Business-focused custom software

  • The Secret to Programming Methodologies

    When you talk to programmers, sometimes they will talk about methodologies. In fact, some programmers will go on and on and on about them. If you are hiring, they may tell you that they use “agile” practices or “waterfall”. As your eyes glaze over, you may correctly wonder “do I need to care?”

    The answer is: No.

    The question of methodologies can make a lot of programmers very religious. I’ve seen perfectly normal people get quite aggressive when they started talking about their chosen software development approach. Even the sales people for consulting firms can say quite pompously “We ...

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  • The Problem with Selecting the Lowest Bidder

    None of us wants to pay more than necessary for anything, including programming services. Sometimes the lowest bid is a great deal; sometimes it isn't. Here are some things to consider when comparing bids for software development:

    Compare apples to apples. Make sure the bids you are comparing are all fixed bids, and not hourly rates (even with an accompanying estimate.) Because estimates are not typically binding, and every developer works at a different speed, hourly rates are a more way to compare bids.

    What's included? Make sure you thoroughly understand what is included in each bid. Here are some things ...

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  • Risky Business

    Ryan at 37signals recently posted on the dangers of adding new features to software. Once a new feature is added, it is difficult to remove even if it doesn't work well and not utilized by the majority of your users. The problem is that SOME users will likely become frustrated when the feature is removed.

    Ryan suggests that this should inspire you to be very careful about the features you implement. I think this advice depends a lot on the size/impact of the feature, but his point is valid.

    The problem is - what should be done if the feature ...

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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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  • How much is it costing you?

    This week one of my customers is rolling out a new system. The new system is a vast improvement over their current processes in the following ways:

    • Information is not repeated. In previous versions, the same data existed in multiple places, making it difficult and time-consuming to keep consistent.
    • Let's others do the work. In the old systems, most information had to be maintained by my customer. In the new system, they allow external users to maintain some of the data, decreasing their labor costs.
    • More user-friendly. The old version was difficult for external users to understand, which was bad PR for my customer ...

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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