Four Ways a Scrum Master Improves a Software Development Team’s Performance

Jul 17 2020 Published by under Uncategorized

A highly collaborative and well-managed scrum team is ideal for agile software development. With values like: courage, openness, commitment, and respect, these scrum teams feature a more collaborative and transparent management style organized to best complete the tasks at hand.

A scrum team consists of different roles which all work together to create a new product from start to finish. The scrum master is the person designated to keep group members focused on the project. The short sprint style, in which this software development methodology organizes and completes work, requires a scrum master to coach and push the team forward.

Because a scrum master is essential to an agile team, their role has many different obligations. They are often expected to provide a clear and coherent vision of the project, ongoing support and organization, clear documentation, and much more.

There are several ways that the scrum master is able to improve overall performance, while maintaining structure. Here are four of them:

  1. Strengthens Agility: Scrum teams need to be able to shape-shift and go with the project flow. Agile development came about in part as a response to deficiencies in the waterfall method. Software development with scrum focuses on the collaboration and organization of the entire team. As the leader of the team, the scrum master is tasked with helping the team work together while allowing for flexibility. Becoming agile and adaptable only improves the team’s ability to work with all of the issues that may arise over the course of a typical project.
  2. Increases Velocity: As a scrum master, it is your job to keep the software development team moving forward even with setbacks. Scrum masters work hard to encourage and support team members in their effort to deliver high quality results as efficiently as possible. This involves careful documentation, managing stakeholder expectations, providing realistic time estimates, and much more.
  3. Improves Communication: A scrum team is known for its collaborative approach to software development. Communication is at the heart of this collaboration. Daily scrum meetings are a great way to improve the team’s success. This meeting is typically brief but also extremely informative and helpful. Ongoing communication throughout the project is a trait all effective scrum masters share.
  4. Builds up Morale: A scrum master has a very important perspective on the team, focusing more globally on all the people involved on the project. Working together in a close-knit style, it’s necessary for the team to not only get a long, but to ideally develop trust and friendships. Creating an open environment where people feel valued is extremely important for the team. Even when things are going smoothly, it’s important to continually strive to improve morale, encouraging team members to support one another and to effectively work through conflict, if it arises.

While a scrum master may not be directly involved in coding software, user experience design, or QA testing, their role on an agile team is extremely important. Not only do they tend to understand the more granular day-to-day work expectations, but they also have the bigger aerial view of the project and all of the people involved.

While the scrum master may be the main leader of the team, other team members are encouraged to take responsibility and initiative for their work. Many have found that this collaborative and organized approach to software development offers the best in terms of leadership and project management.

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Discuss When You Need a Software Development and Maintenance Agreement

Jul 17 2020 Published by under Uncategorized

As a software and application developer, creating, customizing, maintaining and supporting software programs is the core of your business, and likely the most important asset to your company. Safeguarding that asset is absolutely essential to operation. What are you doing to protect your work and limit your terms of support? When should you use a software maintenance agreement?

In nearly every business relationship you foster, it is essential to protect yourself and your business, especially if you work as a software and application developer.

Custom software development and software maintenance agreements protect your rights during the term of the relationship with a specific client. These agreements will determine the length of the engagement, the level and hours of support and maintenance for which you are responsible, and any updates or enhancements that they may be entitled to. It also states which support, maintenance and installation services that do not fall in the parameters of the scope of work might require additional compensation.

Most importantly, the agreement will limit your liabilities and responsibilities, excluding errors that result from client misuse, alteration or damage, and will prohibits your clients from hiring away your maintenance and support employees.

Agreements will vary based on each software developer’s needs, and reviewing software development and software maintenance agreement samples can provide some perspective on what should go into the contract. Finding a reputable business that supplies software maintenance templates will save you time and ensure all of the necessary provisions are included. Businesses will typically offer software maintenance templates in a package that might include:

* Custom Software Development Agreements: These agreements protect your intellectual property rights and limit your liability, when developing software and applications for clients. It will also define all terms of use and prices for work developed or performed, protect your right to collect payment, and prevent clients from hiring away your employees.

* Custom Software Maintenance and Support Agreements: Protect your rights during the term of the relationship with a specific client. It determines the length of the engagement, the level and hours of support and maintenance for which you are responsible, and any updates or enhancements that they may be entitled to. It also states which support, maintenance and installation services are not included in the basic scope of work and that might require additional compensation.

* Employment Contracts: When hiring new employees, these will protect intellectual property rights and confidential information. It also establishes non-compete and non-hire provisions, which prevent employees from taking clients or workers from the company.

* Software Customization Agreements: Clearly and concisely outline the scope of work on all software customization services, and warrants you the necessary licensing rights to permit you to modify the software. It also defines ownership of intellectual property rights and confidential information, as well as price and payment terms. Finally, it limits your liability for damages resulting from your work.

* Subcontractor / Independent Contractor Agreements: These detail the performance expectations of a subcontractor and set the scope of services, price and payment terms, and solutions should you become dissatisfied with the services provided. It will also protect intellectual property rights and confidential information, and give you authority to terminate the agreement.

Software development and software maintenance agreements, and other supporting agreements or contracts, will help guide the relationship between you and a potential client and set expectations for any ongoing service or maintenance and the costs associated with them. A signed, clearly defined agreement will set the relationship off on the right foot and help protect against service-related problems in the future.

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What is the Software Development Life Cycle? Introduction to the SDLC

Jul 17 2020 Published by under Uncategorized

Programming software or an application can be somewhat stressful at times, especially when it comes to coding different parts of a big project. Thus, having a system in place that allows you to take the development process step-by-step without feeling overwhelmed is essential to producing a high-quality piece of software.

This is exactly what the SDLC is – a system of activities that includes several stages or phases and when followed, ensures that you have a good understanding of the task at hand while also eliminating error as much as possible.

In this article, we’ll be deep diving into these stages and what each of them includes.

Business Analysis or Discovery Phase

First, you have to plan. There’s no such thing as too much planning and if you miss out even one minor detail during this stage, you could find yourself having to revise the entire project.

During the analysis stage, there are a few things that you need to do. You should start by brainstorming and coming up with some ideas to base your project on. For example, if you were developing a new booking system for a hotel, you could consider linking hotel bookings with restaurants bookings – one of many possibilities.

Make sure that the ideas which you come up with are in accordance with your customer’s (or your own) requirements so that you’re sticking to the original task while being creative and coming up with innovative ideas.

It’s also important that you keep in mind the available timeframe, costs, and resources so that you don’t end up developing something that your customer’s computer system isn’t capable of handling, that they can’t afford, or that would take a ridiculously long time to program.

All in all, this stage is for you to get a better idea of what the final piece of software should look like as this will be what your work is based of.

At this point in the SDLC, you should have all of the information that you need to make a brief start on the software development and even come up with a basic prototype – at the very least, you should be able to construct a more detailed breakdown of the project than you had before. It’s worth taking the time to do a brief prototype so that you and your customers can see your ideas in action and gather some feedback.

Now, after detailing the development project as thoroughly as you can, split it up into smaller tasks. If you’re working with a team of developers, then this is also a good time to split up the tasks accordingly so that everyone is familiar with what role they will be taking on and begin preparing.

Design

This stage is relatively simple, in comparison to the other stages of the SDLC, and typically includes a system analyst and the lead developer. They discuss the system that the software is going to be installed on, any limitations that the system has which would be relevant to the software functionality, and they make sure that the proposed piece of software won’t encounter any major issues once it has been implemented.

Following on from the Systems Analysis stage, a more complex prototype may be created so that all involved parties can gain a better understanding of what the final product will look like and scope out any problems that might arise.

Before moving onto the next stage, which is programming, the lead developer will confirm all of the plans that have been created and ensure that the client’s needs are going to be satisfied, before proceeding and starting the main development.

Programming

There isn’t a lot to discuss regarding this stage other than it’s time for you to get to work! Put everything that you’ve planned for into place, begin your programming, and develop a piece of software that you’re satisfied with.

One thing worth keeping in mind is that even though you will have gathered all of the information that you need earlier on, if you’re unsure of any of the job requirements then contact your client – there’s no shame in clearing up any uncertainties and they won’t criticize you for doing so.

Testing

Testing the coded program is important. This isn’t as simple as running the program, using each of the features once, then calling it quits – you have to conduct thorough testing among several parties while using several testing methods.

  • Without overcomplicating things, below are some of the things to keep in mind during the testing phase.
  • When you interact with the program or enter data (input), are you being provided with the output that you expect?
  • Can each of the program’s features be easily identified and do they function as they should?
  • Does the program fulfil its initial purpose?
  • Does the program run efficiently and make good use of the computer system’s resources?
  • Are there any improvements that you can make?

After excessively testing your program to make sure that there’s nothing wrong with it, you’re ready to implement it.

However, if you find that there are problems or that improvements could be made, be sure to fix them before you continue. Remember to take a note of the bugs that you encountered as well as how you fixed those bugs – this is useful in case you experience any related bugs in the future.

Implementation

Finally, it’s time to implement the software into the environment that it is intended for. This is the final stage of the SDLC and includes setting up the software on the intended computer system, any other systems that it will be required on, and walking through your client how to use it.

You should also consider putting together a basic user guide, depending on the complexity of your program, so that they have a thorough understanding and they don’t need to contact you every time that they have a question or query. Handing out user guides will also make it easier to explain the software to large groups of people.

What’s Next?

Now that the software has been created from scratch and is installed and set up as it should be, you can put your feet up and relax.

While not an official stage, after the implementation of the software that you programmed, you should be prepared for maintenance. Generally, maintenance refers to any changes that your client wants to have made to the software, any updates, or fixing any bugs that arise.

Some software development projects will require maintenance while others won’t, thus, it is not considered a stage of the SDLC.

To Conclude…

This might seem like an excessive software development model although by following the SDLC, software developers and engineers are able to ensure that they don’t make silly (yet vital) mistakes and, as a result, create a piece of software which exceeds their client’s expectations.

Having this type of process in place ensures that you are on the right track and given that you’ll be constantly going over the notes that you’ve taken during the planning stage, you’ll undoubtedly prevent any uncertainties from wreaking havoc and causing you to start from scratch.

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