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Showing posts from March, 2018

WebDev: Bye RequestBin, Hello Alternatives!

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RequestBin was a great tool for testing webhooks. At Polydojo, the tool helped us roll our form-to-webhook integration; and sometimes, we even used RequestBin while doing demos for fellow devs. Last week, the good folks at Runscope took down RequestBin. The website now redirects to the project's GitHub repository, which ominously reads:
We have discontinued the publicly hosted version of RequestBin due to ongoing abuse that made it very difficult to keep the site up reliably. Please see instructions below for setting up your own self-hosted instance. One could still self-host RequestBin; and that is pretty sweet. But when you're tasked with setting up webhooks, do you really also want to be in-charge of provisioning the webhook-testing infrastructure? Alternatives It was time to look for alternatives; and to our surprise, there were quite a few. We evaluated most of them; and thought that it may be worthwhile to share our reviews Webhook Inbox is created by the folks at Fanout.i…

BizOps: Getting Started With Process Analysis

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In the last post, we discussed operational trade-offs and the efficient frontier. This time, we'll start defining basic terms used in process analysis. These definitions shall be used in future posts. In business operations, a process (roughly) refers to a repeatable sequence of stages. And the item that goes through (or flows through) the stages is called a flow unit. Lisa's Example Let's say Lisa runs a resume improvement service with the following process: PROCESS STAGETIME TAKEN1. She reviews each submitted resume and take preliminary notes.(6 minutes)2. She calls the candidate to learn more about his strengths. (More notes.)(12 minutes)3. She carefully edits the resume, using her notes.(15 minutes)4. She proofreads her work and sends the edit resume to the candidate.(3 minutes) Basic Definitions In Lisa's example, each resume is a flow unit. Let us now introduce some new definitions. Flow rate: The number of flow units completing the process per unit time. In Lisa&…

BizOps: Making Operational Trade-Offs

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In the previous post, we spoke of the four axes of operational performance: cost, variety, quality and timeliness. And while a company may want to perform well along each axis, it's not quite that simple. Recognizing Trade-Offs: Let's take an example. At Polydojo, we receive a number of support tickets each day. Now, of course, we want to answer each ticket quickly and correctly. Ideally, within a minute. But at the same time, we want our spend on support agents to be efficiently utilized. If we hire too many agents, they'll just be sitting around, burning the company's cash.If we hire too few, the ticket-queue will get long and tickets will take days to get answered. The above example demonstrates how timeliness and cost can often act as opposing forces. The quicker your response rate, the more it'll cost you; prompting you to raise your price.
It's also easy for us to imagine how quality and cost can act as opposing forces. If you want to manufacture a high q…

BizOps: Measuring Operational Performance

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Before we can improve something, we must first be able to measure it. When it comes to sales, that's easy: revenue & pipeline-value are good measures. But what about operational performance? Well, just measure cost, right? Yes, but there's more to it.
In order to explore ways in which we can measure the operational performance of a business, let's consider two distinct businesses. A hot dog stand and a dentist's practice. Hot Dog Stand: Think of your favorite hot dog stand. As a hot dog consumer, what do you typically want? You want to get your hot dog quickly.You want your preferred meat, relish and toppings. More the variety, the better.You want a high-quality hot dog that is hot, tasty and hygienically made.And you want your hot dog to be reasonably priced. Dentist's Office: Now think of your dentist's office. What do you typically want for your dentist's appointment? You want the dentist to see you quickly.You want to get the care that you need, may …