What Does an IT Project Manager Do?

24637651_mMost of us are not fans of bureaucracy; it means extra paper work, extra signatures, and extra hurdles for accomplishing our tasks. In the IT world, we are constantly looking for ways to reduce excess or unnecessary work. Within this lean mindset, what exactly is the role of the project manager?


Project managers play a critical role in IT: to understand the landscape and manage expectations and risks so developers, designers, data analysts, business analysts, and other team members can successfully execute without major distractions.

Continue reading

An Intro to AutoMapper

Tech Talk DC line colorWe are constantly on the lookout for resources to help us learn new techniques and technologies.  For those looking to learn more about object-object mapping, our friends at Tech Talk DC put together a .NET technical guide for AutoMapper, a tool that allows you to map from one object to another automatically, without having to repeatedly write boilerplate-mapping code.


This handy resource provides an overview on when to use AutoMapper, as well as how to set it up, create a map, invoke mappings, and test the tool.


Click here to see the full guide and let us know what you think.


What is Business Intelligence?


As with many things in information technology, the phrase “business intelligence,” or BI, means different things to different people. The most succinct definition is “obtaining meaningful information – value – out of data.” The supporting mechanics of developing BI are concepts such as data analysis; data warehousing; extract, transform, and load (ETL); and data architecture. But at its most basic, BI starts and ends with data.

Continue reading

What Happens When There Isn’t Enough Time and Money for DevOps Transformation?

As the DevOps movement picks up steam, many organizations are starting to embrace it and start their own the DevOps transformation.  Like any organizational change, a shift to DevOps requires resources, and IT leaders and program managers are often asked to justify their budgets and priorities.


It often begs the question, “Is this really worth it?”


We think it is. In his blog “IT’s A Nice Life,” Excella Co-founder Jeff Gallimore discusses three answers to the question “What happens if I don’t devote enough and money to our DevOps transformation?


Click here to read the entire article.


What Does the TechFAR Handbook Mean for Contractors Working with the Government?

The TechFAR Handbook is produced by the U.S. Digital Services, a part of the Executive Branch, and supports the Digital Services Playbook. The Digital Service Playbook defines best practices for delivering digital solutions in the Federal government, including the need for revision to the procurement process to get better services in the government.

Continue reading

Top Tips to Improve Your Business Intelligence User Adoption

Are you running into roadblocks with business intelligence (BI) user adoption in your organization? Does your company have BI tools, but your employees don’t know how to make the most of them?


Last week, mrc’s Cup of Joe Blog published “7 Practical Ways to Improve BI User Adoption,” highlighting top tips from BI experts around the country on how address this issue. Excella Business Intelligence Lead Sara Handel weighed in, noting: “Business users may understand one segment of the data their company captures….However, BI tools often expand the data users can access beyond their realm of understanding. This can lead to confusion when report results differ from what a user expects which in turn stops them from adopting the BI tool.”


Click here to read the full article.


How do you encourage BI User Adoption at your organization?  Tell us here!

Rise of the Machines? Four Considerations for the Machine Learning Hopeful

computer brainThe machine learning sub-discipline of study in Artificial Intelligence has benefited from burgeoning attention in the past few decades. Machine learning has been applied in recent years to a gamut of conceivable problem spaces. Some applications have pervaded cultural awareness in obvious ways, such as self-driving cars, facial recognition, targeted advertising, and product recommendations.



For those of us working in the technology industry, there are now tools and precedents for using machine learning to solve highly complex and important industry challenges like understanding customer sentiments, classifying data to better understand and use it, and personalizing search experiences. Continue reading