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Mentoring in Tech: Lessons Learned

Tue, 04/16/2019 - 08:12

I have learned many things working in tech, the most significant being the importance of mentorship. The strong mentors in my career have nurtured me into the professional I am today. Moreover, their tutelage has helped me develop a very strong personal philosophy on mentorship that is shaped by the successes and the failures of those relationships. Following is what I’ve observed so far about what mentorship is—and isn’t.

Mentorship is not. . .

. . .answering questions on Slack

Many people tell their mentee early on: “Just ask me when you have questions.” Of course, a mentor should be 100 percent available to answer questions, but this is not enough. Too often, I’ve seen mentoring stall because the relationship never grows past answering basic questions.

. . .easy

I’ve also seen people who are overloaded with work take on mentorship responsibilities, as if this is something small that they can do on the side. Mentorship is a real responsibility and takes a lot of work. If you don’t have the capacity to allocate the time and attention it deserves, it’s best not to do it.

. . .something everyone can do well—or at all

Everyone should get a chance to learn how to be a mentor, but not everyone is well-suited to the role. Pushing someone who is not ready for such a responsibility can do a lot of damage to their mentees, not to mention dent the mentor’s confidence.

Mentorship is. . .

. . .a skill

Like any other skill, mentorship is something you have to practice, hone, and test. You should take pride in your mentorship skills and improve them as you work. Continuously take stock of your skill, use your company’s mentorship resources, keep abreast of the latest best practices, and evaluate your progress with people whose skills you respect. Like any skill, there will always be ways of improving.

. . .important

Don’t approach mentorship flippantly; when you’re mentoring someone it’s likely the most important thing you’re doing that day. Great mentorship can really accelerate someone’s career, and poor mentorship can seriously stall it. When you give your mentee the attention they deserve you are signaling to them that their development matters, and they will be motivated to work with you and continue to grow and develop.

. . .a complex, two-way personal relationship

Too often, I’ve seen mentorship and on-boarding conflated when someone starts work. On-boarding is an incredibly vital process, but it’s usually focused on knowledge-sharing: learning tools, processes, conventions. Mentorship is just as much about building relationships and expanding one’s knowledge. Open yourself up to your mentee as much as they are open to you, you’ll both benefit from it. Your mentee shouldn’t see you as an information desk. Share your day to day experiences with them. If you are having trouble on a topic, ask them for help or just talk it through with them. It’s important that mentor and mentee work together closely so that the mentee can learn that everyone is always learning, growing, and struggling; don’t let them feel subordinated or alone.

What are the goals of mentorship?

I like to focus on ways to help someone become:

  • a next-level professional
  • a great teammate
  • the worker they want to be

You won’t really help someone reach these goals by telling them what Git repo contains what code, or how to fill out a defect report, or what testing patterns your team likes to use. Those things are important to know, but teaching those things isn’t really mentorship, it takes more than that.

Mentoring tips

Ensure that the mentee is comfortable in their work environment and with the team. To work effectively and happily, a worker must want to come into work and they need to feel that they are actually able to accomplish tasks and contribute value.

Guide them through tools, code, process, and conventions. It’s important to teach people technical and process details and subtleties so that they can feel empowered to do their work. It’s also important to encourage them to question the team’s processes, conventions, and patterns.

Teach them how to find information on their own in their environment. One of the end-goals of mentorship is for the mentee to become self-sufficient; teach the facts, but also teach them how to discover these things on their own.

Help them feel that they belong. As a mentor, you are likely interacting with your mentee more than anyone else, so you will have a huge influence on how comfortable and happy your mentee is feeling at work

Set clear expectations for the mentee, and for yourself. It’s important for people to have some points of reference for where they are in their development, and It should be clear what is expected from the mentee at various stages.

Provide milestones and check-ins. Expectations evolve with time, so that as your mentee progresses, they can continually evaluate how they are performing with respect to those expectations. Provide some reachable goals early on to inspire confidence. Also, ensure that the mentee has a chance to express what they expect of you as a mentor, such as your availability, where they most need your support, or the frequency of check ins. Your mentee should have opportunities to give feedback on your mentorship.

Give and solicit clear, open, and honest feedback. Setting expectations is the first step, but for people to know where they stand, they need to get solid feedback on how they are meeting expectations:

  • Don’t assume people know when things are going well—make sure to highlight when someone does something well or is just generally meeting and exceeding expectations.
  • Don’t hide or lie about real problems—have open and honest conversations about things that didn’t go well, so that together you can overcome those issues.
  • Solicit feedback from the mentee—solicit feedback from your mentee on a regular basis. Not only will this ensure that you can continue to improve as a mentor, but it will help establish and maintain the two-way nature of the mentor-mentee relationship.

Engage with the mentee in a way that works for them. Everybody is different, everybody thinks about things in their own unique way, and everyone will respond to different mentorship techniques in different ways.

  • Do not assume that what worked for you, will work for them—this is an easy trap to fall into without noticing it, so it’s important to keep it at the front of your mind
  • Start off by setting up some structured time with them. I’ve found that meeting daily away from where you normally work allows for dedicated time for mentorship. In the beginning, you’ll likely be going over a mandatory topic (team tools, process, conventions). By exploring these topics and monitoring how your mentee responds to them you’ll be able to learn what kinds of topics they care about most; for example, they may ask lots of technical questions, or want to learn how to do code review more effectively, or they need time to discuss different work interactions/relationships.
  • Find a cadence for these meetings that works for both of you. If regular meetings don’t work then drop them. It’s your job to figure out with your mentee the best way to mentor them.

Connect and refer your mentee with the people who can serve them best. Being the first point of contact doesn’t mean you should be the last or only point of contact. Reach out to colleagues and connect the mentee with the people who can serve them best. To be self-sufficient, people need to learn that it’s good and healthy to talk to and learn from everyone around them; this is a big part of ensuring your mentee feels comfortable in their environment and team, and sends them well on their way to self-sufficiency.

Recognize when the relationship is going poorly. If you’re having trouble with your mentee, reach out to someone who might be able to help you figure out ways to improve the relationship. A bad mentorship experience can be really damaging and set someone back quite a way, especially early in their career, so it’s important to try to address a poor mentor-mentee relationship as early as possible.

  • Talk with your mentee to find out if there are things you can change to improve the relationship.
  • Don’t be afraid to seek outside help if things are really not working; don’t go at it alone.
  • If you are supervising mentors, make sure to keep tabs on how things are going. If a mentor and mentee are a bad match, don’t assume that things will just work out; it’s your responsibility to intervene. Try to find out if there is anything you can do to help the mentor improve the situation, or find a new mentor for that mentee.

I look forward to learning more and more about how to be an effective mentor. But there are a few things I don’t foresee changing:

  • Mentorship is a skill—one you should hone and be proud of
  • Mentorship is about building relationships, as much or more than it is about building knowledge
  • Everybody is different, mentorship is personal, there is no one size fits all solution to mentorship
  • Clear expectations and clear honest feedback are the absolute keystones of an effective mentorship relationship

The post Mentoring in Tech: Lessons Learned appeared first on Tasktop Blog.

Eliminate distractions – become more switched on by switching off

Thu, 04/04/2019 - 12:58

The past week, I’ve begun leaving my phone in the kitchen at night. It’s no longer by my bedside table. This would have been unthinkable a month ago.

It’s changed my life.

Or rather, my life changed…and this is a result.

I love my phone. I’m one of those people who gets nervous when I leave a room without my phone. I like to think of myself as a functioning addict. It’s not good. Something had to change.

I needed to remove the addition, but I didn’t know how. I typically wake up earlier than my alarm and grab my phone. I check email. Check the news. Browse Facebook. The regular trash that does no one any good at the beginning of the day.

About a month ago, I decided on a substitution. I bought a Kindle.

If I’m going to wake early and I want to read…why not read instead of browse? Why not consume something useful rather than junk food for the brain?

The first book I bought was Deep Work. Great book. Highly recommend it. In there, he references How to Break Up With Your Phone. That one came next.

I knew the problems with phone addiction. I’d even been tracking my time in a journal. It’s too embarrassing to tell you the numbers. While reading How to Break Up With Your Phone, I actually internalized the problem. It’s the difference between knowing in your head and knowing in your heart.

Slowly I began the process.

I left my phone in my bag at work. No more accidentally picking it up “just to check” on something.

If that was good, what else could I do?

Next, I closed out of email. Historically, I’ve kept my email open all day long. It was in a browser window that’s pinned open. I have it right next to my calendar, as well as a couple of other task management tools.

Now I have that tab closed. I still check email multiple times a day, but I have to want to check it now. I can’t mindlessly click a tab and see that, yep, the emails I checked five minutes ago are still there.

Back at home, I put the Kindle next to my bed. The phone was still there, but physically, it was just a bit further away than my Kindle. Waking up, I now reach for the Kindle. It’s a bit harder to dig into a book at 6am than to browse Facebook, but I was going to give it a shot.

I got through two other books that continued to reinforce this new behavior.

The first one was The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*uck. Great book. Highly recommended.

The point of the book is to pick the stuff that matters. You care about too many things. Find the things that actually matter and let the rest slide.

The next book I read while waking up was Measure What Matters. Another fascinating book with a very different style. The point of that book is to pick the stuff that matters. You care about too many things. Find the things that actually matter and let the rest slide.  

Measure What Matters is how to run a business. The Subtle Art… is about how to run your life. Both told me to say “no” to more things. And the only way to say “no” is to know what to say “yes” to.

My phone? For the most part…it’s a big fat “no”. When I need to call my wife, then of course it’s a “yes”.

Checking emails 50 times a day? No.

Digging into deep feature design? Yes.

Spending time deciding on my quarterly objectives? Big Yes.  

You may be asking yourself: “This all sounds great Trevor, but how does this have anything to do with Tasktop?”

Happy you asked. Two ways really.

First, I feel this is making me a better employee. I’m more focused. I know in my heart (not just in my mind) that I need to say “no” more so that I can say “yes” to the things that really matter. It’s not a new concept. A lot of this is discussed in Making Work Visible (written by Dominica DeGrandis, our Director of Digital Transformation).

The second way this relates to Tasktop is that the process changes and productivity improvements I’m attempting at a personal level are analogous to what our customers are trying to do at an enterprise level.

What can we do to eliminate distractions?

What really matters?

What really moves the needle and how do we know what’s really the most important thing to do next?

Where are the bottlenecks to productivity?

I feel the biggest lesson here is that there’s no one thing. It required a mind shift on my part. I had to decide to go down this path after realizing I’d been doing the wrong thing for too long. I had to want to change. I sound like I’m talking about a 12-step program. I’m still not done. I have some other habits I’m still contemplating.

Should I set an away message on my email for a day when I need to get stuff done? I talked about that in my previous post. Or do I still think I’m too important to step away? That sounds like hubris to me.

Do I actually want to delete apps on my phone?

Do I block off more calendar time to dig deeper into work? Or would I rather feel more useful by jumping from 30 min meeting to 30 min meeting?

Do I want to spend more time working away from the office?

How much courage do I have to change the way I work?

How much do you?

The post Eliminate distractions – become more switched on by switching off appeared first on Tasktop Blog.

The Holy Grail – how to build Flow Metrics

Thu, 03/28/2019 - 11:07

To paraphrase the immortal words of Agile transformation guru Jon Smart from Deloitte, what organizations really want from any transformation is “Better Value Safer Sooner”. That’s it.  Tangible, measurable improvement from where you were/are to where you want to be. That’s why everyone is talking about Flow Metrics; they’re the Holy Grail for any enterprise that wants to survive and thrive in the Age of Digital Disruption.

Flow Metrics – as defined in the Flow Framework created by Tasktop CEO and founder Dr. Mik Kersten – enable enterprises to finally gain real insight into the value they’re creating for the business through software (the core component of their digital transformation).

Flow Metrics are not about answering questions like “where’s my thing?” or “when will the project be delivered”? Project and Product Managers should have those answers. Flow Metrics are a tool for the CIO and IT leadership to help their organization accelerate delivery by continuously removing the barriers to flow, which are slowing the entire system down.

For many moons, measuring the value and impact of software delivery on the business has been like gauging the direction and strength of the wind with a wet fingertip. Sure, the cooling skin can give some indication of wind’s behavior in that very moment, but there’s no real way to know if a thunderstorm is coming without consulting the TV weather forecast. And what about all the other conditions? 

Flow Metrics mark a significant move away from fingertip measurement, i.e., traditional performance metrics such as the number of lines of code, story points or defects, deployments per day, and so on. As Dominica DeGrandis, our Director of Digital Transformation, emphasizes in ‘The 5 Best Metrics You’ve Never Met’, “There are bugs that are not worth fixing and code that is not worth maintaining. These old-school performance metrics represent activities and not outcomes. These metrics tell organizations very little about the true impact on business goals.”

The 5 Best Metrics You’ve Never Met

Flow Metrics, however, measure how fast work is going and where it’s slowing down for each individual product value stream, and correlated with business outcomes such as:

  • Faster time to market
  • Responsiveness to customers
  • Predictable timeframes

Crucially, these powerful metrics abstract technical minutiae to elevate the conversation to terms that both IT and business stakeholders can understand – namely, business value. What customer value are you delivering? New features, improved quality, reduced risk or technical debt (future impediments to acceleration). At last, enterprises have the means to deliver “Better Value Safter Soon”.

In this e-book, “Getting insight into Flow with Tasktop Flow Metrics”, explains what Flow Metrics are, why they’re so crucial to your immediate and future business success, and why integrated value streams are vital in enabling you to access the end-to-end data you need to create the metrics. Topics addressed include:

  • How Value Stream Integration accelerates and optimizes flow of value from software
  • How value acceleration demands true end-to-end reporting
  • How models standardize value for IT and business to bridge the gap between them
  • Introduction to the four Flow Items, the core type of value pulled by the customer
  • Introduction to Flow Metrics to improve data-driven decision making
  • How to get started with Flow Metrics
  • How Tasktop can help you on your Flow journey

Start your journey into Flow and Value Stream Management

Transformations can be tough, especially when you don’t have clear insight as to where your organization should start and what will provide your company with immediate and long-term success. This is why Tasktop has developed a number of service offerings to ensure you’re not only educated in the importance of value stream management, but you’re equipped to make significant steps towards your organization’s transformation journey.

Visualize your value stream (with one of Tasktop’s Value Stream  Architects): This free one-hour consulting session will help you identify the value streams within your organization today, visualize the flow of work, and help identify opportunities to make your value stream more tangible. Learn more.

Introduction to value streams (with Brian Ashcraft): This two-hour training course enables you on the fundamentals of getting started with a VSM initiative, including common attributes, an improvement methodology, analytical methods, and a tooling assessment. After attending training, you will have the knowledge to become a VSM ambassador at your organization or agency. Learn more.

Flow 101 Workshop (with Dominica DeGrandis): Flow is the continuous smooth and fast delivery of business value, and is the first of the three foundational principles underpinning DevOps. This two-day hands-on workshop shows you how to enable flow in your organization using lean practices. The workshop is best suited for teams engaged in Agile or DevOps transformations who are looking to leverage Value Stream thinking to make their transformations more successful. This gives teams the opportunity to discuss and determine prioritization policies, workflow design, and metrics used to measure team performance. Learn more.

The post The Holy Grail – how to build Flow Metrics appeared first on Tasktop Blog.

What’s the difference between Value Stream Management and Value Stream Mapping?

Wed, 03/27/2019 - 09:36

“Value Stream Mapping and Value Stream Management are highly complementary. They look at delivering value from a whole systems perspective. The former exercise can kick off, or be part of, an ongoing Value Stream Mangement practice.” – Dominica DeGrandis, Director of Digital Transformation, Tasktop

This time last year Forrester Research declared the “time is now” for Value Stream Management and for good reason. A holistic concept that helps traditional organizations to accelerate the value delivery of their software products in the Age of Digital Disruption, Value Stream Management (VSM) goes beyond Agile and DevOps to help established enterprises compete with tech giants, startups and other digital-natives.

VSM exposes all the activities that take place to plan, build and deliver a software product across four key stages – ideate, create, release and operate. In doing so, we can see where business value is created, and where it is lost, and begin making informed decisions that actually improve time to value of software products to better support our digital transformations. Finally, “non-tech” organizations have a practice available that is focussed on extracting more business value from IT and enables them to compete.

At the same time, all this talk of value streams and Value Stream Mapping – also acronymized as VSM – is causing some confusion. Isn’t that an old Lean manufacturing method used by the likes of Toyota et al.?

While the two “VSMs” are different concepts, they are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they’re complementary. To understand how both practices work, we need to define what they are and what they can do.

Dominica’s DeGrandis, Tasktop’s Director of Digital Transformation, expands on this in her Information Management article ‘Using Value Stream Management and Mapping to boost business innovation’, and the below BrightTALK webinar – presented with Carmen DeArdo, Senior VSM Strategist at Tasktop.

Start your journey into Flow and Value Stream Management

Transformations can be tough, especially when you don’t have clear insight as to where your organization should start and what will provide your company with immediate and long-term success. This is why Tasktop has developed a number of service offerings to ensure you’re not only educated in the importance of value stream management, but you’re equipped to make significant steps towards your organization’s transformation journey.

Visualize your value stream (with Brian Ashcraft): This free one-hour consulting session will help you identify the value streams within your organization today, visualize the flow of work, and help identify opportunities to make your value stream more tangible. Learn more.

Introduction to value streams (with Carmen DeArdo): This two-hour training course enables you on the fundamentals of getting started with a VSM initiative, including common attributes, an improvement methodology, analytical methods, and a tooling assessment. After attending training, you will have the knowledge to become a VSM ambassador at your organization or agency. Learn more.

Flow 101 Workshop (with Dominica DeGrandis): Flow is the continuous smooth and fast delivery of business value, and is the first of the three foundational principles underpinning DevOps. This two-day hands-on workshop shows you how to enable flow in your organization using lean practices. The workshop is best suited for teams engaged in Agile or DevOps transformations who are looking to leverage Value Stream thinking to make their transformations more successful. This gives teams the opportunity to discuss and determine prioritization policies, workflow design, and metrics used to measure team performance. Learn more.

The post What’s the difference between Value Stream Management and Value Stream Mapping? appeared first on Tasktop Blog.

How software developers can rediscover their passion for building great products [e-book]

Thu, 03/21/2019 - 12:18

At their core, software developers and engineers are creatives who enjoy fixing problems and delighting end users. They’re 21st-century digital-artists, driven by creating experiences that improve the way we live and work.

“The most satisfying part of software development is creative things,” reflects Kevin Stark, a software engineer at Tasktop. “Building something useful out of nothing is intoxicating. For those who don’t know how software is built, it almost feels like magic.”

Jaxsun McCarthy, also a software engineer, agrees that alchemy plays a significant role. “The thing that most attracted me to software development is the creative process. It was gratifying to start with nothing and, by writing a little code, end up with something alive on the screen.”

There’s a noble and altruistic element, too. “We help people’s lives,” adds Vivian Lau, an engineering manager. “We solve business problems through software and use automation to remove repetitive work and save people time. You also get to work with a lot of smart and talented people. Creativity, brains and teamwork are what software development is all about.”

Their desire to create something impactful out of nothing often stems from seeking to emulate a piece of technology that made a profound impression on them. “When I was ten years old I fell in love with writing software on a Commodore VIC-20,” remembers Colin Ritchie, also an engineering manager. “I’ve wanted to be an engineer ever since then.”

“What initially attracted me to software development was my interest in learning how machines worked,” continues Kevin. “I had always loved using computers, playing with them, even putting them together. However, I’d no idea how they functioned or how the software on them came to be.”

There’s almost child-like wonder in building technology that plays such a significant role in how the world works and evolves. Which makes the increasing unhappiness and frustration of many software developers and engineers all the more tragic. Instead of reveling in their passion for building great products, developers often find themselves wasting precious hours on non-value adding work.

Countless meetings, logging in and out of tools to copy/paste information, rummaging through emails and chat threads, filling in timesheets – – everything but coding. Meanwhile, the business and their management are on their backs; “Faster! Better! More!”

Such a high-pressure environment is a surefire way to kill their passion, turning their dream into a nightmare. It shouldn’t be like this, nor does it have to.

This new e-book, Software development as it should be – rediscover your passion for building great products, looks into:

  • What’s slowing down developers and causing demotivation and burnout
  • Addressing the ratio of doing value-adding work to non-value
  • The pain of a broken knowledge-sharing network
  • How a connected Value Stream Network address main issues undermining the professional and personal well-being of developers

The post How software developers can rediscover their passion for building great products [e-book] appeared first on Tasktop Blog.

The first 30 days as a Product Manager at Tasktop

Wed, 03/13/2019 - 10:30

‘Perfect fit’ and ‘Synergy’ are terms that have been bandied around a lot by my business school professors, career coaches, and mentors in my professional life. Little did I know that these terms are not just buzzwords thrown around in the business world, but actually something that has a direct impact on my psychological and emotional well-being as a person and as a professional.

Interviewing with different sized firms for different experience levels (for the same position) provided me with loads of valuable information. Ideally, an interview must reveal what stage the company is at, what they want to achieve in the next two to three years, and how will you as an individual add value to the company.

With so many data points in the six months of my search, I could extrapolate this data to determine:

  • the general culture of companies in that particular location (in my case Vancouver)
  • differences in the challenges among small, mid and giant companies
  • the extent to which you will be valuable as a single entity to the company
  • how much of your inputs will be considered in decision-making

I realized that the perfect fit for me would be a company that fulfills the following criteria:

  • A company with 100 to 200 employees
  • An executive panel having a clear vision of where they want to be in the next few years
  • Engineering and Product working hand in hand
  • Follows the core value of the Agile Manifesto, i.e., to value individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Where individual ideas will be embraced
  • Where you have the forum to share your ideas and reach out to others to test it live
  • Where they truly believe in ‘fail sooner’ and not be held back by negative experiences or results
  • Forward-looking
  • Individual and company-wide accountability for initiatives

During my interview with my (now) manager of Tasktop, I emphasized the kind of company I wanted to work for, as well my professional goals for the next few years. Immediately, both of us felt a good blend – a synergy that I have never felt with any other company.

And as they say, when you know something is right, the whole universe conspires to make it happen. The entire interview process was rapid, from one interviewer to another. Within no time, I found myself standing outside Mik’s office (our CEO and Founder) with a letter offering me the job.

The swift and smooth interview process was enough for me to know that this company truly believes in the lean principle, thus embracing one of its core values “Less is more”! The communication with HR was seamless, and it felt like everyone knew what they wanted and communicated it well with each other.

Today, it has been a month since I joined the company and I can happily say that I was not wrong in my judgment about the company. One of the tasks that I took upon myself was setting up meetings with many of my team members and stakeholders to understand their success factors, constraints, career goals, roadmaps, expectations from the new Product Manager, how can the Product team improve, business OKR for departments and so.

This exercise made me happy because, by the end of the first few weeks, I realized that all of them were on the same page. The biggest win for me was that they understood the direction in which the company was heading. What’s more, the OKR for the various departments directly tied to the company’s OKR for the year. And everyone is focussed on putting processes and metrics in place to monitor progress and act sooner while keeping interactions with people on top. It just felt like the perfect space for me to be in and contribute.

The trust that my manager and co-workers have put in me to make things happen has been immense. I feel safe and secure to ask questions in meetings and not feel stupid about it. My product team, in particular, has been very supportive and accommodating of my ideas. I could not have asked for anything more than this at this point in my career. Tasktop is the perfect fit.

The post The first 30 days as a Product Manager at Tasktop appeared first on Tasktop Blog.

International Women’s Day 2019 – Creating Role Model Ladders & Women Who Inspire Us

Fri, 03/08/2019 - 09:22

Today is International Women’s Day (8th March 2019), one of the most important dates on any calendar. This year’s theme is #BalanceforBetter, a rallying call for us to build a better, more gender-balanced society. As IWD emphasizes, women and society have come a long way – but there’s still a lot more that can be achieved.  

Creating Role Model Ladders

At Tasktop, we recognize that solving difficult problems in society and tech requires different points of view and perspectives. We believe that gender equality is an essential part of what makes businesses thrive. In the words of our CEO and Founder, Dr. Mik Kersten, “The more gender, socio-economic and ethnic diversity we get into tech, the better the ideas and solutions we will discover.”  

Through collective action and shared responsibility, we truly believe that organizations can help ensure women in tech see attainable next steps for their careers. To that end, we’re running a live panel discussion today with a cross-section of Tasktopians on creating role model ladders (1pm ET). You can join the conversation by clicking on the image below:

For a flavor of what to expect, check out Nicole Bryan, our VP of Product Development, speaking on the topic at GOTO Copenhagen last year:

Today’s webinar is one of a number of initiatives that Tasktop runs or participates in:

Yet we’re not a company to rest on our laurels. We know that just like a quality software product or digital transformation, the work is never done. We can always improve. A free and fair society demands continuous attention, input and support from all of us. To not bury our heads in the sands. To be vigilant and engaged when injustice is prevailing. To stick up for one and another. To be kind and emphatic. Because when everything is said and done, it’s all we really have as tenants on this earth.

A more equal world also needs heroes and role models – so we asked Tasktopians about the women that inspire them:

Women that inspire you

Rianne Maharaj, Digital Marketing Strategist

“Oprah Winfrey is someone that I have looked up to since I was 7 years old. What I love the most about Oprah is the fact that she grew up in a world that statistically would have brought anyone down (she was a black woman in the deep south, with a single mother, who was abused, and lived in poverty), but she became one of the most successful people in the world. I admire how she continues to teach the world to love, have an open mind, and to practice the art of self-actualization. Oprah’s ability to spark happiness in the hearts of millions of people is a true inspiration.”

Erik Pena, Senior Director of Professional Services

“Jeannie Willette was my first manager when I became a people manager. Technically, I knew what needed to be done with the software that I developed. Managing people and all the complexities, along with the firehose of new demands for my time and attention, was not something I was prepared for. Jeannie had somewhere around 200 people in her organization. I was a small part of that then, but you would never have guessed that if you needed to talk with her.

Jeannie always pushed me to think about how people feel and what motivates them. She also would be supportive of my decisions but question them if she thought our stakeholders would not like said decisions. I still hear Jeannie’s voice in my head at times in my career.”

Laurel Heenan, Marketing Programs Manager

“There is no one version of woman and with that comes diversity and power. I’m inspired daily by women who take action to help create #balanceforbetter – in tech, science, politics, music, and every industry in between. Without every version of woman, the future is dimmer.”

 

Kevin Stark, Software Engineer

“A woman that continues to inspire me is my mother, Donna. As an accomplished nurse, she made an impact in countless ways throughout her career. Whether it was working in hospitals, teaching prenatal classes, or working with research groups to improve life-saving vaccines, her commitment impressed upon me the importance of taking pride in one’s work. At home, she was superhuman. Taking after her mother, she baked her own bread, made her own pasta, and pickled her own cucumbers – all while raising two children and maintaining a loving marriage. Through how she has led her life, she has demonstrated to me how to learn to do things for myself, be grateful for all I have in my life, and to continue to grow as an individual. Thank you Mum!”

Zoe Jong, Director of Revenue Operations

“I am inspired by the strong capable women in my family.  My mother, a Californian surfer turned successful architect turned Canadian cattle rancher turned tech exec, she’s shown me I can do anything that I put my mind to. She taught me that although the path may be difficult, it will always be worth it. She carries a heart full of strong advice and affirming words for everyone she meets and to embody her spirit and bring the joy she does to everyone around her has been my life goal.

My sister is the most successful woman I know. A C-suite executive and a philanthropist, she has always shown me how to be proud of my work, to take opportunities that approach me, and give me strength to do anything. She is passionate and compassionate, and she inspires me every day to drive for my own success. Both of them have always pushed me to be more capable, to be more courageous, and reminded me that I am enough, and I am inspired to bring that to others in my life because of them. Be kind and open, and create an equal future for all.”

Patrick Kennedy Anderson, Content & Editorial Manager

“I’m neither ‘pro-women’ nor ‘anti-men’. I’m just ‘Thumbs up for the six billion’Caitlin Moran (British author, journalist and speaker)

“Caitlin Moran has long been one of my favorite writers. She grew up on a council estate in England with eight siblings and has been sticking two fingers up the patriarchy and the dusty establishment with swagger and style since time immemorial.

Caitlin’s unadulterated tenacity, frantic charm, sweet and sour tongue, and pneumatic drill writing style enabled her to forge a successful career in music journalism when both journalism and music were a glorified boy’s club (and by all counts still are). After making her name in music – drinking the Britpop era under the table in the process – Caitlin has gone on to enter the wider public consciousness with national newspaper columns, bestselling books, sold out live shows, panel shows and lots more. To do that not just as a woman but as a working-class woman without industry connections or the bank of mum and dad is truly a remarkable feat.

Crucially, the 43-year-old (!) entwines an intoxicating brand of girl power and egalitarianism into her work that cuts through the bullshit. The kind of vigorous, pragmatic, reasoned and self-aware voice that is becoming increasingly rare. Reading her books How To Be A Woman and Moranthology was like finding a missing chapter to existence. Not only did her work edify and empower me as a young man, it gave an important voice to my then-teenage sister (an impact that wasn’t lost on my mum, who also became a fan). One of my favorite memories is wrestling over Caitlin’s newspaper column every Sunday, all of us eager to laugh and learn from one of the most impressive women around. 

By listening to those three incredible women – and every female colleague I work alongside at Tasktop – I really can’t go wrong with improving myself and the society around me.”

Tina Dankwart, Senior Pre-Sales Engineer

“The writer Brene Brown. Her books have become constant companions in my life. They remind me to be kind to myself, yet fierce and courageous. To venture into the arena of life and if need be get my ass kicked but always daring to be me, and acting according to my values.

And Audrey Hepburn: feminine, strong, stylish, intelligent, caring. She is the perfect role model – achieving great things without ever giving up femininity or style (too often we feel we have to become like men to achieve great things or be heard! She reminds me not to go down that road).”

Nicole Bryan, VP of Product Development

“I’m reading Michelle Obama’s book and it strikes me that she is inspiring on so many aspects of being a woman – a mother, a professional, a wife. She is vulnerable, yet purposed. She is real. I could envision having her to dinner at my house and genuinely talking about what makes being a working mom and wife both wonderful and hard. She wouldn’t judge. She wouldn’t preach. She would simply listen and have relevant, down to earth, practical tips and suggestions. That is what we all need.  

“There’s also Gail Murphy, one of Tasktop’s co-founders, is a constant mentor and coach in my life. I couldn’t count the number of times I’ve said to myself “What would Gail say/do?”. The answer is always reasoned, well thought out and practical. She makes me want to strive to do more just by watching her accomplishments. I feel lucky that she is always willing to take the time to let me bend her ear. I learn from it every single time. Plus, she is super fun to have a glass of wine with and complain about raising teenagers.” 

Laura Horner, Director America Sales East

“My dearest daughter, you inspire me. I look at you and I see me. A young me, that’s innocent, naive, confident, and ready to take on the world. You, my love, are the future and you inspire me to be a role model, positive influence, and teacher. I strive to help you to see the beauty in life, the goodness in others, and that ultimately, you can be anything you put your mind to.”

Laksh Ranganathan, Senior Solutions Consultant

“If I had to think of a woman/person who has made a huge impact on me, without a doubt I would have to say it is my mother. She came from very humble beginnings and never went to college, yet she could give my dad’s tax accountant a run for his money. Always resourceful with a can-do attitude, no challenge was too big for her; she is always ready to learn and embrace technology. She gave up her career to take care of me and my brother because we were far away from a family and a support system for her to be able to pursue both. If it wasn’t for these circumstances, I have no doubt she would have been extremely successful professional. Ever since I was girl, she taught me to believe in myself and my instincts. She is an inspiration, a driver to pursue my dreams and a motivation to make my son proud of me as I am of her.”

Patricia Ceron, Demand Generation Director

“Coming from Latin America where gender equality is not necessarily an immersed value in society, my mom’s attitude towards life and her self-conduct were very influential for me while growing up. Her way of living with confidence and courage largely contributed to my view of the world and how I fitted in it.

I always recall her frequent reminders to look for self-actualization, financially and emotionally, and to live as one of her favourite songs says “my way”. I grew up listening to her saying “when you go to the university…”. Today I know that my path was marked that day and I am thankful to know that what she inspired me to achieve was a professional career of independence and success and not a traditional role beside (or behind) someone who will outshine me.

What I admire the most is her ability to rise above her own socio-cultural circumstances and independently develop this progressive attitude (unusual for her surroundings) that was so impactful on my life and my sister’s. Today I can be a fulfilled mom and a wife and a successful professional because she instilled that view on me. Thanks for showing the path of independence and strength to me, mom.”

 

Ashley Fong, Product Analyst

“I have had the privilege of being surrounded by strong women throughout my entire life. From co-workers, to friends and to classmates, there has been no shortage of inspiring role models. But the two that truly stand out are my mother and sister.

My sister has always helped raise and take care of me. From a very young age, she was making dinner and making sure I got to bed on time. Not only is she the first women in our family to go to university, but she is also the first person ever to go to university within our family. Her determination towards achieving her PhD in Food Microbiology has been nothing less than awe-inspiring, and watching her work towards her goal and dreams inspires me to work harder towards mine. Of course, this wouldn’t be possible without my amazing mother who made her way to Canada in the ’80s.

The journey my mom went through to get to Canada was not an easy one. Growing up in communist China, she was forced to be the breadwinner for her family where she often had to take care of her younger brother. When she finally got married and moved to Canada, my parents worked hard to provide a better life for me and my sister.

After working below the minimum wage in the back of restaurants, they decided to open up their own business. For 24 years, my mom worked seven days a week, 10 hour days with only Christmas Day off (my favorite day out of the whole year!), while slowly learning how to speak English by talking to customers. She not only provided a roof over our heads and food on the table but through her grit and determination, she showed us an undeniable work ethic that my sister and I adopted at an early age and will continue to harness throughout our lives.”

Lara Jundi, Visual Design & Communications 

“Art preserves moments in time when something or someone can become an inspiration. That’s why I chose the statue of Diana of Versailles, the Roman Equivalent of the Greek goddess Artemis, for the blog image. In Roman mythology, Diana is the goddess of the hunt and moon and birthing. The statue, which sits in Paris at the Musée du Louvre, is a powerful and poignant work of art. Instead of the common portrayal of a woman as a damsel in distress, Diana is immortalized on a hunt like an action hero. She is strong, alert, in control. That message continues to echo through the ages through art, reminding us that while we’re in a new time of struggle in society, we can still channel the spirit of Diana and other role models to create a better world for ourselves.”

The post International Women’s Day 2019 – Creating Role Model Ladders & Women Who Inspire Us appeared first on Tasktop Blog.

Keep the data flowing – five things you need to know about the Jira Cloud API change

Thu, 03/07/2019 - 13:13

In case you missed our previous post on the subject, here’s a quick summary of what you need to know about the upcoming change to Atlassian Jira Cloud’s APIs to avoid disruption to your software delivery value stream.

1. Atlassian’s new approach to user identification is driven by the GDPR

The changes to Atlassian Cloud product APIs will consolidate how personal data about Atlassian product users is accessed by API consumers. The main change centers around user identification, with “username” changing to a user “account id”.

2. April 29th is the cutoff date for the old authentication method

That’s right, there are only a few weeks left to update the API-based integrations that keep business value flowing through your value stream.

3. Disruptions to your integrations can halt collaboration and compromise data integrity

Many organizations integrate the tools that plan, build and deliver software to flow of product-critical data through the product lifecycle to ensure smooth collaboration. But when this is accomplished through a web of plugins and custom built API-based integrations, changes to the API of one endpoint can cause a ripple effect across multiple tools. Suddenly, the stories created in Jira could stop flowing to your test management tool, or the updated requirements from your requirements management tool don’t make it into the Jira epic. The carefully orchestrated collaboration between the specialists using these tools is interrupted and your metrics are inaccurate or not showing the full picture.

4. Tasktop customers only need to upgrade

If you’re a Tasktop customer using Jira Cloud or Zephyr Cloud, we’ve got you covered. All you need to do is follow these instructions to upgrade your Tasktop product by April 29th.

5. This won’t be the last time API changes could disrupt your software value stream

Software vendors often make API changes as part of upgrades to their tools as they seek to support their customers’ changing needs. While Atlassian has communicated this change to customers and partners, API changes – especially for SaaS products – can often catch customers off guard and leave them scrambling to implement changes. With an ever-expanding toolstack, the burden of maintaining a connected value stream without model-based integration can be more than your organization can handle.

Want to learn more? We’re hosting three 30-minute webinars this month where you can learn more about what’s changing and how to keep product-critical data flowing between teams with Value Stream Integration. Click on the image below to find out more.

The post Keep the data flowing – five things you need to know about the Jira Cloud API change appeared first on Tasktop Blog.

How to be successful with your DevSecOps transformation with Value Stream Integration

Mon, 03/04/2019 - 08:56

Cybersecurity is a software “arms race” between companies managing IT and software infrastructures that protect sensitive data and bad actors who create infrastructure and software to break through those protections.” – Dr. Mik Kersten, Project to Product: How To Survive and Thrive in Age of Digital Disruption with the Flow Framework

The RSA Conference (March 4-8, 2019) kicks off today in San Francisco, serving as a timely and important reminder of the criticality of securely building products in an increasingly unsafe digital world. With DevOps security becoming a bigger and bigger topic by the day, the practice even has its own acronym and parallel show, DevOps Connect: DevSecOps Day (March 4, 2019).

With security breaches on the rise, up 75 percent in just two years, enterprises must look to bring security activities closer to the ideation and creation stages of the software delivery value stream if they’re to avoid the fate of Equifax and the like. As Robin Yeman of Lockheed Martin drummed home during her session at Tasktop Connect 2018, “security used to be out of the equation [in software delivery], now it must be part of the product lifecycle.”

Home truths from the Equifax scandal

2017 was more than a simple “wake-up call” about digital security in the Age of Software – it was a wrecking ball through the windows of every business leader worldwide. Nobody wants to lose their job and end up being schooled in Congress like former Equifax CEO, Richard Smithespecially for something they typically seem to consider to be “an IT problem” (Smith blamed the whole mess on a single software developer).

It is this breach-related story alongside many others – vulnerabilities at Home Depot, Target, JP Morgan Chase etc. have led to hundreds of millions of accounts being hacked – that cuts to the very heart of the issue. The business wants to digitally transform to ensure their survival, but as Dr. Mik Kersten laments in a DevOps Digest podcast, “leaders of these companies are not understanding that they have an organizational responsibility to managing their IT stack. That stack is how they’re delivering value to their customers and how they’re exposing their customers’ data or safety.”

The cold hard truth is that IT security is neither a business or IT leader responsibility, it’s an organizational responsibility. As John Esser, Senior Director of IT and Data Center Operations at AdvancedMD emphasizes in the same podcast, it “was truly an organizational failure all the way up and all the way down. Any security auditor would pick up on these things in a basic audit – how long was some auditor saying, ‘We have a problem’?”

What’s more, this risk – alongside critical defects – are items that can be easily managed within the production system as long as they’re prioritized alongside new features and technical debt (as explained in Mik Kersten’s book Project to Product and the pioneering Flow Framework).

Given the dire consequences that we’ve seen, risk and security must not be compromised in favor of speed-to-market and/or sparkling new features. It doesn’t matter how great a product is, or that you’re the first to release a new feature, if it leaks customer data like a sieve. By treating risk items as a major component of a product value stream, business leadership can safeguard their business and innovate more safely.

Mitigating risk and security in the value stream through integration

A key part of managing security risk and defects is being able to see them; you can’t fix what you can’t see (at least not until it’s too late). And that’s not easy to do in enterprise software. The bigger the application, the larger its attack surface. Auditing has never seemed so much like building a house of cards in the wind.

As systems scale to serve more customers and cloud adoption continues to drive everything online, it can often feel like trying to spot an assassin in a sea of people. But what if we could put a bright pink hat on them to follow them through the crowd? Well, Value Stream Integration does just that. By connecting all tools involved in the planning, building and delivering of software – including Application Security tools like our close partner WhiteHat (Booth 1459, RSA) – we make invisible knowledge work (and dangerous byproducts) visible and easier to address.

By integrating Agile Planning tools with WhiteHat and other tools in the value stream, everyone has real-time visibility into red flag issues as they arise. Faster detection, faster resolution without all that slow, cumbersome and error-prone manual work through spreadsheets, tool-switching, email threads and so on. Given what happened at Equifax, do you really want to test fate with such a porous, quicksand approach? Automation through Value Stream Integration is a godsend in that respect.

Contact us today for more information on integrating WhiteHat and other tools to the rest of your value stream with Tasktop.

The post How to be successful with your DevSecOps transformation with Value Stream Integration appeared first on Tasktop Blog.

Improving global reporting for Enterprise IT with Value Stream Integration

Thu, 02/28/2019 - 11:16

“Lack of knowledge…that’s the problem” – W. Edwards Deming.

Not understanding a situation can make the best of us feel anxious and frustrated. Sleepless nights, long contemplative walks along the sea wall, drawing on windows a la John Nash. Uncertainty can plague any person and workforce.

Sure, at a team-level we can implement mechanisms for communication and collaboration to address such fears. Such transparency enables us to gain as much visibility into our endeavors as possible – helping us to see what’s working and, crucially, what’s not. In Enterprise IT, however, one team’s view is just that –one team’s view; just one piece of the mirror that reflects the organization’s entire operations.

In software delivery, for instance, the various groups of specialists who plan, build and deliver software at scale will all have their own processes, customizations, workflows, and reports. At this localized level, teams can be masters of their world, doing the best with what they’ve got and can see.

But given that these cross-functional teams must work together to deliver business value through software, this scale of visibility and traceability just isn’t enough – especially if the issues slowing down value delivery exist outside any given team (i.e., a bottleneck lies further up- or downstream, the number of data points undermines the integrity of shared data and so on).

It is this dearth of knowledge, this reductionist worldview, this inability to obtain one source of truth that is hampering traditional enterprises’ ability to master the main means of production in the Age of Digital Disruption – especially when you consider the sheer size of IT operations. Tina Dankwart – Senior Consultant at Tasktop – taps into this state of play in her recent article “Global Reporting: 5 Reasons Why Tool and Team Alignment Are Wastes of Time”.

Tina uses a British telecoms provider as an example: “15,000 end users operating across three continents, a wealth of different client operations systems, outsourced IT, four different testing companies, multiple time zones, 400 projects, and one connection made every two seconds”.  How then do you piece together the mirror when it’s shattered in fragments across the globe?

The answer is not, as Tina stresses, in process standardization and forcing teams into one tool. There is, after all, no one tool that can handle the complexity and volume of work in enterprise software delivery. Nor, for that matter, is there a tool capable of generating a 360-degree report on all activities within a software delivery value stream. As she points out, “lifecycle tools are experts at whatever they were purchased and implemented for — defect tracking, or test management, requirements capture — but not reporting.”

Instead, the answer lies in enabling teams to carry on doing what they’re doing in their own tool with their own workflows and taxonomies, and automating the flow of data across the value streams for more comprehensive reporting. Or in other words, seamlessly bringing the full picture to everyone in their respective system, team, department, office, and region. This flow of data is a critical step in establishing a real-time knowledge-sharing network that changes the way we see, manage and report on the value that software delivery is creating for the business.

Be sure to read Tina’s whole article for a deeper dive into how you can use Value Stream Integration to make global reporting easier, faster and more accurate.

Want to learn more about consolidated reporting and data synchronization through enterprise-grade toolchain integration?

The post Improving global reporting for Enterprise IT with Value Stream Integration appeared first on Tasktop Blog.

Why you should bring the UX Designer closer to the Product Development action

Thu, 02/21/2019 - 14:13

Given the crucial role that UX design plays in delivering software that delights end users, it’s important that the UX designer is brought in as early as possible during a product’s development. In doing so, a better software product can be built – as well as delivered faster – to accelerate the value delivery to the customer. Here we describe how Tasktop has changed our own process to bring UX design even closer to the product team.

The Old Process

The product manager creates a release plan that includes all the features required for a new release(s). Then the UX designer – me! – meets with the product manager(s) to discuss the requirements for each feature and the obstacles that we need to overcome.

I then begin the iterative design by continuously meeting with stakeholders, the product team, and developers to make sure the design meets all the requirements, addresses the technical constraints, and ensures the best user experience for our customers.

Once the design is finalized, I hand off the work to the developers in a way that they can easily access the necessary information. During the implementation, I regularly participate in the engineering stand-up to check if any issues have come through and that the implementation is following the UX design:

The issues

  • As a UX designer, I don’t have “the big picture” of what business issue the software is solving, who is using it, and how it might relate to other planned features. My world is limited to the current release. If I had a better idea of the end value that the software is delivering and a clearer picture of our product roadmap, I could help build an even better solution for our customers. While focusing on individual features allows me to hone in on the best solution for a specific problem, thinking more broadly would allow me to provide a more consistent user experience across multiple features.
  • Some features may require extra user research and a more iterative process. Being limited to the current release’s timeframe can lead to insufficient design validation and/or overloading the designer. At worst, the feature may not be delivered in time for the release, impacting customer satisfaction.
The New Process

The crucial difference between our old process and our new process is that our new process allows for more cohesive planning from the UX Designer. With our new process, I now have visibility into the feature backlog that was previously only visible to the product managers. In the past, I could only see the features that were to be implemented for the current release. Now, I know what features to expect for future releases as well.

The benefits

  • As a UX designer, I have a better view to see the product as a whole by taking into account all of the upcoming features. This visibility enables me to ensure the UX is consistent across all features, and to design features that holistically meet our customers’ needs. When the design process operated on a feature-by-feature basis, it was easy to be blinded by the initial solution proposed by the product manager. Now, I am aware of the core customer need and the wider set of product features in the queue for the next year. Consequently, I am better equipped to propose a more effective design solution that may have been considered, ensuring my designs fit with our overall product roadmap.
  • Allow extra time to study the features, undertake early user research and brainstorm ideas that will accelerate the design process.
  • UX designer can better manage work and plan work ahead of time (before the features are planned for the release).
Case in point

For example, we had an initial feature planned to display new metadata on each integration configuration element.  However, different configuration elements were accessed in different parts of the application, and some could be quite difficult to find.  Because of this, we had a different feature on the backlog to improve users’ abilities to find those configuration elements by re-thinking our core product architecture.  Being aware of the interactions between these two feature needs, we were able to arrive at a more cohesive and reliable solution: providing global search in our product’s UI, and displaying the metadata in the search results.

 Best practice tips
  • When designing a feature, not only focus on one feature, but also take other features into consideration
  • Find inter-connections between features to provide a consistent user experience.
  • Always have the whole product in mind when designing a feature, keep design aligned with where the product is heading to.

The post Why you should bring the UX Designer closer to the Product Development action appeared first on Tasktop Blog.

Love Your Tool, Love Your Work, Love Your Job

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 10:18

We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works.” – Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt : Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time (2002)

Since today is Valentine’s Day, let’s talk about love and technology. I’ll go first. For many years I’ve been in a wild and stormy relationship with Apple ever since I laid eyes on the iPhone 4. Aesthetically, she was the kind of muse that raven-haired puberty-ridden poets would write lengthy odes about. An undeniable elegance in her appearance matched only by her joyful user experience – tap, flick, swipe – it was hard not to fall for her, and fall hard

Oh how I looked through her eyes as we traveled the world together – we steadied each other on the icy streets of Berlin, we dodged street fireworks on Las Ramblas, we huddled in rickshaws as we hurled through the smokey and exhilarating danger of Bangkok, we fell over drunk along the Thames (man, that time she lay etherized upon a table during surgery at the Apple store on Regent Street was the longest two hours of my life).

She was hip too, effortlessly cool, what with her futuristic ability to Facetime people on the other side of the world. Boy, was I in trouble. “No, it’s not like any other love, this one is different — because it’s us,” as Morrissey opines in “Hand In Glove”.

Like any great love story, it’s not all been plain sailing. We’ve had our ups and downs. Sometimes I feel like she’s become lazier (a feeling probably reciprocated…). Like all of us, she has these strange quirks, these annoying traits, these little foibles. Unlike most people, however, she doesn’t seem to want to address these shortcomings. A sort of arrogance almost. It’s maddening at times – especially when I see my friends so content and smug with their Samsungs and Huaweis and what not.

I’ll be honest I’ve looked over my shoulder. Pictured a parallel life with someone else. I’m even ashamed to admit that I’ve been tempted by the fruit of another – and it was the biggest mistake of my life. Sure, my mistress was a fantastic photographer, and could do things that Apple had always promised it would do “one day”. But everything just felt alien. Uncomfortable even. It felt wrong. The most simple of activities would take me hours. It just wasn’t the same. Oh, what had I done!

Which is why last night, nine years after I first held the iPhone in my hands, I spent two hours at the Apple center on a Wednesday evening, tending to my true love. She was complaining of being dizzy and struggling to wake up. “Had she been near water recently?” the Apple doctor asked me earnestly, his eyes failing to hide his pessimism. “Not since the hot tub in Denver a few months ago!” I cried, falling to my knees in despair. Outlook was bleak.

But then the most remarkable thing happened. Suddenly she twisted and stirred. Her beautiful eyes blinked once. Twice. A third time. Then they beamed wide open, the french windows of heaven yawned wide! She was back to her charming self, speaking in different tongues – “hola, bonjour, ciao, hello” – ever the multilingual.  

Afterwards we walked home across Granville Bridge, the marmalade glow of the streetlights bouncing off the fresh snow, never more in love. She may not be everyone’s cup of tea, she may not even be the best, but for me, she’s everything. Beauty is in the eye and all that. The reason why we’re attracted to certain sentient and non-sentient beings is one of life’s cheeky little mysteries.

In terms of non-sentient beings, the bond between humans and technology is becoming increasingly powerful and profound. In some form or another, technology should enrich and improve our lives – and often does. It becomes, in a way, an extension of ourselves (even when it lets us down and frustrates).

We see it all the time with our customers. The specialists that plan, build and deliver software – sales, product, project management, business analysts, development, test, ops and so on – truly love their tool of choice. And as we know, love permeates like a pop song.

If you love your tool, you love the work you’re doing; if you love the work you’re doing, you love your job. If your employees love their job, you’re building better products and a happier, healthier organization. That’s just science. Sure, there will always be new fancy tools on the market trying to tempt you, but as the adage goes, when you know you know. 

At Tasktop, we connect all the best of breed tools for plan, build and deliver software at scale, automatically flowing product-critical information across the software delivery value stream from ideation to operation, providing end-to-end visibility and traceability. Meaning you never have to leave your tool again. No more switching tools to find the data you need, no more duplicate entry, no more manual hassle, no more spreadsheet management and bleeding fingertips. Just You. And Your Tool. Together. Forever.

Want to learn more? Drop us a line to see how we can marry your tools today so your software delivery can live happily ever after.   

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