Agile Software Development for Ugandan Context 2019 Edition

Excited to share my thoughts and experiences in agile software delivery for use within Uganda at the Google Dev Fest in Kampala, on October 26, 2019

 

 

My OpenSource Journey

I am having a great time sharing my experiences with new developers as part of giving back to the community hoping to encourage them on their own journeys…

Application and Data Security in the Software Development Lifecycle

This is presentation to Computer Engineering 4th year undergraduate students at Makerere University, Faculty of Technology, College of Design, Art and Technology to introduce them to concepts and approaches for application and data security in the software development process.

Looking for ideas on what I may have missed or omitted to help make this presentation more useful for others

Life in the Tech Lane

I was recently asked to talk to a group of young technologists touching on career, health, finances and family. Using my own journey I am happy to share life in the Tech Lane

I am happy to talk to your teams on similar topics, or even software delivery related topics, so do get in touch

A Frugal Innovation Approach to Simcard Verification 2019 Edition – Design & High-level Architecture

Happy Easter Monday to you all, and I hope that the rains on Sunday night completed the cleansing process from the festivities, the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and from the feast of the Goddess Ester (depending on which side you lean)… I am one who embraces all religious doctrines an faiths.

So over the last few days I have started receiving a message from MTN Uganda, to physcially visit a service center to verify my sim card registration, well this is only the 3rd cycle for selected customers whose details were screwed up during cycle 2, and I guess I am one of the lucky few with time to waste.

This is a followup to the 2013 recommendations for Simcard Registration https://ssmusoke.com/2013/03/12/uganda-simcard-registration-alternate-approach/ which apparently were not providing sufficient value 😉

Anyway after having to make 10 calls this morning, the reminder message, a hardcoded IVR message, has left me frustrated, but also wondering, why do I have to physically visit the service center, it is 2019!

Rather than complain all the time, I focused my anger with support from my trusted colleagues at Styx Technology Group (http://styxte.ch) we got to protoyping a quick and dirty solution to this mess. What MTN and the regulator need are my National ID details, since they will scan the ID or take a photo of it, take a photo of me then I will have to wait 2-3 days,

A frugal innovation can be:

  1. Mobile App front end to capture data that is needed
  2. A backend system – doesn’t matter what it is – can even reuse the exisiting simcard registration database they have with processes to complete the verification flow, and link into the audit process that triggered this verification
  3. A verification process, which can be done by the app automatically, or using a backup USSD channel. This follows 2FA (two factor authentication to prevent mis-use)
  4. A notification that the verificatio process has been completed and *197# can be leveraged to check status.

This method is not for everyone, but provides a solution for those of us who may not be able to line up and waste 2-3 hours in line to do just this…

Some mobile screenshots from the design team

 

NIN Details

National ID Details

Phone Numbers

Phone Numbers

Confirmation

Confirmation

Thoughts and additions are welcome!!!

UPDATE 1: One of the team members asked me, so does this solve your problem? How do you know which numbers are listed on your NIN that has been provided? Leading to iteration 2 of the Phone Numbers screen allowing the display of existing numbers with functionality to remove currently registered numbers…

Phone Numbers - v2

Social Expectations Perspective: Jumia – African Company or Not

This is the hottest topic right now with valid arguments on both sides of the equation, so here is my unsolicited opinion.

What we can agree on is Jumia calling itself African is to look exotic, different to be able to raise its valuation hence more money to the shareholders. Arguments that this is a good thing, raises the visibility and opportunity for African based startups (this is like a client giving you a bad deal promising more work – never happens), opens more FDI money (never to happen) are all hope that it works out, with the proponents being the same to say bad publicity is better than no publicity at all.

Now that we have gotten that out that out of the way, what makes a company “African”. To answer this question, one needs to look around at the social structure which drives the expectations. Let me use an analogy here, many of us Africans who live in the urban areas have connections to our “villages” or ancestral birthplaces, and there is an expectation to send help back to support what happens there. Infact when many an influential person has died, and the murmur at the burial is what squalor they are buried in for the afterlife forgetting where they came from.

The expectation is that as you grow in the world, you do not forget where you came from and bring the “village community” along so that they too benefit from your success, which benefits others in the “village community”

So back to Jumia, which is an example of a rich person who comes to a community, builds a sprawling mansion, does not live in it, then goes ahead to sell themselves as a pillar of the community, yet all the support they give to the community is low wage menial unproductive labor.

Is the aim of the business to “only” make boatloads of cash or to profitably solve an problem/challenge while having a positive impact on society?

Over to you folks  looking forward to hearing your thoughts and opinions too

UPDATE: These expectations are also being raised by the EU/USA over the large multinationals like Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft etc which incorporate in tax havens, leverage loopholes and pay no “taxes” in countries where they sell services and make revenues.

 

In Praise and the Pitfalls of Personal Processes

This blog post is a reminder to myself, that I need to follow the personal practices that I have setup for myself as well as laugh at a mishap I had over the weekend. This is an analysis of a set of cascading failures just like dominoes that almost ruined a work field trip, lengthening travel time from an 8 hour road trip to over 12 hours.

The backstory is I am an Wikipedia – ENTJ via Myers Briggs, an Wikipedia – Aires (the first fire sign in the Zodiac), with sufficient twist of hyperactivity and vey easily distracted, as I love shiny things so jump from one thing to another.

For this field trip, as part of my organization, I had the stationery and projector with me, wow well organized (so I thought) and was preparing for a Sunday morning 9.30am meeting at the rendezvous point. My usual practice is to prepare everything the evening before, keep things in very specific locations so that I only have to rely on muscle memory

Mistake #1: Not moving the field trip materials to the car on Saturday evening, but having them very well arranged in the sitting room

Mistake #2: Not packing my bags the night before, since oh well, this should be easy.

Mistake #3: Not charging my laptop to 100%, as I always do before a trip (8 hours long)

Come Sunday morning, I overslept, waking up at 7.30am in a panic, started to pack my bags in a hurry, with help from my wife – whom I was rushing but whose demeanor and style is not to hurry. So at 9am, I was all packed an ready (but running behind schedule) with a 1hour drive to the meeting point.

Arrived at the meeting point at 10am, but the transporters were running behind schedule too. So well, took the time to unwind and cool down from the morning rush. And well since they were late, I checked on my latop which was not fully charged and plugged it into the socket.

At 11am, the drivers arrived, and awesome, I unplugged my laptop, and placed the charger in my bag (hey I tend to leave it all over the place). When I walked to the car to validate the travel arrangements, it hit me that I had forgotten the stationery and projector at home, so panic again – fortunately it was on our route to Jinja (80km and about 75min drive), so a slight detour. But to ensure that we lost no time, we had to leave before everyone else to make up the lost time.

Everything went smooth, however I also resisted the urge to open my bag and watch a movie on the latop since we had all the time in the world. Here I was feeling very accomplished, when at the first stop in Jinja town we got a call that I had left my laptop in Kampala. BOOM!!!

Panic again, and a moment of truth, go back for the latop or get it to me in Jinja. Well I did the latter, and after a call to an available trusted boda guy, the wait began as he flew all the way to Jinja, and about 75 min later we were on our way.

What lessons do I take from this?

  1. Dr Charles B. Mukasa “Whenever you depart from established practice, you will spend 10x the effort and 10x the time”. A reminder not to depart from practices that I have set for myself
  2. A little discomfort however tired you are, especially when you are very tired, is to ensure that all is lined up to match your personal practices as this is the native subconcious memory
  3. Keep good relationships with the boda boda drivers, and have a couple of trusted ones whom you can leverage for such errands
  4. Laugh at your misfortunes, as this makes them all the less painful

Fortunately, I have settled into the field training and now back in rythmn

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