5 Reasons to Consider Hiring Remote Workers and Grow Your Business

remote workersA growing business is definitely something to celebrate — but it’s not always something that is easy to maintain. Finding enough talent that can help with things such as software development is becoming more and more difficult. The shortage of software engineers in the United States isn’t just about a lack of quantity, there is a shortage of quality as well.

However, your company has to stay on top of products and development to keep its edge in your market. So what can you do?

More and more managers are looking to hire remote workers to fill the talent gaps in their companies. An increasing number of people overseas are obtaining skills for software engineering and app development. Your business can use these people and their skills for substantiating growth.

Not convinced? Here are 5 reasons you should consider hiring remote workers to grow your business.

1. Remote Workers Save Your Business Money

The average company can save tens of thousands a dollars a year hiring remote workers instead of cultivating in-house talent. A dollar goes further in other countries, so you pay less for the same quality work. Furthermore, when you hire remote workers through an agency, you don’t have to worry about paying for things like benefits.

2. Hiring Remote Workers Saves You Time

Finding talent is a time-consuming and arduous task. When you look for talent remotely, you can conduct interviews and find the right person for the job over video chat and online communication.

3. You Have a Larger Talent Pool

If you look for software developers in your city, your talent pool is limited. Remote workers come from all over the world, so you have a better chance of finding the perfect fit for your project or team.

4. Remote Teams are More Flexible

You may need more hands on deck now, but things could slow down in the months ahead. Hiring remote workers allows you to scale your team based on your current needs, so there is less wasted time and workers are used efficiently.

5. Remote Workers Are Creative Problem Solvers

When you hire remote, you get a variety of perspectives contributing to your product or project. Your remote team sees your end goal from a different angle. This way they are able to provide creative solutions to any problems or bugs that can pop up. You can address these issues as they come up so you don’t have to backtrack by the time the project is completed.

If you have more questions about the benefits of hiring remote workers, or still have doubts about the benefits, contact us at Number 8. We have over 18 years of experience in the software development field and are committed to growing local and regional businesses. We work with a group of software developers in Louisville, KY and also have a nearshore office in San Jose, Costa Rica.

At Number8, we help fast growing companies find quality remote workers that creatively contribute to your business’s success. 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!

7 Tips to Position Fast Growing Gazelle Companies for Success

gazelle companiesJust like a herd of gazelles moves quickly over the Savannah, gazelle companies grow swiftly over a short period of time. Investopedia defines gazelle companies as businesses that “double its revenues over a four-year period” while “starting from a revenue base of at least $1 million.” That’s a 20% increase each year… quite a feat!

When a business booms this quickly, it can easily get caught up in its growth. Following these nine simple tips can help position gazelle companies towards success, so they can continue to expand for years to come.

Tips for Success Among Gazelle Companies

1. Practice Consistency

When your operations are consistent, it’s easier for employees to notice an abnormality that needs to be addressed. Furthermore, consistent operations make it easier for new team members to acclimate to the company. This factor is a must for a growing business.

2. Focus on Client Service

It’s paramount that a company never forgets the people who got them to this point of success — the clients. Therefore, don’t let the rapid growth distract account managers and other employees from providing excellent service at all times.

3. Instill a Teamwork-Driven Company Attitude

An employee should never respond to a manager with “that’s not my job.” If something needs to be done, it’s every team member’s responsibility to do what is in their power to meet the objective.

4. Foster Creativity

Not only will your employees appreciate a work environment that allows them to stretch their creative muscles, a company that encourages creativity is better able to solve problems that arise with rapid growth.

5. Pay Attention to Competition

Your company doesn’t need to live and die by what your competitors are doing, but ignoring them opens up a giant blind spot that can be taken advantage of in the future.

6. Be Painfully Organized

When it comes to growth, it’s easy for a company to set certain things aside for them to get lost in the shuffle only to realize down the road that having that certain thing on hand could be a real help. When it comes to operations, over-organize just to be safe.

7. Outsource When Needed

The more your company grows, the more big picture ideas you need to stay on top of your market. Make sure your big picture people have enough time to follow through with their ideas by outsourcing work where needed — for instance, in software development.

Gazelle companies and their speedy growth are becoming more and more common. At Number8, we help gazelle companies stay on top of their growth by connecting them with top tier outsourcing talent. 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!

 

Explaining the Agile Process and the Transition to an Agile Scrum Environment

agile scrumMaking the move from waterfall to an agile scrum development environment can be a big move, but for many software teams, it’s definitely worth the transition. When you work in an environment that utilizes the scrum methodology, it’s likely this organization values open communication, collaboration and efficiency.

While we’ve already explored the basics of agile scrum in previous blog posts, we haven’t delved into the actual format of agile scrum meetings. Depending on team preferences and styles, these meetings typically take on different forms and timelines, but they all include certain characteristics of the scrum methodology.

First let’s meet the “typical” agile scrum team. These are the actual people involved and engaged throughout this process. It all begins with the “Product Owner” and his or her vision for the project. Next we have the “Scrum Development Team.” This group of cross-functional members works together in a self-organizing, collective atmosphere. The “Scrum Master” is more of the team manager, providing an important type of leadershipo inside the group. The job of the Scrum Master revolves around facilitating and resolving any issues experienced throughout the entire product development process.

The Agile Process and Different Types of Agile Scrum Meetings

Now that we’ve provided a basic understanding of the team and scrum qualities, it is time to move on to the actual agile scrum process. Agile software development is often described as an incremental development process. This process becomes more of a cycle in terms of movement. If there is an issue or a setback, the process might move backward to resolve such issues. This cyclical process allows the project to easily continue forward as well. This is where the agility of this method becomes vital. But for more of a visual, the scrum process begins with the sprint planning meeting and proceeds from there. Here is an overview of the different types of scrum meetings:

Sprint Planning Meeting:

This meeting begins with the Product Owner. This is where he or she explains her vision for the project as well as ways for the team to meet this goal. During this meeting, team members decide the amount of work they can complete in a timely manner. This is also when the team moves work from the Product Backlog to the Sprint Backlog. This step requires a lot of planning and usually this takes around 8 hours for the group to decide on a finalized 30-day Sprint.

Daily Scrum and Sprint Execution:

From the planning meeting, we move into the daily scrum meetings. Every single day for about 30 minutes, the team gathers together to report any issues or progress on their tasks. Though brief, this meeting is an essential part of the scrum process. It is designed to keep all group members on track in a cohesive manner. Normally the Product Owner is present during all daily scrum meetings to assist in any way.

Sprint Review Meeting:

This meeting is used to showcase a live demonstration of the work completed. During the sprint review meeting the Product Owner, Scrum Master and stakeholders are present. They review the product and suggest changes or improvements.

Sprint Retrospective Meeting:

This meeting is held to facilitate a team’s reflection on their progress. The team speaks openly about their organizational concerns and teamwork. During this meeting, dialogue should remain friendly, non-judgmental and impartial. This review session is a key part of team building and development and it’s also very important for future scrum projects.

Backlog Refinement Meeting:

The last type of scrum meeting reviewed in this article is the backlog refinement meeting. Team members focus on the quality and skill work involved during sprints. This meeting is necessary for the business owners to connect with the development team and is used to assess the quality and development of the final product. This meeting involves important reflection on the team backlogs. These backlogs are often written in User Story form and specify what makes the product useful to the consumer.

Scrum meetings involve so much more than the brief descriptions provided above. There are many additional pieces to the scrum process including things like burndown charts and scaling, but the point of this post is to provide an overview of different kinds of scrum meetings. Regardless of the type, all scrum meetings encourage organization, progress and resolutions. With this incremental and cyclical software development process, all members have the ability to communicate openly and honestly. With the process of scrum and the sprint timeline, projects are more efficiently completed with the help of a capable and cooperative team and Product Owner led by a skillful Scrum Master.

Whether you are already using an agile approach to software development, or are considering transitioning towards a more agile methodology, the senior level agile developers at Number8 can help you make the shift. For additional details about working with a Number8 software developer, give us a call or contact us via email.

Transitioning to Agile Software Development

Agile Software Development

Business leaders are not usually concerned with the inner workings of their company’s software development– but should they be? According to the methodology of agile software development, there should be more interaction between managers and programmers.  When implemented correctly, agile development principles allow developers to stay flexible in order to build a quality project. The management side gets involved to qualify changes in deadline and anything else needed to enter the market.

Agile Software Development: Developmental Duties

When shifting towards agile software development, one major change is the amount of day-to-day duties the development team has. For one, they have to begin incorporating more QA measures in order to test developing software’s performance. It’s a dramatic shift for workers, but over time the agile software develop method will save them time with development processes.

Developers will learn to quit relying on manual testing, else they risk falling back to the previous waterfall processes. This allows them to catch bugs early on, so they can fix the software as they go. The more developed software is, the more confusing it is retracing your steps in order to find the bug.

Agile Software Development: Management Duties

The best thing a manager can do for their team when attempting to transfer to agile software development is to emphasize the importance of changing the way the team thinks as a whole. Hanging on to the old ways of developing will slow down the transition and make it more difficult to incorporate the new ways into day-to-day operations.

Managers should communicate regularly with team members. This ends up being a time intensive practice, but it’s a cornerstone of agile methodology. A main tenant for the method is people over processes. Communication is especially important because with agile, developers don’t have a defined role. Instead, they are given a certain amount of flexibility, as far as roles go. This can be pretty confusing for a manager, but it allows them to assess each team member’s strength to create more efficient processes in the future.

At Number8, we help companies transition to agile software development so they too can experience the improved processes. 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!

Node.js: An Introduction for Decision Makers

JavaScript and The Web

JavaScript is a popular web programming language that is most often associated with the client side or Front End. It is comprehensive, considering that JavaScript is the language that interacts with the web page’s elements directly through the HTML DOM (Document Object Model). Almost all web developers must use JavaScript to some extent, whether on the Front End or Back End, JavaScript is everywhere on web applications! JavaScript is responsible for binding events to DOM elements, it has responsibility for adding/editing/deleting DOM elements, and most importantly, it is what fires web service calls (often via AJAX) to the Back End. Simply put, a majority of web developers will have to write JavaScript at some point.

Node.js Structure

node.js

The following diagram shows a Node.js server lifecycle.

“Node.js is a JavaScript runtime built on Chrome’s V8 JavaScript runtime.” Using the least amount of words, Node.js is software that allows JavaScript to run on the server. Before deciding whether or not Node.js is a good option for your next web application, it is important to understand how it works. Node.js can be installed on any platform! It can run on Windows, Linux or Mac. This can save a lot of headaches when configuring and coding the application. This may be seen as an advantage, since your application will not be tied to any particular server architecture.

Other platforms and applications normally have an Application Starting Point event, function or file, where code is run linearly with a well-defined beginning and end. Node.js is different:  events are defined and attached to a server port, where they wait to run code until an event is triggered. “Node.js runs single-threaded, non-blocking, and asynchronously.”

This makes Node.js very fast and memory efficient due to the way that the server handles a new request.

It does not create a new thread, instead it starts running asynchronously and is always ready to handle the next request. This consumes less memory and makes the server fast, but it is important to understand when this is useful and when it may not be the best approach for a given set of business needs. This approach does not work as well as other options when the  application needs to perform a big, long, complex calculation but becomes very powerful when it is required to perform several actions at the same time or handle a high traffic load (horizontal scaling).

It is important to note that the Sleep function will make the main single thread sleep, therefore putting everything to sleep! Apart from being fast and asynchronous, Node.js is also lightweight thanks to its modular approach. Node.js code can be seen as defined modules on ports. Common frameworks are heavy and contain all the references possible to use within that framework even if they aren’t used in a particular implementation. On the other hand, since Node.js defines modules, the references are only loaded when they are deliberately included (they need to be included with the ‘require’ keyword).

FrontEnd + BackEnd

Taking into consideration that Node.js is cross platform, asynchronous and lightweight, it’s often a good option for many API’s or other Back End projects where each operation requested is comparatively lightweight in scope but many are potentially needed in a small timeframe (horizontal scale). JavaScript has historically been limited to the Front End, are you telling me that it is now a legitimate Back End technology as well? In many cases, yes!

This is another great advantage, now both the Front End and Back End for an application can be done in the same language thanks to Node.js. For the Front End, JavaScript alone is not sufficient, the developer also needs HTML, CSS, and often frameworks such as Angular, React, etc. But this has always been the way for JavaScript in Front End. The same can be said for using JavaScript on the Back End, where familiarity with new modalities and different libraries and frameworks can round out a Back End JavaScript developer’s skillset. However, you can imagine the great potential efficiencies and savings unlocked by having the same pool of developers familiar with a language equally powerful on both the Front and Back Ends! This is the promise of Node.js.

Popularity & Community

After exploring some of Node.js’s characteristics, it shouldn’t be surprising to know that even big companies increasingly are choosing to use Node.js in production environments. Some examples: Netflix, LinkedIn, Walmart, Uber, PayPal and many more. Being popular and active in various production environments and companies makes Node.js a technology that has one of the most important advantages for any technology under evaluation, the community. Node.js has a very large and fast-growing community, thanks to its efficiency and its unique abilities. This helps because if an environment running Node.js presents an issue or needs diagnostics or maintenance, it is highly probable that someone else has already encountered the same issue, and the solution can be easily found and digested.

A big community for a given technology means that there is a lot of support and documentation on the web, which can drastically shorten the time-to-resolution.
A big community gives rise to another advantage, Node.js has a package manager (NPM) available to facilitate downloading and using third party libraries. There are countless extensions in these libraries that offer solutions to most problems that a developer might face, reducing the learning curve or development time of the project.

Conclusions

Node.js is an exciting option for many web applications when its high efficiency and lightweight, modular design are taken into consideration. It can handle high traffic loads and high concurrency with sometimes game-changing performance compared to many other platforms. Running a Back End project on Node.js is comparatively simple, and since the majority of developers are already skilled to some degree with JavaScript, synergies and efficiencies on your team could be very advantageous. Finally, Node.js has become so popular in the last few years that it now has a large community that have created thousands of solutions and extensions for tackling all sorts of common problems. If your next project will be highly concurrent, and your team has a lot of existing experience with JavaScript, considering Node.js makes a lot of sense.