Newsletter #81 : Code Freeze

February 15, 2021
Touch down in Athens and Dallas!

Friday again and we’re deep into December and the rush to set up for Christmas and the Festive Break … even with these lockdown restrictions in place (though London has eased up a little this week), it’s always one of my favourite times of the year!Here at CTO Academy, we welcomed two more fantastic team members this week:Zoe Fragou joins us from Athens and is an organisational psychologist, business coach and expert in mapping corporate culture and psychometric tools. She will be bringing a new level of insight to our skills assessments and overall customer journey.Jaime Chambron is a resident of Dallas and a female tech executive with global experience of working at C-suite level with CEOs, CTOs, COOs etc. She is also co-founder of the Alliance of Technology and Women and an expert in decoding problems to help motivate, connect and integrate diverse people to accelerate achievement together.Back to the newsletter, we hope you enjoy diving into insight from the ecommerce space, rules for your team calls, code freeze, GitLab vs GitHub and more about events coming up next week. Oh and our book of the week which we heard from a CTO Academy member was his favourite recommendation this week.Happy weekend and take care of yourself and those around you.
NEWS  Ecommerce Startups – Can they eat into Amazon’s market share?

COVID has accelerated change across many areas of our lives – some commentators reckon that we’ve had 10 years of change packed into the last 10 months and without a doubt the ultimate winner in tech has been Amazon. If you’re a shareholder then good for you!Amazon is re-shaping so many areas of our lives and aims to enter markets like healthcare and more but in eCommerce is where it particularly dominates and so it’s intriguing to watch some of the emerging start-ups looking to give them a run for some of their money.Let’s see which of these tech companies gets the traction to take on the unfair market advantage created by our friendly tech giant …

Fabric An Israeli start-up that compares its products to that of a giant vending machine. By building micro fulfilment centres for retailers.

Cleveron An automated locker system by Estonian based company. Which distributes parcels and groceries to shoppers.

Starship Another Estonian based start-up that delivers shopping to customers with the help of small white robots.

Manna An Irish drone delivery start-up. That began a small pilot programme in Ireland in September, allowing customers to order up to 4kg of shopping that was delivered within 30 minutes. 

TrigoAn Israeli tech company delivering a checkout-free shopping experience. Through its AI-powered ceiling cameras. 

Scandit A Zurich-founded start-up that uses a mobile phone barcode scanning technology. With an aim to put an end to checkout queues.  P.S: If you’re involved in any eCommerce start-ups then we’d love to hear from you and in particular if you’re taking on Amazon’s space. Would you be interested in talking with us about your experience?
(Image credit: Saying Images)
LEADERSHIP  How to keep team calls effective

We know how awkward team calls can be if poorly managed and a coaching call this week about some issues with remote team cohesion in meetings, led us to list out some rules and boundaries to help you make them as effective and enjoyable as possible;1) Establish the purpose of the meeting before calling for one. Check-in with key voices in advance so that you can measure where the agenda might take you.2) Respect the time that has been set and control people talking too much and the overrun.3) Distribute an agenda beforehand sharing what you want to cover during the meeting.4) Tackle the most important points on your agenda first and leave the least important till last. That way, you avoid rushing through the main points during the last few minutes!5) Make sure everyone feels like they have a voice, managing the loudest voices and encouraging contributions from the quietest.6) Have clear actions and next steps in place for accountability.7) Saving the best till last…. if you are not prepared for the call, winging it always shows up so depending on who is due to attend, seriously consider delaying or cancelling it, rather than wasting everyone’s time. They won’t remember the delay, they will remember the car crash! 
(Image credit:
TECH  Is Code Freeze Still Necessary?

It seems like the topic of code freeze is a losing battle. With some arguments against agile methodologies including that it is irrelevant and unnecessary, breaks agile principles and causes slower and lower quality releases.But do these arguments actually weigh up? Let’s explore them a bit further…Yes, agile methodologies and tools have eliminated the need for a dedicated quality assurance and testing window. However, even the most refined CI approaches cannot ensure that a piece of code is going to be fault free in production.Although agile methods are designed to reduce the time between development and release, trying to eliminate code freeze from this process is merely impossible. As there will always be a point in the process where a piece of software or feature will need to be evaluated before it goes out to the public. On one end, it’s argues that a code freeze will naturally increase the chances that something will go wrong and even if it doesn’t, the work involved in it is time consuming. However, if a bug is detected in your software, even if it wasn’t from a code freeze it would still take the same time needed to fix it. Although, dealing with a bug on a live system in my opinion causes more issues.The list goes on and both argue a good case! Ultimately, I would say that code freeze should be eliminated completely. Although, it can play a less significant role in the process through agile methods. There you have it! Are you for code freeze or not?
GitLab Vs GitHub: What’s The Difference?

Over the last few years, GitHub and GitLab have positioned themselves as handy tools for developers, particularly those working in large teams.Before we get started, let’s identify what a Git is..A Git as described by Core DNA is a free and open source distributed version control system designed to handle everything from small to very large projects with speed and efficiency. Allowing groups of developers to collaborate on the same documents simultaneously. 

What is GitHub and GitLab?
Let’s go back to basics. GitHub is a code hosting platform for version control and collaboration with 40 million users.While GitLab is a DevOps platform that provides developers with features such as wiki, continuous integration and continuous delivery (CICD) and more.Now, let’s get into the differences between the two…

1) Authentication
With GitLab, you are able to set the roles of those you are working on a project with and what they have permission to. While on GitHub, you can decide whether someone gets access to read or write in a repository.

2) GitLab CI vs GitHub Actions
One of the main differences between GitLab and GitHub is the built-in CI in GitLab. Describes as a time saver, it creates more time for innovation and increased efficiency. Lest I forget to mention, GitLab offers its own CI for free.While GitHub recently launched it’s own CI/CD Actions allowing you to automate all your software workflows and is also free to get started.

3) Issue Tracking
Both GitLab and GitHub provide an issue tracker which lets you change the status of an issue and who it’s assigned to.

4) Import & Export
GitLab offers a detailed guide on how to import your data from other providers into its platform.Where as GitHub does not. However, you can use GitHub Importer if you have your source code in Subversion, Mercurial, Team Foundation Server or another.  

5) Community
GitHub undoubtedly has a strong community of developers with millions of active users which is what its popularity is mainly driven by.GitLab has also undertaken some great activities hosting community events.

My closing thoughts
GitHub undoubtedly has the largest community. While, GitLab does a better job at providing tools that supports the workflow of teams. So depending on which one matters to you the most, that’s the one you should go for.

What do you think? Are you Team GitHub or Team GitLab?
  EVENTS  The Future of Work For Technology Leaders #2
This week we released the video from our first Next Generation Enterprise Webinar hosted by friend of CTO Academy Ramesh Balangau (also based in Dallas) that looked at the intersection of the #futureofwork and technology leadership with guest Shail Khiyara. Who explored the sometimes merging roles of the CMO and CTO.Next Wednesday is when we host the next in our series of Next Generation Enterprise webinars exploring the future of work and how it might impact you as technology leaders.For our 2nd webinar, Rameshwar Balanagu will be joined by two guests from the different parts of the Baker Tilly organisation namely, Partner Deepak Upadhyaya and Chief Digital Officer Lasse Rindom.This round table discussion will explore how these executives view the future.It will be conducted live and with the opportunity for you to ask questions and make your own contributions at 1000 CT / 1100 EST / 1600 GMT / 1700 CETTo register, click on the button below.
Sign up to our webinar here
Conversation: How the Pandemic is Shifting Digital Transformation into High Gear
The COVID-19 pandemic is radically reshaping the global economy and forcing companies in virtually every sector to accelerate their embrace of technology and abandon traditional operating methods.Recently, FORTUNE hosted a conversation with leading industry experts sharing their insight on how the world’s best businesses from sectors including healthcare, transportation, and education are implementing digital transformation strategies to manage this change and achieve success in the post-pandemic era.Nothing to do with CTO Academy but if you like the sound of the topic you can register here to watch the recording on-demand. 
  BOOK OF THE WEEK  A Mind At Play: How Claude Shannon Invented The Information AgeA recommendation directly from our CEO Andrew, your quintessential non-techie, this book covers the life of a key but often overlooked figure of the twentieth century information age.Andrew’s WIP review … “his life is a revelation to me, though apparently old news to my co-founder Jason. Shannon’s intellect was astonishing and his impact on the world we live in today profound and yet he’s not in the pantheon of celebrated names like Alan Turing. I’m loving every word”A more professional review (can I get away with that?) from Inc. Magazine who said;“A Mind at Play shows us that you don’t need to be a genius to learn from a genius. Claude Shannon’s inventive, vibrant life demonstrates how vital the act of play can be to making the most of work.”

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