Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Client Expectations

What do you think clients expect from you? Yes, they want the project completed on time and under budget, but is that all? Is that the only measure of success that we have to offer them? Have you ever taken time to really evaluate not just your client’s needs, but their expectations? Have you put yourself in their shoes and considered the overall impact a product has on them, their business, and their clients?

Have you ever watched a design show on HGTV? Picture the reaction a client has when the room is first revealed, that sense of surprise and delight, the visceral response they have to the end product? Have you ever imagined what it would take to get that reaction from one of your clients? Would reaching them on an emotional level would garner more or less business? Increase or decrease referrals? Augment or diminish your reputation and credibility?

For a number of reasons (time, budget, scope, etc.), we tend to focus on our client’s needs and miss out on their deeper expectations. If you were going to spend $50,000 or $100,000 on a product, what would your expectation be?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Tale of Two Companies

Disclaimer: This article describes two different approaches to software projects. Any similarity to any company living or dead is merely coincidental.

Company 1 Approach
Salesperson: “We expect, as the business owner, that you already know everything about your business, the needs of your customers, the needs of your employees, your processes, and that you know precisely what you kind of software package you want, so we are only going to need about eighty hours to investigate all of your existing processes and to discover the business requirements for the product you wish us to deliver. Afterwards, we will take a month to analyze all of our findings and compile them into a detailed, leather-bound, color coordinated document. You can then read and understand said document at your leisure so that you can sign off on that document and we can begin work on the product that you have spent the last month paying us to document. No, you won’t have any software, but you can be confident that we are the best darn documenters you have ever seen, and that document will give us all the information necessary to precisely and accurately estimate the entire time and cost of your project. Just imagine it, in six months, we are going to come back and present to you a product that you will be very happy and excited about because we have given you exactly what was in a document that you read and signed off on a mere six months ago. We all know that your business won’t change any during the next six months, and if it does, we can address it after we give you the product that you have already agreed to. How does that sound?”

Company 2 Approach
Project manager, QA/BA analyst, Developer: “Business is complex and changing. We don’t expect you to know every detail about what you want, that is why we work in short cycles call iterations, usually about two weeks. At the beginning of every cycle, we will sit down with you and get detailed information about what your highest business priorities are, and estimate only as much work as we can get done during that two week cycle. We will work very closely with you so that as your business, clients, and market change, we can react immediately to those changes, while providing you constantly with working software that meets your current needs. Let’s start working together!”

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Upcoming Speaking Engagements

Saturday August 14th, 2010

SQL Saturday! #28 Baton Rouge
Zen Coding

Zen Testing

As of today, almost 600 people have registered for this event. It should be one of the best of the year. See you there!

More Info

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What Is a Professional?

One definition might be a commitment to performing at the highest level, to give your best at all times for what you are paid to do. Although that is correct, there are many other facets to being a true professional other than getting paid for doing something.

Most professionals have specialized skills that required independent erudition and effort on their part to attain. They engage in a process of constant evaluation and improvement. A professional makes decisions based on their dedication to the craft and not the current circumstance.

Amateurs are capable of doing some things well under the right conditions, but a professional, as a matter of course, does it well regardless of the situation. A professional is passionate, motivated, and punctual. A professional respects the respectable, but admires the inspirational. A professional is a seeker of knowledge but also a teacher. And the characteristic that separates the professional from the dilettante is an uncompromising commitment to excellence – doing what is required to get the job done at its highest level, even when it is inconvenient.

I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have.
~~ Leonardo da Vinci, artist, d. 1519, last words