Business-focused custom software

  • What programmers can learn from 5 year olds about software design

    I recently attended my nephew’s 5th birthday party. Observing him I realized that he and his guests could teach programmers a thing or two about software design:

    Put yourself in someone else’s shoes

    My nephew spends quite a bit of time playing with imaginary friends. And to him, they all have distinct personalities. (For example, one of his imaginary friends is a dead composer. Another is a penguin.)

    Programmers often think too much like themselves when designing software. To design really great software, you need to be able to use your imagination, and put yourself in another person’s shoes.

    The ...

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  • Please (I’m begging you) only hire tech resources you can trust

    I was reminded today of the importance of being careful about the technology resources you hire. This article refers to a survey that suggests that more than 59% of employees who are fired, laid off or quit admit to stealing company data. Yikes! When you trust someone with your technology, you are giving them the ability to do severe damage to your business. Not only do you risk data loss or data theft, but there is also the potential of destruction of your reputation and brand. 

    Before you hire someone (internally or externally) to work on technology related activities for ...

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  • The secret to buying custom software for less

    Cash It is true: custom software can be expensive. The problem isn’t overpriced programmers (usually). The problem is that custom software takes time to build. And effort, lots of effort. (And no one knows what they want, and keep changing their mind, but that’s a separate story.)

    Still, it is possible to get custom software for less money than you were quoted. The answer is simple: cut features.

    My smartest customers know this. If I provide a bid that is outside their budget, they’ll ask this brilliant question:

    “Here’s what we are trying to achieve. Is there a way we ...

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  • The life and times of a software detective

    magnifying_glass_resizedA lot of the work I do involves looking for clues. Last week I upgraded a web app to allow users to upload photos of their properties. As my customer started testing, one user reported that they couldn’t access the photo upload page – an error was always generated. They tried with different accounts but the result was always the same. We assumed that there was something funky with their user accounts, and in fact they did discover some duplicate records that we suspected were the cause.

    We were wrong.

    As it turns out, the problem was much more mundane. ...

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  • Avoiding the cone of silence

    One of my guilty pleasures is old TV programs. One series that was particularly entertaining was the show Get Smart, which if nothing else has an awesome name. (A great commandment: Get Smart! Immediately, already! What’s taking you so long?)

    On the program they would occasionally employ a tool called The Cone of Silence, which was supposed to permit its users to speak about secrets in a way that prevented others from hearing them. It never worked properly, making it impossible for the users to understand each other, but everyone else could hear them fine. This was of ...

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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