Entrance prides itself on fostering an environment of learning for all of our employees, so we have recently started a monthly brown bag lunch sessions where our consultants take turns sharing knowledge and best practices with their co-workers. For this first event, I led a discussion on developing software in less than ideal conditions.
To start out, I presented a theoretical case where Entrance is engaged to work for File & Co. They have several internal applications, all of them developed by a 3rd-party contractor. The internal apps are becoming outdated, and File & Co. decides not to renew the contract when it expires on Dec 31st, 2013. They hire Entrance to rewrite the apps and handle migration, starting with one that manages customer information. The proposed interface for the new application looks something like this:
The initial requirements seem simple, but as a result of office politics, it is not possible to implement the ideal solution. Difficulties include the need for the app to be able to read and write in both two databases and the old contractor denying access to the code because it is proprietary.
As a result of the dual database issue, Entrance modifies their ideal solution to include a drop-down that toggles between the new and old database.
During the rest of the brown bag, Entrance’s consultants discussed how the development of a web app that could get around these difficulties, particularly when all the needed code is not available.
This example situation is fairly close to what actually happens when Entrance engages with a new client. While we strive to utilize best practices and the most up-to-date technology, software consulting also requires that we pay attention to the world that our clients are operating in, and create solutions that meet the needs of that situation.
Find out more about our process and methologies…