CRM Authors: Xenia von Wedel, Ian Khan, PR.com Newswire, Steve Mordue

Related Topics: CRM

CRM: Blog Post

Five FAQs Every Project Manager Needs to Read

Five essential FAQs

Here are five frequently asked questions that every PM needs to read:

1. Why use issue tracking software over an Excel spreadsheet?
There are many advantages to using Issue Tracking software over an Excel spreadsheet.

For one, issue tracking software makes collaboration easy. Users do not have to worry about having the latest information or spreadsheets- the latest information is available to all users. You can also edit information concurrently, as opposed to one user at a time for a spreadsheet.

Second, if you have many issues, it might be difficult to save an audit trail to keep track of your issues. Most full-featured Issue Trackers keep audit trails automatically. This makes it nearly impossible to lose or delete data or information associated with an issue-as opposed to a simple Excel file.

Third, Excel spreadsheets lack many of the useful features that Issue Trackers contain. For example, the ability to add file attachments, create advanced focused reporting, receive quick notifications when an issue is modified, and many more.

Realistically, using Excel as an issue tracker is only suitable if there are only 1-2 users, and few issues.

2. What's the difference between priority and severity?
Although these two terms may seemingly go hand in hand, and to an extent they do, they are different.  The priority of a bug or issue tells you how urgent the bug is and how fast it should be resolved. The severity tells us the impact of the bug, and how it affects performance usability. Usually, a bug's severity is constant while its priority could change depending on the product's schedule.  Assigning priority or severity is essential in letting users know which issues are most urgent and detrimental to the project.  Both priority and severity are usually classified into four categories; immediate (or critical), high, medium, and low.

3. What's the importance of managing priorities?
Performing testing and development tasks according to their priority can increase efficiency and prevent unnecessary time waste during the product development process.

In many cases, developers don't know what the priority of each task is and often spend more time on low priority tasks than high priority tasks. As a result, the project is not completed on time.

Managing priorities and completing high priority items are essential to completing projects on time. Setting priorities will let your team handle the urgent issues first, before tackling the less important ones. Not every bug has to be addressed and not all bugs can be fixed right away. You may decide to pass on some of the lower priority issues until you have more time, or you may decide to scrap a feature, and not address the bug at all.

4. What are test cases and how do I use them to improve my testing process?
Many times, project managers want to implement a testing process but don't know where to start, or are intimidated by industry lingo. I am going to define what a test case is, and how it can be used to improve the testing process.

The whole point of using test cases is to find defects. A test case has an input, an action and an expected result. In using test cases, the tester is trying to break the application.

Test cases must exercise every feature of the application to prevent defects from being released. Each test case needs to contain a set of test steps of a feature or function.

For example, if you were to test the functionality of a search box, you might create a test group and name it "Search Functionality". This group would consist of various test cases that test the search box in different ways, with each test case consisting of multiple steps.

One test case would be, "verify the search textbox input is null" and it would be comprised of the following three steps:

  1. Go to a page with a search function
  2. Do not input any words in the textbo
  3. Click on the search button

At the end of the test, the expected results are compared to actual results to determine if the application is working properly. In this instance, it is expected that the user will be alerted via a message that they must enter text to complete the search.

5. How can time tracking be used to control my project?
A Time Tracking tool is useful in managing projects because it allows you to measure the efficiency of users by examining their time spent and outcome. Time Tracking enables you to identify bottlenecks and delays in the project development process by comparing the actual time that it takes to complete tasks to the estimated time. Sometimes, a specific task can take longer than expected, and as a result, the rest of the project is delayed.

It also gives you a snapshot of how the organization is spending their time and what processes need improvement.  For example, you can measure how long it takes to resolve an issue, the amount of time spent on customer inquiries, how long you are spending on the testing process, and so on. This is important in identifying trouble areas. After observing the time spent on various processes using a time tracking tool, you might notice that your organization is spending too much time on the testing process compared to the industry standard.

More Stories By Michael Kowlowitz

Michael Kowlowitz is a project manager at Elementool. Elementool provides its tools to software companies and business web sites from all over the world. Elementool is used on a daily basis by its customers, and is integrated in their product development process. He is also ablogging enthusiast.

@ThingsExpo Stories
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Arvind Radhakrishnen discussed how IoT offers new business models in banking and financial services organizations with the capability to revolutionize products, payments, channels, business processes and asset management built on strong architectural foundation. The following topics were covered: How IoT stands to impact various business parameters including customer experience, cost and risk management within BFS organizations.
Here are the Top 20 Twitter Influencers of the month as determined by the Kcore algorithm, in a range of current topics of interest from #IoT to #DeepLearning. To run a real-time search of a given term in our website and see the current top influencers, click on the topic name. Among the top 20 IoT influencers, ThingsEXPO ranked #14 and CloudEXPO ranked #17.
While the focus and objectives of IoT initiatives are many and diverse, they all share a few common attributes, and one of those is the network. Commonly, that network includes the Internet, over which there isn't any real control for performance and availability. Or is there? The current state of the art for Big Data analytics, as applied to network telemetry, offers new opportunities for improving and assuring operational integrity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Frey, Vice President of S...
With the introduction of IoT and Smart Living in every aspect of our lives, one question has become relevant: What are the security implications? To answer this, first we have to look and explore the security models of the technologies that IoT is founded upon. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nevi Kaja, a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company, discussed some of the security challenges of the IoT infrastructure and related how these aspects impact Smart Living. The material was delivered interac...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
Amazon started as an online bookseller 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a technology juggernaut that has disrupted multiple markets and industries and touches many aspects of our lives. It is a relentless technology and business model innovator driving disruption throughout numerous ecosystems. Amazon’s AWS revenues alone are approaching $16B a year making it one of the largest IT companies in the world. With dominant offerings in Cloud, IoT, eCommerce, Big Data, AI, Digital Assista...
In his session at Cloud Expo, Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, presented a success story of an entrepreneur who has both suffered through and benefited from offshore development across multiple businesses: The smart choice, or how to select the right offshore development partner Warning signs, or how to minimize chances of making the wrong choice Collaboration, or how to establish the most effective work processes Budget control, or how to maximize project result...
The Founder of NostaLab and a member of the Google Health Advisory Board, John is a unique combination of strategic thinker, marketer and entrepreneur. His career was built on the "science of advertising" combining strategy, creativity and marketing for industry-leading results. Combined with his ability to communicate complicated scientific concepts in a way that consumers and scientists alike can appreciate, John is a sought-after speaker for conferences on the forefront of healthcare science,...
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
Personalization has long been the holy grail of marketing. Simply stated, communicate the most relevant offer to the right person and you will increase sales. To achieve this, you must understand the individual. Consequently, digital marketers developed many ways to gather and leverage customer information to deliver targeted experiences. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lou Casal, Founder and Principal Consultant at Practicala, discussed how the Internet of Things (IoT) has accelerated our abilit...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Detecting internal user threats in the Big Data eco-system is challenging and cumbersome. Many organizations monitor internal usage of the Big Data eco-system using a set of alerts. This is not a scalable process given the increase in the number of alerts with the accelerating growth in data volume and user base. Organizations are increasingly leveraging machine learning to monitor only those data elements that are sensitive and critical, autonomously establish monitoring policies, and to detect...
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessio...
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, discussed how they built...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settl...
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
Organizations planning enterprise data center consolidation and modernization projects are faced with a challenging, costly reality. Requirements to deploy modern, cloud-native applications simultaneously with traditional client/server applications are almost impossible to achieve with hardware-centric enterprise infrastructure. Compute and network infrastructure are fast moving down a software-defined path, but storage has been a laggard. Until now.