Posts in Software Lifecycle Management

Orcanos Integration with Zapier – September 2017

August 7th, 2017 Posted by Software Lifecycle Management 0 thoughts on “Orcanos Integration with Zapier – September 2017”

We’re really excited to announce our coming integration with Zapier, which brings the full power of Orcanos to more than 750 applications. You will be able to easily link Orcanos work items such as defects, requirements, and tasks to Jira, Google Sheets, Github, Salesforce, Slack and many other apps, and trigger actions on specific events such as work item update in your Orcanos account, test fails, new discussion, etc.

No programming skills required!

What is Zapier

Zapier is a popular website that allows you to easily connect two apps (or web services) together and send data between them, by creating some really convenient flow automation, called “zaps”. Zapier currently supports over 750 different web services and apps. You can open a free account to start with, and create your first ZAP within minutes.

Zapier allows you to define Actions and triggers.

  • Actions – such as Add/update work item in Orcanos on 3rd party app triggers
  • Triggers – such as work items added or updated in Orcanos will trigger actions on 3r party apps in Zapier

Each integration is called ZAP, and you can define multiple ZAPS.

Zap example: On each bug creation in Orcanos – add a bug in Jira

Orcanos ALM Integration

So, mostly the Orcanos-Zapier ALM integrations will focus on other ALM tools such as Jira, Team Foundation Server, etc..

As Orcanos provides an All-in-one ALM and Quality Management repository, it provides everything for the R&D team. But for those who don’t use Orcanos, the ALM integrating with commonly used tools like Jira, makes Orcanos ALM much more powerful. It enables combining regulated tasks related to quality management, electronic signatures, document control and so on, with non-regulated tasks such as development tasks, Agile SCRUM, etc.

Try to create Zap Application from above link and let us know if you need any support to do create your first ZAP.

Tip Of The Week – RISKs To Protect Your Medical Device From the Next Cyber Security Attack

July 9th, 2017 Posted by Software Lifecycle Management 0 thoughts on “Tip Of The Week – RISKs To Protect Your Medical Device From the Next Cyber Security Attack”

 

Author: Rami Azulay | Master ALM for Medical Device

In this article we have compiled a set of RISKs that you may want to consider in your RMF file, to better protect your medical device from future Cyber Security attacks. While the 2017 data is still sketchy, we can determine that security hacks of electronic medical records have more than doubled in 2015, costing the healthcare system at least $50 billion. This information is as per a new report from the American Action Forum. Recent 2017 cyber security attacks have not surpassed health care systems, and so we must address  how we should handle  such breaches.

It is our goal at ORCANOS to address health care systems security. We are seeking to come up with true practical actions that can be performed by any medical device vendor. Through  our ORCANOS | RISK management system, you can address cyber security events that are related to medical devices. This system is now available for you on our evaluation system;  you may  register on our web site www.orcanos.com.

A RISK based approach is the best way for any medical device vendor to both analyse  and mitigate cyber security breaches. The RISK system also forces the vendor to walk through the device design analysis so as to understand possibilities for security breaches.

In this post, the RISK based process is shortened for you, and we update you on  recent cyber attacks, as well as suggest how you can  handle them; based on  your device. The full list of RISKs on our evaluation system is available for FREE.

Electronic Health Record Systems

The most widely attacked systems at this time, are Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems. These attacks are not EHR specific, but impact other systems that are connected to the EHR. While the adoption of EHR systems promises tremendous benefits, including better care and decreased healthcare costs; serious unintended consequences from the implementation of these systems have emerged. Why is healthcare data such a target?  For one, data indicate that health care information is worth 10 to 20 times more than credit cards information on the black market (selling for at least $10 each). Additionally, medical information compared to credit card fraud, can be used in different ways – to access bank accounts, defraud insurers and governments, and obtain prescriptions.

So here are 4 ways to control this risk.

 

Electronic health records can be compromised

Hazard Cause Of Failure Effect Of Failure Risk Control
Electronic health records can be compromised
  • Have been developed from erroneous or incomplete design specifications;
  • Be dependent on unreliable hardware or software platforms;
  • Have programming errors or bugs;
  • Work well in one context or organization, but be unsafe or fail in another;
  • Change how clinicians do their daily work, thus introducing new potential failure modes.
Impact of Electronic Health Record Systems on Information Integrity: Quality and Safety Implications
  • Inoculate system by encrypting data-at-rest
  • Conduct an annual HIPAA security risk analysis
  • Conduct more frequent vulnerability assessments and penetration testing
  • Invest in the security awareness of your workforce

Pacemakers or insulin pumps vulnerability to high profile attacks

The recent introduction of Internet Of Things (IOT) into  medical device softwares, has  significantly exposed them to potential cyber attacks. One  case study discusses  an attack on of a “smart” insulin pump. According to the study, a hacker  could  kill the patient by ordering an insulin injection when none was needed. So-called “smart” devices are notoriously weak  when it comes to digital security. We have  seen too many high profile cases where  significant preventable damage was done. Equipment manufacturers often can’t be bothered to insert  reasonable security measures into the equipment they sell. This  means that  if your device is in some way connected to a network, it is critical that you ensure that access to your device is only possible by authorized personnel, and that your communication protocols are all encrypted or scrambled to the highest security network layer.

Pacemakers or insulin pumps vulnerability to high profile attacks

 

Hazard Cause Of Failure Effect Of Failure Risk Control
Pacemakers or insulin pumps vulnerability to high profile attacks There are ways for a hacker to spoof communications between the remote control and the insulin pump Potentially forcing the pump to deliver unauthorized insulin injections Those communications needs to be encrypted, or scrambled, to prevent hackers from gaining access to the device

There are far more  RISKs we would like you to know about, which can  help you improve existing security, protecting your device from the next cybersecurity attack.  Over the past 12 years, ORCANOS has gathered intelligence and experience to provide you with the best system to manage security RISKs. Go ahead and register today for your FREE 30 days evaluation system.

 

 

Sources:

 

Real Imaging Customer Story

June 26th, 2017 Posted by Software Lifecycle Management 0 thoughts on “Real Imaging Customer Story”

Real Imaging Product

 

Quality is an Accelerator: How Combined Modern ALM and QMS Software Speeds Up Product Development

June 6th, 2017 Posted by Software Lifecycle Management 0 thoughts on “Quality is an Accelerator: How Combined Modern ALM and QMS Software Speeds Up Product Development”

By: Rami Azulay | ALM Master at ORCANOS

We are facing an ever-changing and increasingly complex medical device regulations, most companies I have been working with have built their compliance systems on risky paper-based quality systems as well their R&D legacy or in other cases general purpose software which is not built for med device.

Now is your chance to lead your organization to the next level. You can do better and we’ll can tell you how to do it by just spending 1 hour meeting with us. Go register now for free on http://www.orcanos.com/signup and ask from us to demo ORCANOS solution.

You already know by now that Inefficient systems increase your risk of noncompliance and increase your development time. That translates into your lake of ability to act quickly when quality event comes into your organization and to overwhelming spending of time and effort to manage that. In other cases we talk about missed sales opportunities and patients waiting longer for your new medical technologies.

So we’ll show you a modern, purpose-built software ORCANOS | MEDICAL that guide you step by step to ensures compliance with all the latest regulations to free up your engineers’ time, reduce risk, time to market, and help you pass audits with peaceful mind, since you know that you are under control..

In this one on one session, you can meet with ORCANOS. We’ll explain how innovative medical device manufacturers are leveraging modern R&D and QMS in one Software system to:

  • Accelerate product development efforts — from napkin idea using ORCANOS | ALM, to CE, 510K approval to market release months or years quicker
  • To Post Market support with end to end traceability between COMPLAINT to CAPA to ACTIONS to RESOLUTION back to the CUSTOMER with RISK mitigation.
  • Manage risk to drive the safety and quality of products and processes through QMS per ISO 13485:2016 & ISO 14971 and 21 CFR Part 820
  • Change their company’s focus from simply meeting regulations to building quality into their processes as a differentiator using real time compliance engine that measure your work against best practice quality KPI’s or your can design your own.
  • Understand and stay ahead of the FDA and EU changing quality regulations as leaders instead of followers using ORCANOS next gen Market Place (2018)

Setup time to meet with us by just register to our free evaluation on: http://www.orcanos.com/signup

 

ORCANOS | MEDICAL RISK Identification Announcement (05201701)

May 23rd, 2017 Posted by Software Lifecycle Management 0 thoughts on “ORCANOS | MEDICAL RISK Identification Announcement (05201701)”

SOURCE: Based on True Story

AUDIENCE: Risk Manager, Care Personal

ISSUE: In case the medical device is exposed to low frequency vibrations (rotating parts or motors) it may cause the pins within the internal cable that connects to essential parts of the device to become loose over time. The loose pins may prevent data to be transferred between the essential components of the device to the control board, triggering the device to shut down unexpectedly and/or to sound an alarm. An unexpected stop in device therapy may cause serious adverse health consequences, including death.

RECOMMENDATION:

  • Update training programs and perform actions to have appropriately trained personnel
  • Give failure probability estimation (Low/Med/High)
  • Ensure an alternative form of similar device is available at all times, including intra-hospital transport (e.g. manual transport bag).
  • Operate the device as directed in the operator’s manual including:
    • promptly attend all alarms presented by the device;
    • use an external replacement alternative, and to set the alarm thresholds appropriately;
    • ensure the correct circuits identified in the operator’s manual are being used;
  • When possible, connect the device to a remote call system.
  • List possible error codes and mitigation actions:
    • turn the device off
    • discontinue use of the device
    • use an alternate device
    • call your local customer service contact and report the failure by referencing.

CAPA:

On the preventive action you may consider change in the design of those connector and to reinforce the connectors by mechanical secured connection to prevent vibration impact on the connectors due to friction in the connectors pins.

ORCANOS | MEDICAL: Our recommendation with the use of ORCANOS | MEDICAL Risk management system is to include this risk identification in your RMF file managed by ORCANOS system and create traceability to:

  • DMS Item – Release new training program
  • Requirement Management – New design requirements to address the issue
  • RISK – Risk identification
  • V&V – Verification and Validation test protocols
  • e-DHR System – update working procedures as needed.
  • CAPA – Manage CAPA form and traceability to RISK and Complaint
  • ECO – Issue new ECO and trace all releases with the ECO

ORCANOS Deploys Google Material Design for Orcanos ALM 2017 UI / UX

November 18th, 2016 Posted by Software Lifecycle Management 0 thoughts on “ORCANOS Deploys Google Material Design for Orcanos ALM 2017 UI / UX”

All about our users…

ORCANOS GOAL

Comply with Google Material Design to create a visual language that synthesizes classic principles of good design with the innovation and possibility of technology and science

Well, in other words – we want to make our end user feel comfortable with Orcanos technology

Material is the metaphor

A material metaphor is the unifying theory of a rationalized space and a system of motion. The material is grounded in tactile reality, inspired by the study of paper and ink, yet technologically advanced and open to imagination and magic.

Surfaces and edges of the material provide visual cues that are grounded in reality. The use of familiar tactile attributes helps users quickly understand affordances. Yet the flexibility of the material creates new affordances that supercede those in the physical world, without breaking the rules of physics.

The fundamentals of light, surface, and movement are key to conveying how objects move, interact, and exist in space and in relation to each other. Realistic lighting shows seams, divides space, and indicates moving parts.

Ref: From Google Material Design

ON-BOARDING WIZARD

To get new users up and running quickly is a real challenge. Orcanos invested in building on-boarding wizard, that based on industry sector and needs, provides templates and how-to’s to start with. These templates are based on Orcanos 12 year extensive experience with ALM and Quality procedures.

Right from the beginning, the on-boarding UI was detailed to assure user adoption and good experience.

orcanos software onboarding

 

MAIN SCREEN

Main screen colors & structure are adjusted in a way so user that spends hours in front of the computer would feel comfortable. So relaxing colors, minimize the controls on each screen

orcanos-medical-main-screen-adaptive-alm

ORCANOS ALM DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS

COLOR PALLET

Material takes cues from contemporary architecture, road signs, pavement marking tape, and athletic courts. Color should be unexpected and vibrant.

This color palette comprises primary and accent colors that can be used for illustration or to develop your brand colors. They’ve been designed to work harmoniously with each other. The color palette starts with primary colors and fills in the spectrum to create a complete and usable palette for Android, Web, and iOS. Google suggests using the 500 colors as the primary colors in your app and the other colors as accents colors.

Themes enable consistent app styling through surface shades, shadow depth, and ink opacity.

orcanos software dashboard colors

SPACING

Just so not everything is squeezed too much…lot of space is “lost” so user is not overwhelm with information

orcanos dashboard spaces

CSS RATHER THAN IMAGES

UI styling is based on CSS files rather than images to make Orcanos faster and robust

orcanos-css

Every pixel counts…

orcanos-pixle

ICONS

Minimize number of icons, colors

orcanos software - icons

SCREEN BEHAVIOR

Define scrollable area so user remains on the same position always

orcanos-google-material-design-scrollable-area

USABLE FEATURES

TRACEABILITY TOOL

orcanos-traceability-tool

WORK ITEMS – LIST VIEWS

Spacious list views, floating buttons

orcanos software - work items

 

INSTANT MESSAGING, ONLINE CHAT

orcanos-instant-messaging

 

STARRED ITEM

orcanos-manage-starred-items

 

FIND YOUR INFORMATION

Easily get your data using Orcanos tools:

Product tree, Search, Starred items list, Recent items list, Deleted item list

orcanos-search

Dashboard panels

orcanos-medical-main-screen-adaptive-alm

List views

orcanos software - work items

Easily navigate through work items path

orcanos-navigation

USER MODE: COMFORTABLE, COZY AND COMPACT LAYOUT

If user prefers to have less spaces, he can easily switch from Comfortable mode to Cozy or Compact

orcanos-layout

 

MAIN MENU

All modules are accessible within one click

ALM (Product tree), Document Control (QMS), Service Center and e-sign (part 11)

orcanos-modules

 

PROFESSIONAL TOOLS FOR EACH MODULE

ALM

Manage products, projects hierarchically, using Orcanos work items and traceability tool

orcanos-alm

FMEA RISK MANAGEMENT (ISO 14971)

Setup your FMEA Risk Management according your SOP within minutes

orcanos-fmea-risk-management-iso-14971

CUSTOMER FACING

Orcanos service center to manage customer service calls, and trace them back to R&D or Quality Control

orcanos-service-center

DOCUMENT CONTROL

Hierarchic and intuitive Document Control, fully 21 CFR Part 11 compliant

orcanos-document-control

 

TEST MANAGEMENT

Simple and powerful test management tool, as part of Orcanos ALM system

orcanos-test-management

 

SIMPLE AND POWERFUL ADMIN TOOLS

Creating projects, users, permissions and system settings and customization was never so easy

orcanos-admin

 

MOBILE ADAPTIVE

orcanos-mobile-adaptive

ORCANOS revamps user interface with a new Google Material Design experience

October 26th, 2016 Posted by Software Lifecycle Management 0 thoughts on “ORCANOS revamps user interface with a new Google Material Design experience”

ORCANOS revamps user interface with a new Google Material Design experience, to support its 2017 Adaptive ALM Platform

Rarely that a software company gets an opportunity to work on something that is a game changer. Something risky but meaningful. So we are now presenting for the first time Orcanos Adaptive ALM Platform.

orcanos-alm-ui-ux

ORCANOS is a leading provider in ALM and quality control, serving clients around the globe, and expertise in medical device. Understanding the particular needs of our customers is essential for a bootstrap organization, attempting to contend with huge ALM vendors.

So, for the question what do our clients need, we concluded that they need a modern, and clean user interface, and ONE STOP SHOP to manage their R&D/QA/RA activities.

ALM is one stop shop for R&D, but what about Quality? what about regulation? and how can one system manage everything in one place? and make it simple enough for the end user, that can be anyone from executive, developer, QA/RA or a tester?

And one more thing. There is no such thing as a generic, one-size ALM. Companies are different. testing, quality procedures and regulations requirements are different in each sector. This is why Orcanos came up with the Adaptive ALM platform.

It doesn’t matter if our customer is a 3 people startup developing the next medical device prototype in their garage, or a well established organisation, with well-established R&D department and quality procedures.

So after listening, studying, and getting all of the feedback, Orcanos put together a completely new ALM experience that is going to accelerate adoption of our users, submit to their industries or sectors. And we’re talking about a completely new user experience, not just colors and fonts tweaks.

Orcanos Adaptive ALM Cloud solution is available for evaluation and pilot starting January 2017, and is expected to be generally available in April 2017.

Meet ORCANOS at the MediTech 2016

October 13th, 2016 Posted by Software Lifecycle Management 0 thoughts on “Meet ORCANOS at the MediTech 2016”

Come and meet ORCANOS @ Booth 38

On November 22, 2016, ORCANOS the ALM company will be hosting an Open Booth dedicated to the ORCANOS MEDICAL solution, ORCANOS MEDICAL the ALM solution for Medical vendors, featuring live, private demonstrations the use of advanced tools that allow to preserve the information gained through the ATE systems intelligently and efficiently.

Free Entrance (Registration Required)


meditech-22-11-2016

Tip Of The Week – What is Significant Software Change in Medical Device?

October 13th, 2016 Posted by Software Lifecycle Management 0 thoughts on “Tip Of The Week – What is Significant Software Change in Medical Device?”

Changes to Software

 

Many changes to a device’s software will require a licence amendment application. As software developer you may need to answer some criteria by the QA. The following may help you getting those answers right and at all times keep the patient safety protected by misselaineous  behaviour of the device.

The following would be considered significant changes:

  • a software change, which impacts the control of the device, that may alter the diagnosis or therapy delivered to the patient;
  • an alteration in software that modifies an algorithm impacting the diagnosis or therapy delivered;
  • a software change that impacts the way data is read or interpreted by the user, such that the treatment or diagnosis of the patient may be altered when compared to the previous version of the software;
  • a software change that replaces previously required user input a closed loop decision;
  • addition of a new feature to the software that may change the diagnosis or therapy delivered to the patient;
  • introduction to or removal of a new alarm function from the software such that a response to the new configuration may change the treatment of the patient in comparison to the previous version of the software;
  • a software change that incorporates a change to the operating system on which the software runs.

If the software is modified to correct an error (for example, a change in algorithm), for which there is a safety risk to the patient if the error is not corrected, this software change may require a licence amendment application. In such instances and where the software change is a corrective or preventative action for a recall, consultation with the Medical Devices Bureau is recommended to determine if the change requires a licence amendment application.

If a software change is only intended to correct an inadvertent logic error that does not pose a safety risk and brings the system back into specification, this is not a significant change.

Guidance for the Interpretation of Significant Change (Based on Health Canada)

The following would not be considered significant changes:

  • a software change that only introduces non-therapeutic and/or non-diagnostic features such as printing, faxing, improved image clarity, reporting format or additional language support;
  • a software change that only modifies the appearance of the user interface with negligible risk of impacting the diagnosis or therapy delivered to the patient;
  • a software change that disables a feature that does not interact with other features.

ORCANOS ALM Method

ORCANOS ALM system control change in software in two levels.

  • Major Change
  • Patch Change

Major change as indicated above will cause the ALM process to go into larger cycle of assessments, evaluations, verification and validation. In order to reflect such major change in the software you have in ORCANOS ALM, tools that allows you to control those changes and reflect them in your reports.

ORCANOS ALM system control each software work item by having 4 digits numbers reflecting the software version

Major.Minor.Release.Build

Major.Minor – The use of baseline in ORCANOS ALM allows you to capture changes in the scope of the Major.Minor view. So if you have change made within the baseline view the system will audit log the changes but will not force you to break out from that baseline using the Branch operation. Advancing a view to a new baseline will perform automatically some operations such as reflecting all historical changes on the newly created view and reset all test verification results back to stage 0 where tests will need to be executed and log results on the newly created view.

Release.Build – When a patch is required to be release, as considered as none significant change, the ORCANOS ALM system provides an easy way to contioue document those changes without the needs to branch out from the main view. Such changes will allow capturing those non significant changes and trace out the impact and plan needs to be performed.

 

Baseline Version Management on Orcanos  -  ALM - New Page

How to Team Up an Effective/High Performance Test Organization with Strong Leadership

July 5th, 2016 Posted by Software Lifecycle Management 0 thoughts on “How to Team Up an Effective/High Performance Test Organization with Strong Leadership”

There are three key terms in the title of  this article. The first is team, the second is high performance, and the third is lead. We are going to be talking about each one of these terms.

Whenever I need to look-up something, I usually go to my old trusty Oxford  New World dictionary. It defines team, as a group of people working together in a coordinated effort.

Today we are talking about leading a team under the guise that you are forming a brand new team. But the principle still applies, whether you are forming a new team, or you are inheriting an old team that has been in place, and you are now the new leader.

Types of teams

There are several types of teams. For example, there are basketball teams, baseball teams – all of which are permanent type teams, just as your test team, which will be a permanent team. A temporary team, is one that is brought together to solve a specific problem, and it usually has a fixed duration.  It comes together, solves the problem and then disbands. Then you’ve got a virtual team. A virtual team can be either temporary or permanent. What this means, is that participants on a virtual team are not all located in the same place. This creates all kinds of problems, which we will discuss.

So we have sports teams, work teams (which is what we are talking about on this paper), and informal and formal teams. A formal team has been brought together under the auspices of someone, while an informal team is a group of people who band together to solve a problem or do something that is not on their day to day task. There are also committees, which most persons have at some time been on, and they can be temporary or permanent. There are also problem-solving teams which are usually temporary. Self-directed or self-managed teams also exists, but they often do not work very well. This is because a leader is needed to guide a team. Most self directed or self-managed teams just do not get the job done, because they spend a lot of time trying to figure out what they want to do, who is going to lead them, and how they are going to accomplish the task. They just don’t work that well.   

A little more on virtual teams, which is a set-up with persons in different locations. This creates problems, especially with communications, and virtual team members are often concerned about how they are going to get together, and who is on the team, among other concerns. Virtual teams are  very popular now, but you would discover that there are inherent problems. In such cases, collaborative tools such as ORCANOS | ALM are effective in reducing those problems, and make for a  controlled working environment.

HowtoTeamUpanEffectiveHighPerformanceTestOrganizationwithStrongleadership_1

Ideal team members

A mix of people is important to your team composition, and should include the following:

  • People who consistently prove themselves as reliable and consistently, are needed.
  • People who have not had the opportunity to prove themselves. I like these people on a team, because they come in with lots of potential.You should bring them in and give them the opportunity to prove themselves on this team. They usually want to prove themselves, so they really will give you a 110% on what you are doing.
  • You need the grinders! The grinders are the people who work day to day, they get the job done. When you give them a task, they do it.
  • You also need creators. While you need grinders, you can’t have a team made up of all grinders, because you will then lack innovation. Similarly, you can’t have a team made up of all creators, because then you will spend so much time trying to create, that you will not get the job done. So what is needed is a team made up of both grinders and creators.

You will need to figure out  the best persons to bring onto this team, to do the job that you have created this team for.

Team building vs. Team development

There is team building and team development. Team building is putting the team together, while team development comes after, and involves developing team members, defining what they are to do, and how they are to go about it in a structured way, exactly how would have tasks done.

So in team development you are developing members’ skills, and you are developing the processes that you are going to be using. We often think of team building as going off site and participating in team building exercises, but really, team building is developing team components. As you are developing your team, it is you would find it beneficial to utilize measurements, which will allow you to quantify  how knowledge is being gained, and how approaches  are being utilized. ORCANOS | ALM dashboards and reports are proactively methods which allow  you to create 360 degrees appraisals on each team member, with continuous improvement feedbacking system.

12 ‘C’s of team building

Now there are twelve ‘C’s of of team building.

  1. First of all the team needs CLEAR EXPECTATIONS. The team needs to know what is expected of them, and how they agreo to get it done.
  2. Then you need to be able to give the team members  the CONTEXT, or why the team was formed, or why the team is together.
  3. COMMITMENT is the next ‘C’. All team members must be committed to the team, and to the expectations of the team, and to carrying out their particular part of the process.
  4. Then there is COMPETENCE – That’s where you come in as the team leader. You need to look at the competence of the team members that are there if you are inheriting the team, or team members you are hiring. You need to know what their competences are, and how they are going to be able to handle the work they are expected to do.
  5. You need to develop a CHARTER for this team. If you are inheriting the team and they do not have a charter,  then you need to write one. The team needs to know what the expectations are, why they are together, and how you expect them to work together, and that they are chartered to do a specific job, based on what that charter entails.
  6. Now CONTROL is the next ‘C’. This is developed by you the leader. If you are inheriting a team, the previous team leader would have had their own approach to controlling the team. That approach may not match your style. You need to determine if what exists, fits your style, or if you need to develop your own way of doing modus operandi .
  7. COLLABORATION – You want your team members to collaborate, to be able to work together. Collaboration is going to be your biggest asset, as you develop a high performance team. For that there is strong control and governance dashboard and proactive notifications using tools such ORCANOS | ALM. HowtoTeamUpanEffectiveHighPerformanceTestOrganizationwithStrongleadership_2
  8. COMMUNICATION is something you need to understand. It takes many forms. If you are all together in the same location, you can have team meetings, you can have day to day interactions to collaborate and communicate. Emails can be used to communicate back and forth, or with other areas, but more advanced approach is to use instant messaging tools like chats rooms available in ORCANOS| ALM that log such discussions.HowtoTeamUpanEffectiveHighPerformanceTestOrganizationwithStrongleadership_3

If you have a virtual team, you have now entered into another form of communication, and that usually is a  video teleconference or Skype conference. You utilize these platforms, so members can see each other, and know who each other is. Being able to put a face to a name enables better communication. Communication is very important in a high performance test team.

  1. CREATIVE INNOVATION- You want creative innovation, but you have to keep it in control, because you do not want people just going off, doing their own thing. What this means is that creative innovation, has to be creative innovation for the whole team, that which benefits the team as a whole, and not what an individual thinks is going to best for the team.
  2. CONSEQUENCES – Everyone has to be responsible for his or her actions. They have to understand that certain actions have consequences. As the leader, you need to explain what those actions and consequences are, and you must enforce sanctions.
  3. COORDINATION – You need to have coordination between team members, between you as the leaders and the team members, between development, end users if they need to, and stakeholders in this system you are testing. They have to understand what the coordination is going to be, whether they can coordinate directly, or whether they have to go through you (which I would not recommend). But if they coordinate directly, they have to let you know they have done this. If they are sending an email, you better be ‘CC’ed on that email. Or better use Smart ORCANOS | ALM daily summary report that can be sent to you.
  4. CULTURE CHANGE – Just by bringing the team together, you as a new leader, are going to be changing the culture. Therefore it is key to understand that the culture of the team will change through different interactions. Going back to team building, there are certain things that must be in place to build this team.

 

More on team development

Well let’s go a little further to look at team development. You need to decide the skills that are needed for this team. You must find the best person/s to fill that need. So if you are developing a brand new team, the first thing you need to do, is figure out what mix of skills you need for this team. Then you have to go out and find the best people to fill that need. If you are inheriting a team, then you are going to lose members. This is going to lead you to consider what their skills were, and consider whether you still need those skills; and if you do, how do you go about finding the best person/s to fit your needs.

Then you have to bring the team together. Let us say you are forming a brand new team. Once you have got all the team members hired, then you should bring them together, and decide on each team member’s role. While you now have team members who have the skills you need, you will have to express to each person how you expect them to carry out their job… and to define their roles. If they disagree with you, if they see their role differently from how you do, let them express that disagreement, and hear them out. Do not be defensive, because you want this two-way dialogue to take place. Let them know that you hear them, and as needed reiterate what you would like them to do. Let them know what you think they will do really well, and plan to revisit their scope of work in a month or two or even three. In any case, you define each team member’s role.

Stages of team development

I would say there are five different stages of team development, regardless of whether it is a permanent team temporary team or a committee. When you bring a group of people together, there are five stages they are going to go through, all the time.

  1. Forming: This is when they come together, they are excited,  they have been chosen to be on that team and they are  ready to go, then they come together. Once they come together, then reality starts to set in, and they find that other people’s personalities begin to grate on them. Or, they thought things were going to be done a certain way, and now learn they will take shape rather differently.
  2. Storming: Then you will have what they call storming. Your team members are going to argue, they are going to disagree. Just know it’s going to happen. You as the team leader, will  have to keep this storming under control. You can’t let it escalate or it is going to destroy your team. You want to get through the storming stage as quickly as possible, so you have to make sure that you know it’s gonna happen, plan for it. You don’t know how it is going to happen, but you know what’s going to happen.  So help them to get through this storming phrase as quickly as possible.
  3. Norming: Once you get through storming, then you are going to get to the norming phrase. Norming is nothing more than your team starting to come together as a cohesive body. Members have their specific roles, so they know what the are to do, and they are starting to settle into those roles. They are starting to get acquainted with their team members; they have learnt the personalities, they have learnt how to work together.  
  4. Performing: That brings you to performing. Once you have gotten to this stage, it means your team members are performing at a high-level. You have laid out everything, they know what their roles are and they are doing it.
  5. Mourning: Now this last stage is not one that you will see often in this list. Mourning takes place more often when there is a temporary team, and when you have disbanded, team members will miss each other. They will go through the stages of mourning. If they lose a team member because that team member got another job or whatever, they are going to miss that team member. Members mourn because they would have been performing at a high level, and so when they lose a team member, they have lost an integral component of the team, and a hole has been created. Your team will mourn, knowing that they are missing something.

You are going to go out, and hire somebody new.  Well, when you hire a new team member, you are going to go through the four previous stages all over again. This time however, it will be much quicker, because the core members of that team are still there and it is the new member who has got to fit, and has got to become part of this team. So therefore, you are going to go through the forming, the storming, norming and performing phases all over again when you interject any new member into this team.  If you are coming in as the new leader, the team is going through mourning because they have lost their old team leader, that they felt comfortable with. Since you are new, you are coming in excited (that’s performing),  the members will go through  storming, because they are not going to be liking some of the things you are going to be telling them you want them to do.   

High performance teams

High performance teams do not just complete projects, they complete them efficiently. Rather than work hard, they works smart. There’s a difference between working hard and working smart. When you work hard, you also work smart, but you also work with a purpose, and you figure out how to get the job done the best way possible. The high performance team improves the efficiency and overall value of the company and the team. So when I say you work smart, you really improve the efficiency and overall value of the team. Such efficiencies can be measured over Key Performance Indicators (KPI) on almost every aspect of the testing process. For example test efficiency that over time shows new discoveries rather then rerun them over and over again.

HowtoTeamUpanEffectiveHighPerformanceTestOrganizationwithStrongleadership_4

Another example can be tests that analysis against their historical results and see if failure ever occurred then better to run them first over those one that never failed, especially when we talk about regression tests. Identifying show stopper defects as highest priority by their impact on test execution and many more.

HowtoTeamUpanEffectiveHighPerformanceTestOrganizationwithStrongleadership_5

All that can be achieved while using also SMART tool and not just SMART people such as ORCANOS | ALM.

A high performance team has defined what success looks like. They know success when they see it. They know where they are going, they know where they are heading. Their actions are guided by specific values. You  and the team have developed these values together. You may have come up with them on your own, but the team  had to agree to them to make this a high-performance team.  

  • It’s made up of the right people. Remember we said, you have to figure out what skills you need and go out and find the right people, the best person/s available to fit those needs.
  • The people are in the right places. There’s a difference between right people and being in the right place. You can have the right person but have them doing the wrong jobs based on their skills. You must figure out whether you got the right person, and whether you’ve got them  in the right place.

Barriers to success

You need to identify barriers to success. As we know what success looks like, so must we be guided by specific values. Now what are the barriers to success? You have to know them, you have to identify them ahead of time. You are not going to get them all, but you want most of them. You want to identify the barriers to success, and what you are going to do to overcome those barriers. Plan to eliminate or minimize the barriers. If you have identified them, you need to plan how you will eliminate them as they pop up. Know it, own it,  and plan for it. Conduct periodic progress evaluations of how things are going using collaborative dashboards that everyone can look at the same information as they were sitting at your position. Are you on the right track? Are our actions right? Do we have the right people in the right places? These periodic evaluations are vital, and must be performed by the leader.

High-performance team characteristics

These 8 characteristics are consistent with any high-performance team. Every high performance team shares these characteristics:

  1. Participative leadership.
  2. The team is aligned on the purpose.
  3. They are focused on the task
  4. Shared responsibility – In other words, while as the leader you have the responsibility for that team, but everybody shares in that responsibility. They have a part in doing the right job at the right time.
  5. They are innovative, you are innovative.
  6. You solve problems, because problems are going to come up.
  7. You communicate very well within the group and with outside elements to that group. You are communicating, you have good communication skills, you have lines of communications setup and open, and you work in them.  
  8. You are responsive to what people ask you, and what they want you to do.

Keys to a high performance team:

  • Top management must commit (You cannot succeed without the commitment of top management)
  • Leadership
  • Accountability (The accountability is your accountability to top management, your accountability to the team, and the team’s accountability to you).

Team needs

  • Common goals
  • Leadership
  • Member interaction and involvement
  • Maintain self-esteem
    • That is your job, to help them maintain their self-esteem. If you belittle your team member, you are destroying their self-esteem and you are going to have problems. You need to understand that part of your job is to help them maintain self esteem, and if they have low self esteem to start out with, help them build better self-esteem.
  • Open communications
    • You cannot succeed without open communications.
  • Group power
    • Remember, this is a team working together for a common goal, so there is power within this group.  
  • Attention to the process
  • Mutual trust
  • Respect of differences within the team.
    • Each person on the team is  a human being, and therefore different. They have to understand how to work with the differences and respect each person’s differences.
  • Constructive conflict resolution.
    • You are going to have conflict, but you need to resolve them in a constructive way.  

We talked about bringing the team together. In other words, you can’t go to one location and find all the members you need for your team. You have to go out and gather them one at a time.

Difference between leadership and management

We said leadership was another word in the title of this article. Leadership according to Wikipedia is a process of social influence in which one person can listen,  aid and support others in  the accomplishment of a common task. One of the best examples of  leadership is the military, because the military believes in leadership and they don’t manage. I agree with what my commander said to me once. While admitting that he went overboard on management, and forgot about leadership, he said, “you don’t manage people, you manage things”. The military harps on  leadership, but they believe you lead people,  you don’t manage them.

Every one of us has a preferred style, and my preferred style is leadership, your’s might be management. When I was going through college, I was told that a manager plans, organizes, directs and controls. That was it! That’s what I was taught.  Well guess what, I figured out there are more things to a manager than just those. A manager staffs, coordinate, the budget, they strategize, they make decisions, they solve problems, they have logistics and  supply management, they manage both time and resources.

The four things that I was taught in college have expanded. If you think about it, these are all the things that a good manager has to do on a daily basis:

  • Managers have subordinates
  • Wield authority or power
  • Work focused
  • They seek comfort
  • They seek uniformity (They don’t like the person who beats to a different drum – let me tell you!)
  • They see problems
  • They formulate policies to solve those problems
  • They take charge
  • They perform duties
  • They like formality
  • They plan around something (They don’t work at solving the problem, they plan around it. )
  • They are skeptical ( If you bring them something, their first reaction is skepticism, they will require you to explain it in-depth, and they will want proof)
  • Managers perpetrate hierarchies, they like nothing more than hierarchies. (If you walk into our organization that is top-heavy on senior management, just know that you have got a manager and not a leader.)
  • They have a transactional style of  management.

Types of leaders

There are two types of  leaders.

  • There is a formal leader who has been identified and has been named to be the leader of this team.  Lets look at a sports team. The formal leader of a sports team is the manager, and the coaches.
  • But you also have informal leaders. who you will want to cultivate. You want them to be there.

Leadership styles

Authoritarian –  These are the ones who are not really leaders. They dictate what you are going to do, they are very controlling. They will clearly let you know that they are the leader, you must follow them.

Facilitating leadership style – This is where you want to get. You want to get to where you are facilitating the people to do their job, and to do it well. If you do that well, if something happens to you, there is someone on the team, who can step into that leadership role, and fill in for you temporarily or permanently.

Democratic style – This is the one where the team votes and the team makes the decisions. That’s not leadership!

Laissez Faire style – There is no urgency, or structure to tasks.

I am sure you have seen all of these “styles of leadership”.

Leader Focus

Leadership focus involves:

  • Influencing people
  • Visionaries –  They see ahead, they plan ahead.  
  • Inspiration – They inspire their team members to do their job and to go above and beyond what the team members think they can do.
  • Persuasion – They can persuade the team members to do things and not force it down their throat
  • Motivate
  • They form relationships – I have found that a good team leader forms relationships with the team members both with the team as a whole, and as individuals. But you can’t be the best buddies of what you got there’s
  • Teamwork
  • Listening – You listen. Don’t start talking before they are finished.
  • Counsel
  • Coach
  • Teach
  • Mentoring

A Leader:

  • Has followers
  • They apply influence
  • They focus on people
  • They seek risks, they don’t avoid them, and figure out how to work around them and mitigate those risks
  • They pursue unity within the team, they want the team to work together
  • They see opportunities for the change take on and to shine
  • They set examples
  • Encouraged obligation
  • They pursue dreams
  • They prefer informality over formality day had
  • They confront, they don’t go around something they confronted.
  • They are optimistic. They know if they put this team together, they know they can do anything
  • They strive for equality within the team
  • They have a transformational of style of leadership

Where are you on a leadership scale?

  • First of all, the lowest level is people follow you  because they have to
  • The next rung up that ladder is that people for you because they want to (you have proved yourself trustworthy you have shown that you’re a good leader, that you listen to them that you have the team’s best interest have my so their folly you because they want).

 

  • The middle wrong is that people follow you, because of what you have done for the organization. In other words,  you have stood up to outside forces, you have taken the team’s side, you you’ve proved yourself with this organization, so they follow you because what you done for them.
  • This next one is what you have done for them and for them personally. They respect you, you have mentored them, you have helped them, you counsel them, so they trust you.
  • The highest level on the leadership scale is people who follow you, because of who you are, and what you represent. That’s where you want to get, and it takes some work!

So to conclude, let’s recall key points:

  • High-performance teams are multifaceted.
  • Teams are comprised of individuals, teams are multi-faceted.
  • Team building is different from team development.
  • Leadership is also different from management Each of us has our own preferred style. Learn what your style is and what you have to do to cultivate the other because you need both.
  • Leading a high performance team takes courage.
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