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How QA Can Support Businesses in the Journey of Digital Transformation

July 18, 2019


The influence of technology is growing, and businesses strive to take full advantage of it. For many companies, digital transformation is a way to speed up processes, support innovations and embrace and open up new opportunities.

Quality assurance, being the indispensable part of the software development life cycle, has a key role along the path of digital transformation. Introducing quality checkpoints ensures the achievement of the planned business outcomes and flawless end-user experience and satisfaction, which is the objective of every digital endeavor.

How digital transformation changes QA

Digital transformation has significantly influenced the ways QA and software testing are performed and how the results are achieved.

Here are the main improvements:

  • Testing throughout the software life cycle

QA is no longer done at the end of the software development life cycle. Digital transformation has brought about the need to perform testing continuously. More and more often, testers are not asked to check the app functionality once the developers have deemed it to be ready. Today, testing and dev teams work in collaboration, doing their best to deliver a high-quality solution. To ensure testing accuracy and flexibility, organizations adopt Agile and DevOps practices.

But there are some exceptions. Many organizations still run software testing once the development is finished. Mainly, these are the companies representing highly regulated business sectors, for example, the healthcare domain. For the projects with medical devices used, a key component for the product to be released to market is the approval by the FDA. To receive this approval, the company has to submit test results obtained on different stages of software development, including the final tests results.

The obligatory final testing, however, doesn’t count out the need of testing throughout the development life cycle. As a rule, such projects are tested during all development stages with …

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How Micro-Interns Can Help Your Business

July 18, 2019


If the overflow of office selfies on Instagram doesn’t convince you, just look at the last-minute job postings for summer interns on Indeed. This year, companies are looking at fresh ways to leverage young talent during the summer and beyond while students are looking outside traditional channels to get experience. Enter: micro-internships. 

What Are Micro-Internships?  

Micro-internships are highly specific, often virtual, project-based contracts that consists of anywhere from five to 40 hours of paid work over a few days or weeks. Unlike its traditional counterpart, a micro-internship is a task with a deadline – not a full-time job. Assignments can range from market research to data entry and web testing.  

A product of the gig economy 

The gig economy is here to stay whether we like it or not. So it is no surprise that internships have joined the mix of freelance work available.  

Like many freelance or contract positions, micro-internships are usually remote. This means that students can take on virtual internships while still completing their coursework. For companies, this means having access to ambitious, young talent year-round.  

With more full-time employees having the option to work remotely, a growing number of companies now have the infrastructure and know-how to manage remote projects and workers. A virtual internship program, therefore, shouldn’t be too out of place. 

In addition, many companies are already using freelancers. Instead of simply ignoring or tolerating the trend, why not harness it? Through the increasing acceptance of the gig economy, managers at companies from startups to giants like Microsoft have found micro-internships a useful tool to build their talent pipeline.  

A diverse talent pipeline 

With financial risk minimized, companies can more confidently take a chance on someone that may be from a different major or background than their usual candidate profile. For example, a seasoned …

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The 4 Entrepreneur Personality Types

July 15, 2019


There are so many misconceptions, stereotypes and blatantly wrong factual information floating around that its no wonder all entrepreneurs get slapped with a bad reputation label. The discrimination runs deep but thanks to a swift and positive upswing in the dominant demographical markets, these ideals are rapidly changing for the better.

We’re not all bohemian, airy-fairy, dream-chasers, who will likely crash and burn. If that’s what you believe, I’m here to tell you that you’ve got it all wrong. Until recently, everyone from financial lenders to the tax man treated the entrepreneur with an underlying tone of distrust or at least with caution tape.

All hail the Boomers and Millennials for infiltrating the entrepreneurial world with gusto. These demographic markets are not only the dominating force in society at the moment (dictating the sway of masses), they’re also embracing the need to create and build their own future, forge their own path, and the cherry on top is their seemingly innate ability to do so. As if they were born for this moment in history. As Amazon gobbles up retail and corporate America, the “new kids in town” aren’t hesitating to reinvent the wheel.

What to expect

  • Debunking Entrepreneurship Myths: Here we will debunk the stigmas and taboos surrounding entrepreneurialism that have society at large believe the self-employed are crazy risk-takers with no sense of direction or real purpose.
  • Substitute Risk with Truth: Find out what it means to be an entrepreneur and what it takes to be successful. It’s not about chasing a whimsical idea. It can be a sound, solid, executable and fulfilling opportunity to live your truth, instead of someone else’s.
  • Bring Your Gifts to the Table: Being an entrepreneur isn’t only for the hard-core risk-takers or risk-seekers who live for the thrill of the experience. Nor,
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Three Leadership Podcasts You Should be Listening to

July 15, 2019


We’re neither here nor there; we’re on our way from one point to another, usually sitting in traffic, reading email on a train or bus, or simply zoning out in the back of a shared carpool.

In my opinion, this in-between time offers the perfect opportunity to brush up on your leadership skills, take on a fresh perspective, and really dig deep into the things that matter the most to you in business. The best way to do that is to find some great podcasts to listen to as you shuttle from one place to another.

Podcasts are booming

You have probably overheard all of your coworkers and friends talking about podcasts lately. That’s because podcasts have seen a significant uptick in popularity in the last few years. 

Podcasts are easily consumable when you are on the go. Whether you have 15 minutes or an hour-and-a-half, you can find a podcast that will meet your needs, feed your interests or teach you something new.

Podcasts also fit comfortably into our busy daily lives. On your way to pick up the kids after work? Listen to part of a podcast. Waiting for your train from the city? Dive into that article you couldn’t read by listening to the interviews on a podcast. Anytime you want to make the most of that in-between space, you can just plug in a pair of headphones or connect your smartphone to your car and take advantage of any sort of downtime you might have. You can choose an educational podcast, something light and funny, a dark mystery, or something that lifts your spirits. It all depends on how you want to spend your time.

Podcasts have also begun to help build communities of people who share similar passions and interests. In an increasingly separated, divided, …

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How to Empower Your Team To Use Technology From Top to Bottom

July 12, 2019


After mapping out your business specifications, securing executive buy-in, and carefully managing the project, your work is still only half done. 

One of the biggest factors in successfully adopting technology occurs after the implementation itself: training. If you don’t have a training plan in place, your new solution is unlikely to be adopted across your company and you won’t enjoy all the benefits of the digital transformation.  

The key is to take a process-centric approach, which will allow you to cover all your bases and provide your entire team with training that makes them feel confident using your new technology.

Read on to learn how to develop your training plan – from choosing the right methods, materials, and resources, to facilitating your digital transformation into the future.  

Forming the outline of your training plan

You should start developing your training plan long before the technology solution is deployed. Ideally, your training plan will start to take shape as soon as the design for the new technology has been finalized. At this point, you will have a good idea of how the technology will function and how it will be used by your entire team, which is critical information for a comprehensive training plan. 

Now is the time to think about your employees – the end users. There are two important factors any good training outline must address: the technical skill level of the end users, and the array of learning styles of the end users.

Think about your end users’ technical skills

Your teams use technology in different ways and for different purposes. As a result, your employees will vary greatly in terms of their technological knowledge, familiarity, and comfort. Take all competencies, skills and use cases into account as you build an outline for the training plan. This …

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Expand Internationally By Leveraging Local PEO Services

July 10, 2019


• A PEO can assist you with payroll, benefits and human resources support for your business
• PEOs take care of your overseas human resource requirements through a co-employment model
• A PEO can take care of the needs of your staff abroad and make sure your business stays compliant.

Through a co-employment model, these organizations offer comprehensive human resource services abroad for business without a physical presence in the country. This is especially helpful for businesses who want to “dip their toe” in a new market but aren’t yet committed to building an office. Having flexible human capability in a new market can be the difference in your success.

Smaller business should look at what a PEO can bring to their work environment. Overseas employees can access benefits offered by (often larger sized) PEOs and have a localized support network. Understand what assistance you can find in a PEO and how they can support your business success.

What’s a Professional Employer Organization?

Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs) take care of your overseas human resource requirements through a co-employment model. They support smaller businesses seeking to employ people in a country they don’t yet have a physical footprint in. This enables businesses to focus on their core operations and staff at home.

Editor’s note: Interested in a PEO service? Fill out the questionnaire below to have our vendor partners provide you with information for free.

 

A PEO partner can pay your overseas employees’ wages on your behalf. They can also offer staff benefits offered in larger companies, such as health subsidies and training. Your business can relax about foreign tax and employment regulations; a PEO takes care of this too.

Working alongside a PEO

A PEO can take care of the needs of your staff abroad and make sure your business …

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How to Create a Positive and Productive Company Culture

July 1, 2019


The first thing you need to do is to recognize your culture for what it truly is as opposed to what you would like it to be. You then need to assess what it brings to the organization so you can decide what elements to keep and build on, and what you need to leave behind. After that, you can take the necessary steps towards transformation. Read on to understand exactly how each of these steps work.

Step 1: Embrace your culture for what it is.

If you want to create a positive and productive company culture, do not start out with a deck full of utopian values such as humble, honest, hard-working, driven, ethical, bold, brave, understanding, loving or caring. Yes, many organizations have amazing characteristics, but they have crappy ones as well. Listing these lofty ideals as valued behaviors will lead to an inauthentic organization where people are unable to really live up to the idealized behaviors.

Once you have gotten over the idealized model of what your culture looks like, it’s time to get to know your company for what it is. Chances are, you are not going to like a lot of what you find. You may find tremendous work ethic, but you may also find lots of procrastination. You may find humility, but also a lot of focus on self-marketing. You may find bold people, but you may also find people who play it safe. The bottom line is that the first step towards creating a positive and productive culture is seeing it exactly how it is, for all its beauty and all its ugliness.

Take our company as an example, we have incredible resourcefulness. But this resourcefulness stems out of the fact that we are a fluid organization that can feel very chaotic to …

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How to Make Remote Employees Feel More Connected

June 27, 2019


With so many positives, it’s no wonder why remote work is becoming more and more popular. Research from Owl Labs, 16 percent of global companies are fully remote and 40 percent partially remote. Those numbers are only going to keep rising as more people realize the benefits of remote work.

But, with all the benefits of remote working, there come struggles as well. When your team members are working from their homes in different locations, they’re missing out on connecting with each other and the company as a whole. A Harvard Business Review study of 1,100 employees, found that remote employees are more likely to feel that colleagues mistreat them and leave them out. If your remote workers are experiencing these feelings, it could decrease their productivity and negatively affect company morale.

Building strong connections is a key part of building a strong business. Here’s how to make your remote work team feel more connected.

Use communication tools.

Your remote workers need to be able to easily communicate with each other. Sending off an email and waiting to receive the response just won’t cut it in today’s work environment. In order to make your remote workers really feel connected, you need to make sure you’re using remote working tools for communication. One of the most popular remote working tools is Slack. Slack is a type of instant messaging tool where conversations are organized into channels. These channels allow you to organize communications based on teams, projects, or even office locations. Implementing a communication tool, such as Slack, will allow your remote workers to feel like they can get a hold of someone quickly if they need to.

Aside from creating Slack channels based on teams and projects, you should also create some general or family channels that allow your remote …

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Beware of Past Decisions' Future Impact

June 19, 2019


 

No, instead it’s full speed ahead with launch, building and growth. The hope that all your hard work – the late nights, the early mornings, making the tough calls and taking chances – will pay off financially is there, but it seems so distant that it’s easy to ignore for years.

Eventually, the day comes to leave the helm. Your company’s value and sales price come down to EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization). Whether you’ll sell to an unrelated party or transition to the next generation of family ownership, the ghosts of these decisions past, marketing and otherwise, can come back to haunt you.

Naming your business

It’s your business, and it is a source of pride for it to carry your name. However, if your long-term game is to sell it, consider a less personal and more widely appealing name. Philip Jones will be less inclined to buy John William’s Engineering than he would Windward Engineering. Tying a business to a person’s name for any length of time is difficult to unwind after a business sale.

Putting a Face to the Name

Similar to associating your name with the business, putting yourself front and center of your brand and advertising can make it difficult to for a new owner to step in and take control. Being present in your company helps create and sustain a culture that attracts customers, employees, investors and buyers, which adds value. However, being the face of it, especially if you’re active in the community can prove to be too big of shoes for future owners to fill who’ll most likely prefer to put their stamp on it versus being in your shadow, literally.

If your name and/or face is already associated with your business, expect a buyer to offer a significantly …

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4 Ways to Motivate Your Employees in 2019

June 12, 2019


Unfortunately, according to Gallup research, just one-third of U.S. employees feel engaged at work.  

Clearly, the challenge is figuring out what motivates your people. And it’s not as simple as paying them more money either. Yes, compensation is absolutely important, but so too is something like recognition, which, according to a Salesforce study, is an important motivating factor, so much so that 70 percent of employees would work harder if they were recognized for their work

While motivational factors have changed over the years, research tells us that many workers today will agree on a number of things that drive satisfaction on the job.

1. Work-life balance

Work-life balance is a big deal to today’s employees. According to the 2017 World Happiness Report, work-life balance is one of the biggest predictors of happiness.

But work-life balance can mean any number of things to different people. For some, it means having a flexible work schedule, allowing them to work from home on some days or set their own days off. For others, it means having access to exercise facilities for free. Some people may even want childcare facilities in the workplace so they can bring their kids to work. 

It’s here where research comes in. You can read all day about how other companies managed to turn their workforce around and maximized their human capital, but basic HR will tell you that their experiences will not necessarily reflect how your employees will respond to the techniques you might pick up along the way and attempt to implement.

Before you start making grand plans to create motivated and passionately productive employees, you’ll want to take a step back and assess the psychographics of your workforce. One way to do this is to send out questionnaires asking employees about their idea …

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