New Training: Developing Microsoft SQL Server Databases

SPOTO trainer Garth Schulte teaches you the knowledge database administrators need in order to create Microsoft SQL Server databases, optimize them, implement views, and manage transactions. This 60-video video training is advanced.
This is the new Microsoft Database Development training.
The remaining time to earn the MCSE Data Management and Analytics certification is very limited. The exam will expire in January 2020. However, if you are able to earn your MCSE: Data Management and Analytics certification before January 2020, the exam will expire.
You can watch a video from the series here:

This series includes the following skills:
Microsoft SQL Server 2012: Building Databases (70-464)
Microsoft SQL Server 2014: Building Databases (70-464)

This training covers the following topics:
Designing Lock Granularity
Demo: Automation
Demo: Working with User-Defined Functions
Designing table-valued and scaler functions
Create, Use, and Alter User-Defined Functions

This training includes:
21 hours of training
60 videos

Get started learning Microsoft Database Development today!
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SPOTO offers everything you need to improve your IT skills and advance in your career: unlimited video training and Practice exams, Virtual Labs and validated learning with in–video Quizzes, Accountability coaching, and access to our exclusive IT professionals community.

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New Training: Developing for Azure Storage

This intermediate training video, which consists of 27 videos, covers the knowledge that SPOTO trainer Knox Hutchinson has on Azure Storage. It enables developers to create code that integrates seamlessly with Azure Storage, optimizes database usage, and can automatically create, read, update, and delete tables.
This Azure Storage training is available.
Microsoft’s cloud-based services for building, testing and deploying applications and services are as powerful as they are complex. You have a lot to learn about the many services Microsoft bundles into Azure. Learning to Develop for Azure Storage is essential if you need to access, use, or manipulate storage.
This four-part series covers topics like creating, reading and updating data via API, implementing partitioning schemes and addressing transient states in code.
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Azure Table Storage Solutions
Azure Cosmos DB is used to develop apps
Azure SQL Databases are used to develop apps
Develop Azure Blob Storage Solutions

Although this training does not lead to certification, it is still valuable skills training for Azure developers who want to learn cloud storage resources.
This training covers the following topics:
Download Blobs from Your Web App
Create a Free Azure SQL Database
Listing Blobs in Your ASP.NET Core Web Application
Blob Storage, Containers, or Blobs
Blob Storage in Mind: Developing with Blob Storage

This training includes:
Training for 3 hours
27 videos

You can watch a video from the series here:

Here are some additional cloud storage resource-related content from SPOTO’s blog:
Is the AZ204 worth it?
How do the Microsoft Azure 70-533, 70-533 and 70-535 Relationships Work?
The Amazon Storage Gateway: What and How to Use It All

Learn cloud storage resources now!
Download
Are you not a SPOTO subscriber yet? Start your week-long free trial now.
SPOTO offers everything you need to improve your IT skills and advance in your career: unlimited video training and Practice exams, Virtual Labs and validated learning with in–video Quizzes, Accountability coaching, and access to our exclusive IT professionals community.

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New Training: Developing databases in Microsoft SQL Server 2016

This intermediate training video, which consists of 28 videos, is by SPOTO trainer Garth Schulte. It teaches you how to use the knowledge systems administrators to create a SQL Server 2016 database. This will ensure that the objects you create are optimized for memory access and access.
This is a new SQL training.
Object statistics are the core of any database implementation. These descriptions of the data stored in a database are more than just being right there. The object statistics provide information to the query optimizer about the number of rows and the best join method. This Microsoft SQL Server 2016 Training in Implementing Database Objects ensures that a database administrator is able to correctly implement objects and create a reliable, high-speed database.
This four-part series covers topics like accessing, changing, reporting and reporting on data stored in your databases, using the programming concepts of SQL/T-SQL, as well as mastering the various commands for manipulating and navigating data.
You can watch a video from the series here:

This series includes the following skills:
SQL Server 2016: Designing and Implementing Database Objects
Implementing Programmability Objects In SQL Server 2016
SQL Server 2016: Managing Database Concurrency
Optimizing SQL Infrastructure and Database Objects

This training covers the following topics:
Implementing user-defined functions
Implementing Natively Compiled Storing Procedures
Designing user-defined functions
Implementing Indexes
Resource Locks

This training includes:
Training for 5 hours
28 videos

Learn SQL today!
Download
Are you not a SPOTO subscriber yet? Start your week-long free trial now.
SPOTO offers everything you need to improve your IT skills and advance in your career: unlimited video training and Practice exams, Virtual Labs and validated learning with in–video Quizzes, Accountability coaching, and access to our exclusive IT professionals community.

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New Training: Create Azure App Service Web Apps and Mobile Apps, APIs and Functions

This intermediate training video, 18-videos, by Knox Hutchinson, covers the knowledge cloud administrators must have to create and deploy web applications that are critical to your organization. They can scale as necessary.
This Azure App Service training video is available.
If no one is able to use the web application deployment tool in Microsoft Azure, it won’t be of any benefit to a company or organization. This training provides everything a cloud administrator needs to get started building apps and improve developer productivity.
This four-part series covers topics like delivering web apps using.NET and Java, Node.js and PHP, performing OS patching and capacity provisioning, servers load balancing, servers and servers, and increasing developer efficiency with source code integration and live debugging.
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Create Azure App Service Web Apps
Develop Azure Mobile Apps
Develop Azure App Service APIs
Develop Azure Function Apps

Although this training does not lead to certification, it is still valuable skills training for cloud administrators who want to learn Azure development tools.
This training covers the following topics:
Configuring push notifications
Introducing Azure Mobile Apps
Publishing and testing your API
WebJobs
Implementing an API App

This training includes:
1 hour of training
18 videos

You can watch a video from the series here:

Here are some more Azure development tools-related content taken from the SPOTO blog.
4 Reasons Azure is better than AWS
How AI is taking over Azure
Microsoft’s Greater Focus on Azure

Start learning Azure development tools today!
Download
Are you not a SPOTO subscriber yet? Start your week-long free trial now.
SPOTO offers everything you need to improve your IT skills and advance in your career: unlimited video training and Practice exams, Virtual Labs and validated learning with in–video Quizzes, Accountability coaching, and access to our exclusive IT professionals community.

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New Training: Setting up a Base Configuration to Support Cisco Devices

This 15-video entry-level training course by SPOTO trainers Jeremy Cioara & Keith Barker focuses on the knowledge and skills required for network administrators to create base configurations for Cisco devices. It primarily focuses on preparing application-centric infrastructures.
This Cisco training is available.
Network configuration and maintenance are evolving away from broad, application-agnostic networks to more custom-made networks for specific applications. A base configuration is a crucial step in preparing Cisco devices to support an ACI. This Cisco-focused training will ensure that your skills are up to date with the latest generation of networking.
These are the two skills that make up this training:
Learn how to become a security expert with SPOTO’s Cybersecurity Training
Start trainingCreate Base Configuration for Cisco Devices
Create a Base Configuration to Support Cisco Devices Hands on Lab

This two-part series covers networking basics such as understanding the role of a base configuration in Cisco ACI topology, negotiating Cisco ACI Fabric Discovery and base configurations, as well as using Cisco Network Insights for troubleshooting configurations.
Review of Create a Base Configuration for Cisco Devices
Lab for Configuring and Verifying Interfaces, IP Addresses, and Other Tests
Configure DNS and Router Interfaces
Implementation of Telnet and SSH
Configuring Device Identification (Hostname, Banner)

This training covers the following topics:
This training includes:
2 hours of training
15 videos

You can watch a video from the series here:

Here are some more Cisco routing and switching-related content taken from the SPOTO blog.
Cisco Networks’ 6 Reasons to Rock
How does Cisco ACI compare to Cisco DNA?
What 2020 may hold for Cisco

Learn Cisco routing and switching now.
Download
Are you not a SPOTO subscriber yet? Start your week-long free trial now.
SPOTO offers everything you need to improve your IT skills and advance in your career: unlimited video training and Practice exams, Virtual Labs and validated learning with in–video Quizzes, Accountability coaching, and access to our exclusive IT professionals community.

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Clarifying Misconceptions About the Big Launch

(This post contains affiliate hyperlinks. Please read my full disclosure.

Do you believe that your project should have an official ‘launch’ event. Sean Ammirati, author of The Science of Growth, explains that a single big, formal launch is not always what launches a company or project into the big league. It might surprise you to learn what really works. This is definitely something you should be looking at when you think about positive project risk. Enjoy…
Often, a founder’s core vision will be obvious in hindsight. But, when founders set out on their journey, their vision is often something that many don’t yet see. It is tempting to believe that success lies in finding a large enough platform or stage to showcase your solution. As students of lean entrepreneurship know, it’s not a good idea for your product to be launched with a “big bang.” I have found this solid advice.
This is sound advice for startups from the beginning, but it may not be as relevant later on. We noticed that many successful startups used larger events to increase awareness after they had completed the four prerequisites.
Many of these events later seem to be considered the startup’s “launch,” furthering the misconception that a big launch is a prerequisite for success. This is more evident in Twitter than in any other company we studied.
Since before Twitter’s breakout year, 2007, I have been attending the South by Southwest conferences (SxSW). Every year since 2007, journalists have been returning to South by Southwest (SxSW) conferences to discuss the next thing to launch at SxSW and to ask whether [insert company name here] will be the next Twitter. This is a great story for journalists, especially considering that Twitter is worth more than $21 billion. The SxSW Interactive Festival’s launch of Twitter has made it a popular story and has become startup legend.
It’s not true that Twitter was launched at SxSW. According to Evan Williams, Quora’s account of what actually happened (emphasis mine).
. . . Contrary to popular belief, we didn’t launch Twitter at SXSW. SXSW chose to blow it up. It was launched nine months prior to that. We were finally growing and it seemed that all our users, which were likely in the thousands, were going to Austin by the time SXSW 2007 arrived. To capitalize on the critical mass, we did two things:
We created a Twitter visualizer, and negotiated with festival officials to install flat panel screens in the halls. This is something they hadn’t done before. However, we didn’t want a booth at the trade show floor because we knew hallways were where the action was. This was a $11K purchase and we set up the TVs ourselves. (This was the most money Twitter has ever spent on marketing.
We created an event-specific feature where you could text “join SXSW” to 40404. You would then appear on the screens. If you weren’t already a Twitter User, you would automatically be following at least half a dozen “ambassadors,” also Twitter users at SXSW. This was advertised on the hallway screens. (I don’t recall how many people signed up in this manner, but I do remember that it was not very large.)
I don’t know which factor was most important, but networks are all about critical mass. So, doubling down on momentum seemed like a good idea. It worked.
We see a pattern in the cases that a product or service launches and then has a major event “to blow it up”. This is a common pattern. We started to call these events “double triggers” when we began to look at them. The first trigger was getting the product on the market and getting feedback. But the second trigger was the double trigger.

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Christian Kotzbauer on PM Software Trends [Interview]

Today, I am speaking with Christian Kotzbauer (Managing Director of Genius Project). He has been with Genius Project since over 14 years. He is based in Germany at the company’s headquarters.
Christian was my interview subject. He discussed his role and the future prospects of project management software. Without further delay:
Christian Kotzbauer is the Managing Director at Genius ProjectHello Christian. What does a Managing director of a software company do every day?
My daily responsibilities include managing and following-up on sales goals. This requires prioritizing customer and employee needs as well as organizational requirements. I’m sort of the bridge between our Sales and Marketing departments; my goal is for them to achieve maximum results.
I am also involved in the development of our organization’s strategy and goals, and communicating them to our staff. This means that I am in constant contact with our multinational offices.
To be able to manage our strategy, I also have to oversee the design, marketing, and quality of our product. I am always thinking ahead about what we can do to improve our product delivery and organizational efficiency.
Wow, that sounds very busy and more extensive than I expected. Genius has a track record of success and is often nominated to awards. What was your proudest moment in the company?
Genius has had many great moments, but my proudest moment was our recent Top 100 Award in Germany. To be more precise, we won the Top-Innovator Excellence Award.
Ranga Yogeshwar, my mentor, gave me the honor of accepting the award on behalf of the organization. The room was filled by leaders from the biggest industrial companies, who, as you may know are the key drivers of the German economy.
We were all proud that Genius Project was recognized amongst such influential leaders, it is no surprise.
Congratulations! Congratulations!
New employees are looking for simple, easy-to-use tools that can be accessed from anywhere. We are quick to notice changes in user behavior and respond accordingly.
Our social collaboration software was introduced to the market three years ago. We have continued to improve and expand on it over the years. We are committed to ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to adopt this trend at their own pace, even though we are helping to accelerate it and supporting it with new features in every version.
What do you think the future of project management software will look like in five years?
The challenge vendors face is that their tools and features can be complex, but they are not always easy to use, especially for new employees. My opinion is that the software industry is moving towards simplicity and accessibility but with a growing demand for powerful features.
These demands are being met by organizations in innovative and new ways. It is evident in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant, that more companies, including Genius Project, are investing in cloud-hosted software deployment. This is a natural shift we all need to adapt to.
Access to tools will be demanded by people from all over the globe. I believe it is important to address privacy and security concerns before this can take root, especially for countries and organizations that have a compelling need for their data to be protected.
We will continue to see software written by a group of people, not just a company. This is the direction that we are heading: more collaborative, social, and more accessible.
I would d

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Review of Chpokify Scrum Poker

Chpokify is your essential tool for sprint planning. The planning poker(r), element was what I focused on, but the tool does much more.
Continue reading to learn how it can help your agile team achieve their sprint goals through better planning, estimation, and planning.

Summary
What is Chpokify?
Planning poker: How to get started
Choosing card decks
Adding tasks
Let the estimation begin
Keeping the team on task
Reviewing the session: What teams participate in scrum poker?

Other essentials for the scrum team toolboxKanban boards
Retros

Advantages of Chpokify
Chpokify’s Disadvantages
Is Chpokify right to you?

Summary
Product: Chpokify
Cost and plans: A free account allows you to add 10 users and one team. There are limited features. The Enterprise, Pro, and Team plans allow for more users, more teams, and more features like video calls and custom interfaces. Annually billed at $11 per person for 3 teams/15 users
Hosting model: Cloud only
Languages: The interface can be accessed in English or Russian
Website: Chpokify.com
Summary of Chpokify: Chpokify is a virtual tool that allows you to plan poker and agile estimating in a virtual setting. It’s fun and easy to create team estimates, discuss backlogs, and agree on goals. Chpokify is an alternative to PlanningPoker.com.Have you ever tried to estimate as a team with some of you around a screen, others remote, or using tools where only the Scrum Master can see what’s happening and you’re voting from your mobile phone?
Chpokify makes sprint estimation easy by allowing you to share your experience with others.
What is Chpokify?
Chpokify is an online tool that allows you to quickly estimate your needs using the planning poker game.
Scrum poker, a method of creating team-approved estimates of items in the backlog, is a good way to get started if you don’t know how this method of estimating works. Each user story is assigned a team member who chooses the estimate that best reflects their views of the work’s complexity or timeframe. These can then be combined or discussed to create an estimate for planning purposes.
Facilitating a conversation about workload and estimating the sprint is all that’s important.
The team should have a clear understanding of the work involved in each story at the end. This planning effort can be time-boxed (if desired) to ensure that the team doesn’t get lost in multiple discussions/planning cycles without ever reaching the actual estimate.
Planning poker: How to get started
Chpokify does not require any configuration or set-up. It is ready to use immediately after you log in, unless you want it to be integrated into Jira.
The interface is simple and clean. Even though I have never used poker estimation before I felt it was simple and I knew what I needed to do.
Create a new session by adding a title, description, and then adding people. You can choose which teams will be participating in the session. If you need to add another team, you can also do this from the menu options. It will remember the settings from the last session so that you can quickly set up another session if you have similar agile meetings.
Next, choose the members. Invite people to chpokify together the tasks (yes, they use “chpokify” as a verb). Invite anyone you wish: They don’t need to create an account. They can join as guests using a one-time link. I thought that was smart.
It is easy to navigate the workspace desktop
There are many card decks. You can choose from:
Fibonacci
Modified Fibonacci
T-shirts
Linear
Progression
Precision
Ideal days

This should give agile teams enough options to choose from to meet their needs.
Each deck includes a Question Mark card to ask questions and a Coffee Cup for pointing out that things have gotten a bit stale.
You can also create custom decks of cards (but not with the free plan).
There are many card decks available at Chpokify.

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Joanne Flinn interviews you about success.

(This post contains affiliate hyperlinks. Please read my full disclosure.
Summer of Books 2011 continues with an interview featuring Joanne Flinn, author.
Joanne Flinn is author of The Success Healthcheck for IT Projects – An Insider’s Guide for Managing IT Investment and Business Change. I reviewed it in February. Joanne Flinn was visiting London earlier this year for a business trip. I had the pleasure to meet her for coffee. I had the pleasure of meeting her recently to discuss her book.
Joanne, your book focuses on giving projects the best chance of success by identifying those most likely to fail. Why did you choose to focus on this?
Failure can be both predictable and preventable. It is important to spot potential project failures early so that the right things are done to keep it on the right track. This will ensure that the team sees their hardwork accepted and used, and the business users see the project a great success. It takes curiosity and courage. It takes curiosity to find out what’s really happening and courage to face it.
Statistics show that 33% of projects end up in disaster. That’s a lot of work (who wants that?). It can also lead to a lot of wasted investment (which business can afford that?). This book offers a health check for projects that involve both IT-people and goes beyond the basics of project management.
It is a detailed book. It’s a very detailed book.
To keep my project management skills sharp, I did a HEC and Oxford mid-career degree. My thesis was required. I discovered that very little had been written about the topic of large-scale project success and failure. Many approaches are more than 20 years old, and times have changed. This gap was a prompt.
Did you notice anything else in your thesis research?
Another motivation for the book was to find out what technology failures were costing businesses and our reputations. A third of projects end up failing dramatically. This is a lot to pay and a lot to frustrate. I hate being the one who is on the receiving end for a poorly implemented project. I also get frustrated when I see the hard work of the project team being ignored.
After all your research, how did you start writing it?
To share the human side… I had a wonderful experience with a man and realized that to truly know if he was the one, you need to spend time together. I was half a world away from him so I decided to stop talking about writing and just write. I traveled to the country where he lived and set myself up as an author and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Wow! Wow!
Writing was like starting over. In my previous career, I had written many documents (consulting documents, corporate reports, and that thesis). I quickly realized that the style I had learned was not the best for a book that would reflect real-life project issues and be supported by science. Even adding a personal touch was difficult. I had been trained to be focused on data, but the data was saying “It’s all about the people!”
How long did it take to write this article?
It took me 18 months to complete the book. I spent 3 months on the first draft. Yes, I did throw them away. Nine months to write, and nine months to edit.
Although writing a book is a huge undertaking, I believe it is worth it. What was the best part about writing it?
It was the best thing about creating analogies and choosing the best-of the-bundles from all the great war stories that I had heard or been a part of over the years. I loved designing the layout and structure of the book. It was important to me that it was not a text-only book but something that practitioners could use.
That was a great feat. I enjoyed the part where you addressed the risks associated with managing an out-of the-box software implementation. It was very practical.

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Change the Face of PM Training

Recently, I completed my APMP course and was overwhelmed by the number of project management certification training providers available. You have many options, such as PRINCE2 (r) or PMP(r).
How do you choose the right course?
Craig Kilford has the solution.
Craig has created a review site for project management training. There’s also a philanthropic initiative as an incentive to get people writing reviews. I spoke with him to learn more about how it works.
Craig, What’s CourseConductor?
CourseConductor.com, a new customer review site, is changing the way professionals find project management training courses. It allows them to rate, review, and share their experience with the course. This helps other professionals find the best courses and allows training providers to quantify their quality.
Think of Course Conductor like a ‘TripAdvisor” for the project management training industry.
OK. It’s okay.
The truth is that it’s out of love and frustration. Management of Portfolios (MoP)(r), a book I co-authored, is the UK Government/AXELOS international best practice standard. It was written with the intention to inspire positive change for professionals and organizations.
After the book was published [read Elizabeth’s review here] in 2011, and the certification training began, I wanted to know which training providers were offering the best courses and what people thought about their training experience. I was frustrated because I couldn’t find any information.
This is when I realized it wasn’t just me who feels this pain. Every professional feels the need to waste their time and energy comparing courses, reading testimonials, and browsing various training provider websites.
Even worse, every training provider claims they are “high-quality” or “the finest”. While there are many great training providers, we all know that there are also some really bad and fake ones. Training providers who claim they are accredited, but they aren’t!
Yes, I spent a lot time researching but still bought on a recommendation from a friend and the price. It’s not ideal.
Trust is the problem that we all share. Trust is the problem. There is no independent star rating that can help us determine whether the course has been rated as a 1 star or 5 star course. When was the last time you booked an hotel without checking its star rating? Never, right? Why should we do it with project management courses instead?
This whole situation felt unfair to both the professionals and the amazing training providers. CourseConductor.com was created by me to help all in the profession.
Are you getting less than enthusiastic responses from trainingproviders in the past? I can imagine that those with mediocre courses don’t like the site.
I love getting feedback from industry peers. The response has been overwhelming positive.
Two training providers were particularly concerned about negative reviews from customers. Although they are confident that negative reviews will not be common, the training providers believe that this is an opportunity to address customer concerns immediately and to make improvements based on their feedback.
This is the best way to approach customer reviews. Forbes and the Journal of Consumer Research highlight that negative reviews actually increase customers’ confidence. This is because potential customers read polite and caring responses to negative reviews, which actually helps improve company credibility and sales.
But what about the reverse: What are the supportive providers saying to you?
Professionals agree that Course Conductor is the best.

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