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Software Development Blogs: Programming, Software Testing, Agile, Project Management
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Pitch your product using the 3x3 framework

Xebia Blog - Sun, 05/15/2016 - 10:26
When pitching innovative product ideas, you only get between five and fifteen minutes of attention. To make those minutes count, you should be able to define your product vision in a simple but comprehensive way. For this, I’ve found this 3x3 framework technique useful. Not only is it a pretty good format for pitching your

Versnel je team met Scrumban!

Xebia Blog - Fri, 05/13/2016 - 13:01
Herken je dat ook? Teams die meer dan een half jaar aan het scrummen zijn en sprint commitments maar niet halen? Of maar geen stijgende 'velocity' laten zien? Blijven verbeteren zonder een echte verbetering te zien? Scrumban is het toepassen van de Kanban Methode in de context van scrum en geeft deze teams een weg

Monorepos for true CI

Xebia Blog - Thu, 05/12/2016 - 20:23
On the 15th and 16th of April CITCON Europe took place in Cluj-Napoca (Transylvania). CITCON is an open spaces conference. The agenda is made up by the people attending the conference. Because of this there are always a couple of nice takeaways. This year Ivan Moore (@ivanrmoore) made a claim that you can not do

Sponsored Post: Spotify, Telenor Digital, Kinsta, Aerospike, InMemory.Net, VividCortex, MemSQL, Scalyr, AiScaler, AppDynamics, ManageEngine, Site24x7

Who's Hiring?
  • Site Reliability Engineer Manager. We at Spotify are looking for an engineering leader (Chapter Lead) to manage the NYC part of the Site Reliability Engineering team. This team works with the infrastructure that powers the music service used by millions of users, built by hundreds of engineers. We create tools, develop infrastructure, and teach good practices to help Spotify engineers move faster. As a Chapter Lead your primary responsibility is to the people on your team: ensuring that the members are growing as engineers, doing valuable work, performing well, and generally having a great time at Spotify. Read more and apply here

  • Site Reliability Engineer. Spotify SREs design, code, and operate tools and systems to reduce the amount of time and effort necessary for our engineers to scale the world’s best music streaming product to 40 million users. We are strong believers in engineering teams taking operational responsibility for their products and work hard to support them in this. We work closely with engineers to advocate sensible, scalable, systems design and share responsibility with them in diagnosing, resolving, and preventing production issues. Read more and apply here

  • Backend Engineer. We at Spotify are looking for senior backend engineers to join our team of talented engineers that share a common interest in distributed backend systems, their scalability and continued development.  You will build the backend systems that power our application, scale highly distributed systems, and continuously improve our engineering practices. Read more and apply here

  • Security Engineer. The security team at Spotify is a distributed team supporting autonomous development teams with a focus on raising security awareness, sharing responsibility, and building tools. We aim to constantly improve the security posture for our fast-paced, rapidly-changing environment in a manner that will keep up with our scale. We’re knowledgeable in many domains of security and are willing to teach (and learn) from anyone at the company. Read more and apply here

  • Data Architect. You will be a key figure in a rapidly growing team, where the role will highly depend on you. You must have extensive experience in Cloud Computing and AWS and deeply understand databases and/or Information Architecture (PostgreSQL, Cassandra, MongoDB, Redis, etc.). And if you also know your way in the Hadoop ecosystem (including Spark and HDFS), Kafka, Cassandra and other big data technologies, this will be more than enough. You have an understanding of how to structure the data sources and data feeds of the Data Insights big data solution, plan for integration and maintenance of the data as well as have an eye on the logical design and on how the data flows through the different stages. Please apply here at Telenor Digital.

  • Data Engineers. You know Java, and possibly Clojure or Scala, are effective in a Linux terminal (shell scripting, configuration files, etc.), have experience with some SQL database, preferably PostgreSQL, have experience with Apache Kafka, Apache Spark, Elasticsearch. You enjoy automating things and building systems. Machine learning experience is considered a plus, and Continuous Integration + delivery is important to you, and writing tests a given. You are humble and passionate; you like to listen and can understand the viewpoints of others and strive to be a good dialog partner, but you can focus on delivery once a direction is decided. Please apply here at Telenor Digital.

  • Software Engineers, Analytics. You've got strong front-end developer skills: HTML, CSS, and Javascript, with knowledge of D3.js or other charting libraries - Clojurescript is a plus; have worked with various programming languages, like Java, Clojure, or Python; have experience with SQL (PostgreSQL). You have experience with Cloud Computing, especially with AWS, a deep foundation in computer science; data structures, algorithms and programming languages, as well as networking and concurrency; exposure to architectural patterns of a large, high-scale web applications; experience with shell scripting, configuration files, etc. and enjoy automating things and building systems. Please apply here at Telenor Digital.

  • Software Engineer (DevOps). You are one of those rare engineers who loves to tinker with distributed systems at high scale. You know how to build these from scratch, and how to take a system that has reached a scalability limit and break through that barrier to new heights. You are a hands on doer, a code doctor, who loves to get something done the right way. You love designing clean APIs, data models, code structures and system architectures, but retain the humility to learn from others who see things differently. Apply to AppDynamics

  • Software Engineer (C++). You will be responsible for building everything from proof-of-concepts and usability prototypes to deployment- quality code. You should have at least 1+ years of experience developing C++ libraries and APIs, and be comfortable with daily code submissions, delivering projects in short time frames, multi-tasking, handling interrupts, and collaborating with team members. Apply to AppDynamics
Fun and Informative Events
  • Discover the secrets of scalability in IT. The cream of the Amsterdam and Berlin tech scene are coming together during TechSummit, hosted by LeaseWeb for a great day of tech talk. Find out how to build systems that will cope with constant change and create agile, successful businesses. Speakers from SoundCloud, Fugue, Google, Docker and other leading tech companies will share tips, techniques and the latest trends in a day of interactive presentations. But hurry. Tickets are limited and going fast! No wonder, since they are only €25 including lunch and beer.

  • NoSQL Databases & Docker Containers: From Development to Deployment. What is Docker and why is it important to Developers, Admins and DevOps when they are using a NoSQL database? Find out in this on-demand webinar by Alvin Richards, VP of Product at Aerospike, the enterprise-grade NoSQL database. The video includes a demo showcasing the core Docker components (Machine, Engine, Swarm and Compose) and integration with Aerospike. See how much simpler Docker can make building and deploying multi-node, Aerospike-based applications! 
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  • Kinsta provides high speed, automatically scalable managed WordPress hosting services for businesses large and small. All servers run on Google Cloud and all individual sites are completely compartmentalized using the latest LXD technology. All sites include powerful SSH access and tools like Git and WP-CLI are available out-of-the-box.

  • Turn chaotic logs and metrics into actionable data. Scalyr is a tool your entire team will love. Get visibility into your production issues without juggling multiple tools and tabs. Loved and used by teams at Codecademy, ReturnPath, and InsideSales. Learn more today or see why Scalyr is a great alternative to Splunk.

  • InMemory.Net provides a Dot Net native in memory database for analysing large amounts of data. It runs natively on .Net, and provides a native .Net, COM & ODBC apis for integration. It also has an easy to use language for importing data, and supports standard SQL for querying data. http://InMemory.Net

  • VividCortex measures your database servers’ work (queries), not just global counters. If you’re not monitoring query performance at a deep level, you’re missing opportunities to boost availability, turbocharge performance, ship better code faster, and ultimately delight more customers. VividCortex is a next-generation SaaS platform that helps you find and eliminate database performance problems at scale.

  • MemSQL provides a distributed in-memory database for high value data. It's designed to handle extreme data ingest and store the data for real-time, streaming and historical analysis using SQL. MemSQL also cost effectively supports both application and ad-hoc queries concurrently across all data. Start a free 30 day trial here: http://www.memsql.com/

  • aiScaler, aiProtect, aiMobile Application Delivery Controller with integrated Dynamic Site Acceleration, Denial of Service Protection and Mobile Content Management. Also available on Amazon Web Services. Free instant trial, 2 hours of FREE deployment support, no sign-up required. http://aiscaler.com

  • ManageEngine Applications Manager : Monitor physical, virtual and Cloud Applications.

  • www.site24x7.com : Monitor End User Experience from a global monitoring network.

If any of these items interest you there's a full description of each sponsor below...

Categories: Architecture

Test Masters - Robot Challenge

Xebia Blog - Thu, 05/12/2016 - 11:42
The Test Masters series is created to experience testing in a fun and new way. Play games, use robots, experience new tooling and techniques to make yourself a better tester! During the meetups we organize you can try out these new tools and techniques and engage in a friendly competition with your peers. In the first

Performance and Scaling in Enterprise Systems

This is a guest post from Vlad Mihalcea the author of the High-Performance Java Persistence book, on the notion of performance and scalability in enterprise systems.

An enterprise application needs to store and retrieve as much data and as fast as possible. In application performance management, the two most important metrics are response time and throughput.

The lower the response time, the more responsive an application becomes. Response time is, therefore, the measure of performance. Scaling is about maintaining low response times while increasing system load, so throughput is the measure of scalability.

Response time and throughput
Categories: Architecture

5 ways to organize Agile teams

Xebia Blog - Wed, 05/11/2016 - 16:25
Do you feel like your teams could be organized better? How to organize teams in an optimal way is a common question in Agile organizations. A question you should always discuss and answer together with the people in the actual teams. This post provides you with an overview of 5 possibilities for organizing teams and the main

Digital Transformation Explained

In a previous post, I defined Digital Transformation.  But now it’s time to explain Digital Transformation, and make it real with examples.

Satya posted his mental model for Digital Transformation:


I like the simplicity.

What I like is there are four clear pillars or areas to look at for driving Digital Transformation:

  1. Customers
  2. Employees
  3. Operations
  4. Products

What I also like is that this matches what I learned while driving Digital Business Transformation with our field with customers.

Customer Experience Transformation

In terms of customers, you can engage with them in new ways.  You can connect with your customers through apps that provide a mobile experience, so that your customers can interact with your organization, anywhere, anytime.  You can listen to your customers through social listening and perform sentiment analysis.  You can learn about your customer’s behaviors through telemetry insights that reveal what features your customers use and which ones they ignore.  You can use data-driven insights to deliver personal experiences.  With the insights you gain, you can segment your customers in more effective ways, and you can target new customer segments.  You can use the Cloud to reach new customer segments around the world ,and you can test new experiences, and you can scale as needed.  You can deliver a seamless and personal experience across all customer interactions, providing a true omni-channel experience.

You can push the envelope of customer interaction and drive deeper engagement with more immersive experiences.

By walking your customer journey, you can identify Digital Hot Spots—places where you can connect better, collaborate better, share information better, gain new insights, visualize better, or use infinite compute and infinite storage in new and exciting ways.  And you can reveal new ways to create and capture value.  This is innovating at the edge in action.

One example of customer experience transformation is the story of Real Madrid, the Spanish football club and the world’s #1 sports franchise.  Previously, Real Madrid had just a one-way communication method for broadcasting information and news, to it’s 450 million fans, without the ability to get any feedback.  Real Madrid wanted to know who their 450 million fans are, where they are, and what they want from them, so they could engage in more personal ways.

Fast forward to where are they now.

Real Madrid’s fan engagement platform captures and stores every interaction with a fan, including mobile check-ins at the club’s stadium, online fan profile updates, and online merchandise purchases.  It also collects social media data from Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites, for social segmentation of the individual fan, and analysis. Real Madrid’s extended video platform provides new and historical video content, including previous Real Madrid matches.  Fans can filter searches to view specific games using criteria such as games where the club scored a certain number of goals.

Real Madrid’s consumer app lets fans virtually access the stadium before, during, or after each game, and they can search data on all the club’s players, past, and present, while exploring detail statistics from specific games.  Real Madrid can now capture and discover personal preferences to provide more relevant content to their fan through the new mobile app, or when fans use the app to check in at the stadium, they an get a personal QR code for a loyalty in-stadium offer, or even a simple message that thanks the fan.

Employee Experience Transformation

In terms of employees and workforce, you can change how people work together.  Imagine if employees could bring their own devices and they can access the apps and information they need to do their job, anywhere, anytime to serve customers better.  Imagine if employees can find the experts they need to collaborate with in real time.  Imagine if they can discover the apps, the documents, the information, and the people they need to perform their work better, faster, and cheaper.  Imagine if employees could connect with their peers, as well as with customers and partners to innovate on new ideas as well as solve problems better together.

Imagine if your workforce can “work out loud” in a more open way, leading to more connection and collaboration as employees learn to “work like a network.”

Imagine digital assistants that can help employees find the information they need, perform routine tasks, and guide them through new scenarios.

One example of employee experience transformation is the story of KUKA’s Intelligent Industrial Work Assistant. Employees are able to collaborate with robots to perform jobs better, easier, and faster than ever before.  KUKA’s lightweight  robot is able to sense its way around a complex task and perform precise automation movements safely and securely.  This enables human-robot collaboration in new and exciting ways.

Another example is the story of the Edge.  The Edge is a smart office space project that focuses on both a greener building and more productive occupants.  The building connects and communicates with employees through the Edge smartphone app.  The app helps employees find a parking spot at the building when they arrive.  Then the app finds them a desk. Because at the Edge, employees don’t have one. No one does. Workspaces are based on their schedule: sitting desk, standing desk, work booth, meeting room, balcony seat, or “concentration room.”   This helps

Wherever they go, the app knows their preferences for light and temperature, and it tweaks the environment accordingly.  Side note – the Edge is the greenest building in the world.  The British rating agency BREEAM, gave it the highest sustainability score ever awarded: 98.4 percent.

Operations Transformation

In terms of operations transformation, you can improve process visibility end-to-end, increase decision making speed, and improve collaboration across silos.  Another key to operations transformation is getting information to the people who need it most, when they need it most.

With machine learning, you can use predictive maintenance to replace parts before they break, provide just enough maintenance when you need it, and avoid expensive downtime. With predictive analytics, you can more intelligently optimize your schedule or logistics, or even figure out your next best offer to promote.

DevOps models and practices help drive continual delivery and IT service delivery agility.  By promoting better communication, collaboration, and integration between software development and IT operations, DevOps helps produce software and IT services more frequently, with rapid iterations.

An example of operations transformation is the story of Fujitsu.   Fujitsu enabled managers, engineers and scientists to simultaneously manage product quality, process efficiency, and equipment performance.  As Fujitsu CEO Hiroyuki Sakai put it: “…we are able to deliver real-time visualization of the engineering process for big data analytics to improve the entire production process and inform decision-making.”

An example of operations transformation in healthcare is the story of Dartmouth-Hitchcock.  Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health System is piloting a highly coordinated, intensely personalized solution to provide visualizations and deep insights that will transform business operations.

An example of operations transformation in logistics & transportation is the story of Scania.   Scania is a global company that delivers trucks, buses, and engines, as well as services in more than 100 countries.  Scania developed a system in the Cloud that measures the entire transport flow of a mine, with data sent wirelessly every second from the trucks in the production flow to Scania’s field workshop. This allows them to calculate uptime and down times and have useful data to make decisions that affect operational efficiency in real time in their customers’ mining operations.

An example of predictive maintenance is the story of ThyssenKrupp.  Using the Cloud, can ThyssenKrupp can guarantee a higher uptime percentage on our elevators to gain a competitive advantage.  Drawing on the potential of the Internet of Things (IoT) by connecting its elevators to the cloud, gathering data from its sensors and systems and transforming that data into business insights, ThyssenKrupp is vastly improving operations.

Product Transformation

Wrapping engineering teams around your customers creates a new world of possibilities.  By engaging with your customers more deeply, you gain new insights into their pains, needs, and desired outcomes that you can use to shape and create new products and offerings.

You can use your social insight and sentiment analysis to gain even deeper understanding of how to create and capture value for your customers.

Best of all, you can use telemetry to figure out what features your customers actually use and which features your customers ignore.

An example of product transformation in automotive is the story of Delphi Automotive.  Delphi Automotive created Delphi Connect to give drivers many exciting ways to remotely monitor and control their cars.  Delphi Connect can turn any car into a connected car with affordable, cloud-based telematics.

Another example of product transformation in automotive is the story of Qoros.  Qoros engaged Microsoft Services to design and build the Qoros telematics system, which it calls the QorosQloud.  QorosQloud provides more than 30 services, which can be also accessed from the driver’s smartphone, tablet, or PC, delivering functionality that goes beyond driving and the car.  Vendors can provide data to QorosQloud—traffic data, points of interest, restaurant reviews, parking data and so forth.  Qoros owners tell their car which points of interest they want to see on their in-car monitor.  QorosQloud connects to the Qoros dealer management system, customer relationship management, company websites, mobile apps, and other business systems that run both in the Cloud and on-premises in a small Qoros datacenter.

Business Model Innovation

Collectively, these four Digital Transformation pillars (customers, employees, operations, and products)  set the stage for transforming your business model.  According to The Business Model Navigator, you can think of your business model in terms of four components:

  1. Customer – Who are your target customers? (This is the heart of your business model, and it’s where your customer segments come into play.)
  2. Value Proposition – What do you offer to your customers? (This is where your products and services come into play.)
  3. Value Chain – How do you produce your offerings? (This is where supply chain optimization can have profound impact.)
  4. Profit Mechanism – Why does it generate a profit? (This is where reducing cost structures and adding profit generating mechanisms come into play.)

Business model innovation is a significant change in two or more part of your business model.

When you think through your business model, imagine if you could use the Cloud to reach new customer segments in emerging markets.  Or, imagine if you could completely change your supply chain.  Imagine if you can take an idea that’s working in another industry and bring it into your industry.

Another way to think about business model innovation in a mobile-first, cloud-first world is to think about new digital products you can create as you shift your mix from physical things to digital things for the digital economy.

Here are a few examples of business model innovation that you are likely familiar with:

  • AirBnB is a large hospitality provider, but it doesn’t own any real estate.
  • Netflix is a large movie rental service, but it doesn’t provide any physical retail stores.
  • Uber is a large taxi service, but does not own any cars.

In the TED Talk: The Currency of the New Economy is Trust, Rachel Botsman provides a good overview of how service networking, the collaborative consumption, and the sharing economy are changing business models.

Putting it All Together

When it comes to Digital Transformation it helps to have an all up mental model to work from.  The more you can model and map out your Digital Transformation, the more effective you will be.

In the article, Microsoft IT cloud computing strategies continue to evolve, you can see how Microsoft’s IT department is going through it’s multi-year Digital Transformation journey.

In the article The systems approach on how to transform your digital healthcare organization, you can see some healthcare examples of the Digital Transformation pillars in action, such as customer experience transformation and operations transformation.

In the article Welcome to the Digital Revolution, you can get a really good overview of the big picture of Digital Transformation that is happening all around us.

Now that you know what kinds of Digital Transformation are taking place, along with concrete examples of Digital Transformation in the real world, hopefully that inspires you to re-imagine what you can do in a mobile-first, cloud-first world.

You Might Also Like

All Digital Transformation

Digital Transformation Defined

Reimagine Your Customer Experience

Reimagine Your Operations

Satya Nadella on Digital Transformation

Categories: Architecture, Programming

Stuff The Internet Says On Scalability For May 6th, 2016

Hey, it's HighScalability time:

Who wants in on the over? We are not alone if the probability a habitable zone planet develops a technological species is larger than 10-24.


If you like this sort of Stuff then please support me on Patreon.
  • 100,000+: bare metal servers run by Twitter; 10 billion: Snapchat videos delivered daily; $2.57 billion: AWS fourth quarter revenues; 40 light years: potentially habitable planets; 1700: seed banks around the world; 560x: throughput after SSD optimization; 12: data science algorithms; $2.8 billion: new value of Pivotal’s Cloud Foundry;  

  • Quotable Quotes:
    • @skap5: Pied Piper's product is its stock and anything that makes its price go up! #SiliconValley
    • Seth Godin: It pays to have big dreams but low overhead. 
    • Craig Venter~ Our knowledge of the genome hasn't changed a lot since 2003, but it's about to start changing rapidly. One of the key things for understanding the genome is to get very large numbers of genomes so we can understand out of the 6.2 billion or so letters of genetic code the less than 3% that we have different amongst the entire human population. We need very large data sets to understand the differences and significances. That's where the cost and speed of sequencing has had such an immediate impact. 
    • @elonmusk: Rocket reentry is a lot faster and hotter than last time, so odds of making it are maybe even, but we should learn a lot either way
    • @EconBizFin: The space race was once between capitalism and communism. Now it's individual capitalists
    • Grit: substitute nuance for novelty. Rather than constantly moving on to a new thrill try to find another dimension of the thing you are already doing to make it more thrilling. 
    • David Rosenthal: Overall the message is: Storage Will Be Much Less Free Than It Used To Be
    • StorageMojo: The losers are the systems that make customers pay for features they no longer need. Winners will successfully blend ease of use with performance and availability – at a competitive price.
    • Tim Harford: These distractions were actually grists to their creative mill. They were able to think outside the box because their box was full of holes.
    • Juan Enriquez~ Plastics was the wrong advice to Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate. The word should have been silicon. In 2015 the word is lifecode, the various means we have to program life.
    • Benjamin Treynor Sloss: If you've ever wondered about how run reliable services, this beautifully written intro from the SRE book is the best 5-minute guide on the topic.
    • cs702: Without AWS, Amazon would have reported losses! 
    • Kode Vicious: A single cache miss is more expensive than many instructions.
    • @aminggs: “your database… unlikely to provide serializability, your multi-core processor… unlikely to provide linearizability” 
    • @mrogati: A decade in academia taught me a bunch of sophisticated algorithms; a decade in industry taught me when not to use them.
    • @mjpt777: Hardware tries so hard to make software fast; software tries so hard to make hardware slow.
    • @jyarow: Echo sold 3 million units. Gets stories that it’s next great business for Amazon. Apple Watch sold 12 million units, gets panned as a flop.
    • @balajis: 5/ At that time, the highest truth comes not from faith in god or trust in the state, but from the ability to check the math of the network.
    • Benedict Evans: The smartphone install base does have a lot of room to grow, but that's a function of replacement at close to existing volumes, and even that will be largely done in a few more years. Hence: smartphone sales growth is slowing down. 
    • @giupan: Colocated teams where Devs are sitting together with Product and UX outperform distributed teams. Don't split up skills @cagan #craftconf
    • Mathias Bynens: To me, this stuff is extremely interesting on a technical level. It’s also a little scary, however, to realize that malicious actors can use these techniques to invade your privacy while you’re browsing the web, without you ever knowing.
    • Le Corbusier: yes, the Parthenon is perhaps the most beautiful instance, the perfect example of a particular standard of architecture. The Parthenon may have achieved the platonic ideal of the standard of architecture we’ve previously established. But there are many possible standards to acknowledge, each dependent on need and use, and standards are established by experiment.
    • PaulHoule: Atom chips have always been crippled to keep them from cannibalizing more expensive chips. Skylake is a fine tablet chip, in fact, that's really what Skylake is good for. They are probably producing them in high enough numbers now that they can give up on Atom
    • Chau Tu: CyArk wants to preserve our world’s important cultural heritage sites before they turn to dust...with new imaging technologies to steadily build a digital archive of the past, for the future. 
    • Neill Turner: Over time i think OpenStack will be a niche product for large corporates that don’t want to use public clouds. For everyone else they with be doing hybrid IT – that is extending their existing IT infrastructure into the Public Cloud. When they see what is left to run to run outside public clouds then they can see where to take that portion of the workloads.

  • What if going to Mars is how we fix our economy? Trump: Before going to Mars, America needs to fix its economy. A problem can't be solved at the same level it was created. Someone smart said that once. Isn't expanding the economy in to space the only way we'll be able to generate the constant growth a modern economy so desperately devowers? Walls don't lift boats.

  • Is it dystopian to hire real meat people to train your AI? Interesting question posed by John Robb in a tweet: "they were there not to work, but to serve as training modules for Facebook’s algorithm" Journos at Fbook

  • Peter Bailis offers in a heartfelt visionary article four pieces of advice to get the database community out of its identity crisis: 1) Kill the reference architecture and rethink our conception of “database.” 2) Solve new, emerging, real problems outside traditional relational database systems. 3) Use data-intensive tools, both the tools that you’re building and the tools that others have built. 4) Do bold, weird, and hard projects and actually follow through. Examples in action: Peter Alvaro’s work on Molly and Lineage-Driven Fault Injection; Chris Ré’s work on DeepDive; A recent project I wish the database community had done is TensorFlow at Google. 

Don't miss all that the Internet has to say on Scalability, click below and become eventually consistent with all scalability knowledge (which means this post has many more items to read so please keep on reading)...

Categories: Architecture

What is the Secret to Insane Productivity?

Productivity is truly an advantage.  Imagine if you had boundless energy and could tackle your challenges with all that you are capable of.

What if you could double, triple or maybe even 10X your productivity?

Maybe you can.

But how do you take your productivity to the next level?

In What is the Secret to Insane Productivity, I walk through what it takes to achieve high levels of performance, but I want to summarize some of the key insights here.

One of the most overlooked challenges to your personal productivity is your energy level.  You can chase a bunch of mental tricks, and you can try to organize the heck out of everything you do, and you can apply extreme prioritization, and you can add in some extreme motivation, but if you don’t have the energy you need, you won’t get very far.

The key is that you have multiple sources of energy.  Start with your body.   If you start to move more, you generate more energy.  Energy isn’t something you just have.  It’s something you create.  But you have to kick start your energy factory and the key to that is to move more often.  It could be as simple as parking a little further away, getting up for quick walks, or adding a 20 or 30 minute workout in the morning.

Even Richard Branson says the secret of his extreme productivity is working out.

You can also draw energy from your mind, emotions, and spirit.  So if your body is primed and ready for action, but you have a way of knocking yourself down with negative self-talk, that’s not going to help.  The easiest way to deal with negative self-talk is to talk about to your negative thoughts.  That’s right, challenge them.  This is not a new idea.  In fact, this is a proven practice used by many of the world’s best counselors and coaches to help people get out of depression, defeat limiting beliefs, and find new levels of motivation, inspiration, and boundless energy.

Creating better energy for high performance is a a matter of both reducing negative energy drains, and adding rituals and routines that make you come alive.  A quick way to do this is to stop or limit doing the things that drain you and spend more time in your strengths.  Spend much more time in the things that you could do all day.  And then use your strengths as your creative twist to add more value in everything you do.  This is how you become unstoppable.

Energy is truly the secret of insane productivity because you can’t get more hours in a day, but you can add more energy to everything you do.

But like anything, there is no silver bullet.

So what else really makes the difference when it comes to high performance and insane productivity?

Your strategies.  Your techniques.  There are ways to do things better, faster and cheaper.  And experts around the world know them.  And they tend to share them.  They write them in books.  They share them in videos.  They are all around you.  They might be the unsung hero down the hall.  How do you find them?  You start to look for them.  You ask.  You will soon find the people that will help you take your game to the next level, as they share their best strategies and techniques with you.

OK, now.

So you have this boundless energy.  You are spending time in your strengths.  You have these super strategies and techniques for high performance.  

Have you nailed it?

Are you now super productive?

Well, there is another key you need in your arsenal of insane productivity.   There is one more true secret that is underlies exponential productivity.

The answer is this:

Value is the ultimate short cut.

And value is in the eye of the beholder or stakeholder.

When you know what is truly valued, you can trim away all the waste and want not.

So now then, how do you figure out what’s actually valued?  What is really valued by the system you are in, by your customers, by your team, by your partner, by your friends, by whoever?

Well, one way is to ask.  (Yeah, it sounds simple, but you’d be surprised by how many people don’t actually do this.   Did you ever get a gift somebody swore you would love?)

But people don’t always know.  If Ford asked his customers what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.

And value changes.  Time changes what’s important.  And ultimately the value is in the change.  So if you aren’t changing, you aren’t creating new value.

So then, how do you pursuit value?

You treat value like a verb.

Act on it.  Test it.  Learn it.

Create rapid learning loops where failure is OK and learning is valued.

Learn your way forward.

The value you create in your wake will fill a void in the world that will be your unique dent in the universe.

Categories: Architecture, Programming

The Ultimate Tester: Curiosity

Xebia Blog - Tue, 05/03/2016 - 16:15
In 2014 Bill Sempf posted this Tweet: QA Engineer walks into a bar. Orders a beer. Orders 0 beers. Orders 999999999 beers. Orders a lizard. Orders -1 beers. Orders a sfdeljknesv. — Bill Sempf (@sempf) September 23, 2014 His message caused a chain reaction of awesome responses from people thinking of all the edge cases in this

How to achieve Ultimate Agility?

Xebia Blog - Tue, 05/03/2016 - 10:20
In reaction on the Era of Big Transitions we currently live in, many organizations are reinventing themselves as we speak.  How can we survive?  Or rephrased more positive: How can we turn this threat into a unique chance? Most organizations start with this journey by redesigning their culture, way of work and organizational structure.  But

Gone Fishin'

Well, not exactly Fishin', but I'll be on a month long vacation starting today. I won't be posting (much) new content, so we'll all have a break. Disappointing, I know. Please use this time for quiet contemplation and other inappropriate activities. See you on down the road...

Categories: Architecture

Generic JS Android API wrapper for React Native

Xebia Blog - Mon, 05/02/2016 - 16:06
During a React Native project for one of our clients we added some custom Android and iOS libraries to our code and wanted to call a few exposed methods. In such a case, React Native requires you to write a wrapper class to call those public APIs. It was a small boilerplate nuisance and these

Stuff The Internet Says On Scalability For April 29th, 2016

Hey, it's HighScalability time:

The Universe in one image (Pablo Budassi). Imagine an ancient being leaning over, desperately scrying to figure out what they have wrought.


If you like this sort of Stuff then please consider offering your support on Patreon.
  • 50 minutes: Facebook daily average use; 1.65 billion: Facebook Monthly active users; 25PB: size of Internet archive; 7 years: speedup of encryption adoption from the Snowden revelations; 10 million: strands of DNA Microsoft is buying to store data; 300TB: open data from CERN; 2PB: data from PanSTARRS' imaging survey; 100 billion: words translated by Google per day; 204 million: Weather Channel views in March on Facebook; 

  • Quotable Quotes:
    • @antevens: -> Describe your perfect date. ......<- YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS.XXXXXX
    • @ValaAfshar: 1995: top 15 Internet companies worth $17 billion. 2015: top 15 Internet companies worth $2.4 trillion.
    • @BenedictEvans: The move to mobile took away Facebook's monopoly of social, but gave it much greater scale, engagement & revenue potential.
    • Sundar Pichai: We will move from mobile first to an AI first world.
    • Chris Sacca~ We [Google] literally could feel a scale that had never been felt before on the planet. We had a globe where you could visualize in searches in real-time. A dot would indicate every single search on the planet. In the middle of the night there would be a search in the Gobi desert.
    • @stack72: Just had a recruiter contact me about a role with "microservices on a servers architecture” - twice I’ve seen that now in 2 days #TheFuture?
    • Jason Waxman [Intel]: We see that the world is moving to scale computing in data centers. Our projection is between 70 and 80 percent of the compute, network, and storage will be going into what we call scale data centers by 2025.
    • @BenedictEvans: In 2009 only half of Facebook's MAUs were on it every day. Mobile has taken that to 2/3, at much greater scale.
    • Dan Rayburn: Amazon and Google Enticing Customers With Cheap Storage, But Beware Of Egress Charges
    • @manumarchal: CERN LHC computing challenge is more than 400k CPUs + 300PB of data. It's is also global distribution. #dotScale
    • @bridgetkromhout: Decouple and segregate systems requiring different trust levels for faster iteration. @adrianco #craftconf
    • @dkalintsev: GE on stage at AWS Summit: “50% TCO saving compared to best what we could do in-house”
    • @etherealmind: How messed up was GE management to let their costs get this out of control ?
    • @Ellen_Friedman: #dotscale Oliver Keeble CERN - superb: computing is key. Collisions are transient; data is persisted at huge scale
    • @stratecheryAggregation Theory leads to monopoly; expect more antitrust cases, but only in Europe
    • @kelseyhightower: Moving to microservices won't save you. Borrowing money in smaller chunks doesn't change the fact that you're broke.
    • @jrauser: 1/ Inspired by this HN comment …, I offer a story about software rewrites and Bezos as a technical leader.
    • aytekin: This is a story that has happened over and over again. When you rewrite software, you lose all those hundreds of tiny things which were added for really good reasons. Don't do it blindly.
    • @BWJones: The F-35 program, which at $1.5 T would fund the entire NIH biomedical research portfolio for 41 years.
    • @balinski: "Centralization is a disease" #dotScale #scalability #cloudcomputing
    • Tony Bain: So despite the noise surrounding NoSQL, in a head to head comparison of volume of use, NoSQL use seems so very small.  At a guess, I would predict that for every NoSQL database in existence there would be at least 1000 relational databases.  Probably more.  You would be forgiven for thinking NoSQL use was almost insignificant. 
    • @jaksprats: NVM is gonna put big data on a single machine, very interesting for non-BulkSynchronousParallel GraphDBs like Neo4j
    • @frontofstore: US department stores' sales per sq ft down 26% in last ten years - many closures forecast, anchors killing malls.
    • There are even more Quotable Quotes in the full article. See you there.

  • If you thought HyperCard was a trip you were correct. Bill Atkinson in a fascinating two part Triangulation interview (12) shared that HyperCard was inspired by a LSD trip. It's a far ranging interview that covers Steve Jobs, why the movies about Jobs sucked, Apple's early days, the web's HyperCard inspiration, photography, spirituality, color theory, philosophy, learning, and lots more.

  • In case you were wondering (I certainly was): Pied Piper compression (Silicon Valley HBO). This is the Pied Piper code shown on Silicon Valley HBO Season 3 Episode 1. Worth a deca-unicorn or two.

  • Design Details has a fun podcast with Facebookers talking about Facebook bots and the Facebook design process in general. 124: Dazzle (feat. Jeremy Goldberg). Are bots useful? (yes, but not a convincing argument). Do we have to be nice to bots? (to a point because you never know who if you are talking to a person). Bots aren't all automated, they can be a combination of automated and human interactions. Bots should use strategies to help convince people they are talking with another human, like playing with typing indicator delays to simulate typing. Same for simulating reading. Animation and delays should speed up over time. Regressive design, the idea that over time parts of the UI remove themselves as users use the application more. Fight for designs you believe in. Understand, identify, execute. Truly understand what you are doing at a deep level. Identify the things you can be the most impactful on. Facebook measures you on impact. Lots of talk about design crits and pillars and pillar centered design crits. We often think of ourselves as problem solvers, our job isn't so much problem solving as communicating proposed solutions to problems. 

Don't miss all that the Internet has to say on Scalability, click below and become eventually consistent with all scalability knowledge (which means this post has many more items to read so please keep on reading)...

Categories: Architecture

The Product Samurai Strategy Canvas

Xebia Blog - Fri, 04/29/2016 - 16:00
"May you live in interesting times" said Feng Menglong in 1627, and it's never been a more fitting expression than today. With companies leapfrogging in the age of disruption to change the way they work and the business models that they use. Scrum has brought us autonomous hyper productive teams that can quadruple your output,

Digital Transformation Defined

This post is a walkthrough multiple definitions of digital transformation from multiple sources.

Digital transformation can be elusive if you can’t define it.

Lucky for us, there is no shortage of definitions for digital transformation.

I find that rather than use one single definition for digital transformation, it’s actually more helpful to look at a range of definitions to really internalize what digital transformation means from multiple angles.

Before you walk through the definitions, be sure to review Satya’s pillars for Digital Transformation so you have a simple mental model to work with.

Wikipedia on Digital Transformation

Wikipedia has a simple explanation:

“Digital transformation refers to the changes associated with the application of digital technology in all aspects of human society.”

What I like about that definition is that it goes beyond pure business and includes all impact on society, whether it’s education, government, sports, arts, leisure, etc.

Altimeter on Digital Transformation

Altimeter defined digital transformation from a customer-focused lens in their online report, The 2014 State of Digital Transformation:

“The realignment of, or new investment in, technology and business models to more effectively engage digital customers at every touchpoint in the customer experience lifecycle.”

What I like about Altimeter’s definition is that it’s outside in vs. inside out.  The big idea is to leverage technology to adapt to your customer’s changing preferences.  So if you “transform”, but there is no visible impact to your customers or to the market, then you didn’t really transform.

Capgemini and MIT Center for Digital Business on Digital Transformation

Capgemini and MIT Center for Digital Business define Digital Transformation in Digital Transformation: A Roadmap for Billion-Dollar Organizations like this:

“Digital transformation – the use of technology to radically improve performance or reach of enterprises.”

While their definition may look simplistic, the power is in the data behind the definition.  It’s a global study of how 157 executives in 50 large traditional companies are managing – and benefiting from – digital transformation.

Agile Elephant on Digital Transformation

Agile Elephant defines digital transformation like this:

“Digital transformation is the process of shifting your organisation from a legacy approach to new ways of working and thinking using digital, social, mobile and emerging technologies.  It involves a change in leadership, different thinking, the encouragement of innovation and new business models, incorporating digitisation of assets and an increased use of technology to improve the experience of your organisation’s employees, customers, suppliers, partners and stakeholders.”

While this definition may seem more elaborate, I find this elaboration can really help get somebody’s head into the digital transformation game.

MIT Sloan’s 9 Elements of Digital Transformation

In The Nine Elements of Digital Transformation, George Westerman, Didier Bonnet and Andrew McAfee identify the key attributes of digital transformation:

Category Items Transforming Customer Experience
  1. Customer Understanding
  2. Top-Line Growth
  3. Customer Touch Points
Transforming Operational Processes
  1. Process Digitization
  2. Worker Enablement
  3. Performance Management
Transforming Business Models
  1. Digitally Modified Businesses
  2. New Digital Businesses
  3. Digital Globalization


The nine elements are excerpted from their digital report, Digital Transformation: A Roadmap for Billion-Dollar Organizations.  Here are quick summaries of each:

  1. Customer Understanding – Customer Understanding is where “Companies are starting to take advantage of previous investments in systems to gain an in-depth understanding of specific geographies and market segments.”
  2. To-Line Growth – Top-Line Growth is where “Companies are using technology to enhance in-person sales conversations.”
  3. Customer Touch Points – Customer Touch Points are where “Customer service can be enhanced significantly by digital initiatives.”
  4. Process Digitization – Process Digitization is where “Automation can enable companies to refocus their people on more strategic tasks.”
  5. Worker Enablement – Worker Enablement is where “Individual-level work has, in essence, been virtualized — separating the work process from the location of the work.”
  6. Performance Management – Performance Management is where “Transactional systems give executives deeper insights into products, regions and customers, allowing decisions to be made on real data and not on assumptions.”
  7. Digitally Modified Businesses – Digitally Modified Businesses is “finding ways to augment physical with digital offerings and to use digital to share content across organizational silos.”
  8. New Digital Businesses – New Digital businesses is where “companies are introducing digital products that complement traditional products.”
  9. Digital Globalization – Digital Globalization is where “Companies are increasingly transforming from multinational to truly global operations.”

Sidenote – George, Didier, and Andrew sum up the power of digital transformation when they say, “”Whether it is in the way individuals work and collaborate, the way business processes are executed within and across organizational boundaries, or in the way a company understands and serves customers, digital technology provides a wealth of opportunity.”

Digital Business Transformation

I think it’s worth pointing out the distinction between Digital Transformation and Digital “Business” Transformation.

Digital Business Transformation is specifically about transforming the business with digital technologies.

There are many lenses to look at but in particular it helps to view it through the lens of business model innovation.   So you can think of it as innovating in your business models through digital technologies.   Your business model is simply the WHO (customers), the WHAT (value prop), the HOW (value chain), and your WHY (profit model.)

An exec from SAP at Davos said it well when he said “new business models are driven by different interactions with companies and their customers.”

In pragmatic terms, that means evolving your business model and interaction patterns to meet the changing demands of your customers all along your value chain.  For example, consider how millennials want to interact with a business in today’s world.  They want to learn about a company or brand through their friends and family on social networks and through real stories from authentic people, and they want access to services anytime, anywhere, from any device.

Another way to think about this is how many companies are learning how to wrap their engineering teams around their customer’s end-to-end journey to directly address the customer’s pains, needs, and desired outcomes.

Hopefully, this helps give you a good enough understanding to get going with your Digital Transformation and to understand the difference between Digital Transformation and Digital Business Transformation so that you can pave your path forward.

If nothing else, go back to the Altimeter Group’s definition of Digital Transformation,“The realignment of, or new investment in, technology and business models to more effectively engage digital customers at every touchpoint in the customer experience lifecycle.”, and use Satya’s pillars for Digital Transformation as a guide to stay grounded.

Additional Resources

Digital Transformation: A Roadmap for Billion-Dollar Organizations, by Capgemini and MIT Center for Digital Business

The 2014 State of Digital Transformation, by Altimeter

The Nine Elements of Digital Transformation, by George Westerman, Didier Bonnet and Andrew McAfee

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Satya Nadella on Digital Transformation

Categories: Architecture, Programming

How Walmart Canada’s responsive redesign boosted conversions by 20%: a case Study

With conversion optimization on the rise, it is a great idea to look into case studies which help you learn and adopt them to your personal needs positively. To find the material on conversion optimization you need from case studies, here are some few pointers:

  • Find out which case studies reflect your situation currently in business and your future aspirations.
  • Find out why a certain aspect of a case study worked and how to adopt it to specifically address your website’s needs.
  • Ensure you keep the references of your case study in order to go back to them when you need them.
Find out which case studies reflect your situation currently in business and your future aspirations. Find out why a certain aspect of a case study worked and how to adopt it to specifically address your website’s needs. Ensure you keep the references of your case study in order to go back to them when you need them.

Find out which case studies reflect your situation currently in business and your future aspirations.Find out why a certain aspect of a case study worked and how to adopt it to specifically address your website’s needs.Ensure you keep the references of your case study in order to go back to them when you need them.

Receptive web design is time consuming and requires monetary resources to implement. It took Walmart Canada almost a year of work to refine the site and make it fully responsive. However, their results show that it provided a Return on Investment in months owing to the increased revenue of mobile gadgets.


Categories: Architecture

How Walmart Canada’s responsive redesign boosted conversions by 20%: a case Study

With conversion optimization on the rise, it is a great idea to look into case studies which help you learn and adopt them to your personal needs positively. To find the material on conversion optimization you need from case studies, here are some few pointers:

  • Find out which case studies reflect your situation currently in business and your future aspirations.
  • Find out why a certain aspect of a case study worked and how to adopt it to specifically address your website’s needs.
  • Ensure you keep the references of your case study in order to go back to them when you need them.
Find out which case studies reflect your situation currently in business and your future aspirations. Find out why a certain aspect of a case study worked and how to adopt it to specifically address your website’s needs. Ensure you keep the references of your case study in order to go back to them when you need them.

Find out which case studies reflect your situation currently in business and your future aspirations.Find out why a certain aspect of a case study worked and how to adopt it to specifically address your website’s needs.Ensure you keep the references of your case study in order to go back to them when you need them.

Receptive web design is time consuming and requires monetary resources to implement. It took Walmart Canada almost a year of work to refine the site and make it fully responsive. However, their results show that it provided a Return on Investment in months owing to the increased revenue of mobile gadgets.


Categories: Architecture

SWAYAM: India’s First MOOCs Platform

It’s always cool to see the work our team is doing around the world to help hack a better world.

Our Digital Advisory Services team is helping the Government of India, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD), to reimagine the student experience and to develop India’s first MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) platform.

Apparently, the presentation went so well that the honorable HRD minister, Smriti Irani tweeted our Student Experience Journey Map that helps show the vision and the Digital Transformation opportunities.

Way to go!


Categories: Architecture, Programming