Business-focused custom software

  • 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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  • The issues are same

    When I worked for a consulting company, one of the challenges we faced was finding work that was compelling to our consultants. Most technical consultants enjoy a technical challenge, and are doing consulting work instead of working at a 9 to 5 company because they like the variety and technical challenges that are available when working for a consulting company. If you didn't keep your staff challenged, they were likely to leave for other opportunities. However, you are not selling services to geeks, but to business people who are just solving business problems.

    Today a friend of mine who owns ...

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  • How to work harder: Don't use an issue tracking system

    Tangled

    Here's a great way to make your software project more complicated: don't use an issue tracking system. Issue tracking systems provide users/testers a centralized location to identify system bugs, questions and requests.

    You may think that you can easily do this via email, and for very small efforts you are right. However, for most projects, tracking issues via email will quickly become a tangled mess of long threads that are impossible to effectively track.

    If you want to lose track of what issues are fixed vs. what is still outstanding, by all means you should skip using an issue tracking system. (Perhaps ...

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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