Author Archives: Globality Consulting

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet on Bug reporting

Software TestingUltimate goal of bug reporting is to make an application more stable and allow developers to fix it without any trouble.  Bug reporting is a skill and art that needs to be practiced regularly. Efficient bug reporting depends on your understanding of business requirements, scenarios you tested, ability to differentiate between an average bug and good bug, details you capture and how simply you present to developers.

There are noticeable differences between developers and testers over bug reporting. Every now and then bug is rejected by developers as irreproducible and it doesn’t go well with testers since they can reproduce it. This is one of the minor differences that raise several misconceptions about software testing.

I work closely with QA and development teams in IT industry and have created an ultimate cheat sheet on bug reporting. Points mentioned in this cheat sheet are tried and tested and have been approved by several project managers and clients. These points and template will certainly enhance the efficiency of your bug reporting skills.

Art of Bug Reporting:
Art of Bug Reporting
There is certain type of result that is expected in every bug reported by a QA team.  As a tester, bug reporting is more of a documentation of your findings due to which it should be very simple. Developers, project managers or even a layman should be able to understand and reproduce that bug.

Simplest 4 point format which I and my team use in for bug reporting. Bug description should include:

  • Scenario: List all steps that tester took that will help others to replicate the bug. These steps can also include basic information such as name of browser on which you tested, clearing cache etc.
  • Expected result: The final result which is expected based on business requirement and which end user will see by following above steps.
  • Actual result: The result which is currently visible to user and which could be correct or incorrect.
  • Additional Data: Any additional information, observation or special instruction which is useful for team to replicate it, including which browser and OS used, relevant screenshots, any video recording that captures any intermittent bugs, adding references to the specifications etc.

Once you have described the bug based on this template, you will notice that not only that you have captured required information relevant to reproduce the bug, you have also answered any potential question from developers. You will also find it relatively easy to fill following important fields of any bug tracking tool:

  • Bug Title: This has to be one liner, crisp and precise. You have already covered details in bug description
  • Product Name: It will be name of the product, project or module you are testing
  • Version: Version of build, module or product
  • Operating System: Windows, Mac, Linux etc. along with their versions
  • Priority: It is generally set from P1 to P5. P1 means Bug needs to be fixed on highest priority and P5 means Fix the bug as time permits
  • Severity: Business impact of bug. There are 6 types of severity and one needs to be selected:
    1. Blocker: Further testing cannot proceed
    2. Critical: Application crash, Loss of data etc.
    3. Major: Major loss of function
    4. Minor: Minor loss of function
    5. Trivial: UI enhancements
    6. Enhancement: New feature or Change request
  • Status: Bug status which shows whether it is new, fixed, reopened, verified or won’t fix
  • Assign To: This is critical – Be very sure which developer is responsible for this. If you don’t know whom to assign, leave it blank so that manager can assign to developer. In this case, add manager email in CC so that he gets notified.

I have experienced a huge improvement in quality of bugs reported, higher bug closing rate and overall coordination effort using this bug reporting template and process. Yes, initially it seems a time consuming process but this is a key for any good but report. This is main communication between developers, testers and project managers which can be easily tracked in case of any disputes.

I am sure this ultimate cheat sheet of bug reporting will be remain handy for all QA managers and project managers as quality bug reporting saves lot of time that goes in explaining and reproducing bugs, maintaining good relationship between testers and developers.

This article is based on my learning and experience. I believe there could be more changes, scenarios based on which we can customized bug reporting template and process.

Do you have recommendations or examples which could be helpful for others? Share with us – we are open for learning.

2015 Social Media Map: Tools with Links

social-media-map-customIt is amazing to see how social media has evolved in past 10 years. We can see an evolving social media landscape through Social Media Map which Overdrive interactive has recently updated, that index majority of social media tools. Their map is a valuable social media marketing resource, but I noticed that some very good tools are missing from their list, but it still acts as a quick cheat sheet for any social media marketer and especially who are new to this field.

Social media map lists majority of social media tools including social media websites, social media apps, social media tools and platforms. Anything which falls under social media solution in general, you will probably find it in this downloadable map with live links to those tools.

While you review this map, you will notice that it is a good example of content marketing strategy as well. Through their landing page, they are sharing valuable data in exchange of basic contact details. They are effortlessly generating database for their leads without even pitching for their services. I believe anyone who wants to download this map, will not mind sharing this information.

I have listed all the categories from the map with few popular tools with their links. You can view the full map below and also download the map with links from Social Media Map.

social-media-map-large

25 Common Misconceptions about Software Testing

Misconceptions about software testingTeams involved with developing, managing, and maintaining software often have misconceptions about software testing. Potential workers and new testers feel lot of frustration due to these common misconceptions and misbeliefs and make them unhappy about their work. Companies have lost their clients when they failed to counter these myths, understand the importance of software testing, QA project plan and difference between goal and mindset of testing which is different for developer and for tester.

I’ve worked closely with IT industry in past 10 years and especially with software testing business units. I have seen how management formulates the career growth plans for developers and testers based on these misconceptions. They promote a strong belief that software testing job is inferior to software development job. I have seen projects falling apart due to these misconceptions and partiality of management towards developers. They don’t understand that both software development and testing are equally valuable for the quality of the software product and they are interlinked for project success.

I have listed few common misconceptions about software testing which are popular in IT industry. Few of these can raise series of arguments, but objectively these are very common misconceptions and practices that are followed in mid and small level software vendors across globe. In my case, I hear point 1, 2, 16, 22 and 24 on daily basis. Let me know yours.

  1. Software testing is no brainier job and doesn’t require any specific skills. I found this interesting image to convey exactly what management and software developers feel about testers.Tester Profile
  2. Testing efforts are standard 20% of overall development estimates.
  3. Involving testers in early stage of project is just a formality and can be skipped.
  4. Testers are required to act as business analyst and understand the project flow by themselves without participating in any kickoff meeting and project discussions.
  5. Testers shouldn’t give recommendation as it causes unnecessary project delays.
  6. In entire team, only testers are required to have excellent communication skills as they report bugs.
  7. Developers make good testers and both have same goals in deliverable.
  8. Website, desktop or mobile testing is less prestigious then software development.
  9. Manual Testing is inferior to Automation Testing.
  10. Unit testing should be done by tester not by developer.
  11. Testing team is a liability and an expense to company as only small amount of testing is required to validate the development.
  12. Testing process is only meant for corporate website and marketing collateral.
  13. To save time, testing can be done on developer’s machine.
  14. Testing with agile methodology means less documentation.
  15. Testers should follow developers work schedule.
  16. Testers don’t get along with developers. Myth which is majorly promoted by management as their divide and rule policy. This is one myth which can tarnish any project if not proactively controlled by project managers.
  17. Involving developer will speed up the implementation of test automation.
  18. Automation testers do not have to bother themselves with manual testing.
  19. Automated testing requires minimum of tester’s activity and attention.
  20. Testers are mad, bug hunters and they are the forever skeptics.
  21. Testers do not need any professional training and certifications. They can train themselves while working on their projects.
  22. Exhaustive testing can make software Bug Free.
  23. Software Testing has nothing to do with creativity, all they do is write or design test cases.
  24. Quality testing means number of test cases executed by tester in a day.
  25. Test case Reviews are a one-time effort.

Greatest challenges in customer service industry today

customer-service-effortsGreatest challenge in customer service industry today is to have well-structured and strategized customer service philosophy implemented within the company. To have an edge in current global competition, business requires redefining how you engage with clients.

My article on greatest challenges in customer service industry is focused on sharing my learning from my discussion with several leaders in this industry, from several articles and white papers. My purpose is to share my own belief on how to address these challenges in client engagement along with create a traceability matrix to improve my skills.

Changing_Mind_SetToday’s customer service industry is not an old school customer support program; rather it’s a customer centric revolution.  Companies need to understand that customer success is not an overnight process and a one man show – entire company should stand together to understand what value customer is seeking. They have to collect, analyse data relevant to clients business, way of using vendor services and propose improvements and new solutions instead of just selling and delivering the services.

As a client engagement manager, I strongly believe in the fact that customer makes their own success.  I, our product and services didn’t make them successful.  This truth helps me to keep my customers first and think how I can serve them better. It is imperative that we as a group believe that project success is much more than just delivering services or support.

For a business to deliver on its customer centric promise, our mind-set needs to be changed by weaving customer insight, intelligence, and feedback to every step we take in engaging with customers.  It is important that we clearly understand few facts and challenges on this industry:

  • Customers are no longer beholden to the vendors selling them services
  • It is critically important to retain the customer we paid to acquire
  • Every day is a test to prove our worth to win customer loyalty, grow relationship and continue to earn their business
  • Just one phenomenal customer experience can make world of difference when it comes to work-of-mouth promotion
  • Biggest challenge is to digest that we don’t push customers towards our vision of success, rather we need to push them for their vision

Hopefully companies have started realizing the facts that customer needs more attention apart from just our services and products. Companies have started putting efforts in structuring the way to determine whether clients are getting value or not in addition of motivating their employees to stand together for their client success. They are proactively organizing to face challenges in customer service industry.

Note:
Thanks in advance for reading my article. I’d request all readers to share their experiences along with valuable tips, documents such as client servicing traceability matrix, any check list or templates to measure engagement efforts or customizable strategy for client servicing specially for IT industry. You can send your documents at hello@globalityconsulting.com. I’ll make sure that I mention about you along with your thought in my next article!!

Techniques for Effective and Active Communication

Remote TeamsEffective and active communication is one of the important key for better results especially when you need to work with teams stationed globally or even if in the same premise. Irrespective of location, we should feel connected with our teams at all the time.

There are several easy and known ways to remain connected, but thanks to our busy schedule we don’t notice and use them. Here is a well-known and easily available list of techniques which we can use as checklist to connect with teams whether remotely or within same office.

1. Stick to meeting scheduler and avoid unplanned meetings till its super urgent. Manage and update the schedule regularly.

2. Prepare the meeting Agenda and RACI in advance. It will allow each participant to know their role in meeting and help them to engage actively.

3. Keep the meeting agenda light, don’t cram it and give team a chance to connect and breathe.

4. Before you meet or start any meeting, send all the required assets in advance so that others can follow the agenda.

5. In remote session, Always ask for the inputs in FIFI way as in First In & First Input and then pull in others quickly before they feel left out of discussion.

6. Plenty of online tools are there to connect with remote teams visually, such as Skype, GoToMeeting, Google Hangouts etc.

7. Motivate all the team members to participate in electronic calls if you are managing a specific team instead of sticking to one point of contact – it gives sense of responsibility to all members of the team and also make them feel that you are a good leader who thinks of everyone.

8. Organize team building programs in every 3-6 months, it will help cross functional teams to improvise their bonds.

9. Never forget special days related to your team – imagine how you feel if your boss shouts at you on your birthday without wishing you?

10. Break the ice with team if they are nervous with light discussion. Don’t carry your title to meeting, keep it open for all. After all it’s your team which delivers the project, not your title or tag.

11. Appreciate the good work, you can either walk to the person & congratulate or send quick note over an email/chat or just a small hand written note will also do.

12. Maintain free flow of communication, involve team in discussions and maintain transparency on decisions so that team can learn to work together.

Importance of QA Project Plan

Software TestingManaging QA in outsourcing mode has been one of the biggest challenges for all business owners. Lack of factual QA project Plan makes entire engagement so costly that businesses owners don’t feel secure and end up spending more efforts than required.

It is highly recommendable that testing service providers and business owners collectively should define a high-level project plan and a test strategy to accomplish desired QA results. A typical outsourcing QA project plan should consist following (no fix sequence):

  1. Introduction and Overview: Document should include a brief introduction about the team and company supporting the project along with QA objectives on this project.
  2. Scope: Should contain exact scope of the work as in what will be covered, possible action items and information/tasks which will not be covered in QA.
  3. Assumptions and Exceptions: Should list all the possible assumptions and exceptions which QA team will take based in defining the strategy based on the requirements. This will also include the list of exceptions and limitations related to the test infrastructure.
  4. Team Chart: This will help to understand roles and responsibilities of respective QA members and stakeholders associated with this project. It will also help client to reach a relevant person directly in case of any clarifications.
  5. QA Workflow: This will define the how the QA strategy will be met. It will describe methodology proposed and why, validation methods and type of test data required and if work is divided into test groups to easily manage major functionalities. This will also define what type of testing will be done in the project such as Regression, Unit, Integration, System, GUI etc.
  6. QA Recommendation: This will include any recommendation which QA team will provide to client. It will depend on the review of development work, requirement etc. QA recommendations could be anything starting from automating the test process to filling any missing gaps in requirement. This will be done at different stages of the development and has to be aligned to client requirement.
  7. Review of Test Infrastructure: It is important to assess the test infrastructure so that once project starts team doesn’t face challenges related to time consumed in loading the data etc. Clear information on test infrastructure is one of the perquisites for final production.
  8. QA Tools: This will detail all the processes and tools which will be utilized in the project. It will include list of project management, configuration management, bug tracking or any test case management tool along with framework and names of the recommended automation tool. This will also cover the usage details of any tool which is picked for the project.

Recommended ReadHow to Choose a Right Outsourcing Partner

We believe above list will work as a checklist for developing a reliable QA project plan and will come very handy while working with QA teams.

Google’s Balloon-Powered Internet For Everyone – Project Loon

google-project-loonGoogle’s dream to provide internet access to everyone around the world covering rural and remote areas made Google’s research and development team to come up with a unique solution under the name of Project Loon, Balloon-Powered internet for all. Project Loon began in June 2013 with an experimental pilot in New Zealand and tested this technology in Christchurch and Canterbury.

As per Wikipedia, this project uses high-altitude balloons placed in the stratosphere at an altitude of about 20 km (12 mi) to create an aerial wireless network with up to 3G-like speeds.  Interestingly, the desired direction and speed of the Balloon can be determined using the wind data provided by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and users can access the internet through balloon network using special internet antenna’s which will be on their buildings or roof tops.  For balloon-to-balloon and balloon-to-ground communications, the balloons use antennas equipped with specialized radio frequency technology.

There are many interesting (Must Read) facts available on internet on the technology used, how the design is prepared and how Balloon will fly in space and how each balloon will communicate between them. I am more excited to see its design and its concept of charging it’s electrical components through solar panels due to which I believe there are low chances that it will disconnect occasionally.

Google has explained it in a very simple way on how Loon balloon is designed to stay aloft for three trips around the globe on Loon’s Google+ site. To us, it might sound easy and small thing but imagine how difficult it will be to manage Loon Balloon’s which are floating 12 miles above the earth with no human in it and they are flying in different zone, oceans etc.

I believe the idea to design this technology will allow countries to avoid using expensive fiber cables, where cost of installing underground fiber is high and at times impossible to reach rural and remote areas.  This will also increase the usage of internet and will allow us to explore and connect with those areas, which are yet untouched.

Google-LoonProject Loon has been welcomed with warm hands. However, there are many concerns, which also cropped up.  Since Google does not yet define the cost of this project, talks are there that it will not be that cheap for rural population to afford and hence might lose the determination and will might end up being an another tool for government or agencies to invade privacies. Some experts also criticized it by saying that it is an an attempt to increase market share.

Bill Gates criticized Project Loon, stating that: “When you’re dying of malaria, I suppose you’ll look up and see that balloon, and I’m not sure how it’ll help you. When a kid gets diarrhea, no, there is no website that relieves that.”

Despite of all the criticism, project loon is making its way to go public and positively soon we will see them in our air. I am anxious to see how these balloons going to float in our space and what will be our reaction.

New Google Hummingbird Algorithm

google-hummingbird-mainOn September 27, Google’s official birthday, Google celebrated its 15th birthday by launching its new algorithm named Hummingbird, which stands for “precise and fast”. Google Hummingbird claims that Google search can be a more human way to interact with users and provide a more direct answer.

Google maintained a very low profile and have quietly deployed Google Hummingbird on August 30th, 2013 before making formal announcement.  Google senior vice president Amit Singhal said that this is the largest algorithm update in three years, the last update was three years before the “caffeine plan.”

Singhal said that the update can make use of more complex search requests and has a better understanding of the concept of human language, rather than a few scattered words. This new algorithm is a big step forward in the Internet history as searches will be more “human friendly” than ever.

In simple words, Google Hummingbird will make search so human that it will focus on the meaning behind the words and help Google go beyond just finding pages with matching words and return the results, which actually make more sense and connected with one’s search. Content creation and optimization continues to be as important as ever and the focus on quality is more important than ever.

google-panda-penguin-hummingbirdFor those who still wondering about Panda and Penguin and believe that Google hummingbird is just another algorithm change, then it is imperative that we understand that Penguin and Panda were just few updates and changes to the algorithm while Google Hummingbird is replacement of entire algorithm which will have old changes made for panda and penguin as well.

Useful

There are few tips, provided by experts to have benefits from Google hummingbird:

  • Create a strong social strategy to share your content and build authority links naturally
  • Focus on semantic analysis while researching keywords
  • Convey the message to site visitors in crisp and precise way
  • Optimize sites for mobile, which is one of the main sources of traffic now days
  • Manage your content based on the concept that Google Hummingbird is going beyond normal search and it is going behind the question or search criteria to fetch the results. There is no more keyword-matching concept. It is user intent and detailed information
  • Authorship and Structured Data are going to be more important going forward

Will it have any impact on number of site visitors? There is no way to know or measure it however there may be a possibility that you will notice a decline in visitor count due to Google hummingbird or changes which got implemented.

It is worth waiting and analysing the data to see how Google hummingbird influences our search engine optimizing efforts and processes. It is exciting to see how human friendly search works and how we are getting better results.

Sales consultants and Digital marketing experts at Globality consulting offers online reputation tips and helps business owners and organisations to make flexible and robust online promotion strategy with no cost. Get in touch with one of your consultant at hello@globalityconsulting.com for more details.

No Google Toolbar Page Rank Update

PageRankOctober started and yet we do not see any progress or major updates in Google Page ranks. It is more than 8 months now that there is no Toolbar PageRank (PR) update for websites from Google.  The last update that came was in early February.

The general behavior is that in every 3-4 months Google update their toolbar page rank. Below pattern shows regular updates along with one rare update for August and May.

  • February 2013
  • November 2012
  • August 2012
  • May 2012
  • February 2012
  • November 2011

Google_PR_updateIf we Google why Toolbar PR is not updating, we will see several stories. Few claims that Google has removed this concept and now there will not be any such update. Few shared that Google is planning something big and new update will change the way websites are getting Google PR. Most promising story was that Google is waiting to release the new and improved algorithm for Toolbar PR on September 26th, on Google’s birthday but that too has passed.

We will keep an eye on how thing moves, but it does raise a big Question for those who are crazy behind high Page rank. What they have lost in past 8 months due to no PR update and what is the main purpose of it?

Role of Offshore Manager or Onsite Coordinator

offshore and onsite coordinatorBeing into outsourcing from decades, I strongly believe that active communication and flawless coordination of tasks are the main factor of successful outsourcing. Companies have learned this by hard way and now they do not hesitate improve this process.  Trend shows that in order to improve the quality of communication between offshore teams and client, companies have started assigning a dedicated person known as offshore manager or onsite coordinator, who can coordinate the tasks and can oversee different activities.

The role of this offshore manager or onsite coordinator is to ensure active communication between client and development team, act as a liaison and present/translate the information without losing its meaning and in a lingo that is best understandable by client and offshore teams.  This person should have mix skills of business analyst, project manager, and knowledge of software development life cycle, sales and marketing.

Onsite CoordinationMain expectation from this person is to maintain transparency in the process, keep client updated on development progress and issues faced by team along with managing client expectations with offshore team.  This person needs to multi task and required to work for long and odd hours.  Irrespective of size of engagement, vendors are required to put a full time coordinator in the team.  Marketers are selling offshore coordinator as an add-on and it is getting heavy attraction.

One of the biggest challenge which this outsourcing coordinator needs to be face is being unbiased. S/he has biggest responsibility on their shoulder to make justice. Their mind-set plays crucial role in a situation where they need to take side. They need to decide whether they take side of the company, which pays them salary, or take side of the client.  No matter how proactive they are or how well they have maintained the transparency between client and offshore team they will always require to justify their work, loyalty and interest to the management.

It is not easy to find good and ethical offshore managers and they are not very cheap as well, however they are real value to your money. Typically, their onsite rate ranges in between USD 60-90 an hour (inclusive of per Diem, hotel, car etc.), which is quite high when compared to offshore rate, which ranges in between USD 25-40 an hour.

Offshore managers or outsourcing coordinators at Globality consulting have solid experience in supporting companies and delivering quality solutions and products while maintaining transparency between clients and offshore teams. Get in touch with one of your consultant at hello@globalityconsulting.com  for more details.

Conversation Prism of Social Media

Social_MediaSocial media is like a magical box, which give you surprises every day. I recently came across a visual map of its landscape that I believe is popular as Conversation prism of Social Media by Brian Solis and JESS3.

Based on the information given on their website, they claim that how digital ethnography tracks dominant and promising social networks across the globe and organizes them by how they are used in everyday life.  It helps digital managers like us to show our executive teams that social media is not a fad and that it is bigger than Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Pinterest.

ConversationPrism_of_Social_Media

It will be very interesting to find out how it has helped the users. If you have every used it, we would love to hear your experience.

Sales consultants and Digital marketing experts at Globality consulting offers online reputation tips and helps business owners and organisations to make flexible and robust online promotion strategy with no cost. Get in touch with one of your consultant at hello@globalityconsulting.com for more details.

Blog Tips – Successful Guest Blogging

Guest PostGuest blogging is one of the most effective ways of promoting your websites, build back links, get new readers and eventually drive sales.  Unbelievably, for several businesses owner’s successful Guest blogging is one of the main ways to get leads after SEO and other lead generation tactics. Guest blogging became so important that blog owners are getting flooded with guest post requests.

From our own experience, we can relate the importance of guest blogging and how many requests blog owners will get. Our blog on globalityconsulting.com is relatively new (but well promoted) and within few months we have more than 50 requests for guest post submission.  Unfortunately, we were not able to accept any of them due to several reasons, which we will cover in our current blog.

Hey there,

We have been reading the articles on ur website and are very impressive with quality of information.

We have a team of copywriters who specialized in writing articles on such topics and would like to write an original article for you to use on your website – this article will not be used anywhere else on any Internet.

In exchange all we ask is that we can have one or two links within the body of the article back to one of our internet sites.

If are very interested in having us write article of your website please just let me know and we could be more than happy to one written for you within a weeks. Also let me know if you have more blogs for Guest Posting.

Regards,
Andrew

Above is an example of one of the few emails we got and we had just marked it as spam. The reasons, which we reject such emails are:

1) No personalisation of email
2) I am sure they did not even saw my blog and topic I cover
3) Didn’t tell me which topic they are going to write
4) Funny English and bad grammar
5) Didn’t tell me anything about my benefits

As a blogger, we ought to understand how important it is that our blog is recognized and we get valuable readership. Whether we are inviting guest blogger to write on your blogs or blogging as a guest, we need to follow few guidelines instead of plainly marketing the name.

Here are few tips, which can do wonders.

1) Guest Blog Post must be between 500 and 1000 wordsblog post
2) Guest Blog Post must either be completely original and not previously published
3) Guest Blog Post must not be an advertisement for your products or services or the equivalent to a sponsored post. It should provide valuable information to readers
4) Limit yourself to include up to one link per Guest Blog Post. You can point that to either your blog or website or any social media profile
5) Guest blog post must align to the business and topics of respective blog owner
6) Guest Blog post must have proper grammar, punctuation and spellings.

In order to leverage power of guest posts as a marketing channel, we need to avoid mistakes which we pointed in email and stick to the guidelines shared above. Guest blog posts can only help you if you are consistent in writing new blogs, coming up with new and interesting topics, updating the trends or tips of any previously written topic, you are yourself promoting your posts as well.  Whether you are inviting guest posts or becoming a guest blogger above tips are must to follow for quick and favorable response.

Remember, there will not be ably miracles if you only get one or two guest blog posts published.  You are required to post on consistent basis or at least get 50-60 guest posts in short time.

Google made August 16th a Historic Day

google-downAugust 16, 2013 became a historic day in IT world after Google services suffered a complete blackout and global internet traffic dipped by 40% within five minutes.

All of the Google’s services including Google search, Gmail, YouTube, Maps, Analytics etc. went down for few minutes and left user wondering whether it’s an internet issue at their end or they just gone crazy.
Google_Blackout
As per leading news channels, Google has refused to provide any further information on why there was an outage, especially when giant like Google has servers around the world.

According to web analytics, firm GoSquared, a message on the Google Apps Dashboard showed all of its services are down. Message was “We’re aware of a problem with Gmail affecting a significant subset of users. The affected users are able to access Gmail, but are seeing error messages and/or other unexpected behavior”

Later, another message appeared, which read, “Between 15:51 and 15:52 PDT, 50% to 70% of requests to Google received errors; service was mostly restored one minute later, and entirely restored after four minutes.”

Digital expert Phil Dearson, head of strategy for Tribal Worldwide, said the blackout had cost Google an estimated $500,000 (£330,000) just in the few minutes it was down. As per him “This is completely unprecedented, I’ve never heard of anything like this before”.

While Google is working (possibly) on answering world about its blackout – it has also raised a debate on how important Google is for our day-to-day life and how it has wiped its competition.

It has shown the unpopularity of its competitors such as Bing and other search engines, which were unable to pick up the slack during the outage.

As of now, everyone has only few questions – What exactly happened and how all of a sudden giant like Google went into dark. Did we reach the edge of the internet? Do we have a life beyond Google?

Importance of Email Etiquettes in Outsourcing

EmailEmail is one of the best modes of business communication in corporate world when it comes to managing your outsourcing partner apart from IM mode and to document things. It is not surprising to see that internet is full of material to improve email etiquettes, how to write an email, tips, tricks etc. Those who know its importance can tell you the magic and how email etiquettes can build or ruin your business relationship, solve or create problems and how a good email can do wonder in project communications.  The mail goal of a good email is to express your thoughts and solutions, not to impress.

There are many known issues related to email etiquettes, lot of them depends on your country, company you work with, and it gets more challenging when you are dealing with across the globe. Companies have now started spending lot of time in training their client facie project managers, sales and marketing teams so that they can easily present the solution to the client or prospects and put their thoughts in the words.

Below is a quick and simple cheat sheet for email etiquettes:

1) Simple and Straight: As I mentioned above, you should focus on expressing your thoughts and solutions in simple and easy way, instead of impressing the reader from your English vocabulary. It comes handier when you are in outsourcing business since not all your readers are Harvard pass outs.

2) Short and Crisp: I bet you do not want to read an essay in your emails. Value the time of the reader, keep it short, and crisp so that it stays relevant to the purpose of communication. If you want to explain in details – try calling the person instead of giving them pagers to read. Your email should be about a single topic with relevant subject line. Do not mix different topics within same email.

3) Be Formal: Email is part of business communication and is highly considered as proof of your thoughts and actionable items you suggest. No matter how closely you know the reader, keep your email professional and formal. Never use short text, IM lingo, casual words or abbreviation.

4) Personal or General: I am sure you do not spend much time in reading email, which starts with just “Hi” or “Hello”.  You will show more interest if that is targeted for you. Using proper salutation and recipient name is necessary.

5) Watch your Content: Every email you send portrays your image, your company’s image. You are talking on behalf of your company and any information, which goes out, will belong to your company. You need to be aware that someone else (who is not the intended recipient) can read what you write.

6) Avoid Idioms: It is very risky to use idiomatic expressions in your email especially in outsourcing business. You are dealing with cross-cultural teams and your idioms may not go well with them. Avoiding them is the best bet. However, if it is must to use then spend some time in making sure that unintentionally you are giving wrong impression and confusing your reader.Email_Etiquette

7) Time is the key: Based on my experience I can say that you should reply your email within 24 business hours (lesser is favorable). The sooner you acknowledge, better you can connect with the sender. If you need time to respond, do not wait until you find the answers, instead send a note that you are working on it. It will maintain transparency and confidence that senders email is in process.

8) Recipients: It is strongly advisable to crosscheck whom you are sending your email. Double-checking the email id, which you need to keep in “To” and in “CC”, Subject line, assures that you know what and to whom you are sending.

9) Communicate: Never use ALL CAPS in your email, since it considered as you are shouting on reader. It is not advisable to reprimand someone, make some look stupid and questions one’s credibility in email.

10) Attachments: This one of the common mistake which every does. We get ourselves so engrossed in writing emails that at times we forget to add proper attachment or send something, which is not relevant. It is best to crosscheck your attachment to make sure it others can open and it contains information, which you want to share with that email etc. Never send heavy files (keep it to max 1 or 2 MB) and .exe files over emails.

You might notice that they are quite simple tips for email etiquettes, but the fact is we tend to forget them at times.

Sales and Outsourcing consultants at Globality consulting have experienced in dealing with such issues and while supporting our clients we make sure that both clients and offshore development team maintains transparency in communication. Get in touch with one of your consultant at hello@globalityconsulting.com for more details on how we manage the project and maintain transparent communication.

Offshore Interviews for Hiring Software Engineers

Software EngineeringFocus of my current blog is to understand what possibly can go wrong in offshore interviews for hiring software engineers and tips to select good resources in your outsourcing partnership. While selecting the right outsourcing vendor, it is just not hiring the right vendor it also involves hiring right software engineer and team, which will actually deliver your solution.  In current competition, it is very difficult to find good engineers especially in offshore engagement.

If you are looking for a software engineer via outsourcing engagement, there is a high probability that you end up speaking with someone over a bad VOIP call and who is not listening to your point or neither willing to understand your requirement and just talk.  It is well known and understood that every software engineer is not good and can make wonders. There is a lack of talent and it is very imperative that one should spend lot of time before taking offshore interviews for selecting your teams.

Best SelectionThere are several key points, which we MUST consider to make sure that we do not end up talking to someone with a defined script by their management and sales and marketing people are coating it with discounts or false commitments. It could be very expensive if you erroneously hire a developer who is not good or relevant to your needs.

All those companies, organisations or individuals who are interviewing software engineers at offshore location should try to minimize the failure rate and hire the best candidate in first time by using by keeping this simple checklist handy, no matter if you are calling candidates via phone or Skype:

1) Interview Strategy: Make sure you are clear on why you are interviewing the candidate and what will be the result of your discussion. It is good if you got:

  • an agenda or plan for an interview
  • technical details of your requirement
  • test to evaluate candidates technical skills
  • test to evaluate candidates personality

2) Time Punctuality: Stick to the schedule timeline, do not be late for calling the candidate. It is also advisable if you give some time to candidate to settle down and relax before attacking him with your questions.  During discussion, keep an eye on time and try to keep discussion relevant so that you get max out of the duration.

3) Group Interview: Try not to speak with candidate alone. There will be chances that you will miss few questions or areas which other person can catch. After all, it is about team 🙂

Related Article: Challenges faced my HR professionals in IT Industry

4) Interactive: Keep the interview interactive. You should be at listening end and give chance to candidate to speak and connect his/her experience with examples. Try to understand what candidate has to offer and analyse how s/he can be a good fit for your requirement.

Focusing5) Make Candidate a King: Give an open invitation to candidate to speak. You will be amazed to see the result of this approach and you will probably understand how good candidate is when they are alone in some situation or how proactively they can think.  All you need to do is maintain the focus of the discussion to your objective. You will also save yourself by their well-crafted script.

6) Distraction: While interviewing, you would not like to see candidate distracted by phone, stepping out, taking frequent breaks, or responding to emails while you are interviewing them. It goes same for you as well.   Interviewing candidate with being distracted is impolite and radiates a bad impression about you.

7) Intuitive: Never let your gut feeling decide on selecting candidate. Being intuitive is good, but make sure your intuition is not affected by your quality of day at office.

8) Cultural differences: You are doing an offshore interview for hiring a software engineer and it is natural that you will challenges related to cross-cultural communication, different time zones, lack of knowledge of your company’s culture etc. that might lead to misunderstanding or misinterpretation of any point or discussion. Have patience and do not react, just respond.

9) Sell and Sell: It is a common believe between interviewers that only candidates have to sell themselves to the company.  There is a high possibility that you end up losing a good candidate if you interview them with this thought.  It is an unsaid and mutual agreement that companies are equally required to sell the position for which candidate is being interviewed for.

10) Importance of Notes:  It is possible to remember feedback, ratings and facts about candidates if you are interview one or two candidates a day. However, chances are high that you will quickly forget this information if number of interviews goes up and you have not maintained any notes.

Outsourcing specialists at Globality Consulting helps business owners and organisations in expediting their process of shortlisting software engineers through pre-screening the candidates based on the requirement and by coordinating the offshore interviews for successful outsourcing partnership.  Get in touch with one of your consultant at hello@globalityconsulting.com for more details.