Agile management

Agile management, or agile process management, or simply agile refer to an iterative, incremental method of managing the design and build activities for engineering, information technology, and other business areas that aims to provide new product or service development in a highly flexible and interactive manner; an example is its application in Scrum, an original form of agile software development.[1] It requires capable individuals from the relevant business, openness to consistent customer input, and management openness to non-hierarchical forms of leadership. Agile can in fact be viewed as a broadening and generalization of the principles of the earlier successful array of Scrum concepts and techniques to more diverse business activities. Agile also traces its evolution to a “consensus event”, the publication of the “Agile manifesto“, and it has conceptual links to lean techniques, kanban (かんばん(看板)?), and the Six Sigma area of business ideas.[1]

Agile X techniques may also be called extreme process management. It is a variant of iterative life cycle[2] where deliverables are submitted in stages. The main difference between agile and iterative development is that agile methods complete small portions of the deliverables in each delivery cycle (iteration)[3] while iterative methods evolve the entire set of deliverables over time, completing them near the end of the project. Both iterative and agile methods were developed as a reaction to various obstacles that developed in more sequential forms of project organization. For example, as technology projects grow in complexity, end users tend to have difficulty defining the long term requirements without being able to view progressive prototypes. Projects that develop in iterations can constantly gather feedback to help refine those requirements. According to Jean-Loup Richet (Research Fellow at ESSEC Institute for Strategic Innovation & Services) “this approach can be leveraged effectively for non-software products and for project management in general, especially in areas of innovation and uncertainty. The end result is a product or project that best meets current customer needs and is delivered with minimal costs, waste, and time, enabling companies to achieve bottom line gains earlier than via traditional approaches.[4] Agile management also offers a simple framework promoting communication and reflection on past work amongst team members.[5]

Agile methods are mentioned in the Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) under the Project Lifecycle definition:

Adaptive project life cycle, a project life cycle, also known as change-driven or agile methods, that is intended to facilitate change and require a high degree of ongoing stakeholder involvement. Adaptive life cycles are also iterative and incremental, but differ in that iterations are very rapid (usually 2-4 weeks in length) and are fixed in time and resources.[6]

The Personal Software Process (PSP)

The Personal Software Process (PSP) is a structured software development process that is intended to help software engineers better understand and improve their performance by tracking their predicted and actual development of code. The PSP was created by Watts Humphrey to apply the underlying principles of the Software Engineering Institute’s (SEI) Capability Maturity Model (CMM) to the software development practices of a single developer. It claims to give software engineers the process skills necessary to work on a Team Software Process (TSP) team.

“Personal Software Process” and “PSP” are registered service marks of the Carnegie Mellon University.[1]

Free Podcasting Software

A vast array of software is available to support your podcasting requirements; some programs offer one stop integrated solutions to all your podcasting needs, while others fill more specific niches. However, every piece of software that you need in order to record and produce a professional, quality podcast is readily available free of charge.

www.richardfarrar.com

Acquiring the Audio

No matter what software you choose to help create and produce your podcasts, you will first have to get your audio into the computer. How you choose to do this is entirely up to you, but is likely to depend on what level of audio quality you want and your budget. At the most basic level you could use your computer’s in-built microphone, but for a reasonable degree of quality you will want a semi-decent external microphone.

1. Audacity – Audio Recorder and Editor

2. WinLAME – Audio Encoder

winlameOnce your audio has been recorded and edited (preferably in WAV format) you will need to convert it into a suitable podcast format. The universally accepted audio file format for podcasts is MP3. WinLAME is an excellent piece of free podcasting software designed to convert WAV files into the podcast friendly MP3 format.

3. Mp3Tag – ID3 Tag Editor

sshot1qcNow that you have your podcast MP3 audio file and some suitable artwork for its cover, you will need to embed the artwork into the MP3 file and add some additional tags that can be displayed by the listener’s playback device.

education system

“The world economy no longer pays for what people know but for what they can do with what they know.”
– Andreas Schleicher, OECD deputy director for education

Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.

http://thelearningcurve.pearson.com/2014-report-summary/

East Asian nations continue to outperform others. South Korea tops the rankings, followed by Japan (2nd), Singapore (3rd) and Hong Kong (4th). All these countries’ education systems prize effort above inherited ‘smartness’, have clear learning outcomes and goalposts, and have a strong culture of accountability and engagement among a broad community of stakeholders.
Scandinavian countries, traditionally strong performers, are showing signs of losing their edge. Finland, the 2012 Index leader, has fallen to 5th place; and Sweden is down from 21st to 24th.
Notable improvers include Israel (up 12 places to 17th), Russia (up 7 places to 13th) and Poland (up four places to 10th).
Developing countries populate the lower half of the Index, with Indonesia again ranking last of the 40 nations covered, preceded by Mexico (39th) and Brazil (38th).

South Korea demonstrates the interplay between adult skills and the demands of employers. In South Korea young people score above average for numeracy and problem-solving skills, but are below average over the age of 30. According to Randall S Jones of the OECD, this skills decline is explained by many graduates “training for white-collar jobs that don’t exist”. This leads to a higher than average proportion failing to secure employment, and a quicker diminishing of their skills.

Developing countries must teach basic skills more effectively before they start to consider the wider skills agenda. There is little point in investing in pedagogies and technologies to foster 21st century skills, when the basics of numeracy and literacy aren’t in place.

Technology can provide new pathways into adult education, particularly in the developing world, but is no panacea. There is little evidence that technology alone helps individuals actually develop new skills.

Lifelong learning, even simple reading at home and number crunching at work, helps to slow the rate of age-related skill decline; but mainly for those who are highly skilled already. Teaching adults does very little to make up for a poor school system.

Making sure people are taught the right skills early in their childhood is much more effective than trying to improve skills in adulthood for people who were let down by their school system. But even when primary education is of a high quality, skills decline in adulthood if they are not used regularly.

In recent years it has become increasingly clear that basic reading, writing and arithmetic are not enough.
The importance of 21st century non-cognitive skills – broadly defined as abilities important for social interaction – is pronounced.

The OECD estimates that half of the economic growth in developed countries in the last decade came from improved skills.

Yves Morieux

Published on Jan 23, 2014

Why do people feel so miserable and disengaged at work? Because today’s businesses are increasingly and dizzyingly complex — and traditional pillars of management are obsolete, says Yves Morieux. So, he says, it falls to individual employees to navigate the rabbit’s warren of interdependencies. In this energetic talk, Morieux offers six rules for “smart simplicity.” (Rule One: Understand what your colleagues actually do.)

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts and much more.
Find closed captions and translated subtitles in many languages athttp://www.ted.com/translate

Amazon

 

10.25.13

Amazon Stock May Be Up, but the Company Still Doesn’t Make Any Money

That glowing new bestseller, that Friday stock bump, that rosy Christmas outlook—they can’t hide that after 20 years, the company still hasn’t managed to turn a profit. Daniel Gross on whether it ever will.
Amazon.com and Jeff Bezos, its founder and chief executive officer, are having a moment. They are the subject of a new, admiring bestselling book, The Everything Store, by Brad Stone. Bezos just plunked down $250 million to buyThe Washington Post. The buoyant stock, up 64 percent in the past year, got a nice jolt on Friday as investors were enthused about its third-quarter results: revenues were up 24 percent from a year ago, and Amazon issued a positive forecast for the Christmas season. The company is killing it in books and retailing goods, has a rapidly growing cloud storage and computing business, and is getting into original content and devices. It sports an impressive market capitalization of about $166 billion.

And yet.

The company, first founded in 1994, still doesn’t make any money. In the third quarter, it reported a $41 million net loss.

 

Think Lean

Lean manufacturing, lean enterprise, or lean production, often simply, “lean“, is a production practice that considers the expenditure of resources for any goal other than the creation of value for the end customer to be wasteful, and thus a target for elimination. Working from the perspective of the customer who consumes a product or service, “value” is defined as any action or process that a customer would be willing to pay for.

Essentially, lean is centered on preserving value with less work. Lean manufacturing is a management philosophy derived mostly from the Toyota Production System (TPS) (hence the term Toyotism is also prevalent) and identified as “lean” only in the 1990s.[1][2] TPS is renowned for its focus on reduction of the original Toyota seven wastes to improve overall customer value, but there are varying perspectives on how this is best achieved. The steady growth of Toyota, from a small company to the world’s largest automaker,[3] has focused attention on how it has achieved this success.

Continue reading “Think Lean”

Chop-Shop Electronics

The Hidden Dangers of Chop-Shop Electronics

Do you really know what’s inside the electronic devices you use? Neither the U.S. military nor an increasing number of large corporations knows what’s in theirs. Between 2005 and 2008, the number of companies reporting incidents involving counterfeit chips—including recycled parts passed off as new, those that fail testing and are sold anyway, and some that are phony from the beginning and were never intended to work at all—more than doubled. Some of these supply-chain catastrophes have found their way into aircraft such as military jets and helicopters—and into an untold number of commercial systems that don’t face the level of scrutiny the military brings to bear.

The global trade in recycled electronics parts is enormous and growing rapidly, driven by a confluence of cost pressures, increasingly complex supply chains, and the huge growth in the amount of electronic waste sent for disposal around the world. Recycled parts, relabeled and sold as new, threaten not only military systems but also commercial transportation systems, medical devices and systems, and the computers and networks that run today’s financial markets and communications systems.

TQM tea

Uploaded on Apr 11, 2009

A Total Quality Management training video produced by final year MEng students at the University of Edinburgh. The aim of the video is to explain the main principles of TQM in a tongue-in-cheek style to improve the tea making process in a tea shop business.