303 Redirects: Background, Facts and Tips

303 redirects are a redirect-type that will not pass any SEO value or “Juice” and will not remove pages out of a search engine index even if the pages are deleted from a domain’s server. This type of redirect is temporary and easily misinterpreted or misunderstood by older search engines.

Methodology for Handling 303 Redirects

The response to the request can be found under a different URL and SHOULD be retrieved using a GET method on that resource. This method exists primarily to allow the output of a POST-activated script to redirect the user agent to a selected resource. The new URL is not a substitute reference for the originally requested resource. The 303 response Must NOT be cached, but the response to the second (redirected) request might be cacheable.

303 Redirects Satire Ad

Satirical Commentary

Developed to prevent a form from being resubmitted after an HTTP Post request. As an example, a recent SouthWest Airlines issue caused customers to be charged multiple times from a deal they saw presented on their Facebook page. Once the user purchased a ticket, a type of redirect loop came into play, causing multiple credit card charges. 303 redirects are the exact type of redirect to use in this situation to avoid potential problems with technology. Additionally, the response the browser and engines receives comes from the CMS, not the server-level, which decreases page speed.

301 vs 302 Redirect
Over the years the 303 error has become outdated and replaced with the 302 redirect type. The 302 redirect, similar to the 303, also provides no SEO value to the pages involved and will not remove old pages from the search results.

303 redirects – Our Recommendations:

If you use 303 redirects, STOP right now and have someone help you setup the correct, most relevant redirects for your site.


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Article Explains Why Banks Should Target Gen Y Millennials

Excellent article on the facts about Gen Y and why Banks should take a second look at these customers now before other financial institutions gain their trust…and their money:

Full Article by Harland Clarke


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Business Analyst UAT Tasks Part I

User Acceptance TestingUser Acceptance Testing (UAT) is a beast, we all know that, and during this process business analysts execute numerous UAT tasks based on the type of projects, duration and organizational standards.

  1. Solution Validation: Validate that solution meets the Business Requirements
  2. Verify the Organization Readiness: BA should make sure that the end user is ready to use the solution, by checking that the required resources along with relevant tools and training are created and made available
  3. Identification & Validation of Test Case Scenarios: BA should identify test case scenarios that will be tested in UAT Phase and get those scenarios validated by end user
  4. Create Training Plan: BA should create training plan for the engagement of required resources
  5. Create UAT Plan: BA should publish the UAT plan for the required resources
  6. Conduct UAT: UAT should be conducted keeping in mind the objective of UAT, which is to “make sure that solution fulfills the day-to-day transaction of business along with any other known exceptions”
  7. Record the Results: UAT tasks can only be effective if issues are logged religiously
  8. UAT Feedback: BA should confirm from user that solution fulfills the business needs as anticipated by user and update the feedback to related stakeholders
  9. Conduct UAT Signoff (Approval to GO LIVE)

Upcoming Additions to this Article about UAT tasks:

  • UAT Documentation
  • UAT Planning
  • UAT Execution
  • UAT Closure

 


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How to Adopt RTC EE Part 1 “Technology” by PacGenesis

How to Adopt RTC EE – Part 1 “Technology”
by Kristin Cowhey, VP Sales and Marketing at PacGenesis

Excerpt: “If you’re thinking of adopting RTC EE within your organization, you’re likely already aware that it can be a daunting task. Whether you’re evaluating RTC as a possible solution or looking to grow your existing RTC implementation from distributed…”

Read the Full Article


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If It Was an Effective Meeting You Took Good Notes

Note Taking Template

Outline “Note Taking” Mode

If it was an effective meeting you took good notes…or is it because you took notes, it was an effective meeting?

Either way, good note taking skills are imperative.

Have you ever been in a meeting or conference call where no one did what they promised to accomplish at the previous one? Due to the fact that no improvement has been produced since the last meeting, there’s little to go over, and people lose interest soon…very soon!

Momentum grinds to a halt and all you hear is radio silence.

It is a common scenario, yet it’s one which can frequently be avoided by just ensuring adequate notes are usually circulated promptly before and after every meeting. This allows the dialogue to still be fresh in people’s minds because everyone has a very clear reminder of what they have to do or for what they are responsible.

I have been using the same note taking template since 2002, when it was shared with me by a man named Bill Whitley who was the owner of my company at the time.

Download the Template (23.3 KB Word Doc) – Instructions are included in the document

Every time I need to share my screen during a meeting and people see this template and how quickly I am able to take notes, they are immediately impressed.

I hope this note taking template helps anyone who chooses to download it.


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Goals versus Tasks

Goals versus Tasks - Goal ManagementI was recently reading a white paper* by SuccessFactors titled: “Doing the Right Things: Using Goal Management to Drive Business Execution.”1

A section that really stood out and is worthy of sharing discusses the difference between goals versus tasks.

As an obsessive list maker who hasn’t completed a list in umpteen many years, this topic obviously caught my attention. The basic premise is that employees should have no more than 10 goals. When an employee has more than 10 goals it’s usually because they have confused goals with tasks:

Goals are outcomes, accomplishments, or responsibilities people need to fulfill to be effective in their jobs. Tasks are activities people perform to achieve these goals.

Well said.

Then to bring the idea home, the paper makes a rather excellent sports analogy:

The difference between tasks and goals is like the difference between executing plays in football and scoring points. At the end of the day achieving points is what matters, not the number of plays you ran.

I was much more of a soccer player but even I related to this mainly because of how awesome it is! Thank you SuccessFactors for actually creating and providing a white paper that educated me AND captured my short attention span at the same time.

-REF


1 “Doing the Right Things: Using Goal Management to Drive Business Execution.” SuccessFactors. 2012. Download White Paper.


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App Review – mSecure Password Manager Review

mSecure Password Manager ReviewmSecure Password Manager for Android

Company: mSevenSoftware
Website: mSecure for Android
Product Page Description:
mSecure for Android is the leading password manager and digital wallet in the Google Play Store. mSecure has a premium Android look and feel with features like collapsible section headers, search, sort and auto-login assist.

Review:

I have been using DataVault well, ever since it was first released, when it was just a desktop tool. I have been loyal to DataVault but decided to switch to mSecure about 1 month ago. I have always looked for a better password manager, trying and testing just about all the “top” tools on the app market. If you haven’t figured it out already, I’m picky, very picky and know what I want and mSecure had it. My “Basic” Requirements in a Password Manager:

  • Entries must have unlimited fields
  • I like icons, the more the better (thanks mSecure!)
  • Password required to access the app
  • Good organization of Categories with options for different views
  • Customization, customization, customization
  • Desktop software
  • Ability to sync with DropBox and other things like this

mSecure is hands down my new password manager. The only thing I would add to a wish list for the tool is the ability to import DataVault. Besides, I’ve drank the Kool-Aid and it is good!


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Proven Strategies for Controlling Scope Creep

Picture the scenario: You’re the BA on an implementation project. Everything is going well and milestones are being met. All stakeholders are happy.

Then, all of a sudden, a stakeholders tells you that the system just HAS to do something that was never planned for in the Requirements. It just HAS to have a field to track a customer’s credit status. It HAS to have a maker-checker approval workflow for modifying transactions. It HAS to have the ability to attach documents to a customer’s record.

The list goes on…you’re flooded with numerous change requests and you realize you have serious scope creep issues. Scope creep is one of the most common things in projects and to be honest, I did not realize how detrimental it was at first. Aside from the fact that it distracts everyone from delivering the base outcomes of a project, takes away hours and hours of our time as BAs and drives your PM and Program Director insane.

I am breaking this post into two parts to open up discussion on my strategies for controlling scope creep. My point of view is that of a Business Analyst but you can apply these ideas to any sort of project regardless of your role with the project.

Over-Communicate to Users

One of THE most effective and undeniable ways to control scope creep is through over-communication with your stakeholders and users. I’ve found that when people are continuously involved and kept up-to-date on the status of a project, they will be more amenable to ideas and will provide necessary buy-in when you need it.

Just picture yourself entrenched in a project that you’ve been updating a user regularly every two days about the project’s status, issues you are facing and the progression of the timeline. If, out of the blue, there is an unexpected “enhancement item” requested/required by this user, it is going to be a great deal easier for you to negotiate and request, for example, a rescheduling of said enhancement.

Compare this scenario to a situation in which you have not communicated with the user, at all, during the project. That user, mark my words, is going to be unyielding when pushing their enhancement through.

Documentation, Documentation, Documentation

Document EVERYTHING to help control scope creep. As a project manager, there are countless discussions and agreements that occur outside of official meetings.

NEVER agree to anything outside of an official meeting. Always minute and document agreements and decision points though a formal meeting. That way, if a user disputes something was signed off and agreed, you can refer to the meeting minutes as evidence.

People forget about things. You have to have documentary evidence that things were agreed on knowing that people forget things.


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Thoughts on Personality Tests and Career Archetypes

I like taking personality tests, career tests or any type of assessment that helps me better understand who I am from a new perspective.

My advice about personality, career, and all other assessment tests: Take them. Take every single one you come across and always be honest because….wait for it….THEY ARE FUN!

My New Career Archetype

My most recent “assessment” was from a rather popular salary assessment website called their “Career Archetype Assessment.”

Rob Ferguson is a Magician

Results: APPARENTLY….I’m a MAGICIAN!!!!

The Magician archetype is all about the power of transformation. Magicians have an ability to make a vision a reality, not just for themselves, but for others as well.

Strengths
A strong Magician archetype means you have a strong belief in your own ability to change the world. Often the Magician can change a negative situation into a positive one just by redefining the issues or changing goals to meet the new situation.

Traps to Avoid
Too often a Magician will spend time waiting for the miracle to happen, rather than putting in the effort to make it happen. Procrastination and over complication of simple solutions can be traps for the Magician.

If you have a strong Magician presence you will feel at home in an organization with a clear vision that gives you enough autonomy to effect change.


 

What is hilarious about this assessment is that I am not a procrastinator but I do find myself waiting around for other people to get things done.

The quiz was fun so all is well in the kingdom.


Some of the more reputable personality tests include:

Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator
Taking the test results in one of 16 types with titles like “ESTJ” and “INFP”. These refer to four polarities (such as extroversion / introversion and thinking / feeling). The test is used to assess preferences without easy links to strategies or role models, so really require an expert to interpret the results and translate it into effective action.

Wealth Dynamics
Wealth Dynamics has rapidly grown into the most widely adopted profiling systems for entrepreneurs and business owners around the world. The reason for its success is that it links both your strengths and weaknesses to your preferences, and then gives you clear role models and strategies to follow. It takes the very best of MBTI, DISC and Strength Finder, and delivers to you a system that is intuitive, relevant and easy to explain to others.

The Sixteen Personality Factor (16PF) Questionnaire
The 16PF is a personality inventory that measures the 16 normal-range personality traits identified by psychologist Raymond B. Cattell and fellow researchers. Later, five global (or second-order) factors were discovered. The 16PF assessment scores both the broader, second-order traits as well as the more specific and precise primary traits. The assessment is commonly used in the workplace but also in academic and counseling settings.

Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, Conscientiousness (DISC)
The DISC assessment is based on a four-quadrant behavioral model identified by William Moulton Marston. The test assesses the behavior of individuals within certain situations. Behavior is grouped into four major personality styles, each of which tends to exhibit specific characteristics common to that particular style.

Caliper Profile
The Caliper Profile is a commercial assessment that measures 25 personality traits related to job performance. The instrument is used for hiring, performance improvement and team building and is designed to provide information on an individual’s strengths, limitations, motivation and potential.

McQuaig Word Survey
The McQuaig Word Survey (WS) is a measure of four personality domains that capture core aspects of the widely established “big five” personality factors. It is organized into 21 word sets, each consisting of four descriptors (a tetrad) – one from each of the four personality domains. Respondents rank order the trait-descriptors within each of the 21 sets based on the degree to which they are self-descriptive. WS interpretations and recommendations are based on seven basic profile patterns and their subsets.


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SiteCatalyst Tagging Resource Tutorial

SiteCatalyst Tagging is the process of adding JavaScript code to your website pages to collect visitor data.

Sitecatalyst Tagging Tutorial

Adobe’s excellent overview of SiteCatalyst tagging

In this tutorial, you will learn how to add tracking using the most common method, client-side SiteCatalyst Tagging. This is not an exhaustive review of the topic, but an overview that will provide you with the experience to create your own test pages. You will also learn to monitor in-transit data using the AdobePulse Debugger.

REF

 


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