Many people are mystified as to why their projects are lagging. Off the top of my head, the general consensus is like 75% of all projects are more than 50% late. There’s a ton of reasons why this occurs. After all, if there was a magic bullet to make all projects come in on time, we’d certainly have that nailed by now. I’d like to pose one reason why so many projects drag on.
We are all familiar with the concept of scope creep, in which additional features cause a project to go all haywire on schedule. Many times, it’s just that one or two features aren’t fully hashed out in the initial discovery phase of a project and stakeholders end up innocently increasing scope by expanding scope unknowingly. Or developers get under the hood and find that some random feature requires a massive amount of extra work that nobody could have predicted with an inordinate of pre-project research. That is a well understood (and maybe even … gulp … well accepted) trait of project progression.
What isn’t as well accepted is the concept of what I’ll call “StupidScope”. This is where a feature isn’t really part of original requirements, but ends up being deemed <tounge-in-cheek> absolutely, unequivocally necessary “otherwise, we’ll lose millions”. StupidScope features are often very inexactly defined and are often faddish in nature. They invariably come after specification and are a response to the latest marketing trends that are floating around the trade blogs. Because of the poor definition, they end up being refined as development is occuring, often going through multiple revisions before alpha release.
And I know you’re sitting there saying, “not me, man, I’ve got my priorities together. My project would NEVER suffer from that. I’ve got a mind map [or a gantt chart or Scrum backlog .... blah blah].” In moments of honesty (i.e. 3 beers in), even the most sensible stakeholder will admit that they are given to flights of fancy regarding nebulous concepts that they KNEW would be awful time sucks.
So you need to keep an eye on the following features. And be aware that these are just a few problem areas that I’ve run into. Your list should be much longer.
social engagement with your audience
social engagement betwixt audience members
anything with “social” in the title …
semantic stack order for your content (after you’ve already built it out and you are mid-project)
responsive design after design has already been signed off
flexible product taxonomies
mobile: adding new devices/platforms and new resolutions as they are being released
adding additional 3rd party APIs
switching development platforms (yes, this is more common than you may think)
When these and many other trendy features sneak into your project, whatever your role is, if it can’t be defined in exact terms, squash it. No matter what the programmers tell you, ask yourself, “is this feature worth pushing my project for an unknown amount of time … like 60 days?” You may decide that the value is there. If so, proceed. But most often, when you cage it in those terms, the value just isn’t there.
Keep intelligently trimming your projects and just say no to StupidScope. That’ll help you meet those insane deadlines.
Robust and Effecient Development Framework From Microsoft.
Over the last few years, web developers have migrated away from building simple web sites with an FAQ and a site map to constructing sophisticated web-based applications that have more in common with software programs like Outlook and Excel than they do with the less interactive brochure-style sites of 2001 and 2002. Remember the old days of calling up the Mountain Dew-swilling “webmaster” (usually between the hours of 3 pm and 11 pm) to add a few text lines to the “Front Page”? Just as the face of web development has grown into the modern Web 2.0 style, so have the tools and technologies evolved for the better.
“.NET” (pronounced “dot net”) is Microsoft’s all-encompassing term to describe both the development and runtime environments for this new breed of applications. The .NET moniker even extends to cover Microsoft’s associated server and database technologies.
Applications are programmed in Visual Studio .NET using one of the following languages, listed in (debatable) order of popularity; C# (pronounced “C sharp”), VB.NET, and J#.These applications are deployed within the .NET Framework which runs on servers and even on desktop computers. If you are using Internet Explorer 7, then you are likely viewing this document within the .NET 2.0 Framework. This Framework is invisible to the average user. And that is a very good thing.
Visual Studio .NET has become the de facto standard for unified web development, with one-stop construction, testing, and deployment of web apps. At it’s core, Visual Studio .NET automates much of the process of database architecture and backend coding and thereby greatly accelerates the time to launch industrial strength applications. Processes that used to take months now take weeks or even days due to an infinite number of shortcuts that break up the development process into modular building blocks of code.
Over a 2-year period, topLingo’s senior developers built a massively complicated project entirely in .NET for a financial institution.
Five years ago, this same project would have required two to three times as many developers and a dedicated testing team. Or to put it another way, without .NET, this same project would have taken two to three times as long to build with the same resources.
Microsoft’s .NET environment represents the sort of mature and efficient technology that dominates the backbone of web.
90% of all Fortune 100 companies use .NET
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Press Release: topLingo Development Creates U.S. Travel Agent Site for Air New Zealand
topLingo’s Design, Programming and Online Marketing Expertise Propels Air New Zealand
Irvine, CA, April 2, 2009 – topLingo Development, Inc. (www.toplingo.com), a Web-based design and application programming services company specializing in the technology, finance, entertainment/media and other industries aannounces the creation of a new web site for Air New Zealand www.airnztravelagent.com/.
Air New Zealand contracted with topLingo Development, Inc. to build their primary web site for their network of U.S. and Canadian travel agents. This web site is professional and engaging providing an experience that captures the exciting and dynamic Air New Zealand brand. Travel agents can login and access special offers and targeted content which is administrated by Air New Zealand. The web site also employs RSS Feeds and an email marketing system to keep those agents updated. The site ranks high on Google due to the extensive SEO experience that topLingo provides. The site was built using Flash, Microsoft’s .NET 2.0 framework, AJAX, and a SQL database backend.
Lu Shi, Sales Operation Executive, Air New Zealand-Americas states, “TopLingo’s developers, artists and project managers provided an outstanding solution on our schedule. They brought our vision to life with incredible style and creativity, greatly exceeding our expectations. I really appreciate topLingo’s ongoing commitment to ANZ’s needs.”
Jason Berry, topLingo Development principal states, “The Air New Zealand project was a great fit utilizing our graphic design, development, programming and e-marketing services. We have created both efficiencies and cost savings, while increasing bookings for Air New Zealand’s flights.”
Michael Glezos, topLingo Development principal states, “We specialize in custom web application for the technology industry. Our web application expertise enables us to pinpoint and deliver on the needs of our clients. As a result, our clients save time, better service their customers and cut costs tremendously. topLingo provides cutting edge web applications to a critical part of ZyXEL’s business.”
About topLingo Development, Inc.
topLingo Development, Inc. ( www.toplingo.com), headquartered in Irvine, CA is a leader in Web-based software applications for the technology, financial, entertainment/media and other industries nationwide. For nearly a decade, topLingo Development has provided specialized expertise to create efficiencies, reduce costs, and generate customers and profits for its client base. Clients include Chase, Fidelity Investments, HSBC, Silver Hill Financial, ZyXEL Communications, Miles Davis, Inc. and many others.
About Air New Zealand
Air New Zealand offers more direct flights to the South Pacific than any other airline. Other popular destinations include Australia, China, Japan and Tonga. Consistently rated among the world’s best international airlines, Air New Zealand’s new Inflight Concierge Service provides all passengers with a range of services, from travel advice to assistance with onward bookings. Air New Zealand’s most recent accolades include “Best Business Class to Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific” for the third straight year by Business Traveler Magazine (USA) “Best Transpacific Airline” at the 26th Airline Industry Awards, and “Best Passenger Service” award by Air Transport World magazine. Air New Zealand is a member of the Star Alliance network. For more information contact Air New Zealand at www.airnewzealand.com/aboutus/mediacentre/default.htm.
Hyper Text Markup Language or More Simply The Base Language of the Net!
The fundamental building block of the web, HTML is a markup language designed to define the structure of text-based information. HTML itself is a series of descriptive tags that are associated with certain words or blocks of text. <p>, for example, is a tag that denotes a paragraph of text. Leading web firms like topLingo now use the latest version of HTML, called XHTML. To achieve a particular look or style for text like bold or underline, another language called CSS is used. CSS is an acronym for Cascading Style Sheets and can be included inside an XHTML document or in a separate document. XHTML and CSS work together to create the typical web pages you see today on the Internet.
topLingo uses XHTML and CSS on all our website projects, giving our customers clean, fast website code that is easy to update and manage. The way we use XHTML and CSS also usually improves SEO (search engine optimization) for our customers.
See what is being said about topLingo.Design World Online
topLingo took on a web project that most other web providers would not touch based on timing and cost. They not only stepped up and took on the project, but kept costs under control for a custom & rush development situation. With strong leaders and ...