Business-focused custom software

  • 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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  • How much of a difference does hiring the RIGHT person make?

    Not sure it's worth the added time and effort to make sure you are hiring the right programmer? Here's an example of why the time is worth it:

    A client hires a new consultant. They have a database with about 4 million records, and then need help exporting some of the data to Excel. The previous consultant used a query that grabbed ALL of the columns, so the file was quite large. The new consultant asked if they really needed all that data. Guess what? They only needed 5 columns, so the new file was about 20% of the size!......

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What the critics are saying...

Avonelle is a rare IT professional who can communicate with business users on a level they can understand, and who can recommend creative technical solutions that are in line with the business goals and the business budget. Avonelle is conscientious not only about meeting deadlines, but also exceeding her customers expectations around quality software while providing superior customer service. Avonelle is an inspiration to me.

Valerie Vogt, Director of IT Advisory Services @ Inetium