Publication Date: 1/18/2010 11:06:43 PM
Most programmers who have been around a few years can tell you horror stories about a software project they worked on. The stories are varied, but most of them involve an “unreasonable” customer who kept changing their minds, and the project suffered from lots of rework and frustration, or perhaps didn’t even get finished. (Even I have a story like that.)
Which is why programmers are often surprised to learn that I don’t charge by the hour. They’ll ask, “Aren’t you worried that the customer will change their mind repeatedly and you’ll lose money?”
Most customers aren’t ...
Publication Date: 1/10/2010 10:51:36 AM
One of the more frustrating aspects of being a programmer is that sometimes users encounter problems you never hear about. It isn’t anyone’s fault – I don’t always notify people when the software I use generates an error either. It takes time and effort, and I often think “they probably already know”.
But honestly, we don’t always know about the problems users encounter. Especially on smaller software projects with a limited number of developers and testers, we’re unlikely to test every single scenario. So the problem a user discovers may not be anything we tested for or have seen ourselves.......
Publication Date: 12/8/2009 8:33:17 AM
Ask the programmer is a feature designed to answer questions from non-geeks about hiring and working with programmers. If you have a question, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Question: Why doesn’t your custom software contract grant my company ownership rights for the code. I’m paying for the software, shouldn’t I be the owner?
Answer: To start out, we need to have a common understanding of what is included in custom software. Most custom software is made up of several different things:
Publication Date: 11/17/2009 4:20:16 PM
My new thermostat has a myriad of features, including a sensor that will tell me the outside temperature. The thermostat doesn’t use this information – it just reports it, with lots of information about the climate inside my house (temperature, humidity, etc.)
One problem: the outside sensor is in a spot that gets the full morning sun. This means that this morning, when the temperature was actually 30 degrees, my thermostat said it was 61. I have seen the reported outside temperature be off by more than 40 degrees!
There really isn’t a good alternative location for the sensor. They ...
Publication Date: 10/5/2009 8:56:33 AM
Software estimates can be tricky. One challenge is remembering what to include. When people put together their estimates, they usually focus on the features but often forget some critical pieces that aren’t functionality specific.
You might think that as a customer you don’t need to concern yourself with this. To a degree you are correct. But if your software roll-out has dependencies that make hitting target dates critical, you’ll want to feel confident that the estimates are accurate. Also, some developers who charge on an hourly basis can low-ball projects by providing estimates that exclude these tasks. It will be ...
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What everyone should know about bugs
How to tell if an estimate sucks
The Secret to Building a Crappy User Interface
The Problem with Selecting the Lowest Bidder
5 Ways to Control Software Development Costs
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