Business-focused custom software

  • Motivating Programmers

    Frank Kelly has published some good ideas about how to motivate developers. If you manage programmers, you will find it valuable.

    I think one of the things vastly overlooked in some large, complex corporate environments is the drag that non-programming activities can have on productivity. In my experience, the more busy work to be done (meetings, status reports, team-building exercises, etc.), the more productivity can take a major hit.

    What many don't realize is that it isn't just the time these activities take that suck the productivity from the programmer. It is also the illogical aspects of some of ...

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  • Are they inexperienced?

    Something I recommend in my white paper Selecting a Programmer is to find someone who has built something like your application before. In a way, this can be more complicated than it appears. After all, the reason why you are building custom software is because there isn’t any software like yours anywhere (at least not that you have access to).

    But it is important here to understand the real point. Let’s say my project is a YouTube clone for uploading and playing video. There are unique challenges associated with dealing with video and larger files. So if I had trouble ...

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  • Don't fall into the feature tar pit

    The last few weeks I've been setting up some third party software in a test environment so that I can do some development work on it. The software is an enterprise CRM, with a myriad of features and options.

    One feature of the software is its complex security model. Permissions can be set at a very detailed level: on each table, report, query, etc. Permissions are tied to groups, and users can be associated with multiple groups. Also, permissions are identified by different connection types (for instance: a LAN connection vs. a web connection.)

    The end result of these options ...

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  • How to prevent vendor lock-in

    There isn’t anything more frustrating than feeling like you have no choice. That’s one of the benefits of competition. But with technology, customers are often afraid of making a switch to a different vendor. If the current vendor is being difficult, a customer may worry that the vendor has programmed a technical "bomb" that will damage their system or reputation if they decide to switch vendors. Here are some ideas for customers to help protect their interests when working with a custom programmer:

    Deal with professionals
    You paid your girlfriend's cousin's high school acquaintance to build this awesome web ...

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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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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