3 quick tips for developing Agile skill sets in project teams

Image by Tirza van Dijk

Any move to Agile development brings with it the need to develop agile skill sets across your project teams. Developing Agile skill sets is something you’ll have to work on a continuous basis.

Here are three tips for developing Agile skill sets:

1. Focus on team culture and cohesion

Developing Agile skill sets in a new or established teams starts with team culture and cohesion before you even tackle anything Agile related. Collaboration is at the heart of Agile. If you don’t have a collaboration, then developing Agile skill sets is going to made exponentially harder.

Focusing on team culture as part of developing Agile skill sets starts with infusing Agile in your culture. It can start with working with your project team to reevaluate communications and collaboration to date. Then put in a plan with measureable goals

2. Develop an agile framework as a foundation

One of the more successful tools for developing an Agile skill set is to have an Agile framework in place. An Agile framework documents how the organization is implementing Agile development and project management to drive their development projects. Suffice it to say, there’s a whole lot of interpretations of Agile going on out in the market giving added importance to your organization documenting their own Agile framework.

3. Create an agile reading list

The body of knowledge and thought leadership around Agile is ever expanding with new books, articles, blog posts, and podcast becoming available all the time. An Agile reading list doesn’t need to be some mandatory reading list with a quiz afterwards. It can be sharing links to blog posts on your internal wiki or establishing a chat room for trading links to Agile reading materials.

Conclusion

Developing Agile skill sets needs to be a collaborative effort. You aren’t going to be able to do it all as a project manager. Full team participation is developing Agile skill sets can be a handy way to help seal the deal because


Will Kelly is a technical writer and analyst based in the Washington, DC area. He has worked with commercial, federal, higher education, and publishing clients to develop technical and thought leadership content. His technology articles have been published by CNET TechRepublic, Government Computer News, Federal Computer Week, Toolbox.com, ZDNet.com and others. Follow Will on Twitter:@willkelly.

Of bots and BYOD user support

Image by Oliur Rahman via Unsplash

Chatbots and bring your own device (BYOD) are two of the most predominate technology trends right now. I’ve been doing a lot of reading about chat bots and how they are changing some business workflows.

I’m predicting that some innovative enterprise mobility management (EMM) vendor could implement chat bots to assist with the onboarding of employee mobile devices into a corporate BYOD program. While there’s been a lot of improvements around enterprise app stores, the concept of a touch-free device onboarding is still ways off for some enterprises. Less technically savvy users will have questions and need their hand-held to get their smartphone live on corporate applications.

Chatbots could be another communications channel to alert mobile users about needed software updates, policy changes, and additional security measures that an organization is putting in place to protect their corporate data, users, and to mitigate other risks.

Consider that popular chat platforms Slack and Atlassian HipChat support chatbots. There’s also a growing list of chat bots that support SMS. Chatbots are gradually finding a place with online customer service applications. Chatbots taking the hand-ff for BYOD onboarding support in the near future isn’t too far of a stretch. Back in the pre-bot days when I was freelancing for CNET TechRepublic and writing heavily about BYOD and enterprise mobility, I did hear from a company that was trying to adapt their support tool to serve up BYOD content. The 2016 answer would be a chatbot.

A few years ago, I came to see that the bill is going to come due for some enterprises that overspent for BYOD support. Chatbots could free up help desk support from some BYOD support tasks leading to call deflection and overhead cost savings.

Will these two trends meet together at the help desk? Share your opinion in the comments.


Originally published at willkelly.org on September 9, 2016.

Hi! My name is Will Kelly. I’m a technical writer and analyst based in the Washington, DC area. I’ve worked with clients like NetApp, Dell, and Neustar to develop technical, training, and thought leadership content. My articles have been published by TechBeacon, Projects@Work, CNET TechRepublic, Network World, Toolbox.com, ZDNet.com, and others. Follow me on Twitter:@willkelly.

My recent thoughts about Evernote


I’m a longtime Evernote user. I go back to the days when nobody knew who they were. I was a customer during their rise. Now over 16K of my notes and a new Evernote corporate management team later I wonder what the future is for the company and the tool that has changed how I stay organized. I read about Evernote users leaving after recent pricing changes, but that’s not me since I’ve been an Evernote Premium user for a couple of years. I believe in paying for software that’s an integral part of my workflow.

These days, Evernote serves as a repository for all of my article writing and project research. It saves me from browser bookmarks and lets me create searchable archives. I use Evernote on my Macs, iPads, and iPhones.

I’ve come around to minimalist word processors like Dropbox Paper and Quip but would never consider using Evernote as a surrogate word processor for writing articles and blog posts. When I crossed the 10,000 note threshold, it was hard to think of Evernote as anything else but a research repository. I even got away from using Evernote for note taking after I rounded that magic threshold.

Evernote as a company fell into the trap of trying to be everything to everybody which hurt the user experience of the core product for users like me. Their ventures into an online store, Evernote Food, and other such diversions seemed to steal away from the core product. I held my nose as Evernote on the Mac more bloatware. It was never clear if it was poor executive leadership or product management.

I even held out hope for Evernote Business, but even that never seemed to hit its potential. In fact, I wonder if Evernote Business development time would have been better spent developing robust application programming interfaces (APIs) for integrating Evernote into customer relationship management (CRM), sales enablement, collaboration, project management, and other backend platforms.

I spent some time using the OneNote Importer for Mac and even moved notes over to my Microsoft OneNote account. While the conversion process worked better than my expectations, I like having OneNote for just notes. OneNote has become my go to app for note taking during client calls and article interviews. A few years ago, Evernote held that title.

Maybe when the finally put Work Chat out of its misery, I’ll regain a bit more faith in Evernote.

Are you holding the course with Evernote? Or have you jumped ship?


Hi! My name is Will Kelly. I’m a technical writer and analyst based in the Washington, DC area. I’ve worked with clients like NetApp, Dell, and NeuStar to develop technical, training, and thought leadership content. My articles have been published by TechBeacon, Projects@Work, CNET TechRepublic, Network World, Toolbox.com, ZDNet.com, and others. Follow me on Twitter:@willkelly.

Image by Luis Llerena via Unsplash.com

Originally published at willkelly.org on September 8, 2016.

The challenges facing BYOD certification


A question that crops up every so often in the forums and from readers is when can we expect a vendor certification focusing on bring your own device (BYOD) policies. Considering the multi-layered complexities around BYOD implementation, security, and management, vendor technology certification seems to be a natural step. While significant challenges remain, there have been some upstarts pointing to BYOD certification in the future.

In August 2013, Condition Zebra, an IT risk management consulting firm, announced a BYOD certification program. However, except for an article announcing the certification on FierceEnterpriseCommunications and the company’s site, I can find no other references to the certification.

I also came across Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Cisco Training from Global Knowledge, an IT training provider. The curriculum pushes Cisco Unified Access as a BYOD solution. However, the courses don’t lead to an industry certification.

CompTIA added more iOS, Android, and cloud topics to its widely accepted (and vendor neutral) A+ Certification, which is another start toward a standards-based BYOD certification.

Some challenges facing a BYOD certification program include:

Lack of consistent BYOD definition

BYOD lacks a consistent definition across industries, further complicated when vendors, pundits, and analysts seize on the popularity of the BYOD and spin a definition for their own ends. Even as a writer about BYOD, I was quick to learn early on that organizations define BYOD in terms of the benefits they want it to bring to their business. Unfortunately, neither approach contributes to establishing a BYOD certification program.

Governance and Risk Compliance (GRC) have yet to act fully

Governance and Risk Compliance (GRC) programs, most notably the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Payment Card Industry (PCI), and Data Security Standard (DSS), could offer up a start for BYOD standards that could see a certification for IT staff tasked to support BYOD initiatives. However, these GRC certifications have a reputation for being quite slow moving.

No platform vendor involvement

Vendor approved BYOD training curriculum isn’t available yet to support the mobile application development, device management, and security platforms that are becoming popular to support BYOD devices. Companies want their employees to get recognized certifications from vendors. No such vendor BYOD-specific certifications could mean the market for BYOD certification just isn’t at the point where it can make money for the vendors. The time is certain to come though.

Towards an industry standard BYOD certification

Outside of the challenges I mention, we’ve yet to see the first big-dollar lawsuit because of BYOD. While that’s not a challenge, I still rank it as a key event that will drive the need for BYOD certification.

In the absence of an industry-wide BYOD certification, organizations need to define the technical skills critical to managing the security of their BYOD initiative that their IT staff requires. Certification training from CompTIA or another recognized provider can still cover your IT staff. Then augment it with vendor training or certification for the mobile device management (MDM) and/or other security and management solutions an organization has in place.

Do you see an industry standard BYOD certification in the future? Share your opinions in the comments.

This post was originally posted on The Mobility Hub on January 22, 2014. The site is no longer online.

Image by Annie Spratt via UnSplash.com


Will Kelly is a technical writer and analyst based in the Washington, DC area. He has worked with commercial, federal, higher education, and publishing clients to develop technical and thought leadership content. His technology articles have been published by TechBeacon, CNET TechRepublic, Government Computer News, Federal Computer Week, Toolbox.com, ZDNet.com, and others. Follow Will on Twitter:@willkelly.