Questions about running a software development business.

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142
votes
29answers
10k views

Offshoring: does it ever work?

I know there has been a fair amount of discussion on here about outsourcing/offshoring, and the general opinion seems to be that at best it is difficult, and at worst it fails. I have direct ...
57
votes
16answers
3k views

How to stop the development spec from changing in mid development?

Problem: It seems with almost every development effort I'm involved in, no matter how much time is spent planning prior to starting development, there is always a large amount of changes required ...
43
votes
9answers
5k views

When and how a programmer should start own business? [closed]

The title says it all but here's some explanation of what I want to know: Let's suppose a programmer has around 5 years of experience in multiple, mainstream languages. Also suppose that the ...
40
votes
19answers
3k views

Hiring programmers for small companies?

I've been running a company for nearly 10 years, and all this time it's been just myself, another programmer (who's a great friend and cofounder), and a salesman (who's also a friend). Together, we've ...
34
votes
14answers
4k views

What to do if you find a vulnerability in a competitor's site?

While working on a project for my company, I needed to build functionality that allows users to import/export data to/from our competitor's site. While doing this, I discovered a very serious security ...
28
votes
18answers
2k views

How come there is still so much programming work? [closed]

I wonder why programming jobs haven't yet "dried up" because of the software evolution. For example, I am a developer myself, which means that I do care about software (I mean I am not of the type of ...
28
votes
10answers
7k views

How important is Domain knowledge vs. Technical knowledge?

I am working on a Trading and Risk Management application and although from a C# background, I have been asked to work on SSIS packages. Now I can live with that. The pain point is that there is too ...
27
votes
12answers
4k views

Dealing with bad/incomplete/unclear specifications? [duplicate]

I'm working on a project where our dev team gets the specifications from the business part of the company. Both the business management and the IT management require estimates and deadline ...
25
votes
11answers
574 views

Coaxing requirements out of business people?

What methods seem to work best to coax requirements out of non-tech business people? I am working with a team that’s trying to get a spec together for a project. Every time we have met and it comes ...
23
votes
8answers
1k views

How to justify rewriting/revamping legacy software in a business case? [duplicate]

I work for a great little software company which makes good revenue from our main software package. The problem for me is that it's almost unmaintainable. It's written in Delphi 7 (has upgraded ...
22
votes
8answers
689 views

Are IT and software industry getting more and more litigious?

The last couple of years I've been observing an exponential growth in the news related IT companies and individuals taking their cases to court, on one side, and the questions concerning legal matters ...
20
votes
10answers
644 views

As developers is it our job to report issues if no one else in the org seems to care? [closed]

edit: I should point out; My personal view was that I should be proactive. I know sometimes I have to bite my tongue, and I wanted to get the communities input(was this one of those times). I ...
19
votes
11answers
2k views

Software Development - Project, 1 Programmer - What if hit by bus?

The company I am currently working for has me developing a bunch of internal mission critical software. I have one other person that works for me but he's more of a testing guy and not really a ...
18
votes
9answers
1k views

How can I sell a legacy program rewrite to the business? [duplicate]

We have a legacy classic ASP application that's been around since 2001. It badly needs to be re-written, but it's working fine from an end user perspective. The reason I feel like a rewrite is ...
18
votes
1answer
1k views

Freelancers: How Do You Go About Gathering Requirements?

As a freelance programmer: What is your process for gathering requirements from a client? How much time does the requirement gathering process take you? I know this is not fixed, and there are ...
18
votes
5answers
617 views

Are there any notable examples of business disasters directly attrutible to open-source software? [closed]

In "enterprise" environments, I've observed a strong prejudice towards proprietary software. Even in large business that use Java, it is unusual to find MySQL or PostgreSQL, and WebSphere and WebLogic ...
17
votes
4answers
580 views

If the bug is 5+ years old, then is it a feature?

Allow me to add details: I work at an institutional place with many coders, testers, QA analysts, product owners, etc. and here is something that bugs me: We have been able to sell crappy (albeit ...
17
votes
5answers
1k views

Are innovative programming languages too dangerous?

This question is a result of the question Which programming language do you really hate? where, unsurprisingly, all of the most popular languages are listed. Most of the top 15 are extremely common ...
16
votes
10answers
1k views

At what point should I have my Windows developers upgrade to the latest release of Windows?

At what point should I begin upgrading our developer's machines to a later Windows release? From experience, Microsoft typically has an epic fail about every other O.S. (I am really not trying to ...
16
votes
3answers
716 views

Should I let my “beginnerishness” hold me back? (not rhetorical) [duplicate]

My situation is that I've been programming for about three years and have learned a lot but still have a long long way to go. I have an idea for an app that I believe would take off, but I'm afraid ...
16
votes
5answers
4k views

What should a freelancer's business card have? [closed]

For example, when I first started out freelancing a year ago, my business card had my name, email and website - and up top a list of the technologies I'm comfortable with. In retrospect I don't feel ...
15
votes
5answers
462 views

Are there standard guidelines for auditing software for possible buyout? [closed]

We are in the process of auditing a company with a view to buying them out. One of the key parts of this decision is the software they've developed over a long period of time. We always have the ...
14
votes
8answers
2k views

Is adding Ad Hoc reporting to an application worth the effort?

We have an application which collects a lot of data and has reporting baked in to it. The first iteration was a Crystal Reports integration which worked nicely. Create the report in Crystal Report ...
14
votes
5answers
3k views

How Do You Determine Your Hourly Rate? [closed]

In pricing a service or product it is general practice to not merely charge for the effort spent and the costs involved + margin but from the value delivered down. As an independent consultant, how do ...
14
votes
5answers
1k views

What is a realistic way to handle customer-specific software patches?

I'm trying to gather effective ways that others have solved the following problem. At work we've been forced to release a software patch (to be installed on end-user systems) that we only want ...
13
votes
5answers
432 views

Agile software development: How do you react *financially* to changing user requirements?

There's one thing I've always wondered when reading about all this "agile development" stuff here on SE and other sites: In "traditional" software engineering, you collect the user's requirements, ...
13
votes
3answers
356 views

How to educate business managers on the complexity of adding new features? [duplicate]

We maintain a web application for a client who demands that new features be added at a breakneck pace. We've done our best to keep up with their demands, and as a result the code base has grown ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

Lone Programmer vs. Everything Else [closed]

I guess you could call me a "MicroISV" because it's basically just me doing the work to create a product to be sold commercially. I'm sure there are many out there like me, so here's my question: ...
12
votes
3answers
519 views

Do support sites like Stack Overflow upset the paid-support open source model?

In order to stay relevant in the marketplace, I'm researching new business models for my software company. The open source model with paid support seems like a good fit for our product, but I have ...
12
votes
4answers
506 views

GPL in the workplace?

I once interviewed at a consulting company where it came up in the conversation that they use open source products (which is great, I've used Hibernate, JBoss, etc. extensively.) One thing that did ...
12
votes
2answers
670 views

What are your opinions on “Gamification”? [closed]

I watched an interesting Google Talk video (warning about an hour of your time) about Gamification of whatever you are doing. It's clear that the StackExchange set of sites employ quite a few of ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

How can we unify business goals and technical goals?

Some background I work at a small startup: 4 devs, 1 designer, and 2 non-technical co-founders, one who provides funding, and the other who handles day-to-day management and sales. Our company ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Any hard evidence on how much smart phone app developers have actually earned? [closed]

I am considering making a smart phone app. Before I start, I want to see whether it is worthwhile at all. Unfortunatelly, I find it very hard to find any hard evidence on how much the developers of ...
11
votes
3answers
803 views

Are there Negative Impact of opensource on commercial environment?

My company has a very broad range of products and there are a few that are not strategic to us so I wanted to open source them (so we can focus on what makes us unique and open source the products ...
11
votes
2answers
327 views

As a Europe-based company, is it possible to write a custom iPad application for a customer?

Our customer wants us to write a custom application for him that he can use on a handful of iPads in his company. This application is probably only useful for this one customer (maybe for two or three ...
10
votes
8answers
491 views

Why isn't there a culture of paying for frameworks?

One of the side effects of the recent trend of "Lean" startups, and the app store era, is that consumers are more acclimatised to paying small prices for small games / products. Eg.: Online SAAS ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

Project Proposal templates/requirements [closed]

When drafting a project proposal, do you use any standard template? What features/information should be included? What is nice to have included? What sort of boiler plate information should I shove ...
9
votes
15answers
3k views

Over a million COBOL programmers in the world? [closed]

I think I heard on a previous StackOverflow podcast that COBOL was used as the programming language for traffic lights (or something like that), so this got me interested. I did a quick Google search ...
9
votes
9answers
653 views

What do programmers have to know about business/management? [closed]

As I've implied through my other posts, I'm still fairly new to the workforce. During team meetings, I tend to be able to keep up with technical discussion, but when my project manager starts talking ...
9
votes
5answers
621 views

Is it a must to focus on one specific IT subject to be succesful?

Lately I'm deeply disturbed by the thought that I'm still not devoted to one specific IT subject after so many years of doing it as a hobby. I've been in so many different IT related hobbies since I ...
9
votes
7answers
2k views

Are there any actual examples of profitable programmer's “worker's cooperatives”? [closed]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worker_cooperative I'm curious whether there are, anywhere in the world, worker's cooperatives that center on a technology business that involves either programming, IT, ...
9
votes
5answers
405 views

Business person turned into coder? How and why? Inspire the non-technical

I graduated with a Business degree. Two years later, I finally realized the power of programming - the power to "invent." I wish I realized this in high school. Nevertheless, I tried to self-teach ...
8
votes
5answers
420 views

Modules already committed, client doesn't pay, what should I do?

So the story is simple, early stage EU portal hired me to do some extra modules. I got all the source code for local testing, did my job, committed new code. Now I am out of this project but client ...
8
votes
5answers
120 views

Moving from Employee to Business Owner smoothly

I currently work for a company, a big company. I have a contract that states that I need to ask for permission to have another job. Very standard I suppose. I'd like to start trying out some ideas ...
8
votes
4answers
292 views

What do I need to know before approaching a web developer/ developing team?

I have little experience in website programming. However, I have an idea for a website that I would like to make real. It would have many of the same features that a site such as TripAdvisor uses, but ...
8
votes
3answers
615 views

Cost of design based on the cost of programming

What is your methodology when you need to determine the cost of UI design if you know the cost (work hours) of programming in some project? Let's say, programming of logic in some project cost X ...
8
votes
5answers
266 views

How to include rookie developers into your project?

We're considering teaching some employees who have either zero or general hobbyist level programming experience to take workload off me. We use Python/Django which has some of the friendliest ...
7
votes
7answers
395 views

Why shouldn't a new software product try to compete on price?

I know about how the economies of scale work, and how a bigger competitor could beat you in price, if they wanted. But there doesn't seem to be anything better to compete at when entering a market in ...
7
votes
5answers
1k views

What do people in IT consulting firms do? [closed]

What do people in IT consulting firms do? Ok I can guess they consult, provide answers to questions, but exactly what kind of questions do they answer that it is even possible people will pay enough ...
7
votes
6answers
566 views

Should I be looking for developers with specific skill sets or generalists that need to learn?

Thanks to the great help of this site and SO, I've been able to make a prototype of a software I want to sell but unfortunately although the prototype works I think my code quality is very low. I ...