UpKeep’s Maintenance Management Software Seeks to Save Businesses Time and Money

Equipment maintenance isn’t really one of the most glamorous jobs in the office, but it is one of the most crucial.  If this is your responsibility, then you must make sure that you keep your equipment running at peak performance all the time.  UpKeep‘s maintenance management software is seeking to help with this task.

You need to keep your tools maintained properly so that unnecessary repairs can be avoided.  If repairs are inevitable, then they must be scheduled and performed as quickly as possible.  You are better able to succeed if you can manage all your tasks in an organized manner, and for that, you have the maintenance management software from UpKeep.

With this software, you will actually be able to automate the entire process so that things can proceed more efficiently.  You will be able to arrange the appropriate personnel to service the machines that need maintenance at the correct times.  All in all, this program from UpKeep allows you to manage everything.

This can range from something as simple as creating a schedule for preventive maintenance to finding the trends regarding the breakdowns of your tools so that you can minimize such occurrences in the future.  The maintenance management software enables you to see if maintenance tasks are done on schedule, and you can turn on notifications for every completed maintenance task that is done.

With the app, you can assign work orders, prioritize tasks, and enable communications between employees and teams.  You can monitor your inventory and have spare parts on standby.  With your historical data on equipment failure stored, you can identify conditions and problems quickly, in order to avoid them.

UpKeep’s maintenance management software allows users to significantly minimize their equipment downtime, saving valuable resources like time and money.  You can avoid expensive repairs with cheap maintenance procedures and are also able to avoid delays that can add up to great costs when you can’t deliver work on time. The savings from this product will bring you over time will quickly match and eclipse the cost of using UpKeep’s maintenance management software.

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Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.
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Can You Measure Software Developer Productivity?

Can You Measure Software Developer Productivity?

The cost of software development kills innovation by limiting resources available to solve problems

THE PRODUCTIVITY DILEMMA

Let’s face it – software development is expensive.  Really expensive.  It’s not hard to understand why – software development is a complicated and still-maturing industry, and as the sector grows, it actually gets more complicated, not less, because of the acceleration of changes in technologies, programming languages, and toolsets.

As a technology consultant, one who is paid to help build expensive, complex systems, I should be happier than a fanboy on a Fortnite bender about this trend, right?  Wrong – it frustrates me a great deal.  My job is to solve problems and build things that people need, and that gets harder when funding becomes a challenge for our clients.

So here’s the question I’ve been grappling with – how can we make software development more productive to reduce costs?

There are lots of things our industry has done over the preceding decades to tackle this problem:

  • Developed working methodologies to build repeatable practices – Waterfall, Unified Process, Agile, XP, etc.
  • Created design patterns to solve common problems – MVC, SOLID, GoF, and many others
  • Leveraged lower cost resources through offshoring

None of these have been a panacea.  Look at any enterprise and you’ll find competing for SDLC methodologies, loose adherence to design practices, and the common efficiency roadblocks due to offshoring.  While these efforts have been helpful in managing cost, it is very difficult to measure the effect they have really had.

MEASURING PRODUCTIVITY

What to do, then?  More than anything, the focus of productivity has to start with the most human element of all – the individual developer herself.  The focus has to be on how to increase the speed that a developer can turn a designed solution into working code with as few errors as possible.

Anyone who has been in the software industry knows there are broad ranges in developers’ productivity.   It depends on the individual’s ability to understand programming theory, their educational background, years of experience, a personal situation at the time, how much Fortnite they play, etc.

Why is this important?  Quite simply, time is money.  The longer it takes a developer to code a solution, the more it costs.  In today’s environment of nearly full employment, demand for software developers has never been higher, which brings a lot of varied talent into the picture to meet the demand.  Anyone who has hired a developer knows the productivity gap I’m talking about – hiring is an expensive proposition and no matter how much interviewing you do, and you’re never sure what sort of productivity you’ll get until that person gets to work.

Why is measuring productivity so hard?  Because a good measurement involves an apples-to-apples comparison between developers, yet they will almost never complete the same task to produce the same set of code.  Since every development task is different, we cannot establish a baseline for how long it SHOULD take to perform a task versus how long it WILL take a specific developer.  Throw in each person’s differing levels of experience, education, and general abilities with the discipline, and…you get the picture.

Does that mean we’re stuck with technical interviews, coding tests, and answered prayers to create a team of highly productive software engineers?  Not quite.  Agile practices give us an opportunity to solve the biggest challenge in measuring developer productivity – creating a baseline to measure the variance between the estimated and actual time to perform a coding task.

HOW IT WORKS

Every ALM tool – Jira, or otherwise – allows a Scrum team to create story sub-tasks during their planning sessions.  Usually, a developer assigned to a sub-task has an opportunity to estimate the time it should take to complete that task, measured in hours.  During the sprint, developers can then track the actual hours spent so the team can evaluate the variance between estimated and actual hours.

This variance isn’t particularly helpful as a productivity metric because the individual developer may be much faster or slower than the average, and their estimations likely reflect this bias.

The solution to this problem is to have all the developers on the Scrum team estimate each subtask duration, creating a proxy baseline and a more reasonable expectation of the task’s duration.  Then, once a task is assigned to the individual developer, the variance calculations can start to have some meaning.

What meaning are we to glean from this variance? When looking at large sets of variances (hundreds or thousands of tasks over multiple projects), we can observe patterns in individual developers’ productivity.  If they consistently take longer to complete a task than the established baseline, we can look more deeply at the data to find root causes and potential remediations.  Is there a skills mismatch, allocation mismatch, or something else?  Does the developer need more pair programming or training in specific areas?

If a developer consistently performs tasks in less time than the estimations, we have hard metrics to reward that individual and encourage continued productivity.  We can also look at the data to see how we might have other developers emulate good behaviors from these high performers.

IMPLICATIONS

I know I know – I can hear the complaints now.  A small group of 2-4 developers on a Scrum team estimating a task cannot be used as a valid baseline, you say.  It’s a fair point, but any leftover estimation bias from a small sample size of developers would be offset by the volume of variance data we would collect.  As a manager, I care more about the variance trends and less about the exactness of anyone variance calculation.

But wait, you say.  All of this supposes a developer will be truthful in reporting their actual duration on a task.  People lie to themselves and others all the time (just read “Everybody Lies” by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz) – if a developer knows they’ll be measured on variance, they’ll manipulate their actuals to improve their perceived productivity.

Again, fair point, but there is a self-policing solution to this problem.  An employee is generally expected to work 8 hours a day.  If a developer consistently under-reports their actual durations on a task, it would appear they were consistently working less than they should be.

Say a developer is assigned two 4-hour tasks, and he takes 1 day to complete both but only reports 2 hours of actual duration for each task.  We would see a report that shows him only working 4 hours that day.  With enough data points, we could easily spot a trend of under-reporting and take corrective action.

CONCLUSION

Why is all of this important?  As individuals, not just employees, we should all strive to improve ourselves every day.  That’s how society is supposed to work – we do things, we make mistakes, we learn from them and we grow in the process.  But we can’t improve what we can’t measure.  The method I describe is very easy to implement, as long as your team is following the Scrum ceremonies.  With simple metrics and trend analysis, maybe we can finally solve a difficult problem and leave ourselves more time to knock a few more things of that ever-growing to-do list.

Chad Hahn
Author Details
Optimity Advisors, Inc.
Chad Hahn is a partner overseeing the digital & technology practice at Optimity Advisors. He is an entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in strategy, business development, operations, and technology, and has started and sold two successful service businesses. He has a strong background in software engineering and enterprise architecture, with deep expertise in both traditional and emerging technologies.
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Chad Hahn
Optimity Advisors, Inc.
Chad Hahn is a partner overseeing the digital & technology practice at Optimity Advisors. He is an entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in strategy, business development, operations, and technology, and has started and sold two successful service businesses. He has a strong background in software engineering and enterprise architecture, with deep expertise in both traditional and emerging technologies.

15 Hacks to Get More Instagram Followers

15 Hacks to Get More Instagram Followers

Discover how easy it is to increase the number of your Instagram followers.

As of June 2018, Instagram has 1 billion active users per month. That’s obviously a lot, and many companies are quite salivating over the prospect of marketing and advertising to that many people. If you can increase your Instagram followers, you can then foster a stronger community for your brand, boost the number of views on your blog and website, and increase your sales.

But how do you get more Instagram followers in the first place? You can start with these 13 effective ways. They’re super easy, but they’re sure to work!

1. Start with Liking Other People’s Pictures in Your Niche

You need to get your name out there, and this starts with liking other people’s photos. Each night finds some accounts in your niche and like at least 5 photos. You can check hashtags and check out the profiles of the followers of the most famous Instagram accounts in your niche.You can also send a real (non-fake) comment and you can give them a follow. This ought to let other Instagram users discover your account.

2. Ask Your Followers in Other Social Platforms to Follow You in Instagram

If you’re using Instagram, chances are that you’re also using other social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Don’t assume that they’re following you on Instagram too. So when you post on Facebook or put out a quick tweet, you can sometimes just encourage your followers on those platforms to follow you on Instagram too.

3. Link to Your Instagram Account on Other Platforms

It does help to have your followers on other social networking platforms to follow you on Instagram if you make it easier for them to do so. So don’t forget to put in your Instagram username in the profile section of your other social accounts. You can also just include a handy link to your Instagram account as well. That ought to work.

4. Create a Theme for Your Instagram

With the first 3 tips, you should have a fair number of people checking out your Instagram account. So your account must be good enough to hold their attention. It helps if you set up your account with a nice theme. You should have an interesting bio section as well as a neatly organized page of photos linked to a particular subject matter. Your theme should, of course, be related to your business, so that your company can grow and profit with the growth of your Instagram account followers.

5. Be More Sociable

You’ve already learned about posting genuine comments for the photos on other accounts, so that these people may notice your own account. At some point, they may visit your account and post comments on your own photos as well. When that happens, try to respond to the comments you receive. Be more sociable and authentic, instead of just posting “Thanks” for their comments. This fosters a more engaging relationship

6. Don’t Forget Your Hashtags

Lots of Instagram leaders have long known that using hashtags is one of the surest ways to gain followers. You can use up to 30 of them in your photo description, so get to it. It does help when the hashtags you choose are actually relevant to your niche, and they get a lot of interest every day. Most users tend to search photos based on the hashtags, so they’re crucial in getting your photos discovered. With lots of hashtags, you get lots of opportunities to attract attention, and you can get more likes. This can rank your photos even higher.

7. Come Up with a Unique Hashtag

While a popular hashtag is always great, a unique hashtag has its own benefits. It should have a specific purpose, and then you can ask other people to use it. This helps you build your community. Also, you can repost the photos using that unique hashtag while giving proper credit, and that means you can easily get new content for your Instagram account.

8. Brand Your Images with Your Account Username

It’s great if your followers repost your images, but it will help you a lot of these photos also feature your account username somewhere in the small text. This can entice others who see the photos to check out your account when they really like your photo.

9. Suggest Actions for Your Followers to Generate Engagements

If it’s not clear yet, when you’re in social media you should make clear what you would like your followers to do. So ask them to “like” your photo if they appreciate it. You can also ask your followers to tag a friend.

One technique for holiday goers on Instagram is to post where they are currently, and then they ask their Instagram followers to tag a specific friend that they would like to share their vacation with if they’re where you are. This can elicit lots of comments, and the tagged friends can come in and become followers on your account.

10. Geotag Your Photos

This again helps when you’re posting photos of exotic locations in your travels. Geotag those photos, and the people who use the same geotag can then see your photos. They may follow you if they have something in common with you or your location. They may have been there too, or they may be planning an upcoming visit.

11. Keep Posting What Your Followers Like Most

You need to tweak your content so that you mostly post photos they like. You can find out which of these photos are simply checking which ones have generated the most comments, likes, and tagging of friends.

12. Partner Up with Influencers in Your Niche

You can reach out to a well-known Instagram account and work together on contests and giveaways with your followers. You can also just post a photo from each other’s account so that the followers of one can learn about the other.

13. Use Paid Posting in Top Niche Accounts

Of course, for the really big guns, you can’t work with them for free. You may have to pay for them to post a photo for you in their Instagram accounts. These people tend to ask people to email them if they have “business inquiries”, and they generally mean paid to post.

Check out these 13 tips and discover why they’re so effective. They’re actually easy, but with these, you can grow your Instagram followers from a handful to a teeming horde!

14. Don’t oversell your product or service

A visual comparison is: when you date someone, you need to generate interest in the other person before ‘converting’. Same happens in social media: Customers might take a while to trust your brand in order to end up converting. For this reason, generate great engaging content and be strategic on how often you post what we call ‘aggressive call to action posts.

15. Track your performance and pivot to your best engaging practices

Instagram gives you basic reports, but growth hackers have tools to get even more out of it. Get an expert (e.g. Go Global Agency) to help you extract valuable reports from your account. Measure results and pivot if necessary. There are many variables that can be measured: engagement, audience demographics, best performing hashtags, etc.

Author Details
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.
×
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.

Karlie Kloss Teaching Code to Teenage Girls

Karlie Kloss Teaching Code to Teenage Girls

If you’ve followed fashion over the last decade, then you’re familiar with the Karlie Kloss name. She’s the gorgeous model who’s actually been around for the last 11 years or so. She’s BFFs with the likes of Taylor Swift and Serena Williams. Her boyfriend is Joshua Kushner, who happens to be the younger brother of Ivanka Trump’s husband Jared Kushner.

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Cannes Cannes Cannes #tbt

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So how can a fashion model suddenly teach doing to teens? Actually, it’s all because of the people she met while working in fashion.

Learning the Language

As a model, her work often had her meeting various Silicon Valley entrepreneurs at parties. It didn’t take her long to realize that these were the people whose technology was suddenly changing how society worked.

Karlie wanted to learn what they knew, so she learned. She went to a 2-week class at the Flatiron School, which is a renowned coding boot camp in lower Manhattan. That’s where she learned how to use the Ruby program to build web apps. It’s wasn’t all that hard for her, because prior to her modeling career she excelled as a student in subjects like math and science.

A year after that, she began her own coding scholarship program at the Flatiron School. This program grew to 50 camps in up to 25 cities. This summer, a thousand girls in those camps can learn various coding skills such as basic HTML/CSS, Ruby, and JavaScript. They can get into virtual reality programs, gaming platforms, and even artificial intelligence.

Networking and Connections

Part of her professional life as a model was meeting people from many other industries in various parts of the world. It just so happens that Karlie Kloss also met Kevin Systrom, who founded Instagram. Kloss was fascinated by how such a platform can touch the lives of hundreds of millions of people, and she wanted to understand that skill set and language. It was this meeting that gave her the nudge to go to the Flatiron School.

Her friendship with Serena Williams also includes sitting together on the board of Oath. This is the Verizon subsidiary that owns AOL, Yahoo, and other digital content brands.

Her beau’s career is also separate from the political industry in which Jared Kushner is a part of. Joshua is a venture capitalist, and he also helped found the health insurance start-up Oscar Health.

Kode with Klossy

Karlie Kloss isn’t just a model. She also runs Klossy, which is a philanthropic organization also involved with both fashion and multimedia. She runs this group out of her home in Lafayette Street in SoHo.

In 2015, she started Koding with Klossy as a coding camp for teenage girls. It’s to counterbalance the fact that most coding camps are predominantly peopled by boys and men. In such an all-girls environment, teenage girls tend to feel safer and more comfortable.

The results have been very encouraging. One camper had been accepted to Princeton University, where she will major in computer science. Another had completed a computer science internship at Microsoft, while another girl had just finished an internship at Viacom and will now pursue her activist goals with the help of coding.

In the end, it’s not farfetched to realize that pretty models and girls can learn how to code. The fact that some people judge due to gender is actually one of the first misconceptions that must be put to rest, sooner or later. Karlie Kloss is doing just that.

Author Details
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.
×
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.