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Maximizing Jira – understanding your centers of criticality

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 10:27

If like most enterprises your organization builds its own software, it’s highly likely your developers are using Jira to plan their work. But are you using it to its full potential?

That depends on how you’re using Jira within the context of your software delivery value stream. The planning, building and delivery of software products at scale requires a complex network of specialist roles, tools and methodologies. And it’s how these elements work together that maximizes the value of Jira and all the other systems that you employ.

Just like developers need their own purpose-built tool in Jira, all other specialists in the software delivery process require their own specialist tool. This is because the role functionality they require either isn’t in Jira, or not to the level they need. Product need a proper product management tool, project managers need a proper project management tool, test needs a proper test management tool, and so on.

It’s important to remember that plugging too much workflow into Jira can flood the tool and undermine its productivity powers. As a ‘center of criticality’ in the value stream – Jira ties the developer to the working software in production and the original business need – it’s vital that all product-critical information can flow seamlessly through the tool, and work with all other centers of criticality.

To do that, you to identify your centers of criticality, which are systems that create product-critical information (artifacts such as requirements, features, epics, stories, tests, etc.). Then, you need to connect them to Jira so that all key information that pertains to a product’s development and delivery is accessible to the key stakeholders in the process.

To learn more about what a center of criticality is and why you should care, read our VP of Product Management Nicole Bryan’s DevOps.com article The role Jira plays in complex value streams.

For further information on Jira’s role in enterprise software delivery and why there’s no ‘one tool to rule them all’, download our white paper on why Jira works best in an integrated best-of-breed tool stategy.

Want to know more? Request a customized demo to connect your centers of criticality to extract even more value from your favorite tools.

The post Maximizing Jira – understanding your centers of criticality appeared first on Tasktop Blog.

How to sharpen your competitive edge in a digital world

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 09:30

Competitive advantage in a digital world hinges on how fast you can deliver the right software products to internal and external customers. By “right” software, we simply mean a product (i.e. a set of features) that delivers value to a customer’s business.

It’s therefore logical to optimize the enterprise software delivery process for:

  • Faster time to value
  • Higher quality products
  • Premium digital experiences
  • Increased productivity
  • Reduced production overhead
  • Tighter customer feedback loops
What is blunting your competitive edge?

While a typical software value stream comprises the very best people, best-of-breed tools and methodologies (such as Agile, DevOps, and other IT transformations), many organizations are still not seeing the results they want. Despite their best intentions and high investment, they’re still playing catch up with nimble digital disruptors who have software in their DNA.

Either software is too slow out of the door, there are too many defects to get in production, or the product delivered is not what the customer asked for. And when these mature organizations do attempt to analyze the process to try to measure and improve it, they find it difficult to even pin down what they should be looking for.

A time- and cost-intensive IT audit may bear some fruit – but only if you have the time and budget to conduct such a labor-heavy endeavour.  If, like many organizations, you simply don’t have the capacity or resource for such a big and disruptive initiative, there is an easier solution.

Sharpen through Value Stream Integration

Through Value Stream Integration, organizations can create a modular tooling infrastructure that connects all tools and specialist roles in the software delivery value stream to make the process visible, traceable, measurable, and manageable.

Any bottlenecks and opportunities to improve efficiencies can be quickly identified in a few clicks through a dynamic visual interface. And CIOs can systematically increase speed to delivery; increase team capacity; improve product quality; and optimize for business outcomes.

Download our new white paper on the topic to gain a clear introduction into how Value Stream Integration optimizes enterprise software delivery and continuously sharpens your competitive edge.

And for more a personalized look into how integration can help your business, request a customized demo of your favorite tools being integrated to see how you can accelerate your time to value and yield tangible business results.

The post How to sharpen your competitive edge in a digital world appeared first on Tasktop Blog.

Why all CIOs should be prioritizing Software Delivery Value Stream Integration

Thu, 02/15/2018 - 10:29

Waiting 12 months to integrate your software delivery value stream can actually cost an organization up to $10 million a year in productivity overhead

The modern enterprise has to consider and prioritize a dizzying array of IT business initiatives. Many of these decisions fall to the CIO – after all, they’re responsible for leading an organization’s digital transformation.

That’s a lot of pressure. While CIOs know that leveraging their software delivery to the hilt is what gives them a competitive edge, often they put tool integration on ice. “We’ll come back to that in 12 months once we’ve sorted everything else!”

Yet waiting 12 months can actually cost an organization up to $10 million a year in productivity overhead (based on a typical 1500-person development team). Waiting costs money – and a CIO their job.

Fortunately, Value Stream Integration can actually alleviate the pressure on a CIO and enhance other IT initiatives. Explore the infographic below to see why:

Want to know more? Download our white paper on the topic to better understand why you need to integrate your software delivery value stream.

You can also request a customized demo of your tools to visually see how Value Stream Integration enables you to see, measure and optimize your software delivery process.

The post Why all CIOs should be prioritizing Software Delivery Value Stream Integration appeared first on Tasktop Blog.

CIOs – are you measuring the right DevOps data?

Tue, 02/13/2018 - 10:01

“When digital transformation is done right, it’s like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. When done wrong, all you have is a really fast caterpillar.” – George Westerman, Principal Research Scientist with the MIT Sloan Initiative on the Digital Economy

Has there been a more exciting yet challenging time to be a CIO?

Bridging the gap between the business and IT, a CIO is typically responsible for an organization’s digital transformation by leveraging technology and data to enhance business performance.

Given what is at stake, a CIO can seem an unenviable job – Gartner predicts that by 2020, 50 percent of CIOs will not have transformed their teams’ capabilities will likely to be out of a job. Time is of the essence, and CIOs need all the help they can get – especially when it comes to the mysterious world of software delivery.

Competitive advantage in a digital world rests on an organization’s ability to rapidly build and deploy software products that deliver business value, i.e. enhance the speed and quality of business processes. Yet enterprise software delivery is one of the most technically-complex business practices that an organization can face. It requires sophisticated coordination of processes and data created by different specialists who work in disparate systems. In many ways, this environment is a CIO’s worst nightmare.

As all leaders know, you can’t improve what you can’t measure; you simply must have real-time insights for real-time understanding into how a process is providing business value and supporting a digital transformation initiative. A coach can’t make game-winning plays if he can’t see the game.

To this end, visibility and measurement are paramount to creating and managing an effective software delivery stream and optimizing DevOps initiatives. Measurement, however, is extremely difficult. How do collect data that is complete, comprehensive and accurate when it exists in pockets all over the place? How do you analyze the impact of technology on people? The key is a combination of both survey and system data.

In this white paper for acmqueue – co-authored by Tasktop co-founder and CEO, Dr, Mik Kersten, and Dr. Nicole Forsgren, CEO and Chief Scientist at DevOps Research and Assessment (DORA) – CIOs can learn how to measure the right DevOps metrics to use their digital transformation to turn their organization into a butterfly.

Want to know more about how technology and data work in software delivery? Check out the below video to discover how you can flow all data from the software delivery value stream into one place to easily glean insights and improve your IT performance.

Want to take the next step? Call us today for a chat about how Tasktop can help CIOs with their digital transformation.

The post CIOs – are you measuring the right DevOps data? appeared first on Tasktop Blog.

How to minimize conflict in enterprise software delivery with value stream architecture

Fri, 02/09/2018 - 08:40

More features out the door, faster time to market, fewer defects, and shorter time to value: it’s widely accepted that you have to deliver better software products faster to gain that all important competitive edge. That’s why you’ve invested in DevOps, Agile, best-of-breed tools and specialist people, often to the tune of millions of dollars.

And there’s been improvements – a few faster products out the door, a few teams working in harmony a bit more – but it’s still not enough. Competitors are still better than you at delivering software on an enterprise-scale, while nimble digital-native start-ups always seem two steps ahead. Why is this happening? Why aren’t you yielding a tangible ROI?

Value Stream Architecture

The answer may lie within your software value stream architecture. When you take a step back, you realize that while all the components are dependent on each other, they’re not actually working very well with each other. Only once you study how these tools and their users work together, do you realize that they’re not functioning as one. That your architecture is missing pipes and beams, and that there’s wires hanging from the ceiling. 

That there’s constraints and conflict at every turn, plaguing and disrupting all stages of the software delivery value stream. That the flow of work is stymied, vulnerable to decay or misdirection, and often not visible – it’s tantamount to building a car in a broken factory. In the dark. Everything and everyone is paying the price, from the people who build the product to the end product itself. Your business is taking a hit too.

How to minimize conflict

The key, then, is to minimize all this conflict by adopting a constraints perspective to identify and address flow-limiting aspects of your value stream. What elements in your process are weighing you down, and how do you alleviate this pressure? In a recent article for SD Times, our VP of Architecture, David Green, explains exactly why architecture is just so critical for a high-performing software delivery value stream, and how you can begin to build a system that works best for your business.

Want to know more? Chat to us today to discuss how value stream architecture can optimize your software delivery at scale and help you stay ahead of your competitors.

 

The post How to minimize conflict in enterprise software delivery with value stream architecture appeared first on Tasktop Blog.

Are your drowning Jira and the rest of your software delivery stream?

Wed, 02/07/2018 - 09:38

Any tool that has attempted to be ‘everything for everyone’ has failed miserably” – Dr. Mik Kersten, CEO and founder, Tasktop

In the fable ‘The Man and The Wooden God’, the protagonist spends most of their life praying to a wooden idol for wealth and fortune to no avail. One day, in a fit of rage, they smash the idol on the floor and an immense number of coins spill out. The moral of the story? There’s a few: that you should beware false gods, that faith alone won’t bring you success, and that sometimes it’s up to you to get things moving.

Which brings us to the ‘One Tool Fallacy’; organizations continue to be led astray by the misguided notion that all stages of the software delivery value stream, from ideation to production, can still be successfully migrated into one system, despite no evidence to support this theory.

First, we overloaded very promising tools like Rational Team Concert (RTC) by adding every feature for every stakeholder and process. Now some organizations are trying to do the same with Jira; a reaction to the growing complexity and feature set. We keep making false gods.

Having ‘one tool to rule them all’ is naturally appealing in terms of perceived simplicity and cost benefits. The idea, however, is inherently flawed. History speaks for itself; any tool that has attempted to be ‘everything for everyone’ has failed miserably. There’s just too many nuances within the different workflows across the various specialty teams that plan, build and deliver software at scale.

When you plug too much workflow into Jira (or any one tool), you will inevitably flood the tool and hit a wall, undoing all the productivity achievements that Jira and other leading development and delivery tools have brought to the software delivery process

The key, then, is to find where that wall is, helping you to leverage Jira to the best of its abilities, and ensure the tool becomes an effective development hub within your software value stream.

Download our new white paper to better understand why the ‘One Tool Fallacy’ is dead, and why you need to embrace an integrated best-of-breed toolchain to optimize the value of Jira and all the other tools you use to deliver the right software products faster.

The post Are your drowning Jira and the rest of your software delivery stream? appeared first on Tasktop Blog.

Tasktop to co-sponsor ‘Women In Product: Austin’

Tue, 01/30/2018 - 16:01

As a young woman who graduated from college with a BA in philosophy at the peak of the recession, I’ll be very frank – I had no idea what I was going to do with my life.

I knew how to identify flaws in Hume’s empirical approach, I knew how to craft a coherent essay, and I knew how to solve complicated logic puzzles on a CD Rom program called Tarski’s World.

But I didn’t feel like I had professional skills, and I didn’t feel qualified to work in the world of tech.  After all, everyone who did studied Computer Science in college – right?

Fast forward to today – I am working on a Product team in Austin, surrounded by extremely talented peers (and I’m very proud to admit – a large portion of those peers are women).  And the longer I’ve worked in tech, the more I’ve realized that I do belong here, and that the skills I developed through my liberal arts degree (analytical thinking, clear writing, time management, organization, etc.) helped prepare me for where I am today.

That’s why I’m so excited to help organize Women in Product: Austin’s first event (Thursday March 1st, Ann Richard’s School, Austin, TX).

The purpose of the event is two-fold:

  • To help foster community among women working in Product, and women aspiring to work in Product, in Austin – to share stories, skills, challenges, and best practices, to help foster diversity and inclusion in the world of tech, and to create a strong network of peers and leaders within the world of Product.
  • To educate the young women at the Ann Richards School on the exciting opportunities available to them in Product. The Ann Richards School is an all-girls college preparatory school in Austin focusing on leadership, project-based learning, and STEM curriculum where 65% of graduates will be the first in their families to graduate from college.

This event is an opportunity for all women currently working in Product or aspiring to work in Product to learn more about the field, to share strategies and challenges, and to meet other local women in the field.

A diverse and talented roster of Product leaders working for a wide range of organizations – from artificial intelligence to health food to e-commerce – will join us to share information on their journey to Product, as well as trends and challenges within the field.

And we’d love for you to join us!

You can learn more about the event and register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/women-in-product-panel-trends-challenges-and-careers-in-product-tickets-42504149054

The post Tasktop to co-sponsor ‘Women In Product: Austin’ appeared first on Tasktop Blog.

Why not integrate your tools for software development during the Super Bowl halftime show?

Fri, 01/26/2018 - 09:54

If you were given a choice between watching Justin Timberlake in this year’s Super Bowl halftime show, or setting up an integration between two of your software development tools, which would you choose?

You might be thinking to yourself, “I could not imagine the pain of setting up an integration between Jira and Jama,” or you might be thinking, “I could not imagine the pain of watching Timberlake lip-sync Cry Me a River in a frozen Minneapolis stadium.”*

These reactions are equally rational. However, we at Tasktop believe that setting up integrations shouldn’t be a painful experience, and should only take up the same amount of time as the halftime show.

With Tasktop, it is possible to build a functioning integration in less than 30 minutes.

The Tasktop Integration Hub allows you to quickly connect tools, select the projects and products you want to integrate, and automatically map multiple fields for you.

You no longer have to study the API methods of your tools, or build an integrations team, or maintain your scripts across API changes. In fact, you can forget about scripts; Tasktop gives you the ability to simply configure integrations with a very intuitive browser-based interface.

Seeing is believing 

Want proof? Below are two videos that show the complete install and configuration of Tasktop.

The first video shows the set-up between two very modern tools: Atlassian Jira and GitHub; this set-up is completed in less than 10 minutes:

The second video shows the integration between a legacy tool, IBM DOORS, and a modern tool, Jira. (A useful set-up if you’re trying to move from waterfall to Agile.)  This install and configuration takes less than 20 minutes:

Every step of the process is documented in these videos and recorded continuously without any splicing.

You probably have more important (and interesting) things to do than worry about integrating tools. Tasktop enables you to sail through the set-up of your integrations and to reap the benefits very quickly.

You can forget about the tedious “how”, and focus on the “why”. We automatically flow product-critical information – artifacts such as requirements, features, epics, stories and defects – across your software value stream.

Not only do practitioners have the information they need, when they need it, in the tool they love, but management gains end-to-end visibility and traceability across all tools to optimize the process.

So, you now have a solid alternative to watching another halftime show (unless your JT fan – in that case, you can kill two birds with one stone; watch the show AND integrate your tool). You now have ample time to top up the guac before settling in for the third quarter.

*If you are a JT fan, that’s cool (each to their own and all that) – merely replace him with any other pop star whose music grates with you…

Request a personalized demo today to see how we can rapidly integrate the best-of-breeds tools in your software value stream, helping you to cost-effectively deliver the right products faster.

The post Why not integrate your tools for software development during the Super Bowl halftime show? appeared first on Tasktop Blog.

What’s New in Tasktop Integration Hub 18.1

Tue, 01/23/2018 - 09:02

Tasktop Integration Hub 18.1 is available today with several exciting new features for flowing folder structures, configuring state transitions, and deploying Docker images. We’ve also added support for Sparx Systems EA, an enterprise modeling tool, via Sparx Systems Pro Cloud Server.

Create Folder Structures on the Fly  

Many organizations rely heavily on folder structures within their software development tools to organize work items, with the hierarchical folder structure providing meaningful context for the individual work items. The location of a work item within that structure matters, and Tasktop helps preserve that structure as the work item flows from tool to tool.

Regardless of what ‘container’ your tool uses to create a hierarchical structure like folders, modules or packages, Tasktop Integration Hub 18.1 can create those containers on the fly and flow artifacts into the correct folder location. We’ve made it easy to configure how the desired containers and work items will flow in a single setup.

Create a single integration for both containers and the work items within them

When you set up your integration, you’ll see the structures in both repositories and can configure exactly how you want the mirroring between them to work. Tasktop supports both one-way and bidirectional creation.

Mapping containers between tools is easy when you can see both structures side by side

Let’s take an example from a common container mirroring use case, where the requirements management tool acts as the source of the container structure. An organization uses Jama for requirements management and Micro Focus ALM (formerly HPE) for test management. The team wants the folder structure from Jama to flow to ALM, where QA engineers can develop tests against the requirements. In Tasktop they’ll set up one-way container mirroring from Jama to ALM to replicate any new folder in Jama to ALM. Tasktop will also flow new requirements in DNG to the corresponding folder in ALM.

Container creation logic is independent of work item creation flows, for example container creation can be one directional, while work item synchronization is bidirectional. Work items within an integration inherit the routing you’ve set up between containers, minimizing or altogether eliminating the need for work item routing configuration.

Graphical Workflow Designer for State Transitions

Some repositories such as Jira, TFS and RTC require pre-defined state transitions for certain fields, for example where a work item’s status must move from “New” to “In Progress” to “Closed”.

Thanks to Tasktop, you can trigger state transitions based on a change to the work item in another tool. For example, when a defect is changed to “Fixed” in Micro Focus ALM (formerly HPE ALM), the bug’s status field in Jira will change to “Done”.

Tasktop executes state transitions seamlessly based on a state transition configuration you set up on Tasktop Integration Hub. Version 18.1 introduces a new graphical workflow designer for easily defining state transition logic and setting the parameter values for each transition.

Configuring state transitions in Tasktop’s graphical workflow designer

The new state transition workflow designer provides an alternative to state transition extensions.

Now Supporting Sparx Systems EA via Sparx Systems Pro Cloud Server

Sparx Systems Pro Cloud Server is an add-on to Sparx Systems EA, a requirements modeling tool. Pro Cloud Server provides an API to support the exchange of information between the Sparx Enterprise Architect model repository and Tasktop Integration Hub.

In addition, Sparx Systems Pro Cloud Server provides a web-based application called WebEA that enables sharing content in an Enterprise Architect cloud repository with anyone with a smartphone, tablet or computer.

The modeling abilities of Sparx Systems EA support the design of requirements, use cases and systems, and provides a platform for collaboration and feedback. Sparx Systems EA is often used in conjunction with a requirements management tool like Jama or DOORS to provide governance and traceability. It is also frequently integrated with Agile planning tools, like Jira or VersionOne.

By using Tasktop to integrate Sparx Systems EA with a requirements management tool, IT organizations can benefit from visual modeling as well as the ability to use the governance, traceability and precision necessary in requirements management.

Here’s a video that shows how Tasktop integrates Sparx Systems EA via Sparx Systems Pro Cloud Server with Jama and Jira to maximize productivity for product owners, business analysts, and developers. The integration helps create a completely visible and traceable requirements management process.

For full details on new product features, supported artifacts and endpoints, please check out the Sparx Systems Pro Cloud Server integration page.

Speak to us today about connecting Sparx Systems Pro Cloud Server – or any other tool – to your software value stream.

What else?
  • Docker deployment is now available! With version 18.1, customers can build their own Tasktop Integration Hub Docker image. Within the Docker folder of the Linux distribution of Tasktop Integration Hub, Tasktop provides the Docker files and instructions from which you can easily customize, build and run your own Tasktop Hub Docker image.
  • Following the Micro Focus acquisition of HPE, the relevant products, such as HPE QC/ALM, HPE PPM and HPE ALM Octane have been rebranded in Tasktop Integration Hub as Micro Focus and display the new logos. You’ll see the new name and logo when creating a new repository or viewing existing repositories, collections, and integrations that involve those tools.
  • Version 18.1 includes additional performance and security enhancements. You can check out the version release notes here.

The post What’s New in Tasktop Integration Hub 18.1 appeared first on Tasktop Blog.

Discussing the considerations and impacts of automation

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 05:23

In software, we’re always looking for ways to improve our delivery processes, whether it’s increasing our velocity or enabling our teams to work more collaboratively. One way that our team here at Tasktop has managed to improve our processes has been through automation. This has really aided in improving how we handle releases, our internal tools, cloud services and builds. Now there are definitely some clear benefits to implementing automation within your organization however there are some things you should consider to ensure you go about things the right way. A major question to ask yourself, for example, is how much effort it would take to automate before you’re spending more time than you save?

These considerations often turn into fear and can deter teams from moving forward with automation, despite the gains.

In this episode of Tasktalks, Kevin and I discuss some of the main questions to ask yourself when deciding to automate as well as what engineers could automate, when to automate and how automation has evolved here at Tasktop.

We dive into the key benefits of automation, when properly executed, including efficiencies, enablement, and business continuity.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on automation, how you’ve executed this at your company and things you would like to try to automate next.

The post Discussing the considerations and impacts of automation appeared first on Tasktop Blog.

Optimizing feature request and implementation by integrating Salesforce, Targetprocess and Jira

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 10:07

Are you a sales manager that has no idea where a customer feature request is? Are you fed up with chaser phone calls and firing off countless emails to get a status update? Are you afraid of letting your customer down? Then you’ve come to the right place.

The problem

Once you’ve made a sale, it’s all about delivering on that promise. In software delivery, this can be tricky. You’ve listened the customer’s needs and worked hard to demonstrate how your software product or service will solve their problems. You’ve convinced them. The deal is signed.

Now it’s time to walk the walk. Every second counts as the customer has entrusted you with their business. Get this right and you may have a customer for life. You’ve logged a feature request in Salesforce and notified the Product team by email. A few weeks pass. Then the customer calls – “What’s the latest on the product?”

You don’t know. Your sales tool (say Salesforce) does not automatically provide real-time product status updates, so you’re forced into a frantic scavenger hunt for information. You’re ill-informed, and dangerously close to letting down the customer. Your reputation – and the organization’s – is at stake. And all this manual work takes time – precious time where you could be turning more leads into sales.

The cause

You work in a different system (a Sales tool such as Salesforce) from the product team (who uses an Agile Product Management tool such as Targetprocess), and developers (who use an Agile Planning tool such as Jira). And these tools do not naturally integrate or automatically share product-critical information.

What this means is that once a request is opened in Salesforce, it can go into a black hole. You’ll need to call, message or email Product to get an update, who will be working on many feature requests.

Product may not have even started your request yet, despite you including “URGENT!” in the subject of the email. When isn’t a customer order urgent? Or you’ll need to log into Targetprocess or Jira (if you have access) to see the request status there. Likewise, product owners and developers will have to tread the same laborious path to obtain the information they need to assess and progress the job at hand.

This is all time where a customer isn’t receiving value from a product, and time where they may be developing buyer’s remorse. What’s more, your practitioners are becoming frustrated with all the pesky manual admin required to get an idea of what’s going on. Ultimately, such a set-up is inefficient, unprofessional, and it’s damaging to your existing and future sales.

Solution

Sounds simple, but you need to integrate Salesforce with Targetprocess and Jira to obtain a visible and traceable feature request and implementation process.

Using Tasktop Integration Hub, you can quickly and easily integrate these three tools (and others), enabling all feature request (and all associated attributes, comments, attachments and relationships) to automatically migrate and synchronize bi-directionally across all three tools.

You can see how to connect Salesforce with Targetprocess and Jira in the video below to improve customer success:

Further reading

Optimize customer success by integrating Salesforce and Targetprocess

 

The post Optimizing feature request and implementation by integrating Salesforce, Targetprocess and Jira appeared first on Tasktop Blog.

Plug the holes in your requirements management process

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 14:26

In enterprise software delivery, requirements do much more than just define what a product is going to be – they’re the communication bridge across all the disciplines involved in planning, building, and delivering software at scale.

Yet for many organizations, the communication bridge isn’t as strong as it should be – instead, it’s littered with black holes where requirements (and other artifacts such as epics, stories and defects) disappear.

This is due to a fragmented workflow, as the best-of-breed tools used across the software value stream do not automatically flow artifacts across the process. Product-critical data gets locked in tools, putting the fidelity of information at risk. A wicked game of Telephone commences.

Trying to tie requirements to the work that takes place to create a value-delivering product is a constant challenge. Information isn’t static, and can change and be modified at any point by any practitioner in the value stream. This includes the customer themselves, whose most pressing needs and priorities can shift at the drop of a hat, thus impacting critical information (such as priority or description) on the requirement.

The result is lack of shared understanding of what is being built and why, due to a broken requirement management process. Consequently, the chances that these organizations are continuously and quickly delivering high quality output is low.

In my recent article for TheServerSide, I explain why Value Stream Integration addresses these issues, and why it’s the perfect partner for a dynamic requirement management process.

Speak to us today on how you can optimize cross-team collaboration by plugging those black holes in the communication bridge to ensure you’re delivering customer value every time.

 

The post Plug the holes in your requirements management process appeared first on Tasktop Blog.

Increasing productivity and traceability in defect resolution – Integrating ServiceNow, Microsoft VSTS and Micro Focus ALM (formerly HPE ALM)

Mon, 01/08/2018 - 09:25

Are your customers’ software issues taking too long to be fixed? Are you looking to improve your mean time to resolution (MTTR) and improve collaboration between your support team, developers and QA engineers/testers? You’ve come to the right place.

Problem

Your customer has a critical issue with their software. Every minute of application downtime is a minute their business is not performing at 100 percent, and another minute where your business relationship is taking a hit.

Your support desk receives notification of the bug and fires off an email to your development teams, hoping for a speedy resolution. The customer calls again a few hours later. “Do you know when the issue will be fixed?” “Um…”

Without making a phone call or another email, they don’t actually know the status because they don’t have a visible or traceable defect reporting or resolution process. By the time a status update has been provided, your customer’s satisfaction is on thin ice.

Cause

Your support team works in a disparate system (an ITSM tool such as ServiceNow) to your developers (an Agile Planning tool such as Microsoft VSTS) and QA/test teams (a Test Management tool such as Micro Focus ALM). And these tools do not naturally integrate or automatically flow information (such as a defect).

What this means is that once a support ticket is opened, it goes into a black hole. The support engineer responsible for communicating with customers has no idea when the issue will be fixed. They’ll need to send emails, make phone calls, and attend status meetings to find out where this issue stands. Or they’ll need to log into Microsoft VSTS or Micro Focus ALM (if they even have access) to see the ticket status there. Likewise, developers and QA/testers have to tread the same laborious path to obtain the information they need to fix and test the issue.

Meanwhile, management will not be able to derive any real insight into the defect resolution process to measure MTTR because all data that relates to the flow time of work is trapped in the individual tools. They will also need to resort to manual means of communication to obtain crucial metrics, such as how long did the issue wait in the dev or testing queue, and how long was it actually worked on. This method is slow and onerous, meaning measurement is unlikely to be accurate or even possible. Process improvement becomes a huge challenge.

This is all time where a customer isn’t receiving value from a product, and time where they’re becoming increasingly disenchanted with their service. What’s more, your practitioners are becoming frustrated with all this pesky admin. Ultimately, such a set-up is inefficient, unprofessional, and it’s damaging both you and your customers’ businesses.

Solution

Sounds simple, but you need to integrate ServiceNow with Microsoft VSTS and Micro Focus ALM to bring your support desk closer to your development and QA teams (and the rest of the software value stream).

Using Tasktop Integration Hub, you can quickly and easily integrate these three tools (and others), enabling all defects (and all associated attributes, comments, attachments and relationships) to automatically migrate and synchronize bi-directionally across all three tools. These links enable you to trace and follow the problem across tools for reporting and analytics.

You can see how to connect ServiceNow with Microsoft VSTS and Micro Focus ALM in the video below, where I explain how Tasktop easily and simply connects all tools to improve your MTTR – including valuable metrics where item resolution is lagging and how to improve the process – to optimize customer application performance, and ensure your support desk is always able to keep your customer up to date.

The post Increasing productivity and traceability in defect resolution – Integrating ServiceNow, Microsoft VSTS and Micro Focus ALM (formerly HPE ALM) appeared first on Tasktop Blog.

10 predictions and trends for enterprise software development and delivery in 2018

Thu, 01/04/2018 - 08:46

Predicting the future of enterprise software development and delivery can often feel like hammering Jell-O to a wall. The industry is a perpetually evolving beast, awash with nuance, relativity and disruption. Just when you think you’ve got your head around it all, new technology and ideas can gatecrash the party overnight.

That said, we’ve dusted off our crystal ball to help give you an idea of the year or so ahead. Based on conversations with customers, analysts, partners and a cross-section of Tasktopians, we’ve identified some recurring themes that could impact the industry over the next 12-18 months.

1) The final nail in the coffin of the ‘One Tool Fallacy’

Having ‘one tool to rule them all’ is naturally appealing in terms of perceived simplicity and cost benefits. The idea, however, is inherently flawed. History speaks for itself; any tool that has attempted to be ‘everything for everyone’ has failed miserably. There’s just too many nuances within the different workflows across the various specialty teams in the software value stream.

When you plug too much workflow into one tool (say Jira), you will inevitably flood the tool and hit a wall, undoing all the productivity achievements that Jira and other leading development and delivery tools have brought to the process.

Instead, organizations will continue to introduce domain-specific tools to optimize productivity and functionality at key stages. Their priority is seeking the best way to ensure that these multiple tools work together in a single dynamic system for better visibility, traceability and control over the process.

2) Rise of the ‘One Tool Vendor’  

If the ‘One Tool Fallacy’ is dead in the water, the ‘One Tool Vendor’ is still swimming strong. The rise of vendor consolidation shows no signs of abating. Industry heavyweights continue to acquire younger upstarts to try and manage more aspects of the development cycle – see CA and Rally, Micro Focus and HPE QC, Planview and LeanKit etc.

But that doesn’t mean the best-of-breed tool trend that Agile and DevOps has fostered will slow down – far from it! When tool vendor purchases another tool to extend their portfolio, there’s no guarantee that the new acquired tool will necessarily be the right tool for a customer’s specific business. There will always be innovative new tools that offer new, different and better functionality that meet the diverse needs of the market.

What organizations will be looking for now is how to make all these best-of-breed tools work together. Large-scale integration, however, is a specialty that tool vendors lack the expertise in. Customers may be lured into a lightweight integration between two tools owned by the same company, but that integration is not likely to be robust and sophisticated enough to handle the complexity involved in maintaining a strong integration fabric for scaling tools, teams and projects.

Nor will these lightweight integration solutions be able to connect to all the other leading tools in the market. This is significant as organizations are looking beyond point-to-point, two-way synchronization to drive efficiencies as it is only one portion of their whole value stream. Instead they’re looking to integrate multiple tools within the whole value stream for better visibility, traceability and control over the way they deliver end products and services.

3) Value Stream Thinking

We will continue to see organizations working even closer with customers and implement processes that enables faster user feedback, always focusing on the only real important question: “what do our discerning customers want from their software?”

The answer is a seamless digital experience at all times, delivered by speed, innovation, reliability and predictability. What this means is listening, in real-time, to customer feedback. Each product feature and release is a new experience, and if an organization isn’t listening, it’s highly likely that they won’t be building the right thing. And they will definitely lose customers if they don’t swiftly adjust their approach.

This focus on customer value is driving a shift in mindset. Organizations are beginning to see their software delivery process as a network of linked activities that provide tangible value for their customers. Or in other words, their software delivery is a ‘value stream’.

They’re starting to analyze where value is created and lost, and how work flows from ideation to production. This type of thinking is forcing them to define their value stream, and seek ways to obtain end-to-end visibility and traceability into the process to improve it.

4) Value Stream Networks and integration

While the days of the failed ‘Waterfall’ approach to software still lingers, most organizations recognize that software delivery isn’t a linear, sequential process. Instead, they recognize it as a latent network of critical interactions between key collaborators united by their work (via artifacts such as features, epics, stories and defects).

These critical interactions are bilateral working relationships at key stages of the software delivery process – such as Developer and Tester, Developer and Ops, PMO and Product, and so on. What’s happening is organizations are gradually realizing that if you take a step back and “zoom out” of the whole software delivery process, the whole system resembles more of a social network of communication.

This realization begets another realization – how do we connect this network? How do we enable it to operate as one? How do we automatically flow artifacts? To address this, they’re looking into robust and sophisticated integration solutions that can handle the scaling of their software delivery to ensure they keep their eye on the prize; supporting their customers’ business initiatives.

5) Measurement

Another major trend will be how organizations measure the success of their software delivery at scale.

In 2018, organizations will look at flow time as the key measure of delivery speed, measuring the time it takes to deliver a new feature or product from the first customer request through to completion.

Previous measures like lead time and cycle time have tended to focus on code commit to deploy, and have helped to increase speed in sections of the delivery process, but are not adequate when trying to become more predictable with customers.

Flow time allows organizations to quantify the probability of completing X% of work in so many days.

6) Taking DevOps to the next level

You only have to type “DevOps” into Google and be swept away by the 9.5 million search results to realize that DevOps is still all the rage. But what does DevOps really mean?

Continuous Integration (CI), Continuous Deployment and Release Automation has optimized the ‘build and deploy’ phase, helping developers and operations to collaborate better to deliver products faster. But how do you know whether your organization is delivering the right products?

Continuous delivery counts for little if it’s not serving a customer’s needs. What we’ve discovered is that there’s a distinct disconnect between teams up and downstream because their tools aren’t interoperable, meaning the productivity benefits of any DevOps transformation are only felt downstream.

As the pressure mounts on CIOs to justify investments in DevOps, Agile, Release Automation etc., we’ll see organizations begin to bride the gulf between these two key phases. Tightening collaboration and feedback loops, they will focus on improving both end-to-end speed of delivery and end product quality, all the while implementing an infrastructure to scale their DevOps and other IT transformations

7) Project to product

As part of this evolution in DevOps-thinking, we will see a shift in mindset as software delivery organizations begin to think in “product” and not “project”. The traditional project concepts, like fixed start and end dates, yearly budget cycles, and deadlines, will quickly become irrelevant for organizations that iterate in short cycles and deliver continuously.

In customer-obsessed companies, it no longer matters if you met a milestone or finished on time. Instead what matters is whether customers (external or internal) liked what you delivered, and if you achieved the desired business outcome. When thinking “product”, or even better “feature”, you ask a different set of questions:

  • “Did this feature move the needle on revenue or a proxy to revenue?”
  • “How fast did this feature get delivered?”
  • “How much new business value did we create through these features?”

These types of questions sharpen individual and team focus, closely aligning practitioners to the end goal of their work (the product), not just their functional responsibilities.

8) Increased autonomy

As more elements get poured into the software development pot, process improvement is more important an ever. Enterprises at both organizational and team level looking at ways to increase autonomy, reduce maintenance and make better use of their resources. We see organizations achieving this by:

  • Cloud-based services: many of our customers are transitioning to cloud-hosted ALM tools, with many moving from on-premises systems to virtual, enabling them to free up time to focus on building products
  • Self-sufficiency – teams want more control over their processes as they seek to reduce dependencies on other teams. More and more customers are wanting to use their own tool to manage different elements of the software delivery process e.g. preferring to manage their own MySQL rather than depend on an Oracle database maintained by a separate central database team.

9) Refreshed view on testing

Just as Agile and DevOps has transformed the dynamics of the development team, testing teams are getting a shake up too. Testing is moving away from large QA groups performing manual tests in large clunky tools as testers move into the development teams as a functional member to support their Agile and DevOps initiatives.

True to the tenets of both methodologies, testing is becoming increasingly automated as teams seek to trim as much manual fat as possible. For any specific manual testing that is required, there is a conveyor belt of new breed, lightweight tools that can be added to the mix.

However, as a word of caution, all these tools and automation come with their own set of challenges, such as maintaining accurate traceability across the process. For instance, when an automated test via a tool such as Selenium and Junit fails, it generally happens deep down in the bowels of a build pipeline, whereby developers will then manually create a defect to track the failure.

Unfortunately, this still leaves a disconnect between the test, its failures, and the original requirement, obfuscating the relative cost and risk profile that underlie the feature associated with the requirement. This level of traceability will be critical as continuous integration and delivery become the norm and speed ratchets up thanks to organizational investment in automation.

10) The emergence of practical applications for AI/ML

AI/ML (artificial intelligence / machine learning) continues to intrigue across the industry, but we’ve yet to see any real practical applications emerge. That could be about to change.

A major reason for slow adoption is a lack of data consistency from a fragmented toolchain; you can’t teach what you don’t know. No tool integration means no automated flow of artifacts between tools, meaning a lack of consistency and traceability between the data in each tool.

However, as organizations continue to connect their multiple tools to create a consistent flow of data for end-to-end measurement and reporting, they can gain access to a treasure trove of historical data from which to train AI algorithms to measure risk, predict delivery times, classify defects and more.

Agree? Disagree? Think we’ve missed anything? Let us know below!

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Planview Acquires LeanKit

Tue, 01/02/2018 - 10:14

We’re excited by the news that Tasktop’s partner LeanKit has been acquired by Planview. LeanKit is a best-of-breed provider of enterprise-grade Kanban visual project management technology.

As an integration provider for LeanKit, Tasktop connects LeanKit to dozens of third-party solutions in areas such as Agile, Application Lifecycle Management (ALM), Requirements Management, Test & Quality Management, and IT Service Management. Planview is well known for its Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) solution, which is part of an industry-leading suite of work and resource management applications.

The two companies are a great fit given Planview customers’ desire to adopt lean and Agile practices for faster innovation, and LeanKit customers’ need for PPM to manage the full picture for the entire organization. It’s always satisfying to see organizations like LeanKit and Planview combine forces and focus on driving more customer value rather than reinventing each other’s wheels.

With the combined solution, the PMO can now collaborate directly and efficiently with software development, IT operations, product managers, physical engineers and other groups that take advantage of enterprise Kanban practices.

Tasktop integrates the PMO with Lean & Agile

Bringing the two companies and their technologies together makes a lot of sense but how exactly do the teams and technologies work together? It’s early days for Planview and LeanKit, and I’d expect they will announce more details of an integrated product strategy in due course. Fortunately for Tasktop customers, connecting the PMO with Lean & Agile is a well-established pattern of integration across solutions from several vendors including LeanKit and Planview.

Take a look at the following common scenarios for integrated PMO/PPM collaboration:

Tasktop Integrates Planview with LeanKit

For Planview and LeanKit specifically, consider an organization with a need to manage high level deliverables in Planview and manage the production of those items in LeanKit. With Tasktop, development deliverables might be created on the Planview side and automatically represented as cards on the Kanban board in LeanKit. From there, practitioners can break those features down as appropriate. The LeanKit team may also determine additional features are necessary and those items would be reflected back in Planview. When a LeanKit Kanban board user drags a card from one column to the next, the status of the corresponding item in Planview is automatically updated and vice versa. Artifacts, attribute values, status updates, and schedule updates flow bi-directionally between the two systems as needed.

Take a look at this screencast demo video presented by Tasktop’s Mara Puisite to see the LeanKit and Planview integration in action:

Tasktop addresses collaboration challenges such as between PPM and Agile/Lean as part of a wider initiative to optimize an organization’s overall value stream. By connecting and automating the real-time flow of information across best-of-breed solutions, it becomes possible to collaborate across silos and gain end-to-end visibility. With visibility comes the ability to identify bottlenecks to increase velocity, obtain end-to-end traceability, and make better IT investment decisions.

Contact us to learn more and see a live demonstration.

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Common Integration Patterns in Enterprise Software Delivery

Fri, 12/22/2017 - 09:36

At Tasktop, we’ve taken measures to better understand the usage of the Tasktop Integration Hub to learn more about how companies are currently using our product, and how we can continue to enhance it to meet the ever-changing needs of our discerning customers.

Recently, we studied over 300 software architecture and value stream customer diagrams to create metrics around how different companies currently use, or would like to use, our product.

These diagrams contained information around the tools, artifacts, and integration patterns that made up each company’s software architecture and value stream. We unearthed a well of knowledge that ended up providing more than great metrics; we gained a deeper understanding of the complexity of our customers’ businesses and their integration use cases.

We have uncovered a set of common integration patterns between teams and their tools that we have optimized based on our broad experience with integrating the software value stream. These patterns are critical interactions between the collaborators who plan, build and deliver software at scale:

In the early years of Tasktop, almost all our customers focused on only one or two of these integration patterns – the most popular being the tester-developer alignment. Our analysis, however, revealed that this number has greatly increased as customers expand their integration use cases in exciting and sophisticated ways.

With new business goals and opportunities, companies are often required to add more tools, and consequently more artifacts, into their value stream to adapt and meet these demands. With each new tool or artifact, there are more moving pieces and connections to account for. This results in a more complex set of integrations that can only be created, managed and optimized through Tasktop.

This data has also allowed us to see the future potential that Tasktop could tap into. For example, customers are creatively using more tools outside of their primary intended use, such as using an Agile Planning tool such as CA Agile Central (Rally) for program and project management.

We have already started to define new integration patterns, as well as adapting existing patterns to make more sense for the evolving software development landscape. A common example we have seen with our customers has been the integration of security monitoring tools to integrate vulnerabilities with defects and tests in a quality control tool.

Such customer-centric R&D not only improves our understanding of our product and the market, but increases customer engagement as they begin to see the far-reaching efficiency benefits of end-to-end value stream integration . We can’t wait to see what our customers come up with next!

Have you devised any unusual integration patterns that have liberated your teams from manual effort and awkward collaboration? Or are you wondering how you can use Tasktop to create a workflow that suits your perpetually evolving business? We’d love to hear from you to demonstrate how we can help.

 

 

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How to accommodate different processes in enterprise software delivery

Wed, 12/20/2017 - 15:05

“Nothing is permanent but change’ – Heraclitus

In business, we all know if you’re standing still, you’re falling behind. We also know that asking people to change their ways is hard – especially in enterprise software delivery. In fact, resistance from some of your best teams can be fierce, and the fallout can directly impact the quality of your products.

These are teams, from product to PMO to development to testing and beyond, who have toiled away to create a unique process that works perfectly for their specific team. It can be perilous for an “outsider” (such as a CIO) to ask them to alter their day-to-day approach to work – you risk disrupting your value stream and poisoning the well of innovation.

At the same time, your organization can’t stagnate; continuous improvement is always the name of the game, and new ideas and technology are critical for survival and prosperity. Which begs the question:

Just how do you introduce wider transformational initiatives (Agile, DevOps, SAFe, Nexus etc.) without upsetting your process-proud teams? How do you accommodate all these vital different parts? How to do you move forward without leaving key people behind and/or dragging along resentful practitioners?

There is a solution, and it’s not forcing all teams into one system – it’s about all about creating a modular infrastructure that enables and actively encourages change and experimentation.

You can read more on how to accommodate your innovation-driving teams in my article for DevOps.com here: https://devops.com/accommodating-different-processes-enterprise-software-delivery/

 

Improve MTTR by connecting ServiceNow with Jira and Micro Focus ALM (formerly HPE ALM)

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 08:53

Are your customers’ software issues taking too long to be fixed? Are you looking to improve your mean time to resolution (MTTR) and improve collaboration between your support team, developers and QA engineers/testers? You’ve come to the right place.

Problem

Your customer has a critical issue with their software. Every minute of application downtime is a minute their business is not performing at 100 percent, and another minute where your business relationship is taking a hit.

Your support desk receives notification of the bug and fires off an email to your development teams, hoping for a speedy resolution. The customer calls again a few hours later. “Do you know when the issue will be fixed?” “Um…”

Without making a phone call or another email, they don’t actually know the status because they don’t have a visible or traceable defect reporting or resolution process. By the time a status update has been provided, your customer’s satisfaction is on thin ice.

Cause

Your support team works in a disparate system (an ITSM tool such as ServiceNow) to your developers (an Agile Planning tool such as Jira) and QA/test teams (a Test Management tool such as Micro Focus ALM). And these tools do not naturally integrate or automatically flow information (such as a defect).

What this means is that once a support ticket is opened, it goes into a black hole. The support engineer responsible for communicating with customers has no idea when the issue will be fixed. They’ll need to send emails, make phone calls, and attend status meetings to find out where this issue stands. Or they’ll need to log into Jira or Micro Focus ALM (if they even have access) to see the ticket status there. Likewise, developers and QA/testers have to tread the same laborious path to obtain the information they need to fix and test the issue.

Meanwhile, management will not be able to derive any real insight into the defect resolution process to measure MTTR because all data that relates to the flow time of work is trapped in the individual tools. They will also need to resort to manual means of communication to obtain crucial metrics, such as how long did the issue wait in the dev or testing queue, and how long was it actually worked on. This method is slow and onerous, meaning measurement is unlikely to be accurate or even possible. Process improvement becomes a huge challenge.

This is all time where a customer isn’t receiving value from a product, and time where they’re becoming increasingly disenchanted with their service. What’s more, your practitioners are becoming frustrated with all this pesky admin. Ultimately, such a set-up is inefficient, unprofessional, and it’s damaging both you and your customers’ businesses.

Solution

Sounds simple, but you need to integrate ServiceNow with Jira and Micro Focus ALM to bring your support desk closer to your development and QA teams (and the rest of the software value stream). 

Using Tasktop Integration Hub, you can quickly and easily integrate these three tools (and others), enabling all defects (and all associated attributes, comments, attachments and relationships) to automatically migrate and synchronize bi-directionally across all three tools.

You can see how to connect ServiceNow with Jira and Micro Focus ALM in the video below, where I explain how Tasktop easily and simply connects all tools to improve your MTTR – including valuable metrics where item resolution is lagging and how to improve the process – to optimize customer application performance, and ensure your support desk is always able to keep your customer up to date.

The road to a unified automotive value stream

Tue, 12/12/2017 - 10:00

The phrase “software is eating the world” is ubiquitous across all industries, and the automotive sector is no different.

Software is the main technology driving innovation in cars. Millions of lines of code underpin everything from our vehicle’s navigation systems and engine control to its power steering and airbag deployment. We’re basically driving mobile computers.

On the back of this incredible growth is the rise of automotive software tools. Now, the automotive supply chain is bigger and more complicated never ever. There are now multiple software vendors and hundreds of teams and tools trying to work together to build a single vehicle. It’s chaos, and it’s dangerous.

All these vendors and teams are trying to build software faster to stay ahead of the competition, investing in various combinations of transformational practices, from DevOps to Agile to SAFe to Nexus, to accelerate their software delivery. Yet collaboration remains a huge bugbear because they’re all operating in different tools.

These tools don’t naturally integrate, meaning there’s no single fundamental communication channel, making accurate real-time visibility and traceability nearly impossible. Worse, this lack of a holistic view across the supply chain means they don’t even know if they’re building the right product.

Delivering the wrong product in the automotive sector has fatal consequences. To safeguard against defective software, there are strict compliance issues in place across automotive software development (just as there is for the all non-software components).

But how do you ensure compliance when you have no traceability across the workflow? How do you know the right code is being tested? You need to ensure your heavyweight Application Lifecycle Management tools for managing product lines, such as codeBeamer ALM, is connected to your testing tools, as well as all other tools/teams across the software supply chain. Only then do you have your single communication/collaboration channel.

To learn more, watch the below webinar on ‘How to optimize supply chain collaboration: the road to a unified automotive value stream’:

Slides for this webinar can be viewed here.

A journey with Technovation Challenge finalists

Thu, 12/07/2017 - 11:26

At the beginning of the year, Tasktop partnered up with local high school girls to join the ‘Technovation Challenge’. Technovation, a flagship program run by non-profit Iridescent, is the world’s largest global tech entrepreneurship competition for girls. One of the teams we worked with went on to become a finalist, winning $5000 scholarship money to further their interest in STEM, and the opportunity to network with tech companies in Silicon Valley.

The program offers girls around the world the opportunity to learn the skills they need to emerge as tech entrepreneurs and leaders. Every year, Technovation challenges girls between the ages of 8 and 10 to identify a problem in their community, and to solve the issue through a business plan and app. The girls work closely in teams with the help from mentors to complete a 12-week curriculum.

We had our kickoff event hosted at Tasktop at the end of January and roughly 23 high school students attended with their parents. There were nine volunteers from Tasktop and about seven teams were formed. It was an afternoon of fun learning and small group discussions to brainstorm project ideas.

Tasktop’s Étienne Hossack welcoming students at Tasktop’s HQ in Vancouver

I supported three Grade 8 girls – Carol, Suzanna and Carina – forming a team called ‘3 Big Tomatoes’. The girls were elementary school friends who attend different high schools. Technovation Challenge helped to bring them back together to work on something potentially impactful.

The “3 Big Tomatoes” and their mentor, Vivian Lau! (From left to right – Carina, Suzanna, Carol, Vivian)

This year’s challenge was focused on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals: poverty, the environment, peace, equality, education, and health. Every team is required to identify a problem falling into at least one of those categories, and to attempt to solve that problem through technology. After a lively brainstorming session, we finally picked ‘Environment and Education’ as the theme for our app.

Introducing ZeroWaste

We called the app “ZeroWaste”, which users to recognize different types of waste in their home and how to recycle or reuse them properly. It provides pictures, videos and games to help people, especially children and newcomers with language barriers, to understand local waste collection rules.

It was a great pleasure to work with a parent sponsor, Ping, who is Carol’s mom. Ping and I worked closely together to provide space and time for the girls to work on the projects together, who met every week to work on the project. As a mentor, I met up with the girls for a few meetings to provide feedback and technical help on their app, documentation and the final pitch.

Within the 12 weeks, the girls had carried out market research, conducted interviews, created prototypes, learned how to code the Android app through AppInventor, and created a business plan and pitch for their app. Twelve weeks passed by very quickly and I am amazed at how much the girls have done in such a short amount of time.

The pitch video and the demo of the app can be viewed here:

Pitch Video

App demo

After several rounds of judging around the world, the “3 Big Tomatoes” became one of the six finalists of the Junior Division AND was the only group representing Canada(!). We were so excited to learn that the girls got the chance to attend the World Pitch Summit in Silicon Valley for a week to meet other teams and other women in tech to pitch their ideas.

The girls also had the opportunity to visit local companies, network with current employees, and learn more about what a career in tech might mean for them. In addition, as part of the Junior Division Finalist, the girls won $5,000 (USD) scholarship to encourage them to further education or interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) related fields or development of the app and bring it to market.

I am very proud of my team for their huge accomplishment, and must also single out the parents for their incredible support!

Technovation Challenge is starting again in 2018, and we are looking forward to helping more students to progress their passion for tech – I encourage all of you to consider joining the challenge!

For more information about Technovation Challenge, please visit http://technovationchallenge.orgo support volunteering initiatives in our local communities and women in technology.

Tasktop also started a Tasktop Community Volunteering Program. Employees are entitled to have some paid time off hours to attend volunteering events. I am very glad that I joined a company that is so committed to the community and I hope that through these small acts of volunteering more young children would be interested in using technology to make the world better.

 

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