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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 is an incredibly talented software developer. She works fast, is economical, and offers great insights into the project at hand. She is also not afraid to speak up when she has concerns about a decision or approach. We’ve utilized her talents on many of our software development projects over the years.

Carrie Rocha, Chief Operating Officer @ HousingLink