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  • Scrum vs Kanban - Agile Frameworks

    Software development is continuous and intricate. It demands cooperation beyond the capabilities of traditional, inflexible project frameworks. That's why a group of developers created the Agile Manifesto, a statement of values and principles emphasizing: Individuals and interactions over processes and tools Working software over comprehensive documentation Customer collaboration over contract negotiation Responding to change over following a pre-charted plan The manifesto prioritizes flexibility, collaboration, and adaptability in software development, aiming to deliver high-quality, effective products. In this article, we'll be comparing two Agile frameworks, Scrum and Kanban, to better understand their principles, practices, and how they can best be applied to your next project. New to BearPeak? - Watch a client testimonial - Explore our startup studio - Learn more about our software studio What Are Agile Frameworks? definition: Agile frameworks are processes and guidelines that prioritize flexibility, collaboration, and customer satisfaction. Since software development teams need to respond quickly (e.g. hanging requirements, market conditions, customer feedback), they intentionally divide the work into small, manageable chunks. This allows for early, continuous delivery and also encourages ongoing feedback. Agile frameworks are designed to be adaptable, collaborative, incremental, and iterative. These frameworks also emphasize communication through face-to-face and transparent documentation. A need for flexibility stems from human interference, so it's important for everyone to stay connected. Decisions are based on real-world data and observations rather than assumptions. Teams use metrics, feedback loops, and regular inspections to make informed decisions and adapt their approach accordingly. Overview of Scrum definition: Scrum is an agile framework that emphasizes cross-functional teamwork and adaptation. The term "scrum" originates from rugby, where it refers to a method of restarting play after an infringement. Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber developed Scrum as a software development framework in the early 1990s, and they borrowed the rugby term to match that collaborative, cross-functional team approach. When Should You Use Scrum? Cross-Functional Teams Scrum works well when teams cross-functional teams can commit to delivering a potentially shippable product increment at the end of each sprint. The roles of Scrum (Product Owner, Scrum Master, Development Team) are well-defined and suited for such teams. Well-Defined Goals Scrum's fixed-length iterations (sprints) can help focus efforts and provide a structured approach, but do it best when the project has clear objectives. Due to these characteristics, Scrum is well-suited for software, product, and research development projects. Scrum Roles and Responsibilities Product Owner The Scrum Product Owner (PO) is responsible for defining the product vision, prioritizing requirements, collaborating with stakeholders, and empowering the Scrum Team to deliver high-quality solutions that meet the needs of the business and its customers. Scrum Master The Scrum Master facilitates collaboration, removes impediments, promotes Scrum values and practices, and empowers the team to deliver high-quality solutions that meet stakeholder needs. Development Team The Development Team is responsible for regularly delivering high-quality product improvements, while continuously improving their processes and collaborating closely with stakeholders. Scrum Outline In short, a Scrum project consists of: Determining what needs to be built/improved. Mapping out what steps need to be achieved and how long they'll take. Working on those steps with daily check-ins to track progress. Presenting the finished work. Reviewing what went well and revising the plan for next time. In more detail, here are the typical steps you would follow in a Scrum project: 1. Project Initiation Identify the need for the scrum project. Establish your objectives and expected outcomes. Create a product vision statement. Form the Scrum team: a Product Owner, a Scrum Master, and Development Team members (we'll get to these roles later on). Conduct initial planning meetings to define the project scope. 2. Product Backlog Creation The Product Owner collaborates with stakeholders to create a prioritized list of features, enhancements, and fixes. This is known as the Product Backlog. Each item in the backlog is expressed as a user story or a clear description of the desired functionality from an end-user perspective. 3. Sprint Planning The Scrum Team holds a Sprint Planning meeting at the beginning of each sprint. The Product Owner presents the top items from the Product Backlog to the team. The Development Team selects items from the Product Backlog to work on during the sprint, basing their choices on capacity and sprint goal. The team breaks down the selected items into smaller tasks and estimates the effort required to complete them. 4. Sprint Execution The sprint typically lasts 2-4 weeks. Daily Stand-up meetings are held to discuss progress, obstacles, and plans for the day The Development Team works on the tasks identified during Sprint Planning The Product Owner is available to provide clarification on user stories. 5. Sprint Review At the end of the sprint, the Scrum Team holds a Sprint Review meeting. The Development Team demonstrates the completed work to the Product Owner and stakeholders. Feedback is gathered, and the Product Backlog may be adjusted based on new insights or priority changes. 6. Sprint Retrospective Following the Sprint Review, the team holds a Sprint Retrospective meeting. The team reflects on what went well during the sprint and identifies opportunities for improvement. Action items are defined to address any issues or challenges encountered during the sprint. 7. Repeat The cycle repeats with a new Sprint Planning meeting, and the next sprint begins. The process continues iteratively, with the Scrum Team delivering increments of working software at the end of each sprint until the project goals are achieved. Throughout the project, transparency, collaboration, and adaptation are the key principles. Scrum Terms & Definitions Now that you understand Scrum, let's dive into the specific terms you may hear for parts of the process: Product Backlog The prioritized list of features, enhancements, and fixes decided on and written before a sprint begins. It ensures that everyone understands what needs to be done, why, and how it fits into the overall vision. Sprint Backlog The sprint backlog breaks down the items selected from the product backlog into smaller, more manageable tasks. Each task is clearly defined and assigned to a team member. This detailed work plan provides transparency and ensures that everyone understands their responsibilities. Scrum Increment The sum of all the product backlog items completed during a sprint, plus the increments from all previous sprints. It represents a potentially releasable version of the product that is fully functional and meets the Definition of Done. Definition of Done (DoD) This outlines the criteria that must be met for a product backlog item to be considered completed within the sprint. Sprint Planning A collaborative meeting involving the entire Scrum team - the Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Development Team. The primary purpose of Sprint Planning is to define what will be delivered in the upcoming sprint and how the work will be accomplished. Timeboxing The maximum unit of time allocated to completing an activity. The principle is that setting a strong final deadline encourages a more efficient use of time. Sprint Planning is timeboxed, typically to a maximum of eight hours for a one-month sprint. For shorter sprints, the timebox is adjusted accordingly. This time constraint encourages the team to focus on essential discussions and make efficient decisions. Daily Standup The daily standup (or daily Scrum) is a short meeting that takes place every day during a sprint. Its primary purpose is to provide a structured opportunity for the Development Team to discuss progress, synchronize their activities, and identify any obstacles. The standard format of the daily standup revolves around three questions: What did you do yesterday? What will you do today? Are there any impediments or obstacles in your way? This is a valuable time to keep the team aligned, identify issues early on, and ensure that everyone is focused on achieving the sprint goal. Overview of Kanban definition: Kanban is a framework in which progress is visually represented in stages. In Japanese, "kanban" (看板) translates to "signboard" or "visual card." The system was initially developed by Taiichi Ohno at Toyota in the 1940s as a way to manage inventory and production flow efficiently. Kanban uses visual signals, such as cards or a whiteboard, to indicate when and how much work should be done at each stage in the production process. When Should You Use Kanban? Continuous Flow of Work When work items are continuously incoming and outgoing without fixed iterations, Kanban's focus on visualizing and optimizing flow can be more suitable. Highly Variable Workload If the team experiences frequent fluctuations or unpredictability, Kanban's flexibility in adjusting without disrupting the flow of work can be beneficial. Kanban is well-suited for project teams like technical support, content creation, marketing campaigns, and IT operations. All of these manage continuous tickets and can benefit from a focus on flow and visual management. Kanban Roles & Responsibilities Kanban Master (or Process Facilitator) Implements and maintains the Kanban system. They facilitate communication, monitor flow, enforce WIP limits, and continuously improve the process. Team Members Execute the Kanban tasks and complete work items according to the priorities set. They collaborate to ensure smooth flow and timely delivery. Customers Even though they are likely unaware of their role in the Kanban workflow, customers are a vital component. The customer defines the requirements and priorities of the work that needs to be done. They may also provide feedback. Kanban Outline Here's a hypothetical project in Kanban. For this example, the team is managing a content creation pipeline for a marketing campaign. 1. Setup A Kanban board is created with columns representing different stages of the process (e.g., To Do, In Progress, Review, Published). Each column contains cards representing individual content tasks. 2. Work In Progress (WIP) Limits WIP limits are set for each column to ensure that the team doesn't overload themselves at any stage of the process (e.g., the In Progress column might have a WIP limit of 3 tasks at a time). 3. Daily Standup The team holds a brief daily standup meeting to discuss progress, identify any blockers, and ensure that work is flowing smoothly through the board. 4. Continuous Flow As tasks are completed, they move across the board from left to right, ultimately reaching the "Published" column when they're ready for release. 5. Feedback Loop Throughout the process, stakeholders can provide feedback on the content tasks as they progress through the board, ensuring that the final output meets expectations. Kanban Terms & Definitions Work in Progress (WIP) Limits The number of tasks actively being worked on at any given time within the Kanban system. Keeping WIP limits helps maintain flow and prevent overloading your work. By limiting WIP, your team can focus on completing tasks efficiently, identify bottlenecks more easily, and maintain a smooth flow of work. Pull System A method where a new task is only pulled into the system once there’s capacity to handle it. This is based on actual demand, rather than pushing work based on a predefined schedules. It helps ensure efficient use of resources and minimizes the sensation of being overwhelmed by too many tasks. Lead Time The duration it takes for a task to move from the moment it is requested until it is completed. This includes all the time spent in various stages of the workflow, such as analysis, development, testing, and deployment. By analyzing lead times, teams can optimize their workflow. Cycle Time The duration it takes for a task to be completed once work on it has started. Unlike lead time, cycle time focuses solely on the time spent actively working on the task. By analyzing cycle time, teams can identify bottlenecks, streamline their process, and improve overall productivity. Scrumban: Combining Elements The choice between Scrum and Kanban depends on factors such as the team structure, predictability of requirements, and preference for fixed iterations versus continuous flow. Each framework has its strengths and is better suited for different contexts, but you don't necessarily have to pick just one: 1. Start with Scrum Begin by implementing Scrum as a foundation. Define roles and artifacts such as the Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog, and Burndown Chart. Establish sprint lengths and conduct sprint planning meetings to select items from the backlog for the upcoming sprint. 2. Visualize Work with a Kanban Board Introduce a Kanban board to visualize the workflow. The board typically consists of columns representing various stages of work (e.g., To Do, In Progress, Review, Done). Tasks or user stories move through these columns as they progress. 3. Limit Work in Progress (WIP) Implement work-in-progress limits for each column on the Kanban board. WIP limits prevent team members from taking on too many tasks simultaneously, thus helping to maintain focus and improve flow. 4. Continuous Improvement Emphasize continuous improvement through regular retrospectives. Reflect on what went well, what didn't, and what can be improved. Adjust the process accordingly to address any issues or bottlenecks identified during retrospectives. 5. Flexibility in Sprint Planning While maintaining the concept of sprints, allow for flexibility in sprint planning. Instead of committing to a fixed set of stories for the entire sprint, consider adding stories dynamically as capacity allows, based on customer priorities and feedback. 6. Prioritize Based on Customer Needs Prioritize work items based on customer needs and value delivery. This ensures that the team is focusing on the most valuable tasks first, aligning with the principles of both Scrum and Kanban. 7. Embrace Change Be open to change and adapt the process as needed. Scrumban encourages teams to evolve their practices continuously based on feedback and lessons learned. 8. Metrics and Analytics Use metrics and analytics to monitor and improve performance. Kanban provides several metrics such as cycle time, lead time, and throughput, which can help identify areas for improvement and measure the team's effectiveness. 9. Collaboration and Communication Foster collaboration and communication within the team. Encourage transparency and open communication to ensure everyone is aligned and working towards common goals. By blending elements of Scrum and Kanban, Scrumban offers teams a flexible approach to agile development, allowing you to leverage the best practices from both methodologies while adapting to their specific needs and circumstances. Implementation Challenges Here are some potential hurdles and how your team can overcome them. Resistance to Change One of the biggest challenges is often resistance to change, both from team members and stakeholders who are accustomed to traditional project management methodologies. It may take time and effort to convince them that an agile approach would be beneficial. Lack of Understanding If team members and stakeholders don't fully understand Scrum or Kanban, it can lead to misinterpretation or misuse of the methodology, resulting in inefficiencies and frustration. Team Dynamics Agile methodologies rely heavily on self-organizing teams and collaboration. If there are issues with team dynamics, such as lack of trust, communication barriers, or conflicting personalities, it can hinder the effectiveness of agile practices. Overcommitment Teams may struggle with overestimating workload abilities during sprint planning, leading to unrealistic expectations and burnout. It’ll be essential to accurately estimate the amount of work that can be completed within a sprint or certain timeframe. Addressing these challenges requires commitment, collaboration, and continuous improvement. It's essential for teams to identify and address obstacles as they arise, adapt their practices accordingly, and foster a culture of resilience and learning. Best Practices for Success Transparent Communication and Clear Responsibilities Foster an environment of open communication within the team and with stakeholders. Regularly communicate progress, challenges, and changes to ensure everyone is aligned and informed. Ensure that team members understand their roles and responsibilities within the framework. Focus on Prioritization Prioritize work items based on customer needs and business value. Focus on delivering the most valuable features and tasks first to maximize your return on investment. Regular Feedback Loops Incorporate regular feedback loops into the process to gather insights from stakeholders and end-users. This could include sprint reviews, demos, user testing, and retrospectives. Empowerment and Autonomy Encourage team members to make decisions and take ownership of their work. Empower autonomy and self-organization within the team, allowing individuals to determine the best approach to achieve your goals. It's important for us to disclose the multiple authors of this blog post: The original outline was written by chat.openai, an AI language model. The content was then edited and revised by Lindey Hoak. "OpenAI (2024). ChatGPT. Retrieved from https://openai.com/api-beta/gpt-3/" BearPeak Technology Group is a software studio based in Boulder, CO, offering studio, strategy, and staffing services. The startup studio takes ideas from concept to reality. The strategy services range from Fractional CTO mentors to architecture and specialized skillset services. for startups, businesses, and entrepreneurs. The staffing services assist teams in connecting with high-quality software developers. If one of these sounds like the solution for you, get in touch with BearPeak for a free consultation at bearpeak.io/contact.

  • Preparing for Rapid Business Growth

    Everyone dreams of it happening, but will you be ready when it does? Preparing for rapid growth is a critical phase for CEOs that involves a lot of strategic planning. You'll want to fortify every category of your business, from staff to financial management to scalable infrastructure. Feeling overwhelmed? We've got you. Follow these steps to prepare for rapid growth: New to BearPeak? - Watch a testimonial from our client Ad Fontes Media - Explore our startup studio - Learn more about us Assess Your Current State In order to chart a realistic path for your future, you need to know exactly where you stand now: Conduct a Financial Health Assessment Counting and charting can reveal key insights into your current financial health. A full assessment should include an analysis of your financial statements, key financial ratios, and a trend analysis. Start by reviewing income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow to gauge your company's profitability, liquidity, and solvency. Then calculate and analyze the following ratios: Profitability ratios (e.g. net profit margin) Liquidity ratios (e.g. current ratio) Leverage ratios (e.g. debt-to-equity) Compare this current data with your business' past performance (and others businesses, too!) What trends do you notice? Where are some potential areas of concern? Evaluate Operational Costs To do this, you'll need a cost analysis and productivity metrics. Collect data of your current cost management across different operational areas. How would you rank this cost management efficiency on a scale of 1 to 10? Where are there opportunities for cost reduction or optimization? Measuring productivity metrics such as your revenue per employee, production output per unit of input, and inventory turnover can help evaluate your current efficiency. Market Positioning Assessment To pinpoint your company's current position within the industry, evaluate the market share. This can be relative to specific competitors or your industry's general benchmarks. What areas could be improved? What are your new performance targets based on these insights? SWOT Analysis You've likely heard of a SWOT analysis before. This is the perfect opportunity to chart one. Identify your company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats: By systematically evaluating these areas, you'll gain insight into your brand's overall health, identify areas for improvement, and develop strategies to enhance your competitiveness and sustainability. Set Clear Goals Before you begin fortifying your business' stronghold, consider what you're here to achieve. In order to keep the big picture in mind, try working backwards: What are your long-term goals for the company? What new key markets do you want to enter? What customer segments do you want to add? What product/service offerings do you want to add/expand? How do these goals look mapped out in stages on a roadmap? What are your short-term goals to reach stages 1-3 of your roadmap? What are your objectives for your first rapid growth phase? Keep your goals in mind as you continue preparing for rapid growth. Cultivate a Strong Team Choose Your Leaders If your company is headed for white-water rapids, you want to be in the boat full of experienced leaders. Now is the time to assess your need for additional leadership roles and strategically recruit experts to fill your company's skill gaps. Shameless Plug: We can get you connected with our network of BearPeak professionals. Do you need an experienced developer? A fractional Chief Technology Officer? Ensure that your leadership team is ready and equipped for big changes with experts by your side. Strategic Alliances Expanding upon this, what partnerships could be improved to accelerate your growth? Evaluate opportunities for collaborations within your industry or supply chain. Startup founders may be recognized for their independence, but they didn't achieve that success all on their own. Work smarter, not harder! Cultural Alignment With a strong, experienced team by your side, communicate your values and vision. Assess and reinforce your company's culture to ensure alignment with these growth objectives. Additionally, you can invest in employee training to further ensure your team is adept and agile. Scalable Operations Is Your Tech Ready? We've explored how to make your team ready for rapid growth. Now let's strengthen your technology. Evaluate your operational process: What is working well? What isn't working, and how could it be improved? Will your current workflow accommodate increased demand? How much? Could cloud solutions help? Could automation help? What scalable technologies and infrastructure would be beneficial to invest in? If you're unsure about any of the questions above, you can talk with a software expert to get a reliable second opinion. Identify New Markets Consider your current markets. What is working well about these markets? Are there any disconnects or issues with serving these markets? Conduct market research to identify new markets: Analyze industry reports, market trends, competitors, and consumers. Identify gaps in the market / unmet needs that your company could address. Consider geographical expansion. What would be the pros and cons? Financial Management Since you've reviewed your current financial standing, consider how its regulation would change with more income. Now is the time to conduct robust financial planning to support your growth initiatives. Ensure effective cash flow management Secure necessary funding sources. What will you do if you generate more money than you're anticipating? What if you generate less? What fail-safes can you construct? Customer Relations We can debate the best ways to prepare technology, look over thousands of resumes for the best team members, but successful growth ultimately comes down to your customers. Here are steps to keep them informed, happy, and feeling heard: Acquisition and Retention Rapid growth often coincides with new markets. Since your business will be introduced to lots of new people, it'll be important to make a great first impression. How does your website look? Is your team staying up-to-date with social media interactions? Once you feel that those platforms are putting your best foot forward, it's time to reach out: Develop marketing and sales initiatives to capitalize on your newfound audience. Feedback and Iteration We doubt your company's goal is to toss your product into a void and just guess that it did well. It's vital to establish mechanisms that gather your customer feedback, and functional ones at that. Use these customer insights to iterate and improve your product/service. Communication and Transparency People are the most volatile and unpredictable part of running any business. Avoid miscommunications and frustration by being transparent. Maintain open communication with everyone: that means employees, stakeholders, and customers (considering, of course, the appropriate content for each group, respectively). Clearly articulate your growth strategy and its implications. Community Involvement Despite having a job and a team, the benefits of networking never stop. Engage with your community and industry associations. Find the right people, so you'll be leveraging your networking opportunities for collaboration and growth. Risk Management Identify Pitfalls It's better to be overly prepared than not enough. For a mental exercise, try the following: Jot down a list of all the potential risks you can think of that would come from sudden rapid growth. This may include cash flow issues, a strain on human resources, infrastructure limitations, etc. Rank these risks in different tiers: Low-risk, medium risk, and worst-case scenario. There's no right/perfect answer, just categorize these risks by what worries you most or which are the biggest gaps in your current structure. For every risk, develop 2 mitigation strategies. For example, cash flow issues could be solved by 1. Implementing tighter credit policies, or 2. Exploring financing options. A strain on human resources could be solved by 1. Prioritizing training and development, or 2. Leveraging your technology to automate and streamline. Infrastructure limitations could be solved by 1. Investing in scalable solutions, or 2. outsourcing non-core functions to a software studio. Legal Compliance When your company experiences rapid growth, several aspects may need to be updated to ensure legal compliance: Employment practices (e.g. hiring, terminating, wages, benefits) Taxation and reporting (e.g. income, payroll, financial reporting) Intellectual Property (IP) Protection (e.g. usage rights, copyrights, patents) Contractual obligations (e.g. contracts with customers, suppliers, partners) Regulatory compliance (e.g. industry-specific regulations, safety standards) Data protection and privacy (e.g. privacy laws like the GDPR and CCPA) Corporate governance (e.g. disclosure, board composition) Environmental and social responsibility (e.g. sustainability, diversity and inclusion) Agile Innovation To stay competitive as you grow, encourage innovation within your organization. Invest in R&D to enhance existing products, or introduce new ones. Circumstances will be changing quickly, so it can be beneficial to focus on and foster an agile decision-making process. Empower your team to make informed and confident decisions. Reflection & Adaptation Improvement is a continuous cycle. Keep making improvements by reviewing the following: Learn from Your Rapid Growth Start by conducting a broad post-growth reflection sessions to analyze your successes and challenges. Capture these key learnings to review after future growth initiatives. Performance Metrics and Monitoring Implement regular performance reviews. What are your KPIs? What's working? What isn't? Adjust your strategy as needed. Continual Adaptation and Innovation If the market never fluctuated, trends never changed, and society stayed the same, your work would be done. But we live in a culture of continuous change, there therefore must continually adapt. Stay ahead of these changes by cultivating a culture of innovation and adaptation. Celebrating Milestones and Successes While this entire article has focused on preparing for the future, it's important to not neglect the present. Celebrate these milestones that you're reaching! Acknowledge your company's achievements during this rapid growth phase. Recognize and reward employees for their contributions so everyone is encouraged to continue the great work. It's important for us to disclose the multiple authors of this blog post: The original outline was written by chat.openai, an AI language model. The content was then edited and revised by Lindey Hoak. "OpenAI (2024). ChatGPT. Retrieved from https://openai.com/api-beta/gpt-3/" BearPeak Technology Group is a software studio based in Boulder, CO, offering studio, strategy, and staffing services. The startup studio takes ideas from concept to reality. The strategy services range from Fractional CTO mentors to architecture and specialized skillset services. for startups, businesses, and entrepreneurs. The staffing services assist teams in connecting with high-quality software developers. If one of these sounds like the solution for you, get in touch with BearPeak for a free consultation at bearpeak.io/contact.

  • How Your EIN Works (Employer Identification Number)

    Employer Identification Numbers (EINs) are an essential aspect of business operations, especially when it comes to taxes and legal matters. But who needs one? And how do you apply? New to BearPeak? - Watch a client testimonial. - Explore our software studio. - Learn more about us. We're a software studio on a mission to bring your startup to its peak. Check out our startup studio services if you want to make your business concepts a reality. What is an EIN? In case you need a quick refresher: Definition: An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the IRS to identify your business. EINs are used for filing taxes, opening bank accounts, hiring employees, and other legal purposes. Before the IRS introduced EINs in 1974, businesses often used their personal Social Security Numbers for tax reporting, which posed privacy and security risks. A new number specifically for the company helps keep personal information safe and streamlines tax administration. Who Needs an EIN? You need an EIN if you fall into one or more of these categories: Businesses If you are creating a partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation (B, C, or S), you need an EIN. Sole proprietors also typically need an EIN if the business hires employees, establishes a retirement plan (such as a solo 401(k) or SEP-IRA), files certain tax returns, opens a business bank account (at some banks), or transforms into a partnership. ⓘ What if I haven't picked a business structure? Not sure where to start? Check out how to choose a startup business structure. Nonprofit Organizations If you operate under section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code as a charity, church, educational institution, or other tax-exempt organization, you need an EIN. Estates Estates of deceased individuals that have income reportable on Form 1041 of the U.S. Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts need an EIN. Trusts If you have a trust that is required to file income tax returns or has employees, you need an EIN. Miscellaneous Entities that engage in certain types of financial transactions, such as opening a bank account or applying for a business license, may also need an EIN. How to Apply for an EIN Applying for an EIN in the US is relatively straightforward. Check the IRS website for instructions to apply online, by fax, or by mail. International applicants can call. ( ! ) Important It is free to apply for an EIN through the IRS website. Be cautious of third-party websites that may charge unnecessary fees for this service. Complete the Application You'll be asked to provide the legal name of your business, the type of entity, the reason for applying, the address, and the responsible party's information. If you fill out the online application, this will be Form SS-4. Receive Your EIN After submitting, if your application is accepted, you'll immediately receive your EIN. You can then download, save, and print the confirmation notice for your records. You can request to receive your EIN confirmation by mail, but this will prolong the processing time. Once you have your EIN, make sure to keep it secure. If changes are made to your business structure or ownership, update your EIN information promptly. How to Use an EIN for Taxes Depending on your business structure, various federal tax returns, including income tax returns, will require your EIN. For example, corporations file Form 1120 and partnerships file Form 1065, which will ask for your EIN to streamline the tax paperwork process. Employment tax returns (such as Form 941 for quarterly payroll taxes) will require an EIN as well. Applying for Business Bank Accounts and Credit Banks often require an EIN to open a business bank account. The EIN serves as a unique identifier for your business entity. Make sure to have your EIN and additional company information ready when you meet with a bank representative. EINs are also needed for your business to apply for business credit. It's important to have a separate business credit profile linked to the EIN instead of your personal identity. How to Hire Employees and Process Payroll When hiring employees, an EIN is used for payroll and employment tax processing: W-4 Form Employees fill out this form to indicate that they are withholding allowances for their federal income tax. The employer needs to include the EIN when reporting these withholdings to the IRS. I-9 Form Employers use the EIN to verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. W-2 Forms At the end of the year, employers use the EIN when preparing and distributing W-2 forms to employees, which report their annual wages and tax withholdings. Tax Reporting The EIN is used to report employment taxes to the IRS, including federal income tax withholdings, Social Security tax, and Medicare tax. Employers also use the EIN quarterly (Form 941) and annually (Form 940). The former reports income taxes withheld from employees' paychecks and the employer's portion of Social Security and Medicare taxes. The later is an annual form reporting federal unemployment tax (FUTA). Avoiding Identity Theft and Scams Protecting your business's Employer Identification Number (EIN) will be crucial in preventing identity theft and fraudulent activity. Here are some steps to safeguard your EIN: Secure Passwords & Limited Access Keep physical copies of EIN-related documents, such as the EIN confirmation letter from the IRS, in a safe and secure location. Store electronic copies in encrypted files or folders with restricted access. Restrict that access to only essential personnel within your organization. Avoid sharing it unnecessarily and be cautious when providing it to third parties. Dispose of any old or unnecessary documents containing the EIN or other sensitive information by shredding them to prevent dumpster-diving identity thieves. Ensure that all accounts associated with your business, especially those containing sensitive information like the EIN, are protected with strong, unique passwords. Consider implementing multi-factor authentication for an extra layer of security. Be Wary of Phishing Scams Educate your employees about phishing scams targeting businesses. Remind them to never provide sensitive information, including the EIN, in response to unsolicited emails or phone calls. Keep Software Updated & Secure Regularly update your business's operating systems, antivirus software, and other security measures to patch any vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers. When conducting online transactions or sharing the EIN electronically, use secure, encrypted channels. Avoid transmitting sensitive information over unsecured Wi-Fi networks or public computers. Monitor Accounts & Report Suspicious Activity Regularly monitor your business's credit reports for any suspicious activity or unauthorized inquiries. Promptly report any discrepancies to the credit reporting agencies. If you suspect that your business's EIN has been compromised or used fraudulently, report it to the IRS, credit bureaus, and law enforcement authorities immediately. Closing a Business and EIN Deactivation If you cease operations or close your business, you'll need to deactivate your EIN. It's essential to ensure compliance with all regulatory requirements to avoid any potential issues or penalties in the future, so these steps may help: 1. File Final Tax Returns First, before deactivating your EIN, ensure that all of your necessary tax returns have been filed, including final employment tax returns and income tax returns. These returns should indicate that they are final returns to signify the end of business operations. 2. Pay Outstanding Taxes Clear any outstanding tax liabilities, including income taxes, payroll taxes, and any others owed to federal, state, or local authorities. Ensures that your business's tax obligations are settled before closing the account. 3. Submit Form 966 If your business is a corporation, you must file Form 966, "Corporate Dissolution or Liquidation." This form notifies the IRS of your corporation's intent to dissolve and provides details about the dissolution process. 4. Notify the IRS Contact the IRS to inform them that the business is closing and request to close the EIN account. This can typically be done by calling the IRS Business and Specialty Tax Line at 800-829-4933. You'll need to provide information such as the reason for closing the business and your final date of operation. 5. Send a Letter In some cases, the IRS may require a written request to close the EIN account. Prepare a letter requesting the closure of the EIN account, including the business's name, EIN, address, and signature of an authorized individual. Send the letter to the appropriate IRS address based on your business's location. 6. Keep Records Retain copies of all correspondence, forms, and documentation related to the closure of the EIN account for your records. This documentation may be needed for future reference or in the event of any inquiries from tax authorities. 7. Notify State and Local Authorities Depending on your business's location and structure, you may need to notify state and local tax authorities of the closure and deactivate state or local tax accounts. We hope this article has served as a comprehensive guide for you to understand how EINs work. If you have any questions, let us know! It's important for us to disclose the multiple authors of this blog post: The original outline was written by chat.openai, an AI language model. The content was then edited and revised by Lindey Hoak. "OpenAI (2024). ChatGPT. Retrieved from https://openai.com/api-beta/gpt-3/" BearPeak Technology Group is a software studio based in Boulder, CO, offering studio, strategy, and staffing services. The startup studio takes ideas from concept to reality. The strategy services range from Fractional CTO mentors to architecture and specialized skillset services. for startups, businesses, and entrepreneurs. The staffing services assist teams in connecting with high-quality software developers. If one of these sounds like the solution for you, get in touch with BearPeak for a free consultation at bearpeak.io/contact.

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  • Strategic Guidance | BearPeak Technology Group

    OUR EXPERTS. YOUR GUIDES. Bring decades of experience to your team instantly. Trusted by companies big & small Fractional CTO Not all organizations need or have the resources to employ a full-time high-level executive. That's where we come in: providing a mentor at a fraction of the cost. Learn More Architecture Let's make your product intuitive and intriguing. We'll update your core technologies, organize your data, and build a solid foundation to support your next stage of growth. Learn More Specialized Skillsets Don't settle for stop-gap implementations. Build long-term solutions with expert problem-solvers. We'll bring the exact right skillsets to tackle your unique challenge. Learn More Skill Gaps Is your team prepared for the journey? Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Tech Best known for its role in crypto, blockchain has a much wider range of potential applications. But it can be difficult to find an engineer with the knowledge to work with it. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) While many engineers may have a basic understanding, the complexity and diversity of AI/ML technologies require specialized knowledge. Edge Computing and Internet of Things (IoT) There's a growing need to process data at the edge of the network. Many teams lack the necessary skills for a deep understanding of both hardware and software. Get Strategic Guidance on Your Own Schedule. A fractional CTO brings high-level technical expertise without a full-time salary commitment. This allows you to scale technical leadership up or down based on current requirements, which can be particularly valuable during startup phase changes. They bring a holistic view of your tech team, providing strategic guidance to help your team align with your business goals. A fractional CTO also brings valuable network connections that can benefit your startup by facilitating partnerships, collaborations, and access to new resources. People → Process → Product People: Build stronger bonds with your employees, customers, suppliers, and partners. Don't settle for a cut-and-paste program. Work with a team that has years of both leadership and engineering experience. Learn More About Us Fractional CTO Digital Transformations Our software studio offers a comprehensive overhaul of your organization's processes, culture, and technology landscape: - Strategic Assessment - Performance Tracking - Process Reengineering - Technology Integration - Analytic Insights - Leadership Alignment - Management Updates - Agile Implementation - Enhanced Customer Experience - Security and Compliance - Collaboration Tools - IoT Implementation - Cloud Adoption - Ecosystem Partnerships - Employee Empowerment - Sustainability - Outcome Evaluation - Continuous Improve ment Embrace digital innovations, enhance agility, and drive your business's growth in the modern digital age. Get Started Process Modernization The software world is ever-changing. Let's implement cutting-edge solutions to solve your business problems: - Performance Tracking - Management Updates - Risk Mitigatio n - UX Enhancement - Outcome Measurement - Scalability - AI Technology Integration (Automation, Machine Learning) - Workflow Redesign - CI/CD - Custom Solutions Resolve any efficiency issues, delays, or risks with innovative problem-solvers on your team. Let's Talk "I can not say enough great things about the people and quality of work at BearPeak. [They] demonstrated their technical expertise, attention to detail, and ability to execute and deliver in tackling the re-platforming of our central data store and conducting a thorough analysis of our storage platforms. These projects took deep technical analysis and collaboration, and BearPeak surpassed our expectations." Lee Gerakos President and CTO of TrainingPeaks OUR QUALITY GUARANTEE If any issues arise within the first 30 days, we will not invoice and you can walk away at no cost . All services come with this 30-day money-back guarantee because we're positive you'll have an amazing experience! Claim Your Free Code Review Claim your free consultation by scheduling a call. LET'S HIT THE TRAIL!

  • Software Staffing | BearPeak Technology Group

    OUR NETWORK, YOUR TEAM. When was the last time your recruiter asked for GitHub access? Trusted by companies big & small Step into BearPeak's Dev Shop. BearPeak candidates tend to have Senior (6+ years) to Staff-level (12+ years) experience. Their top-quality skills will improve any organization, but you're free to put them through whatever hiring process you see fit. By starting with a free assessment of your current code & environment, we ensure that we're providing the best fit candidates for your project. Front-End Back-End Full-Stack Cloud 10x Front-End Developers These software specialists create visual and interactive web and app components. They enhance your user's experience through: - Optimized performance and responsiveness across devices and browsers. - Consistent experience through design patterns and coding standards. - Cutting-edge technologies and improvements. - Cross-functional team collaboration. - Recurrent testing and debugging. Connect with a Developer OUR QUALITY GUARANTEE If any issues arise within the first 30 days, we will not invoice and you can walk away at no cost . All services come with this 30-day money-back guarantee because we're positive you'll have an amazing experience! Claim Your Free Code Review 1. Tell us your talent needs, including technical skills & time availability. 2. Interview candidate(s) to assess cultural fit & technical aptitude. 3. Embed your new member, gaining skills that your team will carry forward. 4. You'll be assigned a free Delivery Director who will help assure that all your expectations are met. Let's Get Started Claim your free consultation by scheduling a call. LET'S HIT THE TRAIL!

  • 404 Error Page | BearPeak Technology

    404 Error Oops, looks like this is the wrong path. Check the URL, or go back to the homepage and try again. Back to the Homepage

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