Business-focused custom software

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  • Who pays for mistakes?

    One reason why I am an advocate for fixed-fee pricing over hourly pricing is that I dislike the notion that the customer should be penalized if I make a mistake. I’m of the opinion that the customer should be protected from my boo-boos as much as possible. 

    There are a few kinds of mistakes that can occur on a software project. One kind of mistake is when the programmer creates a poor estimate of the required effort. This is a very common because few programmers are good at software estimation.

    Some who charge hourly will not penalize the customer in ...

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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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  • Why the scope creep monster doesn’t frighten me

    Most independent programmers have a fear of scope creep. Actually that’s not completely true. Most have a fear of scope creep they won’t be paid for. For those who are doing a fixed bid project, the fear is that expanding scope will eat away at any profit until they are making about $1.30/hour. Yikes.

    To compensate, some programmers get very aggressive about delineating project scope. They become militant when even a small feature change is suggested. And I have a lot of sympathy for that position.

    But I don’t share it.

    Look, everyone I know who has been in ...

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  • Having it your way (except when you can’t)

    Good projects (and by “good” I mean “successful” of course) always have a defined objective. Everyone knows the goal, and everyone stays focused on that goal throughout the project.

    Also important in a good/successful project is understanding the project sponsor’s values. For example, some customers place a high value on source code portability – the ability to easily take the code to any vendor. Others may prioritize completing the project as quickly as possible. In the case of the former, using a third party component might not be appropriate, but for the second customer this might make a lot of ...

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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