• How to prepare for PMP exam in 60 days

    Do you think of taking the PMP exam? Awesome! Do you know how to plan your preparation for the test? Here I’m going to share the plan of how to get prepared for the PMP exam in 60 days.

    PMP exam = your own project


    To begin with, let’s clarify: you’re ready to work hard and to follow the plan. Otherwise, this journey will take you forever. The key here is to perceive the PMP exam as your personal project and manage it like you're managing projects for your clients. The difference here is that you are your client yourself; and you are the resource to release this project. What is more, you will need not only to plan this project, but to execute the plan yourself too. On one hand, it will add an additional challenge. On the other hand, it will make things even more exciting to get them done.

    What do you need to launch this project? First of all, the input data. This is actually what you usually need to start a project. I’m talking about the key performance indicators that we consider while planning a project. They are time, scope and budget. Of course, funds are important. As you have decided to take the test and to pass the certification you should be aware of the process: how much the test costs, how much the course costs, and other relevant expenses. Therefore, let’s move directly to the time and scope.

    Time


    You have 60 days in order to get prepared for the PMP exam, and that is why you need to define how much time you are able to allocate to get prepared for the tests daily.

    Yes, daily, because 60 days is quite an intense period. I know that for some people it takes six months or even a year to get prepared for this test. However, the less period of time you have, the more advantages you finally get.

    Here is the thing, for the PMP there is no shortcut. It is quite a big volume of knowledge that you need to obtain in order to pass this test.
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  • Fatal Fight: How we've got 5 million organic installs?

      Fatal Fight Android game

      The story of Fatal Fight started in 2015. The time when going global and having 5 million downloads on Google Play Store seemed to be a dream of every game developer.

      In this article, I will talk about the way we converted the dream into our actual reality. To make it super understandable, find a guide below where I will cover all the stages of development of Fatal Fight and even more.


      Research


      The idea of Fatal Fight hasn't just come from nowhere. Before understanding what game to develop, we needed to research what are the current gaps in the mobile games market. And, to come to this point, we took several steps.

      First, we analyzed what are the most searchable mobile games in the Google Play Store. It turned out, the top 3 mobile games that users were looking for were the following:

      • Puzzle Games
      • Car Games
      • Fighting Games

      Here we narrowed down our research. We were playing most downloaded games from each category to figure out if those games meet users’ needs while trying to answer what kind of challenges they have with those games.

      As a result, Puzzle and Car Games had a wide range of mobile games with pretty nice UI/UX design and other characteristics. However, during the testing of the fighting games, the picture was quite different.

      We were surprised by the fact that we could not find any proper games with satisfactory features. And I believe, not only we but also the dozens of users who were craving for favorable experience while playing a fighting game.

      While asking ourselves the question “Why?” we found out that the main reason was the gameplay. The interaction between users and the games was complex. It was not comfortable to manage punching, kicking, jumping and other possible moves separately or even all at once on a smartphone.
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    • Why it's important to allow developers to solve the problem instead of giving them implementation tasks

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        In his book «INSPIRED: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love,» Marty Cagan mentioned that successful teams put the following principles at the forefront when working with feature stories:

        • Risks are analyzed in advance, not at the end.
        • Products are defined and designed collaboratively, not sequentially.
        • The team works on solving the problem, not on implementation.

        The first two are more or less clear. Any well-educated manager knows that risks should be identified and assessed in the upfront. Besides that, many modern teams work or try to behave themselves on Agile's principles. But there are not so many companies in the world that follow the third principle.

        Let us see what we can do.
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      • Static Analysis: baseline VS diff

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        If you use static analyzers, you will have, sooner or later, to address the task of making their integration into existing projects easier, where fixing all warnings on legacy code is unfeasible.

        The purpose of this article is not to help with integration but rather to elaborate on the technicalities of the process: the exact implementations of warning suppression mechanisms and pros and cons of each approach.

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      • How to introduce a static code analyzer in a legacy project and not to discourage the team


          It is easy to try a static code analyzer. But it requires skills to introduce it in the development of an old large project. If the approach is incorrect, the analyzer can add work, slow down development, and demotivate the team. Let's briefly discuss how to properly integrate static analysis into the development process and start using it as part of CI/CD.
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        • Reliable load testing with regards to unexpected nuances

            We thought about building the infrastructure for large load tests a year ago when we reached the mark of 12,000 simultaneously active online users. In three months, we made the first version of the test, which showed us the limits of the service.

            The irony is that simultaneously with the launch of the test, we reached the limits on the production server, resulting in two-hour service downtime. This further encouraged us to move from making occasional tests to establishing an effective load testing infrastructure. By infrastructure, I mean all tools for working with load testing: tools for launching the test (manual and automatic), the cluster that creates the load, a production-like cluster, metrics and reporting services, scaling services, and the code to manage it all.

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            Simplified, this is what our structure looks like: a collection of different servers that somehow interact with each other, each server performing specific tasks. It seemed that to build the load testing infrastructure, it was enough for us to make this diagram, take account of all interactions, and start creating test cases for each block one by one.

            This approach is right, but it would have taken many months, which was not suitable for us because of our rapid growth — over the past twelve months, we have grown from 12,000 to 100,000 simultaneously active online users. Also, we didn’t know how our service infrastructure would respond to the increased load: which blocks would become the bottleneck, and which would scale linearly?
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          • Top 5 Localization Trends in 2020


              Did you know that 72.1% of Internet users prefer to dwell on websites translated in their native language? That’s a lot of people.


              But that’s fine. You see, with today’s technologies you can translate your text into any language you choose. “Okay, so what?” — well, people who browse products described in their native tongue tend to trust those seller companies more.


              So, by localizing your content, you can tremendously increase the number of your clients, sales, and, of course, grow your business. And the truth is that the localization industry is also evolving along with other digital businesses.


              To prove it, we at Alconost have researched and listed the top 5 localization trends you can take advantage of in 2020. Let’s dive in!

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            • How to Wrap Up a Software Development Project the Right Way

              Does the New Year have you scrambling to wrap up last year’s software development projects? Don’t archive your Jira tickets and Trello boards too quickly!

              A good rule of thumb in software development is that your next software project should always be better than your last. Why? Because the lessons you learn and take away from each project should be continuously documented and applied in future projects.

              In the words of Rachel Green, every good project should end with closure.

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              Follow this quick and easy 6-step guide to ensure that you wrap up your software project efficiently and effectively.

              6 Steps for Successfully Wrapping up a Software Development Project


              1. Document future needs

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            • How to Plan a Winning Product Strategy

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              • Tutorial

              How do we know when a product is solving a significant problem in a growing market? Do we need to build a brand and defend it with barriers against competitors? Read further in this article.


              Notes on Des Traynor’s talk from Web Summit on developing a product strategy based on his experience at Intercom. The original article has been written by Vit Myshlaev and translated by Alconost.

              How do you know when you’re really solving a significant problem?



              If you can’t answer in the affirmative to the below three questions regarding your product, it makes no sense to move forward:


              • It is viable. Can it make money?
              • It is feasible. Can it be done?
              • It is desirable. Does anyone want it?
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            • How to Prepare a Game for Localization? 10 Basic Rules

              • Tutorial

              Should you act first and think later, or vice versa? Knowing these little tricks when designing your game could save you a fortune.

              We’ve written this article as a tribute to numerous questions from our clients.


              What’s wrong with my game? Why isn’t localization enough? How can we fix it?

              Cutting corners when bootstrapping a new game is a widely-used strategy. And it might even be an efficient one, as long as you aren’t planning to grow incrementally.


              However, shortly after the long-awaited local release is in the bag, most game developers start thinking about how to attract more international gamers. And sooner or later, after taking a crack at promoting their game in more countries, they come up with several ideas for localization.

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            • How Ecommerce Fueled By the Pillars of AI Technology



                At present, we see artificial intelligence is implemented across the corridors of business operations and also the way we shop and trade online. To hit a home run in the retail game, genius AI applications, PIM solutions, and e-commerce development tools are now offering smart solutions: predictive analysis, recommendation engines, inventory management, and warehouse automation to create a more profitable shopping experience for consumers.

                Now more than ever, e-commerce is an AI innovation game


                Artificial Intelligence often sometimes seems complicated to newbies but in reality, it is simple in use and gives you the ability to predict customer needs. This paves the way for e-commerce companies to become a “big brand” or “big business” with revolutionary AI tools.

                Now that AI algorithms making way for consumer acceptance of AI like never before, how can you use it to create more profitable outcomes in e-commerce?

                Interesting E-commerce Stats:


                With an estimated global population of 7.7 billion, 25 percent of people shopping through e-commerce stores. According to Statista, 52% of e-commerce stores will have omnichannel capabilities by 2020 which means they can communicate and sell with their consumers via multiple channels. For example, they can use their e-commerce website, Facebook e-shop, email account, and Instagram account.

                Examples of AI tools and PIM software for e-commerce businesses that can help them have a high bar on customer service and marketing:
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              • Promoting an App on the App Store and Google Play

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                • Tutorial


                We've developed a unified four-layer model for app promotion and added our recommendations.

                Before we wrote this article we had our apps downloaded over two million times, ran about 50 large promotional campaigns, and made it onto the App Store top-lists in over 24 countries to finally combine all of it into a single workflow.


                You won’t find almost any obvious stuff about keywords, nice-looking icons, screenshots, or ad campaigns in this article. We’ve tried to develop a unified model for a product-focused company based on our experience by answering the questions “What? When? Why?” and even “And what then?”


                If you’re developing your own app, want to start developing one, or just have a friend who’s a developer or marketing professional at a product-focused company, you’ll find lots of useful information in this article.

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              • Engineer Advice: How To Build The Product Users Need And Be Fast



                Image credit: Unsplash

                Working on a startup is always hard. Founders have to master multitasking skills and control everything. Very often, in such a situation, they can't correctly assess the technological development of their company. A couple of wrong tech-related decisions can lead to a massive fail.

                How to avoid this? Get some advice from an experienced engineer! I had an opportunity to talk to Serhii Korniushov, a programmer, and IT manager with more than 10 years of experience.
                Below, we will discuss his recommendations on building products that users need, and not wasting time and money.
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              • How to translate text into a different language?



                  5 options to choose from


                  I used to work as a translator. As I speak several foreign languages, friends, colleagues and “friend-of-a-friends” — heck, even total strangers — would often approach me asking to translate “just a few sentences”.

                  I have translated for clients, for friends and for my own needs. And I can tell you: there are several ways to get your text translated.

                  How do you choose the best one? Well, it boils down to the famous “time — cost — quality” triangle. And normally we get only two of these three at a time…

                  Let’s weigh up the pros and cons of each method. I hope to save you a headache next time you’re translating something into another language :)

                  Written by Alconost
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                • The Story of Nitro, a professional translation service that helps developers with localization and multilingual support



                    Localizing your product can involve many pitfalls, and there are two of them that developers face AFTER the content has been localized: translating the product updates, and offering support for international users of the localized versions.

                    In this article, we will demonstrate how these issues can be solved with just a few clicks.

                    Written by Alconost
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                  • App Localization in Ten Steps

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                    • Tutorial


                    According to predictions of the analytical platform App Annie, interest in mobile apps will enjoy stable growth over the next four years. So, if you’re considering bringing your app to new markets, this is the time to do it.


                    During my two years as the localization manager, I came to understand that localization has its own rules, and knowing them can help you adapt any product for a new market quickly and competently. These principles will be useful for anyone who wants to localize an app but doesn’t know where to start.


                    1. Evaluate the potential


                    Start with the most important thing: figuring out which languages you need to localize your app into and determining whether or not localization is justified at all.


                    Here’s an example from my experience: Israel isn't a high-priority market for Badoo, but the app is localized into modern Hebrew. Moreover, only 6% of Israeli Badoo users actually run the app in Hebrew (as a comparison, 62.5% of Israeli users speak English). In this particular case, localization is justified even with these statistics, but a similar situation could represent a losing proposition for your app. So, study your market.
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                  • How to Become a Leading Scrum Master and Rock the Team?

                      Scrum allows Agile teams working on complex projects and delivering winning products by solving problems adaptively. This popular straightforward method is widely used to handle projects and get things done. Scrum projects more accurately fulfill customers' needs because they encourage continuous feedback.

                      There is no need for detailed analytics to understand that Scrum continues to grow in popularity just because of its many benefits and general effectiveness. And the important merit in this belongs to a Scrum Master. In this post, we extol and praise the role of a Scrum Master, without which no Scrum project succeeds.

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                    • 12 Soft Skills That Make IT Project Managers Unstoppable

                        The increasingly competitive job market demonstrates that performing only based on hard skills alone is no longer sufficient. In project management reality, hard skills contain creating work breakdown structures, managing a project budget, earned value assessments and critical path charts. All these skills require technical background and applying professional knowledge and tools to perform well. What are the soft skills of leadership and how they help to uncover project managers' facilities?

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