Backlog Management: Making Sure  Your Backlog Is Lean 

A lot goes into running an online business. An online business can be classified as a variety of different things. You can run a website, build software, create an app or a wide range of other ventures. While more and more people are venturing online to start a business, it isn’t an easy task. There is not only a lot of competition but many new startups (whether online or not), will fail.

However, running a business today can also be easier than ever. There are many tools, software, and programs that can help with numerous aspects of your business. For example, with how important coding is to many businesses, there have been several different tools that can assist with your coding and monitoring your app. If you want to learn more about some of them, check out this link: JavaScript Error Logging Service Error Handling.

Unfortunately, trying to do too much or bloating your company with tools or other things can also often be problematic. Clutter or bloating in a company can cause many issues, and this is especially true when it comes to your backlog. A backlog is a collection or list of different new features, bug fixes, changes and more than your team wants to implement. If this backlog is too big or clogged up with stuff, it can hurt your business in many ways. It can slow down innovation, lead to confusion and can greatly reduce your time to market. With that in mind, this article is going to look at a couple of different tips to ensure your backlog is lean. 

Do Your Best to Prevent or Eliminate Waste

When you have a ton of unnecessary items in your backlog, it does nothing but wastes both time and resources. It can also make it quite tough to focus on the actual important items that could be buried in the backlog. As a result, you should get rid of any unnecessary entrants. Reducing the inventory to only things that are essential can go a long way. 

In addition to this, you should be sure to prevent any future waste or overproduction in your backlog. This means you should only look to provide what customers and users actually need, and not try to go above and beyond by overproducing. This will keep everything clean and concise and helps people focus on what is most important. 

Know When to Say No

As you are likely aware, it can be incredibly challenging to say no. This is especially true at the workplace and responding to colleague or coworker requests. However, when dealing with your backlog, it is incredibly important to be able to say no. Any ideas or potential entries that don’t contribute to the overall goal of the team should be declined.

This will ensure your product, software, company or program never becomes bloated. Sure, turning ideas down can be disheartening, it needs to be done. The less amount of items within the backlog, the leaner it will be. Even if something might be important later on, refrain from adding to the backlog to ensure it stays lean. Instead, you could add it to your roadmap or simply keep it on the back burner until it is time to make use of it.

Manage and Prioritize Your Backlog 

Of course, how your team actually manages the backlog can have a huge impact on how lean it is. You need to come up with a management plan and ensure everyone is on the same page regarding it. Everyone should be a part of ensuring the backlog is continuously updated and kept fresh. 

In addition to managing the backlog, it needs to be prioritized as well. You and your team need to work together to decide when and how each item should be implemented. Is it needed right now? Or can it wait for a future update? Addressing this early and often will make sure your team always knows how to move forward. 

In conclusion, hopefully, this blog post is able to help you make sure your backlog is lean. 

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How to Keep Your Business Premises Secure

Nowadays, when the topic of keeping one’s business safe is brought up, the majority of people think about protecting their enterprise in the digital environment. However, what about office materials and supplies, the safety of your office employees, confidential information stacked on office desks and corporate cars parked outside during the night? In retail, substantial amounts of money are stacked inside, which makes it all into a valuable target for thieves, burglars and other malicious third-parties. All in all, keeping your business premises secure is far from simple, yet, there are more than a couple of ways in which you can do so. Here are six of them.

Keep the surroundings tidy and well-illuminated

The vast majority of burglars are likely to attempt breaching your premises during the night and to do so, they’ll use landscape to sneak up. By keeping the surroundings of the office tidy enough and well-illuminated, you’ll make the environment itself act as a powerful deterrent. The very idea that they can be seen approaching the place from miles away may be enough to sway some potential burglars. Also, keep in mind that any debris or ill-placed landscaping element might serve as a temporary cover. Therefore, try some strategic planning when organizing your premises.

Invest in the monitoring system

The next thing you need is a reliable security system. This ranges from a surveillance system all the way to your locks and alarms. First of all, the very existence of a surveillance system is a deterrent. Second, it provides you with evidence that you can use, later on, in court. Third, it has more than anti-burglary uses. This way, you can also check who and when came to visit your premises, which is incredibly important for your visitor system (something we’ll discuss a bit later). Make sure to find a reliable alarm monitoring system in order to keep your premises safe and sound at all times.

Work on your visitor system

Even in a fictional scenario where you can trust your staff with 100 percent certainty (which is never the case), you need to understand that visitors still pose a substantial threat. Therefore, you need to write a visitor access policy and come up with a system that should allow you to carefully monitor them every step of the way. You can start by handing them out name tags or safety vests, not just for their safety but also so that they can be spotted from a mile away. Even better, they need to be escorted by an employee while on the premises. This employee is there to guide them through all the areas that they have access to. Namely, this is probably the only way for you and a visitor to be completely safe.

Focus on entry points

The most logical step in securing your premises lies in making sure your entry points are properly organized. Generally speaking, every business needs to have a checkpoint (other than emergency exit) through which every visitor and employee needs to pass on the way to their post. Most commonly, you’ll place the receptionist on the entry, as well as hire a security guard. The routine checkup that every visitor has to undergo depends on your personal decision. Just keep in mind that you still want visitors to feel welcome, so turning your premises into a fortress might be a bad idea. Therefore, you need to find a suitable compromise which is nowhere near as easy as it sounds.  

Safeguard important equipment and data

When it comes to protecting your company’s most important assets, equipment and data security is crucial. Not all of your workplace should be off limits but there are some areas where this would be a smart idea. A storage, records room and conference room should be off-limits to visitors. In fact, even your own staff might have limited access to these areas. Sure, distrusting your own workforce is a bad business practice, but we shouldn’t pretend, even for a second, that employee theft isn’t a real threat. Keep in mind that where there’s a valuable asset, there’s a basis for temptation and you can only research so much during your vetting process.

Be careful what you announce in public

Some businesses prefer to take photos of their premises and upload them on their website, which is a sound strategy, yet, not always a wise one. You see, giving people a chance to do a survey of your office and its surrounding without any effort is generally a bad practice. Second, if your office is undergoing works, which is something that might cause a lapse in its security, the last thing you want to do is announce this publicly on social networks. Sure, you need to notify your clients and partners, but try to keep this list on a need-to-know basis.

Conclusion

At the very end, you need to understand that there are so many different factors that go into keeping your business safe. Sadly, it takes a lapse on a single front for this entire system to collapse. Therefore, you need to be thorough, systemic and take a comprehensive approach that allows for future upgrades.

Hard Data on Soft Skills – Softfactors Competency Index™

People analytics can measure what was considered unmeasurable before – soft skills. Technology has given us the tools and techniques, and this is what we do at softfactors AG. Our tests measure competencies in key areas through a series of fun, intuitive, interactive and quick online activities. We have combined self-description, with ability testing and behavioral assessments.

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What Soft Skills are mostly required in today’s Jobs?

Delivery, Collaboration, Drive and Communication are becoming more and more important in today’s jobs. While Communication is on everybody’s list, the high score of Delivery and Drive are definitively somewhat surprising. At Softfactors we measure and observe competency trends, using our set of 25 competencies. They are grouped into 5 categories: Dealing with People, Interpersonal Skills, Dealing with Business, Thinking Skills, and Personal Qualities. The Softfactors Competency Index™ looks at all competencies by function (i.e. marketing) and role (i.e. senior expert or team leader). And the picture – not surprising – holds a list of commonly used skills that are important for the 21st century. The top 4 competencies and their detailed facets are:

  1. Delivery
    Completer and finisher, know how to organize people and activities, figure out the processes necessary to get things done, know what to measure and how to measure it.
  2. Collaboration
    Build consensus among colleagues, peers and clients, recognize the business concerns and perspectives of others, identify shared interests and common ground, focus on issues and interests instead of people or positions, gain others’ support for ideas, proposals, projects and solutions.
  3. Drive
    Strength of will, take initiative, dynamic and assertive, good stamina, identify what needs to be done and do it before being asked or before the situation requires it, ambitious.
  4. Communication
    Listen well, ask pertinent questions, arguments are business-like and substantiated, pass information on to others, express clearly in conversations and writing, identify and present information or data that has a strong effect on others, encourage debate and not afraid to end it and move on, deliver tough messages with sensitivity.

To our surprise, the “doer” attitude that helps foster “Delivery” has been somewhat stronger than Communication, which we expected to be the most popular competency in our Softfactors Competency Index™. Together with the competency “Drive” the picture gives a strong “can do” attitude of the worker in the 21st century: making things happen seems to be a key element over all competencies.

Which Competencies are important for leaders?

For leadership positions (Managers, Executives and Managers of Managers) the picture looks somewhat different. The top 4 competencies for leaders are:

  1. Leading People
    Set direction, establish focus, decide on action, assign responsibility, delegate appropriately, mobilize commitment, provide motivational support, empower others, develop others and manage performance.
  2. Communication
    Listen well, ask pertinent questions, arguments are business-like and substantiated, pass information on to others, express clearly in conversations and writing, identify and present information or data that has a strong effect on others, encourage debate and not afraid to end it and move on, deliver tough messages with sensitivity.
  3. Decision Making
    Break down problems into all facets, define the root causes of a problem, generate a range of solutions, weigh pros and cons of options, use lessons learned, make decisions with limited or unclear information, easily explain the rationale for a decision.
  4. Business Responsibility
    Integrate executive direction into decisions and actions, align products/services/actions with the organization, monitor resources, seek ways to reduce costs, adhere to internal control procedures and standards, actively uphold company regulations and policies.

Basis of the Softfactors Competency Index™ are the data of hiring organizations using the Softfactors recruiting suite. Analyzed were published jobs primarily in Switzerland, Germany, Austria and the UK in 2016. Watch this space, we are going to monitor and publish more data about soft skills as they become available. We will be reporting them in the Softfactors Competency Index™.

Download our white paper “Putting Soft Skills at the Heart of Recruiting” here.

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Source: softfactors | smart digital recruiting