The 70% Solution: Practical Testing and Version Control

Written by Steve Pickard

Continued from page 1

Don't blamerepparttar developers. It's more likely a project runs over budget and over deadline because of optimistic cost planning or scope creep than poor developer skills. Following these rules ensures delivery ofrepparttar 137551 best productrepparttar 137552 development team can achieve within a set budget or period of time. Even in an environment where scope creep becomes a factor, escalating requirements can be scheduled into minor versions so they never hold backrepparttar 137553 launch ofrepparttar 137554 "functionally challenged" application.

Testing? Who needs testing? So you didn't followrepparttar 137555 six rules, you're pastrepparttar 137556 code freeze date, and you're supposed to be in final testing but there are still more things to implement. The user community andrepparttar 137557 CEO want to know if you'll be able to launch on time regardless. That's when it hits you— if only we could "streamline"repparttar 137558 testing phase we could still make it. Very bad idea. The cost of backing out due to insufficient testing can cost more thanrepparttar 137559 project itself. Recently I witnessed a botched implementation of a customer service application that almost costrepparttar 137560 company in question its three largest clients—and millions of dollars.

Work your mediation magic. Application development managers have to be part negotiator and part magician. They need to keep all sides happy, even if product expectations and budget restrictions are in conflict. No one really wantsrepparttar 137561 70% solution, but everyone can live with it. And when no one's 100% happy, you know you're probably doing it right.

Read more in Case in Point: "The Thursday Rule"

Steve has degrees in Mathematics and in Management of Information Systems from Ottawa University. Before founding Pythian, Steve worked as a consultant for numerous companies as well as the Canadian government. He remains the key architect of Pythian's highly sophisticated internal applications and business process systems.

Beyond Repair: The fixed-price model

Written by Steve Pickard

Continued from page 1

As soon asrepparttar fixed price DBA determines that "it is notrepparttar 137550 DB",repparttar 137551 client is on their own trying to correct an issue where a DBA could be invaluable in diagnosis and building a plan for corrective action.

Fixed pricing estimates are high. They are high on a per hour basis and on an hours spent basis. This is because fixed-price contractors have to back their estimate for a year. You are paying forrepparttar 137552 risk that they have estimated another account improperly and need to make it up on yours. You are also paying forrepparttar 137553 risk that you may develop chronic problems—and so they charge for that in advance whether it happens or not.

Oncerepparttar 137554 year is out,repparttar 137555 best case scenario is that you have managed to be a "problem account" for them and have actually received some bang for your buck. Now that they know what kind of hours it takes to manage your account, you will receive a new estimate that will be calculated as follows: (yearly hours)*(markup for risk)*(200/hr)/12=(monthly rate). You will most likely not be told this formula but I guarantee that it exists. You can never beat it. You will always pay premium rates, even if you make it throughrepparttar 137556 first year fighting for attention.

Fixed pricing never goes down, and it usually goes substantially up afterrepparttar 137557 first year. Whateverrepparttar 137558 price is,repparttar 137559 fixed price contractor always has an hourly rate in mind, like $200/hour. Ask. If you have already hired a fixed rate contractor, ask for a monthly report of how many hours they spend on you. Ask. You will most likely be denied sincerepparttar 137560 hourly rate can be astronomical if they have successfully avoided doing work, but definitely ask.

And what happens if your technical needs are much greater than anticipated? Atrepparttar 137561 end ofrepparttar 137562 year, your fixed rate will be increased based on your hourly usage inrepparttar 137563 previous year so that you are back at their target profitability level (which they will still not share with you). Since you can never know how many hours they are really spending, you will never know what you are buying.

No matter how good it might seem atrepparttar 137564 outset, fixed pricing never adds up. You can never truly getrepparttar 137565 best deal—and you may be putting valuable data at risk. Because with a fixed-price model, if it ain't broke, they won't fix it.

Before founding Pythian, Steve worked as a consultant for numerous companies as well as the Canadian government. He remains the key architect of Pythian's highly sophisticated internal applications and business process systems.

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