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Forex Trading Is Not for Everyone: The Study of Foreign Exchange Market

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Forex trading is a hard activity, difficult and not suitable for everyone. With trading you can’t get easy money. All Forex traders lose money when they do trading. Only a small number of them is able to offset the inevitable losses with operations in profit. Specifically, the 95% of forex traders lose money and in a short time is ejected from the market. This is mainly caused by lack of operations planning, insufficient market knowledge, poor money management and risk management. Also the personal character affects the results. If you hate losing or you are a super perfectionist, probably it will be very difficult for you to adapt to the forex trading. If you don’t learn to control your emotions and if you don’t have discipline, you can’t be successful.

Forex trading is not for the unemployed or those who have a little income. You must have at least 10,000 USD of capital for trading (in a mini account) that you can afford to lose. Do not expect to open an account with a few hundred dollars and become billionaires.

Forex is one of the most popular markets for speculation all over the world, as it is a huge market, liquid, and currencies have the feature of moving in trends. Most people invest in Forex market with the false hope of making a lot of money, but in reality, they lack the most important asset for trading: discipline. Trading, especially short-term, it’s not for amateurs, and rarely is the way to get rich quickly. Forex trading is not a system to get rich in a short time. Doing Forex trading is a skill that is learned over time, with effort and suffering. Also expert traders are subject to periods of losses. There are no shortcuts, it takes a lot of time to get familiar with Forex trading.

The road that will lead you to success is hard work. It’s advisable to practice working with a demo account. You have to operate with virtual money the same way as real money. It makes no sense to open a demo account with $ 50,000 if then, in reality, you can open a real account with only 5,000 $. It’s correct to put on demo account the same money you could put on a real account. Don’t open a real account until you operate profitably on a demo account (this can require many months).

It’s advisable to invest on a single currency pair. The major pairs are the most liquid and so the spread is lower. When you start trading, is too complicated to follow more than one currency pair. To be successful in the foreign exchange market, as in all other aspects of life, you need hard work, dedication, a little luck, a lot of common sense and judgment.

Before starting to invest in Forex, you must carefully consider the purpose of your investment, level of experience and risk tolerance. The most important thing is do not invest money that you can’t afford to lose. There is a considerable exposure to risk in any trading. The market is open 24 hours a day, 5 days a week. This means that unexpected events may affect your investment while you sleep.

The most attractive aspect to operate with currencies is the high degree of leverage used. Leverage seems to be very attractive to those who want to turn a small amount of money in a large amount, in a short time. A high leverage refers to the speed with which an account wins or loses money. You can’t hope to make extraordinary gains without taking extraordinary risks. The leverage should be increased gradually with increase of profits on your account.

There are also other additional risks that affect investment in Forex. For example, losing internet connection, computer or server malfunction, failure to upgrade software, inappropriate use of trading tools. A prudent investor should be prepared for unforeseen contingencies. Also, beginners should always improve the quality of their trading, starting with a test period in demo, followed by a period with a mini account, and then switch to a real account if all tests are concluded as planned.

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A Lightweight Framework to Use Agile Scrum Management Practices

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Introduction To Agile

Agile methodology was originally developed for the software industry, to enable developers to thrive in an environment of continuous change. It refers to a set of methods and practices based on the values enshrined in the Agile Manifesto. It advocates the use of incremental, iterative work cycles that are known as sprints.

What is Scrum?

Scrum is a process framework that reduces complexity and focuses on building products that meet specific business requirements.Most often, the words scrum and agile are used interchangeably, however, there is a difference. While agile denotes the set of methods, a scrum refers to the framework that is used to implement the agile methodology. Scrum is a subset of agile.

This article should serve as a lightweight primer to implementing agile project management with scrum framework.

Where Does Agile Scrum Framework Find Applicability?

Agile methodologies are not just limited to the software industry, it has recently found applicability in many industries and organizations. Agile methodologies can be applied wherever there is a product involved. Both large and small organizations can benefit immensely from scrum if implemented correctly. General management also began to embrace agile. This was confirmed by the on ground research conducted by the Learning Consortium in 2015. There is plenty of literature available on topics such as tools. Processes and methods. However, the Learning Consortium found that mindsets and people are more important than processes.

Key Characteristics Of Agile

  1. Satisfy the client and develop software continually. Changing requirements are adopted so that client gains a competitive advantage.

  2. Constant communication with the user representative to determine features to be incorporated.

  3. Focused and self-organized teams are best for agile. Cross functional teams work as a single cohesive unit.

  4. Project teams must consist of motivated individuals. Autonomy should be given to get the work done, A decent working environment and a support system must be established.

  5. Focus on delivering a working product frequently. Delivery preference is placed in the shortest time period possible.

  6. The primary measure of success is a working product.

  7. Resource availability and team capabilities are considered before committing to a project.

  8. Agile processes promote sustainable development. Developers. sponsors and users maintain a constant pace.

  9. Technical excellence and good design must be continuously worked upon and improved.

  10. The team reflects on how it can improve and become more effective, periodically. After reflection, their work processes will be adjusted accordingly.

Benefits Of Agile

There is constant communication between the project team and the client throughout the lifetime of the project. There is a greater level of collaboration, hence the team has a deeper level of understanding of the client’s requirements. The agile framework allows clients to be involved in prioritizing new features planning and review. This fosters transparency and honest communication. Also, the team works on building features that offer the highest business value to clients. All work sequences are time-boxed, this ensures timely delivery. Costs become predictable and are proportionate to the work that can be completed in each time-box. By using agile methods, high-quality development and testing are performed as the project is broken down into small manageable units. Each build iteration is followed by testing and review, hence problems can be detected early and fixed. Any expectation mismatches can also be dealt with effectively.

Building Blocks Of An Agile Scrum

There are several people and processes that make up a scrum. Here is a quick overview of everything that is required to implement the agile methodology.

Scrum Team

Scrum Teams consist of developers, testers, database experts, support staff, the scrum master and product owner. They work in close collaboration for a defined period of time to deliver the features as promised. There are usually 7-9 individuals in a scrum team.

Product Owner

The Product Owner represents the interests of the user. He is given the authority to determine what features are incorporated into the final product.

Scrum Master

The Scrum Master supervises the scrum team. He is responsible for the productivity of the team and for resolving issues or concerns that arise.

Sprint

A Sprint is a predetermined interval of time in which a specific amount of work is completed The time period can range from two weeks to a month depending on the project and the needs of the team. During the sprint, the team works on tasks so that it is available for review, deployment or production as the situation demands.

User Story

Scrum does not require heavy documentation for product requirements, they are defined through User Stories in the following format.

*As a <User / type of user> I want to <An achievable goal/target> To achieve *

User stories should be short, realistic, achievable and capable of being tested and measured. Acceptance criteria must always accompany the user story. These criteria act as supporting documents and further refine the user story. These have to be written with care as the test cases and scenarios will be drafted based on these acceptance criteria.

Epics

Epics are undefined user stories that are reserved for future sprints. These represent the features that may have to be incorporated into the product in the future. Most product features begin as epics, sufficient detail is later added and then they are broken down to be implemented.

Product Backlog

It is a repository where all the user stories are stored. It can be thought of as a wish-list that is maintained and prioritized by the product owner according to the user’s business needs.

Sprint Backlog

During a sprint, the scrum team picks up user stories from the product backlog, The team then meets to understand if the user stories can be completed in the predetermined time frame. The feasibility is also discussed. The list of user stories that the team works on in a sprint is called the Sprint Backlog.

Burn Down Chart

A burndown chart is used to track the progress of a sprint. It shows the plot of estimated effort v/s actual effort for all sprint tasks.

Implementing The Agile Scrum Framework

Implementing scrum does not require special training, one learns on the go. It starts with understanding the basics of the agile methodology and then mastering the technique. Here are the steps that should be followed to effectively implement the agile scrum framework.

Define Roles

Clearly defined roles are crucial to successful implementation. It is important to find a willing product owner who can communicate with stakeholders and represent their business needs. The scrum master is responsible for all scrum events and resolves any obstacles that may affect sprint progress. The scrum team commits to the sprint tasks and delivers the product. Everyone must play their role effectively to ensure the success of a scrum.

It is important that one person never takes on the responsibility of product owner and scrum master at the same time. There should always be a balance between the two roles. The product owner always wants more items from the product backlog pushed into each sprint, whereas the scrum master must ensure that the team has everything it needs to execute the scrum tasks.

Create Product Backlog

The product backlog can include bugs, enhancements, risks, issues and anything related to the product. Functional and nonfunctional requirements should be added to the backlog. Everyone can contribute to the product backlog, but only the product owner can prioritize the backlog. While prioritizing the backlog, the items on the top of the list must be clearly defined and with greater attention to detail. Items at the bottom of the list are usually vague. As the project grows, new needs arise and these are continuously added to the backlog. Hence the backlog is never complete.

Set Up Scrum Events

There is a defined set of activities to be executed. These are Sprint Planning, Backlog Refinement, Daily Scrum or Stand-Up, Sprint Review and Sprint Retrospective.

Sprint Planning

During this phase, the team commits to the work to be carried out during a sprint. The scope of work remains unchanged during a sprint. During the planning meeting, items that the team commits to are discussed in detail. The entire team should be encouraged to ask questions about each item so that it understands how and what it should do. Once the team commits to the work, they take up responsibility for the success of the sprint. Participants in this meeting include the scrum master, product owner and the scrum team. The duration of the sprint must be decided according to the nature of the industry. For fast moving software products, 1-2 weeks is an ideal sprint duration.

Start The Sprint

The team begins work on committed tasks. Progress is tracked via daily standup meetings. These daily meetings should not last for more than 15 minutes and focus on three questions: What did you work on yesterday? What will you work on today? Is there anything blocking your work today that you need help with?

Sprint Review

During the Sprint Review meeting, the team presents the work they have completed during the sprint. A demo of the new features is conducted. This is an informal meeting where no more than two hours of preparation time is allowed and the use of PowerPoint slides is forbidden. During this meeting, the team’s progress is measured against the sprint goals set in the sprint planning meeting. Participants include the scrum master, product owner, scrum team, management and developers from other projects.

Sprint Retrospective

After the sprint, the team celebrates its success and reflects on its progress. The team focusses on what improvements they can make and how they can become more effective. The scrum team, product owner and the scrum master participate in this meeting. This meeting can be conducted as a start-stop-continue meeting. Each team member is asked to identify things that the team should:

Start doing

Stop doing

Continue doing

After this exercise, the team votes on specific topics to focus on in the next sprint.

Repeat

Once the first sprint is complete, the team starts over. More items are picked up from the product backlog to create a new sprint backlog and start a new sprint.

Closing Note

Agile is a powerful tool for projects, irrespective of the industry. It not only benefits the development team but also provides several benefits to the client. A project is filled with numerous pitfalls such as cost, unpredictable schedule and uncontrolled growth of project scope. Agile enables teams to deal with these pitfalls in an efficient and controlled manner. Using Agile, project objectives are achieved using a lean and business focused approach.

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CEO Tips I Wish I’d Had When I Started

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As a good CEO I like to get to the bottom line quickly, so here are the tips we will review.

1 What’s my job? What am I responsible for?

2 It’s the people. It’s all about the people.

3 The roadmap to your vision.

4 Who are you? What is the brand YOU?

5 “What’s in it for me” Your Customer

6 Stick with what you are good at.

7 Do it. Just do it!

Today, you may be at the top of the company’s organization chart. HELP!!!!!

If you are a new CEO or have aspirations of being one, I hope you will do well and you may have learned some of these lessons already. If you have been in place for a while, this may be just a review for you and will help accelerate your business performance.

CEOs are in office for a shorter and shorter time. A Booze Allen study in the 2500 largest market cap companies has shown that in a decade the average tenure has been cut by more than 2/3rds from 9.5 years to 3 years and the turnover is less and less at the CEO’s choosing. The non voluntary reasons for leaving have skyrocketed from 27% in 1995 to 70% in 2006.

Why are CEOs turning over? In about equal proportions the reasons are:

o Merger driven

o Performance driven

o Regular Transition

Think about it. A very short time in place and only 1/3 are regular transition. CEOs had better hit the ground running and running well.

“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle, when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.” Successories

Many of us learned through on the job training. As we worked our way up to larger and larger responsibilities, we had the chance to hone the skills we learned first hand. That takes time and lots of experience. But there is another way and that is to learn from others who have gone before you and done so successfully.

Here are some CEO tips I’d wish I had when I first became a CEO. This isn’t a clipping service from the latest books. It is a summary of what I have found through my 36 years in general management to be most important, augmented by some pearls of wisdom from many other CEOs. When you have the time, read all the books. Better still; hire a smart business advisor consultant to provide the depth to these ideas.

You will note that there are some questions for you at the end of each section that relate to that section. Answer them. The only way to learn and make these tips worthwhile is to apply them to your business.

1 What’s my job? What am I responsible for?

While ultimately it can be said that the CEO is responsible for everything, there are several key leadership responsibilities that fit for CEOs of companies of all sizes. You are going to find, if you haven’t found already, that you like me are being pulled into many, many activities and issues that really can be handled by someone else. Be vigilant, because each will erode your time on the really important areas that only you as CEO can handle.

Setting strategy and vision.

The CEO is the owner of the vision and the strategies on how to make that vision a reality. No one else in your company can play this role. The senior management team can help develop strategy. The Board and investors can approve a business plan but the CEO ultimately sets the direction.

Vision is your concept of the future of your business, how you perceive and experience the future of your company right now, in the present. A powerfully held and shared vision energizes and inspires people. Vision is the vital catalyst that multiplies the efforts people put into their work, and intensifies and enlarges the effect of those efforts. Getting big is all about how one thinks. It is just as easy to have a big dream as it is to have a small dream.

“Your vision is the promise of what you shall one day be; your ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil.”

James Allen

“Dream Big and Kick Ass.”

Donald Trump

“It was just about a little over 30 years ago when I started Microsoft. That was based on a vision that the microprocessor, the computer on a chip, combined with great software that we saw ourselves and other companies doing, could create something magical, a tool of empowerment.”

Bill Gates

What is your vision for your company? Does it stretch you and your company or is it just comfortable?

Core Purpose is the organization’s reason for being.

3M To solve unsolved problems innovatively Mary Kay Cosmetics To give unlimited opportunity to women

HP To make technical contributions for the advancement and welfare of humanity Nike To experience the emotion of competition, winning and crushing competitors

Merck To preserve and improve human life

Walt Disney To make people happy

Sony To experience the joy of advancing and applying technology for the benefit of the public

Wal-Mart To give ordinary folk the chance to buy the same things as rich people

Building culture.

If vision is where the company is going, values tell how the company gets there. Values outline acceptable behavior. Work gets done through people, and people are profoundly affected by culture. A great place to work can attract and retain the very best and a terrible place to work can drive away high performers. Culture is built in many ways, and the CEO sets the tone. His every action-or inaction-sends cultural messages. People take their cues about interpersonal values-trust, honesty, openness-from CEO’s actions as well.

“Culture isn’t one aspect of the game – it is the game!” Lou Gerstner – ex IBM CEO

“Good values attract good people.” John Wooden

Have you been clear on the core values and operating principles for your company? What are they?

Core values are essential and enduring tenets of an organization. A small set of timeless guiding principles that require no external justification but have intrinsic value and importance to those inside the organization.

Merck

* Corporate social responsibility

* Unequivocal excellence in all aspects of the company

* Science based innovation

* Honesty and integrity

* Profit but profit from work that benefits humanity

Nordstrom

* Service to the customer above all else

* Hard work and individual productivity

* Never be satisfied

* Excellence in reputation; being part of something special

Sony

* Elevation of the Japanese culture and national status

* Being a pioneer – not following others; doing the impossible

* Encouraging individual ability and creativity

Walt Disney

* No Cynicism

* Nurturing and promulgation of wholesome American values

* Creativity dreams and imagination

* Fanatical attention to consistency and detail

* Preservation and control of the Disney magic

Team-building.

The CEO hires, fires, and leads the senior management team. They, in turn, hire, fire, and lead the rest of the organization. The CEO sets direction by communicating the strategy and vision of where the company is going. With clear direction, the team can rally together and make it happen. As the leader of the leaders, the CEO has to make them function smoothly together.

“Build for your team a feeling of oneness, of dependence upon one another and of strength to be derived from unity.” Vince Lombardi

“Surround yourself with people of integrity and get out of their way” Hector Ruiz – CEO of AMD

How well is your team functioning and is everyone pulling their weight?

Capital allocation.

The CEO sets budgets, funds projects which support the strategy and ramps down projects which lose money or don’t support the strategy. He considers carefully the company’s major expenditures, and manages the firm’s capital. Some CEOs don’t consider themselves financial people, but at the end of the day, it is their decisions that determine the company’s financial fate. Sound decisions are key to your profitability and long term success. No surprise here!

“Business isn’t about the score of the game you played in the last quarter or the last year. It’s probably about decisions you made three or five years ago, and how well you were able to adjust your course.” John Chambers, CEO, Cisco

On what basis do you make capital decisions and how does the need for quarterly results impact your longer term thinking and plans?

“Manage your top line of strategy, people and products and your bottom line will take care of itself.” Steve Jobs – CEO Apple

2 It’s the people. It’s the people. It’s all about the people.

Work gets done through people. They create the products, the processes and the revenue. They manage the customers, they manage the resources and they activate the strategies and plans. They bring the vision alive and actualize it. They should be your most valuable resource.

“A leader is judged in terms of what others do to obtain the results he is placed there to get.” Vince Lombardi

Historically, most companies hired good people, trained them and kept them for many years. Loyalty went both ways. They followed a philosophy like these ones at Procter & Gamble and GE.

“I know that the single biggest contribution I will make to this company is helping the next generation of leaders become the best that they can be.” “My job is to unleash the creativity, initiative, leadership, and productivity of P&G people. They are the leaders who’ve delivered the results.” AG Lafely, Procter &Gamble CEO

“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is about growing others.” Jack Welch Ex CEO of GE

“If you leave us our money, our buildings and our brands but take away our people, the company will fail. But if you take away our money, our buildings and our brands but leave us our people, we can rebuild the whole thing in less than a decade.” Procter &Gamble CEO Richard R Dupree 1947

That philosophy is no longer the case for many companies. Meaningful development plans no longer exist, particularly for the CEO. That means you need a plan that recruits the right person for the job and moves them out quickly when they are no longer right. Half a body is worse than no body at all. It means far more work to do anything through someone who isn’t in tune and it lulls you into a false set of security since you don’t have a ready hole to fill. Plus you are paying for the full measure while only getting part. Training and development takes time and money. The “hire, admire and fire” is also quite expensive when all the costs are added in, including the loss of the intellectual capital that goes out the door each time. Be careful in your strategic selection.

“Recognize the skills and traits you don’t possess and hire people who have them.” Howard Schultz – Starbucks

In either philosophy, a critical action is selecting “A” players and having them in key positions. An “A” player is someone who consistently excels and goes beyond expectations, reinventing and improving new situations. They take initiative, and that they exhibit purposeful action. No organization can have all “A” players, but “A” players have to be in the key positions for the organization to be successful. The responsibility of the CEO is to understand which positions within the company are key positions and to insure that the business has “A” players in all key positions in the company. Then have fully functioning “B” players in the other roles to support them. Move out the “C” players to other companies and opportunities where their talents will allow them to become “A” or “B” players there.

“Life with top players is heaven! Life without top players is not life at all. It is hell!” All managers of non playoff teams

What are your people plans?

How are you nourishing them so that they deliver above average results?

3 Show me the roadmap to your vision. You have to have a written plan.

Strategy is about figuring out what is really important and what you can do to influence it. Businesses are a complex network of issues but there are only a few things that really make the difference in the marketplace. I have found that the majority of CEO’s with whom I speak may have a plan but most don’t have it written down. My findings are supported by the Association for Strategic Planning with 63% of companies not having a strategic plan at all. Most have simple short term plans but not much more than a half year. Your plan has to be written in order to really take hold and bring your organization in support. It must cause you to identify the key targets and the plans that will deliver them. It will harness your scarce resources and dictate how to use them most effectively. It aligns the work of your employees. It keeps you on track!

“When I am on that speedway, you had better believe that my team and I are following a written plan that we have developed for success. I am going far too fast to just wing it.” Dale Earnhardt

There are many reasons given for not taking the time to make the investment in developing a strategic plan. Most have to do with time and other priorities. Some companies foolishly believe that their industry is different. It is changing too fast for a plan to be meaningful. Not so! Believe me this is the most productive and beneficial activity you can do for your company and yourself by a long shot. You need a written plan in a format that is useable.

“You shouldn’t expect to walk into a new leadership job with an established strategic plan. Rather you should walk in prepared to lead a strategic process.” Dave Peterschmidt – CEO of Securify and previously Sybase

What is your plan? Is it clear, concise understandable and actionable? Is it a living document that can be modified as you reach milestones or circumstances change? Do you even have a written long term plan? If not, when?

4 Who are you? What is the brand YOU?

As the old wise marketing guru said ” Branding is the essence of successful marketing.”

Brand equity is a precious gem. While not particularly rare it can be very valuable. So how do you tap into this treasure?

Consumers and customers don’t buy products or companies they buy brands. They form relationships with brands. The performance of your company or product, what it does and how it does it, is the core identity for the brand. The brand also has a distinctive personality and character that makes an emotional and trust based connection with the customer and distinguishes it from competitive brands.

“What Is a Customer Relationship? It is an on going conversation in which the customer never thinks of you without thinking of the two of you.”

Tom Peters

What does Peters mean when he says the customer thinks of the two of you? I believe that he means that you have established such a positive relationship with that customer that they consider you to be instrumental in their business success. Therefore you are bonded and the equity you have established is very strong.

Brand equity can provide strategic advantages to your company in many ways

o Indicator of quality. (Coke vs. cola.)

o Command a price premium. (Intel vs. AMD)

o Simplify the decision process for low-cost products. (Kleenex vs. facial tissue)

o Give comfort by reducing the perceived risk. (Beringer vs. Two Buck Chuck)

o Maintain higher awareness and included in most consumers’ consideration set. (Microsoft, Ipod)

o Strong defense against competition.

Brand names are company assets that must be invested in, protected and nurtured to maximize their long-term value to your company. Brands have many of the same implications as capital assets (like equipment and plant purchases) on a company’s bottom line, including the ability to be bought and sold and the ability to provide strategic advantages.

“What you ARE shouts so loudly in my ears I cannot hear what you say.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Your brand is not what you say you are, but what your customer thinks you are.”

Steve Yastro

When people think of your company what image comes to mind?

5 “What’s in it for me” – Your Customer

This isn’t just a song by Faith Hill. It is a way of life for your customers. They don’t care about you and your business issues. They are interested in what makes their life better. How can you or your product help them? Yes they want a great price and they want value but most of all they want that emotional benefit that says this fills MY needs. It isn’t always the best product from a logical standpoint. The emotion is also important and needed. Think about it.

“People don’t want a quarter inch drill. They want a quarter inch hole.”

Theodore Levitt

Value is what the consumer says it is. This is where a brand has to walk the talk.

“It’s the EXPERIENCE, stupid!”

as James Carvel might have said

Customer satisfaction = Your performance

Customer Expectations

Research shows that people want:

o To have you really know what they want and need

o To be treated with respect and to be listened to

o Not be bounced around and treated like dummies

o Not be served by people who don’t know their stuff

o To have products that fill those needs

Find out what customers want from you and know that what you are providing matches it. Do the research and don’t guess. Deliver what you say you will. Far too many businesses focus on ways to keep customers, only to lose sight of the fact that their product or service simply isn’t what it should be. Stop talking about features and start talking about benefits. The benefits to the customer. The benefits make a customer, YOUR customer. Make yourself more valuable to your customers, become a part of their world. Give them the five star treatment and they will give you five star loyalty.

“Call it “loyalty” or “customer intimacy”. Come hell or high water, get close to that customer, listen to that customer, and love up that customer for all you’re worth”.

Tom Peters

How do you measure your customers’ loyalty and what are you doing to drive it ahead?

6 “Stick with what you are good at.”

That means your core competencies. A core competency is something that a firm can do well and that provides customer benefits, is hard for competitors to imitate and can be leveraged widely to many products and markets. Clearly these provide a competitive advantage…if you stick to them and use them.

Your strategic plan should identify your core competencies and how to use them most effectively. Most fall into three overall categories of strategic focus. They are low price, technological advantage and customer service. Within each of those are many more specific core competencies that enable the company to deliver on that particular strategic focus.

Here is an example of what can happen when you don’t do this and I know that all of you have seen similar examples.

Garo Yepremian, Miami Dolphins field goal kicker, despite all of his success, is remembered by many people for an embarrassing incident in Super Bowl VII. Yepremian was sent in to kick a field goal. The field goal attempt was blocked and Yepremian managed to get to the ball. He picked it up and attempted to throw a pass. The ball slipped from his hands and went into the arms of Redskins cornerback Mike Bass, who returned it for a touchdown.

In the 1990s, Sears Roebuck divested itself of Allstate Insurance, Dean Witter, and its real estate brokerage activities to focus on its core competency, which was retailing general merchandise.

Wendy’s is divesting Tim Hortons doughnuts.

Chainsaw Al Dunlop divested almost everything in his companies but that’s another story.

“What it will come down to…is that we will try to do what we do best. We will go with our strengths.”

Vince Lombardi

Green Bay had the pulling guards, Kramer and Thurston, and gave the ball to Jim Taylor or Paul Horning on a sweep. They won 5 NFL titles and the first two Super Bowls.

“Baseball was okay but let’s get back to the court with the Bulls.”

Michael Jordon

What are your personal core competencies?

What are the core competencies of your company?

7 Do it. Just do it

A great Nike slogan that reached a lot of people and established Nike’s reputation in athletic wear. But it is much more than that. It is a call to action. To actually employ the people and the leadership teams in the culture that has been created. To capitalize on the capital you have invested and the brands created. To be meaningful to your customers, to fill their needs and to do it through your significant strengths. You just have to do it. A good plan in the market has a far better chance of successful impact than a great plan still being developed

“The thing that keeps me awake in this business is the speed at which you have to move.”

Robert Nardelli CEO Home Depot

Many CEO’s get to the top based on their success at making decisions. However, once at the top there is the realization that the decisions are different. At all other levels in the company on important decisions all you could say is no to the project. If you agreed with the idea or recommended project, it went up the line to the next level of authority for their concurrence. Now, at the CEO level, you’re it. You make that “Yes” decision. The final decision is yours!

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

Wayne Gretzsky

But there can be a reluctance to actually make that decision. It can be seen in some of the following actions:

o Paralysis by analysis.

o Do more research.

o Send it to a committee for further study.

All of these are delays in the decision making process and all cause the company’s progress to slow or stall. Often times they come under the umbrella thought of “We will do this when things settle down.” Guess what?? Things never settle down. So get on with it and start driving your business forward.

“Get out of your own way … Your success depends on it.”

Bill Gates Microsoft

How are you doing? Are you poised for action or are you treading water at the moment? What is keeping you from driving ahead?

Summary

There are many other tips that can be added in subsequent wrings but these are the most important in my experience. Put these tips to use for you and your company.

1 What’s my job? What am I responsible for?

2 It’s the people. It’s all about the people.

3 The roadmap to your vision.

4 Who are you? What is the brand YOU?

5 “What’s in it for me” – Your Customer

6 Stick with what you are good at.

7 Do it. Just do it!

I’d offer you one more tip. It comes from consulting with the many clients I have been fortunate to assist. Invest in an expert to accelerate your progress. You read this article to get some tips to help you do a better job of being a CEO. Now make the investment to secure a good business advisor in whatever area where you know you need to focus. The ROI is substantial.

Do it today.

Remember, there is no rewind button on business or life.

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Finance

Choose the Right Agile Methodology With External Dependencies – Scrum VS Kanban

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Introduction

Software development is a set of complex tasks. Many parties involvements and coordinated participation are necessary in order to achieve results. Agile methodologies explains some guidelines and provides more multiple framework to facilitate the development process. Two well known framework is Scrum and Kanban. It is important to select the appropriate framework for effective project management. Making a good choice will make the project run smoother and increase team members engagement. This article explains which framework could be a more appropriate choice when a project has too many external dependencies.

Scrum Framework in a nutshell:

Scrum Software development is a value driven iterative development process. Each iteration is called sprint. sprint starts with planning and end with a review and retrospective. Scrum defines 3 roles:

Product owner (PO): Product Owner is responsible for creating a prioritized list of all features of the product called product backlog.

Scrum Master (ScM): Scrum Master keep the focus on the goals and help the development team to remove the impediments. Scrum master is also responsible for facilitating scrum artifacts.

Development Team: At the beginning of the a sprint development team picks some of the features based on their capacity. Usually the most important features are picked first. Ideally, end of the sprint all features that are picked shall be done and shippable.

Kanban Framework in a nutshell

Kanban is a Japanese invention that mainly is a scheduling system for lean manufacturing and Just In Time (JIT) manufacturing. It is also viewed as an inventory control system for supply chain.

Kanban operates using “PULL” method. Demands are stacked and the production pulls requests from the demand according the capacity of the production. This philosophy is implemented in every station of production. A Kanban card is used to send signals from one station to another within the production line or even external supplier. A Kanban card generally states the demand. When a Kanban card is received that triggers an order to fulfill the demand stated in the card. Thats how Kanban represents a contentious flow of work in progress.

How Kanban can be applied in software development & Agile?

All demand orders from customer can be viewed software product development requirements/ requests. as the backlog for the software and product owner can be given the responsibility to make a prioritized list. whenever a Kanban card is received the higher priority work items shall go to the production. Systemization, Development and Test can be considered as three minimum station in software development production line. A work item is done when it goes through the entire flow. Once the last station is passed, it shall be shippable.

What is External Dependency?

Agile software developments teams are expected to be formed in a way that the development teams shall be responsible for end to end value delivery. However, an agile project could be consist of multiple development team. This article refers to a dependency as external dependency when a task can not be handled by the development teams involved in that project. Dependencies within different teams in a project is addressed as internal dependency.

Corrilation between External Dependencies and Scrum and Kanban

When a Scrum development team can not finish a task within the sprint that task shall go back to the product backlog and re-prioritized so it can be pulled by the development in the future/next. One of the main philosophy of Scrum team is to make commitment at every sprint to complete all pulled task and make it shippable. Ideally, team should do nothing else but what they have committed to do. Another key aspect is that in Scrum an estimation of future

Kanban on the other hand accepts producing and/or supplying based on demand signal through Kanban Card. Kanban does not require estimation in future.

Let’s take a case study of Hardware (HW) and Software (SW) development with external dependency

In this example let’s assume Enterprise “ABC” is developing a product “XYZ” where the enterprise is responsible for deliver the complete product both HW and SW. HW and SW development is defined as two separate project and both projects have respective project manager who regularly meets and synchronise the project time plan. For the SW project, HW is an external dependency. For the HW project, both components from external vendor and SW are external dependency.

Case Study: Agile Projects are running with scrum

Sprint-0

HW teams develops Component-1 & Component-2. SW team don’t start in Sprint-0.

Sprint-1

HW teams delivers component-1 & Component-2. They plan to start working on component-3, component-4 and 15% of the time for unexpected bug report.

SW teams plan to work with component-1, component-2 and 15% of the time for unexpected bug reports.

SW teams take component-1 &2 develops software for both. Component-2 works fine sone send it to Integration and finds a few minor issues on component-1 so send it back to HW project.

HW teams hardly manages to fix within the 15% allocated time.

Sprint-2

HW teams delivers Component-1,3 and 4 to the SW project and plan to work with Component-5 & 6 with 10% (lower as component 5 & 6 are bigger) unexpected work estimation.

SW teams plan to work with component-1, 3, 4 and 5% (lower because more development to be done) unexpected work.

SW teams checks component-1 and send it to integration as it works fine. Almost immediately after they found problem with component-3 and 4. sends it back to HW. HW teams uses 10% and found its major issue and need longer time to solve. In the mean time integration is done with component-1 & 2. It is ready for SW to conduct an End-to-End (E2E) verification.

In this current situation SW teams are blocked because of all planned tasks are back to HW and HW don’t have the capacity to serve them. However, there are work to do for SW, i.e. E2E verification but that’s more that 5% unplanned capacity so the teams can not take the tasks.

In large enterprise this may often happen. Practically, scenarios may become a lot more complicated when teams are colocated in different countries and time zones. Scrum encounter challenges in this kind of scenarios. This enforces to break the sprint, re-plan set new goals which creates additional overhead. In addition, changing goals and commitments in the middle of a sprint may make a ripple effect and indirectly create unseen impediments.

Projects are running with Kanban

Let’s try to make a brief analysis of the case mentioned above using Kanban. In this analisys, both HW and SW projects have created 2 production lines. Every production line has a capacity of developing one component at a time. Kanban don’t require plan ahead so the SW teams could take in Component-1 & 2 E2E tasks without any disruption. Similarly, HW team could pull the chain for one component and start working on Component 3 or 4. From a framework point of view adapting to the situation like this would be OK as Kanban relies on continuous work flow.

Conclusion

Agile project management is about delivering right value fast. Choosing the right methodology can be the solo factor between failure and success.

Scrum is more suitable for development teams that has less external dependency since that allows teams to be able to predicts the future better and make a good estimation. For example, developing applications that are not embedded with HW or don’t have hard dependency on underlying platforms.

Kanban is more suitable when project tasks are triggered mainly by events. i.e. Integration, Development Support for already released products.

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