September 24th, 2013
Software projects can be messy, especially when it comes to staffing. Developers provided by one company end up reporting to project managers from a different company who, in turn, report to someone else, and everyone involved spends a lot of time just figuring out how to work together.
If you've struggled with running these chaotic teams, it may be time to try using a unified development team.
A unified project team that includes both developers and project managers from the same company is inherently more efficient and motivated than a team of random individuals from different companies.
This cohesive team can hit the ground running without having to figure out all the nuances of working together, because they've already been working together before they started the project. So there's less ramp up time to start the actual work and it gets completed faster and at a higher quality than mixed teams.
Unfortunately, mixed vendor teams often result in a lot of finger pointing and politics. When something goes wrong, there are several options for scape goats. Adding to that, there's an army of individuals to talk to instead of a few points of contact. Overall, there's simply more room for blame-shifting and conflict.
Using a unified team, even if it's just for a specific piece of a bigger project, does away with a lot of these problems. If the team members all work for the same vendor, any problems that crop up can be solved quickly via a single point of contact and it's easier for the project team to take accountability for their work.
With traditional staff augmentation, what often happens is a company will call up a staffing firm and say something like "We need a Java developer." and someone who's an expert in Java comes out to their site to find that the problem that needs to be solved requires a hybrid set of skills. So the company has to go back to the staffing firm and ask for additional experts.
A unified project team solves this problem. Project managers can swap resources in and out to fit the right experts with the right problems without the business owners ever having to be involved. Developers involved full-time in the project have a pool of knowledge to call on if they need advice within their area of expertise or a bit of help from a different field.
If you are seeking a unified business partnership for your project or even would like to know more about this approach, let us know.
September 17th, 2013
These days, you can buy insurance for pretty much anything. There’s pet insurance, wedding insurance, fantasy football insurance – you can even buy insurance for the hole-in-one payout at your next golf tournament. That being said, it’s surprising how many businesses don’t do anything to insure the safety of their critical data.
Too often, backup and disaster recovery (DR) solutions are treated as costly options – just another expensive line in the IT budget. So they get ignored and waved off until a loss occurs and then everyone starts asking “Why didn’t we have something in place?”
The root problem that keeps this cycle of “expensive loss, followed by expensive fix” going is the perception that backup and DR is an “IT problem,” the “I’m too busy” issue, and the idea that it will never happen to you. But that’s simply not true. Data loss is a business risk, and should be dealt with as such. While IT may execute and support the backup strategy, backup and disaster recovery serves as a form of business insurance.
In reality, it’s actually better than having a literal insurance policy for your data. Insurance policies won’t restore the data that was lost. Having a good backup solution in place will.
The businesses that are most resilient to data loss build in backup and disaster recovery costs into the budget of all their IT projects, just like they would build in the cost of insurance for building a new facility or purchasing fleet vehicles. It’s not an “extra” or “optional” cost, it’s the cost of doing business.
Many business owners assume that backup and DR solutions are expensive and cumbersome to put in place and maintain. Although some solutions fit that description, just like like insurance policies, there are options.
For our clients, we deploy a hybrid solution that limits much of the cost and hassle normally associated with backup and DR. Workstations and servers are backed up to a local storage device that in turn backs up to storage in the cloud, negating the need for an expensive, offsite datacenter, while providing the same benefit. Everything is automatic and there’s nothing for the client to worry about maintaining.
All that makes it an easy item for business managers to approve. Instead of becoming known as the person who failed to protect the business, they are setup to be the hero that saved it by investing in a little bit of insurance for their technology.