Business-focused custom software

  • Good programmers don’t all look alike

    A lot of people think that the best programmers have the same attributes, like…

    • They keep odd hours, working well into the early morning hours.
    • They use a lot of fancy programming words even when they are speaking to non-programmers.
    • They eat nothing but pizza.

    You get the idea.

    But we need to get away from these stereotypes. I propose a different set of attributes:

    • They deliver what they promised, and it works.
    • They communicate effectively with users and stakeholders at all levels.
    • They have integrity.

    Don’t look at superficial stereotypical attributes when hiring a freelance programmer. Instead focus on ...

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  • Inexperienced? Perhaps an offshore resource isn’t the best choice

    A customer last week told me that one of their partners has hired a freelance programmer in China from a forum for a development project. This partner has no experience managing a software project. This is their first time.

    Sigh.

    Look - I get that software development is expensive. And I realize that offshore developers are often available at very popular prices.

    But do you honestly think that selecting a developer you can't meet with in person is the right move for your FIRST development project?

    The truth is that as an inexperienced purchaser of software development services, you don’t ...

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  • The Great Disappearing Act

    “Everything was going great but then he became slow to answer my requests and now he’s disappeared entirely,” the prospective client lamented. “What should I do?”

    Oh – that you had called me sooner

    Houdini developers are a common problem. They are easily available at first but suddenly disappear with no warning and you’re left wondering “what happened?”

    Freelance developers are often poor managers of their time. They start out on your project with lots of availability but then get busy and overwhelmed. They start avoiding their inboxes when things get swamped and leave you wondering if they fell off ...

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  • Too much flexibility can be dangerous

    One of my customers LOVES to ask for configuration options. Often when I ask “do you want that implemented as “a” or “b” he will reply “can you make it something we can change later?” It isn’t that he wants to make my job harder (although sometimes it feels that way.) The problem is that he understands their environment, and he knows change is likely.

    But making everything “flexible” adds cost, not only in initial development, but also in testing and maintenance. It can even be dangerous. When options are infrequently used, it is easy to forget how they work. This ...

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  • Want better results from your programmer? Communicate your goals.

    The best developers are consultative. They can work with you to help you achieve the best results for your business.

    But you probably wont’ attract the best developers or get the best results if your interactions with them inhibit feedback. For example:

    • Do you provide your programmer with a laundry list of to-do items? Or do you communicate your objectives?
    • Is everything a “priority” to you? Or can you quickly identify the things that are truly the most important?
    • Do you shut down all ideas that didn’t come from you? Or do you express an interest in hearing the programmer’s ...

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What the critics are saying...

As someone with over 20 years of software development experience and currently a small business owner, it has been a pleasure working with Avonelle. In addition to being a talented developer, Avonelle also has database expertise and system design skills. Avonelle is open minded and willing to discuss various methodologies for achieving a project goal. She is also not afraid to ask questions which is vital in a software development project. Her up-front project cost (not estimate) is very helpful in budgeting for a project.

--Dwayne Wolterstorff, Owner @ Fair