Business-focused custom software

  • Ask the Programmer: Why can’t I “own” my code?

    question mark 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 avonelle@lovhaug.com.

    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:

    • Controls, components, or libraries written by third parties and purchased by the developer
    • Controls, components, or libraries ...

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  • When more is less (or makes you look stupid)

    Photo from Muffet on Flickr 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 ...

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  • Top 5 tasks that get missed in software estimates

    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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  • Duct Tape Programmers and their scary look-a-likes

    Unless you are a programmer, you probably don’t read Joel on Software since, well, he writes about software development. It is too bad, because he actually writes about the business of software development, and not complicated coding techniques.

    This week he wrote about The Duct Tape Programmer. HIs post describes a type of programmer who isn’t fascinated by the most cool, complicated programming solution, and instead focuses on building applications and shipping software. He compares this programmer to architecture astronauts who have really great ideas about building software, but their ideas require people smarter than most of us.

    I think ...

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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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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