How To Create Transparency with Agile Dashboards

Nothing stops an IT project in its tracks like surprises and confusion. Your team could be iterating away, making great progress (or so you thought), and one misinformed or misunderstood stakeholder could suddenly throw everything off course. Not good.

 

The solution for this, as supported in the Agile manifesto, is more clarity and collaboration to ensure everyone involved in a project on the same page. But how can you get there?

 

In this post, published on his blog “IT’s A Nice Life,” Co-Founder and Partner Jeff Gallimore explores this issue and the solutions needed to create clear, transparent communication via dashboarding that can keep you, your team, and your stakeholders on track.

 

Give it a read here and tell us what you think. What types of solutions are you using to help increase clarity and transparency across your teams and projects?

 

Chart Magic: Tools for Data Visualization

Presenting data to users is often a key part of software development and business intelligence projects – whether projects cater to the public or internal executives.  Over the past two years, the ability to present this data in a browser has increased a great deal. Browsers not only handle JavaScript more quickly, which enables larger data sets to be presented, but the tool ecosystem has also seen a number of excellent contributions that bring powerful, interactive visualizations to life.

 

My recent exploration into these tools inspired a short lightning talk that specifically addresses three of these tools: D3.js, Crossfilter, and DC.js.

 

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Warning!…Three MORE Signs Your IT Project May  Fail 

Delivering on project goals is hard work.  It’s hard work for Agile teams and it’s hard work for Waterfall teams.  As a project manager, I’ve come to recognize the warning signs of a failing IT project and learned the best methods to get the project back on track.

 

Earlier this year we published a post identifying three ways to tell that your project may fail. And, well, we weren’t finished! Read on for three MORE things to keep an eye out for -  and what to do if you find yourself experiencing these common issues.  If you’re using an Agile methodology such as Scrum in your project, then each of these is addressed by one or more Agile principles and supporting Scrum processes.

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7 Tips for Effective Facilitation

Facilitation

 

It’s so easy for a meeting to veer off track. One minute, you’re discussing the goals for next month’s sprint, and the next, it’s on to everyone’s favorite vacation locale.

 

As a business analyst, project manager, or ScrumMaster, facilitation is a significant part of your role. Facilitation is a huge part of communication – and thorough communication is one of the core components of what makes projects successful.

 

How do you keep meetings from taking on a life of their own? Here are seven tips that I’ve found helpful in managing group dynamics and getting the most out of facilitated sessions.

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Helping IT and Audit Work Better Together: The DevOps Audit Defense Toolkit

Many organizations want to adopt DevOps practices to get the benefits associated with it: faster time to market, increased stability and quality, and more time to build stuff that’s valuable to the bottom line. But they often get tripped up by audits and compliance checks to make sure the organization is adequately addressing risk. DevOps practices don’t align well with traditional audit practices. So these organizations are often left asking themselves, “How do I position my organization for an audit when I’m using DevOps practices?” Until recently, there hasn’t been a really good answer.

 

But that’s changing.

 

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Which JavaScript Test Library Should You Use? qUnit vs. Jasmine vs. Mocha

In JavaScript, unit testing is a topic that does not seem to be discussed as much as with other languages.  Because of this, Excella Consultant Kevin Groat conducted a comparative analysis of three major testing libraries: qUnit, Jasmine, and Mocha.  Among the factors he considered were: ease of setup, ease of use, extensibility for assertion libraries, CI support, and asynchronous testing support.

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5 Keys to a Successful Agile Transformation

Agile TransformationWhile aiming for a more nimble and responsive IT organization is a worthy goal, the road to an Agile transformation is often lined with potholes. Even if individual teams are going strong with Agile adoption, it’s especially common to lose momentum at the organizational level–usually because a true cultural change never took place.

 

 

How do you make sure your Agile transformation is sustained? Follow these rules for the greatest chance of lasting success.

 

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Developing in WordPress: Building the CMS Toolkit Plugin

WordPress CMS Toolkit Plugin

You don’t have to work in IT to know that WordPress is taking over the Internet. The open source blogging tool and content management system (CMS) that is known for its flexible, easy-to-use features now powers an estimated over 20% of the web. Its universe of templates and tools to expand your site’s functionality – also known as plugins – is expanding every day, making WordPress a go-to choice for both developers and end-users (and brands love it, too!).

 

Recently Excella Senior Consultant Greg Boone developed a new WordPress plugin, called the Content Management System (CMS) Toolkit, with the power to help users create custom post types, taxonomies, and self-validating custom data forms with only a few lines of code.

 

The plugin seeks to further leverage the platform’s capabilities to transform it from a simple blog to a full CMS. We sat down with Greg to learn more about how the CMS Toolkit was developed and how WordPress developers can get the most out this new tool.

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Best IT Events for July

Best IT Events For July

 

Here are the IT events we are looking forward to attending this month around Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia. Hope to see you there!

 

DC ALT.NET

Node.js Tools for Visual Studio and Azure Integration

Tuesday, July 8

6:30 PM – 9 PM

Arlington, VA

 

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