SustainabilityThe cloud today is THE choice in terms of services, infrastructure, virtualisation, etc… We can find plenty of features that respond to business needs and list all the benefits such as achieving economies of scale, reducing costs, increasing flexibility, etc…

Besides the technological advantages, there is also something else that can provide a different perspective about the cloud, for us as well as for our clients.

The concept of “green computing” is topical today and events and conferences are taking place on this topic every year around the globe. In 2010, the IEEE Computer Society sponsored the first International Green Computing Conference in Chicago with the title of “Sustainable computing and computing for Sustainability” (November 2014 will be in Texas), where the main topics were energy efficiency, optimisation of algorithms for energy consumption, and carbon footprint.

Many companiesNestle, Adidas, Siemens, to name few – have already made the choice of sustainability, and this doesn’t mean just a green approach. Sustainability is based on what we call the triple bottom line, where people, profit, and planet are linked together, and where the business meets ethics.

How can the cloud help with this? The answer stands in the fact that it can provide to our clients not only advantages in terms of technology, efficiency, and cost savings, but also a real chance in terms of carbon footprint.

In 2009. former Microsoft CEO Ballmer committed Microsoft to reducing its carbon footprint by 30% in 2012. This goal has been achieved by investing both in people and technology. Microsoft made each division responsible for their carbon footprint emissions, but also major efforts have been made with cloud innovation. This is why Microsoft asserts that moving business applications to the cloud can reduce the carbon footprint by 30% for normal companies and by 90% for small companies.

CarbonMany other companies (Facebook, Google, Amazon, etc…) leverage the cloud to achieve a better impact in terms of emissions and carbon footprint.

As technology leaders, we always have to keep in mind that the cube of technology has multiple faces and that sustainability is something that matters today more than ever. Our clients are trying to achieve a real Common Shared Value that goes beyond the simple technology and being prepared on this will help them and will help us.[i]

[i] Part of this text has been already presented as assessment of Marketing Management exam for Robert Kennedy College, MBA in Leadership and Sustainability

Manuel Conti AUTHOR: Manuel Conti
Manuel Conti has been at Sogeti since 2010. With a technical background he leads onshore and offshore teams mainly in the use of the Microsoft SharePoint platform, building intranet and internet web sites.

Posted in: Cloud, Environmental impact, Events, Green, Innovation, Transitioning      
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Grassi1Some time ago I was reading an interesting book about distributed economy, which offered a way of thinking about production where, versus the classical centralised system, its purpose is to distribute production over the territory. The primary purpose is a more economic and efficient production system, but its implication will resolve a lot of modern problems, such as the overpopulation of cities, the loss of the territory, pollution, social conflicts arising from ‘zero’ living-space in modern life, and the reaction to the lifestyle that this ‘creates’ (for example: slow-food movements, ‘zero km’ products etc… etc…). [1]

One interesting aspect is that this way of rethinking things is not a modern one. Historical examples are present, as well as success cases,  but, until now, the limits for implementing an economy system was almost all about the lack of infrastructure and the need to replicate processes. Until now…

These days, technology is shaping economies to be more energy efficient and collaborative. Sharing resources, knowledge, and infrastructure is now an everyday occurrence! New ways of making this happen is not the future, it is the present! A global infrastructure is near to being born.

Grassi2What’s really interesting is the reason that’s giving birth to this new economic system. The reason is called ‘zero marginal cost’, which is the cost of producing additional goods and services after fixed costs are covered. The heart of this transformation is ‘collaborative common resources’. Reducing costs is always a goal of marketing experts. The technology revolution we are experimenting is so powerful in its productivity that it might reduce those margins of cost to near zero, making goods and services essentially free, priceless, and beyond the market exchange economy. [2]

This is not only for applications, it also regards the sharing of cars, homes, clothes, and other items via social media sites, rentals, redistribution clubs, and cooperatives at low or near zero marginal cost. The most important of those examples is perhaps energetic production.

If there’s an example of how the zero marginal cost phenomenon can change society and be really disruptive is how the World Wide Web invaded the newspaper industry, the magazine industry, and book publishing industry. What we are seeing is that millions of consumers became millions of prosumers (producer-consumer), consuming content and publishing it as videos, blogs, wikis etc…etc…

The zero marginal cost phenomenon disrupted major industries but also helped even the playing field. Many companies went out of business, but many new companies were able to rise up on the wave of this disruption. The Internet of Things will increasingly connect everyone and everything in a seamless network. Data will flow from a central system to one device and from device to device, giving the possibility for a direct share, better real-time planning, immediate feed-back, personalized algorithms, and a reduction of waste of time and materials.

We are experimenting in and experiencing the third industrial revolution. Although it is in its first steps, it is the most important transformation that our civilization has faced in the last two centuries!

[1]: Johansson A, Kisch P, Mirata M., 2005, Distributed economies – A new engine for innovation. Journal of Cleaner Production 2005

Mirata M.,Nilsson H., Kuisma J., 2005, Production systems aligned with distributed economies: Examples from energy and biomass sectors. Journal of Cleaner Production

[2]: Jeremy Rifkin, 2014, The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism

Video: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeremy-rifkin/internet-of-things_b_5104072.html

AUTHOR: Roberto Grassi
Roberto Grassi has been Mobile Technology Leader for Sogeti Spain since 2011. In this role, he is responsible for enter the new portfolio of the Mobile Era in Sogeti Spain offer and bring innovation in the production department.

Posted in: Infrastructure, Innovation, Internet of Things, IT strategy, Opinion, Transitioning      
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PrintPreviously in the Architecture Practice: Chief Architect Herbert Birchbranch (called Herb in the text) felt quite satisfied when the architecture service portfolio and next year’s budget was set. The service Concern Analysis became a hit, and the communication of the working model had worked out fine. Almost all different entities he had met were very positive.

From unstructured advices to service fulfilment

Before Herb entered the role as Chief Architect, the architecture practice was mainly active through architecture meetings and participation forums. No structured deliveries were done by the architects. The service portfolio, the communication of it and a more offensive way of taking position in different cases had turned things really upside down. The architecture practice had suddenly become a service organisation with expectations. And it has seen an explosion in workload!

A new problem comes to the surface

As per definition with the earlier way of working in mind, there were no useful tools in place to support the architecture practice. It was not only about managing the service delivery activities; the new way of working also drove production of documents. Another perspective that required tools support was the fact that the team was distributed. Support for collaboration was needed.

Herb checked around to see what possibilities were available. The answer was Jabber, Lync, SharePoint, G: and a project management tool. SharePoint could be used for the documents, but none of the actual tools were supporting the urgent needs of activity management. Herb started to get a headache. It was impossible to get an overview and control without spending a huge amount of time.

First attempt to solution

Suddenly one morning while drinking a cup of coffee, Herb remembered how the system development unit manager, Harry Olson, proudly talked about his digital Kanban board a month ago. Could that be something?  Herb called Harry and asked if he could set up a Kanban board for the architecture team. “I will fix that,” Harry said, “but it will take a few days.” A week later Herb was adding the actual actions into the architecture practice Kanban board. At the next architects meeting Herb introduced the Kanban board and assigned his project office architect Roberto to manage the board further on. The complementing directive was that everything we do has to be put on the board, and that it shall be followed-up weekly in an architecture office meeting taking place after the project office meeting.

Finally Herb got in control of the teams’ work again and it became possible to prioritise.

The board, though, brought a new concern to the surface. The architecture team had too many on-going actions, which in turn lead to a very poor throughput. Too few actions got finalised.

Herb decided that the way of working with actions had to be changed.

Kanban

Figure: The Architecture practice Kanban board after the re-structuring.

After a discussion meeting with the team a new way of using the board was decided. It was based on a couple of rules to support the way of working:

  • Minimize the number of on-going activities
  • Structure the backlog content into different domains
  • All activities shall have a demanded end date
  • All activities shall have one responsible
  • Actual status is written into the Kanban card as a note
  • If related to a project office order, set the reference number in the action header
  • Attach documents related to the delivery onto the Kanban card

There was also a possibility to use colour coding for the actions, or in other terms, to categorise them. Herb decided to use the following categories to start with:

Color

Architecture Start Assurance is related to the same architecture service
Concern is related to the architecture service Concern Analysis
Assessment could be any assessment ordered via the project office
Task is usually an internal architecture office task
Project is architecture capacity dedicated to a project
Participation is participation in any forum as an architect
Delivery object, may sound strange, but it relates to deliveries that are not architecture or output from an architecture service.

There are also attributes available for an activity. Some are graphically depicted in the overview. The following are used from start.

Title

Attributes on an activity

  • Title / Headline
  • Initials of the Responsible (“CB” in this case).
  • Date (if demanded ready date is set)
  • Attachment (if there is one or more files attached )
  • Exclamation mark – Critical priority
  • Triangle in circle – High priority

Herb was aware that this is the starting set-up. Evaluations have to be done continuously to trim the use of the Kanban board.

Conclusions

When an architecture practice starts to work with its “customers” with increased seriousness around a structured service portfolio, the likely result is a lot of tasks, tougher pressure, and higher demand. This is good. It is very good. Because it is proof that the architecture practice has got acceptance as a valuable resource, and that the right playng field has been set. With business demand looming, the problem of lack of resources isn’t pleasant.

The architecture practice always will suffer from lack of capacity. To introduce more lean oriented ways of working is one way of taking care of the issue. Use a Kanban board. It suits architecture work well and keeps the administration to a moderate level. Just keep the number of on-going assigned actions to a minimum. The rest can be parked in the backlog.

A tool is just a tool. The way we work is still the most important aspect. Use of tools, though, may act as a catalyst to develop our thinking and working practices.

Blog to be continued…

Per Bjorkegren AUTHOR: Per Bjorkegren
Per Björkegren is an Enterprise Architect and IT strategist in Sweden. He has worked within Capgemini Group since 1991 and is the practice leader for Enterprise Architecture and IT Governance within Sogeti Sweden, developing the service offerings and speaking at open seminars. He is also the founder and president of SWEAN (Swedish Enterprise Architecture Network), which currently has close to 1000 members.

Posted in: Agile, Collaboration, communication, Developers, Enterprise Architecture, IT strategy, Opinion, User Experience      
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One of the main challenges affecting today’s business is ‘Digital Transformation’. In a recent article – The Five Keys to a Digital Mindset – by the renowned IESE Business School, analysts make it clear what we mean by this:

“In boardrooms around the world “digital” is on everyone’s lips. Executives ask questions like, what is our strategy in relation to mobility, social media, the cloud or big data?”

We call this Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud - SMAC, with a T added to cover the Internet of Things.

Between 2010 and 2020, the development of  the SMACT platform can be pictured as follows, with the Uber-Intelligence of Big Data Analytics in the middle:

 

With such rapid progress in the last 10 years alone, your business can not afford to sit back as Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud and ‘Things’ become further ingrained in society. Not only are your customers using these technologies every single day – and producing reems of Big Data as they do so - your competitors are also leveraging these technologies and making sense of the data gathered to gain intelligence on the products or services your customers want to buy, and to target them in increasingly clever ways.

Digital Transformation is therefore fundamental to even keeping up with the curve.

We recommend the following further reading to help you to shape your digital strategy:

1 – The 4I Revolution: Industrial – Information Tech – Internet – and Industrious Once More
2 – RoboThings, Awake!
3 – The IT+OT+IOT “Pervasive Interaction Engine” (PIE)
4 – Grab Your Piece of the PIE: Internet of Things to Fuel the Digital Customer Experience
5 – Your Internet of Things Tinkering Kit: 10 Necessary Tools & Tips
6 – Digital Disneyfication Is What M2M and Internet of Things Means
7 – The New PC or Pitching Convergence: Both Industry AND Business!

Jaap Bloem AUTHOR: Jaap Bloem
Jaap Bloem is in IT since the PC and now a Research Director at VINT, the Sogeti trend lab, delivering Vision, Inspiration, Navigation and Trends.

Posted in: A testers viewpoint, Behaviour Driven Development, Big data, Business Intelligence, Digital strategy, Innovation, Performance testing, Test Automation, Test Environment Management, Uncategorized, Working in software testing      
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Capture

‘A good developer is a lazy developer’. That was the first thing I heard during my first Computer Science course. To put this in context, ‘Lazy’ here does not mean ‘work allergic’, but rather ‘doing less to be more efficient’. It is a reality: doing less makes your projects shorter, reduces the need of application maintenance, and is less risky.

In my own opinion, the most important steps – and those that require the biggest efforts in a project - are as follows:

Capture2

I recently had to implement some new functionalitiy on an application extracting interesting data from big log files. This application was implemented in an old low-level programmatical language (for rapidity and optimisation purposes). I started to develop new functionality on this application with this dummy language, but after having written a huge amount of complicated and unstable code, I realised that the application could be simplified with a high-level language.

Fortunately, it then took me only a very short time to completely rewrite the application with the new functionality because the high level language was easier to use, needed less effort, and was more ‘test and debugging friendly’. You might ask why the application was originally developed with this dummy outdated language. The answer is simply for performance and rapidity reasons. Indeed, the new application did become slower using the high-level language, but after replacing the machine hosting the application with a new one, the application actually ran faster than before! As Google says, “Do not waste your time on optimising an application. If your application is too slow, move it on  to 10 machines. If the application is still too slow, move it on to 100 machines …”. Remember to Keep in mind “high level programming” to provide “first class deliveries.”

So what is the role of the modern developer? Nowadays, good developers are no longer crazy geeks who forego sleep one week before a deadline to write as many lines of codes as possible. Good developers are people that are able to select, aggregate, and parameterise the best tools, answering as many of the clients requirements as possible.

Web services are a good example of API not requiring any business developments. They are externally hosted and the functionalities offered are well tested.

So now every time you have something to develop, just keep in mind that it’s highly likely someone has already done it, maintained it, and provided support on it. The more universal your deliveries are, the more they will be understood and accepted by the majority of people. Your real added value is not the number of lines of codes you can write, but how you select the best tools to satisfy your customer. Mr Gates agrees:

BillGates

Tristan Zwingelstein AUTHOR: Tristan Zwingelstein
Tristan Zwingelstein is a software developer. He is particularly attracted by open sources technologies even if he began his career as a web developer on Microsoft technologies. Then he became owner for maintenance and development of web sites and applications at a web hosting and internet provider company (specialized in open source technologies as Linux/Php/Java JEE). In 2013, he joined Sogeti as a consultant.

Posted in: architecture, Behaviour Driven Development, Developers, Rapid Application Development, Requirements, Software Development, Working in software testing      
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Recently a friend of mine was considering submitting his curriculum vitae to see if he could would be a good fit for Sogeti as a tester. He asked me a really good question: “Do I have what is needed to be a good tester?

Sometimes I hear people, especially from the development team, saying that anyone can be a good tester; I strongly disagree. Afterall, everyone has the ability to sing, but not everyone can be Madonna!

So, what characteristics must a person have to be an ideal tester?

According to Sogeti’s TMap® NEXT guidelines, a tester must:

- Have good verbal and written communication skills
- Be able to work accurately and have sufficient analytical skills
- Be convincing and persevering
- Be factual and have a positively critical attitude
- Be creative

But I think there’s something very important missing on that list; in my opinion a tester must be curious. She or he has to be like a detective on a TV show trying to work out who committed the crime, why, and with which weapon. She/he has to be  like a child who keeps asking “Why?” while trying to understand how the world works.

Although it is not completely accurate, we can say that a tester’s job is to find what’s wrong with a product and curiosity really helps them to uncover the little aspects that can make an application fail, but can be hidden to other people: ‘What happens if I press this button? What happens if I introduce a bunch of letters in this numeric field?’

curious mind looks for new information and enjoys discovering new things. A curious mind also isn’t afraid of advancing deep into unknown situations to explore the bowels of the software product and to be the first one to find bugs. She/he is that inquisitive detective who studies the evidence, makes conjectures, and gathers information about the quality of the product that is being tested; that curious child who is meeting the world with his innocent eyes and has that wish to see, learn, and know.

But even curiosity is not enough.

Someone with a curious mind also has to have the desire to continue learning to become better every day, and that is very important to grow as a tester and as a person.

So, not everyone can be a tester. Furthermore, not everyone can be a good tester, and even fewer can be an ideal tester (if an ideal tester exists). But, if someone is curious, he is already on the winning path.

AUTHOR: Paloma Rodriguez
Paloma Rodriguez has been Test Engineer for Sogeti Group since 2011. In this role, she manages testing projects and participates in various publications and training activities.

Posted in: A testers viewpoint, Software testing, sogeti employees, Technical Testing, Training, Working in software testing      
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Mobile apps are great for elevating customer engagement, improving customer service and support, raising brand awareness, boosting promotions with location based offers and increasing revenue by providing another platform for online purchasing. However in light of Gartner’s findings in their recent research paper “Predicts 2014: Mobile and Wireless”, it appears that by 2018 less than 0.01% of mobile apps will be considered a financial success by their developers, so you may be left wondering whether the benefits of a mobile app outweigh the potential pitfalls. To determine whether developing a mobile app is the right move for your business you need to examine the benefits against your wider company goals, compare it to the pros and cons of building a mobile website, understand what propels apps to financial success and be clear on what to do when a good mobile app idea turns bad.

Alien vs Predator

A recent Compuware report that surveyed 3,534 smartphone users in the UK, US, France, India and Japan shows that 85% of users prefer apps to mobile websites. Consumers associate apps with making their lives easier; enabling them to bank, pay bills, shop for food and clothes, stay in touch with the office, chat to friends in real time and book a mini break at the end of a long week. From the report it was also clear that people considered native apps faster, more convenient and easier to browse than a web page.

A well-designed, native app that capitalises on a mobile device’s existing features such as GPS and a high megapixel camera can have impressive functionality that outstrips the user experience of a mobile website. In addition, as budget is always an important consideration, the fact that the majority of major operating systems offer app developers free frameworks and tools, may provide a financial incentive for creating a mobile app. Whilst your mobile site will require internet access at all times, you can overcome this challenge with an app by building in functionality that will enable it to store data locally, allowing your customers to interact with your app and your brand even while they have no internet access, such as when they are on the tube or off the beaten track, and you’d be in good company too; apps from the Lonely Planet, Avenza PDF Maps and The Daily Mail all offer this feature.

When you’ve finally packed in all of this great functionality, marketing your mobile app is also made easy by the popularity of the App Store (or Google Play/ Windows Phone Store), plus review and comparison sites such as CNet download, The Telegraph Mobile App Reviews, Mashable and TechCrunch offer you greater visibility and kudos, as well as free advertising if you make the list.

Whilst all of the above makes a mobile app seem very appealing, web apps offer a wide range of benefits; perhaps the most compelling being that they have a wider, less niche appeal, are fully searchable and you can provide a single link to them across multiple channels, so they can have a much greater reach than a mobile app. HTML5, with its open, cross-platform coding, has paved the way for a well developed web app with a responsive design format that can also be recreated across the full range of phones, tablets, laptops and PCs (and operating systems) without the need to alter the code or content. An app built for the iPhone on the other hand will need virtually completely recoding to run on, for example, a specific version of Google’s Android operating system (as there are even variations between different Android OS’s).  

According to research by Statista the global, average smartphone user has 26 apps installed on their device, so competition is fierce and your app has a high chance of being deleted and replaced with next big thing in a moment’s notice. In contrast, users will return to your mobile website time ad infinitum if you continue to offer them a great online service. On that note, you can consistently improve your website service by releasing new features whenever you like without the need to seek approval from third parties – whereas apps (like Hootsuite for example) may require input and agreement from other interested parties such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as Apple, Google and Microsoft.

The bottom line is that, despite the free tools and frameworks, creating an app is likely to be much more expensive than creating a mobile website. The advent of responsive design and HTML5 is leading to the rapid growth of “hybrid” apps developed for native platforms with open, standards-based Web technologies. So while native mobile apps will always be required so that Angry Birds can branch out from Star Wars to Alien vs Predator in 3D, large corporations may find that, as developers devise ever more sophisticated ways of utilising HTML5, this hybrid solution of web app with native app style features will be more appropriate for their requirements.

Civilization Revolution

All of these pros and cons are, however, being taken out of any specific context and ultimately the deciding factors that should determine whether you should create a mobile website, mobile app or hybrid, is to look at the wider goals of your business and the needs of your customers.

1. How do you currently interact with your target market and how could the customer experience be improved?
2. Are you looking to reach a massive audience or create a quality customer experience for a niche market?
3. What is Google Analytics telling you about the quantity of website traffic you are getting from mobile devices?
4. Which operating system does your target market favour?
5. What are your competitors doing?
6. What you want to achieve with this particular mobile project?
7. How much budget can you allocate to it?

Good Apps Gone Bad

When it comes to apps our expectations as consumers are very high and we all know from our own experience that even the best apps don’t always behave how we want them to. The Compuware survey revealed that 42% expect apps to load quicker than a mobile website and that they have little patience with crashing, freezing and failure to download or launch properly. In fact a whopping 79% said they would only try an app once or twice if it failed to work properly the first time. Another major complaint was that the app features weren’t exactly what they required or new features weren’t in accordance with their priorities. For all their positive benefits you need to be aware that apps also leave your business open to security breaches, as hackers can deploy reverse engineering tactics to search for defects such as implementation bugs due to coding mistakes and design flaws as a way to break into your system. Noone wants to find themselves in the position that Apple did when CEO Tim Cook felt the need to tell customers:

At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers…With the launch of our new Maps app last week, we fell short on this commitment. While we’re improving Maps, you can try alternatives by downloading map apps from the App Store like Bing, MapQuest and Waze, or use Google or Nokia maps by going to their websites and creating an icon on your home screen to their web app.”

If you decide that an app is the right move for your business, the best way to pre-empt and avoid these issues is to test for mobile functionality, compatibility, usability, performance and security at every stage. Be sure to involve your customers in the design process so that you build the right features, offer readily available contact centre support in the event of an app crisis, and finally ensure that any security controls are managed at your end and not in the hands of the end user.

Equally if a web app or a responsive mobile website is the right move for your business, you will still need to test it thoroughly to ensure that both mobile and desktop users get a high quality experience. This case study on Glasgow Airport shows how effective UAT and responsive web design testing across browers & devices meant that their website was ready to handle the additional traffic ahead of the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Whichever path you take – whether mobile or web – you can guarantee there will be headaches and challenges to overcome in ensuring a high quality user experience. Click here to replay our recent webinar, ‘How to Excel in Web & Mobile Testing’ to find out how you can overcome these issues and validate your mobile apps and websites across real devices to get the most accurate, high quality results without making huge investments in tools, devices or additional staff.

If you are looking for help in ensuring the quality of your web or mobile apps, Sogeti’s local UK web and mobile lab, Sogeti Studio, and our Mobile Centre of Excellence (CoE) in India, combined with our highly skilled mobile development and testing resources, means we are in a great position to support your requirements, from definition to challenges in design, development and delivery; ensuring you provide a high quality, consistent, seamless and secure mobile experience to your customers. Find out more about our rapid application development service, REWARD and Sogeti Studio.

AUTHOR: Sogeti UK Marketing team

Posted in: Apps, communication, Developers, Digital, Digital strategy, e-Commerce, Marketing, mobile applications, mobile testing, Mobility, Omnichannel, Quality Assurance, Rapid Application Development, REWARD, Security, Sogeti Studio, Testing and innovation, User Experience, User Interface      
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Intrinsic

The effect of intrinsic quality on agile

Intrinsic quality, I put the terms together to imply that quality is best when it is an essential part of the product or work. It is part of the essential nature of “a thing”.

When we think of quality we think of how good “a thing” is.

If I ask people my parents’ age about how they perceive quality, they often refer to how things used to be sturdier and better when they were young. My imagination often goes to the quality of the Victorian age, the kind you find back in movies like Harry Potter where the sturdy hinges of big travel chests are near indestructible. I do realize that:

1. My parents aren’t THAT old
2. Quality does not necessarily mean something has to be bulky.

When something is bulky is it going to withstand the test of time? Is that intrinsic quality? I doubt that is what makes things sturdy, of higher quality.

I am active in agile circles and there is a big influence in agile from Toyota and the Toyota Production System (TPS). In addition to TPS being the source of Lean manufacturing, and many ideas within Lean can be traced back to TPS, it has also been an influence of agile and agile methodologies and frameworks.

In TPS there is something called Jidoka. According to Toyota (I reference the TPS Brochure of Toyota forklifts[1]):

Jidoka translates as “autonomation” and can be described as “automation with a human touch”. Quality is monitored throughout, with each team member being responsible for performing quality checks before delivering the goods-in-process to the next point in the production line. If a defect or error is identified it is addressed immediately – even if this means temporarily stopping production.

So you FIX a defect or error when it is identified, EVEN if this means temporarily stopping production.

This is very important to Toyota, fixing errors when they are identified. What kind of quality does this give “a thing”?.

Example: You are writing a blog post and you notice that you typed a word wrongly. What do you do?

1. Ignore it, if you do not fix it in your final read-through your editor will most likely fix it for you
2. Make a note of it on a piece of paper, count the lines where the error is, what kind of error, mark the type of error on a separate list where you count the severity of the error and check your list of allowed severity to decide which you will fix first
3. Fix it now!

Though I know most people will think B is ridiculous, I would like to remind you of this later in this post. I will start with A.

Will ignoring save you time? Do you think you will find the error when you read over your blog again? How many errors will go through anyway, even after it has been reviewed by your editor, your colleagues and the first readers of the post?

I do not claim you won’t find any errors in this blog post, but I do claim that this mentality is what I see a lot with developers. But Latin mottos sometimes say “amat victoria curam”, victory favors care.

You probably guessed it already, I favor the last answer. If you fix errors now it will lead to better quality, quality now, and it will lead to Jidoka.

Fixing errors now. Is that intrinsic quality? The simple answer to that is no, but having a mindset that means you fix a problem immediately when you encounter it is exactly what I mean with intrinsic quality.

We all get older, and when we are asked “what is quality to you?” you might remember that bike you got for your 10th birthday – the one that had to been fixed many times by you and that took you everywhere. Or the car that was part of your youth for many years. It might be a bit overshadowed by nostalgia. You may not remember all the frustration you had having to fix the damn thing.  But you may have good memories of them being high quality.

A product that has that feeling of sturdiness, what was the defect count? And did you tolerate 2 Major defects, 10 Minor defects, 50 Trivial defects? Did you keep a list of the defects? Did you contemplate fixing your breaks and then ignored it as the costs for fixing the slightly worn out breaks outweighed the chance of crashing into other traffic users?

When I train people in agile and mention Jidoka to my students I sometimes get the question “but why does Toyota have so many recalls?” I like to answer the question with a counter question, “Why do other car companies have so few recalls?” I can refer to cases, even recent ones, where car companies did not recall cars even though they knew about life threatening problems caused by some of the cars parts. Why not recall them and let deaths occur instead?

Legal costs is a plausible answer, and so is brand image. Some companies apparently weigh these up and decide if they do a recall or not. Are you driving a car like that?

Maybe the sense of quality that Toyota displays in their recalls, despite the damage to their name[2] has led them to decide to replace their robots with people [3] as people learn and robots do not…

Intrinsic quality does not ensure there will not be errors, “errāre hūmānum est”, to err is human. When you are a customer you DO expect quality, especially when you buy something on which you will rely. Some of the most common causes of skydiving fatalities are issues with the individual’s landing or malfunctions with the skydiving equipment[4]. Landing is a skill, but skydiving equipment is your lifeline.

In agile and specifically Scrum I EXPECT intrinsic quality. It is most likely the biggest misunderstanding of Scrum that I know. And I do understand that when you move from a control focused way of working, where metrics and directing people on numbers is important, that you rely on numbers.

What does that mean, intrinsic quality in Scrum? It means that when an error, defect or problem is identified, the team FIXES it! It means that the Scrum team has a focus on delivering quality. We’ve been teaching this for a long time. Scrum gives you constant quality. So lets live up to that.

This also means we are not going to keep defect lists, nor are we going to accept known bugs. As far as I am concerned, there are no bugs in Scrum. There is only work. To quote my mentor Jim O. Coplien in our trainings together “Fix it!”.

Bugs are work, just like the features that the development team in Scrum builds. When defects are detected they are pulled in by the team and fixed. If they cannot be fixed right away they are put on the backlog so the Product Owner can look at it.

“Isn’t that the same as known bugs?” It is inasmuch the same that known here means visible. All the work in a product backlog is visible. There is no special list for defects, so defects are picked up by the team when work is picked up. The right person determines if the work is important, not the person who found the defect. Yet all the work is important.

This does change work for the testing world. After all, the tests that are carried out by the whole team also include detecting defects and fixing them right away. But I know how many in the test world still expect a defect list.

Agile in itself is a mindset, it is reflected in the Agile Manifesto and it means there will be a paradigm shift. Intrinsic quality for me is part of agile, and most specifically part of Scrum. We know what it means, it’s having heart for the product you work on, it’s making it something of your own. It’s being proud of what you create the same way master crafters of old were proud of what they made and it usually made them famous. They usually gave their clients a lifelong guarantee on the product, especially when it came to production issues. I’d also like to see that kind of trust back, trust in the product or work that you deliver.

References:

[1]Toyota Forklifts Toyota Production System Brochure (Page 10):

http://www.toyota-forklifts.eu/SiteCollectionDocuments/PDF%20files/Toyota%20Production%20System%20Brochure.pdf

[2]Toyota recall: Reports of Runaway Cars:

http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/RunawayToyotas/runaway-toyotas-problem-persists-recall/story?id=9618735

[3]Toyota is becoming more efficient by replacing robots with humans:

http://qz.com/196200/toyota-is-becoming-more-efficient-by-replacing-robots-with-humans/

[4]What Are the Common Causes of Skydiving Fatalities?:

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-the-common-causes-of-skydiving-fatalities.htm

Julya van Berkel AUTHOR: Julya van Berkel
Julya van Berkel is an Agile adept and coach and has been championing Agile and Scrum since 2007. In her role as Agile Coach Julya has helped numerous clients and colleagues in getting better at Agile and as teaches she has set up and taught hundreds of Agile and Scrum training and courses. For Sogeti in the Netherlands she helps set the direction in Agile and is involved in many groups within Sogeti and outside in the Agile community.

Posted in: Agile, Collaboration, communication, Developers, Opinion, project management, Scrum, Shift Left, Software testing, User Experience, Working in software testing      
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“…For many online offerings which are presented or perceived as being ‘free’, personal information operates as a sort of indispensable currency used to pay for those services. As well as benefits, therefore, these growing markets pose specific risks to consumer welfare and to the rights to privacy and data protection.”

Source: Preliminary Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor Privacy and competitiveness in the age of big data: The interplay between data protection, competition law and consumer protection in the Digital Economy March 2014.

Loyalty & Trust

Trust is the key to achieving customer loyalty and is itself attained through transparency, honesty and a respect for the individual. In the wake of international scandals such as Wikileaks and Ed Snowden’s outing of the NSA’s practices, one of the most effective ways to gain you customers’ trust is through ensuring their data privacy. Indeed 89% of consumers surveyed in the TRUSTe 2014 U.S. Consumer Confidence Index stated that they would avoid doing business with a company they felt was not protecting their online privacy. In addition to this, the considerable legal financial penalties incurred due to a breach, the ensuing revenue loss and the resultant customer churn of around 4% (Ponemon Institute, 2013 Cost of Data Breach Study) means that ensuring your customers’ data is protected could be a key differentiator that puts you ahead of the competition. 

Legal Eagle Eye

In the UK, the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) defines the legal requirements for handling personal data. The 7th Principle states that “…appropriate measures shall be taken against unauthorised or unlawful processing of personal data and against accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to, personal data.” This begs the question, what actually constitutes personal data? Well, according to the ICO, the Statutory definition of personal data means data “non-automated records that are structured in a way which allows ready access to information about individuals. As a broad rule, we consider that a relevant filing system exists where records relating to individuals (such as personnel records) are held in a sufficiently systematic, structured way as to allow ready access to specific information about those individuals.”

Until recently the judgment in the case of Durant v Financial Services Authority (Reference [2003] EWCA Civ 1746; [2004] FSR 28; The Times, 2 Jan 2004) was the overriding precedent for more detailed guidance on what comes under the umbrella “personal data”. In this case it was deemed that “personal data” was information of “biographical significance” that had to go beyond a mere mention of an individual’s name in a matter which has no personal connotations, such as a meeting request e-mail.  Durant has often been criticised for looking only at the content of the data and not at the context and therefore giving a narrow definition of “personal data” and yielding some unhelpful and unprotective results in the cases that have followed it.  The Court of Appeal judgment in the recent case of (Edem v The Information Commissioner [2014] EWCA Civ 92) states that to define personal data under the act we must look at the context of the data to see if a person can be identified. For example if we saw the name Jeremy Hunt on a database, the name is fairly common and the person is most probably not identifiable. However, if the other names on the list are George Osborne and Theresa May or the database is named “Cabinet Ministers”, then we know what we are looking at and we know that Jeremy Hunt is the Health Secretary.  In other words a name is always personal data if the context in which it appears is sufficient to identify the named individual. How does this impact your business? Well it sets the bar for ensuring data protection higher and means that when you sit down with your lawyers to define your data privacy policy and strategy, you need to consider the context and juxtaposition of the data as well as the actual data content when determining whether or not you have fulfilled your obligations under the Act.

In 2012, the European Commission (EC) published its draft proposal for a General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a new pan-European Union standardised law to update and replace the Data Protection Directive of 1995, which was considered to be out of date in light of growing number of US and European data breaches.

The Snowden debacle encouraged the EU to push the GDPR forward quickly and it looked set to become law in May of this year. However the Regulation has now come under attack from external sources and more surprisingly perhaps from within the senior ranks of the EC itself! The UK is lobbying to have the Regulation either downgraded to a Directive or abolished altogether, citing the reasons for the resistance as the need for each nation to determine privacy laws based on national priorities and the possibility that the proposed restrictions will inhibit business innovation.

The Janus Effect

A key element of the GDPR is the concept of the “one-stop-shop” whereby EU citizens would be allowed to file complaints with their own data protection regulator rather than be forced to do so where the company concerned is headquartered.  In December 2013, in a volte-face that infuriated the EU Justice Commissioner, Viviane Reding, who introduced the GDPR, the head of the EC legal service (the somewhat aptly named Hubert Legal) voiced the opinion that the one-stop-shop was potentially an infringement of the European Convention on Human Rights! Ms Reding maintained that the situation had not changed from when the original decision to proceed had been agreed and that the GDPR should progress forward without looking back over old ground.

In light of these obstacles some people have said the GDPR may not come to fruition at all and others that, at the very least, it will be years before it is enacted. So what does this mean for your business? Should you simply continue with your current Data Protection strategy or should you begin to update your privacy policies now in early preparation for the Regulation?

Serious Sanctions

Well consider again the findings that data protection and privacy are crucial to your customers’ desire to do business with you. Then consider that an old 2008 report by researchers Aleecia M. McDonald and Lorrie Faith Cranor found that “Online privacy policies are so cumbersome and onerous that it would take the average person about 250 working hours to actually read the privacy policies of the websites they visit in a year”. Digitalisation and Big Data have only made data protection more complex and difficult to achieve in the last 6 years and there have been few major amendments to the DPA, save refinements made by the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003, which altered the consent requirement for electronic marketing to “positive consent” such as an opt in box rather than an opt out. All this adds up to the situation whereby a lot of companies’ privacy policies are outdated, over complex and not working to win the trust of their customers and prospects.

If the prospect of winning more customers isn’t a sufficient incentive to start preparing for the GDPR then perhaps the heavy sanctions will be! The penalty for a breach of the GDPR will be a whopping €1 million or up to 2% of your global turnover! Perhaps David Smith, Deputy Commissioner at the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) put it best in his speech at Infosecurity Europe 2014 when he said he expected the GDPR to be enacted at 2017 at the earliest but advised, “Get your house in order now, under the current law, to ensure you are ready for the coming changes, because the principles are not very different.”

10 Ways to Prepare for the GDPR

1. Do a full audit, take a complete inventory of all your data and create a map of data usage.

2. Ensure that your new strategy is designed around the concept of obtaining explicit consent for all personal data usage and lifecycle.

3. Create a solid data breach system with clear processes and procedures in the event of an unavoidable or accidental breach.

4. Ensure that data loss reporting is fast and thorough as this will become mandatory.

5. Get the whole Board involved and create a culture of privacy and protection so that it is embedded in every part of your business and every member of staff understands its importance from the board room to the post room.

6. Appoint a Data Protection Officer either part time or full time depending on your business requirements, quantity of data, data usage and data testing.

7. Choose a framework that suits your business such as ISO, NIST, or COBIT.

8. Monitor your new system and utilise comprehensive reporting and adjust it accordingly so it works for your business and your customers.

9. Rewrite your Privacy Policy and make it accessible on your website so that it is user friendly and your customers can find it and easily understand it.

10. Ensure that you are using data obfuscation and data encryption & decryption at every stage in your test environments in order to maintain integrity, privacy and data protection.

Here’s the key question to ask yourself at each stage: “Is it reasonable to assume that a member of the public would expect their data to be used in this way?”

Managing Privacy in a Test Environment

Businesses should not rush products and services to market without thorough testing and they should listen to their privacy advisors before giving into pressures from the marketing department.” So says David Smith of the ICO and he is right, as for example, a failure to test a fix in a test environment could result in errors  being introduced into the live environment, which could themselves result in a breach of the DPA. However testing itself creates a variety of scenarios where a breach of data privacy is possible; so how should you manage your data in a test environment?

It’s essential to ensure that you extract only the data required for testing and then employ a variety of data obfuscation techniques such as data substitution, number variance, gibberish generation, masking data and synthetic data, in conjunction with encryption. This keeps the data realistic and testable but hides sensitive data from internal staff like application developers and testers. If obfuscated data is lost it could be read by a non-authorised user but they would not be able to ascertain the details of any individual so a breach would be avoided. Your chosen data obfuscation strategy needs to be carefully evaluated to make sure that the obfuscated data is still suitable for testing, to establish how impenetrable the scrambled data is if under attack and to determine how much the strategy will cost. For example if you’re testing an application that requires data validation, data substitution may be a simpler, faster and more cost effective means of obfuscation than creating synthetic data.

Born Ready

So the truth is that many existing privacy policies aren’t truly in line with the current law let alone prepared for the GPDR or designed to promote customer loyalty. Businesses that are not already updating their privacy strategy and making their policies more customer-friendly are missing an opportunity to differentiate themselves in a way that customers currently deem to be very attractive. Similarly investors, venture capitalists and angels are more inclined to invest in a business with an outstanding privacy policy as it significantly reduces a large proportion of risk.  Another major advantage of revising your Privacy Policy now is that you can spread the work and the cost of compliance over the next 3 years before the GDPR comes into play. The bottom line is that the  potential sanctions for non-compliance with the Regulation are so severe that it makes sense to ensure your privacy policy is up to scratch in the next 3 years, and the benefits of improving your privacy policy are so great, that regardless of whether the Regulation comes into force or not, it’s a worthwhile undertaking.

Peace of Mind

The importance of testing increases in parallel with the ever rising expectations of your customers. In light of the complexities of Data Protection and the potential changes to the law, we’ve seen that it’s essential that your test environments are secure. Outsourcing your data testing to a business in which testing is the core competency is a sensible way to ensure speedy, efficient and secure testing with the right level of encryption and obfuscation to give you total peace of mind. Sogeti offers a complete end to end Test Data Management (TDM) Service that:

- Analyzes organizations’ current software testing and test data management.

- Proposes what actions and toolsets are needed to improve testing.

- Helps customers choose the right testing tools.

- Offers a pilot or proof of concept to show that the selected tools can deliver the test data required and that the proposed process can deliver the expected benefits.

- Provides a full TDM rollout.

- Supports and trains customers all the way through the process and even after the rollout.

- Ensures that the number and size of the test environments are precisely what is required by introducing a smart solution to ensure that the right data is made available for testing.

With our forward-thinking, comprehensive TDM service, we can help you ensure you are delivering quality and value to your customers while conforming to the existing and impending legislation.

Barry Weston AUTHOR: Barry Weston
Barry is Sogeti's Solutions Director for Transformation, and winner of 'Testing Innovator of the Year’ at the 2013 European Software Testing Awards.

Posted in: Big data, End to end testing, IT strategy, Open Data, privacy, Quality Assurance, Requirements, Software testing, test data management, Test environment, Test Environment Management      
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masterDefining master data for an information service in an organization can be a tedious task. It usually involves many meetings with all the different departments in the organization and they’ll all have different aspects of the business object that is being defined, e.g. a customer. A customer will often mean different things for the sales division and the manufacturing division, so both departments will need to be interviewed and have their needs satisfied before the customer definition is implemented.

This approach will often lead to a rigid construct and a system that is hard and costly to maintain. This scenario can lead to an abandonment of the whole effort of implementing master data in the organization and go back to a scenario where each application in the organization keeps a local version of the data, defined, so that it supports that application only. This is usually a bad thing that will drive integration costs and will result in duplications of data in the organization where you have a hard time to figure out which is the latest version.

The agile approach

There is a way to have both your cake and eat it. The solution is to define the master data in an agile way and use tailored communication patterns for each application. The work starts with one division e.g. sales defines their view on a business object e.g. customer. Then the sales application negotiate a communication pattern with the information service. The next division that wants to use the customer service adds its needs to the customer object and then negotiates a separate communication pattern with the service so that only information relevant to that application is communicated.

Defining master data with this approach enables different parts of the organization to start using the service and have their needs satisfied without the big data definition up front. Another aspect is the communication patterns that will be separate for each application so you will always have the confidence to change the data contracts and communication patterns for one application without breaking anything for the other applications.

Johan Bjarneryd AUTHOR: Johan Bjarneryd
Johan Bjärneryd is a solutions architect that joined Sogeti Sweden in 2011. Since then he has worked with different customers in different sectors. In 2012 Johan was appointed as national driver for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 in Sweden and he leads the mobility competence network in his home region.

Posted in: Agile, Apps, Big data, communication, mobile applications, SogetiLabs      
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