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Is your office more like a library or a bar?

Time management is a kind of superpower that some people have and allows them to use their working hours more efficiently, making their work be of a higher quality and shine much more, and also with less stress.

It is a special superpower, not because you are born with it, like Superman, but because anyone can acquire it with a little learning and practice. So if you are reading this, you should get started as soon as possible, because once the superpower begins to emerge it will give you an incredible advantage in your job and your life, and its effect will last forever.

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What are key life events and why are they so important?

Answering the first part of the question is simple: key life events are the big moments in a person’s life. For example, moving out of your parents’, getting your first job, getting married, having a child, buying a house…

The message is not new. It is a concept that has been used in marketing for years. So why am I talking about it? Why is it important to take it into account when designing digital products?

A good way to understand how important this concept is, is to think like a company. If I were a bank, would I not like to know when someone is thinking about buying a house? Then I could be waiting in the wings to offer them a mortgage. I would win a customer for 30 years!

The same goes for insurance companies. Would it not be wise for them to show up when I am looking to buy a new car, a house…?

Even without putting the big banking and insurance firms into the equation, how many things do you need to book and buy for a wedding? Would catering companies, tailor’s shops, bridal stores or wedding pages not be delighted to know when someone is fixing to get married to appear in their life?

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When democracy is not the best solution

In a traditional company, decisions are usually made following an authoritarian model. Decisions are issued from the top layer of the organisational structure and are communicated downward, without the bottom layers being given any chance to voice their opinion.

The more hierarchical the company, the further the people who make the decisions are from its day-to-day operations. This leads them to use partial or biased information. This is why decisions made according to this model are typically not the best.

Responsibility is usually not delegated in these companies. Therefore, decisions are escalated to the top and travel back down once they are made, which is a rather slow process.

In addition, the ‘Chinese whispers’ problem is fairly common since what arrives to the final recipient in the chain is not always the same that was said at the start of the chain (in between there are misunderstandings, personal interests, politics, fear…).

Another problem this model has is that it follows principles that are similar to those of a military organisation, that is, it does not encourage healthy debate. People are often very afraid to voice their opinion, especially if they are not in line with their boss’, and leave out information that can be very relevant.

Therefore, this decision-making model does not make any sense in digital companies, which require a greater degree of freedom and responsibility to deal with innovation and the continual changes the new environment demands.

Foto: Roy Luck

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The most common mistakes when designing digital products

It is probably an example of ‘professional deformation’ but every time I interact with a website, a mobile app or a service I cannot help but to put them under the microscope.

I applaud when I have had a good experience and I even wish I could commend the people that work in the business or customer experience areas on the good idea they had or the usefulness of what they did.

Likewise, I would love to be able to talk to them when I see that they could improve small things to bring about significant changes without having to make big investments (as they are surely doing).

Since it is impossible to reach all those people individually, I would like, by means of this post, to give them some examples – should some of them end up reading them – and thus be able to help them.

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How are devices managed in the IoT?

If I were to tell you that the IoT is experiencing fast growth and that it will keep doing so for the next few years, you would answer that I am not telling you anything new. In fact, you would be right. I even said so myself in this post: we already talked about it.

Thus, to take things one step further, in this post I will focus on one of the main reasons why the growth of the Internet of Things is unstoppable: the importance of connected devices, which are continually gathering and transmitting data around the clock and have become natural drivers of the IoT.

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Do you know what SRE is and what it can do for your business?

Google already has 8 products that have 1+ billion users. Have you ever asked yourselves how is Google able to manage all those services? How do its teams work to keep everything in an optimal state? How does it deploy new functionalities?

When Google launched its browser in the early aughts, it already was aware that one of the biggest problems it had to manage its services was the tussle between the development people and the operations people.

The dev teams wrote code and sent it to the ops teams for deployment. The latter tried to make it work; if they failed, they sent it back to the former. As a general rule, operators did not know much about coding and developers did not know much about operating practices.

Developers were worried about finishing code and deploying new functionalities, whereas operators paid attention to reliability and keeping things running smoothly. In short, they had different objectives: functionality and stability respectively.

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[Infographic] What is DevOps? (and especially what it is not)

DevOps is one of the terms that more debate and controversy generate in the IT sector. Most of the confusion stems from confusing what’s DevOps with the requirements that
are needed to implement it or with the benefits that will be gained once it is implemented.

There are a lot of questions about this concept. Is DevOps a culture? Is it a profession? Is it necessary to digitally transform a company? Can it help us in developing a digital product?

In view of this hotchpotch of ideas and confusion of concepts, we will try clarifying what DevOps is and, particularly, what it is not with the help of this infographic.

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How to create a dashboard to put your metrics in order

I am increasingly more inclined to think that most companies do not oversee the progress of their digital business. And I am not just talking about small companies but also big ones.

One of the problems I have run into when doing consultancy work on digital analytics is that people think that it is a subject matter pertaining to technicians or marketing people only.

The digital activity, from marketing to the end results of a conversion, is too important an element NOT to be monitored and controlled.

If you have made an investment, wouldn’t you check to see whether it is making money or not? I am assuming the answer is yes.

We must do the same with our digital projects – for two obvious reasons: because they are an integral part of our business and because, irrespective of the size of the investment, their effectiveness has to be checked to see whether it is worth it to keep putting money into them or whether it would be better to shift the budget to other channels.

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We are mobile! The importance of mobility for users and companies

Before we start, stop for a second and look around you. I am convinced that if you are reading this blog, you are using a smartphone or tablet, and if you are sitting in front of a computer, it will most likely be a laptop.

You are probably wearing a smartwatch or a fitness tracker around your wrist, and I would venture that if you are a gamer you own or are thinking about buying a Nintendo Switch to take it on vacation with you.

Mobility is no longer a trend; it has become a lifestyle. It has redefined the way we work, communicate, buy and, even, have fun.

Mobility has reshaped the way we live and has become a catalyst for the digital business and the advent of new technologies. If you take a look at current emerging technologies and most business trends, you will see that what they all have in common is mobility.

Smartphones – the crown jewel of mobility – have evolved so much that right now the less important thing is being able to make calls from anywhere.

From the first iPhone in 2007 to the latest iPhone X, these devices have been stocked full of sensors (GPS, NFC, fingerprint reader…) and their processing capacity has grown so much that it almost matches that of a PC (e.g. the iPhone 8’s processor has a performance similar to that of an Intel Core i5-7600K chip, the processor mounted on many all-purpose laptops on the market).

Owing to this, to digitalization and to the evolution of mobile networks, complex tasks can already be done from any location and in any situation.

And even if the first thing that comes to your mind when you talk about mobility is your smartphone, we are not only referring to mobiles. Wearables, beacons, connected vehicles… all these technologies are part of this ecosystem.

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How to work successfully with groups dynamics sessions

Group dynamics sessions are an essential tool in my daily professional life. I use them to design products and services, to generate new ideas, to solve problems… The more I work with them (both as a moderator and as a participant), the higher my opinion of them. Thus, I recommend using them.

The results obtained from a session are mind-boggling. The result of teamwork is much more creative and productive, and the time saved by holding a group dynamics session instead of doing individual work is significant.

But not only that: holding this type of sessions helps to motivate the people who take part in them by taking them outside their routine and giving them a place where their contributions will be heard. Furthermore, they will spend more time with their co-workers.

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