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Three Requirements for Effective Incremental Change

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People involved with conceiving, directing and coaching change overwhelmingly favor incremental change methods.  The support for incrementalism always comes with caveats.  Those caveats can be consolidated into three requirements. Organizations with effective incremental change programs are pursuing a vision, have an appreciation for the need to increase tolerance to change, and embrace innovation.

A vision that describes a future state in which the business problem is solved is the most critical requirement for effective incremental change. The vision provides direction to the participants in the effort by providing a goal for the team to progress toward.  Each incremental change can be compared to the expressed vision so we can tell whether we are on the correct path.  Dominque Bourget, The Process Philosopher, provided the following quote to drive the point home (PS – it sounds very cool in Canadian French, just ask him):

In real estate there are 3 important things: location, location, and location.
In software development there are 3 important things: quality, quality, and QUALITY.
In process improvement there are 3 dangerous things: short view, short view, and short view.”

The second an appreciation for the need to increase tolerance to change.  The incremental change means that how work is done will be in a continual state of flux.  Early in my career, a mentor suggested that people and organizations really don’t like change. Therefore, it was important to give people the feeling of stability. Over time I have developed a more nuanced understanding of the message about change.  People tend not to like changes they perceive to be harmful and embrace changes they believe will be positive for them and/or that they have a hand in shaping.  An incremental change approach that involves those affected will foster higher levels of tolerance to change.  Dácil Castelo, Productivity & Estimation Area Director at LEDAmc, summarized why she prefers incremental change: “the resistance to change is less with incremental change.”

The third requirement to effective incremental change approach is the need to embrace innovation. All process improvement requires innovation; however, incremental change approaches generally require more innovative approaches in order to preserve momentum.  Incremental change is rarely as straightforward as slicing up larger projects into parts.  Innovation, by definition, represents a substantial deviation from the thought processes of the past.  The power of doing much smaller, related changes is that you receive faster feedback.  Faster feedback generates the need for more agility from those guiding or championing a change initiative as they adapt to changes in the environment.   To paraphrase Helmuth von Moltke, “no plan survives contact with the enemy.” In incremental change approaches contact happens over and over hence the need for innovation.

While I agree with the Process Philosopher that a consistent vision is the most important requirement for effective incremental change, but it is not sufficient. Without an approach to deal with change fatigue, often called change management, almost every change program will fail.  Even good change management support won’t suffice without innovation that integrates the feedback generated as people use those changes.  All three requirements must be addressed!


Categories: Process Management

The Container Monitoring Problem

Xebia Blog - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 21:16

This post is part 1 in a 4-part series about Docker, Kubernetes and Mesos monitoring. This article dives into some of the new challenges containers and microservices create and the metrics you should focus on. Containers are a solution to the problem of how to get software to run reliably when moved from one environment […]

The post The Container Monitoring Problem appeared first on Xebia Blog.

Tips from developers Peak and Soundcloud on how to grow your startup on Google Play

Android Developers Blog - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 21:15

Posted by Francesca Di Felice, Developer Marketing at Google Play
At Playtime 2016, Google Play's series of developer events, we met with top app and game developers from around the world to share learnings on how to build successful businesses on Google Play. Several startups, including game developer Peaklabs and audio platform SoundCloud, presented on stage their own best practices for growth, which you might find helpful.

Testing for growth, by Peak

Hear from Kevin Shanahan, Product Manager from Peak, a brain training app, on how to grow sustainably.



  • Test lots of ideas: You can't be sure of what will work and what won't, so you need to test lots of ideas. Peak ran four different tests to try to increase conversions to Pro (their subscriber offering):
  1. Made the ability to replay games a Pro feature
  2. Reduced price of Pro by 25% in top 2 markets
  3. Bundled add-on modules from partners into Pro
  4. Showed a preview of Pro-only content
          One of these tests resulted in a 50% increase in conversions.

  • Get the basics right: Start with a great product and have a data-informed culture. Don't only test app features, experimenting your store listing using store listing experiments is also important.
  • Build a robust A/B testing process: Having a well-defined A/B testing process and a system for tracking your experiments is key to testing quickly and effectively.

Improving user retention, by SoundCloud

Andy Carvell, former Product Manager at SoundCloud, an online audio distribution platform that enables its users to upload, record, promote, and share their originally-created sounds, explains how they focus on retention to improve growth.

 
  • Design your retention strategy: Apps with poor retention grow slowly. To increase your retention you should:
    • Convert new users to repeat visitors by providing a strong onboarding experience for new users and taking a high-touch approach during the first days and weeks.
    • Increase visit frequency within this group by providing frequent, timely, and relevant messaging about content or activity on the platform.
    • Target returning users who were not seen over the last period, who are 'at risk of churn' users, by giving them reasons to come back for another session before losing them.
    • Re-activate lapsed (long-term churned) users with campaigns to remind them about your app and offer an incentive to return.
  • Build 'growth machines': Create repeatable processes that testing has proven to positively impact retention, retaining users, and preventing churn.
  • Use activity notifications in a personalised and effective way: At SoundCloud there are plenty of things that happen when users are not in the app that might be relevant to them, for example new content releases or social interactions. They tested 5 new notification types, always keeping a control group to better keep track of the impact, and managed to increase retention in a 5%. Watch the video above for more of Andy's tips on making better use of notifications.

Other speakers, such as Silicon Valley VC Greylock, have also shared their tips for startup growth. Watch more sessions from this year's Playtime events to learn best practices from other apps and game partners, and the Google Play team. Get the Playbook for Developers app to stay up to date with news and tips to help you grow a successful business on Google Play.

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Categories: Programming

Android Developer Story: Wallapop improves user conversions with store listing experiments on Google Play

Android Developers Blog - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 21:07
Posted by Lily Sheringham, Developer Marketing, Google Play
Wallapop is a mobile app developer based in Barcelona, Spain. The app provides a platform to users for selling and buying things to others nearby in a virtual flea market by using geolocalization. Wallapop now has over 70% of their user base on Android.

Watch Agus Gomez, Co-Founder & CEO, and Marta Gui, Growth Hacking Manager, explain how using store listing experiments has increased their conversion rate by 17%, and has allowed them to optimize organic installs.


Learn more about store listing experiments. Get the Playbook for Developers app to stay up-to-date with more features and best practices that will help you grow a successful business on Google Play.


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Categories: Programming

Discover and celebrate the best local games at Indonesia Games Contest

Android Developers Blog - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 21:03

Posted by David Yin, Business Development Manager, Indonesia, Google Play.

It is a great time to be a mobile game developer on Android with the opportunity reaching more than a billion global users on Google Play. At the same time, developers in fast growing mobile markets like Indonesia have an additional opportunity in the form of a huge local audience that is hungry for local content. We have already seen thousands of Indonesian developers launch high quality, locally relevant games for this new audience, such as "Tahu Bulat" & "Tebak Gambar".

In our continuous quest to discover, nurture growth, and showcase the best games from Indonesia, we are really happy to announce Indonesia Games Contest. This contest celebrates the passion and great potential of local game developers, and provides an opportunity to raise awareness of your game with global and local industry experts, together with gamers, from across Indonesia. It's also a chance to showcase your creativity and win cool prizes.
Entering the contest

The contest is only open to developers based in Indonesia who have published a new game on Google Play after 1 January 2016. Make sure to visit our contest website for the full list of eligibility criteria and terms. A quick summary of the process is below:
  1. If you are eligible, submit your game by 19 March 2017.
  2. Entries will be reviewed by Google Play team and industry experts, and up to 15 finalists will be announced in early April 2017.
  3. The finalists will get to showcase their games at the final event in Jakarta on 26 April 2017.
  4. Winner and runners up will be announced at final event.
To get started

Visit our contest website to find out more about the contest and submit your game.
Terima Kasih!


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Categories: Programming

Engaging users during major events: How The Guardian used innovative notifications

Android Developers Blog - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 20:59
Posted By Tamzin Taylor, Partner Development at Google Play

Major sporting, cultural, political events present an opportunity to re-engage users if you can find a relevant and unique way to serve them information. For example, The Guardian was able to substantially increase user engagement with its mobile app during the recent US election by using new notifications functionality in Android 7.0 Nougat. While notifications themselves are nothing new, The Guardian used innovative techniques and design elements to give their users a rich, real time update on the election results as they happened.
How The Guardian innovated with notifications

Users who opted-in received a single, continuously updating notification which was persistent on their lock screen as results came in on election night. The notification used avatars of the candidates and a progress bar to bring the information to life.




The notification showed the most up-to-date numbers of electoral votes won and states called, an indication of which swing states have been called, and the breakdown of the popular vote between the two leading candidates.

"Having the ability to have a constantly updating notification on screen, allowed us to keep our users engaged throughout election night". – Rob Phillips from The Guardian
Another important feature was the ability to notify users of major updates with a link to detailed information and analysis. In order to do this, the Guardian allowed the newsroom teams to push notifications of major events, such as when the 270 vote mark was passed.

"Our newsroom could let our readers know in real time when there was a serious milestone, and we were able to deliver 101 unique notifications during the course of the evening. The clear menu options acted as key drivers to our journalism as the news unfolded, and meant we could get our readers connected with our content when they were most receptive". – Rob Phillips from The Guardian
Results and next steps
The engagement results were impressive:
  • 170K people signed up to see the alert, with 122K users interacting with the alert
  • The average number of interactions was around 620K, or 5.1 per user
  • 74% of users who saw the notification tapped through to the main live blog
  • 25% of users who saw the notification tapped through to our full results content
Finally, perhaps the most impressive statistic is that promoting live updates (via the notification) resulted in 103% increase in daily installs during election week.

"By providing our users with the ability to quickly and easily check information, to highlight major moments and to direct people to where to find more information, we can deliver value to our readers, helping them make sense of the events wherever they are, quickly and succinctly. After all, that's what we're here to do as a news company, and we're delighted that the new functionality on Nougat lets us do that" – Rob Phillips from The Guardian
On the back of the success of using Android N capabilities for live notifications, the Guardian plans to test the same approach with sports content, and explore how it could be applied more extensively to other major events like The Oscars and the Super Bowl.


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Categories: Programming

Get ready for Google Developer Day at GDC 2017

Android Developers Blog - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 20:56
Posted by Noah Falstein, Chief Game Designer at Google

The Game Developers Conference (GDC) kicks off on Monday, February 27th with our annual Google Developer Day. Join us as we demonstrate how new devices, platforms, and tools are helping developers build successful businesses and push the limits of mobile gaming on Android.

Expect exciting announcements, best practices, and tips covering a variety of topics including Google Play, Daydream VR, Firebase, Cloud Platform, machine learning, monetization, and more. In the afternoon, we'll host panels to hear from developers first-hand about their experiences launching mobile games, building thriving communities, and navigating the successes and challenges of being an indie developer.
Visit our site for more info and the Google Developer Day schedule. These events are part of the official Game Developer's Conference, so you will need a pass to attend. For those who can't make it in person, watch the live stream on YouTube starting at 10am PST on Monday, February 27th.


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Categories: Programming

Tips for building high-quality and accessible financial services apps

Android Developers Blog - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 20:54
Posted by Joel Newman & Ashraf Hassan, Strategic Partnerships, Finance, Google Play

Millions of people around the globe have limited or no access to basic financial services to enable them to manage their day-to-day finances. Mobile technology can help bridge this gap by connecting historically underserved consumers with high-quality tools to help them improve their financial health.

Often faced with an uncertain regulatory environment and/or a highly fragmented financial marketplace, many developers struggle with building great app experiences while also navigating this complex financial space. That's why we recently worked with CFSI, the authority on consumer financial health, to create the FinTech App Development Compass, a six-step guide for building high quality mobile apps to make financial services more accessible on Google Play.

Below, we're sharing six tips to consider when building a financial services app. For more, read the complete FinTech App Development Compass.

Tip 1: Know Your User
Understand who your consumer is and what difference your product can make in their day-to-day life. What are their financial needs? How can your product improve their financial health? How does your product fit within the context of their financial lives?

Tip 2: Focus on Access
Responsibly expand access to your product. Consider how your product can fit seamlessly into your users' routines. Consider your users' circumstances, including that English may not be their first language and that they may be using older devices with limited data plans.

Tip 3: Establish and Maintain Trust
Trust is at a premium in the financial space. Make sure you are developing mutually beneficial financial solutions that deliver clear and consistent value. Similarly, make sure you are using the latest security tools available from the Android platform to secure your users' data.

Tip 4: Test and Iterate
Before releasing any product to the public, make sure it has been thoroughly tested. From a financial perspective, be sure to measure the actual impact of your product on users over time. From a technological perspective, be sure to leverage Google Play alpha and beta channels for distributing apps before their public release.
Tip 5: Drive Positive User Behavior
Drive positive consumer behavior through smart design and communication. Leverage the Android platform tools like Material Design and notifications to steer users toward positive action or take financial action at appropriate times.

Tip 6: Recognize the Value of Mutual Success
Remember that the best business models are win-win: If your users' financial health improves, your company profits. Consider embedding financial impact and technological tracking capabilities within your platform from the beginning.

For additional information, refer to the CFSI Compass Principles and get the Playbook for Developers app to stay up-to-date with more features and best practices that will help you grow a successful business on Google Play.

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Categories: Programming

And the winners of the Google Play Indie Games Contest in Europe are...

Android Developers Blog - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 20:49
Posted by Matteo Vallone, Google Play Games Business Development

Today, at Saatchi Gallery in London, we hosted the final event of the first Google Play Indie Games Contest in Europe. The 20 finalists, selected from nearly 1000 submissions, came from 12 countries to showcase their games to an excited room of gamers, industry experts and press. Selected based on the votes of the attendees and the Google Play team, the Top 10 pitched in front of a jury of industry experts who chose the top winners.



Stay tuned for more pictures and a video of the event.

Without further ado, join us in congratulating the winners!

Winner & Unity prize winner:

Reigns, by Nerial, from the United Kingdom
You are the King. For each decision, you only have two choices. Survive the exercise of power and the craziness of your advisors... as long as you can.
Runners up:

The Battle of Polytopia, by Midjiwan AB, from Sweden
A turn based strategic adventure. It's a game about ruling the world, fighting evil AI tribes, discovering new lands and mastering new technologies. Causality, by Loju, from the United Kingdom
A puzzle about manipulating time, altering the sequence of events and changing the outcome of each level to help a group of astronauts find a route to safety.

The other top games selected by the event attendees and the Google Play team are:

Blind Drive, by Lo-Fi People, from Israel
You're driving blindfolded as a mysterious voice gives you suicidal commands on the phone. Survive on-rushing vehicles using only your hearing to guide you. Gladiabots, by GFX47, from France
A competitive tactical game in which you design the AI of your robot squad. Use your own strategy, refine it online and fight for the top of the leaderboard. Happy Hop: Kawaii Jump, by Platonic Games, from Spain
This isn't just an original one-tap endless hopper, it's also the cutest one. Ever wondered what's in the end of the rainbow? That would be Happy Hop. Lost in Harmony, by Digixart Entertainment, from France
Experience music in a new way with the combination of rhythmic tapping and choreographic runner to go through two memorable journeys with Kaito and M.I.R.A.I. Paper Wings, by Fil Games, from Turkey
A fast-paced arcade game which puts you in control of an origami bird. Avoid the hazards and collect the falling coins to keep your paper bird alive. Pinout, by Mediocre, from Sweden
A breathtaking pinball arcade experience: race against time in a continuous journey through this canyon of pulsating lights and throbbing retro wave beats. Rusty Lake: Roots, by Rusty Lake, from Netherlands
James Vanderboom's life drastically changes when he plants a special seed in the garden. Expand your bloodline by unlocking portraits in the tree of life.


Check out the prizes The prizes of this contest were designed to help the winners showcase their art and grow their business on Android and Google Play, including:
  • YouTube influencer campaigns worth up to 100,000 EUR
  • Premium placements on Google Play
  • Tickets to Google I/O 2017 and other top industry events
  • Promotions on our channels
  • Special prizes for the best Unity game
  • And more!
What’s next? The week is not over just yet for Indie games developers. Tomorrow we are hosting the Indie Games Workshop for all indie games developers from across EMEA in the new Google office in Kings Cross.
It’s been really inspiring to see the enthusiasm around this inaugural edition, and the quality and creativity of the indie games developed across the eligible European countries. We are looking forward to bringing a new edition of the contest to you in late 2017.
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Categories: Programming

Android Developer Story: LinkedIn uses Android Studio to build a performant app

Android Developers Blog - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 20:42
Posted by Christopher Katsaros, Developer Marketing, Android


LinkedIn is the world's largest social network for professionals. LinkedIn has 10 apps on Google Play, including the flagship LinkedIn app, which provides all of the same features users find on the web, so users can do things like browse and send messages to their professional network with an improved user experience.

For LinkedIn, and other teams with a large number of developers adding code to a project, making sure that everyone pays attention to areas that affect performance is vital for the quality of their app. That's why the the LinkedIn mobile team uses Android Studio to build high quality Android apps.

Watch Pradeepta Dash, Engineering Manager for Infrastructure at LinkedIn, as well as Drew Hannay, Tech Lead for the Android Infrastructure team, talk about how Android Studio helps everyone on their team stay focused on these topics while getting new engineers quickly up and running:


The top Android developers use Android Studio to build powerful, successful apps for Google Play; you can learn more about the official IDE for Android app development, and get started for yourself.

Get more tips and watch more success stories in the Playbook for Developers app.

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Categories: Programming

Grow your app or game business on Google Play with new best practices

Android Developers Blog - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 20:39

Posted by Dom Elliott, Developer Marketing, Google Play


We've updated the Android Developers website with some useful information about Google Play and the Google Play Developer Console for new and existing developers alike.
Visit the site to understand more about:

The updated business guide to succeeding on Google Play is full of best practices and success stories from other developers grouped into five objectives. Here are a few new articles to check out:
Head to the best practice guide to check out more of the articles. We'll continue to post useful best practices and success stories here on the blog and to the guide so you can read them on the web or in the Playbook app. To stay up-to-date with our news and tips, opt in to emails from Google Play in the Developer Console (or subscribe here if you don't have a developer account).


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Categories: Programming

Welcome to Google Developer Day at Game Developer Conference 2017

Android Developers Blog - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 20:36
Posted by Paul Bankhead, Director, Product Management, Google Play 

Mobile gaming is more popular than ever. Over the past year, we saw breakout hits, including Pokemon GO, Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, Clash Royale and Reigns introduce new, high quality gaming experiences on Google Play. Gamers around the world were also able to access Google Play more easily than ever before, helping developers reach a larger audience and grow their businesses. In 2016, nearly 300 million new (30 day active) users adopted Android devices from emerging markets such as India, Brazil, and Indonesia. And last year, more than 100 million new users were able to access locally relevant forms of payments (such as direct carrier billing or gift cards) helping more people globally access and buy their favorite apps and games on Google Play.

We've also focused heavily on polishing our software and hardware offerings to improve the overall gaming experience on Android. The release of Nougat delivered high-performance realtime 3D graphics with the Vulkan API and the launch of Pixel phones provided the first Daydream-ready devices tailored for immersive mobile VR. Elsewhere, the expansion of Firebase provided the tools and infrastructure to support developers throughout the lifecycle of their game with features like real-time analytics, push notifications, storage, and ads. To streamline the integration, Firebase is now completely available for C++ and Unity developers.
NEW FEATURES TO HELP YOU SUCCEED ON GOOGLE PLAY

Today, during our annual Developer Day at the Game Developers Conference, we introduced new tools to improve the overall discovery on Google Play, especially supporting developers who build high quality and engaging games.
  • Promoting high quality experiences based on engagement, not just installs: With the enormous variety of games available on Google Play, there are many instances when great games don't get the visibility and attention they deserve. Recently, we've begun tuning our algorithms to optimize for user engagement, not just downloads. This is one of our ways to reward quality, which for games means promoting titles with stickiness (strong engagement and retention metrics) as well as a more traditional measure like a high star rating.

  • Offer sales and increase purchases of premium games with strikethrough pricing: Available in the Google Play Developer Console starting today, strikethrough pricing allows developers to run their own price promotions on paid apps and games leading to greater awareness and conversion. During our pilot phase, developers not only saw a 3x–20x lift in installs during their promotions, they also maintained a nice lift once the sales ended.


  • More curation of high quality games through editorial pages: One more way we'll highlight quality games is through new editorial pages on the Play store launching later this month. These pages allow our editors to hand-select games exemplifying optimal gaming experiences on Android. They allow users to explore different game styles and genres with editorial reviews on themes such as epic RPGs and top racing games.

UPCOMING GAMES ON GOOGLE PLAY

At our Developer Day, we also gave attendees a sneak peek at some high-fidelity games coming to Google Play later this year. Including titles from major studios to indies, and even two new VR titles, there's something for every gamer!

Available for pre-registration on Google Play
  • TRANSFORMERS: Forged to Fight by Kabam is a new high-definition, action-fighting mobile game set in an immersive world. The game will feature authentic Transformers "more than meets the eye" action, allowing players to engage with Optimus Prime, Megatron and many other popular Autobots and Decepticons in a stunning 3D environment. The game will be available worldwide on April 5, 2017.
  • Battle Breakers is a new frenetic tactical role-playing game from Epic Games, powered by Unreal Engine 4. A vibrant fantasy sci-fi cartoon adventure, Battle Breakers lets you recruit and build a dream team from hundreds of unique heroes to battle monsters as you take back the Kingdom, one break at a time!
  • Injustice 2 lets you guide your stable of Super Heroes and Villains to victory. Expanding on the hit game Injustice: Gods Among Us, Injustice 2 delivers brand new characters, tons of exciting new modes and the look and fighting style that NetherRealm Studios is known for. Injustice 2 will be available on Google Play for Android devices in May.
Coming soon
  • Virtual Rabbids is the first VR Rabbids experience on mobile developed by Ubisoft Montpellier in collaboration with Bucharest. Available this spring on Daydream, players will find themselves in some of the most precarious situations as they race to save the planet.
  • Beartopia is a cooperative multiplayer village game by Spry Fox. Make friends, work together and grow a thriving community.
Later this afternoon, we'll host a series of lightning talks to share what it takes to launch successful VR and AR games, build with Firebase, implement machine learning in your game, and so much more. Visit our site for more info and the Google Developer Day schedule. For those who can't make it in person, watch the live stream!

This is just the start of what we have planned for 2017. We hope you can make use of these tools to improve your games, engage your audience, and grow your business and revenue.


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Categories: Programming

Publish your app with confidence from the Google Play Developer Console

Android Developers Blog - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 20:13
Posted by Kobi Glick, Product Manager, Google Play

Publishing a new app, or app update, is an important and exciting milestone for every developer. In order to make the process smoother and more trackable, we're announcing the launch of a new way to publish apps on Google Play with some new features. The changes will give you the ability to manage your app releases with more confidence via a new manage releases page in the Google Play Developer Console.




Manage your app updates with clarity and control

The new manage releases page is where you upload alpha, beta, and production releases of your app. From here, you can see important information and the status of all your releases across tracks.

The new manage releases page.
Easier access to existing and new publishing features

Publishing an app or update is a big step, and one that every developer wants to have confidence in taking. To help, we've added two new features.
First, we've added a validation step that highlights potential issues before you publish. The new "review and rollout" page will appear before you confirm the roll out of a new app and flag if there are validation errors or warnings. This new flow will make the app release process easier, especially for apps using multi-APK. It also provides new information; for example, in cases where you added new permissions to your app, the system will highlight it.


Second, it's now simpler to perform and track staged roll-outs during the publishing flow. With staged rollouts, you can release your update to a growing % of users, giving you a chance to catch and address any issues before affecting your whole audience.

If you want to review the history of your releases, it is now possible to track them granularly and download previous APKs.

Finally we've added a new artifacts library under manage releases where you can find all the files that help you manage a release.
Start using the new manage releases page today
You can access the new manage releases page in the Developer Console. Visit the Google Play Developer Help Center for more information. With these changes, we're helping you to publish, track and manage your app with confidence on Google Play.


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Categories: Programming

Detecting and eliminating Chamois, a fraud botnet on Android

Android Developers Blog - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 17:13
Posted by Security Software Engineers—Bernhard Grill, Megan Ruthven, and Xin Zhao



Google works hard to protect users across a variety of devices and environments. Part of this work involves defending users against Potentially Harmful Applications (PHAs), an effort that gives us the opportunity to observe various types of threats targeting our ecosystem. For example, our security teams recently discovered and defended users of our ads and Android systems against a new PHA family we've named Chamois.

Chamois is an Android PHA family capable of:
  • Generating invalid traffic through ad pop ups having deceptive graphics inside the ad
  • Performing artificial app promotion by automatically installing apps in the background
  • Performing telephony fraud by sending premium text messages
  • Downloading and executing additional plugins
Interference with the ads ecosystem We detected Chamois during a routine ad traffic quality evaluation. We analyzed malicious apps based on Chamois, and found that they employed several methods to avoid detection and tried to trick users into clicking ads by displaying deceptive graphics. This sometimes resulted in downloading of other apps that commit SMS fraud. So we blocked the Chamois app family using Verify Apps and also kicked out bad actors who were trying to game our ad systems.
Our previous experience with ad fraud apps like this one enabled our teams to swiftly take action to protect both our advertisers and Android users. Because the malicious app didn't appear in the device's app list, most users wouldn't have seen or known to uninstall the unwanted app. This is why Google's Verify Apps is so valuable, as it helps users discover PHAs and delete them.
Under Chamois's hood Chamois was one of the largest PHA families seen on Android to date and distributed through multiple channels. To the best of our knowledge Google is the first to publicly identify and track Chamois.
Chamois had a number of features that made it unusual, including:
  • Multi-staged payload: Its code is executed in 4 distinct stages using different file formats, as outlined in this diagram.

This multi-stage process makes it more complicated to immediately identify apps in this family as a PHA because the layers have to be peeled first to reach the malicious part. However, Google's pipelines weren't tricked as they are designed to tackle these scenarios properly.
  • Self-protection: Chamois tried to evade detection using obfuscation and anti-analysis techniques, but our systems were able to counter them and detect the apps accordingly.
  • Custom encrypted storage: The family uses a custom, encrypted file storage for its configuration files and additional code that required deeper analysis to understand the PHA.
  • Size: Our security teams sifted through more than 100K lines of sophisticated code written by seemingly professional developers. Due to the sheer size of the APK, it took some time to understand Chamois in detail.
Google's approach to fighting PHAs Verify Apps protects users from known PHAs by warning them when they are downloading an app that is determined to be a PHA, and it also enables users to uninstall the app if it has already been installed. Additionally, Verify Apps monitors the state of the Android ecosystem for anomalies and investigates the ones that it finds. It also helps finding unknown PHAs through behavior analysis on devices. For example, many apps downloaded by Chamois were highly ranked by the DOI scorer. We have implemented rules in Verify Apps to protect users against Chamois.
Google continues to significantly invest in its counter-abuse technologies for Android and its ad systems, and we're proud of the work that many teams do behind the scenes to fight PHAs like Chamois.

We hope this summary provides insight into the growing complexity of Android botnets. To learn more about Google's anti-PHA efforts and further ameliorate the risks they pose to users, devices, and ad systems, keep an eye open for the upcoming "Android Security 2016 Year In Review" report.
Categories: Programming

Five Simple but Powerful Ways to Split User Stories

Mike Cohn's Blog - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 15:00

Today’s post introduces the second installment in a free series of training videos all about user stories. Available for a limited time only, you can watch all released videos by signing up to the Better User Stories Mini-Course. Already signed up? Check your inbox for a link to the latest video, or continue reading to find out about today’s lesson.

One of the most common struggles faced by agile teams is the need to split user stories. I'm sure you've struggled with this. I certainly did at first.

In fact, when I first began using Scrum, some of our product backlog items were so big that we occasionally opted for six-week sprints. With a bit more experience, though, that team and I saw enough ways to split work that we could have done one-day sprints if we'd wanted.

But splitting stories was hard at first. Really hard.

But I've got some good news for you. Not only have I figured out how to split stories on my own, I've learned how to explain how to do it so that anyone can quickly become an expert.

What I discovered is that almost every story can be split with one of five techniques. Learn those five simple techniques and you're set.

Even better, the five techniques form an easily memorable acronym: SPIDR.

I've just released a new, 20-minute, free video training that describes each of these techniques as part of the Better User Stories Mini-Course. To watch it simply sign up here and you’ll get instant access.

Remember, if you’ve already signed up to the course you don’t need to sign in again, just check your inbox for an email from me with a link to the latest lesson.

Unless you've already cracked the code on splitting stories, you definitely want to learn the five techniques that make up the SPIDR approach by watching this free video training.

Mike

P.S. This video is only going to be available for a very short period. I encourage you to watch it now at https://www.betteruserstories.com.

Quote of the Day

Herding Cats - Glen Alleman - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 13:52

Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science. - Charles Darwin, Introduction, The Descent of Man (1871)

Categories: Project Management

Available Soon: Co-ownership of Management 3.0

NOOP.NL - Jurgen Appelo - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 13:20

Exactly one year ago, Management 3.0 was named as the front-runner of “The Third Wave of Agile“.

In 2015, the Management 3.0 workshop licensing business grew by 43%.
In 2016, our team was able to grow the annual revenue by another 45%.

What will happen in 2017?

I’m not sure. But whatever it is, you can own and enjoy the results!

Some people have accused me of being a dictator. Indeed, in the last five years, I have always been the single owner of the Management 3.0 business. But I tried to be a benevolent dictator.

Categories: Project Management

Grow your app or game business on Google Play with new best practices

Android Developers Blog - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 22:13

Posted by Dom Elliott, Developer Marketing, Google Play


We've updated the Android Developers website with some useful information about Google Play and the Google Play Developer Console for new and existing developers alike.
Visit the site to understand more about:

The updated business guide to succeeding on Google Play is full of best practices and success stories from other developers grouped into five objectives. Here are a few new articles to check out:
Head to the best practice guide to check out more of the articles. We'll continue to post useful best practices and success stories here on the blog and to the guide so you can read them on the web or in the Playbook app. To stay up-to-date with our news and tips, opt in to emails from Google Play in the Developer Console (or subscribe here if you don't have a developer account).


How useful did you find this blogpost?         

Categories: Programming

Case Studies versus Ancedotes

Herding Cats - Glen Alleman - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 21:15

It's common in the software development domain, especially agile to provide anecdotes in support for some suggested change to worked good for the person conveying the anecdote. But has not verification that the suggestion works anywhere else  

Here's some background on how to conduct a case study to support those suggestions.

Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 2.09.20 PM

Related articles The Microeconomics of Decision Making in the Presence of Uncertainty Why We Need Governance Herding Cats: Software Development for the 21st Century Two Books in the Spectrum of Software Development
Categories: Project Management

Architecture of Probot - My Slack and Messenger Bot for Answering Questions

I programmed a thing. It’s called Probot. Probot is a quick and easy way to get high quality answers to your accounting and tax questions. Probot will find a real live expert to answer your question and handle all the details. You can get your questions answered over Facebook Messenger, Slack, or the web. Answers start at $10. That’s the pitch.

Seems like a natural in this new age of bots, doesn’t it? I thought so anyway. Not so much (so far), but more on that later.

I think Probot is interesting enough to cover because it’s a good example of how one programmer--me---can accomplish quite a lot using today’s infrastructure.

All this newfangled cloud/serverless/services stuff does in fact work. I was able to program a system spanning Messenger, Slack, and the web, in a way that is relatively scalabile, available, and affordable, while requiring minimal devops.

Gone are the days of worrying about VPS limits, driving down to a colo site to check on a sick server, or even worrying about auto-scaling clusters of containers/VMs. At least for many use cases.

Many years of programming experience and writing this blog is no protection against making mistakes. I made a lot of stupid stupid mistakes along the way, but I’m happy with what I came up with in the end.

Here’s how Probot works....

Platform
Categories: Architecture