Monthly Archives

August 2017

Need to build out your Agile Team? Think Veterans

By AgileNo Comments

As a product manager, when I go to networking events I often get asked, “What did you do in the past?” Most people are not surprised when I tell them I served eight years in the Marine Corps. What is surprising for many is when they find out I served in the infantry. Many people have a preconceived idea that the infantry does not provide transferable skills to the tech world. In this article, I’m going to explain reasons why veterans make ideal team members for the Agile process and benefit your organization as a whole.

Logs Fitness Exercise Teamwork Training Cooperation

  1. Veterans Know Their Team

    Being a scrum master or product manager is a lot like being a fire team leader. A fire team leader is usually in charge of 3-4 other teammates. Each member of the fire team has a unique skill. It is the job of the fire team leader to know how to maximize each individual team’s skills and exploit their capabilities to crush their objectives.

    Similarly, a scrum master is part of a small team of people with unique skills. Whether it’s a frontend, backend, or quality assurance engineer, a scrum master needs to know the unique capabilities of each member and how that role affects the team. Knowing how each team member approaches problem solving from their unique perspective allows the scrum master to execute better sprint cycles, reduce stress on teammates and allows them to perform at an optimal level.

    Agile Team

  2. Veterans and Scrum Masters Excel at Removing Impediments

    In the military, I was occupied with the concerns of my team’s welfare and the three B’s: Beans, Bullets, and Bandages. Beans meant you made sure they were well fed, paid and that their basic necessities were taken care of. Bullets meant a person was well supplied with the right tools for the job. Bandages refer to a member’s health. If a member was sick, I made sure they went to medical. The concept that was drilled into me was the necessity to take care of your people and help them remove the roadblocks from their life.

    In an Agile environment, scrum masters are also obsessed with similar concerns. For example, when my team works overtime for weeks on end, it is my responsibility as the project manager to make sure they get the breaks they need to recharge. If a teammate has an issue with their pay, I will stop everything I am doing and resolve it right then and there. I do this simply because they would be preoccupied otherwise. Having distracted workers who cannot focus on the ticket in front of them brings down the whole team.

  3. Veterans and Agile Team Members are Adaptable

    Veterans were trained to be adaptable in any environment and under extraordinary situations. The field phrase often used is “improvise, adapt, and overcome.” The Agile process is designed to be flexible to adapt to the complex and ever-changing environment of the market and stakeholders. Given a two-week sprint, most teams can accomplish a lot of work. If a change occurs, the team is well poised to regroup and begin work on the priority almost immediately. Adaptability for an agile team is a key skill needed to survive in any environment, especially in the hostile free market.

    yoda

  4. No is not an Option

    Military members are trained as a group to understand the concept of mission first. Once the goal is clear, the finish line will be crossed. This means they will stop at nothing to do what is necessary to succeed. Often in the military plans go wrong, and it is up to the fire team to make sure that plans are executed.

    Recently, my software development team worked 70+ hours a week for several weeks through the July 4th holiday. It was necessary to launch our client’s web platform. Military people understand this concept and experience of grit at a level that most do not. Sacrifice during critical times may make the difference between success and failure.

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Final Thoughts

I’ve only discussed a few of the things that make a service member an ideal teammate in an agile process. In my experience with careers in both the military and in the software development world; knowing your team, removing impediments, being adaptable, and having grit are the transferable skills that most employers want in all of their employees. It just so happens you don’t have to look far for a veteran, even if their background is from the infantry. Oorah!

If you have questions, please contact us: info@bytelion.com

 

 

 

What are the benefits of a Single Page App?

By DevelopmentNo Comments
A Single Page App (SPA) is a type of web application for fast, responsive, and easy-to-maintain websites. This can benefit any entrepreneur who needs to develop a fast website for their clients. A SPA loads a single file and builds on that singular file as the user traverses your site. 

What does this mean for you?

Faster and more efficient applications compared to traditional websites.
How is this possible? Well, for most traditional websites, whole pages are loaded and reloaded continuously which causes a slow, frustrating user experience and also places unnecessary strain on your server. SPAs quickly solve this problem by only loading small entities of a web page at a time. By utilizing a SPA, you are essentially decreasing the server load and increasing site speed for a better user experience. This blog article discusses the time loading difference between traditional web applications and Single Page Applications with Angular JS.
singular page app

An example of technology used to build single page applications is AngularJS which is a Front-End Javascript Framework. Think of AngularJS as the scaffolding that surrounds your new website. Preferhired is an example of a single page app

 

It provides the fast and efficient functionality that gives your website the edge over outdated web page development.

singular page app

Web Applications

The term “Web Application” may confuse some and with good reason. When the average person hears the term “app,” they usually think of phone apps. This is a common misconception that comes with web applications. Gmail is one of the most commonly used and well-known web apps, but most wouldn’t know it’s a single page web application built with AngularJS. Single page apps are becoming the new standard for the modern web. Using these practices increases the efficiency of development by ensuring you write less code that does more. This not only increases development but more importantly, improves your user’s experience while they use your website.

Single Page Apps and SEO

Nothing is flawless, and single-page-apps are no exception to that rule. These types of web applications aren’t known for being the most friendly to search engines. The “single page” aspect of the site causes search engines to do a little more work and requires a helping hand before they can grab what you need them to. But no need to worry; though right out of the box SPAs are not favored for SEO, they are still configurable to do just that. All it takes is a little finesse on our end, and you’ll be at the top of Google search results in no time.

The result?

Website users will attest to a flawless and efficient user experience which leads to higher user retention and contributes to your business’ success. Here are a couple of our favorite single page applications: https://everylastdrop.co.uk;  https://www.panarama.fr/ ; https://www.officeline.se/kampanj/  For further reading, this article goes into depth about the advantages of SPAs.

 

medical app develop

7 Tips to Consider When Developing a Medical App: From Integration to Security

By DevelopmentNo Comments
As Featured in the SoPE Newsletter

Creating a medical app is no easy task. There are many stages of development that can influence the final result of your product. As a medical entrepreneur, investing your money wisely is crucial. Choosing the right software developers can also impact the success of your product. In this article, I have selected 7 valuable tips for the development of your medical app. I hope some of my advice can guide you, let me know in the comments what you think!

https://www.peerbits.com/blog/native-mobile-apps-vs-hybrid-mobile-apps.html

  1. We are now in the Age of the Hybrid Mobile App

Up to this point, most medical entrepreneurs have to decide which platform to invest their money (IOS, Windows, Android or MacOS).  Today, hybrid apps allow developers to write code on one platform with minimal effort and port it into another. I believe this is a key factor for any medical entrepreneur. No matter what device users use, the app will look and feel the same with great functionality.  Many aspects of hybrid app development are similar to Native apps. But what I like most about hybrid apps are how they are better at preserving time and capital for the stakeholders. By leveraging hybrid apps, developers can share a backend. This will bring the app to market faster and reduce overhead costs. 

  1. EMR integration – New options

Electronic Medical Record (EMR) integration is a required for many medical apps. Integrating the EMR with the data in apps have been problematic for developers. Some EMR’s charge developers to connect to their system. Others will not cooperate without requesting permission from specific medical organizations. Startups like Redox may be instigating change. Currently, Redox is offering a Health IT Interoperability API to over 120 apps. This will help coordinate data with other EMR providers.

  1. Mobile-minded from the Start

Funding challenges and the desire to get an excellent beta version in the hand of testers means many startups begin with web-only solutions. Web-only solutions are certainly acceptable in the beginning as you develop your platform. But be aware that most users expect access to the site through their mobile device. As I mentioned before, hybrid apps allow developers the flexibility to focus on a website first and then go back later and make a mobile solution. Mobile accessibility is now an essential part of your app development. According to comScore, “71% of American’s mobile minutes are spent online.”

  1. Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and your Future Releases

The MVP is the most basic product that functions in a production setting. It is the core purpose of the app. But it is important not to place all of your funds into the MVP because more work remains. A crucial aspect of the MVP technique is receiving customer feedback. All software should be considered as a work in progress. You should gear the product to what the customer truly desires. Do not assume what they want with a single wish list of expensive, potential features. To find out more about how to adapt to your customer’s need read this article about customer personas.  

  1. mobile-ux-ui-design-1030x532-1030x532 UI/UX focused – World Class Usability, or it won’t be Used

User Interface/ User Experience are two software design specialties that make your customers enjoy using your application and return for more. Your application needs to have a comparable experience to the best the web offers. Branding, clarity, and ease of use will impact your customer and profitability. 

  1. Develop Iteratively

The world delivers the best software via iterations.  By iterations, I mean to build a product, get people to use it, then slowly add features. The best way to manage this process is through Agile Software development practices. The Agile program is a simple management system that helps your developers deliver working code in a repeatable fashion. Before the development effort starts, I recommend that you take the time to learn more about agile developmentIf you are interested in reading more, I recommend this book:  The Art of Agile Development.

  1. Security and HIPAA Compliance- PHI= HIPAA

For your medical app, security is a priority, not only due to medical regulations but threats of malware and ransomware. Hence, there are many security requirements which creators must fulfill in order to publish their content. For example, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) compliance and FDA registration for a medical device.

-HIPAA compliance:

If you gather, store or send protected medical information, you need to be HIPAA compliant. You need to plan for encryption, protected data centers, high levels of security, etc. While there are platforms to support you, including Amazon’s cloud infrastructure via Aptible, it is your responsibility to ensure that your team is implementing the proper protocols.

-FDA Registration:

The FDA has rules on their site on what makes up a medical device and what does not. It is important to become familiar with both sets of rules and build the appropriate capabilities from the very beginning. You can find out more by reading through FDA’s regulations here.

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Constructing a medical app goes far beyond budgeting wisely, and balancing grant funds. If you take your time, make smart decisions, and consistently get advice from those who have been successful, you will be well on your way.  I wish you the best of luck, as you start developing your application! If you have any more questions email us at info@bytelion.com

 

What are Customer Personas? And How can they Help my Business?

By Marketing, Tips & TutorialsOne Comment
So you are starting a new business or maybe a new product line for your company. You know that time is ticking and you need to get your product out in front of customers soon. It’s a pretty daunting task that requires answering some challenging, time-consuming questions. You wonder, Where should you sell? Who should you sell to? And how will they find your product?

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There’s a strong likelihood that these questions have been tormenting you, and you probably have completed a little research on competitors to find these answers in your branding strategy. I understand how hard it is to come up with a concrete solution when there are so many variables. But you need clarity to make your business successful, so how do you find the answer to these questions? Research, research, research, and more research! More specifically, user research. To discover who your customers are, where they will buy your product, and how they will find it, you need to know what your customers like, what kind of lives they lead, and what drives them to purchase.

So what’s the solution?

Customer Personas! They help you define and target the right audience for your product or business so you can focus on what matters to your clients. This will lead to a better product, better sales, and a bigger profit!

What are Customer Personas?

Customer personas are made up of research of various attributes of actual individuals which are condensed into a fictitious representation. It may seem odd that a persona is a fictional representation of a person to rather than a real person, but it allows you to empathize with your whole demographic instead of only one customer.

Benefits to Using a Persona:
  • The Customer’s needs and wants become clear
  • Provides a benchmark for your team to fall back on when questions arise
  • Marketing content can be relatable to the goals and needs of our customers
  • When going to design and build your product or business, you know what your customers desire from a product
  • It can tie into the why or what for any aspect of your business

What to Research:

  • Demographics
  • User Behavior
  • The User’s Goals
  • User Needs
  • User Frustrations
  • Related Skills

Those are the main points of what you need to know about your customers, but you may want to know more, depending on your product. For example, if your product is a mobile app, you need to understand not only the technical skills of your users but the phones they use and how often they use them. To learn how to research and build a customer persona, Hubspot has a great article with a template you can download.

Customer Persona Example:

screen-shot-2017-07-27-at-10-46-37-amConclusion

Brainstorming valuable ideas can only truly happen if your team understands the customers and the problem you are solving.  If you put in the time to research your customers and figure out what motivates them, you generate incredible insight. Customer Personas will give you and your team the ability to answer questions about your business because you will have a better understanding of your clients. When it comes to customer personas, it really is the more you know.

If you wanted some expert help with generating your personas, contact us at info@bytelion.com for help!  

Halie was featured as a mentor in our Intern Blog check it out!