Kanban Versus Scrum in Agile Software Development

Kanban versus Scrum in Agile MethodologyThere are always new and different ways of software development. To stay relevant and efficient, it’s important for software developers to be informed about all the different varieties. The Agile Method of software development is widely accepted across teams. However, there are different processes within the Agile Method that are more or less appropriate for different projects. Below we break down the main differences between two popular forms of Agile: Kanban versus Scrum.

Agile Method

The basis of agile software development is that it can adapt over the course of a project. Instead of in-depth planning at the beginning of a project, agile methodologies allow for feedback and change. There are 12 core principles of the Agile Method that reiterate the idea of flexibility including:

Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage

Working software is the primary measure of progress

At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly

The main focus of agile is to produce a well-functioning product. So, in order to get there, companies enforce frequent face-to-face communication, teamwork, and accountability.

Within the realm of the agile method, there are other varieties of software development including Kanban and Scrum. You should choose between the methods depending on what kind of software that your team is working on at the time.

Kanban

Inspired by the Toyota Production System and Lean Manufacturing, the Kanban method follows visual queues to frame the development processes. The processes are adjusted based on what to produce, when to produce, and how much to produce. Kanban promotes small scale changes to already implemented processes so that developers can overlay the method on top of established workflows.   

As the Kanban blog explains: “Kanban is a technique for managing a software development process in a highly efficient way.”

Scrum

One of the most popular frameworks for the Agile Method, Scrum manages complicated software development. The method follows a set of rules that never change, including the roles of developers and the processes they use. These processes include “sprints.” Sprints are fixed-length iterations that usually span from one-two weeks. This structure allows for accountability, project visibility, and flexibility.

Kanban Versus Scrum

Both Kanban and Scrum help to simplify difficult developmental processes by breaking them down into smaller, more comprehensible parts. But, each method has its positives and negatives.

Scrum is more rigid than Kanban. Scrum requires teams to adopt a completely new way of developing software. Everyone will have to learn about the ceremonies, specific roles, and the iterations. Whereas with Kanban, teams will more or less be able to follow the same framework they are accustomed to.

When it comes down to it, there is no real winner in the fight Kanban versus Scrum. It all depends on your team and the project you’re working on. Both methods are efficient and successful and it should be up to you to decide which you enjoy implementing more.

At Number8, we all work to stay on top of the latest news in software development. Because we follow the agile method, we deliver top quality products. To learn more about the methods that we use, read our informational page here. And give us a call today at (502) 890-7665 for help with your latest project!

Tips to Stay Healthy During Business Travel

Business Travel Traveling across the globe has many obvious perks. You get to experience foreign environments, try different foods, meet new people, and learn about other cultures. Its especially enjoyable when you get to do all of this as part of your job. Traveling for work is enviable to those who don’t get the opportunity. However, recent studies show that there are a significant amount of adverse side effects that come from frequent business travel.

Scott Cohen, deputy director of research of the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at the University of Surrey, published a paper called: A Darker Side of Hypermobility. Cohen collected data from the past 15 years of major studies regarding constant travel. Some of his findings revealed that those who are “hypermobile” are at risk of a range of negative physiological, psychological, emotional, and social effects.

Effects of Frequent Business Travel

Aging Faster

Frequent flying can lead to chronic jet lag. This in turn can cause a disruption in the gene expression that influences aging and the immune system. The risk of heart attack or stroke is higher in those who suffer from chronic jet lag.

Weakened Immune System

Constant travel means more frequent and more lengthy exposure to germs. Especially during flights when you’re breathing in the recirculated air within the cabin. Jet lag and the stress that comes with travel can also affect the body’s ability to fight off potentially harmful germs.

Weight Gain

Business travel usually means less time to focus on eating well. It is more difficult to grocery shop, or cook homemade meals while on the go. So many people resort to eating out or take advantage of hotel buffets. Unsurprisingly this only magnifies the health risk of constant travelers because their bodies aren’t getting necessary nutrients.

Tips to Stay Healthy While Traveling

Hydrate

It may seem like a no-brainer to stay hydrated during travel. After all, hydration is important all the time, not matter if you’re on a plane. However, it is very easy to forget how necessary water is. Especially if your day is jam packed with meetings, and conferences. Drinking water is probably the last thing on your mind. An easy way to remind yourself to stay hydrated is to carry a water bottle with you. If it’s empty you will notice and remember to fill it up. If you always have it with you then it will be hard to ignore.  

Avoid Alcohol

It might be difficult to avoid alcohol during business trips. A lot of time you’ll take clients to dinner where it’s expected to order a drink. While one glass of wine won’t do much damage, it is important to stay conservative in your alcohol consumption during travel. Alcohol is a depressant and it will dehydrate you which will contribute to exhaustion and stress. 

Exercise is important during business travel

Exercise

Take advantage of hotel gyms as much as possible when you travel. Even twenty or thirty minutes on the treadmill will go along way when it comes to keeping your body happy and healthy.

Stick to a Diet

Eric Ruiz of the Observer, wrote an article about the tips he follows to stay healthy during business travel. He said that no matter where he is, he follows a similar diet of protein and veggies. He said this helps to reduce time and stress spent on deciding meals. It also allows him to stay within a pretty healthy diet and avoid eating anything that could make him sick.  

Our team members at Number8 often get the opportunity to travel across the world for work. We recognize the importance in taking care of our health during these trips, and we follow all of the above tips to ensure we are always functioning at 100 percent. If you’re interested in learning more about Number8 and what we do, give us a call at (502) 890-7665, or check out our information page here!

Software Developer Levels: What are the Major Differences?

There is ambiguity in defining software developer levels. Specific factors affect the rankings of software developers, but they are not always obvious. Differentiating between the software developer levels can be difficult because there isn’t a set list of requirements for each position. Many companies set their own categories to classify their developers. Even though the distinctions vary across companies, there are overarching characteristics that distinguish between junior, intermediate, and senior software developers.

Uncoding Different Software Developer Levels

Experience

Different Levels of Software Developers.

The most obvious way to differentiate between developers is their level of experience. If the developer just recently graduated from school and has been in the field less than two years, he is entry level. Beyond that, it is more complicated to determine how experienced a developer is. Time does not always indicate expertise. If you want to hire someone who labels themselves as a senior developer, you should make sure their knowledge justifies their title. Companies often define their developers based on the time they’ve been with the business, not necessarily because of skill level.

Attitude

Attitude is a great indication of experience and maturity in software developers. Those who are able to take charge of new projects, and lead other developers should be considered intermediate, to senior level. The ability to serve as a leader is incredibly valuable within the world of software development. An intermediate, or senior level developer will also be able to recognize when a project is lacking in direction. They won’t hesitate to take over and steer other employees in the right direction. Less experienced developers will be resistant to leadership because they won’t be as confident in their abilities.

Autonomy

Independence is something that comes hand in hand with experience. Once you have worked as a developer for enough time, you’ll be able to operate without much guidance. Entry level developers require constant attention and feedback from superiors. Newer developers also won’t be able to problem solve to the same ability as an intermediate or senior developer. They won’t have as much reference, and will often have to get a second opinion on their work.

Responsibility

Along with all of the above characteristics comes an increased amount of responsibility. Higher level developers will have more work on their plates, and will be working on more difficult projects. But expert level developers are able to handle the work in an efficient manner,  while lower level developers will struggle to keep up.

At Number8 we educate all of our developers as much as possible to help them work their way up to higher levels. We are very thorough in our hiring process to ensure that any developers who refer to themselves as experts can prove their abilities. Are you interested in learning more about our developers, or do you think you are qualified to join our team? Then give us a call at (502) 890-7665 today!

Working Remotely: Five Tips to Make it Easier

Home Office for Working RemotelyAccording to a recent study conducted by Gallup, more employees are working remotely now than ever before. Out of 15,000 adults surveyed, over 40% said they spent time working from home. We also published a blog post last month that details the various changes occurring in our current work force. The traditional work-week schedule is adapting to better suit employees’ lifestyles.

To help usher in this new style of employment, we have gathered nine tips that we believe can aid in adapting to working remotely.

Find the right job

First, and maybe most importantly, you should be at a company that understands and supports employees who work remotely. If you are already in a position and you’d like to transition into working out of the office, strike up a conversation with your superiors as soon as possible. If they won’t budge, then perhaps it’s a sign you should begin looking elsewhere.

Establish and maintain a private work area

Having your own space to work is extremely helpful when it comes to productivity and focus. You should have an area that is solely dedicated to work, with an actual desk and no distractions. If possible, a home office is ideal when it comes to working remotely.

Connect with your team

Physical distance should not inhibit your relationship with coworkers, or your managers. It is vital to maintain constant communication from all sides to ensure you are staying on track, and that your fellow employees are all up to speed with your projects.

Work around your energy, not the clock

One of the major benefits of working remotely is that you don’t have to follow the typical 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. timeline. While you shouldn’t use this as an excuse to sleep the morning away, it can be incredibly useful for when you’re feeling particularly motivated. Our most creative moments don’t necessarily come within that 8-hour window, so take advantage of the flexibility.

Dress for success

You wouldn’t wear pajamas into the office, so don’t do it when working remotely either. It is certainly tempting, however maintaining a well kept appearance even when working from home will make you feel more successful and productive. Suit and tie not required, but stay away from the sweatpants at least.  

Because our employees are located both in Louisville, KY and Costa Rica, many of them work on Number8 projects remotely. We support this method of work, because we know our employees are able to produce the highest quality products no matter where they are. If you’re interested in learning more about us and what we do, visit our information page here. And if you’re looking for IT services, or software development assistance, give us a call today at (502) 890-7665!

How IT Outsourcing Benefits Medical Facilities

How IT Outsourcing can help Medical Facilities Most all business can benefit from some amount of outsourcing. The medical field, however, is able to thrive much better with the assistance of outsourced software development and other IT services.

In 2015, Black Book surveyed a wide range of executives in the medical field. A variety of people were represented, from hospital CIOs and IT leaders, to managers of care facilities. They were all asked to contribute their opinions on outsourcing services options in 2015.

The survey revealed that 73% of medical facilities with a capacity over 300 beds are open to looking for technology solutions outside of their staff. It also showed that 81% of facilities under 300 beds also place a higher priority on IT outsourcing.

An article published in July of 2017 in Modern Medicine, discusses the outsourcing benefits for medical facilities. It mentions that healthcare practices would benefit by outsourcing workload such as medical billing processes, and IT management. The author, Ben Walker also mentions Black Book’s 2015 survey. He writes:

“Perhaps the most convincing argument from the survey came from the 600 respondents who were either former or current IT outsourcing users: Ninety percent said they were either at or near full returns on their investments within three months, if not sooner.”

Below, we have gathered a few more of the IT outsourcing benefits for medical facilities:

More time to focus on the quality of care:

If healthcare facilities are focused too heavily on overseeing the company’s IT, then they lose critical time that could be spent on directly working on developing their core services. It is also true that many medical facilities aren’t in a position to hire and train their own IT staff.

Reduce operating costs:

Running any type of medical facility can be extremely expensive. Funding an in-house IT department is not necessarily feasible. By outsourcing, these businesses can afford to channel their funding directly into the care of their employees and patients.

Gaining access to world-class services:

By outsourcing IT, these health care providers will have access to the best support in the world. Instead of spending valuable time training IT employees, they can work with already established professionals. 

 

If you work within a medical facility and are in need of IT and software development services, give us a call today at (502) 890-7665. Here at Number8, we prioritize providing the best services possible to our clients. For more information on the work we do, and the clients we help, visit our About Us page.