Business-focused custom software

  • 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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  • Finding the Right User Interface Features

    I recently worked on a design where we struggled with finding the best approach for a particular requirement. In the end, we came up with a great approach that is a big improvement over the current one. Here’s how our design approach evolved.

    The Problem

    The application is a search tool that helps people find affordable housing in Minnesota. The current system allows for several search criteria, including geographic location. The current implementation uses 4 list boxes – two for cities and two for counties. The first list box in each group shows a list of all the cities, the ...

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  • 3 Things Customers Wish Developers Knew

    Here are three things that customers wish developers understood:

    1) Standardization and consistency are critical. I don't care about your fancy flashy non-standard user interface that works differently from everyone else's. It may look "awesome", but I can't afford the training time for my 100+ employees to learn to interact with something like that. I need something that is consistent with everything else, not a flashy jumble.

    2) Tech-speak is not impressive. It is just confusing. You need to explain this stuff in a way that doesn't use words like "schema", "index", or "primary key". Otherwise I will just fall ...

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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