The other stuff

We need software—custom software. I don’t know thing one about programming, and don’t want to, so I’ve hired some really good programmers. (Or, at least I think they’re really good). But it seems like we’re talking past each other. Things ought to be going better. Or is this normal?

I understand, only I came at it from the other direction—programming, for myself and a few other scientists. I knew there was other stuff out there, like requirements and specifications and quality assurance (testing is only part of it). The, when I “turned pro,” I started learning about it, and enjoyed it as much as programming! (Which makes me a freak in the programming world, but really useful to you).

Here’s The Other Stuff I can do for you, or teach you how to do, or teach your programmers how to do, or help you find someone to do. Your programmers will be more productive, and you’ll be less frustrated.

  • Requirements, or “How do the programmers and I talk about what the software’s supposed to do, without frustrating each other, mis-communicating, or taking forever?”
  • Quality, or “How good is good enough?” When does improving software quality actually let us go faster? (Answer–almost always).  What are the most effective ways to improve quality? What are the ones we’ll actually do consistently? It’s like eating right and exercising. So-so changes you’ll actually stick with are better than Best Practices you won’t. I’ll get right there in the middle of the team and be a player-coach for a while.
  • Planning and Project Management. It seems to come in two sizes—None and Too Much—and there are a lot of religious wars about it. Once I know your project, your people, and your partners, I can help you come up with the right amount  of structure. That includes RFIs, RFPs, and contracts with vendors (the software parts, not the legal parts).
  • UI/UX. Short for User Interface/User Experience, it’s really important, especially when it comes to software that people have a choice about using. It’s a team effort. Don’t assume that your agency/creative will handle it.

Am I a true expert at any of  The Other Stuff? Not really, but I know some experts. (Except Estimation. I’d say I’m a Madison, WI expert at least in software project estimation. I’ve been paid to speak about it). But what I do offer is a holistic, practical expertise and experience with all of it, and a deep understanding of how it all fits together with programming to make great software. How The Other Stuff fits together with programming—that’s the difference between a committee and a TEAM.

Software shouldn’t be scary©. That includes The Other Stuff. letstalk@ufunctional.com. 608-692-2638.