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  • The Secret to Caring Enough to be Fired

    “We’ve decided to let Steve go,” my customer informed me. “He just isn’t listening. And we don’t have any more time to waste on him raising the same concerns.”

    Steve was a programming contractor who took his job seriously. Some programmers just did whatever they were told. Not Steve. Steve would raise concerns when he didn’t agree with the technical decisions that were made. If the customer didn’t agree, they would explain their position, and Steve would nod and seem to assent. Then, the next day, he would bring up the same issue again.

    Steve probably thought he was doing ...

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  • How to protect yourself from the creeps (part 2)

    In part 1, I described some of the causes of software development scope creep.

    So now the $64,000 question is: what can we do to prevent scope creep?

    Unfortunately, there is no bulletproof, 100% guaranteed method of eliminating scope creep for your software project. That doesn’t mean that the requirements will definitely change, but it does mean that no one can promise you it won’t happen. (If they are promising that, they are selling you a bill of goods.) However, there are some things you can do to decrease the likelihood that creep will derail your project.

    Document requirements (and periodically ...

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  • What does a programming poser look like?

    There are a lot of technology amateurs out there posing as experts. How can tell what a technology/programming poser looks like?

    Gets excited about technology and ignores results. A true professional knows that technology is only a means to an end, not the end itself. But lots of posers get caught up in the "coolness factor". Unfortunately, many "cool" things will not improve your business. Posers don't understand this.

    Undirected troubleshooting. I once worked with a consultant who would try to randomly change things when she ran into a technical problem. A poser doesn’t understand the technology he/she is working ...

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  • Reason #534 to Not Bill Hourly

    Noted author Steve McConnell discusses the various studies that show huge variations (10:1 or more) in the productivity of different programmers with the same levels of experience. Many of us in the industry have experienced this first hand - watching the destruction of a project budget by an individual who burned hours at an alarming rate with little to show for it.

    But doesn't billing on an hourly basis just compound this problem? We are rewarding the individual who is least productive by paying him the most. It certainly gives the developer no incentive to work efficiently.

    Most clients haven't heard ...

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  • Keep it under control

    I'm often amazed at the number of developers who don't use source code control software. The arguments I've heard against it are lame and half hearted:

    Too expensive

    Other than some time to set it up and the disk space to set aside for it, there is no reason for it to cost anything at all. There are several source code control options that are open source or free. (Some examples include Subversion and CVS.) Personally, I use Sourcegear's Vault, which is free for a single user.

    Only large teams need source code control

    Even teams of one person can benefit ...

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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