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  • What kind of emergency support do you need?

    When your software breaks, how quickly do you expect the programmer to respond to your request for assistance?

    Okay, that’s probably too broad. We both know that it depends on how broken it is.

    The software I build for my customers is an integral part of their business. It might be their money scoop. Or it might run their day-to-day operation. Regardless, if it isn’t working at all, it affects their bottom line pretty quickly.

    On the other hand, if it is minor bug that only affects a limited number of transactions, it probably isn’t an emergency.

    Assuming it is ...

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  • Your design will never be “perfect”

    I have unhappy news for you. Your design will never be perfect.

    This can be very frustrating to some people. (Probably perfectionist people like me.) They We will spend days/weeks/months agonizing over a design trying to make it perfect.

    But it can never be perfect. There will always be trade-offs. Some choices will make your app more maintainable. Others will make it perform better. Some choices will make your app easier to use. Others will make it easier to code.

    In one recent design meeting, we focused on a decision between ease of data retrieval and a more descriptive data ...

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  • Project success tip: Provide a single point of contact

    Whenever I’ve heard people talk about the importance of a single point of contact for communication between the developer and the “customer”, I’ve thought this was primarily to protect team members from unnecessary emails and meetings. But what I’ve come to realize is how important this is to project health generally, for a couple of reasons:

    Consistent message

    If only one person is giving the programmer feedback, they are less likely to get conflicting messages about how things should work.

    Less communication about the communication

    As a programmer on the outside of an organization, I often can’t tell who will ...

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  • The cynicism of hourly fees for programming

    StopWatch Most programmers who have been around a few years can tell you horror stories about a software project they worked on. The stories are varied, but most of them involve an “unreasonable” customer who kept changing their minds, and the project suffered from lots of rework and frustration, or perhaps didn’t even get finished. (Even I have a story like that.)

    Which is why programmers are often surprised to learn that I don’t charge by the hour. They’ll ask, “Aren’t you worried that the customer will change their mind repeatedly and you’ll lose money?”

    Not really.

    Most customers aren’t ...

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  • Top 5 tasks that get missed in software estimates

    Software estimates can be tricky. One challenge is remembering what to include. When people put together their estimates, they usually focus on the features but often forget some critical pieces that aren’t functionality specific.

    You might think that as a customer you don’t need to concern yourself with this. To a degree you are correct. But if your software roll-out has dependencies that make hitting target dates critical, you’ll want to feel confident that the estimates are accurate. Also, some developers who charge on an hourly basis can low-ball projects by providing estimates that exclude these tasks. It will be ...

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What the critics are saying...

As someone with over 20 years of software development experience and currently a small business owner, it has been a pleasure working with Avonelle. In addition to being a talented developer, Avonelle also has database expertise and system design skills. Avonelle is open minded and willing to discuss various methodologies for achieving a project goal. She is also not afraid to ask questions which is vital in a software development project. Her up-front project cost (not estimate) is very helpful in budgeting for a project.

--Dwayne Wolterstorff, Owner @ Fair