Business-focused custom software

  • 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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  • 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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  • How to protect yourself from the creeps (part 1)

    If you are involved in a programming project, sooner or later you will hear about creep – scope creep, that is. Typically, the conversation happens about half-way through the project, and it is an ugly feeling.

    You: It is important that the system include the [abc] functionality.

    Programmer: [ABC] feature wasn’t included in the proposal/requirements/design that you approved, so this is scope creep. Pay me more money for this feature.

    You (mumbling): Now I know who the creep is!

    This is a very common problem – more common than any of us would like to admit. And it can leave ...

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  • What can go wrong on my project?

    A lot. Believe me.

    No one wants to anticipate the worst. But actually thinking about what can go wrong can help you to better prepare for and prevent problems.

    Here are some of the common problems that happen on software development projects, and what you can do to prevent them.

    The estimate is wrong, and the project will take longer and/or cost more.

    This is the #1 problem that occurs on software development projects.
    What to do? Don’t panic. Evaluate the situation. Could this have been prevented? Is this a one-off, or indicative of a larger problem?
    How to prevent? The best ...

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What the critics are saying...

As someone with over 20 years of software development experience and currently a small business owner, it has been a pleasure working with Avonelle. In addition to being a talented developer, Avonelle also has database expertise and system design skills. Avonelle is open minded and willing to discuss various methodologies for achieving a project goal. She is also not afraid to ask questions which is vital in a software development project. Her up-front project cost (not estimate) is very helpful in budgeting for a project.

--Dwayne Wolterstorff, Owner @ Fair