Software Must Be Built

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Software Must Be Built

Marc Andreessen of Netscape fame wrote an essay where he coined the phrase, “Why Software Is Eating The World.” The essay claims that software is disrupting business models well outside of traditional software offerings. For years, businesses have utilized software for customer relations, employee management, payroll, and finances. Today, businesses must build custom software that enhances their operations and connects them with their customers. There is no question that Marc is correct with his assessment, we see it all around us. The question is, how does a business that is far from high-tech deal with the current situation?

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Building Liberty

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Building Liberty

Liberty Industrial Group scaffolding inspection and inventory platform that is. 

Software Ops conducted a rollout review with our client Liberty Industrial Group who commissioned Software Ops to build a scaffold inspection and inventory system. The system is design for their staff on location at construction sites and therefore the mobile component is the key to the whole system.  We have launched the rollout of the beta to our client. The initial rollout of a project is always interesting because, we deploy the mobile software into the wild for the first time and we see how people really want to use the system.

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Apple’s Greatest Gift… Swift

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Apple’s Greatest Gift… Swift

From the personal computer to the smartphone, Apple has led the world in many technology revolutions. There is a new and very important revolution underway and that is the Swift programming language.

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Google I/O 2016

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Google I/O 2016

Software Ops made its way to Mountain View, California, to attend Google I/O 2016, Google’s annual developer conference. We were eager to learn the latest in technology, development, and design. Here are a few things that caught our eye.

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Software Ops in the Phoenix Business Journal

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Software Ops in the Phoenix Business Journal

All of us at Software Ops are flattered by the terrific article about the milk logistics system we build for our amazing client United Dairymen of Arizona.

I know that more and more businesses are going to be using mobile systems in their everyday workflows. They might as well use well designed mobile apps and cloud based systems to help them with their efficiencies.

Here is the link to the article, "How Arizona dairymen are using iPads to deliver milk more efficiently"

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Got Milk? Moving Milk with Mobile

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Got Milk? Moving Milk with Mobile

It is our great pleasure that the United Dairymen of Arizona (UDA), approached Software Ops in 2014 to build them a, state-of-the-art, milk mobile logistics system. Today the “UDA Delivers” platform is utilized 24/7, 265 days a year to move over 13 billion pounds of milk.

The “UDA Delivers” system consists of an iPad app, custom designed to be used by milk haulers. This is a cloud based application that controls the iPads and a web portal that provides access to the users of the system.

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Get to know a developer first, then ask about price.

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Get to know a developer first, then ask about price.

Over the years, I have had way too many conversations with persecutive clients who as for a price of an app or spend all their time trying to explain what their app does so they can get a price on the first call. 

This is complete insanity! Stop Doing that!

First let’s cover the price issue. Yes people want to know what it will cost to build an app and they need to get an idea of the cost. So, do some googling. Really, it’s that simple. It is easy to find documented ballpark app development cost estimates from reputable development shops on the internet. Therefore, don't call an app developer to "get a price", that is such a waste of time. 

Another waste of time is  explaining the functionality of your app, is also not relevant for an initial call with an app developer. In fact, I mostly don’t pay attention to what you are saying. Not because I don’t care, I do care most deeply, but at the appropriate time. The time to describe your app’s functionality is well after you have decided to use an app development firm, signed a contract and you have your first check in hand. Really!!!

What is important for you, the prospective client of a reputable development firm, is to learn if that firm can actually do app development work. To figure that out you, you will need to interview the firm. The time you spend up-front learning about the firm, its management team, its development team, its processes; its philosophies of software development, app design, system design; what the firm knows about the current state of the mobile marketplace; what trends are hot and more importantly what the firm thinks about the future, is vastly more important than price or what your app should do. Oh, and you should also be very keen on having the firm walk you through some of their creations.

A firm should have a portfolio of their accomplishments. You should be very interested in learning, what the firm learned while building their portfolio. Understand? I’m not talking about having them demo the apps. I’m talking about asking them to present their apps to you. Discuss the good and the bad, what worked and what didn’t. Have them show you a few key parts of the app, but in the context of a success of failure of their design or implementation. Every firm with people, and especially successful firms, have failed. If they are trying to extend the boundaries of what is possible, and you want that for our app, then they will have failures. What you need to learn is how did they respond to their failure? And how did the recover to turn a failure into success. Have them discuss with you when they made turning point decisions about an app. Have them tell you what was the problem they were trying overcome, and why did they make a certain decision.

Also, don’t get faked out by a numbers game. Firms that do hundreds of apps, can easily do hundreds of crap apps, that took twice as long to build as they should have. All those firms do is pile on a bunch more crappy engineers to do still more crappy work, which simply delays the project even more. You see, the don’t even know what the Mythical Man Month means. Yes I said what it means. It's a book, but it holds deep meaning about the philosophies of software development. 

When you have done all of the above, and found a firm you can trust, the you can work with them to do the discovery work necessary to actually know what the system needs to do for what price. 

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