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

    This article at 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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  • Good programmers don’t all look alike

    A lot of people think that the best programmers have the same attributes, like…

    • They keep odd hours, working well into the early morning hours.
    • They use a lot of fancy programming words even when they are speaking to non-programmers.
    • They eat nothing but pizza.

    You get the idea.

    But we need to get away from these stereotypes. I propose a different set of attributes:

    • They deliver what they promised, and it works.
    • They communicate effectively with users and stakeholders at all levels.
    • They have integrity.

    Don’t look at superficial stereotypical attributes when hiring a freelance programmer. Instead focus on ...

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  • Inexperienced? Perhaps an offshore resource isn’t the best choice

    A customer last week told me that one of their partners has hired a freelance programmer in China from a forum for a development project. This partner has no experience managing a software project. This is their first time.


    Look - I get that software development is expensive. And I realize that offshore developers are often available at very popular prices.

    But do you honestly think that selecting a developer you can't meet with in person is the right move for your FIRST development project?

    The truth is that as an inexperienced purchaser of software development services, you don’t ...

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  • The Great Disappearing Act

    “Everything was going great but then he became slow to answer my requests and now he’s disappeared entirely,” the prospective client lamented. “What should I do?”

    Oh – that you had called me sooner

    Houdini developers are a common problem. They are easily available at first but suddenly disappear with no warning and you’re left wondering “what happened?”

    Freelance developers are often poor managers of their time. They start out on your project with lots of availability but then get busy and overwhelmed. They start avoiding their inboxes when things get swamped and leave you wondering if they fell off ...

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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