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A rule of thirds that works for any software project…

G4

An article in this morning’s ODT got me thinking again about the huge NZ education payroll system debacle Novopay, especially as a friend just last night asked me what I thought [ans. was “probably the quickest thing would be to rebuild it”].

 

 

FileMaker loop Script
A FileMaker Pro script loop

I don’t claim to be a programmer, but I’ve built a few databases over many years usually using the off-the-shelf FileMaker Pro [Mac and Windows]. It’s an amazing tool for creating custom solutions, and can be scaled up to handle a lot of data input among other things.

 

 

For those considering embarking on any software project, including the construction of a web site, to improve workflow, sales or efficiency then a rule-of-thumb is to break the project into three parts:

  • Research what is needed – objectively ask lots of questions, and tour the business, and outline then group your findings on paper. In the case of a web site pin the paper pages on the wall for a few days and regard it not as a web site plan, but a business plan. If it does not look like one, then consider changing it so it is!
  • Build what needs to be built to achieve the above, always being on the lookout for what you don’t know or opportunities to use the tools you know to add useful features. Again continue to ask questions and find out what you don’t know or what was missed in step one. This middle third of the process is often the easiest stage!
  • Install the software for testing and debugging, and then action the training of the people who will use it. And start small, then expand when and as it’s proven the solution is stable and meets the needs of the users

If in the process of servicing these three aspects, if they get out seriously of the suggested 33 percent ratio, then know that the last third is likely to be hell on earth!

You can get more insights here if you wish:

Fix for Novopay unlikely, lecturer says | Otago Daily Times Online News
A computer software engineering specialist says it would be easier to dump the Novopay payroll system and rebuild it from scratch than repair its compounding problems.

Otago Polytechnic information technology senior lecturer […]

more via >> Otago Daily Times Online News

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Digital Cameras the Easy Way by Brian Miller

There is quite an effort needed to master today’s highly computerised digital cameras and their manuals!

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Dunedin writer and publisher Brian Miller has addressed this by writing an outstanding little book, fact filled with solid practical advice [with even a quote from iCommunicate’s Donald], all about Digital Cameras the Easy Way.

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Digital Cameras the easy way is Packed full of useful hints and explains the gobbledygook that comes with manuals, Jan, Page & Blackmore Booksellers, Nelson

There is plenty in this book to justify it’s modest cover price to anyone starting out in digital photography. and if you are putting off buying a digital camera because it all seems too complicated this is the book for you‚ Jeremy Rose, Scoop Review

Full of simple, sensible advice and numerous tips, but without wodges of unnecessary information to wade through. Otago Daily Times

The little handbook is quite wonderful, and has the approach of a master teacher and it feels throughout that [the author] is beside the reader and sharing his journey with him .  Graham Hill Wanaka

Helps demystify digital photography with essential tips to improve your photographs. Never overly technical, it is aimed at the average person who just wants better images. NetGuide #alttext#