Custom Software Development
Custom Software Development

16 Maxims that Lift the Veil in Custom Software

As a business owner or sponsor, there are a wide (and growing) array of software tools at your disposal (both in the ‘cloud’ and on premise). Undoubtedly a suitable “off-the-shelf” software solution can alleviate the research and decision-making process on whether to ‘make’ or ‘buy’ a given software. For the large part, organizational tools exist in the market that can make you or your business operate more efficiently and allow you to be more effective with your time. However, when the ‘One Size Fits’ all solution is not a good fit (pun intended), a rule set or ‘best practices’ for customized application needs are often elusive. Perhaps, as with most multi-faceted ventures, a set of guiding maxims may prove more useful to establish ‘effective foresight’ and mitigate the questions and finger-pointing that arise in hindsight. For the sake of making this digestible I will break these 16 maxims into four part series over the coming weeks. For the analogy-inclined I have used the Box to represent your dream Software Solution:

1. Think Outside the Box
2. Envision the Box
3. What’s in the Box
4. Be the Box

1. Think Outside the Box

  • E Pluribus Unum – Out of many, one. The greatest catalyst for change is collective frustration, or difference in opinion, on how institutions are lead or managed. This is particularly the case in the political landscape. Needless to say, a company does not have to deal with this on the same level…or does it. Where there is unrest, there is the opportunity to quell said unrest…and make things BETTER! Particularly if the goal of the organization is to unify, align and make resources accountable for strategic goals. So before you reinvent the wheel (or overhaul an enterprise solution), speak to your fellow colleagues and customers to understand where there are problems, or a source of frustration. A solution to operating issues may be easier to uncover just by initiating a dialogue with these constituents. Is it a clearer direction on strategic planning, or accountability within the organization? Or is it systems based, and operational in nature? Oftentimes there are broader enterprise issue(s), which even the best software solution will not ameliorate. Go ahead, analyze, pivot, repeat and ye shall find.
  • Efficiency vs. Effectiveness: As a manager, one of the most important measures of effectiveness is to be able to successfully delegate responsibilities. There are only so many of you…well, one in fact. From a software perspective you may be using tools with efficacy, i.e. excel, however is excel just a prototype for something more appropriate such as an enhanced PowerView. Or does the problem go deeper?
  • Clean Deskspace…Cluttered Softspace: Your desktop is immaculate, and you now use multiple applications. However, now you have too many applications. Some applications you underutilize, others you are over-paying for only one or two purposes. There are even those that make you work more than you need to! Review applications and application utilization, and then…keep, dump or find an alternative.
  • When to ask for Help: One of the first things you learn on any job is that if you don’t know, admit it (to yourself), then research/analyze and come back better informed. However, particularly as people get a few seasons under their belt, do not like to admit when they are wrong or don’t know. There is no exception to this in Technology, more so when there is a disconnect between business and technology. Expert knowledge will again help.

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