Atomic Spin

Want to be a Better Consultant? Learn to Work Strategically

Atomic Spin

Looking to level up your consulting skills? One thing I’ve observed among our more senior Atoms is a mastery of approaching work strategically. What Do I Mean by Strategy? As consultants, we juggle a lot of different concerns and goals.

How to Avoid Stakeholder Gridlock on Your Software Project

Atomic Spin

Have you ever been to a meeting that involved a dozen or more people, that constantly went too far into the weeds, that couldn’t come to a consensus, and that left you feeling like nothing was accomplished? It was horrible, right? You probably never want to have that experience again.

Starting Strong – 5 Ways to Establish Good Team Dynamics & Norms

Atomic Spin

You just kicked off a project, and it went well! Everyone is happy, hopeful, and on the same page. But how do you keep that momentum and camaraderie going? As a Delivery Lead, here are five things I try to do at the beginning of every project. Run a Team Norms Exercise.

How We Built a Scrappy Curriculum Editor using VSCode, TypeScript, and AWS Lambda

Atomic Spin

Great apps aren’t stuck in the mud. They change with the times. They float like oak leaves along a wide river of user expectations, business requirements, fashion trends, and platform changes. To keep floating, leaves apps need a watchful team of developers to walk the muddy banks nudging them back toward fast water whenever they beach on rocks or swirl into murmuring whirlpools of chat bots.

Add Value with a Dashboard Refresh: What You Need to Know

Speaker: Miles Robinson, Agile and Management Consultant, Motivational Speaker

Dashboards and analytics can really set your application apart, but that doesn't mean you can implement them and forget about them. Are they adding value to your product? Do your users benefit from them anymore? What should be improved, and what do we have the resources to improve? Join Miles Robinson, former UX and Design Manager, as he explains the different ways to refresh your dashboards - and how to determine what's the best path to product dashboard success. You'll leave with an understanding of how to figure out the best next steps specifically for you and your application.

Why Your Big-Team Software Project Needs a Utility Player

Atomic Spin

Projects with big teams introduce a slew of interesting problems–problems like keeping developers fed with multiple tracks of work, understanding areas with large technical risks, and sharing knowledge. On a recent project, we developed a role to help solve these problems.

Choosing the Right Software Partner, Part 3: Evaluating Experience

Atomic Spin

Experience is the best teacher. When evaluating custom software development partners, it’s important to know if your potential partner has a track record of success with companies like yours and projects of similar complexity.

Reviving the Handwritten Thank-You Note: Tips, Tools, and a 4-Sentence Template

Atomic Spin

I’m pretty sure you already think handwriting thank-you notes is a good move. So why don’t you more often? Does it seem old-fashioned? Too much work? Overly time-consuming? Not sure what to say? Do you associate it with notes you had send to your aunt, thanking her for your itchy birthday socks?

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Creating a Fast, Easy Daily Log with Bear & aText

Atomic Spin

I am a big note taker, mostly because I tend to be forgetful. No matter how significant or recent a discussion may be, I often forget the details of what was said or decided–unless I take effective notes.

Choosing the Right Software Partner, Part 2: Evaluating for Great People

Atomic Spin

Engaging with a service firm isn’t like buying a product. It’s about hiring a set of people to do work on your behalf. Yes, the company as a whole matters, but you also need to be confident that the people there have the right set of skills for your project.

The Complete Predictive Analytics Lifecycle for Application Teams

Speaker: Sriram Parthasarathy, Senior Director of Predictive Analytics, Logi Analytics

Applications with predictive analytics are able to deliver massive value to end users. But what steps should product managers take to add predictive analytics to their applications? In this webinar, we’ll walk through an end-to-end lifecycle of embedding predictive analytics inside an application. Find out how a real-world application decided what predictive questions to ask, sourced the right data, organized resources, built models, deployed predictive analytics in production, and monitored model performance over time.

With Jetpack, Android Development Has Leapfrogged iOS

Atomic Spin

Over the past six years, I’ve done a lot of iOS development (and written a lot about iOS ). I would say it’s been the primary focus of my career. But as a software consultant, I need to be flexible, and I’ve done my fair share of Android development as well.

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My Long, Winding Journey to “Software Developer”

Atomic Spin

If you take a look at our team page today, you’ll see a little chart showing that almost all of our makers have a college degree, save one very small slice. That slice is me. My journey to becoming a software developer at Atomic is quite distinct because I chose that unique path.

Choosing the Right Software Development Partner (with or without an RFP), Part 1: Evaluating Longevity

Atomic Spin

Finding the right custom software development firm for your project is a tough job. Even a thorough RFP process won’t save you if you’re not looking for the right things. Software projects are notorious for being late, over budget, and frustrating.

How to Set a Budget for Your Custom Software Project

Atomic Spin

Software is never done—there are always more features and functions you could add. So how much should you budget for a custom software project? Some companies keep throwing money at the project without any budget at all.

5 Product Traps - And Better Paths

Speaker: Johanna Rothman, Management Consultant, Rothman Consulting Group

Is your agile team overloaded with feature requests, with no time for discovery? Do your roadmaps read like impossible wish lists? Well, you’re not alone. It may seem impossible now, but what if we said that with a few changes, you could be meeting deadlines with the ability to predict progress with accuracy, be happy with your progress against the roadmap, and be making time for near-continuous discovery? Johanna Rothman has seen this all too often across many different organizations. She will take us through five common traps that agile product teams fall into – and likely you are in several of those traps right now. And good news - she has ways to avoid them!

Your Backlog Isn’t a To-Do List – It’s Self-fulfilling Prophecy of Success or Failure

Atomic Spin

Your backlog is an imperfect, always changing, self-fulfilling prophecy for how your software will be built. Not only that, but at a software consultancy like Atomic, it’s also a prophecy for how the engagement will end and deliver on your brand promise.

Four Steps for Inheriting a Codebase

Atomic Spin

In the last two years, I’ve worked on a few projects passed on to me by other teams.

Is Your New Feature Worth It?

Atomic Spin

When you’ve created a successful application, it is tempting to relentlessly add new functionality. You think that if you stop building, you’ll fall behind. New features bring in new business. They show your existing users that you are still active and adding value.

Wireframing for Non-Designers – A Crash Course

Atomic Spin

Wireframes are not just for designers! As a software maker, you can and should be using them to eliminate risk and validate concepts. These tools benefit the entire team, and they can be created by any member of the team.

5 Key Considerations for Top-Notch Product Dashboards

Speaker: Miles Robinson, Agile and Management Consultant, Motivational Speaker

So you want to set your product apart with the latest analytics, but you’re not sure where to start. How do you know what your customers want? And how can you make sure that you’re solving their problems? And wait a second, is it even feasible for your team to take this on right now? Join Miles Robinson, Agile and Management Consultant, as he covers five key considerations for you to keep in mind when you’re updating your software or app to offer the latest in embedded dashboards. You’ll leave with a better understanding of where to begin on creating actionable, insightful dashboards.

Wireframing for Non-Designers – A Crash Course

Atomic Spin

Wireframes are not just for designers! As a software maker, you can and should be using them to eliminate risk and validate concepts. These tools benefit the entire team, and they can be created by any member of the team.

Getting Ready to Break Everything (in 5 Easy Steps)

Atomic Spin

Every project eventually hits a point where a big change needs to be made, and it’s going to break everything. And you’re going to be the one stuck putting it back together.

Seven Quick Strategies for Effective Scrum Stand-Up Meetings

Atomic Spin

The daily stand-up meeting is an important component of the SCRUM process. It helps the whole team stay in-sync and up-to-date on what’s happening with the project, and it alerts everyone to blockers as soon as they become an issue.

Creating Psychological Safety Leads to Happy Teams

Atomic Spin

Have you ever loved being part of a team? It’s a great feeling. Often, it doesn’t even matter what you’re working on as a group. Everyone shows up to work with enthusiasm, and all members support one another.

What Users Want: How and Why to Build Knowledge into Your Product

Speaker: Nils Davis, Principal, NPD Associates

Usage data allows PMs, the product team, and the whole organization to make better decisions. Good usage intelligence gives you the ability to be smarter, more active, more decisive, nimbler, and to minimize risk. But what if you don't have that data - such as before you have users? Or, what if the right decision seems to fly in the face of the data you have? Or, what if your product offers more than just the standard features? To get deeper into these questions, Nils Davis asks, "What is the most interesting thing about Instagram?" (Because who doesn't like a product that Facebook paid $1 billion for when it had fewer than 50 employees and no revenue?) Nils will use the example of Instagram’s Filters to talk about how putting prebuilt knowledge in your product can change the way your product is used for the better - putting you in the company of most market-leading products. Finally, he’ll tie it all together by explaining how the way you interpret and use usage data can impact the way your tell your product’s story, and ultimately, how your users use your product.

Type-Driven Development – Replacing Unit Tests with Types in Typescript

Atomic Spin

Being explicit about the return type of the function is the most under-utilized feature of TypeScript. At least, that’s true for the way I write my code. When I first started using TypeScript, I was really impressed with the way it inferred the return type of the function, and having these types perpetuate throughout the app without any effort on my part made it really easy to switch over from JavaScript.

Commit Messages – the Easiest Documentation You’ll Ever Write

Atomic Spin

When it comes to writing documentation, nobody wants to do the job. And whatever documentation does get written is quickly outdated because nobody wants to update it, either. The most accurate documentation of how a system works is the code itself, but even “self-documenting” code falls short of describing why it was written that way. The next best thing is that little bit of text that gets attached to every code change: the version control log message. Motivation.

Want to Write Clearer Code? Follow the Cooperative Principle

Atomic Spin

Lately, I’ve noticed a transition in my craft as a software developer. While I once devoted almost all of my mental energy to getting code to run properly, I’m now putting more thought into writing clear and maintainable code.

MVC 52

Bluetooth Mobile App Testing Checklist

Atomic Spin

Bluetooth is one of those technologies that seems like a very simple thing from the perspective of a user—you set it up once and forget about it. But in reality, there’s a lot of complexity hidden behind the scenes. As we all know, wherever there’s complexity, there’s more that can potentially go wrong. Over the years, I’ve spent a great deal of time developing and testing mobile applications that use Bluetooth to pass data to and from custom electronic devices.

UX and Design Tips for Better Dashboards: Product Manager Laura Klein Explains How to Improve Your Analytics

Speaker: Laura Klein, Principal at Users Know and Author of UX for Lean Startups

No one makes poorly designed products on purpose. And yet we have so many of them in our lives. That's why Laura Klein, product manager and UX designer, has a set of tips to help application teams improve their embedded dashboards and reports.

Three Ways to Build Trust & Safety as a Team Leader

Atomic Spin

More and more studies have shown that the most effective teams are the ones whose members trust each other and feel “psychologically safe.”

If You Build It, Will They Use It? Assessing Your Client’s Change Management Readiness

Atomic Spin

A software project can’t be called “successful” unless it’s implemented successfully. And believe it or not, there’s a lot that software consultants can do to help with successful implementation.

Software Exposes People Problems that You Can’t Ignore

Atomic Spin

Image credit : Alan D Cirker (CC BY 3.0), via Wikimedia Commons. Software, and computers in general, are excellent at enforcing process. But process is often in direct conflict with people. So what happens when a new software system is thrust upon people?

Mob Programming: How We Stumbled Upon and Learned to Love It

Atomic Spin

I’ve been reflecting on how my current team is both super-productive and fun to work with. One key element of this is that we recently started to practice mob programming.

How Product Managers Can Learn to Love Reporting

Speaker: Eric Feinstein, Professional Services Manager, Looker

For a long time, Product Managers have found it challenging to design interfaces inside their products that users could use for reporting. It seems like PMs and engineers have grown to hate embedded reporting. Fortunately, there are new technical approaches that are making this a significantly different picture, although there are still lots of interesting design challenges. Eric Feinstein, Professional Services Manager at Looker, has done workshops with lots of product managers who are looking to add effective reporting. He will use the example of a product manager of a learning management software system and how she would go through the process of defining reporting for users of the product. He will discuss working through personas, data types, reporting needs analysis and ultimately how this comes together to form a roadmap for reporting functionality and interface.

A Case Against Dependencies

Atomic Spin

When you need to add a major bit of functionality to your system, what’s the first thing you do? Naturally, you start looking through whatever package repository is appropriate for a solution that fits. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with this, it’s important to think of the trade-offs made by adding external dependencies. Why Do We Use Dependencies? Reasons for including a dependency may include one or more of the following: The problem has already been solved.

Building a Fake API for Testing & Development

Atomic Spin

Nearly all applications developed today will integrate with an external service of some kind (HTTP, Bluetooth, etc.). These integrations can pose problems for automated testing, exploratory testing, and even demonstrating functionality to a stakeholder. There are a number of ways a developer can deal with external integrations in tests and for local development.

Debugging Strategies You Can Use on Every Project

Atomic Spin

I’ve wanted to write a post about debugging for a while, but it’s a topic that can be really difficult to discuss in a general way. Approaches to debugging vary wildly and span multiple technologies and domains (hardware vs. software vs. other). Bugs can also exist on all types of scales—everything from users reporting an issue in your production application, to code failing to compile, to your app crashing when you use it in a certain way.

Headcount goals, feature factories, and when to hire those mythical 10x people

Erik Bernhardsson

Since I started building up a tech team for Better , I made a very conscious decision to pay at the high end to get people. I thought this made more sense: they cost a bit more money to hire, but output usually more than compensates for it.

How Product Managers Can Learn to Love Reporting

Speaker: Eric Feinstein, Professional Services Manager, Looker

For a long time, Product Managers have found it challenging to design interfaces inside their products that users could use for reporting. It seems like PMs and engineers have grown to hate embedded reporting. Fortunately, there are new technical approaches that are making this a significantly different picture, although there are still lots of interesting design challenges. Eric Feinstein, Professional Services Manager at Looker, has done workshops with lots of product managers who are looking to add effective reporting. He will use the example of a product manager of a learning management software system and how she would go through the process of defining reporting for users of the product. He will discuss working through personas, data types, reporting needs analysis and ultimately how this comes together to form a roadmap for reporting functionality and interface.