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So simple, is it not?

3 min min read - June 10, 2014

Recently in discussion with colleagues we exchanged opinion about software that automate development. We mentioned using unit testing in TDD to minify debugging, prototyping tools that can even generate some classes from UMLs or IDEs that allows “so called developers” to create more or less complex ERM-wanna-be software just by using their mouse or touchpad. On the very end of that list discussions turned into comparison of DIY-webpage software so widely advertised over the web. It was burning under the fire of total criticism. Especially for boosting business expectations. As in recent times developers are being often mentioned as spoiled profession, anything that challenges old fashion engineers finds extreme enemies and believers.

So, where lies the truth?

Of course there won’t be single answer to the question as there is no single solution on the market, no single possible case and business. Tools can both save time and lead into dead ends. You need to be able to judge, if they are helpful in your case. That’s why you need lead development resource, who won’t be coding (mentioned in previous article).

Prototyping

My opinion won’t be liked by some. Especially not by IT agencies. I think, that, if you start your business in the web, you should start with all DIY tools you can. Why? Because you are limited. Yes. Don’t be afraid of saying that. You may have an idea, even budget, but you have no skills (not apply to some geeks reading that too). That makes you perfect measurement how hard are things. Take anything you can manage on your own and try to reproduce your business idea by using that. It may be some site generator, blog engine like WordPress or more complex site framework like Joomla. If you don’t code (or just begin to code) don’t try to. Forget about even the easiest solutions that require coding. Try the simplest.

Why? You will learn about limitations. How much time it took you to build basic feature? Can you easily amend it or introduce variety of experiences? Can you translate it? Can you test (there are plenty of tools online) it’s capacity in sense of traffic, exploits? Can you do all you wanted to do?

Knowing that you may have already product good enough to show to the clients or investors. A lot depends on what you do. You will also appreciate lack of knowledge and process you had. How much time it take you to configure all? How much time you spend on learning and reading tutorials? How much time you verified, if there are no bugs? Did you have organised list of things to do? How many unsuspected issues you have found so far? Well. These questions are your challenges in the next step.

Growing

Now you know how big effort is to go to the place you are at the moment. Previously you might think, that if you write some blurry, marketing, bla-bla-bla folder any freelancer/agency will be able to change it into working product in few moments for budget of sausage roll. You know it’s not true. I bet you have doubts about how complete is or how looks it looks like. You feel not confident at all. Well you should be, if your plan and goals were perfect. If you still think they were, give your prototype to few people. Let them try. You will see it’s not.

But at least you know, that you need to build in you plan time and budget for key elements:

  • planning – to determine business/user goals and MVP
  • process – to determine expectations
  • foundation – to determine and prepare documentation, technologies, infrastructure, testing, monitoring, deployment, severity, incident handling
  • roadmap – to determine actual milestones in development
  • resource – to determine how much people and skills you need on board to move forward

That all will generate bigger costs than you assumed and may extend deliverables you expected. But there is good part of that. You know how much you can achieve by out of the box solutions. You can talk to investors or clients and improve. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Agencies would to the same. Very few would write software for you. Most will use something that’s free. Better DIY, learn, take distance to your dreams and save money for proper process in future.

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(In this article I would like to explain cultural differences, that may be difficult to handle while working with Poles. To give proper background I would have to start with some historical description. Anyhow article is still about Polish IT specialists)

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5 min min read - June 12, 2014

Previous article

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Films have been made, articles & books written about the role of a lead technician. We all might think that everything is now clear and understood. But we still face the same problems, the same issues, the same mistakes with regards to filling this position. It feels like being caught in the Einstein’s definition of insanity:

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5 min min read - June 10, 2014