Customer-driven development: 3 ways to make customers part of R&D

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You invested tons of money to develop a new capability in your software. It passed all QA tests, from functionality to performance to security. But customer calls are streaming into your support team, each complaining about how the new release has negatively affected the user experience. The software generates defects if customers use your product in a way that was not specifically tested by R&D, such as in different environments or when run on alternative configurations. Continue reading

Starup = Growth

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A startup is a company designed to grow fast. Being newly founded does not in itself make a company a startup. Nor is it necessary for a startup to work on technology, or take venture funding, or have some sort of “exit.” The only essential thing is growth. Everything else we associate with startups follows from growth. Continue reading

People Wranglers or Individual Contributors?

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Companies are finding new ways to improve the way they run. One of those ways is rethinking the way the company is structured and review the opportunities for career progression. In the most basic form, companies have the choice of opting for a flat or hierarchical structure. Continue reading

7 Great Financial Resolutions for 2016, and How to Keep Them

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Financial New Year’s resolutions are really common, but they can be some of the toughest to stick with. If you choose the right resolutions, though, and use the right tools, you should be able to make a big positive difference in your finances this year.

Here are seven different resolutions you might make and a bunch of resources that will help you out. Continue reading

I’m Sorry, But Agile Won’t Fix Your Products

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If you don’t regularly read Steve Denning’s work, you should. He’s one of the better writers on the future of work. In an article he wrote for Forbes last week, he starts by stating that the Agile product development method has gone mainstream, but poses the question as to whether it has now become a fad like so many other management theories. His conclusion is that Agile is not merely a fad because, Continue reading

Three Tips for First-Time Gen-Y Leaders

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The backlash for first-time business leaders, namely those from Gen Y who were born between roughly 1982 and 1994, is at the watercooler, at the company happy hour and even in the carpool home.

Often referred to as the “Me Generation,” members of Gen Y are scrutinized for their perceived sense of entitlement and their workplace tendency to “march to their own drummer.” Continue reading

Top 10 Ways to Lead by Example

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Good leaders must lead by example. By walking your talk, you become a person others want to follow. When leaders say one thing, but do another, they erode trust–a critical element of productive leadership. Here are 10 of the many ways to lead by example. Continue reading

The Age of Unicorns

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The billion-dollar tech startup was supposed to be the stuff of myth. Now they seem to be … everywhere.

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Stewart Butterfield had one objective when he set out to raise money for his startup last fall: a billion dollars or nothing. If he couldn’t reach a $1 billion valuation for Slack, his San Francisco business software company, he wouldn’t bother. Slack was hardly starving for cash. It was a rocket ship, with thousands of people signing up for its workplace collaboration tools each week. What Slack needed, Butterfield believed, was the cachet of the billion-dollar mark. Continue reading

These 15 “Soft Skills” Define the A-Team

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In the 1980s and 1990s I placed hundreds of people in management positions. A few dozen got quickly promoted multiple times. I met up with one of them last week who’s now an EVP with an F250 company. Many of the hiring managers who hired these people had similar track records of success. Coincidently, I was at a business conference with a number of them last month. These two events got me thinking about all of these people – the hundreds and the dozens – and what they had in common. Continue reading

20 Great Small Business Ideas for 2015

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New year, new business. If you’re like most people who dream about starting their own business, finally taking that leap is likely one of your New Year’s resolutions. For many would-be entrepreneurs, however, not knowing what kind of business to start is holding them back. Having the entrepreneurial spirit running through your veins is rarely enough — entrepreneurs also need a great business idea to make their dreams come true.

Here are plenty of great small business ideas to get you started. Continue reading

10 Reasons You Have To Quit Your Job In 2015

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This was going to end badly.

My boss screamed at me in front of my colleagues. I had done something wrong of course. I had sent a product to the client without debugging it thoroughly. It was my fault. But I don’t like being yelled at.

And fortunately I was sitting on a job offer that I decided to take that moment. So the next day I said the magic words, “I quit”.

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Distracted? 11 Hacks That Will Help You Focus

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Sound familiar? If procrastination and a lack of focus are problems for you, check out the infographic below by Anna Vital, information designer at Funders and Founders. These 11 tricks to help you get your focus on, if you can pay attention long enough to remember them. Some Cliff’s notes: Classical music and pets are helpful, a cluttered desk and an uncomfortable chair are not.

Check out the rest of the advice and get to work.

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4 Reasons Why an Online Business is the Best Investment You Will Ever Make

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Entrepreneurs are a rare breed of individuals who are constantly exploring new business opportunities. Some seek out new opportunities on their own while others are constantly being pitched new ideas.

The majority of opportunities, no matter how good they might sound, end up being a complete money-sucking nightmare due to expensive overhead, slow scalability and low margins. Online businesses, however, can be very appealing because they don’t have the traditional hurdles that most new ventures face. The following are four reasons why online businesses are the best investment entrepreneurs can make. Continue reading

Product Owner or Product Manager?

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Can one person be both a Product Owner and a Product Manager? After spending nearly three years combining the role, I have now come to the conclusion that the answer is no.  It is an “or” – you are either a Product Owner OR a Product Manager.  Now, that is not to say that one cannot grow from one role to the other, but trying to perform both functions at the same time can be counter-productive.  Here are the reasons that have led me to this conclusion.

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The Politics of Agile

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In the world of agile software development, it seems like Marketing and Development are in a race for control of ‘the product.’ Who will win? The flakes in Marketing or the geeks in Development?beingagile

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10 Calculated Risks That Lead To Startup Success

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There is an old saying that good lawyers run away from risk, while good businessmen run towards risk. Entrepreneurs see “no risk” as meaning “no reward.” In reality, all risks are not the same. Many risks can be managed or calculated to improve growth or provide a competitive edge, while others, like skipping quality checks to save money, are recipes for failure.

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