Connect with us

Finance

A Lightweight Framework to Use Agile Scrum Management Practices

Published

on

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.

Advertisement

Finance

How To Start A Roasted Corn Business

Published

on

Corn roasting is a simple yet very profitable small investment business. The successful corn roasters make full time living working just the summer months.

To start a roasted corn business you will need to acquire permits and business licenses from the health department and from the state. The following is a typical checklist to start your business.

1. Decide the size and the scale of the operation.

2. Decide on the menu for your concession business.

3. Purchase your equipment and tools.

4. Register your business.

5. Apply and obtain all the required licenses and permits needed to run a food concession business.

6. Secure events and have fun running your concession stand.

Permits, Licenses, and Inspection

Every state has laws governing business licenses and permits. Most likely, you will have to register your business with the state agency, so you can do business in the state. A tax ID number, business license number, and tax registration number can be issued to your business, depending on the state in which you are operating. You should verify with the city or county that the business location is zoned for that activity. You must have commercial liability insurance, both for your business and for your vehicle and trailer.

Health Department and Food safety

As a business owner and a food worker, you will be preparing food for other people. Contact the health department of your county or state to receive a copy of a food safety guide that will help you greatly in learning more about food safety. Roasted corn is considered a less hazardous food, but if you are going to sell potatoes and turkey legs you may have to pay higher fee.

Start-up Costs of a Corn Roaster Business

Brand new corn roaster with warranty: 10,000-$12,000.

Used corn roaster: $5,000-$8,000.

Additional equipment and accessories: $1,200-$2,000.

Used van or truck: $2,000-$10,000.

Food cost for first two events: $300-$1,000.

Event sign-up fee: $800-$3,000.

Fuel, utilities, and miscellaneous: $200.

Equipment Required to Start a Corn Roasting Business

A professional corn roaster, minimum 200-500 corns per hour.

Hot plate for melting butter

Steam table for storing cooked potatoes and turkey legs.

Two 20-lb. propane tanks

Fire extinguisher

Commercial quality tent

2 tables,

Hand washing unit (portable) very easy to assemble one

Mics. Little things

Google “Corn Roasters” and search for companies that will help you get started before buying the equipment if you are strapped for cash. One of the company Texas Corn Roasters help.

How to Find Events and Festivals

There are many sources for finding festivals and events, such as your vendor friends, the local Chamber of Commerce, auto racing, fairs and festivals, flea markets, rodeos, and theme parks. The Internet is one of the greatest sources for finding events. Many good sites provide this information. Always send a professionally done proposal with your application if you want to beat the competition.

Suppliers and Producers

Suppliers and produce wholesalers are your key to success in this business. You cannot afford to buy the food from retailers, so you must find producers capable of providing you quality food at wholesale costs. Every state and big town has a local supplier who delivers food supplies to local restaurants. “Wholesale food distributor” in the Yellow Pages is a good place to start. Corn is cheap if buy from a wholesaler.

Serving food at the festival

The way you serve can also improve your business. You will need certain condiments for every item you server. For instance sale, black pepper, Cajun spice, garlic powder, lemon pepper and more.

Signage

You have probably heard the saying “flash is cash.” It is very true when it comes to the festival business. You could have the most delicious food, best prices, well-trained staff, and a festival with thousands of people. If your booth fails to attract customers,, it is probably the poor signage.

Tribal knowledge

Like many other small profitable business the roasted corn business is run by tight lipped vendors who do not share tribal knowledge. There are not any website, or sources for a newbie to find any information. The tribal knowledge could help you make extra 25K a year. There is a very helpful book “Earn an entire year’s living with corn roaster”, that covers this business with very granular level of details. It is worth buying.

If you plan on making your concession business a full time job, consider an RV that can tow your corn roaster trailer and getting on the list of concession vendors that follow a fair rout.

Accounting and numbers are also very important aspect of this business. Festival Concession business offers financial and personal freedom like no other small business does.

Continue Reading

Finance

Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging In Medical Therapy

Published

on

Digital technology now makes Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging available to all. There now is a completely safe test that can aid in diagnosis, treatment and monitoring with absolutely no risk or radiation exposure.

DITI, or digital infrared thermal imaging, is a noninvasive diagnostic test that allows a health practitioner to see and measure changes in skin surface temperature. An infrared scanning camera translates infrared radiation emitted from the skin surface and records them on a color monitor. This visual image graphically maps the body temperature and is referred to as a thermogram. The spectrum of colors indicates an increase or decrease in the amount of infrared radiation being emitted from the body surface. In healthy people, there is a symmetrical skin pattern which is consistent and reproducible for any individual.

DITI is highly sensitive and can therefore be used clinically to detect disease in the vascular, muscular, neural and skeletal systems. Medical DITI has been used extensively in human medicine in the United States, Europe and Asia for the past 20 years. Until now, bulky equipment has hindered its diagnostic and economic feasibility. Now, PC-based infrared technology designed specifically for clinical application has changed all this.

Clinical uses for DITI include, defining the extent of a lesion of which a diagnosis has previously been made (for example, vascular disease); localizing an abnormal area not previously identified, so further diagnostic tests can be performed (as in Irritable Bowel Syndrome); detecting early lesions before they are clinically evident (as in breast cancer or other breast diseases); and monitoring the healing process before a patient returns to work or training (as in workman’s compensation claims).

Medical DITI is filling the gap in clinical diagnosis; X-ray, Computed Tomography, Ultrasound and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), are tests of anatomy or structure. DITI is unique in its capability to show physiological or functional changes and metabolic processes. It has also proven to be a very useful complementary procedure to other diagnostic procedures.

Unlike most diagnostic modalities DITI is non invasive. It is a very sensitive and reliable means of graphically mapping and displaying skin surface temperature. With DITI you can diagnosis, evaluate, monitor and document a large number of injuries and conditions, including soft tissue injuries and sensory/autonomic nerve fiber dysfunction. Medical DITI can offer considerable financial savings by avoiding the need for more expensive investigation for many patients. Medical DITI can graphically display the biased feeling of pain by accurately displaying the changes in skin surface temperature. Disease states commonly associated with pain include Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy or RSD, Fibromyalgia and Rheumatoid arthritis.

Medical DITI can show a combined effect of the autonomic nervous system and the vascular system, down to capillary dysfunctions. The effects of these changes reveal an asymmetry in temperature distribution on the surface of the body. DITI is a monitor of thermal abnormalities present in a number of diseases and physical injuries. It is used as an aid for diagnosis and prognosis, as well as therapy follow up and rehabilitation monitoring, within clinical fields that include rheumatology, neurology, physiotherapy, sports medicine, oncology, pediatrics, orthopedics and many others.

Results obtained with medical DITI systems are totally objective and show excellent correlation with other diagnostic tests.

Thermographic screening is not covered by most insurance companies but is surprisingly affordable for most people. For more information or to find a certified clinic in your area, go to www.proactivehealthonline.com [http://www.proactivehealthonline.com].

Continue Reading

Finance

Hooray for the Federal Rules of Evidence!

Published

on

The Federal Rules of Evidence used in the United States federal courts and adopted by many states and the military are codification of many years of common law evidence rules. The development of the modern rules of evidence has been a process of nothing more than putting old wine into new bottles. If one can understand common law notions of evidence the Federal Rules will be easy to understand.

The purpose of the Federal Rules of Evidence is to secure fairness in administration of trials; eliminate unjustifiable expense and delay; and to promote the growth and development of the law of evidence in order that truth may be ascertained and proceedings justly determined. As a former trial lawyer and current law school professor who teaches the rules of evidence to students, I view the Federal Rules of Evidence, adopted by Congress in 1975 as a master work of putting the old common law wine into a new bottle. I have used the Federal Rules of Evidence throughout my career.

This article is not about any specific common law rule or rules that may have been put into the new bottle known as the Federal Rule of Evidence. Instead, I write this to show how influential and widespread has been the use of the rules. Forty-four states, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the military have all adopted all or parts of the Federal Rules for use in their court systems. This is a very good trend because the evidence rules of most states will be roughly the same throughout the United States.

The following paragraphs provide fundamental information about the jurisdictions that have adopted evidence rules patterned on the Federal Rules. They include information concerning the date on which the local rules became effective and when amended, if at all:

ALABAMA. Adopted by the Alabama Supreme Court effective January 1, 1996. No amendments.

ALASKA. Adopted by the Alaska Supreme Court effective August 1, 1979. Last amended October 15, 2003.

ARIZONA. Adopted by the Arizona Supreme Court effective September 1, 1977. Last amended June 1, 2004.

ARKANSAS. Adopted by the Arkansas Supreme Court effective October 13, 1986. Latest amendment on January 22, 1998.

COLORADO. Adopted by the Colorado Supreme Court Effective January 1, 1980. Latest amendment July 1, 2002.

CONNECTICUT. Adopted by the judges of the Connecticut Superior Court effective January 1, 2000. No amendments.

DELAWARE. Adopted by the Delaware Supreme Court effective February 1, 1980. Latest amendment December 10, 2001.

FLORIDA. The Florida Evidence Code was enacted by the Florida Legislature effective July 1, 1979. Latest amendment July 1, 2003.

GEORGIA. Governor Nathan Deal signed a House bill which made the Georgia rules effective January 1, 2013. No amendments.

GUAM. Adopted by the Guam Judicial Council effective November 16, 1979. Latest amendment July 18, 2003.

HAWAII. Enacted by the Hawaii Legislature effective January 1, 1981. No amendments.

IDAHO. Adopted by the Idaho Supreme Court effective July 1, 1985. No amendments.

ILLINOIS. Adopted by the Illinois Supreme Court effective January 1, 2011. No amendments.

INDIANA. Adopted by the Indiana Supreme Court effective January 1, 1994. Latest amendment January 1, 2004.

IOWA. Adopted by the Iowa Supreme Court effective July 1, 1983. Latest amendment February 15, 2002.

KENTUCKY. Enacted by the Kentucky Legislature effective July 1, 1992. Latest amendment July 1, 2003.

LOUISIANA. Enacted by the Louisiana Legislature effective January 1, 1989. Latest amendment August 15, 2003.

MAINE. Adopted by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court effective February 2, 1976. Latest amendment July 1, 2002.

MARYLAND. Adopted by the Maryland Court of Appeals effective July 1, 1994. Latest amendment January 1, 2004.

MICHIGAN. Adopted by the Michigan Supreme Court effective March 1, 1978. Latest amendment January 1, 2004.

MINNESOTA. Adopted by the Minnesota Supreme Court effective April 1, 1977. Latest amendment January 1, 1990.

MISSISSIPPI. Adopted by the Mississippi Supreme Court effective January 1, 1986. Latest amendment May 27, 2004.

MONTANA. Adopted by the Montana Supreme Court effective July 1, 1977. Latest amendment October 18, 1990.

NEBRASKA. Enacted by the Nebraska Legislature effective December 31, 1975. Latest amendment July 13, 2000.

NEVADA. Enacted by the Nevada Legislature effective July 1, 2004. No amendments.

NEW HAMPSHIRE. Adopted by the New Hampshire Supreme Court effective July 1, 1985. Latest amendment January 1, 2003.

NEW JERSEY. Adopted by the New Jersey Supreme Court and the New Jersey Legislature through a joint procedure effective July 1, 1993. Latest amendment July 1, 1993.

NEW MEXICO. Adopted by the New Mexico Supreme Court effective July 1, 1973. The latest amendment became effective February 1, 2003.

NORTH CAROLINA. Enacted by the North Carolina Legislature effective July 1, 1984. Latest amendment October 1, 2003.

NORTH DAKOTA. Adopted by the North Dakota Supreme Court effective February 15, 1977. Latest amendment March 1, 2001.

OHIO. Adopted by the Ohio Supreme Court effective July 1, 1980. Latest amendment July 1, 2003.

OKLAHOMA. Enacted by the Oklahoma Legislature effective October 1, 1978. Latest amendment November 1, 2003.

OREGON. Enacted by the Oregon Legislature effective January 1, 1982. Latest amendment July 3, 2003.

PENNSYLVANIA. Adopted by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court effective October 1, 1998. Latest amendment January 1, 2002.

PUERTO RICO. Enacted by the Puerto Rico Legislature effective October 1, 1979. Latest amendment August 30, 1999.

RHODE ISLAND. Adopted by the Rhode Island Supreme Court effective October 1, 1987. No amendments.

SOUTH CAROLINA. Enacted by the South Carolina Legislature effective September 3, 1995. No amendments.

SOUTH DAKOTA. Enacted by the South Dakota Legislature effective July 1, 1978. No amendments.

TENNESSEE. Adopted by the Tennessee Supreme Court effective January 1, 1990. Latest amendment July 1, 2003.

TEXAS. Adopted by the Texas Supreme Court effective March 1, 1998. No amendments.

UTAH. Adopted by the Utah Supreme Court effective September 1, 1983. Latest amendment November 1, 2004.

VERMONT. Adopted by the Vermont Supreme Court effective April 1, 1983. Latest amendment May 27, 2003.

WASHINGTON. Adopted by the Washington Supreme Court effective April 2, 1979. Latest amendment September 1, 2003.

WEST VIRGINIA. Adopted by the West Virginia Supreme Court effective February 1, 1985. Latest amendment January 1, 1995.

WISCONSIN. Adopted by the Wisconsin Supreme Court effective January 1, 1974. Latest amendment March 30, 2004.

WYOMING. Adopted by the Wyoming Supreme Court effective January 1, 1978. Latest amendment February 28, 1995.

THE MILITARY. The Military Rules of Evidence were adopted by Executive order No. 12,198 March 12, 1980. Latest amendment by Executive Order No. 13,262 April 11, 2002.

THE COMMONWEALTH OF THE NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS. No date of adoption found.

THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS. No date of adoption found.

What an impressive list of adoptions and enactments patterned after the Federal Rules of Evidence! Several jurisdictions have not adopted rules of evidence based on the Federal Rules of Evidence. They are: California, the District of Columbia, Kansas, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York and Virginia.

Continue Reading

Trending