An Overview of Scrum – A Popular Agile Framework

There are a number of methodologies that can be termed as agile. Among them, scrum framework is one of the most popular agile methodologies. But first, let’s talk about agile. Some of the popular frameworks that come to mind are scrum, extreme programming, lean, kanban, crystal, etc. All of these different frameworks can also be combined together to suit different organisational environments.

Scrum utilises a series of fixed-length iterations called sprints that are regularly held to give the teams a much-needed framework for building software in the rapidly changing agile development world. The length of an individual iteration is usually kept short, considering the frequency with which they are held, and also to increase their utility in the development process. It is important that the team does not waste all their time in meetings and conferences, but at the same time is updated with recent developments in their projects and know where they are heading. These short iterations emphasise on the success of teams and how much they are able to deliver within the timeframe, which acts as a good motivator. A sprint session is usually annotated with graphs, charts, presentations and other visual aids to help bring energy to the sessions. Teams are encouraged with incremental feedback in each session.

A sprint covers four defining aspects of project development – Sprint Planning, Daily Stand-up, Sprint Demonstration and Sprint Retrospective

There are three major types of participants in any scrum session. They can be classified as:
1. Business / Product Owner
2. Scrum Master
3. Development Team

Business or Product Owner is the person who lists the requirements of the product that is to be developed. He knows what he wants, scrutinises the work done by the development team, and provides feedback. In a scrum framework, a product owner is responsible for defining the backlog, or task units. He manages all business and marketing requirements. He guides the team to deliver products that are the most useful and cut to the business requirements.

A Scrum Master is regarded as a facilitator for scrum sessions. He is responsible for ensuring that a scrum session is distraction free, stays focused on the driving goals and does not deviate from their core objectives.

The Development Team is a small group of developers, testers, etc. who are responsible for bringing the project to life. They implement “user stories” defined in scrum sessions and deliver completed backlogs to the product owner in scrum sessions.

What makes the A4 size paper so special?

Except for USA and Canada, most other countries have recognized A4 size paper as standard. The story behind the exact size of this paper goes all the way back to 1786.

However, until 1922, it did not gain widespread acceptance. One of the defining characteristics of A4 size paper is its aspect ratio, which is approximately 1:1.4142 (the square root of 2). This ratio gives the entire A series of paper sizes a unique advantage: if you cut the paper into two across the length of the sheet, you get two halves that still retain the same aspect ratio! This is true for all sizes in the A series, right from A0 to A10. Each successively smaller size is exactly half of the parent’s size.

This is very useful when you want to estimate the weight of different sizes of paper needed, because all you have to do is just multiply or divide depending on whether you need bigger or smaller prints. It also results in efficient utilization of the space available, because this ratio ensures that no distortion takes place while enlarging/shrinking prints and also no part of the paper goes waste.

After the advent of photocopying machines, it became necessary to define a standard for measuring paper sheets. In 1975, UNO officially adopted A4 size paper as the standard for its printouts and correspondence. In the same year, A4 size paper was certified as ISO 216. Most of the inkjet printers and laser printers that we see today in our homes and offices have been built specifically keeping this size in mind.

Discover the Art of App Store Success: 5 Fundamental Tips for App Developers

App developers who are strategic in their approach to customer satisfaction and download supremacy are much more likely
to enjoy long-term success. Knowing how to develop an app is only the first step. If you want a long career as a software developer, you need to work on a multitude of skills. Remember these five app development tips, and you will increase your odds of software success.

1] Have a detailed marketing plan before you begin development. Your go-to-market strategy will influence the success/failure rate of your application. App developers cannot depend on app search engines like Google Play or iTunes for discovery; you must have a detailed ASO (app search optimization) plan if you want your download to be found.

2] Ratings are the lifeblood of successful app developers. A ratings strategy needs to be an integral part of your marketing plan. Know in advance how you plan to acquire customer reviews (referrals, social proof, etc.) and how you plan to optimize the positive reviews your app receives.

3] Competitive analysis is another important factor if you want to become a top-ranked mobile app developer. Understand your competitors’ keyword strategy and beat them at their own game. Low-level developers with mediocre ratings tend to stuff their app descriptions with every keyword UberSuggest.io offers. You’ll have much better luck if you optimize your app descriptions with phrases today’s app consumer uses (think voice search on Siri).

4] To increase your app discovery chances, participate in forums where your target users are present. If you’re spending your time on reddit/r/android and your target users are hanging out on YCombinator’s HackerNews, you reduce your chances of discovery. Be where your audience is if you hope to build an online reputation as a top app developer.

5] Distribution is a vital piece of the app success puzzle. Just as you need an app marketing plan, you also need an app distribution plan. Posting your app to a variety of discovery engines can improve your chances of moving up in iTunes or Google Play rankings. Submit your app to places like firespotting.com or news.ycombinator.com to help potential users discover your app.

Remember these five vital tips, and your chances of becoming a successful app developer improve. With millions of apps competing for attention in app stores, it is the methodical maker who will garner the most attention. You need to outsmart your competitors if you hope to succeed as a mobile application developer.

A Cost-Effective Introduction to Smart Home Technology

Basic smart home devices started hitting the market less than ten years ago. For many consumers, the Nest Learning Thermostat, which was released in 2011, comes to mind. Dozens and dozens of products have been released since 2010 that fall under the Smart Home category. Most consumers weren’t introduced to the Internet of Things and smart home tech until Amazon released the Echo. At this point, a majority of consumer product manufacturers sell at least one smart home device.

Cost of Entry A Problem For Countless Consumers

Since the category is still new, the main barrier to entry of the smart home is cost. The best smart home and IoT gadgets often cost $199.00 or more, and most people can’t afford that price point. Luckily, more and more companies continue to release affordable smart home tech. A couple to a few hundred dollars is still necessary to get a comfortable smart home started. Consumers who want to try these technologies out can do so without spending a small fortune, though.

Options, Options, Options!

IoT devices control everything from lights to electrical outlets and even a home’s HVAC system. Consumers can cherry pick which features and capabilities they want while leaving out the ones they don’t care about. For instance, quite a few individuals want to control the lights and the temperature; not everyone wants to control their washer and dryer. The average consumer starts with IoT-enabled lights and controllable switches due to their lower cost anyways.

Controlling All Of These Devices

Typically, each smart device features its own proprietary hub or companion app. A given home usually doesn’t feature IoT-enabled devices from the same manufacturer. A home might feature Belkin WeMo outlet switches, Philips Hue lights, and a Nest Thermostat. Of course, each device is controlled through a separate app and might require a separate hub. However, smart home assistants can control multiple devices at once, regardless of manufacturer. The two main assistants are Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, while Apple HomeKit with Siri is another option.

Google Home and the Amazon Echo house their respective AI assistants. A Google Home speaker costs $129.00 and includes compatibility for most smart home brands. On the other hand, Amazon sells the $50 Echo Dot and the $179.99 Echo. Amazon and Google’s assistants come with their own pros and cons, which could be explained in another piece. One of these assistants is necessary to control a smart home, but it turns out that consumers can forgo purchasing an expensive speaker – here’s why!

AI Software Built For Smartphones

All smartphones running Android 7.0 Nougat or above include Google Assistant by default. Newer Apple iPhone models and the Huawei Mate 9 smartphone include support for Amazon’s Alexa. Therefore, a consumer can use their smartphones in lieu of purchasing a pricier Google Home or Amazon Echo unit. AI software provides the same capabilities and compatibility for smart home devices in the palm of a user’s hand. Such software can save a consumer anywhere from $50 to $179 while getting started with smart home tech.

Get Started: Outlet Switches and Lights

IoT lights and plugin outlets remain the most popular smart home tech because they’re also the cheapest options today. WiFi enabled switches cost between $25 and $50 each. Through these switches, a consumer can turn plugged in electronics on or off and monitor energy usage. Most switches can be set on a schedule, too. As for smart lights, they can be turned on through voice commands or scheduled as well. Smart lights now cost $20 to $50 each. It’s still an expensive price to pay, but convenience and automation are the benefits here.

What about the temperature?

At first, the Nest Learning Thermostat was the only smart thermostat on the market. It cost a hefty $249.99 at the time, and that’s still a heinous price to many consumers. Other options are available today that range from $79.99 to $150 on average. WiFi enabled thermostats allow homeowners to control the temperature at all times and automate heating or cooling at the touch of a button. Without a doubt, the average consumer would consider $80 a reasonable price for a controllable thermostat with smart features.

Prices Can Only Go Down From Here

As things stand now, consumers can jump into smart home basics with $100 to $300, depending on their wants or needs. AI software helps cut out the extra expense of a speaker with an AI assistant. Prices will only drop from here as more consumers adopt smart home technology and more options become available on the market. For early adopters, the price will remain somewhat high to deck out an entire home. Newbies can nonetheless install the basics in their home at a reasonable price that will only become more reasonable over time.

The World Is Begging To Be Organised

Firstly, its worth saying that I don’t feel that a list based post is inferior in comparison to a well written article, a list can be well written and just as informative as a content based article. The content is just that, a list of easy to digest content.

Here, in no particular order at all, are 6 reasons why bloggers, readers and content creators love lists, and why they work so well online… yes, my tongue is firmly planted in my cheek! 🙂

Expected Content

A list is a list. Simple as that! The headline lets the prospective reader know exactly what to expect before they visit, which helps the conversion process in the first place.

Easy To Skim

People tend to skim read unless they are reading a book – reading on screen is quite difficult and users tend to pass over particularly large passages of text to get the gist. Lists are perfect in this sense, they’re naturally broken up into chunks. They’re easy on the eye.

Opinions Opinions Opinions

If you write a top 10 list that users can engage with, they’ll feel more invested in the content if they can form an opinion on what you’ve listed at the top – maybe even enough so to leave a comment or tweet at you to tell you that your opinion is wrong!

Organisation

People like to organise things. Not just in the physical sense but also to help them decide on a purchase or to strike inspiration. Moreover, people like other people to organise things for them.

Education or Entertainment

Most lists fall in one of these two categories. Lists can help you smarten up, or to just have some fun in your lunch break. In both of these cases, list based content is relatively quick to digest and can smarten you up in a fairly fun manner!

Shareworthy

If there’s percieved value – users will share it. People are strange, just remember that when you are writing a post about ‘top 10 dog breeds for blonde women’ there will be a market out there that reads, engages and shares this content. Smart bloggers target content to specific users.

What is Digital Asset Management?

Digital asset management (DAM) is a process mostly used by businesses (but also used for smaller organisations, freelancers and even at home) for organising, storing and retrieving media and managing digital rights and permissions. Media assets that are normally associated with the use of Digital Asset Management Software include photos, videos, music, animations, podcasts and various other multimedia content.

DAM typically includes the making of a framework, filing system or an archive, to safeguard and oversee rich media content. One of the main features of a DAM would be a searchable archive that permits users to distinguish, locate and retrieve an asset. At its easiest, a DAM is an arrangement of database records. Every database record contains metadata clarifying the name of the document, its organization data about its substance and utilization. Digital Asset Management applications can be utilized to create and manage the database, helping the organization to store rich media in a savvy, cost-effective way.

What is a Digital Asset?
The asset being managed is stored in a digital format and is detailed by its metadata. The metadata can describe the asset content, the means of encoding, ownership, and rights of access. As we’ve mentioned previously, we’re dealing with media assets here (though, be sure not to confuse Digital Asset Management with Media Asset Management). This rich media content could be anything from photos, videos, music to animations or podcasts. To break it down, it’s simpler to say that DAM is a catchall for various different types of asset management. Let’s look at some of these in greater detail.

Types of digital asset management

  • Media Asset Management (MAM) – management of audio and video content, usually large files.
  • Marketing Asset Management (MAM) – refers to the management of all marketing assets, including digital assets, brand guidelines, marketing plans and other marketing assets.
  • Brand Asset Management (BAM) – refers to managing digital assets and brand guidelines, and the ability to explain branding to users, and provide an approval process to ensure that content is ‘on brand’.
  • Digital Content Management (DCM) – refers to the management of digital assets, with the capability of embedding content onto websites. This could also cross into Digital Rights Management.
  • Enterprise Content Management (ECM) – is the management of all files for an organisation. This is a very broad category.
  • Product Information Management (PIM) – refers to the management of product assets such as images, technical information and production details. Can you imagine IKEA’s PIM library?

There is also cloud-based digital asset management system, which allows users to access assets from any device, including mobile.

Clearly, there is a lot of overlap in the list above. Though, regardless of the types of digital assets a platform manages, in essence, every DAM platform is either focused on creative production, or operational use.

DAM software
Back in the day, digital media management software tools were once used almost exclusively by media companies or publishers. Nowadays, they are increasingly being incorporated into content management systems and are of particular interest to retail companies that have customer-facing websites.

DAM is generally considered to be a subset of enterprise content management (ECM), a business process for organizing text documents, email and spreadsheets.

Benefits of DAM software
One benefit of DAM software is that it allows access to digital media anytime, anywhere. The cataloguing and organisation also means that there is a set standard for how things should be added, stored and accessed. It creates a blueprint for storing media, which can be particularly useful in large companies.

Use Cases
Anyone who needs to optimise digital asset workflows needs a digital asset management system. Marketers can grow their brands and increase brand consistency with a DAM system. Designers can use DAM to optimise their workflows by being able to quickly search for files and repurpose assets. Sales teams can have up-to-date materials and resources anytime and anywhere. Agencies can use DAM to keep all of their creative files organised, enabling for faster turnaround times. And distributors can optimise their delivery process.