Business-focused custom software

  • Be a Technology Pragmatist

    I really enjoy helping a customer make good use of technology. This week I am writing code that processes street addresses. The code cleans excess spaces, and replaces words used in street addresses like "Avenue" and "North" with consistent abbreviations. The code will also validate the addresses, so that we aren't saving an address without a street name or zip code, etc.

    All this processing helps my customer to keep a clean address database, which will their mailings will be sent out with fewer problems. And since some of these addresses are published for others to use, it will mean fewer phone ...

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  • Thanks for not listening!

    I should have known better.

    I recently received an email from a government website that I have used for purchasing savings bonds for my nieces and nephews. I guess I should say I used it once. After that first time, I realized it wasn't worth the hassle.Let me tell you why:

    • Instead of using an user name that I could choose, it assigned me a 10 digit letter/number account #.
    • The password had to be quite lengthy and include both numbers and letters.
    • I can't type the password into the site. Instead, I have to use a virtual keyboard which ...

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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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  • How to get your developer to fix bugs

    "When I used the software today, I got an error. Can you fix it?"

    This is the exact text of the email I received. No specifics on what she was doing when she got the error. No information about the error message itself.

    Even worse, this particular user helps other users setup their software. So I can't even try to log-in as her - frankly she could have been using any number of accounts.

    If you have ever felt that a software developer wasn't being responsive to a bug you have encountered in the software, stop and think for a ...

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  • Project Management Tips

    I spoke at the Twin Cities North Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals group last Friday. The topic was Project Management, which is definitely something of interest to me. I focused on 3 key areas:

    • Up-front planning and estimating. Check out my estimating article here - this is mostly what I covered.
    • Compare your efforts against your plan and adjust as necessary. Be honest with yourself about how you are acutally doing. Don't convince yourself you can "catch up" if it isn't really true.
    • Communicate regularly with your team. Some good project collaboration software includes Basecamp, GoPlan, ...

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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