Examples for Definition of Ready and Definition of Done

The definition of ready and definition of done can potentially be a matter of discussion between product owners, developers, quality engineers, designers and stakeholders – to have a guideline, I think the following suggestions can be quite helpful for this topic:

Definition of ready

  • User story
  • Description of GUI with mockups & designs added
  • Description of story is consistent and clear
  • Acceptance criteria completed
  • Dependencies with third-party applications clarified (e.g. CRM or finance systems, DWH, etc.)

Definition of done

  • Acceptance criteria fulfilled
  • Deployed and tested on test environment
  • Test cases documented & executed
  • Handover to server engineers done

Easy SEO for your own website: Creating a sitemap.xml file

In my opinion, the most important factors in SEO are content, backlinks and structure. Building a new website with a well-thought site structure will help users as well as search engines to smoothly navigate through your site and spider one page after the other. Quite nice, but no matter how clear the site structure may be, I would always recommend creating a sitemap.xml. This is a file which lists the URLs of your pages in a way that bots can handle them properly and also gives them additional information, e.g. how often the pages are updated, how important they are compared to the other pages of your site, etc. The sitemap.xml follows the XML schema for sitemap protocols which all major search engines agreed on. Depending on the system you use, there are different ways to create such a sitemap.xml file: If you build the website by yourself, you can create and update the sitemap.xml file manually using a web development tool or a simple text editor. Going this way, you always have to keep in mind that you have to make every change (e.g. creating new pages, deleting old pages, etc.) manually. Remember, always stick to the XML schema for sitemap protocols. Otherwise, bots are not going to be able to read your sitemap.xml. You can also implement a service that generates a current version of your sitemap.xml in a time interval that you define. Using a CMS like WordPress, it’s much easier: There are many helpful plugins for this job – you will find a sitemap XML generator in a few minutes. Most plugins offer various customization possibilities – e.g. to define the time interval in which a new sitemap.xml is being generated, to exclude certain page types, etc. Using Google Webmaster Tools you can inform Google that you provide a sitemap.xml for your site. In my next blog post, I will tell you why it is highly important to have a robots.txt file and how to connect it with your sitemap.xml file.

The 10 do’s and dont’s of outstanding customer service

The do’s …
1. Always answer your communications-emails and voice messages-promptly.
2. Make the information that your customers want easily available to them.
3. Treat every customer like a completely precious individual.
4. Cultivate an environment in your business where each employee takes responsibility for your customers.
5. Every so often, make an outrageous, extravagant effort to serve a customer.

… and the dont’s:
1. Ever break your promises.
2. Make things overly complicated for your customer.
3. Let your automated systems make using your website or business difficult for your customers.
4. Forget that your customers have a strong sense of fair play.
5. Forget to say “thank you!”

More on this interesting topics on http://blogs.sitepoint.com/outstanding-customer-service/

Optimizing product pages

Another interesting read on how to optimize product pages found on www.vertical-leap.co.uk: A product page SEO checklist. But, as in many other cases, this does not only affect your rankings in search engines but also so many other areas such as – helpful and interesting product descriptions is a must that positively affects SEO, usability, user experience, conversion, … and finally, profit http://www.vertical-leap.co.uk/blog/product-page-seo-tips/

2011 Scrum Checklist by Boris Gloger

You use scrum to manage your projects? If so, this might be interesting for you: On infoq.com you can download the current version of Boris Glogers Scrum Checklist. I attended his Certified Scrum Master and his Certified Product Owner courses which got me into agile software development http://www.infoq.com/minibooks/scrum-checklists

10 usability tips based on research studies

The article “10 Usability Tips based on Research Studies” reveals qualities that really matter when it comes to developing web products – make your website fast, easy to read and position the most important content on the left side of the page http://sixrevisions.com/usabilityaccessibility/10-usability-tips-based-on-research-studies/

Key elements of irresistible e-mail subject lines

Useful guide on how improve e-mail marketing. It identifies three key elements of irresistible e-mail subject lines (“The Fundamentals”, “The Specifics” and “The Secret Sauce”) to help writing useful, unique and urgent subject lines http://www.copyblogger.com/email-subject-lines/