Rules

Secret ingredients to quality software

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Rules to Better Outsourcing

9 Rules

  1. Do you make sure all software uses English (Language setting)?

    When dealing with western people, you want to avoid having screen captures etc. showing foreign characters.

    Let us look at some examples:

    Google Chrome

    2016 3 22 10 43 12
    Figure: Bad example - Chrome using Chinese as its language setting

    2016 3 22 14 59 07
    Figure: Good example - Chrome using English as its language setting

    How to fix on a PC?

    You want all screenshots you take to be showing English. Most of the time it is as simple as going Tools | Options | Language | Default Language = English (US).

    In Chrome, you can follow these steps directly:

    1. Three dots bar at the top right of the Chrome window:

    chroooome
    Figure: Blank Chrome page showing the 'Settings' button, 3 small dots

    1. Click on Settings:

    ssw12
    Figure: Showing the 'Settings' page

    1. Click on Advanced:

    ssw13
    Figure: Advanced tab in Settings

    1. Click on 'Add Languages':

    ssw14
    Figure: Add Languages to your current Chrome

    1. Move English to the top

    ChromeEnOnTop
    Figure: Move English to top

    How to fix on a Mac?

    1. Change the language in System Preferences. Go to Apple menu | System Preferences | Language & Region.

    WX20180906 111514 2x
    Figure: In macOS it’s simple to change to English

    1. In Preferred languages, add English and select it as primary language:

      Figure: In Language & Region, add English
    2. Reboot the system and verify that English is now the primary language for all desktop applications.

    How to fix your Google account?

    You should also change your Google language to English as well. If it is not already, take a look at these steps:

    1. Go to www.google.com
    2. Click on Sign-In or My Account if you are already signed in

    ssw1
    Figure: Google page without an account

    ssw2
    Figure: Google page with an account

    1. Search for 'Language':

    GoogleAccountSearch
    Figure: Search for 'language'

    1. Now click Language and search for English

    GoogleAccountAdd
    Figure: Language picker

    1. Move English up to Default language by clicking on the arrow

    GoogleAccountMoveUp
    Figure: Move up English

    1. Done! You changed your language to English.

    How to fix your Gmail account?

    1. Click on the cog then Settings

    Gmail1
    Figure: Access to Settings on Gmail

    1. Set language to English(US)

    Gmail2
    Figure: Change language setting

    1. Scroll down and click on 'Save Changes'. Done!

    How to fix Mozilla Firefox?

    1. Go to Options

    Firefox1
    Figure: Access to Firefox options

    1. Set Display language to English(United States), you may have to restart Firefox to apply the change

    Firefox2
    Figure: Language settings

    1. Choose your preferred language for displaying pages. Add English(UnitedStates) and move it to the top.

    Firefox3a
    Figure: Click Choose to change your preferred language

    Firefox3
    Figure: Add English(United States) to your preferred language for displaying pages

    1. Done!

    How to fix on MS Azure?

    Azure
    Figure: In Azure https://portal.azure.com it is as simple as clicking on the Cog icon

    How to fix on MS Office 365 (rich client)

    office365
    Figure: The Office 365 cog does not show the language. Some cheap versions of Microsoft Office 365 only allow Chinese, so you need to uninstall and install the English version. It requires you to download a language pack which is a bit more of a hassle...

    3

    Figure: If you do not have the English version. In Microsoft Office open the rich client application such as Outlook or Word, then install and configure as per the image above

    How to fix on Office 365 (https://outlook.office365.com)

    screenshot **Figure: If you have the Inbox, Sent Items etc in Chinese then you will need to follow these steps

    ** 1. Go to https://outlook.office.com

    1. Click on "My profile" in the top right corner screenshot step1 ** Figure: Choose 'My profile' ** ** ** 3. Click on "setting" button screenshot step2 ** Figure: Choose 'Mail' ** ** ** 4. Click on Region and time zone screenshot step3 **Figure: Choose Region and Time. Then when you change the ‘Language’ with the checkbox enabled, the problem will be fixed.

    ** 5.In Windows10, Go to Settings| Language| Windows display language, click Windows display language and search for English.6. Done. You have changed your language to English. Congratulations!~ screenshot finished ** Figure: After completing the fix. **

  2. Communication - Do you go beyond text when using Teams/Zoom/Skype chat?

    Communication can be difficult (even if English is your first language!). It might be tempting to only communicate via text in IM, but this will not improve your skills or build a relationship as well as communicating verbally.

    skype conference
    Figure: Good example - Asking ‘Can I call you?’ (Especially for complicated conversations)

    Tips to have a better call

    Try to always answer the call with video (if weak bandwidth, use it for the first 10 seconds and say "I'll turn off video to save bandwidth").

    Sound

    • Be ready with the headset already on (it looks disorganized plugging it in after you make the call)
    • Check the sound quality of the microphone - you need a good mic and it should be close to your mouth - if you are using the laptop mic, sit in close.

    Video

    • Check the image quality of the camera.
    • Beware of the angle of the camera - the ones with thin bezels now put the camera at the base, looking up your nose. Avoid them. Frame your head and shoulders in the shot, and keep the camera lens at or above eye level - use a cardboard box as a stand if necessary.
    • Consider what is in the background.
    • Keep a light source on your face, and try to avoid sitting with a window behind you.
    • Have a microfiber cloth and wipe off the lens from time to time.
    • Get your video background right. Read Rules to Better Branding

    Bad Video Background orgn
    Figure: Bad Example - Ugly background showing an air conditioner

    Good Video Background orgn
    Figure: Good Example - Nice background

    Text

    • It's always helpful to confirm things you're talking about with typed text during the call (Especially helpful for people with English as a second language).

    For more info see How to look and sound great online

    Tip: Help the other person with following this rule by taking a screenshot and giving them a mark /10 with good and bad feedback on the call quality and background.

  3. Do you avoid Chinese or messy code on your website?

    Many companies use overseas developers to do some of their work, but the language barrier can sometimes extend past simply communications. Sometimes you can end up with foreign language snippets in your code too.

    When you edit an aspx page in TFS, follow the below steps to avoid having Chinese characters appear.

    1. Set the default language on your computer as English(Australia).
      SetDefaultLanguage
      Set default language as English (Australia)
    2. After you finish editing, but before check-in, make sure Code Auditor and Link Auditor 0.
    3. Check the whole page which you edited, and make sure no messy code or characters are there.
    4. Ask someone beside you to check the rule or page you just edited.
    5. Reply done in an email.
  4. Do you make sure your Visual Studio encoding is consistent?

    Make sure your Visual Studio encoding is consistent with Sydney to avoid encoding problems in the future.

    Open file with Encoding:

    OpenFileWithOption
    Figure: Use "Open With...&Figure: Use "Open With..." in Visual Studio to open the file

    OpenFileDialog
    Figure: Set "... Editor with Encoding" as the Default Editor

    OpenFileEncoding
    Figure: Make sure your encoding is consistent with Sydney

    Save file with Encoding: (Optional - it will be saved w (Optional - it will be saved with opened encoding automatically.)

    AdvancedSaveOptions
    Figure: Open "Advance Save Options..." in Visual Studio before checking in

    AdvancedSaveOptionsEncoding
    Figure: Make sure your setting is consistent with Sydney

  5. Do you know you should always use the language of your head office? (usually English)

    Say your language is Chinese, of course, local Chinese customers would feel more comfortable communicating in English. The disconnect happens when head office needs to get involved. They can't review emails, read the history of email threads etc.

    So make it easier to add English speakers into the loop at a moments notice.

    The most polite way of doing this is to mention in the email why you are using English.

    Hi Joe, hope all is well. I wanted to confirm our conversation...

    Figure: Bad example 

    (This is in English since I have included a Sydney colleague... let me know if you need it in Chinese).

    Hi Joe, hope all is well. I wanted to confirm our conversation...

    Figure: Good example

  6. Do you know to always be careful with your spelling, grammar, and punctuation?

    Improper spelling, grammar, and punctuation gives a bad impression of your company and can result in your message not being conveyed correctly. Emails with no full stops or commas are difficult to read and can sometimes even change the meaning of the text. And, if your program has a spelling checking option, why not use it?

    Web Content

    When on a web page, install Grammarly Addon for Chrome so you can automatically check web content. For example, while editing in a CMS.

    grammarly plugin
    Figure: A typo caught by Grammarly plugin

    Documents

    When on Word, press F7 (or on the ribbon go to Review > Spelling & Grammar ) to check your .docx text.

    Microsoft Word has a spelling and grammar checker
    Figure: Click on "Spelling & Grammar" button to check your web content

    Presentation

    When on PowerPoint , press F7 (or on the ribbon go to Review | Spelling & Grammar ) to check your .pptx text.

    ppt review f7
    Figure: Click on "Spelling" button to check your web content

    You should also keep "Check grammar with spelling" checked in your PowerPoint Options | Proofing :

    ppt check spelling
    Figure: Make sure "Check grammar with spelling" is enabled

    Web Content

    Any other text can be checked manually. Go to Grammarly, create a New Document and Paste your content to check your text.

    grammarly
    Figure: A typo caught by Grammarly

    Related rule

  7. Do you know to add the ClientID as your email subject prefix when sending an email regarding a client?

    When discussing client work in an email, it is not always clear which client you are referring to. By using the ClientID as your email subject prefix, those involved in the email conversation will immediately know which client you are talking about.

    AddClientAsEmailSubjectPrefix
    Mmake sure you add ClientID as your email subject prefix
    Figure: Make sure you add ClientID as your email subject prefix

  8. Do you show your phone number to allow for emergency communication?

    Email is great. But in an emergency, you need to pick up the phone. Often the most effective methods of communication for a project is to talk directly to colleagues and clients on the phone.

    skype phonenumber bad
    Figure: Bad example - can't call a phone number

    skype phonenumber good
    Figure: Good example - Able to call phone numbers

    Remote offices tip: Don’t make being overseas a barrier. Of course, it is always best to provide a local number as that gives clients peace of mind and keep their costs down. Not many clients will call an international number and there are lots of options - http://www.skype.com/en/features.

    The next best alternative is to at least show your overseas phone number.

  9. Do you share screens when working remotely?

    When working remotely, you should be sharing your screen whenever discussing changes to a document or software. This allows your colleague or client to see changes that are happening on the screen, making the remote collaboration experience much nicer.

    When you first share your screen, make sure the other person can see your screen before you start talking about it. Often it takes a little while for the image to appear. The same if a new participant joins the call.

    For a list of our recommended screen sharing tools, please check the SSW rules for remote support.

    Another good practice that follows on from this, is to leave a Teams/Zoom/Skype session open if you are working with the same person for the whole day. This eliminates the need to call your programming partner every time you have a query or question to ask.

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