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  • Why the scope creep monster doesn’t frighten me

    Most independent programmers have a fear of scope creep. Actually that’s not completely true. Most have a fear of scope creep they won’t be paid for. For those who are doing a fixed bid project, the fear is that expanding scope will eat away at any profit until they are making about $1.30/hour. Yikes.

    To compensate, some programmers get very aggressive about delineating project scope. They become militant when even a small feature change is suggested. And I have a lot of sympathy for that position.

    But I don’t share it.

    Look, everyone I know who has been in ...

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  • Having it your way (except when you can’t)

    Good projects (and by “good” I mean “successful” of course) always have a defined objective. Everyone knows the goal, and everyone stays focused on that goal throughout the project.

    Also important in a good/successful project is understanding the project sponsor’s values. For example, some customers place a high value on source code portability – the ability to easily take the code to any vendor. Others may prioritize completing the project as quickly as possible. In the case of the former, using a third party component might not be appropriate, but for the second customer this might make a lot of ...

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  • Gracefully handling the unexpected (deer edition)

    If you plan on enjoying your evening, I recommend that you do not ram a deer with your car. Really. Truly.

    I did not follow that advice. Last weekend as we drove home from a family gathering, a deer jumped into the road directly in front of the car.

    There was nothing I could do. There was not enough time to stop. Swerving would have put me in the lane of oncoming traffic, or the ditch. So I hit the deer.

    As you can imagine, the evening went downhill from there. I won’t bore you with all the details: the ...

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  • Is your software project run by underpants gnomes?

    Every time I see the underpants gnomes on South Park I shudder. These are the guys who came up with the brilliant 3 phase business strategy:

    File:Gnomes plan.png

    Actually I think the underpants gnomes are pretty funny. But they hit a little close to home, you know? Because I’ve seen a lot of software projects that follow a similar logic.

    Take for example a recent Craigslist post:

    “I'd like to find a web designer that would help me build a web community like MYSPACE or FACEBOOK. I’m looking for local web designers/students that can be affordable.”

    Uh, okay. You want to build ...

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  • Good programming: making things better

    One of the reasons why I love programming is that when you are doing it right, the software you build actually makes things better for someone. Today I’ve seen two examples of this:

    • I rewrote an internal application for a customer that basically moves data between two systems. The old app had to be started manually and was slow and painful. The new app runs on a schedule and doesn’t require the same kind of end-user monitoring.
    • I’m working on updating a report for a different customer. The old report wasted a lot of white space because it had one ...

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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