Category Archives: Business

8 Tips to Staying Fit, Healthy, & Productive

http://under30ceo.com/8-tips-to-staying-fit-healthy-productive

What a great article!  It can be daunting trying to juggle so many things at once in life.  I often felt so exhausted after work, the last thing I wanted to think about was cooking a healthy meal, and exercising.  I think the first line captures it perfectly

“Working all day is not a good excuse for “letting go” and ignoring the idea of staying fit and healthy.”

I also need to start sending thank you e-mails more often.  So many times the e-mails I send are blunt, discussing issues/designing resolutions that I often forget there are people behind these business processes.  They appreciate praise just as much as I do.  I need to make a better effort to praise the people I work with.

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“Our project has been 90% complete for a year now…”

“Our project has been 90% complete for a year now…”

We have a running joke in my office about people/project who are “90% complete”.  I can’t tell you how many times we’ve talked to a client who says “Yeah, I hired this guy like a year ago.  He said it would take 4 months to make my web app, but here we are still not 100%.  We’re like 90% done, we just need that little push to get us to 100%”.  We take a quick look at their application (say e-commerce) and find out you can’t manage products, check out a cart, sign up for a user account.  Very far from 90% indeed.

Or clients with a WordPress theme jam packed with Lorem Ipsum, and stock photos.  Not to mention on their live URL, causing SEO issues.

90%?  Suurrrreeee…

What people don’t realize is that software is never 100%.  You’ll never make it to 100%.  No software that I know of was released at version 1 and has never changed.  It’s constantly being updated.  Tweaked, fixed, broken, you name it.  What owners of websites/web applications need to realize is that your project is an ongoing deal that will need constant attention, updates, etc.  Things change.  Business relationships, sources of data, needs of the business.  As business changes, so will your site/application.

I used to think I could sell someone a site/application, shake hands at the end of the project and we both walk away happy.  After 10+ years of development I’ve learned a few things.  One of those things is that you become personally invested in a project for the life of the project.   I have some software applications 3-5+ years old, still chugging along.  Written with horribly designed, non object-orientated code, but running.

I now know every website/web application I touch has the potential to stick with me for years.  The client could potentially use it for years.  It makes you think twice when you write code.  You want the system to make sense to the “next guy”.  Sometimes that “next guy” is future you.  I’m sure future programmer me, would fire current me because I’ll learn more, change my ways, adapt to ever changing technologies.

I also learned that there is no 100%.  You can be stable for some time, days, weeks, months, years, but there will be some need for attention in the future.  We know consider all of our projects 90% complete, and we plan to work perceptually on it.  Knowing that nothing can ever be 100% done in web.

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Decisions of Highly Successful People

http://www.business2community.com/human-resources/4-career-decisions-that-highly-successful-people-make-0491598

I am learning more and more about “effectively dealing with others” every day.  It’s hard being a programmer for hours a day, and then talking to humans again.  The computer listens.  It does exactly as it is told.  If my instructions are incorrect, it will perform incorrectly.  There is no assumption on my end, or in the code.  Computers are emotionless workhorses.  Humans are wildly different.  Things I say/do affect they way people perceive who I am as a man and as a businessman.  A person can tell me one thing, and do another.  I’ve often been called too “blunt” and many people see me with a  “harsh” persona.  It’s almost like a switch, you need to turn on and off.  with computers, you think in logical terms and highly defined processes.  With humans you must take into consideration many factors.  How are they feeling, has life been stressful lately, am I asking too much of them?  It’s a dance, and I must learn to tango.  The better I get with people, the easier my job becomes.

I don’t usually feel the need to convince others I am good at what I do.  I did at first.  Being so young, and no college really left me feeling incompetent when reading about other programmers.  Even today I wouldn’t say I am the upper echelon of developers.  If anything, I’m constantly trying to convince myself that I am a “good” programmer.  I think back 6+ years to the code I wrote, and I know, I am a much better developer now.  But I also think about the code I write today, and what IT will look like in 6 years.  Probably pretty terrible, lol.  The great thing is, the more I read about my programming idols, the more I learn that they all went through it.  We all begin somewhere, we all write silly code that we wish we could re-factor after new found knowledge.  I guess that ties into #4 “come to terms with the fact that you are not perfect”.  I get it.  My code will never be “perfect” it will always be “good enough”.  The business decisions I make will be good and bad.  The only thing that matters is learning from your experiences, waking up the next day, and giving it another shot.  Keep pushing forward, do good business, beat your deadlines, and all will be good.