Business-focused custom software

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  • Cheap developers can be expensive

    A question I get regularly from my customers is along the lines of “what does this feature do?” or “how does this feature work?”. This is a bit surprising to me because I always think “I built it as you requested, so don’t YOU know how it should work?”

    Of courses that’s pretty unfair. Any non-trivial piece of software will have features that are used less frequently, and therefore may have feature details that are not easy to remember. Also, my contact person at the customer is often not the primary user of the software I’ve built.They aren’t going to ...

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  • Why are you changing your software?

    It seems to me that there are 4 different types of changes to existing software:

    • Regulatory – changes needed due to law or rule alterations
    • External Improvements – changes designed to make things better for the end-user
    • Internal Improvements – changes designed to make things better for IT or the owner
    • New Coat of Paint Features – changes to make the site or application “look better” without any deeper goal

    While I wish most software changes were focused on the first two types, it seems to me that we often see the last two changes. The other day, I found ...

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  • The disappearing customer

    Unfortunately, the disappearing customer is not any better than the disappearing programmer during a development project. When a customer doesn’t respond to communication requests in a timely fashion, it slows the entire effort down (or in some cases, grinds it to a complete halt!)

    If you have hired a programmer for a custom development effort, make arrangements for someone else to respond to questions if you will be on vacation or otherwise unavailable for more than a day or two. And use an auto-responder so that people emailing you know what to expect. Better yet: let others know what is ...

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  • Do you need high responsiveness from your consultant?

    Not all businesses do, but it can certainly come in handy. I recently got a call from one of my clients with an urgent request to hide a particular feature from users while they spent some time reviewing it. The issue was that their process to prevent misuse of their site had allowed a bad actor through, resulting in some fraud for a legitimate user. Yikes!

    Because this client is a regular support client, I provide a high level of responsiveness for their requests. I was able to adjust their application and get the solution deployed in less than half ...

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  • The disappearing programmer

    If you looking for someone to build an application for your business, the last thing you need is a Houdini wannabe. I’m continually amazed by programmers who take on projects, start the effort, and then perform their magic act by disappearing, ignoring emails, phone calls, and texts for days or longer.

    Whether they are an employee or a consultant, professionalism means regular communication. I know technologists have a reputation for communicating poorly, but that’s no excuse. Answer your phone already! (Bonus points for proactive rather than reactive communication.)

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What the critics are saying...

Avonelle has been a pleasure to work with.  Working with someone that you know will always deliver is tremendous.

Mark McNamee @ Renewal by Andersen