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Plaster Group is one of Washington’s Best Places to Work!

Plaster Group has been a finalist on the Puget Sound Business Journal’s WA Best Places to Work three times, and last Thursday we were recognized as the second best medium-sized company to work for in Washington. We are very proud of this distinction as we consistently seek to serve our Consultants, our Clients, and the Community. Read more about why we are one Washington’s Best Places to Work here! 

Agile Nirvana

by Shama Bole, Sr. Agile Consultant  Growing up, I remember being told the story of a village boy in India who, at a very tender age, wrote a famous treatise summarising his meaning-of-life philosophy and conclusions, and in the wake of that, sought samadhi (death via unending meditation) in a nearby cave that he requested be sealed thereafter. (He has been revered as a saint since the 13th century.) Apparently, life held no more questions, surprises, puzzles worth the pondering.

Designing Customer Experience

by Doug Ugarte, Supply Chain Consultant Designing and managing customer experience is a lot like chauffeuring your customer safely to their destination, when suddenly you have a flat tire… on the highway… at night… and have only a crescent wrench and flashlight to replace it. Did we mention that during this process, your customer should be relaxing in the backseat, blissfully unaware of the mission-critical upgrade you are performing under a constrained schedule? If you’re involved in designing or supporting customer experience, you’ve probably contributed to the Herculean efforts that go into producing delighted customers.

Lean Business Analysis 

By Heather Smith, Business Solutions Consultant As companies try to do more with less, Lean is still growing in popularity. The Japanese manufacturing philosophy from Toyota emphasizes cutting waste and boosting efficiency. Other industries often struggle to adapt Lean to their processes. This is because Lean was developed as a system to eliminate waste in automotive manufacturing in the 1960’s. Today, Lean is evolving into a management approach to improve operational effectiveness (Kovacheva, 2010). However, because Lean methods were developed in the manufacturing industry they often need to be adjusted to fit other processes—like business analysis. Put simply, “Lean business analysis is about doing the right thing at the right time and removing things that don’t add value” (Saboe, 2016). 

February 2017 Beyond Agile

Plaster Group was a proud sponsor of yesterday’s BeyondAgile event. This month’s meetup was at Getty Images and was presented by the gregarious Marius Grigoriu, Development Manager at Nordstrom. Grigoriu covered the very timely topic of “the trouble with DevOps and what to do about it.” This talked explored the dynamics of DevOps through several lenses, from strategic and financial, all the way to the engineering experience. The presentation c losed with an exciting demo of a proposed solution in a live, product environment. Join BeyondAgile on Meetup here to keep current on upcoming events! 

Ambient Computing and the Internet of Things

by Sal Faizi, senior consultant Ambient computing is becoming increasingly important as it allows organizations to stay competitive in innovative ways. Gartner predicts that “by 2020, the installed base of IoT devices will exceed 26 billion units worldwide.” Ambient computing uses an ecosystem of Internet-connected “Things” or IoT. The Things are sensors, machines, smart devices etc. that signal a change and act as triggers. Such an ecosystem presents revolutionary opportunities in many areas of our daily lives. We will discuss examples from the medical industry and the care of the elderly as well as another example of how supply chain operations can be transformed (see Process Orchestration below). First, let’s consider an example of elderly care.

Fourth Annual Rise Up Luncheon

Plaster Group was once again honored to sponsor and attend the fourth annual Rise Up Luncheon for ROOTS Young Adult Shelter. It has been wonderful watching this event grow over the past four years and receive updates on the powerful impact that ROOTS has within our community. At its incorporation in 2000, ROOTS became he first overnight shelter in the city specifically designed to meet the needs of homeless young adults. Since then, it has continued to  increase the breadth of shelter and services it provides to Seattle’s homeless youth. 

The Problem With Tableau Is It Always Gets Locked Down

by Colin Carson (Senior Consultant) While discussing past engagements with one of my coworkers, Tableau came up. I related a story where I overheard somebody asking helpdesk for a Tableau license because her trial key expired. The helpdesk guy was apologetic and explained he couldn’t help because Tableau was “managed by a different team”. When the user asked if there was something she could use that same day, the guy said, “You can try Power BI; anybody can use that.” The frustrated user said she wanted to use Tableau. She was groaning as I walked out of hearing range. My coworker laughed. She knew exactly what I was talking about. “The problem with Tableau is it always gets locked down,” she said. She meant that only certain people are allowed or encouraged to use Tableau, more akin to a dictatorship than a democracy.