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Agile is Better

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Author: Scott B

Agile. The term implies speed and flexibility, and for web and application development, agility is key.

At wisnet, we are increasingly employing the Agile Scrum process. Agile is an iterative and incremental software development methodology, and Scrum is the cycle of continuous planning, testing and integration that continually evolves both our projects and applications.

Compared to traditional waterfall (serial development) processes, Agile is lightweight and considerably more adaptable. Its empowers people to collaborate and make decisions together quickly and effectively.

  • Agile makes it easier to estimate project duration and milestones
  • Agile accelerates the delivery of initial business value to you
  • Agile teams continuously align the delivered software with your desired business needs
  • Agile teams easily adapt to changing requirements throughout the process
  • Agile ensures that value is continuously maximized throughout development

The Scrum process calls for regular planning and review meetings.

Each project starts with a Strategy Meeting, where your product vision is shared with the project team and logistics are discussed and agreed upon. Our team will assemble business case and product vision, write user stories (in the format “As a [user], I want to [action], so that [value].”) to create an initial product backlog, schedule incremental and major releases, and define “done”. The process may take several hours or days.

Your project lead then joins our team to define themes, functional priorities and delivery dates for the first product release. During this Release Planning meeting, a release backlog is created from the initial batch of user stories written in the Strategy Meeting and estimated at a high level. Additionally, a preliminary delivery plan is outlined (it will be revised over time). Your project lead is responsible for reviewing, clarifying and approving the product vision, strategy, goals, milestones and dates, and initial backlog.

After the release is planned, the development team begins a series of two week development Sprints. Each Sprint starts with a Sprint Planning meeting, where team members discuss and select the stories or backlog items they are confident they can complete during the iteration and identify the detailed tasks and tests for delivery and acceptance.

Two keys to successful Agile development and product value are review and continuous improvement. Our team holds a short (15 minutes) Stand Up meetings every day to share:

  • what each member did since the last meeting,
  • what each member plans to do before the next gathering, and
  • what, if any, hurdles are impeding your progress.

Every Sprint is followed by a Sprint Review meeting where you, as the product owner, ensure that all acceptance criteria of the work completed have been met. Our team will demonstrate the functionality completed during the Sprint and note necessary tweaks.

To ensure continuous improvement in our processes and deliverables, we conclude each project with a Retrospective meeting, where we evaluate our performance together. The goal of the meeting is to inspect and adapt our practices in an effort to identify and take action on key issues that impede our progress or health.

Through the use of Agile development, wisnet is able to provide our clients with visibility throughout the full course of the project, adapt to changing requirements and environments quickly and before time is wasted developing irrelevant code, add business value early and throughout the project, and eliminate risks that stem from lack of, poor or late communication or information.

When it’s time to automate your next process, develop your next application or construct a new web portal, you can count on wisnet to deliver incredible product value and customer service.

VersionOne. (2013, February 20). Resources: Getting Started with Agile. Retrieved March 20, 2014, from VersionOne: Agile Made Easier: http://www.versionone.com/agile-resources/agile-implementation/

VersionOne® . Agile Made Easier. (n.d.). Retrieved March 24, 2014, from VersionOne Product Blog: http://www.versionone.com/agile101/agile_development.asp

Website Concepts

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Author: Ashley

Awesome! You’ve chosen wisnet.com for your website project. So how the heck does this process work?

After the research and planning phase of your project, the next step is design. The design phase is when we incorporate the strategic visual and technical elements that will best communicate your brand, value and call-to-action. We begin with the homepage design and present you with that concept. The home page allows you to get a good feel for the overall tone of the site. In return, you provide us with feedback on the design and we are able to make any adjustments accordingly. Once the home page concept is approved we move onto the inner page concepts. The inner page concepts are designed to resemble the overall look of the home page. Again, once we have the inner page concepts ready, we provide you with those concepts and you provide us feedback. We will work with you on all concepts until you get what you are looking for.

We present you with a link to the concepts. All of our design concepts are graphics only, not actual HTML webpages. The reason for this, is so we are able to work with you on changes and finalize designs for when they move onto the next phase. When you go to the concept link provided, you will see thumbnails with a description of what each thumbnail represents. Many times we will also include design notes and explanations for how or why we designed the way we did. We’ve found it to be beneficial to both of us if we explain the thoughts and ideas that went into the concepts. We also include drop down menu examples, hover effects and rollover effects so you have an idea of what we are planning for the finished product. Once you have approved all design concepts your website is moved onto the next stage to make it a live website.

Many of you have been through this process with us and for many of you it might be new. Either way, we hope you have a better understanding of how our design process works and if you start a project with us, what to expect.

Two Unique Segments

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Author: Kelsey

Last June, Gina introduced you to the two new segments of wisnet.com.

To review, the talented individuals that make up the wisnet.com team are split into two categories, wisnetCreative and wisnetLogic. The first group consists of our Designers, Front-End Developers, and Account Managers. They are the heart and soul who represent your brand, your company image, and everything in between. The second group consists of experienced, talented programmers. The wisnetLogic team works on Internet applications. They create online “software as a service” (SaaS), automate and streamline processes, and manage integrated databases. Internet application development can constantly evolve, and the wisnetLogic team works closely with clients to continuously refine and enhance their online services.

So where exactly did the idea to establish two unique segments come from? Both wisnet.com and technology have grown over the years. With growth comes change. Adjusting to this change has allowed us to develop expertise in many different areas of marketing, websites, and application development. We understand that these needs will continue to grow and transform. Splitting into two groups allows us to best tailor our skill set to your needs, both present and future.

Marketing with wisnet.com Apparel

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Author: Tracy

Think back to your high school or college days. You know, the days when wearing your school colors or clothes with your school’s mascot was what you did to support and showcase your school. You wore those everywhere to show your pride and to show that you were part of a unique group.

Now, fast forward 10 years or more to your job. Do you do the same for your place of work? Do you wear company clothing to show your support and to help market what you do? The answer should be “Yes!”. Here at wisnet.com, we strongly encourage our team to wear their wisnet.com apparel. Whether we are out and about in the community meeting with clients, volunteering, shopping, or eating, wearing our apparel makes us walking billboards. Being walking billboards can help to spark interest in those that may not be familiar with wisnet and what we do. That interest may provoke them to ask questions, ask for company contact information, or better yet, look us up on the web to get a better idea of who we are and what we do, see samples of our work, read our blog, visit us on Facebook, and so much more.

Wearing wisnet.com apparel also brings a level of credibility and professionalism to each member of our team. We wear our apparel to show our friends, family, current clients, and potential clients that we are proud of where we work, and proud of the work that we do.

Ideas Outside of the Workplace

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Author: Kelsey

This month is all about ideas and how they can have a big impact on your business. If you had the opportunity to lift spirits, expand your network of contacts, and bring increased energy to your workplace, would you? What if I told you it was as easy as employee volunteering? Over three-quarters of employees who volunteered in the last twelve months found that they felt more calm and peaceful and were experiencing less overall stress in their lives. Volunteering not only boosts your spirits, it can make you feel more invigorated. This increased energy is then brought to the workplace, making your employees feel more productive. This, in turn, impacts your company’s bottom line.

Building strong colleague connections outside of the workplace can improve productivity and engagement in the office. Our team members are highly encouraged to get involved in community initiatives. These areas range from arts, leadership, and professional development, all the way to disaster planning. We also find it important to promote collaborative development and mentorship, both in and out of the office.

One-third of U.S. corporations encourage some form of employee volunteering, and platforms such as Causecast are simplifying the work involved. Causecast makes volunteering easy by managing nonprofit relationships, volunteer opportunities and volunteers, donation processing, matching gifts, volunteer grants, events, disaster response, board service, and more. If your business has a large number of employees, you may want to consider utilizing Causecast.

Next month is National Volunteer Month, so there is no better time to increase employee engagement, diversify touch points in your community, and build stronger legacies of impact. So go ahead and look into introducing an employee volunteer program in your workplace, or give your current program the boost it needs. You just might raise job satisfaction levels, spread good word of mouth, and increase retention rates.

Have a good cause or charity that we can assist with? Let us know why and how we can help! Our team is currently taking recommendations for volunteer work around the Fond du Lac, WI area. Stop by our Facebook page and let us know!