Intertech to Host and Sponsor WomenHack Event

I’m happy to announce that Intertech is hosting and sponsoring an upcoming WomenHack event.  Below is the media release:

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Intertech to host & sponsor WomenHack event to facilitate networking & hiring of women IT professionals by Twin Cities’ companies

WHAT: Top area employers will join IT consulting and training company Intertech at its Eagan headquarters for a high-powered evening of rapid interviews (five-minutes each) with leading women technology professionals in the Twin Cities. The event also includes a discussion about the importance of diversity, equality and inclusivity in the workplace. Participation by women IT professionals – primarily developers, designers and project managers – is by invitation only to ensure candidates have a solid work history and proven expertise. Area companies register and pay a fee WomenHack to participate.

WHY: Studies estimate that women make up only a quarter of employees and eleven percent of executives in the IT industry. What’s more, almost half of the women who go into technology eventually leave the field, more than double the percentage of men who depart. The turnover of women and minorities, according to a 2017 study on “tech leavers,” costs Silicon Valley more than $16 billion each year. WomenHack assists organizations working toward equalizing their IT employee base while building diverse, inclusive teams.

WHEN: Thursday, November 30, 2017 – 7:00 – 9:30 p.m.

WHERE: Intertech, 1575 Thomas Center Drive, Eagan, MN  55122

WHO:  Intertech, WomenHack sponsor and host, is a leading Twin Cities-based software development consulting firm with a national presence. The company’s unique blend of consulting and training has empowered technology teams in medium-sized businesses and government agencies.

WomenHack is a community that empowers women in tech through events, jobs and reviews, with the goal of building more inclusive, equal and diverse workplaces. More at www.womenhack.com

 

 

 

Listen Up – Your Customers are Talking!

Anyone with responsibility for making a company successful—from the CEO to the front desk receptionist—already knows who really decides an organization’s fate: the customers. That’s why most of us pay attention and actively solicit customer input on our current work and future product developments.

As a smaller company, Intertech regularly engages with our customers in informal ways. Why? We all know it’s more economical and productive to extend existing customer relationships than to build new ones from scratch (we also genuinely like our customers!).

But what about medium-to-large companies where regular informal customer contact is difficult to encourage? It’s not uncommon in larger companies for customer relationships to be completely controlled by a single sales rep. That’s not a healthy situation for your company, especially if your sales rep decides to work elsewhere – taking all of those precious customer relationships with him or her.

A couple of smart and connection-minded local entrepreneurs, Eric Lopez and Loring Kaveney, decided to do something about this. They developed a secure community platform called WorkOutLoud to facilitate ongoing conversations between companies and their customers. This cool new platform also provides the tools to drive collaborative activities through online registration, surveys, email notifications, blogs, files storage, forums, analytics and the like. It’s especially helpful for developing case studies, and facilitating product enhancement requests that drives customer engagements before, during and after events such as webinars, conferences, blog posts and announcements.

Loring Kaveney, who also serves as the Minneapolis Director of StartUp Grind (a national networking group for tech entrepreneurs), explained it to me this way:

“There is a natural increase in collaboration when a community platform is provided to share information from thought leaders in their industry, especially when it supports rich content to solve challenges. Customer communities will lower churn while focusing on the satisfaction of the customer’s thoughts around services and products provided by your company.”

In other words, every company needs a customer community to clearly understand what drives their customers and to encourage collaboration. Your bottom line depends on it. I’m impressed with WorkOutLoud and suggest you check it out at www.workoutloud.com.

6 simple ways to make every project successful

My latest article for The Business Journals is “6 simple ways to make every project successful“.  Below is the start:

Running a software development company for more than two decades has given me a lot of insight into making projects work.

Clients should expect fast, accurate and nearly immediate benefits from development projects that used to take months or even years to yield results. The strategies we’ve adapted to meet client expectations are useful no matter what type of business you’re in today.

Read the full copy on The Business Journals website.

Agile Project Planning: How to Budget When Using Agile

The holidays are approaching. For many kids, this means writing long, wish-filled letters to Santa in hopes of snagging enough toys and games to keep themselves satisfied throughout the new year. While this strategy frequently works for children with indulgent parents, it’s a poor model for devising agile project planning budgets for IT.

Yet agile project budgeting is remarkably similar to kids at Christmas for many project managers. They’re asked to deliver a wish list of projects and price tags in December to serve as the foundation for the next year’s budgets. Project managers are reduced to guessing at (and hoping for!) what they think seems like reasonable projections and budget requests. This involves trying to define most of an agile project plan’s requirements in advance, or what IT business consultant and writer, Scott Ambler, calls “the classic Big Requirements Up Front (BRUF) tactic.” He correctly notes that BRUF is rarely accurate.

Read the full post on the Intertech blog.

Presentations from Intertech’s 25 Anniversary Learning Summit

If you weren’t able to make it to Intertech for our 25th anniversary, here are the talks from my fellow presenters.  Senior Intertech Consultant Jim Karg delivers a presentation on The Internet of Things (IoT) for Business.  Lonnie Weaver-Johnson, Agile Coach and Instructor, presents on Organizational Benefits from Agile and Scrum Adoption.  Watch their presentations below.