Business-focused custom software

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  • Trust and Efficiency–Yes, that is the point

    This piece on charging hourly for programming services really nails it, I think. Programmers often get bogged down in fears that they will not be paid fairly unless they get to charge by the hour for everything. But there isn’t any financial incentive to minimize bugs when you are charging extra for them. And you are communicating something to a customer when you use this approach, and it isn’t that you are a seasoned professional who has confidence in their work. You are telling them: I intend to squeeze every last dollar out of you.

    When I build software for ...

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  • Is getting "ripped off" by a programmer likely?

    This article at Entrepreneur.com offers tips to avoid getting "ripped off" by a freelance developer. While I find the term "ripped off" offensive, I think it is certainly true that it is possible to hire someone who does not fulfill their obligations to you as a customer. But is this likely?

    If you are new to hiring a programmer and have little programming experience, it is definitely a possibility that the project will go badly. Some of that may be the programmer's fault - they may not listen carefully enough to your requirements or they may make poor implementation decisions. ...

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  • Software Maintenance is the Most Important Phase

    It is easy to assume that the most important phase of a software development application's life cycle is the beginning, when the initial development takes place. That's when the technology and architecture for an application is established, so it seems like it would be important. But is it?

    I'm reading Adam Tornhill's book Your Code as a Crime Scene: Use Forensic Techniques to Arrest Defects, Bottlenecks, and Bad Design in Your Programs. Early on, he refers to Robert Glass and his book Facts and Fallacies of Software Engineering. Glass argues that maintenance is the most important phase in ...

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  • Too much flexibility can be dangerous

    One of my customers LOVES to ask for configuration options. Often when I ask “do you want that implemented as “a” or “b” he will reply “can you make it something we can change later?” It isn’t that he wants to make my job harder (although sometimes it feels that way.) The problem is that he understands their environment, and he knows change is likely.

    But making everything “flexible” adds cost, not only in initial development, but also in testing and maintenance. It can even be dangerous. When options are infrequently used, it is easy to forget how they work. This ...

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  • The secret to buying custom software for less

    Cash It is true: custom software can be expensive. The problem isn’t overpriced programmers (usually). The problem is that custom software takes time to build. And effort, lots of effort. (And no one knows what they want, and keep changing their mind, but that’s a separate story.)

    Still, it is possible to get custom software for less money than you were quoted. The answer is simple: cut features.

    My smartest customers know this. If I provide a bid that is outside their budget, they’ll ask this brilliant question:

    “Here’s what we are trying to achieve. Is there a way we ...

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What the critics are saying...

From my experience with Avonelle, she can be relied on to deliver whatever she promises--always on time and for the quoted cost. She'll ask the right questions to make sure that what she delivers truly meets the business need. Her expertise has been invaluable. All that at a very reasonable rate!

Kim Merriman, Operations Manager @ HousingLink