Business-focused custom software

  • Why your programmer needs to be like MacGyver

    200px-MacGyver_intro Okay, I confess. I never really watched MacGyver. But the idea of someone who can solve most any problem by quickly inventing a solution out of duct tape and dental floss (or whatever is laying around nearby) is pretty cool.

    To me this seems a lot like how the best programmers work. While most programmers aren’t solving the life-and-death problems that MacGyver faced, they often have to solve them remotely, and with little or misleading information.

    So what MacGyver-like characteristics should you be looking for in the next programmer you hire?


    I think the thing most important MacGyver ...

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  • 3 Reasons Why Improved Data Validation Will Save You Money

    Occasionally a customer will tell me that they don’t want to validate the data being entered into a form or page. Sometimes they think there aren’t any rules for the data. And sometimes they are concerned about the additional cost. Here are some reasons why improving the quality of the data will actually save you money:

    Future assumptions

    It is easy to think now that there are no rules about the data you are capturing. But months or years later, you may start making logical assumptions about that information that aren’t really true. For example, you may assume that every ...

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  • Ask the Programmer: Why can’t I change my mind?

    question-mark_resized Ask the programmer is feature designed to answer questions from non-geeks about hiring and working with programmers. If you have a question, please email me at

    Question: We hired a contract programmer to build a new application for our organization. Everything started out well, but now the project is late and shows no signs of getting done. He says it is because we changed our mind on some of the requirements. But how could we know it wasn’t what we wanted until we saw something? And several of these changes weren’t that big a deal. 

    Answer: This ...

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  • Talking to aliens, or how to communicate with a programmer


    Do you find it hard to talk to programmers (or techies in general)? I once knew a programmer who would get a dazed look whenever someone brought him a problem. We called it that “deer in the headlights” face, and it was disconcerting. It turns out that he wasn’t bored or terrified, he was thinking. And because he was thinking, he wasn’t speaking. Once we understood what was really going on, it made it a lot easier to communicate with him.

    Here are three tips for better communication with that alien life form, the software developer.

    Focus on goals and ...

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  • Good programming: making things better

    One of the reasons why I love programming is that when you are doing it right, the software you build actually makes things better for someone. Today I’ve seen two examples of this:

    • I rewrote an internal application for a customer that basically moves data between two systems. The old app had to be started manually and was slow and painful. The new app runs on a schedule and doesn’t require the same kind of end-user monitoring.
    • I’m working on updating a report for a different customer. The old report wasted a lot of white space because it had one ...

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What the critics are saying...

Avonelle has been a pleasure to work with.  Working with someone that you know will always deliver is tremendous.

Mark McNamee @ Renewal by Andersen