IT Leadership Insights Blog

[Book Review] The War on Normal People by Andrew Yang

Jan 13, 2019 | 1 Comment

Presidential candidate Andrew Yang believes all Americans should be given $1000 per month from the government, this is his Universal Basic Income proposal which he hopes will help him win the White House next year. Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and other leading tech thinkers support similar proposals and Yang says UBI will help avoid a…

FNB CodeFest: Highlights from the coolest IT sprint in the FirstRand Group – Part 1

“I was blown away by the energy and progressive thinking … world leading … streets ahead”; these comments from a business colleague after our second FNB CodeFest last week, read on to see why he felt that way. No matter how well you plan something or bring an expert team together, there’s a special magic…
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FNB codeFest Day 1: Successful Team Set Up

It was all about collaboration, ideas taking shape, latest technology and techies talking shop; a perfect day out of the office in other words. One of the ways we made this codeFest bigger than the previous one was a full day set aside for setting up technical environments. This time we made sure that all the…
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Spinning our way to IT health

Our IT department recently took a spinning class at work; it boosted our heart rates and illustrated a powerful concept of teams. The link between exercise and knowledge work is well established; stay healthy and your productivity should be higher. The general sense of wellbeing that accompanies regular exercise has also been shown to improve results.…
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FNB codeFest Kicks Off on Spring Day

Day 0 of the second FNB codeFest was held recently on Spring Day; our theme was the green shoots of ideation. It’s been said that Thomas Edison figured out 10,000 ways not to make a light bulb; all his attempts still contributed to the one that changed the world. Fintech ideation is a lot about disruptive thinking to find…
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Do techpreneurs need an ecosystem that supports innovation?

It’s the difference between thriving and surviving; big business and government also have a crucial role to play. I participated in a panel debate at the Innovation Summit in Cape Town today where we discussed the importance of “enabling ecosystems for innovation.” As a banker I had already been told earlier in the day that…
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Codefests should also accelerate in-flight projects

Prototyping new technology is exciting and important but speeding up current projects is equally valuable to business. A colleague emailed me this week about the next FNB codeFest which is being held 28 Sept – 2 Oct. She explained her team was keen to get involved but it would put strain on a big release that was…
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Codefests: bigger prizes = better solutions?

Rewards are fun and easy to give out but do they really motivate coders to write better software?  The biggest hackathon prize money so far was $1m which was awarded to a team of 2 at a Salesforce.com event. It was later disputed because they were found to have worked on their app for a year beforehand.…
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How to get business value from codefests

Avoid a case of too many hammers and not enough nails with structured ideation before your event. We all know how it works, some IT departments love a certain technology and every problem can be tailor made to reverse fit the pre-built, pre-decided solution. There is one hammer and everything becomes a nail, in fact often people…
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Transactional leadership and Agile; conflict or contrast?

Also known as the management style of leadership, its principles and Agile’s seem at odds but does it really matter? Self-organising teams, building projects around individuals, giving them the environment they need and trusting them to get the job done. These are some concepts found in the principles of the Agile Manifesto, the widely accepted founding document…
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Coding and Education; bridging the gap or walking a tightrope?

Teach more coding, get more programmers – is it that simple or are we sacrificing quality for quantity? Becoming an employed computer programmer no longer requires lengthy formal education at the tertiary level. You can teach yourself on the internet, primary schools in the UK are introducing it and it’s becoming part of the core…
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Codefests (aka Hackathons): What are they and why do them?

It’s about rapid innovation with software, and a South African version even produced a solution that could stop patients dying in long hospital queues. One of the principles of Agile software development is to rapidly create working software rather than wait for detailed designs. The quicker you can prototype a concept, the faster you create a feedback loop between the development…
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Cumbersome is the opposite of Agile; here's why

It’s good to be pro-Agile but it’s also important to be anti-Cumbersome You know them when you see them; unwieldy and inefficient projects that take ages to deliver and no-one really knows how to start untangling and fixing them. Many projects have to be large and complex simply because of their scope – but they can still be…
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