A rule of thirds that works for any software project…


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