog and the Scrum Sprint

    Sprint Backlog and the Scrum Sprint

    If you are in Scrum, you will hear the word ‘Sprint’ day in and out! You may have heard this word being used in sports by athletes. But if it is something related to sports, then why are we using it in IT?  

    Well, even scrum has been derived from rugby! So, what exactly is Sprint in our IT industry? 

    Product backlog and Sprint backlog

    The Scrum framework has various components like events, ceremonies, and artifacts, all these components are tied to a timeline called ‘Sprint’. Sprint is a timebox during which the development team creates and delivers the solution to the client.  

    Sprint defines a period that is focused on brainstoarming, solutions, and delivering a quality product. The timebox or period can differ based on the nature of work and expected delivery. In this article, we will talk about Sprint backlog and the Sprint. Not only will this help you in creating a healthy backlog,but you will also learn about various techniques for estimating and prioritizing your bucket. 

    The sprint backlog is a list of items that the team commits in a Sprint. It consists of user stories, bugs, enhancements, or any requirement that is related to the product. The sprint backlog is derived from the product backlog hence you can term Sprint backlog as a subset of the Product backlog.  

    The development teams can use Excel or any agile tool to create their Sprint backlog. With the timebox, known as Sprint, the scrum team utilizes sometime during the first day of the sprint to plan out the roadmap for the entire sprint; usually, this is four hours for a sprint of 10 working days. 

    The team pulls the high priority item from the product backlog, discusses the solution, the risks and the challenges and comes to an agreement together as a team and makes a commitment. They do this activity till the time backlog fills as per the capacity or the intended velocity. 

    The Sprint backlog is derived from the Product backlog

    The Sprint is initiated with the Sprint planning meeting. This can be seen askick-off for a new timeline. The Scrum team uses the ceremony called “Sprint Planning” to come up with the Sprint Backlog. Usually, the sprint planning meeting goes on for about 4 hours for a two-week sprint with the team size between 7 to 9 members.  

    The planning ceremony is divided into 2 parts. The first part focuses on building up the backlog, ordering the items as per the priority, and adding an estimate. In the second part, the team takes care of all the details that would be required to complete the Sprint goal. The sprint backlog is one of the outputs from the Sprint planning meeting, it helps the team to stay focused Sprint.

    Agile talks about planning at every layer, whether it is the strategy, portfolio, product, release, iteration, or daily planning. Let us look at the connection of Sprint backlog with different scrum ceremonies.

    Agile talks about planning at every layer, whether it is the strategy, portfolio, product, release, iteration, or daily planning. Let us look at the connection of Sprint backlog with different scrum ceremonies.

    The scrum team uses the daily standup to discuss progress on this sprint goal. In this meeting, they talk about the backlog items, what has been done so far, what backlog items the team will pull next and if there are any blockages in their way. 

    Every day the scrum team meets in front of the Sprint backlog. It can be in the form of a tool or a whiteboard with sticky representing different work items and use this Sprint board as the base for the meeting. This not only helps them to stay on track, but it also helps them to foresee any risk, challenge, or an impediment that can hamper the progress of the sprint.

    This is when the Scrum Team showcases their work to the stakeholders. The team gives the demo on the finished items from the sprint backlog. In other words, whatever work was committed in the Sprint backlog gets demoed in the sprint review meeting. 

    During the sprint retrospective meeting the team brainstorms on what went well, what did not, and how can they make it better next time. Here we can talk about the best practices that helped them deliver requirements on time with quality.  

    They can refer to the Sprint backlog to talk about creating better requirements and even better estimations. In my experience, I have seen individuals applauding their team members for good work done on the sprint backlog.    

    Creating a Sprint backlog is a joint effort from the team, the product owner, and the scrum master. Together, they come up with a plan, discuss the implementation and the ownership lies with the Scrum team. When the Sprint backlog has been created and the team has committed to a Sprint goal, no one except the development team change the sprint backlog.

    The Sprint Backlog is a joint effort from the team, the product owner, and the scrum master

    Keeping the sprint backlog updated is important for the success of this sprint. It not only provides transparency, but it also helps the team in managing their ongoing work. The development team should update the Sprint backlog continuously as and when the work is done, or if they move to a different requirement or story.

    Many teams update their Sprint backlog during the daily standup meeting. It is advisable to update the sprint backlog at least once per day. In case the team has not been updating the sprint backlog, the burndown chart gets impacted and it will not reflect the correct picture.

    The team checks and updates the Sprint Backlog during the Sprint, keeping the Sprint Goal intact. They will thus know whether they will be able to finish the Product Backlog items they picked for the Sprint.

    Sprint backlog contains the product backlog items which the team has committed to complete in the sprint timeline. It can include tasks, bugs, research items, and at least one process improvement item which is good to have. If the team comes across any new item that is required to attain the Sprint goal, they can add it to their sprint backlog.

    Keeping the backlog healthy is the utmost priority for the team, this requires knowledge of estimation techniques and prioritizing tools. The scrum master can coach the team with an understanding of Effective an efficient prioritization and estimation. Let us look at the ways of prioritizing and estimating the Sprint backlog.

    Sprint backlog is created with the items from the product backlog, which means they are already ordered and are in line with the priority as per the client or the stakeholder. Pulling items into the Sprint backlog does not mean that the priority will change because the sprint backlog is still tagged to the product backlog. Hence, the Sprint Backlog stays ordered as per the priority as it depends on its parent ‘Product Backlog’. 

    The estimate helps the team to limit the amount of work they can commit in the sprint. Also, recognizing tasks and estimating them during sprint planning assists team members to better organize their work. Below are a few of the widely used techniques for estimation:

    Here, every participant uses a numbered (Fibonacci) card and estimate the stories. Voting is done anonymous and the team discusses when there is a big difference in the estimates provided. Voting is repeated until the complete team reaches a consensus around the precise estimate. It works well when the team must estimate a comparatively small number of stories, a maximum of 8-10, with a small team.

    This is a seamless method to estimate a large backlog of relatively large items. Particularly when you have numerous parallel scrum teams occupied on the same product. Items are estimated into t-shirt sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL.

    More effective than planning poker, this method is a decent substitute when the team must estimate many items with a big group of members. Here, you form several buckets in the arrangement of planning poker. The group evaluates the items by placing them in these “buckets”.  

    A highly simple and effective technique to estimate. This technique is more of a decision making and one can use it for estimating. Everyone in the group gets a few stickers and can pick to vote for the individual items. The more dots is an indicator of a bigger size. This method works fine with both small and large teams. 

    The Sprint backlog provides structure to the team and helps them stick to the plan by focusing on the sprint goal. Creating a Sprint backlog is a collaborative effort between the scrum team members, this serves as a runway for the iteration and smooth execution of commitment.  

    To achieve the Sprint goal, it is important to have a healthy sprint backlog. I hope this article helps you create a good Sprint backlog that serves your sprint goal.

    Research & References of Sprint Backlog and the Scrum Sprint|A&C Accounting And Tax Services
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