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How to Select the Best People for Your Software Project

by Dale Gibbons on August 8, 2018 | software development

select the best people for your software project

As kids, most of us experienced a pick-up game where two captains were selected (or self-designated) and took turns choosing from an eager and anxious collection of candidates. Some of the kids were cool and confident, knowing they’d be chosen in the first few rounds. Others were awkward and unsure, happy to be selected before they ended up being the...

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5 Costly Mistakes to Avoid When Defining Software Requirements

by Dale Gibbons on July 10, 2018 | software development

5 costly mistakes when defining project requirements

For some, there is no clear line between religion and managing software projects. Our recent post and ranking poll on the 12 reasons software projects fail yielded some spirited input and results. This month we begin our drill-down posts on each of those 12 reasons, starting with the winner—the top-ranked, number one, most challenging bugaboo of them all: Defining Software...

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12 Reasons Software Projects Fail, and How to Get it Right

by Dale Gibbons on June 7, 2018 | software development

software projects fails

First, the bad news: Software projects fail at a high rate. One 2008 study concluded the failure rate was nearly 60%, and a 2016 study suggested the failure rate was as high as 68%. Now, the good news: Project success seems to be improving overall. A 2017 Pulse of the Profession report from the Project Management Institute (PMI) shows that...

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Advice to Aspiring Developers

by Randy Syring on May 26, 2018 | software development

advice to aspiring software developers

This week I had at least four conversations with people who were young and aspiring developers. I've written some personal emails over the last year to others in the same situation and saved their content with the intention of turning them into a more polished blog post. Well, the reality is, the time to polish may never come so maybe...

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Crafting Actionable Use Cases

by Adam Robinson on February 15, 2018 | software project requirements

crafting actionable use cases for your custom software project

Use Cases Our previous blog posts made a case for gathering project requirements, identified three core requirements types, focused on busienss objectives, and strategies for eliciting user input. Our focus is going to shift towards determining and defining specific things an application must do to provide value to users. A use case is a description of how an external actor...

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Getting User Input

by Adam Robinson on February 7, 2018 | software project requirements

Asking the right questions is the key to gathering quality requirements for your software project, but before you can begin asking questions, you need to know who to ask. Identify User Groups In most cases, multiple groups, or classes, of users will interact with the software you want to build. For example, a manufacturing workflow tracking application may have the...

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Business Objectives for Software Projects

by Dale Gibbons on January 31, 2018 | software project requirements

business objectives custom software development project requirements

In our previous blog post, we identified the three critical requirements or “specifications” needed by developers to design software that works—software that saves you time and money and helps you delight your customer. Here they are again: Business Requirements User Requirements Functional Requirements Now, let’s look closer at the trickiest of the three: Business Requirements. Common Sense and Common Practice...

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3 Types of Software Project Requirements

by Adam Robinson on January 18, 2018 | software project requirements

software project requirements

Businessman Bob has a business problem that requires a software solution. He reached out to Developer Dan to tell him about his problem and ask how much a solution will cost. Developer Dan explains the complexities of pricing software projects and recommends that they start the process by gathering software project requirements to establish the project scope and create a...

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The Case for Software Project Requirements

by Adam Robinson on January 10, 2018 | software project requirements

software project requirements

Most software projects are destined to fail before the first line of code is written. Why? Bad software project requirements. Failure to follow a proven process for gathering software project requirements is a guaranteed way to waste time, hemorrhage cash, and frustrate many people. The process of gathering requirements for a software project is challenging. It requires asking the right...

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Software Development Frustration

by Randy Syring on September 23, 2017 | software development

I recently came across a post by Ned Batchelder in which he describes the frustration associated with software development. Of particular help to me, and I hope others, is the way he points out that both beginners and experts feel the same frustration with the software development process.  He writes: I love the raw emotion on the two boys' faces....

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3 Ways to Reduce Waste with Custom Software

by Adam Robinson on July 27, 2017 | technology

According to the Lean manufacturing methodology, waste is the root of all unprofitable activity within an organization.  There are seven categories of waste within Lean: Defects Overproduction Transportation Waiting Inventory Motion Processing Reducing waste is a top priority for most organizations because it has a direct impact on the bottom line, but this is often easier said than done. Identify the...

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IoT: The Next Tech Revolution

by Adam Robinson on June 21, 2017 | technology

Internet of Things, or IoT, may be the most impactful concept, as well as the least understood, of the next ten years. What is IoT? The simplest—and perhaps the easiest—way to think about the Internet of Things is any machine-to-machine (M2M) communication through the internet. This includes your phone controlling your AC or starting your car, or anything considered “smart.”...

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5 Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Custom Software Development Firm

by Adam Robinson on June 14, 2017 | software development

Hiring right custom software development firm is a critical decision for most organizations. Choosing the wrong development partner will often cost a lot of time and money, and will result in a loss of significant opportunity. Use the following five questions to help you vet potential software development companies and identify the best fit for your project. Two Questions for...

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ERP Augmentation with Custom Web Applications

by Adam Robinson on June 7, 2017 | software development

Many organizations leverage the power of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to help them manage all facets of their operations. There are many different options to choose from depending on your industry, needs, and budget. If you are in the market for an ERP system, take a moment to read this article to give you some ideas how about...

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Our Position on Signing Nondisclosure Agreements

by Adam Robinson on May 31, 2017 | culture,software development

During the project discovery process, many organizations ask us to sign a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) before sensitive project details are discussed. This may be a reasonable request considering the depth of project discussions and if proprietary information will be discussed. However, the NDAs we are often asked to sign attempt to broadly cover all communication and ideation between Level 12...

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Spring Zing ’17

by Adam Robinson on May 24, 2017 | culture

One of our core values at Level 12 is work-life balance. In keeping with this value, events are hosted throughout the year to bring our team members and their families together outside of work. The Spring Zing '17 family event was a lot of fun for everyone. The event started with a rendezvous at Malibu Jack's. We played miniature golf,...

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ETA Transact 17 Recap

by Adam Robinson on May 17, 2017 | Payment Industry

Randy Syring and Adam Robinson attended Transact 17, the annual conference hosted by the Electronic Transaction Association. The event was held at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. This was the first time members of our team attended this national event for the payments industry. We were encouraged to participate by one of our clients and colleagues in this market. After returning...

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Our Hiring Process

by Adam Robinson on May 10, 2017 | culture

There are lots of people who call themselves developers or say they can write code. Like any other endeavor, capabilities range from the elite to those who should look for something else to do. Just because a person says they can code doesn’t mean he or she can. According to Peopleware, the best developers are up to 28 times more...

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Freelancer vs Software Development Firm: Who should you hire?

by Adam Robinson on May 3, 2017 | software development

For the sake of this article, let's assume you have decided NOT to hire a full-time developer as an employee and need to outsource work on a custom software project. Who should you hire? Freelancer vs Software Development Firm Before we assess each option, it is important to have answers to the following questions: What is the core problem being...

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What is DevOps?

by Adam Robinson on April 26, 2017 | technology

The term DevOps is a frequently used in the software development community; however, it means different things to different people. In this article, we are going to explore the origin of the word along with various definitions. DevOps Origin The term DevOps was first mentioned during a presentation by Andrew Shafer and Patrick Debois at the Agile 2008 conference. The...

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Why Level 12 uses Python, in one Tweet!

by Randy Syring on April 25, 2017 | Python

I sometimes struggle in business, as I try to lay out things like vision, mission, strategy, guiding principles, and the like.  But I don't struggle to justify why we so often reach for Python: it's just easy to get things done. You see, the reality with most software development, especially consulting based custom software development like Level 12 focuses on,...

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Container Fundamentals

by Adam Robinson on April 19, 2017 | software development,technology

What are containers? The use of containers has grown significantly over the past couple of years with Docker leading the charge. The multifaceted deployment scenarios provided by containers are changing IT strategies and tactics. Docker defines a container as, "a lightweight, stand-alone, executable package of a piece of software that includes everything needed to run it." Containers vs. Virtual Machines...

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Is Microservices Right for Your Organization?

by Adam Robinson on April 12, 2017 | software development

is microservices right for your organization

An increasing number of businesses are exploring the possibility of leveraging microservices for software development projects. Microservices are not the right fit for every organization. This article is meant to provide non-technical business leaders with an overview of the pros and cons of this development architecture along with conditions when making a move to microservices may make sense. It is...

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Our Development Mission Statement

by Randy Syring on April 7, 2017 | software development

software development mission statement

We ask a lot of our developers and they know how to deliver. It's not easy to describe everything that is needed in order to develop high quality software that isn't prohibitively expensive for the typical business. But our development team put their heads together and came up with the following Mission Statement to guide the development team at a...

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Understanding Custom Software Cost Estimation

by Adam Robinson on March 29, 2017 | software development

custom software cost estimation

Custom software cost estimation is hard and often inaccurate due to the complex nature of the development process. In fact, a study by McKinsey revealed that 66% of software projects go over budget. "Can you give me a custom software cost estimate for my project?" is usually one of the first questions we are asked when a prospect is inquiring about our...

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