Business-focused custom software

  • Random changes <> debugging

    One of the more colorful characters I've worked with over the years was a woman I'll call Ashly. Ashly was a programmer employed by my former employer, and had made the transition from an older technology to classic ASP, which at the time was the cool new thing.

    Occasionally she would ask for my help with something. And each time I was astonished because her difficulties always demonstrated a fundamental misunderstanding of the technology. She was functional, but for the most part illiterate in her coding skills.

    Here's an example: Ashly once came to me confused because her classic ASP ...

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  • Five reasons why my customers are awesome

    I know, I know. Sounds like I'm just trying to suck up, doesn't it?

    Well, just a tiny bit.

    But I do have awesome customers. In fact, there are actually more reasons than 5. But here are the top 5 reasons why I love my customers and think they are the bomb:

    They ask questions. I'm not talking about "when will this be done" types of questions, although they ask that too. They ask questions about why things work the way they do. They want to understand. They are intellectually curious.

    They share their ideas. Some people may find this ...

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  • What kind of emergency support do you need?

    When your software breaks, how quickly do you expect the programmer to respond to your request for assistance?

    Okay, that’s probably too broad. We both know that it depends on how broken it is.

    The software I build for my customers is an integral part of their business. It might be their money scoop. Or it might run their day-to-day operation. Regardless, if it isn’t working at all, it affects their bottom line pretty quickly.

    On the other hand, if it is minor bug that only affects a limited number of transactions, it probably isn’t an emergency.

    Assuming it is ...

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  • Your design will never be “perfect”

    I have unhappy news for you. Your design will never be perfect.

    This can be very frustrating to some people. (Probably perfectionist people like me.) They We will spend days/weeks/months agonizing over a design trying to make it perfect.

    But it can never be perfect. There will always be trade-offs. Some choices will make your app more maintainable. Others will make it perform better. Some choices will make your app easier to use. Others will make it easier to code.

    In one recent design meeting, we focused on a decision between ease of data retrieval and a more descriptive data ...

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  • Project success tip: Provide a single point of contact

    Whenever I’ve heard people talk about the importance of a single point of contact for communication between the developer and the “customer”, I’ve thought this was primarily to protect team members from unnecessary emails and meetings. But what I’ve come to realize is how important this is to project health generally, for a couple of reasons:

    Consistent message

    If only one person is giving the programmer feedback, they are less likely to get conflicting messages about how things should work.

    Less communication about the communication

    As a programmer on the outside of an organization, I often can’t tell who will ...

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What the critics are saying...

Avonelle is a talented expert in her field. She has blended well with our team and built applications that we are proud to deploy to our associates. Her talents helped us execute a vision expediently and with quality. If we could do it all over again, we wouldn’t change a thing.

Peter Edstrom @ Renewal by Andersen