Maintaining Your Application — It’s Like Owning A Cat

Taking care of software is like taking care of a cat.

I may live to regret this analogy.

But let’s consider this a PSA for the purpose of maintaining your software application . . . perhaps co-sponsored by your local ASPCA or Animal Rescue.

I frequently find that clients think of their applications like a very heavy piece of furniture — one of those uber-plushy, leather recliners. You buy it, you stick it in the corner, and, there it sits, comfy and dependable, aging gracefully in place for years until a spouse puts a foot down and insists that it be updated for a newer model. The chair is dragged to the corner or sold at a yard sale or hauled to the transfer station. (more…)

When a Fixed Price is a Reasonable Option

Photo by Francesco Ungaro from Pexels

I still run into a lot of companies that have the expectation that software development can be done on a fixed-price basis. They’re either still used to waterfall management style, or dealing with goods vendors, or, maybe a few are still running into software developers willing to work on a fixed-price basis.

On this blog, we’ve talked about the dangers inherent in fixed-price development services. How companies willing to offer an FPB will triple their hourly rate for change requests in order to make up the margin they already know exists between what they think the project will cost, and what it actually will end up costing. How every project, no matter how well planned out, rarely looks the same at the finish as it did at the start. How the number of unknowns at the start of a development project could fill a dump truck. What we haven’t talked much about is when it is reasonable to ask for, or expect, a fixed price. (more…)

I’m Sorry: Your Software Project Will Never Be Finished.

Photo by Rene Böhmer on Unsplash

No, really.

In fact, when you go live, your software shouldn’t be “done.” If it is, you’ve done something wrong.

You see, in the history of software, there’s never been such a thing as a piece of software that launched without bugs. Think of your favorite, most used platforms. Gmail. Facebook. Salesforce. All are brimming with bugs. Every day a user writes into their contact forms about a bug they discovered, and while a lot of them are PEBKAC errors, a lot of them are legitimate bugs. And the ticket tracker logs them, someone triages them, and, eventually, most of them will be corrected.

But before that happens, some new feature will be added, or an existing feature will be modified (‘member when Facebook separated out the messages app from the FB mobile app?), and that will create a whole new series of bugs. (more…)

Looking Back at 2016 and Looking Forward to 2017

ZOLTAR

As we reach the end of 2016, let’s take a look at some of the stuff we wrote about over the course of the year. We shared our thoughts on custom software development, looking at the such things as: the differences between composing and improvising; the value of refactoring; the nuances of following a lean-startup model; the conflict between Apple and the FBI; what happens when bad projects happen to good people; and a top ten list of the ways in which software development is like parenting. (more…)

Understanding: the Difference Maker

Three doors, a teal one opened, to represent the process of deciding on a custom software development company

In the world of software consulting, it can be virtually impossible to determine what the fair market value for software development is. Nobody estimates work according to the same parameters: some firms have differing rates for differing services, some have offshore development services, some won’t provide a meaningful estimate at all (and for good reason). (more…)