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Sprint planning is typically an industrious, productive process. Teams refine the backlog, set a target velocity, select user stories for the upcoming sprint, estimate effort and define tasks. Done correctly, teams leave planning with clear sprint goals and a clean sprint plan. Feels good, right?
Despite all this planning, developers often leave planning without tasks assigned to them – and that can be a good thing.
For newer scrum teams, assigning tasks during sprint planning acts as something of a safety net – it’s reassuring to know who’s responsible for which items, and assigning every task can help ease worries that stories will get left behind. While this approach increases individual accountability, it sacrifices team accountability. After all, the team committed to certain stories together; they should share the responsibility for claiming and completing the tasks throughout the sprint...
As seen in the WSJ...
The woman behind the 1979 hit new-wave song by The Knack has moved on to real estate, but still answers questions about the song almost daily
Even now, approaching the 40th anniversary of the biggest single of 1979, Sharona Alperin can’t escape it.
“Oh my God, almost daily, almost anytime someone hears my name,” Ms. Alperin says. “They say ‘Oh, like ‘My Sharona?’ And then they say, ‘Oh, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to say that. You probably hear that all the time.’ ”
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They have no idea. She’s not just a Sharona. She’s the Sharona, the object of the Knack’s bopping 1979 hit “My Sharona.” The band’s lead singer, Doug Fieger, wrote the song’s lustful lyrics about her when she was 17 and he was 26.
“Half the time I’ll say that’s me, and most of them don’t believe it,” says Ms. Alperin, who today sells high-end real estate around Los Angeles. She tells people that was her in the revealing white undershirt on the sleeve of the “My Sharona” 45. The single sold 500,000 copies, going gold within weeks of its June 1979 release.
“My Sharona” has never gone away. Ben Stiller built a memorable scene around the song in his 1994 directorial debut, “Reality Bites,” claiming it for Generation X. Nirvana did a grunge version. The tune was reported to be on President George W. Bush’s iPod in 2005. These days hipster bands like Royal Blood play covers of the song. It still has life on classic rock radio stations, terrestrial and satellite, streaming services and with college pep bands and party DJs.
It’s an odd kind of fame, being the person in the song.
The Knack put Sharona Alperin on the picture sleeve of the 'My Sharona' single and the cover of their second album, '…But the Little Girls Understand.'
“There was a time where if I met anybody younger whose name was Sharona, I’d say, ‘I just want you to know: You were named after me. It’s no big deal, I just want you to know,’ ” Ms. Alperin says. “And they’re like, ‘Oh, my God, I totally was named after you.’ ”
Capitol Records released the single “My Sharona,” along with “Get the Knack,” the debut LP from the Los Angeles-based band. The photo on the back showed the four skinny-tied Knack members posed in front of old-school TV cameras, as if ready to perform for Ed Sullivan, in a nod to the Beatles, another Capitol act.
Rock critics mostly forgave the Beatles comparison. Billboard was among the publications praising the energy of the music at a time when crisp-sounding new-wave rock was on the rise.
“It was just a great, utterly radio-friendly pop song that called back to the classic tunes of the British invasion,” says Simon Glickman, managing editor of music industry publication HITS magazine. “The energy, that guitar attack.”
The Knack’s lead guitarist, Berton Averre, came up with the choppy riff that has made listeners pogo for decades. “I was listening to Elvis Costello’s second album, ‘This Year’s Model,’ and the drum break in ‘Pump It Up’ was so primal,” says Mr. Averre, whose soaring guitar solo also fills most of the song’s second half. “I picked up the guitar and played something as simplistic and staccato as I could.”
“My Sharona” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart by August and stayed for six weeks.
“It was on every minute,” Ms. Alperin recalls. “It was on the airplane. I’d get off the airplane, and it was in the cab. I’d get to the hotel, and the top 40 band in the lounge would be playing it.”
“Get the Knack” separately went platinum, with a million copies sold.
Mr. Fieger had a mad crush on Ms. Alperin, who’d started attending Knack performances at L.A. clubs like the Troubadour and the Starwood before the band had a record deal. She says he chased her for a year, but she was happily in another relationship when the song came out.
Mr. Fieger also wrote “Frustrated,” “(She’s So) Selfish,” and other songs on the debut album with her on his mind, Mr. Averre says. His lyrics were so suggestive that some of the lines feel inappropriate even to Google today. Mr. Fieger, who died in 2010, said he was writing from the perspective of a 14-year-old boy.
“Lyrically, it was a truly hormonal record,” Mr. Glickman says.
Mr. Fieger eventually did woo Sharona. They were together for three or four years, she says. The Knack issued a second album in 1980, and others later, but remained famous mostly for just one song.
Ms. Alperin posed for the “My Sharona” single, and a photo of her became the cover of the Knack’s second album, titled “…But the Little Girls Understand.”
“I literally am a girl who went to yeshiva—and then was plastered everywhere,” she says. “That was when a music store like Tower Records would have gigantic albums hung on the outside.”
Her parents, she says, were cool about it. “And the band was accessible. They came over for Shabbat dinner.”
She enjoyed her time in the rock world. “I remember being at dinner with Cher and the Kiss guy [Gene Simmons]. I spoke Hebrew with him.” But she looks back with open eyes on those years dating an older rock star.
“Is there a more possessive word than ‘my’?” she says now. “I mean, calling somebody ‘mine?’ ”
She married someone else. Terri Nunn of the band Berlin sang “Take My Breath Away” at her wedding. Now Ms. Alperin is a single mom with a daughter, Eden, in college and a son, Adam, in high school. (Sharona is her middle name. Her given first name, which she never really used, is Eve.)
She’s also a cancer survivor who kept working through 36 rounds of chemotherapy. “I didn’t want people to feel bad for me,” she says. “I live and breathe real estate, no joke, seven days a week. Of course people want to see a house on a Saturday. Of course there are Sunday open houses.”
In 2002, she set up her real estate website at mysharona.com. Her office receives a steady flow of fan mail, ranging from flattering to creepy. While she was showing a house the other day, a package arrived containing a six-page letter plus three versions of her famous photo and a white tank-top undershirt to autograph. She signed it all.
She hasn’t really tried to escape the song, just take control of what it means.
“I remember people used to say, like, ‘Why are you breaking up with Doug?’ ” Ms. Alperin says. “I’d tell them, because I want to be my Sharona now.”
The Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe's extraordinary story includes beating Ferrari, bursting up in flames, and spending three decades in a storage unit.
If this car could talk, it would describe a road to fame with all the twists and turns of a Hollywood plot.
The original of only six ever built, it was the first American car to beat Ferrari on its own turf, was once engulfed by flames in Daytona, was driven around Los Angeles by a music celebrity, and then sat for 30 years in a storage unit -- leading many to believe it had been lost.
The extraordinary vehicle was the brainchild of an American car legend, who used it to win championships and shatter speed records. Once retrieved from its dusty alcove, the car sparked a multi-million dollar legal battle for its ownership.
Today, 50 years after it was built, the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe prototype finally sits in its rightful place -- a museum founded by its current owner...
Because data security has become a top concern for most businesses, the primary debate is now focused on which techniques are best for achieving your ultimate goal. Risk assessment methods and programs should be key components of your security plan, as they guide your team in establishing a strong framework for compliance. In addition, effective risk assessment methods allow your business to be better prepared for emergent risks and changes to compliance regulations.
To help your security team get a better handle of current and future risks, this piece will explain specific terminology that forms a concrete basis for compliance risk assessment.
Risk Assessment Technique Terminology
The first set of terms that your information security team should be aware of is terms related to specific techniques. This is essentially the “what” of the process, and it includes ISO requirements, qualitative risk, and quantitative risk analysis methods.
1. ISO 27005
ISO 27005 is a framework that guides businesses towards effective risk management. Rather than laying out a step-by-step methodology, it provides information about what your risk assessment should ultimately include. ISO 27005 is useful for your security team to review as it outlines a thorough assessment of all compliance and operational risks.
2. Quantitative Risk Analysis
Quantitative risk analysis involves the assignment of a numerical value to certain types of risk. This is in an effort to quantify the risk and any possible effects it may have on your business. To assign a numerical value, the formula used is “Risk = Probability x Loss”. The probability of a risk is determined from historical data- derived from relevant business documentation. You can only accurately quantify a risk if you have enough data to determine probability. But if your records are insufficient, you may not have an accurate quantitative risk value.
3. Qualitative Risk Analysis
Even if it’s devoid of numerical values, qualitative risk analysis provides a subjective, yet reliable way of defining risk. Qualitative risk is typically defined using adjectives that enable various stakeholders to have a deeper understanding of the business.
In fact, having a clearly understood terminology that can be shared across departments provides a reliable path for risk management. Why? Because all stakeholders will be able to understand what the risk is- along with possible consequences. In this way, a strong foundation can be established for integrating compliance. This uniform risk definition also makes decision making much easier.
Risk Assessment Methodology Terminology
In addition to technique-related terms, your security team may also benefit from a more method-based approach. This approach includes the “Hows” of the process, and it provides guidance related to how you can build a strong compliance risk assessment.
1. OCTAVE Allegro
OCTAVE - Operationally Critical Threat, Asset, and Vulnerability Evaluation are typically used to review current information systems. This method follows a qualitative approach and is done in small groups.
OCTAVE Allegro is useful because it uses numerical values without interrupting your daily operations. The OCTAVE Allegro framework is split into 4 main phases:
2. Microsoft Security Assessment
For IT professionals using Microsoft-based products, the Microsoft Security Assessment tool can be of value. It is essentially a toolkit that outlines various solutions to specific scenarios. These solutions are also sometimes automated to meet various needs that your organization may have (in terms of security compliance). Solution accelerators help with communications, collaboration, and infrastructure management.
3. NIST SP 800-30
The NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) SP 800-30 is a 56-page document that outlines specific approaches to risk assessment. It includes a combination of both risk mitigation and evaluation processes broken into 9 distinct steps.
The NIST SP 800-30 is more than just an outline for risk assessment. It is also a guidance resource that can help you find information about documenting various requirements. Simply put, it’s both a risk assessment and guidance documentation tool.
4. Information Risk Assessment Methodology 2
If you’re looking for risk assessment models that have been broken down into individual steps, the Information Risk Assessment Methodology 2 (IRAM 2) is your best solution. IRAM 2 breaks down risk assessment models into 6 tenets that are simple, yet effective.
How do they work? They focus on your most significant risk factors by taking into account both internal and external vulnerabilities. In addition, IRAM2 considers the effects of various risk factors on external stakeholders.
Ken Lynch is an enterprise software startup veteran, who has always been fascinated about what drives workers to work and how to make work more engaging. Ken founded Reciprocity to pursue just that. He has propelled Reciprocity's success with this mission-based goal of engaging employees with the governance, risk, and compliance goals of their company in order to create more socially minded corporate citizens. Ken earned his BS in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from MIT.
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I heard this the other day – can’t remember where.
But the concept of the statement is great. Someone is inspired to be better due to someone else’s excellence or perceived excellence. How would you like to hear this statement made to you? Especially from someone you know and respected. It would be great. What a boost. Perhaps almost life changing. If you agree then don’t be stingy with your compliments. You like how hard your kids are working on a task or chore? Tell them. The dinner taste great? Compliment your spouse or the chef at the restaurant. Service was good - tell the manager and single out your server by name. They usually get a bonus or gift card for that. A colleague puts on a good presentation. Tell them.
So back to being actually “inspired” by someone’s excellence. I believe we should all strive for this and work hard as if we might here those words at the end of a project. What is project management excellence? How would you define it? For me, excellent project delivery isn’t about a successful project as much as it is about our leadership of the project, team, customer and stakeholders.
As project leaders in the business analyst role how can we show excellence throughout the project and daily to inspire our team and our fellow business analysts and even our customer to raise their own bar of performance and quality? Consider these...
An increase in cybersecurity threats characterizes the growth of an organization. As such, institutions endeavor to improve their risk management techniques to ensure that all the information is protected from malicious individuals. One such measure involves the automation of most of the company’s documentation processes to comply with various security regulations.
The rapid evolution in technology has been utilized by cybercriminals to develop sophisticated techniques to phish data. As such, organizations are obliged to ensure that they not only institute measures to curb such activities, but also conduct regular auditing to establish their efficacy.
To further guarantee security, organizations use internal audit data analytics which gives more targeted recommendations thus ensuring tighter security regulation controls. This article will explain the concept of big data and its uses in data analysis and auditing.
Big Data: What is it?
Classification of data is based on the velocity, volume, and variety of the pieces of information it contains.
Big data constitutes large volumes of company information that may belong to different departments. The data could be structured (in the form of tables), unstructured (text or images), or binary programming. All of the information involved in big data requires flawless integration to ensure an easy analytic process.
Due to the large volume, velocity, and wide variety of big data, it can be cumbersome for organizations to integrate it without significant chances of costly errors. As such, it is necessary that organizations use an audit program that can help filter data from various locations in real-time when collecting information.
How Data Analysis Utilizes Big Data
Companies’ data sets can contain a lot of information. If a company fail to utilize a data analytics program, this information will remain irrelevant and difficult to implement. As a result, employees will struggle to find errors and make recommendations. Every company should strive to utilize analytics tools to boost productivity.
Data analysis can either be predictive or prescriptive:
When a company uses data analysis techniques, organizations can more easily identify risks, develop mitigation plans, and establish a highly efficient risk and activities prioritization plan.
What is Audit Data Analytics?
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) has set auditing standards that every organization should follow to guarantee data usability and safety. The regulation requires that the internal audit process is documented for ease of reference. Other regulatory bodies that dictate the use of data include the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX). The law ensures that the external auditors are provided with internal audit reports that explain the efficacy of the steps instituted to guarantee effective financial reporting controls.
It’s undisputed that different organizations use varying Software-as-a-Service platforms. As such, it’s necessary that every institution conduct continuous monitoring of cybersecurity threats. All of these approaches utilize data analytic tools which ensure a strengthened system.
Impact of Big Data for Audit Evidence on Professional Skepticism
Professional skepticism plays a crucial role in audit quality. Traditionally, the audit process relied heavily on the personal opinion of the auditors who reviewed the organization’s procedures, policies, and processes. However, this method was never fool-proof!
As such, organizations have adopted automation to enhance the efficacy of the entire process. However, the change should be accompanied by the development of new audit procedures to ensure that the entire process upholds professional skepticism.
The Importance of Data Scientists in an Audit Firm
The quality of the data analysis team determines directly the success of any organization. Leaders should focus on ensuring that their firm has scientists that can effectively use the automated systems to develop simplified reports for the consumption of all the stakeholders.
Additionally, these data science professionals should develop tight security measures to ensure that the company’s data is protected from cybercriminals. This may include an established firewall, password-protected segments, limitation to unauthorized entry, and other mechanisms to keep malicious individuals at bay.
Protection Mechanisms for Companies During the Big Data Era
Organizations should always ensure that they maintain strong data protection measures. This will be achieved by developing continuous monitoring systems which eliminate any chances of data infiltration by malicious individuals. Below are some of the strategies that an organization can utilize to enhance protection:
Why Cybersecurity Enables Audit Quality
Contrary to the beliefs of many, cybersecurity does not only protect a company from data breaches. It also enhances all business processes. The integration of technology ensures a smooth flow of business operations, which further enhances the quality of audit processes.
Ken Lynch is an enterprise software startup veteran, who has always been fascinated about what drives workers to work and how to make work more engaging. Ken founded Reciprocity to pursue just that. He has propelled Reciprocity's success with this mission-based goal of engaging employees with the governance, risk, and compliance goals of their company in order to create more socially minded corporate citizens. Ken earned his BS in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from MIT. Learn more at ReciprocityLabs.com.
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