How test management can save your company money

Software developers constantly strive to strike right balance between cost and speed. Programmers and testers alike are under constant pressure to deliver their software products on time and under budget. However, not all organizations have the right tools to juggle these needs and wind up wasting their funding on unnecessary or inefficient processes. One way that quality assurance teams can save their companies money without sacrificing quality or turnaround time is by implementing a test management system.

Test management software binds together disparate teams and their superiors, giving everyone involved in the development process oversight throughout the production process. That ability to monitor test activity is essential if QA managers want to minimize inefficiencies and keep software production on track. A comprehensive test management platform will enable them to view their team’s activity on both granular and broad levels, providing clear insight into both daily processes and trends that may continue across several projects. By spotting and eliminating inefficient activity, QA leaders can reduce their operating costs and conduct more testing in less time.

Facilitate automated test scripts

Another way that test management can help organizations save money is by facilitating the use of automation. Automated test scripts are extremely useful within a testing environment, as these tools can cover more ground faster than a human operator ever could. Although manual testing will always be needed to conduct user-oriented processes, a healthy does of automation will allow teams to spot software defects and coding errors quickly and efficiently. According to Innovative Defense Technologies, automated testing can especially save money on projects that require teams to continually run the same tests to evaluate each build. A test management platform takes these processes one step further by making it easy for QA professionals to store and share automated test scripts with their co-workers.

They can even use this technology to reuse automated resources on later projects. Considering that one of the biggest barriers to automation is the upfront cost needed to write test scripts, the ability to continue using the most effective tools will wind up saving a company a great deal of money in the long run.

Simplify offshoring practices

One of the ways that test management really demonstrates it’s cost-saving benefits is through offshoring. Outsourcing programming or QA processes to teams located in other regions has become extremely widespread among software developers. Intertech Engineering Associates explained that a major driving force behind this trend has been the increasing personnel costs that these organizations must account for. An experienced software engineer will command a large salary, making personnel additions an expensive proposition. However, business leaders cannot simply ignore their personnel needs, particularly is they require more specialized experience. Offshoring enables companies to gain the expertise they require without busting the bottom line.

This practice presents its own set of challenges that test management software can effectively address. Most notably, outsourced teams may experience difficulty communicating and collaborating with their disparate co-workers, resulting in costly delays. If these circumstances are allowed to persist, businesses may see the cost-saving benefits of offshoring evaporate. Test management software offers everyone involved in the development process a comprehensive platform to upload and share important documents and information. This means that when a QA team in India uploads a bug report, programmers in the U.S. will have those records immediately. Such seamless interactions will keep production rolling smoothly and reduce the number of costly delays.


What Should You Consider When You Analyze Your Software Testing Team’s Work?

Software testing is really important nowadays and you should never dismiss this need since it would lead to a huge amount lost in the event that problems exist as you launch your product. The problem is that software testing is not always carried out properly. In an attempt to save some money, a lot of business managers hire freelancers or companies that are really cheap. This does open the doors to various problems. Continue reading

Retirement investment plans

Planning for retirement is an important part of anyone’s financial life, and though it is usually done in conjunction with a company scheme or a financial adviser, it is also possible to invest as an individual. If doing the latter it is advisable to carefully explore options that may be available.

Retirement investment plans need to provide enough income to maintain a comfortable standard of living as a senior. A regular income from a product such as an annuity can be topped up in a variety of ways with prudent investing.


Asset allocation

Initially the investor must decide how much money is available and then consider exactly what to do with it. This is the time to consider what level of risk the investor is comfortable with. Allocating assets should be done with care, as it is always possible that some investments will decline in value, not provide the level of additional income required or, in the worst-case scenario, be lost all together. The best retirement investment plans have money in a range of asset classes so there is always some security for the investor.


Asset types

With four major asset classes available, investors can pick and choose which types they are most comfortable with.

• Cash: keeping some assets in cash is usually considered a safe way of ensuring money is available and to provide some income. A good savings plan can, over the years, generate a reasonable return but it’s a good idea for an investor to check on interest rate levels regularly to ensure the plan is the best available

• Corporate bonds and gilts: these are relatively low risk investments but they can occasionally be a problem. Companies looking to raise capital issue corporate bonds, so the investor is effectively lending money and is paid an agreed interest rate for a fixed period. The loan is then paid back assuming the company has not gone bankrupt. Government gilts can be a safer bet, as governments don’t usually go bankrupt!The loan principle is the same with interest likely to be at a lower rate.

• Equities: this is where an investor buys shares in a company and makes money by selling them if they increase in value or by receiving dividends depending on the company’s performance. Many investors hold shares in a wide range of companies in different business sectors.

• Real estate: either domestic or commercial real estate can be a useful investment tool though it should be remembered that there will be costs of maintaining a domestic property. The pros and cons should be thoroughly investigated before an investment is made.


Using retirement money

One way of having a comfortable retirement is to use some of the money to fund living in a senior community. There are many benefits to doing this, not least that costs are agreed and fixed, unlike owning and maintaining a home. Senior communities also provide medical support, a number of meals and a wide range of activities to help seniors stay as healthy as possible.


How To Stop Cold Calling.

Despite the crack-down on cold calling and aggressive sales techniques, for many people, it is still a major issue according to the Daily Mail. Fortunately, there are a few steps that can be taken to help minimise the problem and help people live their lives without the threat of cold calling looming overhead.

What Is Cold Calling?

Whether it takes place over the telephone or in person on the doorstep, cold calling is any kind of unwanted and unexpected sales pitch. In some areas, sales people knock on doors in residential areas looking for their next customer, whilst in other parts of the country, the bigger problem is that of sales people using the telephone to harass and manipulate people into agreeing to a scheme. When the telephone rings, we are all immediately compelled to go and answer it- there’s always the chance it could be a family member in trouble or any other emergency that needs quick attention. However difficult it might be to try and eradicate this problem, there are steps that can be taken in the home to minimise the disruption to everyday life. From employing a nuisance phone call blocker through to lobbying the council to act, there are options available to almost everyone affected by cold calling.

In The Home.

One of the easiest things to do in the home is to set up a system that identifies the caller. Some of these machines display the name of the caller on a screen if it is a number from the user’s phone book or which it recognises, whilst others require unidentifiable callers to record their name and reason for calling, which is then played to the person in the house to let them make an informed decision about whether or not to answer. Caller ID is often a standard feature on domestic phone handsets, whilst other devices can be added on later.

Companies such as have adaptive directories of nuisance callers, so when one person reports a company’s telephone number as being a cold caller, this can be automatically added in to the database of blacklisted numbers, preventing others from facing the same problem. The idea is that this community based information sharing will help to prevent as many of these cold calling numbers as possible from causing harm or distress in people’s lives.

On the Door Step.

When it comes to discouraging cold callers and leaflet distributors from stopping at the door, there are a number of options. First and foremost, make sure to display some sort of sign that makes it clear that cold callers are unwelcome. In legal terms, a company is not allowed to approach an individual if it has been made clear that their input is not desired. There are two services in the UK that can help with this: one named Telephone Preference Service and the other being the Mail Preference Service. Registering a telephone number and address with these two options can help many people experience a dramatic reduction in the number of unsolicited spam letters or text messages they receive. Also display a sign on the door to discourage rogue traders.




Image attributed to: worradmu


How to motivate your staff to recycle

Recycling is an important issue for all companies, but it’s crucial to engage and motivate your work force. While it helps to have these green systems in place, it is the staff that need to learn the value of using them on a regular basis.

To this end, every company should find new ways to spread the word among their employees.Whether it’s a reward scheme, tracking progress or educating people on the importance of the environment, it all goes to encouraging recycling within your organisation.

One of the easiest ways to encourage your staff is to offer incentives for recycling. While a company-wide reward has its benefits, some friendly competition can also prove effective. For example, if you offer a prize to the department or desk that reduces their non-recyclable waste output you encourage everyone to do as much as possible, not just a small part.

On a similar note, don’t be afraid to listen to new ideas. If staff identify areas which are lacking, their attention should be rewarded. This gives them an invested interest in the topic and, as a result, they will want to do as much as possible.

Track progress
Another way to build on the reward system is to chart the progress. If you monitor your waste output and display in terms of the company’s reduced carbon foot print, the actual changes can be seen more clearly. Something as simple as displaying a graph of progress in a visible area can make this point clear; even the smallest difference can help if its actively promoted in the workplace.

Secondly, it helps to encourage the green message. Recycling is about protecting the environment and, while this can be a great image for the company, it is arguably less effective if staff themselves don’t know of its true importance. Once they realise the urgency of the matter, they have an actual reason to participate.

Finally, don’t complicate matters. Recycling at its very simplest can be as easy as putting the right materials in the right bins. Any schemes should be easy to understand. The more complex something is, the less likely staff are willing to go out of their way for it. Worse, they might not understand well enough to do it correctly.

For instance, if you outsource your Waste Management Services with Thetford International, you are still promoting recycling, as well as green practices in the office, but the actual hard work is taken care of by professionals.

Exploring going green through paperless conversion

When it comes to going green, one of the best ways a business can reduce its carbon footprint and waste is to go paperless. In order to further these efforts and truly embrace the advantages that modern technology can bring to paperless strategies and a green office, companies need to consider the most practical path toward paper-free operations, such as hiring document conversion service to handle the migration to digital formats and expedite these processes to ensure a smooth transition for all employees.

Going green is often considered one of the top benefits associated with paperless efforts. For many people it’s the primary goal, and while a reduction of operating expenses, improved flow of information and enhanced productivity are also major contributors, working towards a cleaner Earth is something that nearly everyone can agree is a noble pursuit.

Of course, there are several considerations that a firm has to make in order to not only finalize its decision to go paperless but support the move in that direction.

Establish needs

The first thing a firm has to do is examine the processes that use the most paper in its operations. For most companies these will be faxing, printing schedules, invoices, shipment manifests and client communications. Eliminating each of these factors may take some adjustments. To get rid of faxing, for example, companies need to invest in a high-quality email solution to replace it. At the same time, some sources of paper aren’t controllable, such as the paper invoices and logs that come from partners and suppliers. While a business may be able to work out a strategy with some of its partners, not all may be able to comply with its paperless desires.

 In order to facilitate a paperless strategy regardless of where information comes from, firms will need to adopt scanning hardware to eliminate this paper backlog immediately. Paper conversion services can swiftly migrate this information to other digital data stores and ensure that it’s all properly warehoused and organized for later searching, audit compliance and security needs.

Facilitate change

The other critical step for supporting a move to paperless operations is to facilitate the changes necessary within the workplace to help employees adapt to the new way of doing things. Optimally, the strategy a firm embraces will be easy for employees to adjust to, but this isn’t always the case and sometimes training and small sacrifices have to be made in order to optimize. For example, by eliminating printers employees may not be able to print personal documents from the office anymore, but this will also impact workflow if workers are used to accomplishing such tasks as part of their daily routine.

Ultimately, the elimination of paper, printers, filing cabinets and all of the costs associated with these physical resources can be a major boon for any enterprise, but approaching this process with the right support is critical for long term success and continued improvement of these efforts.


Common Restaurant Startup Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Common Restaurant Startup Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Starting a restaurant can be a challenging business to get off the ground. However, if you can get one business off the ground, you can get any business off the ground. As a restaurant owner, you need to be tough – very tough. Indeed, the restaurant industry is competitive and you are up against a number of restaurants that may be in your area – all trying to vie for the same market share. One of the keys to opening a successful restaurant lies in being able to avoid many of the pitfalls that other restaurant startups fall into. Once your restaurant falls in, it can be hard to get out. Here are some common restaurant startup mistakes and how to avoid them. Continue reading


Dress for Success without Breaking Your Bank

5305118_sLet’s be honest… looking professional and trendy while on a low budget is not the easiest task to complete. Many of us have jobs that require three= piece suits or pencil skirts and heels, which a lot of us can’t afford. Don’t let that dress code scare you away from your new job or your interview, though! There are ways to look expensive while on a low budget.


1. The Key Ingredient for Looking Expensive Without Overspending

Never shop for outfits! When you’re looking for professional clothing, make sure you are purchasing pieces that can be worn in multiple ways. In other words, purchase neutral colors such as blacks, browns, tans or whites. Once you’ve obtained a fair amount of neutrals, then you can go ahead and purchase that bright blue top, plaid patterned scarf or that purple tie you have your eye on to add a pop of color in a professional way.

2. Don’t Underestimate Second Hand Shops

It may not be the most appealing option out there but if your budget is that low, take advantage of the thrift shop on the corner. So many items of clothing end up in thrift stores and if you can get yourself to stop assuming the stereotype, you will find some fantastic professional pieces of clothing, clothing that will cost you less than half of what you would pay at a retail store.

For gently used clothing that is of a higher quality, check out high end thrift stores! These stores sell used clothing usually of a higher caliber, many of which are designer. Even though the clothes are used, the quality must be pristine or the shop won’t even take them, so you know you will get something high quality with no stains or tears.

3. Pay Attention to Discount Stores

Many stores sell designer brands for a very low price. These stores receive merchandise that is overstock from more expensive department stores. Sometimes the clothes have slight irregularities, such as an upside down tag. This means that you end up with a discount item just because it has an irregularity that nobody will ever see anyway.

4. Low Cost Accessories to Spice Up Your Outfit

If you do have a little extra money to spend and you’re searching for that perfect accessory, check out Patek Phillipe Replica This company sells high quality watches that will definitely add a professional tone to your wardrobe!


Don’t ever think you have to “settle for this outfit” because you can’t afford anything new. Just remember to determine your budget, never buy items as sets (outfits) and don’t be afraid to shop at used clothing stores! You will find multiple items of clothing for much less money than you thought you could, you just have to get out there and look around.


How Will Scotland’s Massive Decision Impact Its Private Sector Economy?

Big_Picture_(Economic_Sectors)With the forthcoming Scottish Independence Referendum drawing ever closer, the world’s media has been dominated by many different discussions on how the outcome of the vote on the 18th of September 2014 will impact the private sector economy of Scotland and, more specifically, the Scottish jobs market overall.

As the referendum which will dissolve the Act of Union between Scotland and the rest of the UK, which has existed since 1707, has not yet taken place, several question marks are hanging over key issues in Scotland, such as debt, currency, jobs in Scotland, interest rates and the oil industry. For many commentators, there a lot of uncertainty remains as to whether Scotland would be able to step forward as an independent country with any level of confidence after the referendum.

Since one of Scotland’s key industries is oil, much depends on its current revenues from the North Sea, which pumps billions into the UK economy every year. Another issue that has been raised concerns just how much oil and gas will be available to future generations in the coming years, as supplies are starting to run low. Despite being one of the country’s key industries (and therefore crucial to thousands of families across Scotland and indeed, the rest of the UK), it would appear that little thought has been given to what will happen to the economy and oil and gas industry once the oil runs out. However, this is something that has been debated for a very long time.

In addition, Scotland’s very popular and infamous whisky industry is still working to make any noticeable impact on the country’s economy (it currently contributes around £3 billion a year), and this in itself could give rise to an immediate hike in taxes or a cut in public spending. This is not great news when you consider that Scotland already receives more public spending per head than the rest of the UK. However, tax revenue is on average, around £800 more per head in Scotland, which means that tax revenue has consistently been higher in the country for some time.

Another major issue, of course, is the currency. If Scotland decides to go it alone, then its continuing use of the pound will be put into question, posing a currency risk for UK investors. It is also believed that there would also be less support from the UK for Scotland’s banking industry in general, if Scotland were to keep using the pound if it were to become independent following the referendum.

Of course, much of the private sector economy in Scotland remains dependent on employment, and whilst assurances have already been given that there will be no compulsory redundancies within the devolved public sector, there are no absolute guarantees that this will not happen. Despite the potential for new job opportunities to be created in Scotland, the UK remains the third-largest economy in Europe. Some economics experts currently believe that the loss of the UK pound in Scotland could equate to much fewer jobs due to the currency exchange with its current biggest customer — the UK.

Consequently, understandably, there is much uncertainty as to Scotland’s economic and political future after 2014, and many questions still remain over the real pros and cons of the country deciding to become independent.

In essence, however, it seems reasonable to suggest that Scotland’s ability to attract major industries after any move to independence might be debatable, particularly within industries such as IT, finance and manufacturing. However, Scotland is a highly popular holiday destination for many travellers around the world and independence could help make the country become an even bigger pull for tourists.

However, the results of the long-awaited and much anticipated referendum remain to be seen and whichever way the Scottish people decide to vote later this year, the world will be watching Scotland with baited breath following that historic vote on the 18th of September 2014.