Business-focused custom software

  • 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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  • 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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What the critics are saying...

Avonelle is an incredibly talented software developer. She works fast, is economical, and offers great insights into the project at hand. She is also not afraid to speak up when she has concerns about a decision or approach. We’ve utilized her talents on many of our software development projects over the years.

Carrie Rocha, Chief Operating Officer @ HousingLink