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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.

Upcoming Seattle Agile Events

Check out these two upcoming Seattle Agile Events September 1st – BeyondAgile at the Museum of Flight 5-9pm Plaster Group is sponsoring the event: “Networks of High-Performing Teams Using Known, Stable Interfaces of Human Interaction. Dr. Low from the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital, as well as several other speakers, will be presenting. Read more about BeyondAgile’s event and RSVP here. Schedule: 5:00 Free admission to the Museum of Flight 5:30 South View Lounge Opens 6:30 Food and Social Time 7:00 Main Program 8:25 Retrospective 9:00 Museum of Flight closes   September 8th – Agile Mixer at Triple Door 4-6pm The Agile Mixer is a Seattle-based gathering created to provide an informal setting for networking and information sharing between existing or aspiring Agilists. Whether your passion is Scrum, Kanban, Lean, or XP – come share your experiences and benefit from hearing about the experiences of others. We will trade war stories and revel in tales of success. We had a such a great time last month that we will be returning to the Musicquarium Lounge at the Triple door. Join our open group on LinkedIn here – we hope to see you there!

Book Club: Mindset

Our most recent company-wide read was Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. This book is written by Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck on the subject of success and learning to fulfill our potential across parenting, business, school and relationships. Dweck stresses that it is not our abilities or talents that gurantee our successes, but our mindsets in approaching our goals.   One of Plaster Group’s consultants, Shama Bole, weighs in on this read: 

Top Supply Chain Considerations When Implementing an eCommerce Solution

by Brian Decker, Supply Chain Practice Director   What are the top supply chain considerations when implementing an eCommerce solution?   You have a new product, now what? You want to sell online, but there are a lot of marketplaces: eBay, Amazon, Jet, BestBuy, Walmart, etc. Creating a selling account and manually listing all of your products for sale on each site separately could consume you for days. And when the orders come rolling in, how do you consolidate them efficiently across various portals for fulfillment and tracking?? How do you handle same day shipping?

Book Club: The People’s Scrum

  We asked our Senior Consultant and Director of Agile Transformation, Grant Beck what was the last book he read. Grant’s last read was The People’s Scrum: Agile Ideas for Revolutionary Transformation by Tobias Mayer. Interested in Agile and want a quick read? Pick this one up.