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Resource management and time tracking are driving factors behind success of any project. It’s no more a hidden theory that manual tasks to track employees’ work hours are subject to human errors. In order to ensure efficient processing of invoices, payments, every company spends a lot of money on delegating special staff to track employees’ working hours, breaks, leaves, project deadlines, etc.


However, many business owners admit in dismay that manual keeping of employee records often results in gratuitous loss for their businesses in terms of money.


Now, think about time tracking tool that eliminates any risk of human error, whatsoever, that too with utmost ease. The tool, in form of a software, is designed keeping in mind all the important factors required for flawless employee management system and time tracking.


For example, biometric time attendance system, which ensures not only precise tracking of employee time, but also removes the convolution of payment processing.


Similarly, in case of Project Management, in contrast to practice of manually keeping employee records, time tracking software saves both time and money for project managers.


Turns out from findings of various studies that human errors cause many companies unnecessary losses due to overpayment ranging between 1 to 8% of total payments.


All these aforementioned factors signify the importance of time tracking software in successfully managing projects. Use of technologically advanced products is the need of the hour to make a project big success.


Time tracking software rids the need of wasting a lot of time on performing administrative work, therefore opens new avenues to perform important activities. It makes enough sense to call time tracking software an amazing tool that boosts business productivity and increases profits, regardless of company size.


Time tracking software also plays a role in keeping employees happy as they do not face predicament of being paid less due to errors in manual recording of their working hours. The technology helps in retaining employee satisfaction and avoiding disputes pertaining to employees’ work hours.



Following are the advantages businesses could draw by deploying time tracking software:


  • No human errors

  • Precise employee hours

  • No risk of time theft

  • Hassle free management of leaves requests, PTO and overtime

  • Easy, flawless processing of payroll

  • Actual & planned work time reports

  • Customization setting


Many resource managers previously failed to take cognizance of revenue loss due to human error. However, with the advent of time tracking software and its capability to ensure effective management of workforce, entrepreneurs are now increasingly paying heed to empower their businesses. Time tracking software is now seen as a boon to every project.


Although there are a few Time Tracking tools available in the market, FindNerd offers you extra advantage of easily generating invoices.


FindNerd is a product of Evon Technologies and comes with session tracker to help both clients and Project Managers to easily determine the number of hours their team has worked for, and pay them accordingly. Such a time tracking tool removes the conundrum of calculating actual work hours of employees, and increases productivity. Clients doing business through FindNerd can keep a track on their employees’ performance and ensure their projects meet deadlines.


In this article, we have discussed importance of time tracking tool to manage workforce and keep a tab on employees’ performance. We hope you find this article beneficial for improvement in efficiency, productivity levels and overall success of your projects.


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Cloud computing, without a doubt, has become the numero uno choice for many businesses. Besides bringing down IT costs, it provides the much-needed agility to businesses, paves the way for new business models and scalability. That said, one still can’t call it a paragon of virtue. The major concern here is the risk of data exposure to unwanted users especially since the data is present in virtual machines. And how about your cloud service provider having easy access to your vital business information. Questions like these and the following factors still make businesses wary of cloud computing:

  • Multiple tenants share the same infrastructure available over the cloud

  • No regulations for cloud service providers to clear disk space and ensure that existing data is not compromised

  • No way out to keep a check on IT security intelligence and lack of risk management

  • Chances of data exposure to a person who does not even work for the respective company

  • Problems related to data mobility and legal issues

So, that brings us to the next set of questions:

  • How businesses opting for cloud computing can ensure that their data is not a subject to security breach?

  • Or whether their business information is safe if they decide to move to some other cloud service provider?

You could deploy a three-pronged strategy to prevent someone uncalled-for from accessing your data on the cloud.

  • The first step towards strengthening data security is data lockdown. It entails encryption of data which makes it impossible to read in simple text form. There is a huge consensus among technology experts that encryption of data goes a long way in ensuring protection of data on the cloud. So, never trivialize the importance of implementing data encryption empowered by a strong key management solution. It’s recommended to conduct audit of the entire encryption and key management solution. The first step also involves strong key management system to refrain any unauthorized person from accessing confidential business information.

  • Next step requires ensuring that only authorized users have access to data on the cloud.

  • The third is setting up security intelligence to detect security-breach risks well in time to mitigate them.

Apart from these, before adopting new technologies like cloud computing and virtualization, one must make it 100% sure to review security policies and procedures to figure out how cloud providers are going to ensure safety of your data.

You can also improve the protection of applications on the cloud by designing them in a manner that no one comes to know if they are running on cloud or your own servers. Web application firewalls can help in keeping the risk of outside attacks at bay.



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                               Lost time is never found again - Benjamin Franklin

 

Time Tracking plays a pivotal role in Project Management and is directly connected with the success or failure of a project. When we talk about time tracking it not only means time management but also refers to effective resource management within the stipulated time frame. Here time tracking is crucial as it can help us to track vital stats like Real-Time Progress of project and how productive the employee is. Prioritizing tasks is the need of the hour. But along with all these, there is one more ingredient without which Project Management is just like "sheep without a shepherd”. The missing ingredient which I am pointing about is Invoicing.

 

And yes there exists innumerable tools for attaining all this information in one place. Here we are talking about one such tool, FindNerd.

 

FindNerd is a complete Project Management and Task Management Tool with core features for Time Tracking and Invoicing.

 

Suppose you want to track the progress of a project. What if you can view the number of hours an employee has worked on a particular task as well as desktop screen-shots of employee with a nice graph showing active as well as ineffective time period. Such a sigh of relief it would be for the client as he/she can accordingly pay for the amount of time spent on a task or maybe a company can charge its client more as the estimated time was not enough for completion of task. This coupled with invoicing makes FindNerd a complete tool for tracking project costs.

 

A system where the client is equally involved and engaged with the team in order to fetch maximum benefit in a short span of time. Proper management is also the key to success and that can only happen when you know what and how you want it. What if the user can view proper reports spanning a wide array of fields like daily, weekly, total monthly hours etc worked. 

 

One of the great features I like about FindNerd is it's Reporting feature. It allows you to generate instant and clear view of hours spent by the whole team or individual team members on a project. You can check hours spent in a day, week or month, you can validate the work done by seeing the screenshots of members' screens taken on a preset frequency. All that gives you a good view of productivity levels, time and resource management and eventually let's you know exactly what are you paying for.

 

This combined with an intuitive interface gives a better insight of the project. Raising invoices and the ability to pay directly from the application provides an easy way for the clients to pay for the work as well as for the vendor to track payments. FindNerd incorporates all these features and brings to you a complete package without any hassle. It respects your privacy time and money Importance, So all you need to do is just fire the browser and open FindNerd.

 

The product is phenomenal considering the fact that project management to many people seems complicated and time taking. Fret not because FindNerd makes sure your precious time is never lost. Emphasis has been given on the design to make sure it is soothing for your eyes as well as loads in a jiffy.

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A lot of songs have been sung about the virtues of having precise information at the precise time. And these songs just don’t get old. If anything, they are only getting BIG.

 

People are looking for information (read products and services) all across the web. You, as a salesperson might have an offering but the problem is - what are the chances that the person interested in it will find you and reach across to you? Frankly, the chances are quite less. So what do you do to increase your chances to make a sale? Well, obviously the best thing you can do is to find and reach across to that person before he decides to give his money to someone else. But how to do that? Traditional lead generation methods are only so effective as to give you an excuse of an alternate to shooting in the dark. The generated lead data is limited, the windows are short, the targets are big, the work is harder and the results are uncertain. The conversion rates can well be compared to the conversion rate of a toiling army of bees for one drop of honey.

 

Lead-Generation-Methods-1

A decade ago, most salespeople would agree that the traditional methods only took them so far in terms of conversion rates. The data was too limited or redundant and took too long to accumulate but the silver lining, if we can call it that, was that because it was too little, it was easy to process. You got 30 leads, you go and do your salesperson thing with 12 based on some quick prospecting/scoring and depending on how good or lucky you are, you score a couple.

 

Then five years ago to until recently, salespeople were agreeing that the contemporary methods with the power of web and social media, brought improved capabilities in data acquisition and reach but still something was keeping them from milking that cow. You’d think with all that talk about shrinking degrees of connection, businesses increasing their online presence and all, you’d be better off than mere 3% growth.

 

Conversion-Rates.jpg

 

Yes, something was definitely missing from the picture. And that something was to do with this - “Having access to a lot of data means nothing if you don’t have a way to utilise it...to its full potential.”

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Hmm…”utilizing”, people thought. And then they thought of newer ways to do that. New buzzwords started cropping up - Mining, BI, Analytics. But while that was happening, the data kept spawning silently, persistently and exponentially. And by the time the Sales teams settled on their Analytics tools, they found to their utter despair that they weren’t enough anymore to handle the Volume, Velocity and Variety of data that has been piling up all that while. That almost took the whole bang out from the so called data-explosion. Fortunately, that didn’t happen. Especially, in our case, for the Modern Salesperson.

 

The modern salesperson, despite having the same problems (perhaps even Bigger), are agreeing, either reluctantly or expectantly to one thing - that a major paradigm shift in the way information is produced and consumed has been set in motion for some time now, that there is an enthusing buzz in the air and that that buzz seems to hold a Big promise!

 

Big Data Promise and The Age of Proactiveness

 

There’s lots and lots of data floating around the web holding immense potential information for you as a sales person, if only it can be churned to your benefit somehow. But given the speed at which this data is getting generated and becoming obsolete, even the first step can become overwhelmingly discouraging. That first step is - to capture this huge amount of data in one place. But then, the tougher part comes next -  to make it sensible and actionable. For a salesperson, this sensible and actionable information is what he calls a Lead.

 

So how does Big Data help or proposes to help? Well to start with, Big Data Solutions solve this problem of getting you actionable leads by helping you with at least four things making your chances to conversion far better than those of that salesman a decade ago. These are:

 

Avoid Paradox.jpg

  • Identifying most valuable potential customers and creating windows of opportunities
  • Telling you the precise thing to show or say to them when the window opens
  • Have the right thing to offer at the right time to your prospect
  • Raising right flags at the right moment to generate cross-selling and/or up-selling opportunities 

 

 

Big Data Impact on Sales

 

Big-Data-Sales.png 

Companies collect a lot of data through a wide array of channels like mobile, website tracking/analytics tools, contact forms, social media, lists, groups & forums, CRM systems and news feeds. While big companies prefer to use their custom developed or customized Acquisition and Analytics solutions by Big Data solution providers like IBM (BigInsights), Cloudera and HortonWorks; most companies (SMBs mainly) prefer to source their data from a new breed of service providers falling under DaaS (Data as a Service) category who provide On-Demand industry-wise, rich, hard-to-find-data of personnel who can be potential clients. This data is then imported into organizations CRM systems from where the analytics and further lead nurturing process is taken up. Or some prefer to go for the simplest of the solutions - "Outsource" the whole lead generation process to companies like Technology Sales Leads (www.tslmarketing.com), let them deal with the grind and hope to get valuable leads.

 

HadoopAnyway, let’s take a moment to see how the actual data acquisition works in terms of Big Data in general. Well, it’s usually done using the combination of traditional, contemporary and modern methods using techniques like manual and/or automated web content mining, data scraping, searching, social media profiling and crowdsourcing. This data is usually in an unstructured form and is constantly fed and processed into what we call in Big-Data terminology as data-sets using technologies like Hadoop. 

 

 

However (can’t stress this enough), just acquiring a lot of data isn’t good enough, for the simple reason that due to its muddled and voluminous nature, it is of little value in itself. To make some sense out of it requires a lot of sifting through, filtering, consolidating, cleansing and validating. And because this effort requires time, using traditional (slower) approaches, it’s more prone to become counterproductive, especially in case of Sales because from Sales perspective, the long exercise might lead to generating more cold leads than any useful ones, as data keeps coming in and changing at a rapid rate and has the tendency to become obsolete fast.

 

So it becomes imperative to find a way to do it in a more efficient and productive way. One way to do it by having a tool or a system to do this crunching and churning for you - and giving you a streamlined and consolidated picture of what the above systems are feeding you with. But given the big volume of such acquired data, managing it and running complex analytics queries on it becomes a challenge with traditional RDBM systems. And that’s where the Big Data guys come in. Companies like Oracle, Cloudera, Hortonworks, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, and many others all have identified the potential of a solution to this Big Data problem and have come up with their own versions of Big Data Analytics solutions.

 

In our graphic, this whole thing is happening at stage 2.

 

Once you have the targeted leads, the usual Sales Process takes over, the only difference is that since the lead generation, prospecting and scoring has been mostly taken care of by the system, you as a Sales person hit the ground running armed with exact information of who to contact to, what to offer him and when.

Start Well to Finish Well 

 

One of the big advantage that these solutions offer is the range of Analytics one can perform over a large amount of data in a quick and visual (graphs, charts, tables) way. If we take our case of Big Data application vis a vis Sales Process, the direct implication is the shortening of the traditional long-tailed lead nurturing and lead scoring processes by doing the dirty mining work and handing over targeted insights based on your specific criteria (like industry vertical, company size, company revenue, location etc). This ultimately allows a Salesperson to filter out the weak leads and focus on nurturing only the valuable leads (graphic: Stage 7), the ones which have the greatest chance of conversion to Actual Sales.

 

The beauty of the system is that at every step, new transactional data (financial, logistical, communications etc) is getting generated and getting fed-back into the system which in turn helps in the process of generating repeat, cross-selling and/or up-selling opportunities. Talk of eating your cake and having it too!

 


 

Evon Technologies is a software consultancy based in India and has performed Proof of Concepts for data mining companies with Data-Integration and Hadoop Analytics requirements.

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In this article, we will try to understand in simplest possible way; What is cloud? What are different cloud offerings? How does it work for you?

 

Cloud computing constitutes a broad range of services. Web is the common thread between all of these. So something sitting on your desktop and able to operate on its own is not a cloud service.

 

Key characteristics of a cloud based solution are:

 

  • It is available on demand.
  • It can be accessed through standard platforms like desktop, laptop, mobile.
  • It can be used by multiple people.
  • People can share resources.
  • It can easily handle increase/decrease of user base.
  • Solution can scale up/down easily.
  • Billing for the service can be easily measured.

 

There are different types of cloud computing services commonly classified as Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). In a very simplistic explanation:

 

 

  • SaaS – is software delivered over web.
  • PaaS – is platform delivered over web, for the creation of the software.
  • IaaS – is infrastructure (hardware/software) delivered over web as an on demand leased service.

 

 

Let’s take a deeper look at these services.

 

Software as a Service (SaaS)

 

Characteristics:

 

  • It is available through web either as a paid/free service.
  • It is centrally managed and delivered to all.
  • Software users should not require updating software or applying patches.
  • Exposes APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) to allow integration between different modules.
 
Where it works?  
 
  • Generic solutions which are used by a variety of users.
  • Solutions that need to be used over multiple channels (web, mobile), locations (home, office, on the way) 
 
Where it doesn't work? 
 
  • Data sensitive applications with legal limitations.
  • Solutions are used by a defined set of users (employees of a specific company)
 
Example – Salesforce.com is the best example of a software delivered as a Service. 
 

Platform as a Service (PaaS) 

 

Characteristics:

 

  • Provides services to help in development of software products.
  • Provides services and solutions to develop, test, deploy, host, manage software applications.
  • Allows for multiple developers can work on the platform in parallel.
  • Provides capability for failover, scalability, load balancing within the platform.
  • Supports standard API, third party, DB integration protocols.
  • Provides built in support for features such as subscription management, billing for the applications built using the platform.  
 
Where it works? 
 
  • All the all technical stack requirements are met by platform offerings.
  • Automation is paramount in testing, build, release. 
 
Where it doesn't work?   
 
  • Application needs to be portable from hosting perspective.
  • Proprietary languages, technologies, practices would be required.  
 
Example – Force.com is the best example of a platform delivered as a Service. Another very popular example is Google App Engine which provides complete platform to enable development of software applications. If your software technical requirements can be met completely by such platforms, PaaS is for you. 
 
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
 
Characteristics:   
 
  • Resources (hardware and software) are available as service.
  • Allows for scaling up/down dynamically.
  • Have billing/pricing based on usage.
  • Provides capability for failover, scalability, load balancing within the platform.
  • Resources can be shared between different users.  
 
Where it works?  
 
  • Requirements can change dynamically; may go up/down.
  • For people/companies who do not want to invest (both money and labour) too much on hardware.
  • For people who want to try something temporarily.  
 
Where it doesn't work?  
 
  • Cases in which there are too much regulatory, security, legal factors are involved related to storage. 
 
Example – Amazon web services, Rackspace are some of the leaders in this space. People and organizations that want to move to Cloud computing should identify their needs and based on that find the suitable service offering and model that suits best for their business needs. Cloud offers a lot; not everything may be useful for everybody.  
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There are many Online Project Management products available in the market. All these tools provide different set of features and target various industries.


These tools range from simple task management and list management features like those provided by Trello, which can be applied across a broad range of industries but have limited features. On the other hand, there are products like Pivotal Tracker which provide project management features focused on Agile software development following a rigid process.


FindNerd provides a project management platform which bridges the gap by providing a rich set of features while still allowing the end-user to have the flexibility of using them as per their need.

Below is a comparison of the main features of FindNerd, Trello and Pivotal Tracker:

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Pivotal Tracker

Project Management

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Agile Project Management

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Users Stories

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Product Backlog and User stories prioritization

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Issue Tracking

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Task Management

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Scheduling

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Time Tracking

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Resource Assignment

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Task Alerts

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Group Tasks – Milestones, Sprint

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Task History

Budgeting and Expenses

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Forecast Budgets

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Manage Expenses

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Set Hourly Rates

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Track Project Hours

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Track Staff Hours

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Invoice and payment tracking

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Collaboration

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Document Management

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Forums

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Online Messages

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Chat

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Activity updates

Email notifications

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Online Meeting Tool

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Resource Management

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Manage Resources & their Skills

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Search Resource by skills

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Resource Planning

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I am a Sales guy in my present life. Before that I was a project manager, project lead and a developer. In the last 15 years, I’ve been part of many software projects in various capacities; seen some success stories and seen a fair share of failures as well. I’ve been asked to write this article based on my experience with various projects, clients from different geographies. Before I started to write this, I thought of Googling what other people have said on the same topic. I was overwhelmed by the number of articles, studies and research papers I saw. Wow! I wondered if there is anything new for me to say that has not been said already. When in doubt, go to the BOSS (who is always right). He reminded me to write my experiences. So, here I go.

 

Before I actually start on the reasons, let me share one peculiar thing that I found in my study of already available material. Most of the articles and studies available on the subject, focus majorly on the reasons for failure on the vendor’s side. In my experience, I have seen that both the clients and vendors can work very hard to fail the project. So, here’s my angle to attack this story. Developing of software product is a journey that starts from idea to Go Live to maintenance. The cause for failure can be inducted in this journey at any stage by any stakeholder. 

 

I’ve said earlier that right now I am a Sales guy. Every now and then, I get a chance to talk to a new potential client. I get to hear about their ideas for the development of new softwares. In today’s world softwares are not only developed by companies to help in their operations, but to be used by end users directly. These softwares can be in the domain of social applications, entertainment, e Commerce, education and what not. Many a times the client is just a person with an idea and not a company trying to develop something. Most of the time, the idea already have a competitor product available in the market. Most of the time, the person has the idea, maybe has a little money with himself, has no concrete financial plan, but is very passionate about the idea. And the best thing is that more often than not, the person would not have given a deep thought in documenting the idea, giving a shape to it. It is something floating in his head.

 

  • An individual (with an idea)
  • MINUS market research 
  • MINUS documentation of idea 
  • MINUS positioning of idea 
  • MINUS financial plan 
  • EQUALS Recipe for disaster from very start

 

I can see at the beginning only that this project will fail, not in developing the project, but in taking it to a success. 

 

What do I do as a Sales guy? Do not put my hand in it? But I have my targets to fulfill and more often than not I get these kinds of people only. Most of the sales guys will take the project. They will take it for whatever money the client has. Why leave the $$$ that he have, even if one know that those are not enough for his product to be a success. In nutshell, such projects are doomed even before they start, even if the project is developed successfully. In six months after launch, the product will be nowhere to find. And many such projects will never see light of the day. In the middle of the development only, client will realize that his idea was not so great, or his preparation was not so great or he is not as equipped as he thought he is to compete. So, the project is dropped. 

 

So let us now consider that the client is well prepared. He has documented the idea, done the market research, positioned the idea well (or at least have a clear idea of how he wants to do) and most important, have the finances available. I am now diving into the area where all the other researches have already published a lot; on the vendor’s side. 

 

What is the fascination of doing projects in a fixed price? In all these years, I failed to understand clients’ fascination to get the vendors to commit to a fixed price. It is important to say here that I am not against fixed price model, at all. You want a small update to some existing work, it is well defined, fixed price is okay. You want a small application to be developed, it is well defined, fixed price is okay. I have a problem with clients who think they are building a huge project, who know there are multiple different parties and stakeholders involved, multiple different integrations involved, where project is expected to run more than 6 months. In today’s world, industry is not following waterfall model any more. Nobody is spending or willing to spend months in requirements definition and documentation. Nobody is willing to spend months in analysis and system design. Still there are people who want to have full end to end turnkey engagements and expect it to happen in a fixed price model. Please take a note, budgeting a project is different from having a fixed price on a project. Budgeting for a project is paramount, but does not necessarily mean that there has to be a fixed price model for the project. In today’s world, things are changing rapidly. Every 3 months, there is a 2.0 of something. There is a 2.0 of even what and how end users want in every 3 months. The focus in such projects becomes “what is the bare minimum needed to adhere to scope” rather than “what’s good for the product”. When your project is running for a year, the world is changing on the sidelines, and you are bound to be affected by those changes. Such projects will have less scope for flexibility; and in today’s rapidly changing world ability to be flexible and ability to adapt the change is the key. In such a scenario, clients who have huge projects and want to tie vendors in fixed price model are doomed to fail. Vendors will succumb to the clients’ pressures for fixed price model. But such projects will always run into problems. So Dear Clients, we know you love to have a fixed price, but then be prepared to resist your temptations for change, be ready to resist your inspirations from what is happening around you. We know this is not possible. 

 

But the book of software engineering has a term to handle this, “Change Request Management”. It’s a SHAM!!! Believe me, it’s a SHAM!!! Even if the vendors understand it, even if the Client understand it (which happens only in dreams), people spend hours analyzing these, debating these and all that effort goes unaccounted for, and more often than not the debates happen because the first effort is to try and push this idea out or be considered as a Change Request. Hours of effort from multiple people go in establishing whether it is a Change Request or not and afterwards people actually start working on it. A big LOSS, from where I see. Managers are living their life on it. Does the project benefits from it? Project does not, only one or the other party benefits from it. Project does NOT!

 

So, budget for the project, budget for the scope, budget for the modules, budget for the tasks and budget for the people but stay away from Fixed Price. That will give you flexibility to move the budget where you want to focus more. That will give you the flexibility to change and adapt to the changing needs of the world. That will help you to make better decisions in favor of the project. There are better things to hold vendors’ necks for than Fixed Price. 

 

Most clients do the fatal mistake of thinking that just by hiring a correct vendor their job is done. It is not. Do not see this as “offshore development”, see it as a partnership of “onsite-offshore” engagement. It is better to have a combination of team at onsite as well as offshore. Manage some parts onsite and some parts offshore. Outsourcing everything offshore may not be a very good idea. At the very least, have one technical head onsite. If you can’t find one, your vendor will be more than happy to ship one, to be with you to share your dreams. So remember, it is a marriage between onsite and offshore. You need people on your side as well. 

 

Another mistake clients do is to put their entire focus on choosing the vendor company and then letting the company choose the team. Treat yourself not as a client, but as a part of the team. Participate in not just selecting the vendor, but selecting members of your team as well, even in the offshore team. Yes, it is important. Your project is going to be in the hands of these people. The project will be as good as the team is. So, talk to them, select/reject them. Be ready to change them, if required. You do not need a team of all rockstars. You need Horses for Courses. Your project will have different kinds of needs for skills and skill levels. Choose people with appropriate skills and experiences. A good mix of skills and experiences is what required to get all different kinds of tasks done in the project. If you choose the right team, there is a great chance that you will have a successful product. If you do this, you will get a chance to speak to everyone on the team and this will ensure that there are no communication problems (which happen all the time with offshore teams and studies put communication problem as a key problem for failure of offshore projects). 

 

Project manager is a key person on your project. It is very important that you choose the right guy here. He is your eyes and ears in the offshore team. You get the right guy here, all else will fall in place. He is YOU getting your job done. So, pay highest level of attention if getting the manager for your project. At the same time, do not get too many managers on the project. Get more hands who will actually work, produce and only optimum heads to manage them. Getting the balance right, is important.

 

Another aspect to pay attention when you choose your vendor is to know how strong their HR team is. Will the vendor’s HR be able to provide the required skilled people for your project? Do they have the availability of the people? If not, do they have the strong HR processes to get the people on-board quickly? Do they have the training and development processes to get people trained for your project? Look for this factor. 

 

TOOLS is the final thing that you need to make sure success of your project. Make sure that your vendor has and use all the different tools that are required to run an offshore project. You can not do the fatal mistake of treating emails as the tools for your project. You need various tools for communication, collaboration, knowledge base, task management and planning, issues management, resource and effort tracking, code repositories, virtual meetings. If you and your teams does not have these on the project, you will never be able to enforce and ensure transparency. If you have the transparency, you will always be able to make the right decisions to take your project in right direction. 

 

Finally, you do not offshore because you do not have time. You offshore, because that brings optimal cost/quality balance to your project. You have to give time even if you offshore the project. Be prepared to give that time. 

 

You tick all the factors given above; your offshore project will never fail! 

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In IT Industry, Product Owners- be it the Project Manager or Business Analyst, are mostly from development background. In general, developers have some misconceptions about QA and thus during SDLC, QA either doesn’t find any place or comes at last place in priority list. They have a tendency to think about specialized quality checks as least required thing and they think that it is a waste of time and money and keeping QA away from the project will reduce cost and in turn expect quality to directly come from production teams. Now question arises why they have misconceptions about QA?

 

Answer: They carry some myths about QA which derive them to think so. Following are some of them.

 

  • Myth: Testing can only start once product is developed –
  • Truth: It’s true that testing of the product is based on the source code but several issues can be prevented during requirement review at early phase. And making the test approach and strategy according to the requirement is independent from source code.
  • Myth: Any one can test the software application-
  • Truth: Testers use their mind very creatively to think differently than developer and including negative and alternative scenarios.
  • Myth: Complete testing is possible-
  • Truth: There might be several scenarios which can't be tested during SDLC and only occurs after deployment. 

 

Question: So what exactly QA Engineer’s overall roles and responsibilities are?

 

Answer: Generally QA and Testing are considered as identical but QA has more responsibilities than just writing test cases and do testing: 

 

  • He is good to give feedbacks and share his testing knowledge to understand the scenario.
  • He is excellent at creating scenarios based on requirements and need of end users.
  • To use the application like an end user, the QA's are usually good in understanding the requirements of business from the perspective of user.
  • On testing experiences QA can give feedback to product owner and help them so that they can use the application from end user's point, based on the requirements only and thus be helpful at early stages.

 

While he still writing tests and report bugs, with this he is also supporting various roles and responsibilities on the team. He is an important part of the team.

 

  • A QA can help developers to write unit test cases by acting like a proxy product owner and keeping track of problems and software bugs. 
  • When a business stakeholder finds a discrepancy, it’s easy and logical for someone from the testing team to validate it, write it up, and submit it to the software develop team for fixing. 

 

Question: So Why is it so important to include QA Engineer during initial business meetings?

 

Answer: Early inclusion of QA Engineer results in better product knowledge. If QA is incorporated right from the beginning stage of an assignment where he works almost with business analysts and developers, he can work as a BA as well. 

 

While development team stay focused on gathering requirement and more focused on technology side, QA focuses on risk involved in the functionality and shares feedback to Business Analyst. Feedbacks/Concerns are shared with the business stakeholders and then, based on the feedbacks from QA, business stakeholders may make educated decisions regarding changes in the initial idea. Why? The business cannot understand test cases & test results and only understands risks. After discussing each and every part of risk analysis, we finally ends up with a product idea which is less risky and more feasible & usable. Like this, QA team partner provides risk based information and becomes partner in decision making. This results in reducing overall cost of developing and delivery quality software.

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Kickstarter is a wonderful place for new ideas to get a jump-start. Not only the platform provides opportunity for new ideas and projects to gain some monetary funding to get started, but it also is a wonderful place to gather support, valuable feedback, generate interest and awareness in your idea and get the first level customers for your project. But making it a success is not that easy. Over the last couple of years, I have worked with various campaigns and seen fair share of success and failures. In this article, I would like to touch upon a few potential reasons for failure of such campaigns.

1. If you start from Kickstarter – Many people think that Kickstarter is the place to start. This is not true. It is not a place to start. It is a place to take your idea further, to the next step. So, the best way to go about getting crowdfunding is to first work on your idea on your own as much as you can. Take it to the platform when you can move no further on your own. So, start at your desk, work on the project as much as you can, when you can not move any further on your own, then go to seek help from others. Remember the old saying, “God help those, who help themselves”.

2. Lack of well defined idea – Before any one gives you a penny, he has to understand your idea, then he has to identify with it, then like it, then see a potential in it's success, then only he will spare his penny for it.  As long as things are in one's mind, they are arbitrary in nature. Once these are put on paper, they start getting shape. Same goes for your idea as well. Give it a proper shape. Define it. If your campaign shows that the idea is not concrete, people will not understand it. If they do not understand it, there is no chance they will identify with it. Most of the ideas fail at this stage only. They are not well thought of.

3. Presentation of idea – Once you know what you want to build, the next step is to present it in your campaign. The better you present, more are the chances of people identifying with it. 

  • Video – is not mandatory. But you should think that it is mandatory. “A picture is worth a thousand words”. A video is probably worth a million. Do not take shortcut here. Nobody expect a professional video. A video recorded by a Smartphone is good enough. 
  • Show your idea – Use the video to show your idea and your work, rather than asking people to read about it.
  • Show yourself – Use the video to show yourself (and your team) to the world. People like to know who they are paying to. They also want to show the strength of your team.
  • Use your assets well – Use everything you have in the campaign; videos, audios, images, drawings, sketches and finally texts.

4. Utilization of goals – It is very important to tell people what you want to do with their money. Your goals (and stretch goals) should be specific and so the details of what you are going to do with that money. Be very specific.

5. Just the campaign is not enough – Campaign is not a solitary entity. It needs a lot of help from external sources as well. So, as your campaign runs on the Kickstarter, you need other campaigns to support it as well. You have various options:

  • Create a web page
  • Create social media accounts; Facebook, Twitter. Just creating them is not enough, keep them active. Better to start these one month before the campaign goes live. Through out the campaign period keep activity going on all fronts. Post updates, interact with people, answer their questions.

6. Aiming too high – Are you aiming too high? Higher funding goals are difficult to achieve. No harm in keeping the target low. If get funded once, and deliver on your promise, you have a better chance to get funded on second campaign. So, rather than aiming for a long shot, you can go phase-wise.

7. Preparation for funding – In real life, have unknown people ever given you money. Your answer will be, NO. This applies to Kickstarter as well. People who do not know you will not give you money even if you promise them to take to the moon. So, you have to find people who you know and let your campaign reach to them first. Chances are higher that they will support you. So, target to get money from friends, family and acquaintances first on your campaign. Once this happens, the campaign will gain traction on Kickstarter. This will bring it to the attention of whole community of backers. Then these unknown people will start backing you.

Hope this article helps you in avoiding the pitfalls in crowdfunding campaigns. I wish you all the success in your campaigns and if you need help, just leave a message.

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Working in IT industry as a Project Manager, I do come across my team members praising or complaining about Project Managers as how they have made their easy or hell in the project. Well mostly out of these are the ones who rather complain and seldom do I hear praises for the Project Managers. So is it really that grave of a situation and we can assume that all Project Managers are disciple of Hitler?

 

Well not so, I think there are 3 categories of PM – Good, Bad and Ugly. They as the name confers may not be like that in reality and it is the perception of the team members against the Project Manager. I know you must be getting confused here, so let’s evaluate each of these characteristics:

 

1. Good Project Manager – This is one, whom we will associate from the eyes of team members as the one who plans well, approves leaves of teams, takes pain to deliver projects, helpful and sensitive. These characteristics may be helpful in terms of employee satisfaction but they may not be in the eyes of Employer as for them you are too friendly with team and this friendliness removes the fear factor amongst them. With this token- Is Good project manager indeed a bad one, not with the above example. A good project manager is indeed a person who is friendly with the team but not too friendly such that people fear him not and start believing in laissez-faire. A good PM does exemplary work, motivates team/spirit, mitigates risks and issues, meets client expectation and other things that keep project status in Green but what he also does is take corrective actions if things are going haywire, manage people and see their timings in office, have a way to escalate and report if any team member is under-performing or is not adhering to company policies. With doing this what team members have always at the back of their mind is that there is a PM who can heed to their problems/issues at hand but he is also there with a Vulcan eyes who can catch them if they are wrong footed.

 

2. Bad Project Manager – Now this is the biggest drainer in an organization and this is what one should be careful about. A Bad PM is the one who has limited functional/technical knowledge and even then manages a team of IT developers. This PM will never be able to comprehend the daily nuances of software development. Since he lacks this he will also not be able to identify beforehand the risks and plan to mitigate them. He also will be helpless in tackling with the issues when they crop in the project and will run from pillar to post for resolving them, in doing so he will consume lot of resources precious time and this will again affect the project timelines which is already struggling with delay due to existing issue. This PM is definitely not liked by the resources as he will have characteristics of micro-managing team, finding faults, scapegoating, building artificial pressure, non-cognitive thinking. These bad PM do what the saying says that one dirty fish can contaminate a pond. So would these PM be shunned right away, well not hastily, everyone should be provided an opportunity to improve. I have seen that most of the time Bad managers also have some reasons to become bad such as they are not in the righteous place/position/team, they lack training, they are master less i.e., lack checks and balances, are hideous where they tend to hide their incapability by means of being harsh and rude. So I will say that these people if they tend to improve can go on the path to become a Good PM if not then dismissal is an option.

 

3. Ugly Project Manager – Now this is a PM who has a tendency of becoming a bête noire of his subordinates. This PM becomes ugly following his actions that make a dreadful predator who is always on the lookout. This PM believes in reprimanding and does follow a regimen of fear tactics. This he does in order to make the team deliver to their full potential without mistake and many a times they even succeed. They may not be helpful always and before some team member approaches them for help they make sure that they have tried it twice or thrice as if not they can face the fury. These PM give orders which can be like a decree for the team members and they tend to follow it religiously. So this PM may be ugly for the team but for the organization he proves to be helpful as his team is the least problem creator. So then if that’s the case can we say that Ugly PM is indeed the best PM, well not so, see when you are Ugly/fearsome PM then team don’t tend to question your judgments or decisions which sometime becomes detrimental to the project as a unanimous decision is the best decision. With the constant fear in which the team works there are high chances that there will be quite of higher rate of exits from the team as all members may not be accustomed to this kind of management. Moreover since this PM is dreaded, they tend to make very less friends in the organization hence when they need any kind of help there will always be few givers.

 

So to encapsulate I would say that a PM should have a mix of Good and Ugly PM traits in them. This good-ugly mix can prove to be beneficial for everyone- the team, the project and the organization. The key is the PM should know about his trait periodically and this could be done by peer review and 360 degree evaluation.

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Working as a Project Manager and having more than a decade of experience working in the IT industry, I feel that following are the key points that helps in quick delivery of software development product:

 

1. PM identifies the risks at the right moment, risks are defined as something that has not happened yet but is bound to happen if corrective actions are not taken. Identifying risk timely provides PM to make plans for corrective action so that they can either avoid the risk completely or mitigate its effect to some extent. For e.g., if a project has a team of 3 developers and a developer resigns during the middle of the project. This tends to be the biggest risk that can affect the project owing to the size of the team. Now PM’s job should be to proactively work with the HR to find the replacement in time so that the KT of the project can be done in time and there is minimal impact on the project.

 

2. PM is dexterous in issue resolution. Issues are defined as incidents that have occurred and now need to be fixed. Issue could be vivid like related with coding, people, skills etc., and when they crop up an experienced PM has to become active instead of reactive. They need to plan out the QAt management and help the team to resolve the issue first rather than doing fault finding and cornering people. I am not saying that fault finding should be completely omitted, but it’s just that it can come later once the issue is resolved. For e.g. A developer forgets to check in his code in subversion over a period of time and one fine day someone else discovers this shortcoming. Now this is a major issue as this involves the code base on which developer has been working for long and this is not updated/stored safely in SVN. Once this goes to repository that can impact other developers’ work. Now instead of blasting the developer, PM should first make sure that all the code files are checked in successfully in SVN and the dependencies are resolved to make sure application is working. PM should also make sure that the SVN check-in is happening in correct way and to tackle any issue encountered. Reprimanding the developer action will come later when this issue is resolved, then with the developer root cause should be found in which it could be that developer understanding in SVN check in is less and he/she needs guidance. It could also be the case that the developer completely missed it, in this case a process should be brought in place where PM or TL periodically check if check-ins are happening.

 

3. PM does exemplary work and empowers the team. By empowering team he make sure that every team member is committed and motivated for their work, this way they make sure that redundancy in the team is maintained say if in a situation where a team person resigns. For e.g., there are certain tough tasks in a project that only TL is currently doing, PM should make effort to allow junior resources also to learn with TL the difficult tasks as this will enable them to learn things and eventually help them to grow in the company. This also empowers the overall team and makes task delegation easier.

 

4. People Manager – Managing the team well wherein he paves a listening ear to the team and their personal or work related issues if any. Maybe not every time PM can help but it gives a mental satisfaction to the team members that there is someone to listen to their grievances and they can focus on their work.

 

5. PM manages the change requests and enhancements such that they get to run with him. These activities are then planned and scheduled such that they do not affect a planned release. For e.g. in a project running on fixed cost and fixed time, and client is asking for a new or improved functionality. Say this effort is for additional 5 days so this need to be accounted for, client need to be made aware of this, have his approval on this change request and then modify the plan and pricing of the project accordingly.

 

6. Task Management and Assignment – PM manages the project in such a way that the most difficult of tasks in a project are given to more senior resource. If this is given to a lesser experience resource then this will delay not only the timeline of this task but will eventually drag the project. Also if a task requires more research than 1 person then in such cases more resources can be added to work on same task which is further divided in sub-tasks. This is done to keep up with the on time delivery of the project. For e.g. In one of my project in which a team of 3 resources were working, I came across a new feature of integrating a third party device. This task was assigned to the team lead as this was a new thing that we were doing and needed good experienced person to be engaged.

 

7. Short term staffing for specialized jobs – In a project there are sometimes situation where the team hits the wall, this is when there is something related with technology that needs to be done and team has zero experience on this. So in situation like these there need to be specialized people that need to be engaged, a good PM senses this during the course of the project and raises the request timely for a short term staffing of the resource on need basis in the project. It is also important that the knowledge acquired by this short term staffing is then transferred and retained to the original team as well, so that it can be handled in future. In one of the project, there was a requirement to create various environments like Dev, QA and Production in AWS, now since the dev team was not dexterous in installing these instances, I have to engage a senior Architect/DBA for this task on need basis who actually did created these instances with ease for the project.

 

8. Firefighting – There are situations when while developing an issue crops up, this can be known or unknown issue, in such instances the PM has to bring the team in firefighting mode wherein the team works much harder and longer to douse the issue at hand. This task is overseen by the PM himself by working in line with the team so that they are uplifted and motivated in working extra hours in such grim situations. So, PM has to be flexible in getting more out of the time at times while offering them compensatory offs at other times.

 

So, the PM’s role is very critical in getting a project delivered on time. He has to be on his toes and at best of his judgement to not only understand current situation but also to gauge what may happen in near future and be prepared to take decisions based on that to effectively manage the project delivery.

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John has been working in the HR industry for the last 20 years and has worked with various small to mid-size corporations in the US. For the last 6 months, John has been mulling over an idea for a software development product. He has been searching for the available products in the industry and found nothing that satisfies him. He can clearly see a gap and an opportunity for a great product. John discussed this idea with a friend Harry and he also seems to be very positive about it. John has no idea where to get this product developed or how to get it developed and what it will take. Harry has been working in a company which has outsourced a project and suggests John to try outsourcing the development of his idea. John likes it very much and started his search for the right company to develop his idea.
 
Outsourcing the development of a software product can be a great idea and it can yield excellent results in a very cost effective way. But the first step to get product development through outsourcing services is the key to success. This first step is consulting and finding the right partners for that. A great consulting partner can help you in many ways.
 
  • Market research – When you thought about the idea, you must have done a preliminary market research. But a professional consulting partner can help you with a thorough research for your idea. He can help with competitor analysis, gap analysis, product positioning, target demographics and give you a clear picture of how useful your product can be.
  • Converting an idea to a business case – Once you are convinced that your idea has the space and potential to fit in and do well, the next step is to give your idea a shape. The consultant can help, put your idea on pen and paper. This gives a concrete shape to your idea. When it is written, the idea converts to a business case.
  • Identifying the right channel to deliver your idea – Today’s world is full of channels through which you can reach to your customers. Your idea can be delivered through web, social channels like Facebook, applications on computers, mobiles etc. It is a key to understand the strength of your idea and your target demographics. Based on that right delivery channel(s) need to be chosen for the idea. Your consultants will show you statistics for usage of different channels based on demographics (location, age). A professional business consultant will help define that. 
  • Identifying the right technology – Once you know what needs to be developed and how it needs to be delivered, the next step is to choose the right technology platforms to develop it. Do you want to go for proprietary solutions or open source solutions? Which platforms, frameworks, programming languages and databases do you need? An experienced software solution consultancy partner will help you choose the best technology platforms to deliver your requirements through your chosen channels.
  • Finding the experts – Now you know the skills that you require. The next step is to find and hire those skills. At this level, your consultant will act as an effective HR for you and get you the right people to do the job.
  • Planning the execution – Now you have everything that you need to build the project. Its time to plan the execution. Today’s world does not want to wait for an year to get a taste of a new product. If you are going to take an year to bring your idea to world, someone else will get it out earlier. It is the age of MVP (Minimum Viable Product). Do not build too much. Do not try to give everything. Keep your idea lean and get it to the end users quick. Your users will tell you what they want most and build that. Give them what they want and not what you want to give them. Consultant will now put on the Product Manager’s hat and help you plan this.
  • Marketing – You are not building the product for yourself. You got to sell it as well. Your consultancy partner’s job is not complete until he helps you with marketing your product as well. Product development is just a small part; the big part is how you market it. So, consulting is the first and key step to getting an outsourced product developed and it helps you get the right resources for not only development but getting your product out and LIVE!
 
Harry introduced John to his offshore partners, Evon Technologies. John is now a happy client of Evon Technologies and has been working with Evon form last 6 months. The first prototype of his idea was launched in 4 months time, as an alpha release of the product. The Beta launch of the product is scheduled to happen in 1 month. Evon Technologies is providing complete end to end consulting services to John as a one stop shop preventing him to run at multiple places to satisfy his wide range of needs. 
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As part of our software development services, we are involved in maintenance and enhancement for software products for our clients. At times, these clients want to explore the option of rewriting the application on some latest technology. Quite often the technical team is also keen on rewriting the application on the latest technology, rather than digging into the existing code base for providing bug fixes or adding new features. While it may be appear to be an attractive option for the development team to sell the idea of development from scratch on the latest technology, there are a few misconceptions and high risks normally associated with the 'rewrite to fix everything' approach:

- Rewriting the code will take less time than fixing the issues: Software development projects nearly always take more time than initially planned. The bigger the project, higher are the chances for it to have cost and time overruns. You may well end up adding many new bugs into the system and having to incur cost of many test and bug fixing cycles before having a product which can be released.

- Existing code base is messy: As the software tends to evolve over time, the existing code base is likely to be messy, and is likely to appear messier to a developer who has not been involved in the initial development. Even with a rewrite, it is very likely that the new code will end up being as messy as your current code by the time development is completed.

- New Architecture and Framework will address all the current issues: It is not easy to define an architectural framework, which can handle all changes and enhancements, which may come in the future and still withstand the test of time in terms of maintainability, scalability and performance. What are the chances, that the same or new mistakes will not be made in the new approach and you do not end up facing the same or some more serious problems?

- Cutting Edge Technology: You may start the rewrite on a technology  which is seen on the day as cutting edge, but by the time you complete the development it may not longer be seen as the in thing. Also your current code base is very likely on a well established technology with a wide support base, which is not likely to be the case with the so called cool and latest technology.

Some other high risks associated with the rewrite approach are:

- High Risk of failure - There is a high risk after starting the rewrite you run into serious issues which lead to abandoning the project. This is more harmful in the scenario when your existing product with a customer base has been neglected over this time period as you have moved resources for the new development.

- Missing existing features and workflows - While rewriting the code there is a high risk that you will miss some features and workflows of the existing product. You can be sure it is this feature your customer base will miss the most after release.

The most important reason for your product to exist and have a wide customer base is because it solves a customer problem and makes their life easier. This should always be kept in mind while defining the development roadmap for your product. Any decisions of change in technology or platform should be made with this goal in mind. 

The best approach for any technology migration for your product should be planned in a gradual and iterative manner. Some key points which should be part of your strategy are:

- Re-factor the existing code base. Take up parts of the existing code base to re-factor, add useful comments, test and release.
  The key word here is Re-factor.  This is the least risky option.
- Identify modules or components which can to rewritten and migrated to a new technology with the least effort and risk. This will give you insight on the technology and also validate your approach.
- Develop the core parts of your product on the new technology as a parallel development without affecting the support and evolution for the existing product.
- Your customers may want some new features on your existing product. It is a good idea to release this on the existing product and get valuable customer feedback rather than promising the customer and keep them waiting for the release of the new version.
- Be aware of the end-of-life announcements regarding the technology you are currently using. Plan the migration to a new technology based on this timeline so that you are not rushed into it.

If you take up the porting of your product to a new technology with the above approach and take steps to mitigate the risks, while ensuring that the support to the existing customer and their needs are not compromised, you are more likely to succeed.

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Recruitment Process Outsourcing ExplainedNumber of companies globally are increasing to outsource their work. The leading countries to which work is being outsourced is India, followed by China, Malaysia and Thailand. These are currently the top nations for outsourcing work, whereas, nations like Brazil, Indonesia, Bulgaria and Philippines are also coming up strong in this sector.

 

A few different sectors in outsourcing are BPO's, KPO's, Data entry, IT sector, Health sector outsourcing and Financial sector outsourcing. 

 

What we really want to talk about here is, Outsourcing with Consulting and Implementation. This refers to outsourcing of work by a company, by consulting it with an outside party. This brings in the importance of an Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO). When a third party takes the responsibility to recruit or hire resources for a business it is known as RPO. 

 

A third party can be vested with all the hiring responsibilities for a business or only some of it. While outsourcing, the third party becomes directly responsible for the outcome of the recruitments done by them. The advantages for a business or a company while outsourcing with consulting is that, they are relieved from the headaches in identifying the right resources and can also be assured that they are hiring professionals for recruiting the right people for them. 

 

These consultants or hiring experts, act as a human resource department for a company and once, a business module along with the set of responsibilities at each level is discussed with them, they can get the recruitment underway accordingly. 

 

Companies can choose to outsource both their entire work or partially by consulting these third parties. Outsourcing is primarily done by companies in order to check on the operational cost of their business. 

 

This is also the core requirement of small and medium enterprises, which exist in countries with really high corporate taxes and extremely high labor costs as compared to developing nations like India, where, besides the cost of labor being far cheaper than their own nation, it also has economic stability.

 

But outsourcing cannot always be a great and reliable option because by doing so a company shifts it responsibilities to an outsourcer. 

 

By doing so, they can never be able to keep a close check on the day to day functioning of their own business and have to count on the outsourcer for the same. From employing resources to identifying and directly assigning responsibilities, all lies in the hand of the outsourcer. Hence, it is consistently poses some risks in regards to the achievement of the desired result of that business. 

 

So it is always a great idea, to have a third party adviser involved, which a company can entrust with doing the outsourcing on their behalf and thus, eliminating the level of risk substantially and creating a sense of security.

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Metro cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore are famous for doing any kind of business and why not, after all it is a dream of every entrepreneur to establish his or her business in these cities. But, have you ever thought about the pros and cons of doing business in these cities? Today, I would like to tell you why Offshoring to Tier 2 Cities is more beneficial than to big cities.

 

Our company, Evon Technologies, is situated in a small city named Dehradun- a city which is known for its pleasant climate and beautiful surroundings. A few years back nobody had thought offshoring business can grow here with such a pace, but today, our city is famous for the very same reason. After all, we have so many benefits here than in metro cities. Yes, you heard me right, the benefits that we don't get in metro cities. 

 

Startled by my statement? Let me tell you friends, what is the difference between offshoring to big cities and to Tier 2 Cities. 

 

Evaluating benefits of Offshoring to Tier 2 Cities & Limitations of Offshoring to Big Cities:

 

1. Offshoring to Tier 2 city saves money:

       To start any company, one would require a good amount of Capital. Investing money in the Tier 2 Cities is the best idea because there are various companies who started their business by investing a smaller amount of capital and the profit they earned in these few years has helped them grow many-folds.

 

It may sound an unconventional idea though, yet it always works. Invest Less and Get More Returns, will help you recover from the losses that may have occurred in past. Our company is one of the biggest examples for this. 

 

Initially Evon Technologies had started its business with a small setup, but gradually, with the growth of the company, it now owns premises in the IT park, which is known as the biggest IT hub of Dehradun. The company has not only grown financially strong but also maintained its reputation and trust among the clients. 

 

2. Low infrastructure cost:

       Infrastructure is one common thing which is required by any firm. To setup any business, you need a sound backup of infrastructure. Hence, to start any business, one should need to setup a good infrastructure unit. In Tier 2 Cities, the cost of infrastructure is low. Initially, one can easily setup ones business in one or two rooms and later, when the business has kicked off, the entrepreneurs can think big. 

 

3. Attrition chances are less:

       Nowadays, attrition is a big menace. Let me give you an example that my sales person shared with me. 

 

He was coordinating with a US based client who is in offshoring for more than 20 years of experience in onsite-offshore development model.

 

The client was working with an offshore team in Delhi from last 5 years. To meet the offshore team he has to travel every six months. In his every visit he noticed that 60% of the people are new faces. Also, in the time period of 5 years there was not even a single person available in three consecutive visits. Hence, even being the biggest client of the company, they were not able to retain the team members. The client was facing really big problem because of this and started looking for some good options in Tier 2 Cities and that's how we met them.

 

In Tier 2 Cities like Dehradun the attrition rate is very low, we hire people belonging to Dehradun and looking for long-term association. This kind of approach helps to hold the team for the long term. I have biggest examples sitting in our company, its been 9 years that we have started and we have people here, who are still associated with us since the beginning and they are happy and satisfied here. 

 

4. Tax Free:

       Various Tier 2 Cities are considered as a tax free zone or, if not then some of the area is called as a Tax free zone. 

 

SIDCUL, a Government department provides tax incentives to various companies that establish their plants on its industrial estate. As per SIDCUL policies, 100% tax exemption is given for first five years and approximately 30% for another 5 years. In Tier 2 Cities government provides these kind of facilities to both small and big companies. Besides, interest rates are also lower for the companies who establish business here. 

 

On the other hand, in big cities such kind of facilities are not provided to any company. A company has to pay tax and higher rate of interest to the government. No matter whether the business is running smoothly or not, the company has to pay complete tax and interest. 

 

5. Low cost of living:

       Cost of living in Tier 2 Cities is very low. Despite being small, these cities have everything like malls, hotels; we also have good supply of electricity, better connectivity of roads and well planned industrial areas. These are the key points that an entrepreneur looks before investing. One of the most favorable things here is that employees are local residents and thus, they don't have to pay any extra expenses like renting a house. Apart from this, people who are from other cities pay lesser rents as compared to metro cities. 

 

6. Less Commute and Higher Productivity:

       High productivity and less commuting time are interrelated to each other. In big city companies productivity is considered as a major issue. It is not because people are not working properly in these cities, but because people are surrounded with various problems that even spending 13-15 hours outside their homes they are hardly able to make out 6 hours of the productive work.

 

Commercial areas are situated in the center of the cities, whereas, homes are in the peripheral areas. Hence, it takes approximately 2-3 hours of traveling due to the heavy traffic. Apart from this, one has to look for various things like social activities, household duties and most importantly people are living without any family support and thus, they have to manage everything on their own. It is true India has become an excellent offshoring option due to cost benefit, but since last 20 years the cost of living has gone very high in big cities due to which these cities are losing cost benefit factor, combined with less focus at work. These were some instances due to which the productivity to cost ratio is going down in big cities.

 

But in small cities the work place is not more than 15 to 20 minutes away from homes. Most of the people are living with their family and thus have great support system. They are less stressed out and stay in peace. They can spend their 9-10 productive hours in office very easily without any stress, both physically and mentally. Besides, they can spend quality time with their family. 

 

The above analysis indicates that people working in Tier 2 Cities will give more productive hours than in metro cities. 

 

Above mentioned points no doubt explain the entire concept, Why Offshoring to Tier 2 Cities in India is Fruitful; but there is a saying that fits perfect here “Each Coin has Two Sides”. Likewise, with so many benefits, small cities have one small disadvantage as well, i.e., it is hard to get Plug and Play offices in Tier 2 Cities. 

 

In big cities its easy to get the offices with perfect interiors and infrastructure that suits the environment, whereas, in Tier 2 Cities it is hard to get such kind of offices. One has to establish the entire setup if one wants to run any enterprise. This is the only disadvantage we see in the Tier 2 Cities. 

 

As per my opinion, people who think doing business in Tier 2 Cities is the worst idea ever, I believe above mentioned points are enough to prove them wrong. Through this blog, I am not criticizing Offshoring to big cities, but I just want to convey a message, Offshoring to small cities can also prove a boon if you are a dedicated company like us. 

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This is a true conversation I had with a client, followed by my email to him a few months after this conversation.

 

Client: I would like to have a high quality, bug free application for my customers.

 

Me: Our developers are excellent, but we would need a good testing strategy to make sure that the application that goes live lives up to your and industry’s quality standards. 

 

Client: We are a startup and would like to keep the costs under control and would like to keep the testing budget down. 

 

Client: You need to take care of the quality at the development level.

 

Client: We will also do the testing of the application on our own.

 

Me: Okay, that would be great.

 

I wish, I hadn’t agreed…

 

Dear Client,

It has been a pleasure working with you from the very start when you came to us with your idea. Brainstorming with you about converting your idea to a feasible concept to develop and bring it to market has been wonderful. We have been awed by the groundwork that you have done about your idea and the concept documents that you came up with. Over the last couple of months, we have crossed a few phases together where we have produced the visual designs of the application, finalized a solution approach, setup the framework of the application and have developed a few modules of your requirements. The journey so far has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride. 

 

But now we are on the brink of a situation that can lead to a big RISK. My fault was that I submitted to your suggestion about cutting on testing budget during our initial discussion. That decision has led to the following concerns. 

 

  • We do not have a defined testing strategy. We do not have a test plan or test cases. 
  • In the absence of test cases, our developers do not have a documented way of covering all cases for a feature. Do you know that QA is the best person to document your requirement at a granular level? They do so by defining all the positive, negative, corner cases arising from the requirements, thus providing the developers a wholesome view of what all criteria each functional module should pass. So, essentially QAs act as a Business Analyst and are the guardians of your requirements.
  • Our developers are not only developing the application, but spending considerable time in testing the application as well.
  • Not only is the developer, our project manager is also spending good amount of time in testing the product before it is released to you. 
  • And finally, you, our customer are also spending valuable time on testing. In a nutshell all the people are spending time on doing the work that neither they are supposed to be doing, nor they are experts in doing that. 
  • As a result, frustration is creeping in the team at all levels and despite going out of the box in doing that, results are not great. 
  • And the lowest of low, we end up spending a lot more that what we should have in doing this job. The reasons for this are simple.
    • The product has to be tested. Period.
    • If QA will not test it, other people like developers, PM and you have to test it.
    • They will not do a better job than trained and experienced QA, as they are not experts. 
    • They will not be able to provide that kind of coverage as professional QAs can provide. 
    • And, believe it or not, developers, PM and your time is costlier than that of QA, at least in our company and in general in the industry as well. 
    • So, we are doing what has to be done anyway, non-experts are doing it, spending more than what we should and we are not getting the best results. 
    • So, it’s a Lose-Lose situation for all of us and all of us are getting frustrated.


Before all of us go nuts working the way we are and go over budget, I request you to please look into the matter. We need a testing strategy and your project needs a test plan. I am here to help you devise one. I just request you to please see through the situation and realize that we are not saving money but losing it by ignoring QA. QA is essential part of a development project and Test plan is as important as a Development plan.

 

Your’s truly, 

Service Provider

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Here, in this blog, I would like to tell you why marketing of a product should start when its development starts. I am sure, you may think what is the need to market any product at its pre-mature stage. You may also think it is the stupid idea ever because the idea can be leaked or copied, but, let me tell you friends that it is the best idea to start marketing any product when its development starts.

 

Well, nowadays, entrepreneurs are more focused on marketing products from their initial stage. The agenda of marketing a product at its initial stage is only to provide awareness. Give a brief description of your product and explain its benefits.

Why do now than later?

  • He did not like the flow! I can't recode that again.
We built our product/website/app with our own seed idea, however different perspectives and views always help to improve the product idea. By involving your social and professional network along with potential customers early in the product development lifecycle, you not only improve the chances of success but also reduce the time required for taking the product from inception to release in the market. Hence, the key is to develop the product iteratively with an inbuilt mechanism of Customer Feedback early in the development lifecycle.
 
  • I have launched the product on 10 January and I have 1000 users on 16 January.
The above statement impresses the investors the most. Marketing takes as long as building a product. Today just results are not important but, quick results are. Your early marketing will give you a seed user base which is most important.
 
Hence, the two important keywords are, “Early Feedback” and “Seed User Base or Clients”.
 
Also, we would like to emphasize on early development of marketing plan. Marketing of a product is not something that strikes your mind when you are taking a shower, rather a proper planning and research is required to develop any idea. The marketing plan has to be clear and target oriented. It should strike the audience directly, then only it will work.
 
The marketing ideas can be generated with the help of family and friends' reviews. Involving and sharing the ideas of both old and new generations bring experiences and modernity respectively that help you evolve a new idea. To start a marketing plan, one should follow some simple rules.
 

Sell yourself and your product from the start:

  • Social media, YouTube and various other promotional sites will help you to promote the product. Promotion is not only free on these sites, but also fast & easy. In the previous era, to promote any product entrepreneurs not only indulge their money in its development, but also in the promotion. But now, because of these social media sites, promotion is advanced and free. Create your videos explaining the idea and tell about yourself why this idea can be best implemented by you.
  • Create noise, be loud; this can be done by sharing your idea, as simple as you share the logo of your product on the Social Media with your friends and family. The likes and comments will not only encourage you but also help you to know whether this idea is fruitful or not. Reach is important!
  • Conduct the SWOT analysis in order to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the existing market. This will keep you connected with the changing market situations and enable you to take decision what to be done next.
  • Use more target oriented search for companies which specialize in giving a launch platform to startups and bring your idea into reality.

 

Choose the marketing options like, Social Media & Print Media and, step by step walk along through the things you have done for developing a product. Treat your product like a baby, and let the world know what all efforts you made to bring your product into maturity.

Just to give you some initial steps you should do:

  • Create Twitter, Google, LinkedIn and Facebook page for your product and promote it on these websites.
  • This page should be like your daily journal. Your frustrations, your happiness everything should be recorded.
  • Ask your friends and family to follow that page.
  • Create a simple blog, with the product user stories.
  • Share, Share, Share. Let ideas come in.

 

At the end, I would like to say, our company, Evon Technologies has a dedicated team focused on digital marketing of the products we build for our customers as well as our in-house products.

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Most Technology Start-ups take the following conventional approach in their endeavour to start a successful business :

 

- prepare an elaborate business plan

- pitch it to investors

- build a team

- develop and introduce a product

- sell the product

 

Research shows that 3 out of 4 start-ups end up failing in their endeavour somewhere along this path. In most cases, further the stage of the failure from the point of inception, higher is the cost of failure. 

 

The alternative Lean approach for Product Development by Start-ups is essentially based on the following philosophy :

 

- build a 'minimum viable product' based on continuous 'customer development'

 

In the Lean Start-up model the founders do not begin with a business plan, instead they begin with the search for a business model. In this approach, multiple quick iterations of experimentation and feedback are conducted which result in a business model that is executable.

 

This will typically follow the following sequence :

- Translate idea into business model hypothesis.

- interact with one or more customers to test the hypothesis and validate the assumptions about the customer needs.

- create a 'minimum viable product' to fulfill a customer need

- let your customers try out the product and get feedback

- based on the customer feedback develop the next iteration of the 'minimum viable product'

 

 

Business Model Hypothesis :

Founders are expected to briefly describe the hypothesis in a framework called Business Model Canvas. This involves listing out how the company will create value for itself and for its customers in the Business Model Canvas (shown below) provided by Business Model Generation. This is a template in which you need to answer a set of questions under 9 key areas resulting in the business model hypothesis.

 

canvas1.gif

Business Model Canvas

(SOURCE:WWW.BUSINESSMODELGENERATION.COM/CANVAS)

 

 

Customer Development :

Lean Start-up approach requires the founders to test their hypothesis with the potential customers. The founders reach out to the potential users, purchasers, and partners for feedback on all aspects of the business model including product features, pricing, affordable customer acquisition strategies and distribution channels. The feedback can result in the business model hypothesis being improved upon or an coming up with a new business model hypothesis by dumping the existing idea.

 

Agile Product development :

Lean start-ups practice something called Agile Development for product development. Agile development works hand-in-hand with customer development.

 

This approach does not involve the typical long product development cycles which run for several months and is based on assumptions of knowledge of customers’ problems and product needs. Agile product development aims to develop the 'minimum viable product' which include the minimum features for solving the specific customer problem. This minimum viable product is then tested with the potential users and customers to confirm that the objectives are achieved. This approach eliminates wasted time and resources by developing the product iteratively and incrementally and testing the 'minimum viable product' at the end of each iteration.

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_Agile-Development-Diagram.jpg

Agile Development

 

 

In conclusion, the Lean Start-up approach has the emphasis on nimbleness and speed and aims at reducing the cost of failure by the inbuilt mechanism of feedback and course correction at each stage.

 

New ventures can follow this approach to rapidly assemble minimum viable products and elicit customer feedback. This customers input is continuously used to revise their assumptions and then go through another development cycle, testing redesigned offerings and making further small adjustments (iterations) or more substantive ones (pivots) in case of ideas that are not working.

 

We at Evon Technologies have gained extensive experience in the above approach over the past eight years by working with many Start-ups. We can be a partner and service provider for Start-ups in their execution of the Lean Start-Up Model, by providing services in the following areas :

 

- Market Research

- Optimizing your Business Model

- Developing Market Requirements into Product Road-map

- Software Product Development and Quality Assurance

- Internet Marketing.

 

Learn More about Lean Startup Methodology : http://theleanstartup.com/#principles

 

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Posted by on in Company Achievements

The year 2014 has ended and at this time, we looked back to see what our company achieved in the past year.

 

We have decided to share our accomplishments with you:

 

Launched our own Product: FindNerd

 FindNerd - Social Network for Developers, a collaborative platform for all web & mobile developers.

FindNerd provides a social networking platform for Information Technology Professionals to share knowledge and provide solutions for the technical problems. It also provides a platform for hiring Technical resources for developing software solutions and tools for managing projects and team collaboration. 

 

For more information click on (www.findnerd.com)

 

Offshore QA for one of the biggest Apartment Rental Portals:

 

Completed one year of successful engagement with a  top property rental portal in US. We have helped them setup their complete offshore QA processes at Evon Technologies. In the last one year we have successfully established their QA team and helped them achieve better quality at effective costs.

 

Offshore development team for one of the fastest growing E-commerce platforms:

 

Successfully completed 2.5 years relationship with a US based E-commerce platform that provides complete end to end solutions to its customers to sell their products through multiple sales channels. The platform is geared to offer solution to small and medium businesses that increase their sales through various third party online sales channels and Point of Sale systems. Evon Technologies has helped them integrate various channels to the platform and enhanced their mobile PoS application.

 

Our Latest Launch: KarmaCircles

 

KarmaCircle - Request, Receive, Thanks KarmaCircles is an online collaboration platform for giving and receiving free help. Users can find experts from different walks of life, request for an online/in-person meeting and then thank them for their help. By helping others, people build their online reputation around various skills. In return for the help received, people are encouraged to make small donations for good causes supported by the help givers. Evon has architected, designed and implemented the complete solution from grounds up in 3 months time.

 

For more information click on www.karmacircles.com

 

New launch for our client: Sensei

 

Sensei App

Sensei apps provide mobile access to Tasks and Timesheet data from Microsoft Project Server’s Project Web App (PWA) while on the go and away from your computer. It allows project team members to update and submit task updates on projects in PWA. Evon Technologies has developed Sensei apps for iOS, Android and Windows mobile platforms.

 

 For more

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sensei-task-master/id798502807?mt=8

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.senseitestmaster.android

http://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/store/app/sensei-task-master/865eb2d5-59f7-4f59-9406-40e969492c1a

 

Our company got engaged with many small & big ideas and companies last year. We treasure most of the relationships that we have built.

 

Hope we continue building more as we go along.

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Lending LinuxCBT a mobile hand

b2ap3_thumbnail_Logo.pngIn the recent past more and more users have come under the umbrella of the Internet through both desktops and mobile devices. The explosion in the number of Mobile internet users has made it essential for all service providers to have a front end mobile application. Our client wanted a user friendly Android application for their tutorial website, which educates users on Linux, Unix and other open source technologies through video tutorials. Our Application Development Company was successful in establishing a mobile presence for our popular client, through an Android E-Learning application LinuxCBT.com.  The Application was built using the Android SDK 8 and functions with Android version 2.2 and above.

Getting the classroom to your Mobile

The LinuxCBT website provides a variety of training topics on Linux, Unix and Other open source topics and the application helps in further propagating these. The user friendly interface allows you to run the application as per your preferences; you can view free demos, subscribe to LinuxCBT.com and make payment for the same through a Paypal integration and access and update your existing LinuxCBT.com profiles.
 
b2ap3_thumbnail_LinuxCBT1.png  b2ap3_thumbnail_LinuxCBT2.png
Download now from GooglePlay 

Our Web developers created the backend API’s for the application, which were developed in PHP to stream videos to Mobile devices. The prevention of hotlinking was the focus while incorporating backend video streaming.  Our Web Design India Team created all the artworks for the application, making them fresh and coherent.
 
b2ap3_thumbnail_LinuxCBT3.png b2ap3_thumbnail_LinuxCBT4.png
Download now from GooglePlay

Your Creative Companions

1 Team lead, 1 Android Developer, 1 Web Developer and 1 Quality Analyst delivered the application in 2 month.

Helping people help themselves

The online tutorials provided by LinuxCBT.com help users in enhancing their skills without having to spend too much money on joining a training school. The ease of access ensures that more time is spent in actual learning than in travelling to learning centres. To a certain extent the philosophy of our Application Development Company is in coherence with this application. We strive towards helping our clients help themselves. All our developmental methodologies and processes are aimed at manifesting your ideas into profitable application which keep end users engaged to the extent of addiction.   
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