A Time to Give: Learn how your registration will support 1 of 3 amazing non-profits.

written by: Admin on November 3rd, 2014

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ASPE Training is proud to announce some big changes to our annual Charitable Giving Event. Each year we donate a significant sum to a charity chosen by the ASPE, Inc. board members. But this year, we’re letting you choose!

For every course registration made between November 1st, 2014 and December 31st, 2014 we will be donating $5 to one of the three charities. After registering, simply respond to your email from customerservice@aspeinc.com and choose the charity you would like to contribute to.

It’s the giving season! Which charity will you choose to support?

The V Foundation for Cancer Research
After being diagnosed with cancer at the young age of 46, Jim Valvano dreamed of finding the cure. Passionate and committed, Jim and ESPN formed the V Foundation for Cancer Research. As a former coach, he began to recruit his team of family and friends to lead The Foundation in his quest to eradicate the disease.

Although Jim lost his battle with cancer less than two months after delivering his world famous ESPY speech, his dream to find cures lives on through research grants bestowed in his name. The V Foundation has awarded more than $130 million to more than 120 facilities nationwide and proudly awards 100% of direct cash donations to cancer research and related programs.

Jim’s dream of finding cures for cancer is shared by millions. Although we have not yet achieved this goal, every day we get a little bit closer and continue to honor his inspiring words, “Don’t Give Up . . . Don’t Ever Give Up!”

Wounded Warrior Project
The Wounded Warrior Project is a veterans service organization that offers a variety of programs, service and events for wounded veterans of the military actions following the events of September 11, 2001. It’s mission is to “Honor and Empower Wounded Warriors” of the United States Armed Forces, as well as provide services and programs for the family members of registered veterans.

Wounded Warrior Project’s vision is to “foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation’s history” as it works to raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of severely injured service members, help severely injured service members aid and assist each other, and provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
founded in 1962, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is a pediatric treatment and research facility focused on children’s catastrophic diseases. It is located in Memphis, Tennessee, and is a nonprofit medical corporation. Although it was named a patron saint, St. Jude is not a Catholic hospital and not affiliated with any religious organization.

St. Jude was founded by entertainer Danny Thomas on the premise that “no child should die in the dawn of life”. The Misson of St. Jude Research Hospital is to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. Consistent with the vision of our founder Danny Thomas, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family’s ability to pay. Click to continue »

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Agile Engineering for Dummies (and not so dummies)

written by: Tegan Smith on November 25th, 2014

Being new to the Agile world, sometimes I have a hard time wrapping my mind around the intricacies of Agile Engineering. Figuring there are individuals like myself, just starting their journey to fully understanding Agile, I thought I could do some research and do my best to break down the Agile Methods of Work. Of course while conducting said research, I was confronted with many opinions about how harmful these practices can be and all the flack about why programmers shouldn’t even use them.  All in all, software engineering is an art. Yes, this art does need discipline and structure to be successful but it is up to you programmers to decide what type of tool you want to use to craft your software art, whether they are right or wrong.

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Studying for the Certified Analytics Professional Exam

written by: Damian Herrick on November 24th, 2014

INFORMS –  a professional organization serving analytics, operations research, and management science professionals – recently created the first major certification for analytics professionals. The Certified Analytics Professional (CAP) certification is described here: https://www.informs.org/Certification-Continuing-Ed/Analytics-Certification. Eligibility for the exam is outlined on that page, but it requires demonstrated work experience in analytics, college education, and verification of soft skills. According to the site, key benefits of the CAP include:

  • Advances your career potential by setting you apart from the competition

  • Drives personal satisfaction of accomplishing a key career milestone

  • Helps improve your overall job performance by stressing continuing professional development

  • Recognizes that you have invested in your analytics career by pursuing this rigorous credential

  • Boosts your salary potential by being viewed as experienced analytics professional

  • Shows competence in the principles and practice of analytics

  • Demonstrates commitment to the field

  • Proves to stakeholders that your organization follows industry-standard analytics practice

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Web Seminar Recap- Data Analysis Boot Camp: What to Expect

written by: Tegan Smith on November 18th, 2014

ASPE’s unique boot camp for professionals who need quick, powerful data analysis skills is proving to be a popular and much-requested class. But with the explosive growth in both the volume of our organizational data and the power of the tools available to harness it, we find that our learners are coming from a wide variety of different situations.
We’ve designed the class to provide the most pragmatic, broad-based array of data analysis skills that people need to truly leverage data in the real world. We’re also finding that in order to deliver a classroom experience that meets a broad array of needs, it’s important to get a sense of your goals in attending the class, as well as giving the learner a sense of what to expect. This one hour web seminar, Data Analysis Boot Camp: What to Expect, was presented by Damian Herrick who is the lead instructor for Data Analysis Boot Camp on November 11th, 2014.

Key topics in the boot camp include:
- Statistical thinking and analysis
- Distribution
- Probability
- Hypothesis Testing and predictive analytics
- Graphic representation of data
- Modeling and analytics
- Financial calculations
Missed this seminar? Download the slides and recording to catch up.

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What’s Covered in the PMI-ACP Exam?

written by: Tegan Smith on November 18th, 2014

This content was gathered from pmi.org.

The Project Management Institute (PMI) has developed a certification that is directly aimed at Project Management practitioners who use Agile practices. The certification is based on real world Agile practices, tools, and techniques that are used every day in the workplace. The PMI ACP exam is split into two sections: Agile tools and techniques (50%) and Agile knowledge and skills (50%).

Agile tools and techniques section is organized into 10 areas and ranked in order of relative importance according to PMI:

  • Communications
  • Planning, monitoring, and adapting
  • Estimation
  • Analysis and design (user stories)
  • Product quality (test driven development)
  • Soft skills negotiation (T shaped leader and emotional intelligence)
  • Value based prioritization
  • Risk management
  • Metrics
  • Value stream analysis

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Reducing Your Reliance on Spreadsheets

written by: Damian Herrick on November 17th, 2014

Spreadsheets are a fantastic tool for businesses to get started with data analysis. They have a ton of benefits:

  • Familiarity: Spreadsheets are now taught as early as elementary school. They’ve become as ubiquitous as the pocket calculator in schools and businesses.

  • Ease of Use: Since people are taught them so early, staff use them to do everything from simple budgets to advanced regressions and charting.

  • Portability: In most offices, just about everyone has Excel installed. There are certainly instances where startups – in the interest of reducing cost – use Google Apps, but they’re still spreadsheets. Most offices will pass files around, and it’s simple to integrate them into PowerPoint, or conduct your own analyses.

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How to Build a Low Cost, Open Source Analytics Infrastructure

written by: Damian Herrick on November 10th, 2014

As someone who relies on computing power and technology to do my job, I marvel at how accessible this power and technology have become in the last five to ten years. When I began my career in the late 1990’s, we needed the power of a UNIX workstation to create and run most of my models and simulations; if I wanted to access large datasets, I relied on a highly trained technician who could locate tapes that contained my data, load them onto a server, and eventually let me know where the data lived on a random server that was somewhere inside our network. I was lucky – this all took place at a large oil and gas exploration company, so we had the resources to manage huge datasets. In the startup space, I recently read a quote from someone who noted that what took $20 million in servers and infrastructure back in 2001, today could be done for well under $1 million – if not less.

Fast forward to today. Now, I don’t rely on techs to load my data – I can get at it myself, in most cases. I run my business from a laptop, using a lot of off-the-shelf web software to manage my business and service my clients. For day to day operations, I use widely available, mostly free project management, time tracking, and office software. Any freelancer or consultant can use these tools, but what about a technical environment? Is it possible to build and run a business focused on data and analytics consulting services using low cost, open source tools.

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Agile in the Government Environment: The New Fiscal Year

written by: Tegan Smith on November 5th, 2014

This content was originally posted on fcw.com.

With the new fiscal year for government agencies, there are going to be some changes coming along with this turn of a calendar page.  Federal agencies especially had a tough year and had many mistakes in their large and new software rollouts. Experts are agreeing that Federal IT Executives are going to be turning to Agile and iterative approaches to fix some of their big bugs.

The first agency expected to go “agile” is the Department of Veteran Affairs. Their Transformation Twenty-One Total Technology (T4) Next Generation (NG) PWS, or otherwise known as T4NG, contract specifies “incremental development for managing task orders” which directly parallel agile ideals.

The Bureau of  Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives are now seeking a new case management systems and want to utilize commercial software as much as possible and wants contractors to list their qualifications and certifications in Agile development.

Next on our list is the late and great Social Security Administration who is turning to agile adoption for their disability claims-processing system, at the recommendation from the internationally known consulting firm McKinsey and Co.

Finally, the next giant taking on agile is HealthCare.gov. After the disastrous site launch in October, Medicaid and Medicare want their development to be done incrementally with frequent releases and testing. The contract specifies the use of “iterative agile methodology to system development that provides the best opportunity to build and test software functionality.”

Learn how to successfully apply an Agile approach in the Government environment with this 2-day, hands-on training course.

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