ColdFusion Muse

Catching the Client Vision - the Power of Humility

Don't you love those initial project meetings. I'm talking about the meetings where the client or manager lays out his or her vision. They come in with a gleam in their eye. They often have an organized pitch well-worn from much practice trying it out on wives, husbands and colleagues. In many cases they throw the pitch and look for a cathartic moment in your eye - that moment when you say "Oh yeah - I get it! Very cool!"

Such folks are visionaries and innovators. After all, they are the ones who asked those big "what if" questions.

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Why you should care what your users think about your killer application

You and your crack development team have just built the greatest killer Ap since VisaCalc and it's going to save your client millions. You've taken a process that used to consist of printed paper and sticky notes circulating the various floors and cubicles and turned it into a sleek race car of automation and productivity. You are so excited to show the final version to the various stakeholders in a big launch meeting. This is the equivalent of making your mom that plaster of Paris handprint when you were a kid and waiting with bated breath while she sees it for the first time. Will you get the accolades you seek? Will the users be as thrilled as they should be? Well...

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Creating Project Cost Estimates for Clients

A new client wants to talk about his project. After giving you a sketchy outline of what he wants his next question is virtually always, "What will that cost me?" The answer should always be "I don't know yet." One of the most challenging things about being an outsource development company (or contractor) is estimating what to charge for a project. The process is complicated by the fact that your customer may be from a different state - or even overseas. We have seen a dizzying array of approaches to rates, billing and estimating. We have found an approach that works and allows us to avoid unprofitable projects and more importantly make money on the projects we take. It's also an approach that customers find very satisfying because it's fair - and it gives them cost-cutting options. It requires more work than typical estimates however.

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Finding the Communication Sweet Spot

The hardest task in completing a project as a contractor or outsource company is figuring out what really meets the needs of your client. As a programmer this is partly because you cannot fully understand the industry of your customer, and partly because you don't understand the culture of the company. Other things can complicate the issue including lack of communication skills on your part, or the part of the company. Add to that the fact that the process of discovery is often cut short by the urgency of the project and you have a recipe for a failed project. To be effective you must identify the true stakeholders in the company, learn about the company and its business and finally use your wits to navigate the business culture of your client.

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