Software Development

17 Jun 2013

Entrepreneurial Time Estimating Learned From My Father

By | 2017-04-03T11:27:55+00:00 June 17th, 2013|Categories: Doug's Blog, Leadership, Mindset and Motivation, Software Development|

With Father's Day just past I was reflecting on what I learned from my own father. Actually, I learned it from observation because I am pretty sure he was not intentionally passing on his wisdom.

If fact, like most entrepreneurs of the visionary bent, he was extremely optimistic in estimating effort for new ventures.

It usually went something like this.

"Doug, I am replacing the stairs on the deck and could use some help for an hour or so."

Deck construction time estimating businessNow if he said […]

5 Jul 2012

Innovate, Imitate or Replicate?

By | 2017-04-03T11:37:15+00:00 July 5th, 2012|Categories: Business Strategy, Doug's Blog, Manifast, Software Development|

You can either do things the way everyone else does them (imitate) or the way it has always been done (replicate)… or you can innovate and come up with something (hopefully) better. 

We had this discussion today at our Manifast development team meeting. 

When you are building a single user web application or one where only one person needs to interact with a piece of data at a time, things are relatively simple.

When you have an enterprise (even a small enterprise) software package where many people have to view and edit the same data, you have to address concurrency. Concurrency […]

17 Nov 2011

Agile is Out, Lean is In… Work Management Options

By | 2017-04-03T11:42:47+00:00 November 17th, 2011|Categories: Doug's Blog, Leadership, Software Development|

In business, there are two main types of work:

  • Ad hoc ongoing work, and
  • Project based work where a bunch of work is lumped together to achieve a bigger objective.

Of course the lines blur a lot: large ongoing work versus small projects.

Ad hoc ongoing work tends to be mostly queue based for most people. How this work gets managed (or not) varies wildly.

For project based work I see that you have 4 main options for managing it:

  • Schedule based – The standard planned up-front Gantt chart type project. A variation would be to plan/schedule only as far out as you need to until you get […]
27 Oct 2011

Build Something You Know… Or?

By | 2017-04-03T11:43:26+00:00 October 27th, 2011|Categories: Business Strategy, Doug's Blog, Software Development|

Good business advice is to build products and services around things you already know well. Then you can focus on one hard thing at a time; building a great product.

But not all innovators do so with something they already knew. In fact sometimes innovators are successful precisely because they brought fresh insight into an area where the experts already knew everything there was to know.

You can build a product that relies on expertise that you have to learn as you go. This is a lot harder, but possible.

The trick is to truly commit to becoming an expert in the new area; […]

18 Oct 2011

Getting Past Fear – Launching our MVP in November

By | 2017-04-04T14:53:29+00:00 October 18th, 2011|Categories: Business Strategy, Doug's Blog, Software Development|

Ok, I admit it. I was caught in a trap… actually a few; partly of my own making.

After reading “Lean Startup” (see review) and rethinking what I’ve learned from Seth Godin over the years the message is loud and clear. Build and ship, measure and learn, adapt and ship. This needs to happen sooner than later.

The fear comes from putting a product out there that is conceptually good on paper, but not yet feature complete nor as perfect as I would like. After all you only get one shot at a first impression, right?

But after reading Lean Startup […]

8 Sep 2011

Fueling the Myth

By | 2017-04-04T14:57:06+00:00 September 8th, 2011|Categories: Doug's Blog, Software Development, Technology|

Computers are still harder to use than they should be.

I overheard a conversation between two young university students the other day:

Person 1: “I don’t know why people bother using Macs, they cost a lot more.”

Person 2: “They are easier to use and they don’t get viruses because they are more secure.”

My Recent Experiences (Part 1)

I recently shot and edited a dance video (see my last post for the link). I ran into to some issues that would have derailed a non-technical person.

The HD camcorders we were using had memory cards. Rather than use the USB […]

15 Aug 2011

Kanban – The Power of Focus

By | 2017-04-03T11:44:36+00:00 August 15th, 2011|Categories: Doug's Blog, Leadership, Software Development|

I recently read "Kanban – Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Company" by David Anderson.

Power of Focus

The most important takeaway is the power of focus.

I don't think the author quite stated it that way. He basically presented numerous examples and statistical evidence to show that limiting work in progress lead to a more effective and predictable outcome for software teams; especially those working on maintenance or lots of little projects for different systems.

It seems the more work you have on your plate that you are trying to simultaneously juggle the less efficient people and teams are.

Kanban essentially proves what other […]

21 Jun 2011

Who Owns Quality In Development

By | 2017-04-03T11:45:15+00:00 June 21st, 2011|Categories: Doug's Blog, Leadership, Software Development|

The simple answer: Everyone.

Actually this goes for any business. Quality is not a department or a person, it is something a company needs to live and breath from top to bottom.

It Starts With Development

The development team creates the code. If the software contains bugs, the developers created them.

If you are using third party libraries, developer may have inherited some bugs, but again, it is up to the developers to deal with them.

Quality is as much an attitude as a practice.

If you don't own the code as a team and own quality as a team; you won't have the right attitude to […]

7 Apr 2011

Did God Give Developers Brains?

By | 2017-04-03T11:46:27+00:00 April 7th, 2011|Categories: Doug's Blog, Leadership, Software Development|

I just saw a tweet from @UncleBobMartin

"If programmers were meant to test everything, God would have given them brains."

Perhaps a little non-diplomatic. Maybe evoking religion into development discussions. Funny and thought provoking though.

Another person I know is facing the task of moving his organization to agile and meeting some resistance from the fabled "crusty old C++ developer".

How do you get others to move to what you consider is a better method of programming?

Persistence? Wear them down over time? The best religion wins?

The problem is developers tend to form camps, often with religious overtones. It is very hard […]

16 Mar 2011

Software Developer Extraordinaire

By | 2017-04-03T11:47:01+00:00 March 16th, 2011|Categories: Doug's Blog, Dream Teams, Software Development|

We are hiring some more technical people.

We have recently been readdressing things like mission, vision and culture. To me fulfilling live means a balance of achievement, relationships and fun.

So when I wrote the job description for a great developer, I decided to have some fun… and hopefully share some of that fun with our applicants (and anyone else who reads it).

This is the most fun I've had doing this and it reinforces the idea that work should be fun. Looking for lots more opportunities for that.

It is also a good opportunity to see what we think makes a great developer. So […]