Business-focused custom software

  • How to frustrate your users by making data entry annoying

    All I wanted to do was to create some calendar entries. A date, some times, and a description. Not too tough.

    Except the person who created the user interface has clearly not spent a lot of time actually doing this task. Take a look at the form:

    New_Calendar_Event

    Now consider for a moment how annoying it is to enter start and end times on this form. It always defaults to “01:00 AM”, which of course is NEVER the start time for one of my appointments. So I must always change the first drop down value. And if the appointment starts on ...

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  • Don’t forget the docs!

    Everyone hates documentation. It is either boring or it doesn’t answer provide the needed answers. Many programmers agree that documentation is critical when they are taking over a project for someone else, and think it is completely unimportant when they need to create it themselves.

    So as a customer: what documentation should you expect or require from your programmer?

    Every situation is different, but here are some documents you may want to consider requesting:

    System Design

    This is the specification that was (usually) created before the programming began. It can include functional specifications, wireframes, screen mockups, user stores, UML diagrams, ...

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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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  • Gracefully handling the unexpected (deer edition)

    If you plan on enjoying your evening, I recommend that you do not ram a deer with your car. Really. Truly.

    I did not follow that advice. Last weekend as we drove home from a family gathering, a deer jumped into the road directly in front of the car.

    There was nothing I could do. There was not enough time to stop. Swerving would have put me in the lane of oncoming traffic, or the ditch. So I hit the deer.

    As you can imagine, the evening went downhill from there. I won’t bore you with all the details: the ...

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  • My software doesn’t contain missile launch codes, why does it need security?

    “I just want my users to log into my application before using it. Is it really that hard?” my customer asked, frustrated.

    Short answer: Yes.

    Long answer: It depends.

    Look I sympathize. If you think I enjoy all this security stuff, you would be really wrong. Security related issues are NO FUN. No one likes security. Users hate it, so if people have security-related trouble, they think the application is horrible and the programmer is an idiot.

    The reason why everyone is frustrated is obvious. Software security is intended to prevent unauthorized users from accessing the application. But users want ...

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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