Software Development

16 Mar 2011

Software Developer Extraordinaire

By |2017-04-03T11:47:01-06:00March 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 […]

7 Mar 2011

Infrastructure and Development Support Specialist – Opening

By |2017-04-06T14:28:59-06:00March 7th, 2011|Categories: Doug's Blog, Dream Teams, Software Development, Technology|

Sunwapta Solutions is in growth mode and hiring people for our Calgary location.

The job title is negotiable. The outcomes we want to achieve are not.

We are looking for someone to work closely with our development team to drive out the architecture and support our hosting environments, look after our internal infrastructure, help support the applications and databases, and provide support to our developers.

The full description is available in the careers section of our company website.

(We will also be looking for a software developer in the very near future.)

23 Feb 2011

Ensuring Successful Outcomes

By |2017-04-03T11:47:29-06:00February 23rd, 2011|Categories: Doug's Blog, Leadership, Software Development|

I was recently reminded of the importance of following a solid process for ensuring success using outcomes.

Manage by outcome, not by task.

You want to tell people what the desired outcome is and let them figure out how to achieve it. The alternative is micro-management which does not develop the abilities of people to solve future problem; and it stifles creativity and the desire for some autonomy over your work.

But using outcomes doesn't guarantee success.

Have you ever played that game where one person reads a long complex sentence. Then they pass it on to the next person, and the next, and […]

14 Feb 2011

Our Approach for Designing Applications

By |2017-04-03T11:47:50-06:00February 14th, 2011|Categories: Doug's Blog, Software Development, Technology|

We are currently building an application that will help businesses and the people in them: execute on their strategy, work on their businesses and focus on the most important work first.

Over time our process for designing the application and eventually getting to a working application has changed (and it will probably continue to do so as we move forward). My part of the process ends when it moves into source control, HTML and detailed look and feel. I am focused on capturing two main things in this project:

  1. The underlying business rules,
  2. The user interface design (or user experience).

Now to be clear; […]

3 Feb 2011

Fair is Fair (Red Gate and CRTC)

By |2017-04-03T11:47:55-06:00February 3rd, 2011|Categories: Doug's Blog, Leadership, Mindset and Motivation, Software Development|

I've been reading a book called "Your Brain At Work" by David Rock lately. It is really about how your brain works (or doesn't) during the day both at work and at home. The concept is that if you understand, you can use the knowledge to your benefit by controlling how you think and react to the world. This is one of the best books I have read for its impact on my own thinking.

In the book the author states that we are wired to know what is fair and what is not. In fact survival often depended […]

24 Jan 2011

Practice Makes Perfect – Period

By |2017-04-03T11:48:09-06:00January 24th, 2011|Categories: Doug's Blog, Mindset and Motivation, Software Development|

To become good, better or great at something we need to practice; right?

But obviously there are some people who have natural talent that slingshots them past everyone else. They can become great at something in a fraction of the time of regular people; it is called talent. These are the instant success stories you hear about all the time… they are born with "the gift".

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? More relevant here… which came first, the talent or the practice?

I was killing a bit of time in a bookstore recently and skimmed the book "Talent Is Overrated: […]

11 Jan 2011

Managing Projects by Outcome

By |2017-04-03T11:48:35-06:00January 11th, 2011|Categories: Doug's Blog, Leadership, Software Development|

If you have used most popular project management software tools (Microsoft Project, etc.) you notice they encourage two things:

  • Schedule (time-line),
  • Tasks (and milestones) scheduled on a time-line.

One major issue with time-line based project planning is that the project plan is usually out of date by the end of the first week. Nothing ever goes according to plan so you either spend lot of time changing the plan, or just use the time line as a rough guide; not ideal.

Another common approach is to list all the things that need to get done (tasks or to do's) in a big list and […]

6 Jan 2011

CES Keynote by Microsoft

By |2017-04-03T11:48:43-06:00January 6th, 2011|Categories: Doug's Blog, Software Development, Technology|

I took some time today to watch Steve Balmer and his team from Microsoft present at CES in Las Vegas. I was following some people talking about it on Twitter during and after.

What really amazes me is how much we now take amazing advances for granted these days; we expect it instead of being surprised.

Companies used to release everything at one of the big shows. It was the best way to guarantee a large uptake if the reviews went well. Today though, companies spread their announcements out over time to better take advantage of speed to market and critical purchasing […]

10 Nov 2010

User Experience Design – Ahead of the Developers

By |2017-04-03T11:50:07-06:00November 10th, 2010|Categories: Doug's Blog, Software Development|

Lately we've been using an interactive wire framing tool to design and define the user experience across multiple pages of the application for our product development. It is working well for us as we can make changes faster than building HTML or code by an order of magnitude; it is even quicker than paper when you consider how much redrawing you do to explore ideas. We still use paper to get the rough idea sorted out first.

The lessons I have learned so far are:

  • This isn't a waterfall process, you don't need to design the entire product up front though it […]
28 Oct 2010

Rapid Prototyping

By |2017-04-03T11:50:29-06:00October 28th, 2010|Categories: Doug's Blog, Software Development|

Building a product from scratch is a creative and exciting endeavour. This is not a custom software application designed for a single customer; but a product that hopefully millions will find useful and easy to use.

I've been around the development world long enough to see the Waterfall process in action. Spending months to years writing detailed specifications, then attempting to build software according to those specifications, even if they are dated or wrong. Then the stress of in scope of and out of scope change requests to make some attempt at getting the customer what they really want.

Then there is […]