Veracity Solutions – Kiva microfunding, a year-round tradition!

For the past two Christmas seasons, Veracity Solutions has focused its efforts on creating positive influence by being actively engaged in Kiva microfunds. Who is Kiva? They are a non-profit organization based in San Francisco with a mission to lend money via the internet to low-income entrepreneurs and students in over 80 countries worldwide. Kiva seeks to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Annually we invest and reinvest funds on behalf of our employees and clients as a holiday gift in hopes of easing the financial weight that many of those applying through Kiva are feeling.

To date, Veracity has contributed to 22 loans from 16 different countries. Of the 22 loans made, 55% have been made to females or female groups. 41% have gone towards agricultural businesses, 18% have been made to service-based businesses, while the remainder has been spread among food, housing, retail and education businesses.

One of the many success stories we have helped to fund comes from George, who runs a photograph & digital print shop in Twifo Praso, Ghana. George has been steadily building his business success over several years using the capital he borrows from Kiva lenders. George bought a power inverter with his last Kiva loan which allowed him to work more efficiently during power outages. He is currently 2 payments ahead of his 8-month repayment schedule and looks to be well on his way to paying back his current Kiva loan far in advance.

We will continue to encourage and support entrepreneurs like George for many years to come through this great program, and hope it inspires those with whom we work to find opportunities to positively influence others throughout the year.

Annual Veracity Solutions Food Drive Helps the Hungry

For 15 years, the employees and software consultants at Veracity Solutions have united to raise money to fight hunger in Salt Lake City, Utah. Veracity then matches whatever donation is made to donate to the Utah Food Bank. Veracity Solutions also matches any donations made by consultants who live outside of Utah towards the local food bank of their choice. This Holiday Season, Veracity was able to raise $4,300 in total ($2,880 for the Utah Food Bank), which is equivalent to $31,605 in goods and services when donated directly to the food bank. As a an added service, there was a food delivery day that was attended by 22 Veracity employees and family members. Sixteen food bundles were delivered throughout the Salt Lake Valley, which was the equivalent of 35,529 meals.

 Veracity Solutions would like to give thanks to all who participated through their donations of money, time, and effort.

Galen Murdock Speaks to Graduating MBA Class on ‘Embracing Uncertainty’

WIN_20161114_12_40_00_Pro (2)Galen Murdock, CEO of Veracity Solutions which provides agile software development solutions, presented to a full classroom of MBA students and professors at the University of Utah November 14th. The students actively participated, with questions and post presentation follow up. ‘Embracing Uncertainty’ is the challenge for oneself to jump feet first into the unknown and to seek it without being governed by the fear of what cannot be controlled. This topic resonated for many in attendance given the fact that most will be starting their careers in the tech/software industry at some of the nation’s largest companies upon graduation. A large portion of the presentation was spent on explaining how one uses different methodologies for problem solving and mapping when confronted with obvious or complicated problems versus complex or chaotic problems. Time was spent on a Q&A session allowing the students to reiterate the topics they thought most important or unclear which gave insight for many to understand the applicable nature of the main topic discussed. ‘Embracing Uncertainty’ has been presented multiple times across the country over the past 18 months to executive teams and peer groups alike. Galen & Veracity Solutions continue to seek out, influence and encourage all makers of software through thought leadership opportunities such as this. Galen founded Veracity Solutions in 1998 and has focused on providing agile software development solutions expertise, as well as management and mentoring to transform development organizations into high performance teams ever since.

Accept What’s Unknown

Galen Murdock, CEO of Veracity Solutions which provides agile development solutions, illustrates how accepting the unknown in software development teaches us to approach green and blue problems with different methods. He explains the order of certainty to uncertainty, from obvious and complicated to complex and chaotic. Watch this video and understand why it’s okay to accept the unknown and how to work within it.  

How to Recognize Uncertainty

Follow along as Galen Murdock, CEO of Veracity Solutions which provides agile software solutions,  speaks about different processes of recognizing, validating and working through the uncertainty in software development from his August 2016 Utah Technology Council TechLunch keynote address. Through his company Veracity Solutions, Galen Murdock has vast experience consulting with software companies from Fortune 100 to startups to create market-driven web, mobile, native and cloud applications. Veracity Solutions also helps their clients by helping to provide them with agile software solutions. Listen to how a lean startup can help turn guesses into knowledge by framing the problem in addition to building the idea to help validate your hypothesis. Discover the principles of going from a vague design to a finished product by learning, pivoting and making course corrections.

Veracity’s Christmas Gift Provides Livelihood in Philippines

In December 2015, Veracity Solutions proved to be more than just software consultants when they chose to place $1,800 in a Kiva account, on behalf of their current and potential clients, to be used for micro loans, instead of sending out chocolates for Christmas. Kiva ‘connects people to lending to alleviate poverty.’ To date, the donation placed by Veracity Solutions’ software consultants has helped several people in the Philippines and Kenya. Here is one of those stories from Jane in the Philippines.  Jane, KivaJane’s story Jane is a 57-year-old woman who lives a simple life with her family in a town of Carles in Iloilo, Philippines, where fishing is one of the most common livelihoods in most communities. Jane and her husband are undertaking this livelihood to sustain their family each day. They have six children: five adults and one school-aged child who still needs their support. That is why Jane is asking for funds to buy new fishing net so that she and her husband can improve their catch. Definitely, she wishes in the future to improve their livelihood to have a better means of living.
Jane requested a loan of $850 for the purchase of her new fishing net. To date, her loan is 76% repaid. We wish to thank the people and companies that we work with that make these types of stories possible. Click here to learn more about Kiva.

The Elephant and the Rider

Learn to distinguish between your emotional and analytical sides in this clip from Galen Murdock’s presentation on Embracing Uncertainty given at the Utah Technology Council Tech Lunch on August 10, 2016. Galen Murdock is the current CEO of Veracity Solutions. Veracity is a company which provides deep agile and other software development expertise, as well as management and mentoring to transform development organizations into high performance teams. Galen dives into some of the personal experiences in the sme software industry he has had using Jonathan Haidt’s description of the Elephant & the Rider.      

Veracity Solutions Sponsors UTC Tech Lunch on Embracing Uncertainty 

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      On August 10th, Veracity Solutions, a software development company, hosted the Utah Technology Council’s (UTC) Tech Lunch at Noah’s in South Jordan, UT. Veracity’s CEO, Galen Murdock, provided lunch and gave a presentation to a packed room on the topic of embracing uncertainty. His key points were:  
  • Practicing awareness– by practicing mindfulness, understanding the space between stimulus and response, and differentiating between our emotional and rational selves, we gain greater awareness.
  • Accepting what’s unknown– There are many things that are uncertain or unknown. The unknown or uncertain cannot be managed by the same methods and processes as the known or certain. By understanding the differences and applying different methodologies, we can optimize the results.
  • Experimenting with confidence– Since the outcome with uncertainty cannot be guaranteed, we interact with uncertainty, instead of controlling it. This is done with experimentation that creates knowledge, which in turn brings greater certainty to be applied.
  Based on Galen’s experience in software development and in the SME software industry, he shared how these principles are applied with software companies and software-enabled companies through Veracity’s blendsourcing model that provides leadership, mentoring and hands-on expertise. Veracity Solutions helps SME software development companies release better products in less time through a unique management and mentoring approach that transforms development groups into high performance teams.    
To see an overview of the slides that were shared at the event, please see below.    
To learn more about the UTC, please click here.        

Why the Principles of Design Make Good Usability Tools

Recently a Veracity Solutions client asked how we know what good usability is and what defines good user interaction. What tools did I use? While I think they were looking for a list of resources and books that they could research to become better trained in User Experience Design (UX Design), the answer I gave was one they may not have expected.   The Principles of Design make the best usability tools. It is one of the reasons that designers lead the charge creating user experiences. It is what helps designers choose the right balance of content vs. imagery or the visual hierarchy of a page or across distributed devices. There are many UX terms, such as lean UX, experience architecture, and breadcrumbs, but can all be traced back to the use of basic Principles of Design.   Design is not just about making things beautiful. That’s a pretty myopic view. Design Thinking is problem-solving, using learned or innate intuition that comes from the proper use of tools which every visual artist stores in their handy dandy tool belt. As Bill Buxton would say, “Experience is the actual tangible output of design.”   Balance and Harmony: With all the elements that we can put on a page, the shotgun approach isn’t going to work. It’s a give and take of copy, images, headlines and motion that create an experience rather than a page or screen. A mountain bike is not an experience no matter how much money you pay for it. The real experience is the wind rushing through your face as you race down the mountain. In usability terms, users are increasingly exposed to convergent experiences. There is tremendous diversity of devices. It is important that the information is designed to utilize the unique advantages of each device and create a digital experience that is both harmonious and cooperative.   Scale/Proportion: Imagine if you will a screen full of text that is the same font size and color. Our eyes would bounce around on the screen like a racquetball, trying to find a place to start. Using the concept of wader-swimmer-diver, scale and proportion allow users to interpret what is most important based on the relative scale and proportion of the elements on the page. With today’s responsive Web layouts, scale and proportion can be carefully balanced on a screen-by-screen basis based on device orientation and/or browser size.   Rhythm: A UX practitioner’s job is to lead the customer to what’s important, taking them through the ebb and flow of elements. What does that mean? Using the wader-swimmer-diver metaphor that we discussed in Scale/Proportion above, users can have different experiences with content depending on the mode they are in. If they want to just scan, then leading them through the content with carefully placed headlines and images will create a rhythm that matches their intent. It also helps them identify areas of the screen where they would like to dive in and investigate in more detail.   Placing something large in scale on the top/left and something smaller in scale, that is eye-grabbing on the bottom/right creates a rhythm that leads the eye from top/left to bottom/right. This gives the user a quick scan of everything in-between.   Emphasis: Whereas scale and proportion speak to the actual and relative sizes of elements, emphasis is the act of isolating elements on the screen to call attention to an element or block of content. Emphasis can also be established by isolating an element or by using motion. It could also be accomplished by color. Think visual weight, not just scale or proportion.   So, there you have it. I’ve let the cat out of the bag. A secret weapon of UX designers is the same one that painters, sculptors, photographers or any other visual artist use. Principles of Design.