QA testing methods for better products

Agile processes inspire a more collaborative environment to design and release digital products. This methodology, particularly popular among tech and innovative entrepreneurial companies, brings a new high-speed workflow that companies must be able to meet. In this context, QA testing methods are more important because of their ability to increase efficiency and improve work processes within the tech industry. 

Having consistent QA testing procedures will increase your customers’ satisfaction, which will be reflected in long-term commercial relationships. QA has a direct impact on revenues, so it’s important that leaders include QA engineers in the entire process of digital product development. A strong QA team provides a wide range of tests that make sure digital products work, and saves companies a lot of money and working hours. Let’s go over some of the QA methods our team applies.  

Smoke testing

Smoke testing is very helpful to review whether the most crucial features involved in an app or software are working properly. It’s a primarily scripted testing method that provides a quick big picture view of your digital product. Smoke testing aims to ensure overall functionality.  It’s a useful starting point to get the bigger picture of the digital product and proceed with other more specific methods. It’s also a source of data to decide if it’s time to continue to production or conduct other tests.  As part of our QA strategy, we perform smoke testing all the time with Tok, our Chatter messaging app. This is particularly helpful to ensure our new versions are 100% ready to be released in AppExchange. 

Regression testing

Regression testing requires tests be performed for every single area of functionality for the app or software after a change has been made. When bugs are found and the team does their best to fix them, the programming code changes. Each time the code is changed, it may impact other functionality that wasn’t supposed to be affected and may result in new bugs that need to be fixed. Regression testing helps us trace any unexpected impact from alterations. We helped Zola, a wedding registry, planning, and retail company, to test their web and native mobile apps. Regression testing provided great results and new learnings for both of us. 

Sanity Testing

Sanity testing is not performed to verify the core functionality (such as regression testing), but to double-check the rationality (sanity) of the digital products. It focuses on one or two (or a few) sections of the software. If any of them doesn’t retrieve the expected result; then the build should not continue with more rigorous procedures that may demand an extra investment of time and money.  This method is characterized as being narrow, deep, and normally unscripted. 

Exploratory Testing

This method encourages the QA team to “explore” the application and play around with it to identify and report any possible bug. Test cases are not required in advance. Actually, experimented teams use it to gain time before the Requirement Documents are not available yet. We are not talking about a lack of procedures; we are talking about the possibility of discovering, learning, and executing tests simultaneously. That’s why exploratory testing is widely used in agile environments. We highly recommend this method in your testing strategy because it uncovers issues that another functional testing wouldn’t be able to, it puts an emphasis on the UX and trains your team to become more intuitive and creative.

Other tests: 

Besides the three methods listed above, others may be included in the test plan according to the QA engineering criteria and, of course, the nature of the digital product. Here are some of them: 

  • Unit testing, the core of QA testing: This procedure aims to isolate functional pieces of code and test them separately. This way, the QA engineer makes sure every single part of a system works properly. This first scan provides predictability for the QA team to test at a higher level. 
  • Integration testing: When programmers write code, it interacts within a more complex system and those interactions must be tested with the same strictness. So, after unit testing has been successfully conducted, isolated functional pieces of codes are tested together. 
  • Stress-testing: Facing the unexpected is a part of life and it’s necessary to embrace it. Even though a digital product was thought to meet some criteria, it’s very likely that during its life cycle, exceptional situations will be presented. The QA engineer pushes the software to its maximum potential to discover bugs or points of improvement that are hard to identify in regular scenarios.  
  • End-to-end testing: 

In this type of test, the entire application or digital product is tested from a user perspective. It aims to analyze all possible ways a user can interact with the digital product and then, identify and register every point of improvement. The user is the center of this testing method, so the data reported can be particularly useful for the UX strategy.

Our commitment to QA testing

Because we have helped a lot of customers build and boost their digital products around Salesforce, we understand the importance of QA testing. Having a strong QA process not only means meeting our customers’ expectations but also implies money and time savings for our company. Tok, our Chatter messaging app, and other Lightning web components remind us every day that QA testing is a procedure that never ends, but is worth all the time and energy we put into it.

Tok 30 day trial - QA testing

Communication Compliance: The Benefits of Salesforce Chatter

Even though the concept of compliance was born in the financial field, it is now a consideration across numerous industries and has impacted many aspects of our lives. Communication is, of course, a common need across the board. The way we communicate in our companies impacts our ability to meet compliance standards. We apply this mindset when working with all of our customers, like this spirits distributor that needed to create a platform to break barriers and enable their 18,000 employees to collaborate more effectively. 

Managing conversations properly (and the data those conversations produce), is as important as the compliance standards involved in those processes. If you are a Salesforce partner or use Salesforce in your company, you are one step ahead. With a secure platform, you can enhance your internal and external communication strategy and then, meet your compliance standards. Marc Benioff, CEO, and Chairman of Salesforce says: 

“Customers trust us to make them successful, deliver unwavering security, reliability, performance and compliance.” 

Compliance and trust through messaging

Notice that Marc Benioff includes Compliance in his perspective on how to conduct business and approach customers. Trust is Salesforce’s number one value. This vision ensures two crucial benefits for any business. First, every product designed by Salesforce is intended to create reliable relations with customers. It’s not only about sales, it’s about relationships. And second, all of your data is stored and archived safely, so you can access it any time for compliance purposes. 

Chatter, the Salesforce messaging platform for business, also follows compliance regulations to ensure your data and activity are safe. According to Bloomberg Vault, Chatter is also a social media platform, so “it is subject to the same set of regulatory requirements as any other form of social media”. We have helped many customers enhance their communication platforms; these experiences have taught us many good practices to communicate and comply efficiently. 

1. Keep all your data archived in Salesforce

First, what is the golden rule we need to take into consideration? Archive everything! Make sure you archive all your conversations or posts in your org. It is recommended you preserve this data for e-discovery purposes for a period of time defined by various retention requirements. Some day, you may be required to hand over this information for corporate internal audits or even legal or governmental requests. For more information about this, you may want to go over our other article as a starting point: Financial Compliance: Which Agencies?.

2. Make Chatter part of everything

Also remember, as you are using Chatter, you are creating or linking many items related to confidential information such as records, accounts, cases, and more. This information already lives in your Salesforce org, so you’re not moving data to external systems. With everything connected, Chatter and Salesforce remain the center of your workflow, helping you manage compliance more consistently.

3. Involve every employee

Compliance in communication involves employees. Why? Hackers are targeting them. Make sure you train your employees to move all important conversations to Chatter. Email opens the possibility that an employee may respond to a phishing attack, exposing protected data. If you maintain all-important internal conversations in Chatter, you are better able to ensure their safety. You can see in this article why you should be interested in maintaining your employees as security allies.

4. Choose the best team messaging tool

At Oktana, we are committed to compliance and we took it seriously when we built Tok. Tok is a real-time messaging app that boosts Chatter capabilities while also encouraging a great company culture with casual conversation. Because Tok leverages Chatter as its base, it takes advantage of the Salesforce platform to better enable your company to meet compliance standards. While collaborating, you can be confident any data shared on Tok is stored safely according to the compliance standards you’ve set for your Salesforce org. 

So, let trust lead the path to better compliance practices and communication management across your company. Remember, the online world brings many resources to make businesses go faster. However, it has also become a common target for cyber attacks. Take the time to set a strong compliance strategy and keep updated on the regulations that impact your business.

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Communication Compliance - Tok

Financial Compliance: which agencies?

As we mentioned in our previous article, Financial Compliance: Which Regulations must be considered? compliance was born in the financial sector to minimize risk related to crime, cybersecurity, and data safety. Then, what compliance agencies relate to your business? There are several organizations that regulate standards based on the types of data and procedures your business has in place. Because we frequently help companies in the financial industry integrate with Salesforce, we are familiar with many of the considerations under which they must operate.

US Financial Compliance Agencies

US law is very clear on financial regulations. Companies and entrepreneurs need to understand these standards and ensure their business meets any relevant requirements. It’s not an easy job, but it’s a task that must be done. Here are four of the more important agencies you will need to collaborate with to meet some of your compliance requirements:  

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC):

Firstly, the SEC was created in 1934 as an answer to the financial crisis of 1929. Its main duty is to regulate the stock market. The SEC requires public corporations to register their stock sales so they can identify stockholders. This procedure increases trust in investors in an environment where transparency is the bedrock. 

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC):

In 1933, the Glass-Steagall Act created the FDIC to insure consumer deposits and to increase trust in the financial sector in the aftermath of the Great Depression. Deposits from banks that are insured by the FDIC are covered in case of bankruptcy, protecting consumer cash. The FDIC also closely examines bank activities to ensure they are behaving as federal norms require.

Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC):

The FFIEC is an agency that establishes guidelines and norms for financial institutions that directly impact their compliance policies. Where can any company review these guidelines? The FFIEC IT Examination Handbook is your bible. Divided into 11 booklets, it has all that you need for compliance-driven management.

Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN):

This organization is an important network to investigate individuals related to financial crimes like money laundering or financing of terrorism. Its regulations require financial institutions to provide information for any investigated individual. As you might imagine, these procedures are confidential so demand careful collaboration and expertise from the financial institutions when managing this highly sensitive data.

Other useful resources

Selecting and implementing the correct set of standards can be difficult but ignoring compliance altogether will create issues you can avoid. If you are now aware of it, you may want to delegate someone in your company to manage the compliance requirements. This worker will have to collaborate with the necessary public agencies directly or a private auditing agency to help bring you into compliance. 

Here are some websites that may help you think about the considerations impacting your company: 

  • SecurIT: This portal groups regulations according to each industry. This is very helpful information since you will be able to know which compliance standards you should, at a minimum, consider for your business. 
  • TCDI: This blog emphasizes the importance of compliance and cybersecurity. There is also an extensive list of organizations that regulate compliance. All of these might be enough for a general overview.  

All of these standards demand good data storage strategies. There is no way to succeed at complying with the agencies if your company is not able to store and report data. If you are a Salesforce customer, congratulations! You are on a great platform to keep your customer data safe. If not, we’ve helped financial services and fintech customers integrate with Salesforce, always mindful of their compliance requirements. In fact, while many of our resources are nearshore, we opened an onshore office in 2020 to help us meet the compliance needs of these customers.

Finally, your internal communications are just as important as your customer data, and subject to compliance regulations. If you need to keep all your employee messages archived in a trusted platform, like your Salesforce org, Tok can be a good choice for you and your team.

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Communication Compliance - Tok
Communication Compliance – Tok

How to optimize collaboration for remote teams

We all take collaboration seriously. We work together in our offices, for school, with our families, and with our friends. Collaboration isn’t new to any of us. We’re all coordinating things so we can achieve goals together, as a team. The portal opensorce.com defines collaboration success as:

“The success of any collaboration rests on how well the collaborators negotiate their needs to create the shared objective, and then how well they cooperate and coordinate their resources to execute a plan to reach their goals.”

Heidi Hess von Ludewig

For many of us, the global pandemic has abruptly shifted how we collaborate. With most of us working remotely, you can’t easily stop by your coworker’s desk anymore. The good news is, the basics of collaboration remain the same. There are some changes you can make so you and your teammates can stay productive and keep workflows as lean and effective as they were before. Some companies, like us here at Oktana, have been collaborating both physically and virtually for years and we have learned some tips that may be of use to you.

1. It begins with onboarding

The first touchpoint has never been as important as it is today. A proper onboarding process will determine how conscientious your new co-workers and employees will be about how collaboration works for your company. If you are a team leader who is acquiring new talent, make sure they’re clear on which goals they need to pursue and how they will assist your overall team. Partner with Human Resources to establish this process. Objectives, tools, software, and brand guidelines are some of the topics you should consider. Make sure your talent gets to know the team and key partners. That will make it easier for them to collaborate effectively. Bryn W. shares his perspective:

“I think a big part of optimizing collaboration in remote teams is making sure that everyone in the team feels comfortable approaching one another. It’s important to let people know when you need help. If people are too afraid to ask for help, then they will remain stuck on something and slow the team down as a result. Introducing teammates to one another through social events, Meet the Teams, group conversations, etc. can go a long way to making new members feel comfortable.”

Bryn W. Staff Software Engineer at Oktana US

2. Sharing data is a must

Data comes from everywhere, especially nowadays when we are all connected around the globe. Companies create their own data, which is stored with high security and compliance levels. One detail we sometimes forget or take for granted is that data needs to be shared with everyone on the team. As remote workers, most of our data is stored in the cloud, making it much easier to grant access to anything your team needs. The easier it is for them to find relevant information, the more prepared they are to collaborate with you and others. Don’t miss this opportunity. The next time you work on a new dashboard, find a cutting-edge marketing article or create a new code, remember to share it with your team.

3. Adjust your process

You’ve been working for years. That expertise has turned you into a very talented professional and proof of it is in your process. You know, the way you get that work done. Everything was looking good, but then, the pandemic decided to take many of us out of our comfort zones. How do you adjust? Update your processes to reflect the new “normal.” People are working from home, so your meeting room is now replaced by video conferences and your partners are no longer just two steps away. It’s time to show your innovation skills and expertise. Schedule some time for your team to give thought to how you need to adjust to accomplish your goals and deliver the same (or more) value with the resources they have. Change won’t happen overnight though, so the sooner you take action, the better things will be for you and your team.

4. Communicate in real-time

Last but not least: communication is more important than ever. How do you collaborate while working remotely if you are not able to enjoy real-time communication just like you used to at the office? The answer is simple: speak digitally! There are so many messaging platforms that allow you to connect with your teammates. Take the time to find one that meets your needs. As a Salesforce partner, we use Tok for many reasons. We built it on the Salesforce platform (with their APIs) to give us the same level of data security as our Salesforce org. Tok helps us build culture, and most importantly for our team, it connects us to anyone in the company.

So keep collaborating across your company and adjusting to the new dynamic. At Oktana we’ve learned to balance the best from working remotely and onsite, so our productivity doesn’t decrease. If you like this article and want to dive into the Salesforce approach, Trailhead is the place! You can start with this module about Virtual Collaboration. If you want to learn more about our Tok app, we invite you to visit our website.

Collaboration - Tok Oktana
Collaboration - Tok Oktana

Innovation, an important tool for boosting business

The concept of innovation gained popularity in the business world in recent years. If you’re a business person or an entrepreneur who regularly follows talks, events, workshops, or internet content for getting some inspiration; you may be inspired by this idea. But what does innovation mean? Well, Michelle Greenwald, a Forbes contributor, mentioned that “Innovation is one of the most bandied about terms in global business today, but exactly what it means can be nebulous.”

We agree. Innovation is about approaching things in a different way. However, since disruption is part of this concept, every company or human can incorporate innovation into their real environment. Does it make things more difficult? Taking an innovative approach may be challenging initially, but it can be an advantage for growing your business.   

We also innovate the Oktana way. We like doing things differently. We apply innovation for our customers (such as the offline app we built for an energy company) and we innovate every time we release a new version of Tok. Coming up with new strategies, writing code, and taking actions are part of our daily work and they’re integrated into every single level of our company. Here are some strategies to boost your innovation.

1. It’s not about perfection

If you are looking for perfection, we’re sorry to say this approach may not be right for you. At Oktana, we prefer taking the path less traveled so we can get different results and solutions. We understand that sometimes it’s about the minimum viable product, or as some call it, the “minimum lovable product”. In these situations, we know it’s about delivering the best product possible within the project’s constraints, not delivering perfection. Even when we deliver an amazing product and our customers are satisfied, we know there is always a different way it could have been approached. The next step is about exploring those possibilities. That’s why we are constantly working on new lightning web components, new versions of our digital products, and hunting for new and challenging projects. If you want to innovate, don’t aim for perfection. Aim for disruption.

2. Face your assumptions

Do you remember René Descartes? Yes, that French philosopher who has influenced the world since the sixteenth century and who has placed doubts in the middle of his thinking. We are not asking you to doubt everything, but we do recommend you determine if all of your assumptions are still useful. Why? We all have ideas that we take for granted. Ideas are so entrenched in our minds that they tend to shape the way we approach things, and that’s not always a good practice. (Remember when remote work was not a “good idea” for many companies, then a pandemic showed us what was possible?). Take the time to question your assumptions. Compare them to the current situation. If you feel they really don’t make sense then it’s time to innovate! 

3. Innovation is for doers.

Creativity is an important stage of innovation, but what happens if we don’t stop thinking? All of our great ideas stay in our minds and never come to life. That’s why innovation is for doers, for people who dare to take action after a planning process. If you are having trouble bringing your ideas to life, don’t worry. It happens to everyone and we believe it’s part of the innovation process. What do we recommend? Write your ideas on paper, share them with your teammates, and ask for feedback. All of these actions are small steps but your ideas are now living outside of your mind. After this first step, congratulate yourself and start planning. Your idea will grow until you have a great product in your hands.

4. Mistakes are part of innovation

What would the world be like without mistakes? Failures are probably one of the best teachers humans may have. If you fail in your attempt at creating a new product, then you have another opportunity to do it. More importantly, you now have a better understanding of what you are doing. Don’t get us wrong. Mistakes on their own don’t deliver value, it’s your attitude that really matters and how you use your personal experience to enhance your solutions. Noah, one of our engineers in the US, shares a very interesting perspective: 


“For me, innovation means changing the norm for the better. A change is not automatically positive or negative. If a change is made but the overall outcome is negative, that’s fine because the change does not have to be permanent. You can roll-back the changes until you find something that works well. Innovation is trial and error a lot of the time. Because of that, innovation does not always mean improvement. But innovation paves the path for improvement.”

Noah B. Engineer at Oktana US

As Salesforce partners, we learn a lot from our customers and the projects we deliver. These recommendations are just a part of it. We encourage you to share them with your team so you can all have the same mindset. Also, if you want to innovate the Salesforce way, here are a couple of trails that might be worth reading: Innovate the Salesforce way and Innovation Customer Discovery. Now, sharpen your mind and use innovation in every level of your projects.

Innovation Tok
Innovation Tok - Oktana Team

Multitasking: the key to fast-paced businesses success

In a world where changes take place at record speed, multitasking is a skill everyone should nurture. Imagine the world during the second half of the previous century. How did we communicate or work? Do you remember pen-pals, faxes, pagers? (I know you do). And the most important fact: How quickly were we able to connect with others in our jobs? It seems we used to take our time to get projects done, but let’s be honest, that is no longer a possibility. 

We, as a tech company, understand this phenomenon from experience. As the world moves on, we feel a lack of time to get our projects done. The more connected we are, the bigger our workload gets. But don’t stress out. We want to share with you some strategies our team always takes into account to deal with simultaneous tasks and still deliver excellent results. So, if you need an extra perspective to manage your assignments, have a seat, and enjoy these tips: 

1. Multitasking is about getting to know yourself

This is an inner journey and also the very first step. If you are not aware of your capabilities, limits, and expectations; your experience at work may become frustrating. It doesn’t matter at what point in your career you are, always take some time to identify your strengths and weaknesses. This knowledge will help you manage your goals, save you a lot of time, and avoid unreal expectations. Experiences and capabilities also give you the opportunity to leverage other kinds of resources like money, time, people, social networks, laws, and even technology. We know you can’t fully control them, but by using your skills wisely, you can maximize the benefits from them. 

2. Identify your partners

As we mentioned before, people are a great source of value. Sometimes, the answer you need is in your co-workers’ mind and you haven’t even noticed. Do you work in teams? We bet you do. You and your colleagues have different professional backgrounds that may be of great help to each other to achieve complex assignments. Identify who may be your key partners and work together. We encourage our team to exchange knowledge and collaborate across the company through our channels. Even now that we are working remotely we always use Tok to quickly connect:

“[Tok] makes things easier when it comes to looking for the right teammate in the company as we all are on the same platform. Besides, I can quickly create Groups with the members of a team” 

Joaquin G. – Dev team at Oktana Uruguay

3. Start small to build a productive routine

Okay. You know yourself and you know your teammates. Now, you notice your workload is getting larger and larger, and you don’t know what to do. Here you need to stay relaxed. It’s time to train your mind and body for multitasking and an efficient work shift. There is a simple way to get used to it: start small. Group tasks that are easy to handle for you and try to accomplish them simultaneously. Track your time and strive to get them done faster. This will help increase your productivity progressively. When you feel that everything starts getting more lean and seamless, congratulations: you have a smart routine sized for your needs! 

4. Multitasking and collaboration are linked

Now that you have a routine and you are aware of your resources, you are ready to collaborate efficiently. And by “collaborate” we mean getting and giving the best from you and anyone on the team. If you strive for the same goal with your department and your company, your workload will decrease and you will see your projects getting done faster. If you are leading a team, teach your members that collaboration is key and provide them channels for real-time collaboration. (And you may also be interested in  Leadership: How to manage your team the best way.) Dana, from Perú, tells us how it’s done at Oktana:  

My work demands I talk with many co-workers on a daily basis and Tok provides me a unique chat platform where I can find them even if they are working abroad. Channels are great when I am involved in many projects and have to collaborate with many people at the same time. 

Dana S. – Human Resources at Oktana Perú

These are just some strategies we use at Oktana. Spread that mindset to your co-workers and it will impact your work. For more reading material you can also take a look at this Salesforce Trailhead module about Personal Productivity. As you apply everything you have learned today in your work, you will figure out new ways to multitask efficiently. When that happens, come back and share your ideas with us. Have a good one!

Tok 30 day trial Mutitasking
Multitask - Tok Oktana

Five tips to make feedback your ally at work

Feedback is something people are often afraid of because it tends to only expose weak points that may make you feel intimidated and vulnerable. However, that’s a very old-fashioned point of view. Effective feedback is not only about providing a list of things that are wrong. Constructive and empathetic feedback brings new perspectives and a positive intent to highlight proven skills.  “What Good Feedback Really Looks Like” on the Harvard Business Review says: 

“Feedback — both positive and negative — is essential to helping managers enhance their best qualities and address their worst so they can excel at leading.”

Craig Chappelow and Cindy McCauley

We consider feedback to be a huge source of knowledge and an opportunity to improve. If you are having trouble giving or receiving feedback, here are 5 valuable recommendations we apply at Oktana

1. Consider feedback at every stage. 

Whether you are a senior manager or just beginning your career, requesting feedback should be always part of your planning. Why? Sometimes you are so in love with your projects that you tend to believe everything is going well. So you keep working with that perspective and when you finally realize something is wrong it’s usually too late or too expensive to fix it. You can be sure you are moving in the right direction by asking your teammates, boss, or partner for their perspectives on your progress. We do it all the time and trust us, the results are great. Plus, it creates a sense of ownership for the whole team. 

“Feedback is so important when we execute every single task. It measures the quality of your work. Besides, it helps me identify possible mistakes and improvements that will enhance our project.”

Zayli RodrÍguez, QA Analyst at Oktana Uruguay

2. Distinguish what is worth your attention 

Ok, let’s say you are following our previous recommendation and you are considering feedback as your projects progress. You are excited because your co-workers are giving you cool new inputs. Congratulations. That’s awesome! But what happens when you start noticing that some of the feedback you’re getting contradicts other feedback you’ve received? We know, it’s challenging. Everyone is bringing their own perspective to it and they aren’t always going to agree. You know yourself and your projects. That means you have the job of figuring out which feedback is the most relevant. Just make sure you’re not letting your bias guide which feedback you’re listening to.

3. Be truly positive

We love it when people are positive and enthusiastic, but if you lose your sense of reality it may not be easy to deliver value. When you are required to provide feedback for a project or a teammate, you have a huge chance in your hands to help them perform better. Don’t miss that opportunity by hiding your real thoughts because you’re afraid of a misunderstanding or you’re just trying to be polite. This is what constructive feedback is all about. Find the best way to convey your ideas in a way your partner truly feels that you actually want to improve things. Use your voice, regulate your tone, and use any resource you have so you help others focus on the solution, not the weakness. 

4. Actively listen to every client.

And by the client, we are not exclusively talking about your customers. We are also talking about internal co-workers. When you create a solution, you think about your final users, don’t you? So whatever you are doing, you make sure it makes sense for them. But you also collaborate with other teams within the company. Wouldn’t it be efficient to have a good idea of what they think of your project and your performance? Indeed, it is!  At Oktana, we use Tok, the leading Chatter real-time messaging app, for staying always connected. We use channels to collaborate but when we need to get feedback, we know private conversations are the best place to do it. Activate every approach you have to get the feedback you need. Bruno Venturini, tells us how Tok helps him collaborate: 

“Tok allows us to communicate in an intuitive way with your team or co-workers. Besides, it’s also relevant for sharing ideas between developers and QAs to make our projects improve”

Bruno Venturini, Developer at Oktana Uruguay

5. Encourage others to give feedback

Create the conditions for an environment where feedback becomes one of the engines that drives excellence. Most visionary companies, either multinationals or startups, track feedback consistently. If you are part of one, get onboard and treasure that asset. If you feel your company doesn’t understand the value of constructive feedback, teach by example. Create simple spaces where people feel their opinion is taken into account. It doesn’t have to be sophisticated. Chats or phone calls also work. As soon as your co-workers notice you are performing better, they will want to copy your strategy and it will be easier for you to give/request feedback. 

So, these are our recommendations for any employee to make feedback their ally. We live it every day at Oktana, even more during the new environment this pandemic has brought (we have previously written an article about Communication and Remote Work that you may also want to read). Apply them in your daily routine and you will notice the difference in your performance. Also, If you want to see Salesforce’s approach, we encourage you to read the modules about the Culture of feedback and the importance of One-on-one Meetings. Have a good one! 

Feedback
Feedback

Leadership: The best way to manage your team

Team leadership may be a long and challenging path. The good thing is that leaders are made, not born. Every successful leader you see on TV, in your company, at your university, or even in your neighborhood developed their skills over time. If they were able to become strong leaders, so can you. Kevin Kruse, a Forbes contributor, and CEO of LEADx, define leadership as: 

“Leadership is a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal.”

We like his approach because it emphasizes the importance of the “others” – our team! Leadership is not about you as the leader, it’s about the people you’re leading and what they will be able to achieve. If this seems overwhelming, relax, it just means you’re facing a new challenge. It may take a little extra effort, but in the end, you’ll gain new skills to help your team (and you) succeed. Here are five recommendations that help us lead our teams here at Oktana and turn our people into high-performers.

1. Leadership is not about you.

We’ve already said it, but it’s important enough to repeat. If you expect to get all the credit as the leader, you’re probably not in the right job. Assuming a leadership role requires a certain amount of expertise in specific areas. You weren’t promoted to leadership with the expectation that you’ll be doing the exact same work you’ve always done. There wouldn’t be any challenge in that. Your role is now to inspire your team and develop their capabilities so they can accomplish more. They might even be working on the same types of achievements you did before you moved into leadership. It’s their time to shine now. Your excellent leadership will shine through their accomplishments.

2. Great leaders connect.

Great leaders connect their teams. And it’s not just about having regular conversations. When we say “connect your team”, we mean “become a real support for them.” They’re challenged by you to become better professionals, but they’re also looking to you for help or instruction. If they don’t have your support, it may become an awful experience for everyone. It’s important to let them be independent in their work, just be sure your other responsibilities don’t take your attention away from their progress and needs.

Mauricio Villamayor, product designer at Oktana Paraguay shares his perspective: 

“I always think of giving more independence to team members, but this pandemic makes me more aware of the need to be supportive and stay connected in a deeper way.”

Mauricio Villamayor – Product designer at Oktana Paraguay

3. The challenges are real.

Are you the kind of person who is always looking for a bigger challenge as soon as you finished the last one? That’s the sign of a great professional. If you see this pattern in your team, congratulations, you’re leading a high-performing team. The challenge for leaders is creating work experiences that take your teams to the next level. Map your expectations for the team and think of innovative and interesting projects to help them experience the professional growth they need. Challenges nourish your team. Feed them.

4. Learning goes both ways in team leadership.

Some people think employees learn from their leaders, but that leaders don’t learn from employees. Leaders provide knowledge and team members execute the tasks. We feel that’s not taking advantage of the full potential of the team. Our team brings expertise from design, development, marketing, administration, sales, and operations, from many countries. It’s taught us that leaders who don’t see their team members as potential sources of knowledge are missing an opportunity to see their business and markets from another perspective. That knowledge is pure gold in a world where everything is constantly changing.

5. Communicate efficiently.

Time is money, whether we’re talking about business or our daily lives. As you decide how to manage your team conversations, make sure those moments are as efficient as possible. Every team meeting needs an agenda so team members can easily understand the focus of the meeting and what they need to bring to the table. Use your channels well and try not to overwhelm your team. Stay strategic. Deliver the right message, through the right channel, at the right time. 

“I believe Tok helps me a lot because it gets fast communication with my team members in real-time. Either I need to have 1:1 conversations or group arrangements, Tok is the platform where I can trust.” 

Mauricio Villamayor – Product designer at Oktana Paraguay

Remember, becoming a great leader is a learning process that never ends. So whether you’re leading your first team or you’re an experienced leader, keep this advice in mind. Also, if you want to go deeper into leadership and team management, take a look at this trail about Empathetic Leadership and Managing the Salesforce Way.

Hope you have enjoyed it so far. We’re constantly striving to improve our leadership, join us. Our team knows what good leadership entails and we do our best to keep growing. We are a great place to work so if you’re interested in joining our team, go over to our available positions. Also, if you want to know more about our work, go check out our latest success stories.

Leadership
Leadership

5 ways to master remote work and improve communication

Remote work is here to stay. Period. The new normal is here and it demands a brand new perspective on communication. In this pandemic, one of the cornerstones that we must consider is social distance. That’s the reason why well working remotely is a skill we currently need to stay profitable and grow our businesses. This might be confusing for many, but it’s actually quite simple (and fun). There are companies that have been working with teams abroad and are working remotely with ease.

In other words, take some time to learn from the experts. Integrating teams in different countries to create IT solutions for our customers is something we at Oktana are very used to. Nara, from our Human Resources department in Paraguay, tells us more about her experience:

“[I believe] things haven’t changed a lot since I have always reported and worked remotely with co-workers from other countries even before the pandemic showed up. [Morover,] I think remote work has improved my performance because I save time in the traffic and even money that I used for transportation and food. Now I feel I have more energy and resources.”

Nara G. – Human Resources at Oktana Paraguay

We even created Tok, the leading real-time chat app for Salesforce users that helps companies to squeeze the best of communication within the new normal (Can you tell we’re proud of it?). Let us help you work remotely more wisely to increase your efficiency, improve work culture, and grow revenues.

Distance has nothing to do with meters or feet

This is our first and most important recommendation. Why? Because it’s not about distance. It’s about having the right state of mind. If you want to master remote work and enhance your communication skills, you have to let go of that idea of physical distance. Talented remote workers know their partners are always just a click away:

“[The new normal] impacted the way we communicate with our teammates. Now we need to find new ways to facilitate communication. However, Tok is that space where we can stay always connected and work more fluently”. 

Nery C. – Web developer at Oktana Paraguay

That’s the key. We know where to find our teammates, and especially, how to reach out to them in the most effective way. Here is a tip that you may want to consider in your routine: identify your partners and get to know them. If you didn’t have a chance before, schedule a 10-minute chat to introduce yourself now. Don’t talk about work, get to know the human behind the “co-worker.”

Be direct and clear

No one owns a crystal ball to see into your mind, so try to express yourself clearly. We understand, having a work conversation through a screen may feel weird in the very beginning. That feeling will vanish as long as you decide to take the leap and connect with your co-workers. Also, you will notice in every conversation that you will develop more concise messages.

Our recommendation? Remember, less is more! When having 1:1 chats related to work and professional arrangements, try to pull everything together in a way that is as simple as possible and provides what your co-worker needs.

In remote work, communication is key

You are safe working at home but still need to reach your co-workers. Before the pandemic you could just walk over and have a conversation. Not anymore. Now you have to leverage technology to manage your communication and collaboration. Make sure your team agrees on which channels to use. With Tok, our teams use Channels and Groups to adjust their conversations according to their needs. For example, Channels are great spaces for teamwork and let members message each other around a common matter, like a real-time group chat. On the other hand, Groups were designed to share posts and let people interact with them, like social media.

Tip: Remote work is not only about efficiency. It has to do with culture and collaboration. When managing your conversations always make sure everyone knows where to go, is able to participate, and every voice is heard.

Stay 100% tuned in

Ok, this is important and we would like to highlight it because most of us tend to take it for granted: notifications are crucial. We get it.  Your phone was full of notifications even before the pandemic. However, if you want to track your projects, having the right notifications is the best way to do it.  Remember, your team is not physically together; so an important matter or message will come to you in a push notification or desktop alert.

We use Tok notifications in our office to make sure we keep track and guess what? We never miss any details! Here is our tip: Be aware of which notifications you have turned on. Make sure they’re the right ones. Then, get used to answering them as soon as possible. It might sound obvious but trust us: it only takes seconds for a pending message notification to be forgotten.

Have fun!

Yes, productivity and hard work bring great results. We believe fun is also a crucial element to consider when it comes to business success. No team member or leader will reach peak efficiency if they are not working in a comfortable and pleasant environment. How can you contribute to creating a better culture while working remotely? Through communication, of course. Don’t let screens make your conversations boring.

Most messaging solutions include many features to make collaboration as much fun as possible. Use them! With Tok, we use emojis, gifs, snippets, polls, and other resources to express ourselves in every message.

If you have read this far, you now have a better understanding of what efficient communication means in remote work scenarios. Remember, the sense of distance is in your mind and you can adapt: always use efficient and clear communication, stay 100% connected, and make it a better place to work. Follow these recommendations and you will be all set!

For more information about how we strive to improve communication for our customers, please visit us here. Also, if you need a general overview of Salesforce’s perspective, visit this trail. Now go back to your daily assignments and enhance your communication level across your company. Your teammates will notice the difference.

Our team is doing their best while working remotely. We have worked with different organizations and their projects. We are Salesforce platform experts and offer custom development to help you build your platform and solve the right problems. If you want to know more about our work, go check out our latest success stories.