Sunday, April 24, 2016

Do we need Agile development?

I have written this article for the CIO Magazine Australia in 2014. The published CIO link can be found at http://www.cio.com.au/article/538077/guest_opinion_do_we_need_agile_development_/

Agile isn’t necessarily all it’s cracked up to be, says Dr Arif Jubaer

 As a keen observer of the IT industry, I come across numerous buzzwords and phrases to describe new and improved technology products, services, and implementation methods.

In the software development world, one of the most prominent buzzwords has been “Agile” or the Agile Software Development Methodology, which enables developers to constantly assess if a project is on track through the entire development cycle.

Words and phrases like interactive and incremental, accommodative, cost-effective, faster development lifecycle and reduced project failure rate – among others – are used to sell the Agile concept. It’s even been called the ‘smart’ methodology.

But quite frankly, Agile is just another methodology not a solution to all your software development challenges.

Let’s start with iterative and incremental development where a little more is added into design and development each time more requirements are understood.

If we look closely, this nature of the Agile model combines the phases of the Waterfall model, such as, analysis, design, development and testing within an ongoing loop. It does not offer or add any new phases or elements.

A good project team should always be aware that requirements will change as they design and develop. The team should be smart enough to accommodate the changes with minimum disruption within the existing software development phases irrespective of which methodology is followed.

Agile also allows users to respond to features and review the product for changes on an ongoing basis. This is certainly a good feature but development teams often struggle to think about the bigger picture while they are busy addressing these ongoing reviews. This is because they are focused on the current agile iteration goals to avoid frequent negative feedback from the development manager or users.

Also, over-involvement of users do not always bring simplicity – it can introduce complexity as users constantly change their minds. Thus, software development 101 teaches us that there has to be a cut off point for analysing requirements or adding new features.

Add a large scale development team to this scenario and the accommodative features of Agile diminishes as the complexity outweighs the benefit.

Is Agile more cost-effective?

The cost-effectiveness of agile is also often misinterpreted. Have you noticed that the testing team is always involved as per the methodology or that the Agile coach often consumes a share of your mainstream development budget?

You may also need to buy extra stationery to create and manage an Agile story wall, as well as software to manage the Agile process. Don’t forget, you also need to pay the project lead!

Is Agile faster?

Agile apparently builds faster and requires less or no documentation – far less than Waterfall.

Agile practitioners often disagree but when the methodology is put into practice, the development team struggle to keep pace and documentation suffers.

At the cost of lesser documentation the users may get quicker temporary solution but in the long run, they suffer more when they need to change the software functionality.
This also has bad impact on the development team who built the software at the first place because it becomes much harder for them to remember the existing functions of the software without the right documentation, or worse, if the development team has changed.

Does Agile reduce the project failure rate?

Reduced project failure rate is another highlighted characteristic of Agile. There is no guarantee that a project will not fail if you follow Agile. A project that failed using Waterfall won’t necessarily be successful with Agile.
That prompts me to point out few reasons why project may fail, such as the incorrect assumption that requirements are fully understood at any given time of the project, that changes will always be manageable, and integration will be smooth.
In relation to these wrong assumptions, Waterfall never forbids the development team to keep understanding the requirements as they develop. It doesn’t prohibit changes from being addressed in small chunks.

 

Agile more suited to extroverts


Agile is more suitable for extroverts who can promote their work well during the Agile standup. But to the best of my knowledge often most of members of a development team are introverts.

These introverts – who are often very creative – contribute equally like any other team members and with Agile, their contributions often go unnoticed to the demanding project lead.
Also, the less confident a project lead is, the more he or she likes Agile. I believe this is because each day, the entire team reports to him or her during Agile standup meetings, which gives the project lead a sense of satisfaction.
Ultimately, organisations should invest more in preparing leaders and creative teams and should not invest too much in another methodology that may or may not work for them.
They should find the best way for rational communications between team members and the business without any regular overhead.
It’s important to think about long-term impacts as well, instead of opting for a quick solution at the cost of documentation or any necessary elements, and don’t be influenced by competitors and the methodologies they are pursuing.
If Agile is the only best way forward for a given scenario, then go for it. But you do not need to fit into the Agile box. Creativity should take the upper-hand instead of the so-called ‘smart’ methodology. And the entire team should be vigilant at any given time to achieve short and long term application development goals.
Dr. Arif Jubaer is the founder of Daily Positive (D+). He also holds a PhD in IT from the University of Melbourne.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Daily Positive (D+) Carnival Middle-East 2016

Another year, yet another colourful D+ Carnival!

The 2016 D+ Carnival was held throughout the month of March 2016. Every year, the carnival planned to promote and share focused positive news and stories from a specific location in the world. This year we celebrated the joys and delights of the Middle East.

The 2016 carnival also wanted to attract everyone’s attentions to two different D+ global campaigns #BringBackOurGirls and #StopBurningMyChild. Both the campaigns need continued attentions from the global citizens in order to save lives of children, women and men. D+ believes celebration is a strong form of demonstration of support for any burning cause.

Visit http://www.dailypositive.org/Daily_Positive_Carnival for more colourful pictures from the Carnival Middle-East 2016.
Join us again next year in the celebrations and continue to discover and share the positivity on D+.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Switzerland Named World’s Most Positive Country For 2015

Switzerland is the World’s Most Positive Country for 2015, according to the annual global index published by Daily Positive (D+), a unique online media organization from Australia for positive news.  It is the first time Switzerland took the top spot in this annual positivity index.

The annual list of top ten most positive countries is compiled based on a positivity index comprised of a global expert panel rating, a D+ journalists rating, a global web poll and the number of positive news entries in 2015 on the D+ website.

The top 10 World’s Most Positive Countries for 2015 along with respective ranking points are as follows:
 
Country Name
Total Points
Switzerland
556
Sweden
533
China
517
England
502
Australia
491
Germany
479
United States of America
462
New Zealand
449
Singapore
431
Norway
424

Apart from this overall list of ten most positive countries, for the first time ever, D+ also introduces a list of regional positive countries from Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and South America. The regional winners were selected based on the same criteria used to select the overall winners but from a specific region. The winners earned their places with some amazing positive initiatives and actions in 2015.

Switzerland jumped to the top spot from last year’s fourth position with its consistent display of competitiveness in nurturing innovation and talent. Such sincere support helped projects like the solar-powered aircraft Solar Impulse 2 or the Large Hadron Collider to go to a new high this year. Switzerland also ensured the country’s productivity and prosperity by ranking higher in various prestigious indexes, such as, global democracy index, peace index, tourism-friendly index and education index. “Based on innovative environmental management practices, Switzerland has become one of the most sustainable nations in the world in the areas of climate change, biodiversity and habitat protection”, says one of our expert panel members.

Second placed Sweden was not far away in terms of innovation and also in all the above mentioned indexes. Perhaps that is why this year the Swedish researchers won prestigious awards, such as, the Princess of Asturias Award for Technical & Scientific Research and the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Sweden’s Eurovision song contest win made its long list of achievements for 2015 more entertaining. Sweden maintained its leading position in media transparency.

China moved to third position in 2015, sliding down one spot from last year. One of the important diplomatic wins for China in 2015 was to be able to attract global interest to the Chinese-led development bank Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). China made significant progress with its domestic navigation system Beidou by launching new satellites and with the newly developed carrier rockets. Also, Youyou Tu of China won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her discoveries concerning a novel therapy against Malaria. This is the first time that any expert in Chinese traditional medicine has been awarded a Nobel.

After retaining the top position for two consecutive years, England moved down to the fourth position in 2015. Despite its slow productive run this year, English researchers unveiled a graphene light bulb with lower energy emissions, longer lifetime and lower manufacturing costs. English archeologists have discovered one of Britain’s largest medieval hospital cemeteries. English pride prevailed at the World Snooker Championship, Women’s European Hockey Tournament and Ashes Cricket championship.

Australia remained at the fifth position in 2015. Australian researchers have unveiled the world's first 3D-printed jet engine, the University of New South Wales and their robots defended their RoboCup World Football Championship title. Australia successfully launched one of the world’s most-advanced communication satellites Sky Muster into orbit, and they may have lost the Ashes to England but won their fifth One Day International Cricket World Cup at home.

Germany moved up one position to the sixth spot in 2015 compared to last year. Germany was well supported in our global poll for its role with the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis. German construction of wind turbines reached a record high, German researchers helped develop a prototype quantum radar that has the potential to detect objects which are invisible to conventional systems, and Germany has been highly tourist friendly.

The United States of America slid down to seventh position this year. Improved diplomatic relationships with Cuba and Iran were seen as the best foreign policy successes in 2015. Some of this year’s notable scientific achievements were, American doctors successfully transplanted, for the first time in the world, a scalp and skull while performing kidney and pancreas transplants. American researchers have discovered the world’s first warm-blooded fish – the opah. Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have identified a brain circuit that encodes time and place. According to one of our expert panel members, “USA, despite not being able to combat its economic deficiency with full potential, continued to maintain perhaps the best academic system that allows them to keep up the great works.” It is also notable that the United States of America won the Women's Football World Cup for the third time.

New Zealand made it to the eighth position in the list. New Zealand ranked high in the democratic and peaceful country indexes in 2015. New Zealand announced the creation of a 620,000 km2 Ocean Sanctuary in the Kermadec region, which will be one of the world’s most significant fully protected ecosystems. Also, New Zealand reported a budget surplus for the first time since 2008, meeting a target set in 2011 following the Canterbury earthquakes and the international financial crisis.

Singapore is at the ninth position and made it to the list for the first time in our positivity index’s 5-year history. Singapore has been very competitive in terms of innovation and education. Singapore’s education systems, from school to the university, have been rated top-class in 2015. Also, Singapore‘s Botanic Gardens was recognized by UNESCO as the country’s first ever World Heritage Site.

Another newcomer to the list, Norway, took the final spot of our top ten positive countries. According to a report published in 2015, Norway had the highest proportions (35.5%) of women in corporate boardrooms compared with the rest of the world. Norwegian democracy was top ranked and served as example for the global communities. Finally, one of our expert panel members highlighted, “Norway topped the list of Save the Children’s 2015 Mothers’ Index, which ranks the well-being of mothers and children around the globe.”

 
D+ Most Positive Regional Countries 2015

 

Africa: Nigeria

Despite slow response to the rescue of the missing Chibok schoolgirls, Africa’s biggest economy Nigeria stood firm with new administrations and fresh approaches against terrorism in the country. Nigeria signed a bill that criminalizes female genital mutilation in the country. In case these were not impressive enough in order for Nigeria to take the regional title from Africa, it is worth mentioning, the World Health Organization announced that polio is no longer endemic in Nigeria, bringing the country and the African region closer than ever to being certified polio-free.
 

Asia: Bangladesh and India

Bangladesh and India were jointly named as the most positive countries from Asia. Both the neighbors simplified their border by exchanging more than 150 enclaves of land and settled the long running dispute peacefully. It was widely compared to the Fall of the Berlin Wall. Moreover, Bangladesh has become a lower-middle income country. Bangladesh has shown outstanding leadership on the frontline of climate change that bestowed Honorable Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina with the prestigious Champions of the Earth Award by the United Nations. On the other hand, India inaugurated Cochin International airport, the first airport in the world that completely operates on solar power. India continued to march forward with their space missions and most recently successfully launched its first space Multi Wavelength Space Observatory ASTROSAT.

 Europe: Finland

Finland was our regional winner from Europe. Its reputable education system, vibrant democracy, peaceful and innovative approach to national and international issues earned them the honor this year. Women’s empowerment and professional development were also high on the agenda for Finnish prosperity.

 
North America: Cuba

Cuba was crowned as the regional winner from North America. Cuba restored full diplomatic relations with the United States and as a result, the United States removed many sanctions imposed on Cuba. Consequently, new travel and trade rules between the two countries came into effect, the diplomatic missions of each country became full embassies, and they have re-established direct telephone links for the first time in 15 years. Cuba is certainly back on the global stage with their own values and pride intact.

 
South America: Chile

Chile took the regional tittle from South America. Chile announced the creation of the largest marine reserve in the Americas in its Pacific waters. Chile won the Copa America football title for the first time in their history. Chilean scientists have been making the best use of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), an international setup of an astronomical interferometer of radio telescopes in northern Chile, with new and novel research outcomes. 
This year 4541 global citizens participated in our global poll with 61% men and 39% women. The global poll result suggests, Science and Innovation, Economy, Education, International Relation, World Peace, Environment and Sports were the most popular choice of positive accomplishments among both men and women participants while voting for their positive countries. Other choices were Freedom of speech, Tourism and Poverty Alleviation.

 
D+ continued to observe the trend on the percentage of people hopeful for positive future, primarily immediate future, based on the comments made during its global polls since 2011. It is observed that people’s positive outlook continued to decline since 2013 and apparently this year it was hugely affected by the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis. Perhaps that is why World Peace moved down as the fifth most popular choice of positive accomplishment in the 2015 global poll compared with being the first choice in 2014.


Apart from the winners, other countries have also shown tremendous resilience and achieved new heights. The small African island of Seychelles continued not only to attract tourists but also built solid diplomatic relationships with other countries. Japan’s win against South Africa in the Rugby world cup had to be the most spirited news in world sports in 2015. Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet for its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia won the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize. Finally not to forget the heroic efforts that continued in Liberia, Guinea, Mali and Sierra Leone that almost eradicated Ebola virus.
 
“D+ World’s Most Positive Countries is in its fifth year and this year it has been celebrated with more enthusiasm and excitement indicating global citizens are more eager than ever before to have access to positive news. It is one of the biggest wake-up calls for world media to give positive news a chance to spread." says Dr. Arif Jubaer, Founder of D+.

D+ will present the above information and facts in detail at a presentation ceremony on 25 November 2015 at the University of Melbourne, Australia.
 
For more information on the World’s Most Positive Countries 2015 visit http://www.dailypositive.org/Most_Positive_Countries

 

Contact Information:

Contact Person: Dr. Arif Jubaer, Founder, Daily Positive (D+)



Mobile: +61-411215302

 

Friday, May 08, 2015

D+ Carnival Europe 2015

D+ Carnival Europe 2015 celebrated the joys and delights of Europe. The 2015 D+ Carnival was held throughout the month of March 2015.

The 2015 carnival also attracted everyone’s attentions to two different global campaigns #BringBackOurChildren and #StopBurningMyChild. Both the campaigns needed immediate attention from the global citizens in order to save lives of children, women and men.

Here are some pictures from the D+ Carnival Europe 2015





For more information on the carnival visit http://www.dailypositive.org/Daily_Positive_Carnival