An ROM estimate is typically expressed in terms of Person Days (PD) and in its simplest and most efficient way, indicates the number of days it would take a person to complete the task. It bears emphasizing that efficiency begins to diminish as each task is assigned to more than one person. In spite of well-documented fallacies regarding allocation of additional human resources to shorten the time required to accomplish a task, going back to 1975 and the publication of The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering, managers continue to insist in the practice.
Of course, practicality dictates that a number of implementer rather than a single person participate in the implementation of a project, but as more and more people participate there are increasingly diminishing returns. Since allocation of resources and task assignment typically takes place sometime after the production of the ROM estimate, adjustments should be made to compensate for the inefficiencies that arise from the allocation of multiple resources and the communication and managerial overhead incurred.
At this point, you are well aware Pinterest exists and probably have read multiple articles on how to best leverage the network. If you haven’t implemented a Pinterest strategy, the infographic below from Socially Sorted and Mookoo Design details best practices and tips to make Pinterest part of your social media strategy.
Do you think any of the below tips are more helpful than others? Is Pinterest already part of your social media strategy? Have you seen results from your presence on the network? Read more
A common failure of estimation efforts stems from attempting to estimate the efforts to implement a requirement at too high a level. For example, an ecommerce website will likely require the implementation of shopping carts where a customer may place items into for subsequent purchase. It would be a mistake to try and estimate the implementation of this requirement at this level as it would likely result in an inaccurate estimate. Instead, the estimator should look to decompose the requirement into more detailed requirements that stand a better chance of being accurately estimated, but more importantly, will force analysis of what is entailed for its implementation.
This decomposition should be along the horizontal or functional dimension instead of the vertical or disciplinary dimension at all levels but the lowest. For example, the shopping cart requirement should be decomposed along the functional dimension into lower-level requirements such as: association of shopping cart to user, adding items to cart, clearing cart, removing items from cart, re-pricing cart, persisting cart, etc. instead of along disciplinary lines such as: analysis, design, implementation, test, deployment, documentation, etc. If each of lower-lever requirements is granular enough not to be further decomposed, then the vertical decomposition is applied, so that for each, an estimate for its analysis, design, implementation, etc, will be produced. Read more
To succeed in multi-channel environment, retailers must first integrate the core competencies. Some of the standard ones are listed below:
How does a consistent branding tie-up with creative. Strong branding comes from a style manual which every retailer requires in execution. A consistent logo and positioning line for store signage, retail advertising, catalog design and every internet marketing efforts should incorporate the same. Color palette is important across both online and offline channels. Photographs and illustrations should be uniform with typefaces consistent in style and size. Offline should carry consistent paper quality.
Marketers should see that offers and promotions consistently reflect the brand and positioning – the goal not to confuse customers. Stores can offer catalogs with every purchase or checkout places. Online kiosks provide an added advantage for customers who do not want to walk through your store.
Retailers always need to have the flexibility to mark down products based on their selling season – reason being not all companies can have all its items/SKUs available in all its channels as each of its primary business-to-consumer selling channels operates differently that the others. Print catalogs for example cannot accommodate every product that can be made available online due to limitations of the number of pages. Read more
While a discussion of design patterns may be more appropriate in a design phase, “how-to” is pertinent here because developers must recognize, apply, and employ certain patterns even when they are not specifically called for in the functional design document. A design pattern, then, is a “pattern [that] describes a problem which occurs over and over again in our environment, and then describes the core of the solution to that problem” [Alexander et al. 1977]. In other words, it is the industry is best practice for solving a problem, and, therefore it is the most commonly implemented solution. In the most common situations, it must minimize cost and time and maximize quality. Read more
Code reuse is the bread and butter of modern software engineering; it is the practice of reusing existing code in the solution to a new problem. This includes using existing libraries, repurposing an existing project, or interfacing with an external module or service. Reusing code speeds up development because any code that exists has already been through the entire software development cycle at least once. Therefore, it can be assumed that it works well enough and has few enough bugs to meet the quality control standards of the organization who developed it. In essence, a project that reuses code can be thought of as having more developers assigned to it than a project that does not.
Besides the obvious time-savings that this confers, there can be other advantages depending upon the source of the code that is being reused. The Java software development kit, for example, includes a set of classes called The Collections Framework that provides commonly used objects such as lists, sets, arrays, and maps. These classes have been extensively quality controlled in controlled environments as well as being used in almost every application that has ever been built with Java. Therefore, it is a fair assumption that the implementations of the list, set, array, and map are at least as good any home grown implementation would be, if only because their bugs have been discovered by such heavy use. Read more
How to promote ROI mindset and mature from an activity-based to a result-driven retailer. There are many suggested options from marketers but the standard things are to build performance metrics, host weekly metrics meet and make the staff accountable for measurable results.
Performance metrics should start with every project having a performance scorecard that includes key performance indicators or KPIs. Weekly metrics meets allows marketing staff to review, discuss and reset direction based on ROI results. And finally ensuring the staff is accountable requires setting personal incentives within individual performance reviews and reward the abilities to meet or exceed the established targets. Read more
Technology, today, enables customer service reps (CSRs) to conduct face-to-face interactions with more than five customers at one single time. Even though this is cost effective, it does not turn your order-takers and CSRs into Multi-Channel experts. Employee skill sets are mandatory, but what are they? Representatives that are wonderful with customers on the phone may not necessarily be communicative via emails or vice versa.
Personal attention to each customer is a part of good service, however, providing personal attention to several people simultaneously is harder than you might expect.
So what do you do to ensure the transition of Multi-Channels is smooth for CSRs and customers alike? Below are some standard considerations: Read more
With online leading the pursuit of higher marketing ROI and accountability, behavior targeting can connect a backend purchase to the front-end targeting. this improves effectiveness and efficiency and optimize cross and up sell opportunities. From a marketing ROI perspective, there is a consumer journey with an identifiable path that leads to the transaction (purchase or registration) and further.
Retailers should know that when it comes to deploying ROI-focused marketing, brands must clearly define all steps that ultimately contribute to a potential sale and assign a distinct value to each action to ensure ROI metrics are in place every step of the way. In addition to these standard metrics, retailers can also implement a visit quality index which is a weighted composite of measures like key interaction rates, conversions, content paths, visit frequency. The visit quality index gives a snapshot of performance in terms of driving shoppers to the site’s highest value content and tools. Read more
RFPs can be written for every requirement from all the departments of the retailer. So does that mean that every RFP is different from the other? To a certain extent the content and certain requirements would differ but all the RFPs include the same pre-defined sections like purpose, overview, RFP response, business requirements, technical requirements, support requirements, pricing and costs and finally summary.
This section should be very brief carrying a short description about the purpose of the RFP which is simple and straightforward in its objective. Retailers should be aware that they are requesting a proposal from multiple vendors for a possible service relationship. Read more