Maria Arif

Trainer and Technical lead
About Me
A tech savy who believes challenges make life more interesting. An M. Tech graduate, with interest in cloud computing, no- code development, IoT, Datawarehousing and Big Data, she has been a technical lead for various projects, guiding developers to resolve various issues in development. As a trainer at ProDT she trains developers to build efficient and scalable applications and eases their switch from code to no-code.

Written Blogs

Maria Arif

No-Code Trainer: Responsibilities And Challenges

With a gradual drift of IT industry from code to no-code, no-code trainers have become an integral part of the organizations that deliver quick IT solutions using no-code platforms. The role of a no-code trainer includes many responsibilities from designing training program to collaborating with the project manager to understand project requirements and preparing resources accordingly.

The key responsibilities for this role are as follows:

  • Learning before Training: As a trainer, you should be aware of the new technologies yourself before you start training others. A No- code platform constantly enriches itself with reusable components, features and integrations set-up that are added frequently on demand of the users. A trainer should keep himself updated on the same.
  • Designing a Training Program: For every new intern, there should be a properly planned training program that would help him/her to move onto client projects in minimum time.
  • Creating Training Material: Well formulated training resources should be made available to the IT resources in terms of documents, sample projects or videos. This saves the time required for resolving the basic doubts that every intern usually face.
  • Helping with a Demo Project: Before moving a resource to a client project, the trainer should help him/her to create a demo project from ERD and flowcharts to user interaction screen, to understand the platform as well as the expected way of implementation that the organization follows.
  • Troubleshooting: A trainer should help the trainees in resolving the errors they face. Every task can be implemented in multiple ways, but the trainer should help the trainees identify the most efficient way taking in consideration all the present as well as future scenarios to increase productivity and minimize downtime
  • Evaluating the Effectiveness: The trainer should frequently evaluate the effectiveness of the trainee on some pre-defined criterias to understand the strength and weakness. This not only helps in understanding how fit the trainee is to join a particular client project, but also helps to evaluate the training program itself.
  • Collaborating with the Project Manager: The trainer should constantly be in touch with the PM to understand the project requirements. He should then update the learning material/program accordingly. He should provide report about the progress for every trainee to help the PM plan resources for different projects.
  •  Keeping in Touch: Once interns have moved on to be an on-roll employees and are busy with their assignments, the trainer should frequently get in touch with them to understand if they are facing any issues and the areas where more focus should be provided on training that would prepare new interns better.

Though no-code is often addressed as the future of the software industry, its still in its infancy. So, most of the interns who join a no-code based organization are usually traditional coders who are new to this platform. Though, this platform provides ample of reusable components that quicken the process of development, yet it takes considerable amount of time to understand its features, how it integrates with other technologies or how its built-in features can be customized according to the requirements. This poses many challenges for a no-code trainer. Some of these are as follows:

  • New Platform: This is often a new platform for the coders which require more logical reasoning than following the syntax of a language to build required application.
  • Understanding the Built-in Components: As no-code provides many built-in components, trainer should help the trainee understand these features.
  • Customizing the Interfaces: Though options are provided for templates, fonts, styles and colors, yet there is a limitation on the choices as compared to traditional coding. But, there is always a way in these platforms to enhance the capabilities and interfaces by using code based technologies. A trainer should help in understanding how the platform provides a room for this.
  • Integrating with External Applications: No-code platforms usually allow integration with external applications with an easy-to-use protocol. But it is bit different from the way it is done in traditional coding. A trainer, thus need to create scenarios for the trainee and help them understand how these integrations take place.
  • Being Patient: Working on a new platform, trainees are sure to come to the trainer with lot of errors until they have a sound understanding about how various components sit together. The trainer should be patient to resolve these errors.
  • Time Management: Apart from investing time in training and resolving isssues raised by the trainees, the trainer should devote time to research about new ways to harness the potential of the no-code platform. This would in turn help other members of the organization to build more efficient applications.

Thus, though the role of a no-code trainer is very important, it comes with a set of responsibilities and challenges. With a properly planned training program and learning material, a trainer can provide the organization with skilled resources in short time to help increase its overall productivity and efficiency.

Maria Arif

The 45 Possible Challenge

August 2021, there was excitement and thrill in our organization as one of our teammates was to build an AI module in just 45 minutes… that too live! Very eager to witness the event, I sat in front of my laptop, dumbstruck as I saw him building the application so swiftly. As I had just switched to the no code platform and was not aware of the functionalities it provides, I was awed at how smoothly one could build an application using the WEM modeler. I silently wished if I too could reach such heights one day. But never had I imagined that this opportunity would knock my door so soon.

Six months later, when one day I was informed that my name had been forwarded as the ‘Doer’ for the WEM 45 possible challenge, I had mixed emotions: delighted, because my vision was turning into a reality; proud, as my colleagues considered me capable of accomplishing this; but at the same time, I could feel the pressure rather the ‘responsibility’ to attain the goal in the show, where I were to represent ‘a company’ that I now considered ‘my company’. Though, in the past months I had successfully developed projects using no code platform and understood its principles and features quite well but building a CRM in just 45 minutes!!! This seemed to be a herculean task.

With the support and guidance of my teammates, we decided the scope of the application in the next few days. The aim was to build a Sales CRM - Silverstreak, that would be a tool for an organization’s sales team for managing accounts, contacts and deals. Silverstreak would manage the lifecycle stages of the deals and the interrelations among these three modules. Suggestions kept dropping in every day to make Silverstreak a complete solution for any sales team. This required an attractive dashboard with indicators, graphs and filters to give clear visibility about the trend of the sales over years. Then came in a requirement to integrate it with Slack, a platform which helps a team to communicate. This would allow Silverstreak to send notifications for every reminder set by a salesperson on his/her private slack channel in the organization’s workspace.

Let alone few hours, building such an application in a week too would seem like a Sisyphean job for a traditional coder. But to a no coder, it seems feasible!
With the capabilities that WEM’s no-code platform provides, I could quickly build the Sales CRM, handling dependencies among account, contact and deals; managing their lifecycle stages; integrating the application with Slack and building a very attractive dashboard. Moreover, data model, flowcharts, sub flows, templates, folders, everything can be very well organized in the modeler. WEM provides capability to make reusable components and templates that can be re-used in all flows with similar functionality.

Once the elements of the project were well organized in the modeler, all that was required was some practice to build the whole system using the helper flowcharts that were prebuilt to initialize some variables and some templates that would reduce the repetitive work and allow me to execute the entire development in the given time frame. First round of practice: 40 mins with few errors due to shivering hands and the running timer on screen. A detailed error message highlighting the specific node of the specific flowchart helps to quickly recognize and resolve the error. Second round of practice with calm and gained confidence: 35 mins with no error. 

24th Feb 2022, on the D-Day, I was really excited to build Silverstreak in front of the live audience. With lots of ‘best wishes’ messsages from the team mates, family and friends, I just hoped I would live up to their expectations. 11 am: the show began. After some introduction, with racing heart, I started the timer…next 35 mins I was creating the most memorable moments of my life… When the timer still showed 10 mins left, I was already demonstrating Silverstreak to the audience. 

With congratulatory messages from my well-wishers, I learnt that this was the first show which witnessed zero audience dropouts till the end. We did it!

After participating in this event, I realized the true power of no-code. No-code is truly the future of software.

Maria Arif

Introducing the AI-Scrum Master: A Game-Changer in CliffJumper

At ProDT, we take pride in our dedication to technological innovation, and this commitment extends to the tools we use to manage our workforce. One such tool is CliffJumper, our comprehensive Human Resource Management System (HRMS). CliffJumper has been a cornerstone in streamlining various HR processes, from attendance management to leave applications, payroll handling to social media integration. However, like any forward-thinking organization, we believe in continuous improvement and evolution. In our pursuit of enhancing our internal processes, we are excited to introduce a groundbreaking feature – the AI Scrum Master!

Overview of CliffJumper 

Before delving into the details of our newest addition, let's begin with a brief overview of CliffJumper. It is a versatile HRMS that caters to the needs of our employees, HR personnel, managers, and our sales team. It seamlessly integrates various HR functions, making it a one-stop solution for all things HR. This includes attendance tracking, leave management, access to company holidays, tutorial viewing, payroll details, and even social media integration.

The Scrum Dilemma: What We Were Facing

In every dynamic organization, regular communication and coordination are essential. For us, this meant daily scrum updates – a practice where employees share what they accomplished that day, any obstacles they encountered, and their plan for the following day. Over time, we noticed a few issues with our daily scrum updates:

  • Lack of Punctuality: Some team members submitted their updates just before the daily scrum, while others would submit them the next day, reducing the real-time utility of these updates.
  • Inconsistent Quality: The updates varied in quality and consistency. Some employees merely went through the motions, listing tasks without meaningful insights.
  • Non-Compliance: The format of the updates didn't consistently adhere to our organization's protocol, making it challenging for the HR team to evaluate them effectively.
  • Missing Updates: Few employees even started skipping the updates entirely.

This led to challenges in tracking the punctuality and quality of updates, putting a strain on the HR team's resources.

The Birth of the AI Scrum Master

To address these issues, we integrated CliffJumper with Microsoft Teams and introduced our AI Scrum Master. This innovative feature actively monitors our daily scrum updates, ensuring punctuality and quality. Here's how it works:

  • Real-Time Monitoring: It captures updates sent on the Teams daily scrum channel, recording the date, time and the employee's name.
  • AI Evaluation: These updates are then evaluated by our AI, which follows our organizational protocols. It checks for the presence of three essential sections: tasks completed, impediments faced, and plans for the next day.
Maria Arif

Revolutionising Social Media Management with Shockwave

In an age where social media rules the digital landscape, businesses are constantly seeking innovative solutions to streamline their online presence and connect with their audience effectively. Shockwave is one such game-changing solution that we have created and incorporated in our organization. 

Shockwave is a cutting-edge application designed to simplify and revolutionize the way employees interact with social media platforms. Created with the modern workplace in mind, Shockwave allows users to seamlessly access, engage with, and create content across various social media platforms from a single, user-friendly interface.

The Genesis of Shockwave

The creation of Shockwave was born out of a profound need within the organization. The digital age has ushered in a new era of communication, and businesses recognize the value of maintaining a strong online presence. However, the time and effort required to manage multiple social media accounts can be daunting. Shockwave was conceived as a solution to bridge this gap, offering a unified platform for managing and leveraging the power of social media.

Comprehensive Features of Shockwave

Shockwave offers a comprehensive set of features, including:

  • Subscribe/Unsubscribe to selected social media platforms.

Maria Arif

Introducing Cliff Jumper - Revolutionizing Your Hiring Process!

In the fast-paced world of business, staying ahead of the competition requires innovation and efficiency, especially when it comes to recruitment and human resources management. Say hello to Cliff Jumper, the all-new HRMS portal that is set to transform the way you approach hiring. With a range of cutting-edge features and a user-friendly interface, Cliff Jumper is here to take your recruitment efforts to the next level, making the hiring process smoother, faster, and more effective.

Features :

ATS (Application Tracking System): Say goodbye to the days of drowning in piles of resumes and manually sorting through applications. Cliff Jumper's ATS feature automates the entire recruitment process. This revolutionary feature streamlines candidate application management, tracking their progress, and enabling effortless communication. All candidate information is stored in a centralized and secure database for easy access and updates. This automation means that your team can spend less time on administrative tasks and more time engaging with potential candidates.

Maria Arif

Balancing personal and professional life

Luxurious life, a successful career and comforts were the thoughts that lingered in my mind as I stood among the toppers with my head held high and a B.E. degree with a well-paying job from an MNC in hand. Over 15 years, thoughts changed to family, kids, their health and education. These thoughts of a woman give rise to loving families and disciplined kids. But there was a fire deep within to implement the knowledge, to prove the caliber, to step back into the professional world. Many opportunities knocked my door (now an M.E. topper too) but I always dreamt of a job where I would not be forced to leave my kids at the mercy of domestic helpers at this tender age. Could there be a job where I could restart my career and yet attend to the needs of my family?

Luckily the answer was ‘yes’. When I received a work from home offer from ProDT Consulting Services with flexibility in working hours, I felt it was my dream job. But I was skeptical about the work from home culture, remote organization and administration. All my doubts were dispelled in the three months that I spent as a proud member of the ProDT team. I understood the power of Agile concepts & project management theories and witnessed their potential outside the books. I learnt here how a project can be planned and executed so efficiently using Jira stories and scrum calls, even when the team resides remotely throughout the country. Posting scrum message at the end of the day, which includes updates for the day, impediments faced and plan for the next day, helps the team to track the progress of the project. It also helps to understand the blockers the individuals are facing so that it can be resolved on time. Using WEM, a no code platform enriched with very powerful tools and functionalities, the projects are completed and delivered to meet the deadlines in few weeks (even days), as opposed to the traditional technology that would have taken months for the same project. As I unfold its new features every day, I realize how reusable components can prevent writing code from the scratch and save you a lot of time.

Using a new platform brings in lot of queries but when the CEO himself is so experienced and intellectual, and yet so down to earth, resolving doubts never seem tough. Moreover, the colleagues are always ready to help and are just a message away. Work from home has its own pros for me: no more hustle bustle in the morning, rushing to the office, scorching summer heats and drenched monsoons. It’s a good bye to traffic jams, umbrellas, raincoats and on the top of all to the anxiety about family and to the full day leaves when my kids are sick, as I can work at their bedside now.

ProDT, as its name suggests, enables truly digital transformation not only of the product and services but also of its team. It follows one of the core values of the Agile manifesto that states that individuals and interactions are over processes and tools. Every alternate Saturday, instead of working for the client, we work on ourselves by writing & sharing blogs and learning and implementing new technologies to transform into our better version both personally and professionally. Its humane to feel the gap sometimes as we work remotely and to miss the moments spent near the coffee machine where we would discuss our problems face to face or indulge in some gossip to relax in the break. To bridge this gap, a hangout activity is planned every fortnight where we switch on our cameras, play games, discuss the progress and future plans of the company and share our thoughts with each other. 'Happy team leads to happy customers' is what is followed at PRODT. I had a great time learning here in past few months and look forward to a long-term relation with ProDT.

Maria Arif

Integrating your app with Slack

Slack is today’s digital headquarter, where people across the world work collaboratively. Slack is an all-purpose communication platform which includes instant messaging, voice and video calling, and a suite of tools to help groups share information to work together. Slack has standalone applications for Windows, Mac, Android, Linux and iOS.

Slack Integrations

Integration is the process of enabling independently designed applications to work together by sharing processes and business data among each other. It is one of Slack’s most powerful features. Slack allows easy integration with other apps including Google Drive and Dropbox, to streamline file sharing. It uses a variety of bots to handle other tasks, such as pulling in data from external tools or creating quick surveys. These app integrations make the platform more versatile than other apps dedicated solely to communication. Thus, it saves time by streamlining daily tasks on Slack. The entire team can join video calls, manage their calendars and collaborate on files without switching tabs.

Slack is also designed to work with the internally built solutions and processes. Now users can integrate Slack with other applications to harness more value out of it. Teams can use it for creating workflows and bringing data from any application.  

Benefits of Slack Integrations

Integrating Slack with an in-built application can improve communication among the team along, save a lot of time and boost productivity. When your app is connected directly to Slack, instead of logging into the app to complete an action, you can directly do the needful from Slack. There’s no closing down tabs or switching between applications. This feature provided by Slack could be used to:

  • Benefit from continued use of an app while providing users with a slick experience inside Slack.
  • Integrate your sales app to handle accounts more efficiently while spending less time doing so
  • Directly access the messages on Slack when an event occurs in sales CRM
  • Build and modify objects directly from Slack.
  • Integrate your employee portal with Slack to send reminders to submit attendance which can be done directly through Slack without going to the company’s portal everyday in the morning, to apply for leaves or to receive pay slips.
  • Integrate HR module with Slack to receive notifications about leaves, approve/decline leaves, generate pay slips or view dashboards and reports.
  • Integrate Jira with Slack to monitor an entire project or an entire instance from within Slack
  • Integrate Zoho CRM to manage sales, marketing, contacts, customer support and other business functions.

Integrate your custom app with Slack

Slack allows easy integration of your custom app to send direct messages to the private, public and direct channels of an organization's workspace.

The following steps give an overview of how you can easily send data from your custom application to Slack channels through your Slack App. Here, the application has been designed in the WEM Modeler.

1) First step is to create an app on Slack with the basic instructions provided in the documentations on Slack. The following credentials can be found in the basic information section of the newly created app.