Tuesday 30 May 2017

Software Outsourcing Hacks (4/7) - Scoping for the Unknown

Welcome to another post on the software outsourcing hack series. Please click here to read the earlier posts (One, Two & Three) on this series. 

We all get it Software Development is a challenge. Outsourcing Software Development is even a bigger challenge. Many opine software outsourcing is good approach to the solving the challenges of software development. However everyone would agree that successful software development outsourcing is no cake walk.

Let’s get this straight, there is no Universal method to solving this puzzle and handle all software development projects. 

Each project is different in its type and size and can be managed based on three important aspects.

1. Scope: What are we trying to achieve at the end of the day using the application.

2. Process: What is the process through which the deliverables are implemented.

3. Stakeholders: Who is responsible for which. Customers, Managers, staff, admins and the vendors.

These aspects can be further broken down into 7 questions which can be summed up as follows:

1. Who: Customers, Employees, Suppliers, Competitors, Government and other stake holders.

2. What: Scope, Strategy (Corporate, Business, Marketing etc.)

3. Where: Facilitation, Location, Market, Department.

4. When: Project Management Plan, Deadline, Timeline, Sequence.

5. Why: Rationales, Logics, Leadership, Culture, Change Management.

6. How: Processes, Operating Plan, Coding, Testing, Metrics.

7. How Much: Budgeting, Investment Plan, Costing.

These questions provide the structure to the approach when dealing with outsourcing projects. However, the answers need to be tweaked based on a project. Failing to understand these factors and their relation to each other increases the chances of failure dramatically.

Project characteristics or type determines the amount of details you can define in the scope, and thus the way you manage the scope – Process and the interaction between the Stakeholders.

Project types is a combination of Technology, Market and Complexity. Each of these factors influence the other factors in the combo. Complexity can range from easy, (for example an existing well documented application being upgraded to different technology or platform) to difficult extreme (for example a new technology based application with high risk).

                                                                                                                                             Pic Courtesy : bitwizards.com

Software Development Outsourcing can be an interesting experience when the customer understands these terms and work with an experienced vendor. An experienced vendor i.e. the software consultant would nudge the customer to think in terms of scope, process even at the very first meeting. This should also give the customers an indication on the ability of the vendor to manage the project. You might also want to have a look this post regarding choosing the right software consultant for your project. Thanks for stopping by and have a fantastic day!

   Srivatsan Aravamudan

   General Enquiries:info@psibertech.com.sg
   Sales Enquiries:sales@psibertech.com.sg
   Telephone:+65 62689551
   Fax:+65 62689858
   Business Analyst - Snr Software Consultant.

Tuesday 16 May 2017

Don't Wanna Cry? Read this

By this time, everyone would be aware of the unprecedented malware "WannaCry" that infected the cyber sector last week. "Shadow Brokers", the group that spread out the ransom-ware, crept in to the Hospital, Automobile, Telecom, Transport, Education and Banking sectors. 

“WannaCry” is a scary Trojan virus which in effect holds the infected computer hostage and demands the victim to pay a ransom to regain the access. These ransom-wares work by encrypting most or even all the files on a user's computer. Later, software demands that a ransom be paid in bitcoins to have the files decrypted.
"Eternal Blue" exploit, discovered by NSA keeping under wraps to use later for own intelligence gathering purposes was made public by Shadow Brokers. These attacks are not over yet. The attack largely infected networks that used out-of-date software, such as Windows XP, which Microsoft no longer offers technical support for.

Prevention is better than cure and here are the steps you should take to prevent yourself against ransom-ware:

1. Update Antivirus Solution(such as Microsoft Security Essentials)
It is always suggested to use updated anti-virus to prevent most threats. Almost all antivirus vendors have already added detection capability to block WannaCry, as well as to prevent the secret installations from malicious applications in the background.

2. Update Operating System
Update your windows version with SMB protocol enabled. Ensure that your computer always receive updates automatically from Microsoft.

3. Avoid clicking on links or opening attachments or emails
Most of the ransom-ware spread through the phishing mails and malicious adverts on the websites and third party apps. It is a better option to stay away from opening uninvited documents sent over an email and links unless verifying the source to safeguard against infective ransom-wares.
Also, never download any app from third-party sources, and read reviews even before installing apps from official stores.

4. Enable Firewall (in browsers)
Always keep your firewall enabled, and if you need to keep SMBv1 enabled, then just modify your firewall configurations to block access to SMB ports over the Internet. Always keep the firewall turned on, which helps identify reported phishing and malware websites and helps you make informed decisions about downloads.

5. Disable SMB
Even if you have installed the patches, you are advised to disable Server Message Block version 1 (SMBv1) protocol, which is enabled by default on Windows, to prevent against WannaCry ransom-ware attacks.

Here's the list of simple steps you can follow to disable SMBv1:

  • Go to Windows' Control Panel and open 'Programs.
  • Open 'Features' under Programs and click 'Turn Windows Features on and off.
  • Now, scroll down to find 'SMB 1.0/CIFS File Sharing Support' and uncheck it.
  • Then click OK, close the control Panel and restart the computer.
6. Backup
Secure all your important documents and files by keeping a good backup to an external storage device which is not always connected to your computer. In case, if ransom-ware infects you, your backup can’t be encrypted.

If your systems or files are encrypted by WannaCry, there is no known way to recover, don't panic. Start by removing the network connection (either remove the network cable or shut down your computer's wireless function) from your computer to prevent the spread of WannaCry. Try rebuilding your affected computer before patching it with the recommended patch. Restoring your system from the backups made previously would be a better way to stay protected.

Hopefully affected users have backups for the data because there is no other option to fix WannaCry now. Read here more about data breach in development and testing of software. Thanks for stopping by. 

NagaTeja Rupavataram
Technical Writer
General Enquiries
Sales Enquiries
+65 62689551
+65 62689858

Thursday 11 May 2017

Bitcoin & Block Chain for Dummies

Any launch of new technology brings in amalgamation of curiosity (which enables us to try it) and caution (which make us slow in taking steps). The third invisible factor in this equation is our inability to deal with it. When the internet came into realization nobody knew what to do with it. Only few geeky minded people could relate to it and were using it. 

No one knew how ground breaking internet was and no one would have guessed how much impact it would make since then. Bitcoin and Block chain is such groundbreaking idea since the invention of Internet.

Simply put Bitcoin is a peer to peer electronic cash system which can be used as online payment and sent directly without a financial institution or a middle man.  And Block Chain facilities this transaction with utmost security and freedom. 
You lost me there. Are they same ?
Bitcoin uses Block Chain like the way email uses Internet. At its core the block chain is a database. 

1. A database that is public, so it’s not owned by anybody. 

2. Distributed across many computers around the globe and constantly synchronized with latest information.  

3. The technology is secured by the state of art cryptography making it tamper proof and attacker proof. 

4. Overall more than 1 billion$ has been invested in the Bitcoin and Block chain technology.

Wait whats the big deal ?
Bitcoin has been around for 7 years now and block chain is evolving. While many are skeptical about the regulatory factors, Giants like JPMorgan Chase & Co, Microsoft, Intel Corp and more than two dozen other companies have teamed up to develop standards & technology. The effort is aimed to make it easier for enterprises to use blockchain code to move toward distributed ledger systems. The latest addition to this list is EEA, The European Economic Area.

So what now?
The technology has gained significant momentum now. Amongst the new development is Ethereum. It is a type of blockchain that can be used to develop decentralized applications. 

Several banks have already adapted Ethereum to develop and test blockchain trading applications. At this rate of synergy and growth, it is going to be much simpler to do personal and official transaction in a much more efficient way.

Its all about finances right ?

Block chain technology is not just for financial transaction. Since it is a database at its core, it can be used to save all information about you. 

For example, all your assets, and documents like passports, driver’s license or marriage certificates can be tied to your Block Chain ID. Even voting can be done using Block Chain ID securely from the comfort of your living room. 

Fiction or Fact ?
True! We are not quite there yet, but we are on our way. It is vital for busines owners start preparing for this massive change in the industry. In no time we would be developing apps for Block chain enabled businesses. 

I just created my onename id, a place where you can save all your identity information securely, and created my account with Xapo a bitcoin wallet.  I invite you to explore the Block chain and Bitcoin world! 

   Srivatsan Aravamudan

   General Enquiries:info@psibertech.com.sg
   Sales Enquiries:sales@psibertech.com.sg
   Telephone:+65 62689551
   Fax:+65 62689858
   Business Analyst - Snr Software Consultant.

Tuesday 9 May 2017

Leadership Takeaways from Macron’s Win

Emmanuel Macron, 39 year old, a former economy minister and investment banker surprised the world with his victory in presidential election. He is predicted to be the 25th President of French Republic. 

While french people are comparing the recent US election and basking in the glory of thier choice, the fact that good leadership leads to success remains a base in any endeavours. 
Below are the list of Macron's leadership qualities that we believe serve as a good takeway.

1. Get a clarity with numbers

Throughout his campaign, Mr. Macron made complex economic arguments backed with numbers and formulas in all his speeches, interviews, debates and advertisements. Being a former investment banker, Mr. Macron was always confident about the steps to be taken for the economic security of the Republic. 

2.Stop addressing fear in your words

A news website Hareetz mentioned that Macron never addressed about terrorism in any of his speeches. He always concentrated more on fighting unemployment in Paris' suburbs and ways to increase intelligent funding in France. He could convey the message confidently as he came from the economic realm. In one of the debates, his opposition leader Le Pen offered up the right - wing argument against him that was projecting the weakness that encouraged attacks, he turned it around and claimed saying that she was conveying a message of hysteria. Rather he portrayed patriotism as holding fast and not showing weakness by changing laws or norms. 

3.Determination towards achievement of goal

The most important quality in any of the fields is determination. He always eyed on prize and even when he found himself on the boards due to plenty of mistakes, he always found the strength to comeback and continue. 

4. Age is just a number but positivity gives more experience

Unlike his competitor, he never conducted negative campaigns. Le Pen, changed the tactics and tried to attack him for being too young for the position. But this just served to highlight the fact that she was touting the same lines for too many years.

5. Be patient

Napoleon Bonaparte advised, "Don't stop your enemy when he is making a mistake". And Mr. Macron proved that wisdom of advice during his debates. He allowed his opposition to attack and began to retaliate only during last 20 minutes of the contest. In political arenas in any other countries, such behavior would be considered suicidal. But his act proved that being patient and confident is the route for victory in any arena.

PsiberTech wishes Mr. Emmanuel Macron on his victory.
Thanks for stopping by and have a good day!

NagaTeja Rupavataram
Technical Writer
General Enquiries
Sales Enquiries
+65 62689551
+65 62689858

Monday 8 May 2017

Rule Book: 20 Rules for UI/UX Developers

Having written the article 21 Free Coding Tools for Developers, it made sense to add research terms to UX designers and developers. I have put together 20 Must have for successful UI/UX Design in software development.



Starting with a common point that it is very important to sustain users else they would leave a website if they couldn't reach the page they want within 3 clicks.


A simple usability testing technique that help design teams quickly measure how a content page performs with users. The participant then has to recall what they saw on the page. This is a great method to see whether the key visuals, or calls to actions have been correct impact.

3. 80/20 RULE

This is based on the Pareto principle. Applied to any website, web app, or software environment, 20% of the functionality and features will be responsible for 80% of the results.

Pareto developed the principle by observing that about 20% of the pea pods in his garden contained 80% of the peas.


Randomly serving visitors two versions of a website that differ only in the design of a single button element, the relative efficiency of the two designs can be measured.


The inclusive practice of removing barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to websites, for specially abled persons. When sites are correctly designed, developed and edited, all users have equal access to information and functionality.


Web analytics is not just a process for measuring web traffic but can be used as a tool for business and market research, and to assess and improve the effectiveness of a website.


End users are the people who use a website/app. User engagement is about getting user attention and keeping it. Anything that helps a user stay focused on a page or screen (whether it be a button or a menu) is crucial.


User data entry field where users make text or data entries. It should be so simple and easy for the user to access which when failed would leave a strong negative impact on the website/app.


A diagram designed to identify cause and effect relationships between factors in each situation. It is made up of a “head” which states a problem and bones along the spine which represent factors and categories of factors. The fishbone helps to visually display the potential causes for a specific problem.


This is also known as law of simplicity. These principles are organized into five categories: Proximity, Similarity, Continuity, Closure, and Connectedness. This states that people don't visually perceive items in isolation, but as part of a larger whole.


This is a basic framework to be followed for providing customer satisfaction with the product output. Happiness, Engagement, Adoption, Retention and Task Analysis.

12. KISS

Keep it Simple Stupid. Most systems give better performance if kept simple. Simplicity is key goal in design. Don't use flashy colors and complicated designs.


An action designed to identify where on a page links are located. Mine sweeping involves the user rapidly moving the cursor over a page, watching to see where the cursor or pointer changes to indicate the presence of a link.


An approach to design attempting to actively involve users irrespective of the hierarchy and access rights in the design process to ensure the result meets the needs.

15. PATH

The route taken by a user as they move through a Web site should be shown by breadcrumbs. This makes the user to redirect to previous levels easily.


The study of human behavior that focuses on context and observations and numerical data or statistics. This helps in perfect analysis for the development of web/mobile apps.


It is a group of participants that closely matches the characteristics of the target audience of the website or mobile app. Representative sampling is more profitable for apps targeting e-commerce and social networking.


It is a must for UX developer to have a visual representation of tasks and their interrelationship on a site/app for better understanding of the requirements.

True internet studies measure the user experience with a website. These provide insights for improving the design by solving these questions:

· Who’s visiting?

· Why are they coming?

· What do they like or dislike?

· How well do they succeed?


The smart designer has at least one response: the usability benchmark. By capturing the current level of ease of use of the current product or website, a reference point is created that can be measured against in the future.

If you have a site or product where users tell you that the site’s content pages are cluttered or confusing, this post may be just the right post to correct and improve the user experience. This toolbox of techniques gives teams information they need to create successful designs in software development. Thanks for stopping by.

NagaTeja Rupavataram
Technical Writer
General Enquiries
Sales Enquiries
+65 62689551
+65 62689858

Friday 5 May 2017

Software Outsourcing Hacks (3/7) - Walking on Water

Welcome to Software Outsourcing series in PsiberTech Blog. If you are stumbling over this series for the first time, then I suggest you look here for the first and second post on this series. Now let’s get on with today’s topic

Walking on water and developing software from a specification are easy if both are frozen.

This is a famous saying amongst the development community and on a much serious note the quote also serves as a reminder about evolving requirements. Often requirements documentation forms one of the major hurdle while outsourcing software development and there are various reasons for that.

1. Realistically, companies can’t document entire system upfront.

2. Documentation is often subjected to multiple interpretations, so the outsourcing consultant may not be in the same page as you are (no pun intended)

3. By the time the project gets into motion, the changes to the external and internal factors happens so quickly and the documentation in no more relevant or complete.

4. Requirements tend to evolve, as the understanding of the system grows, several factors may be omitted or included thus making it difficult to freeze the requirement process.

From IT consultant point of view, changing requirements often brings in more effort not just in terms of man hours and changes to exiting development package, but also in terms of time spent in understanding and analyzing involved with changes requested. Hence, most consultants would refuse any deviations from the originally agreed requirements and often charges more for change control process.

In this tug of war between the outsourcing company and consultant, the actual essences of those requirements needed to deliver the system successfully gets lost. 

Documentation are often overlooked element in software development project and creates negative consequences while outsourcing software projects

Documentation Hack

1.Draft RFP can minimize requirement documentation issue, please read here about draft RFP.

2. It is vital to have some wiggle room for requirement evolution. Have a discussion with the consultant to ensure there is some variance included in the estimation.

3. A good IT consultant would be able to find the grey areas in your requirements and would be able to point them out to you and /or include that in estimate.

4. Only document the crucial elements of the project and let your requirements evolve using a brain storming session with the consultant.

That’s all for today, let me know your thoughts about documentation of requirements in the comment below. If you have questions regarding outsourcing your next project, please head over here.

   Srivatsan Aravamudan

   General Enquiries:info@psibertech.com.sg
   Sales Enquiries:sales@psibertech.com.sg
   Telephone:+65 62689551
   Fax:+65 62689858
   Business Analyst - Snr Software Consultant.

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