Friday, August 29, 2008

Inadequate Tools Send Software Down the Drain

According to a recent study, Fortune 500 Companies abandon one-third of software development projects after implementation because they don’t meet user needs. Also, the average project costs $3.2 million and takes 1,300 person months to complete.

Isn’t that ridiculous? We always just assume that Fortune 500 companies have their act together. Guess not.

Reasons cited for this failure includes poor planning, lack of a process, and inadequate tools. The first two reasons can be easily corrected internally. However, when choosing a development tool, here are a few steps to take.

  1. Create a list of things you need to accomplish with this tool. Don't settle for anything less.
  2. Take it for a test run. Learn as much as you can about what your "learning curve to productivity" will be before your invest.
  3. Ask for a sample application. Make the vendor prove theirs is the right solution for you.
Following these steps could be the difference between success and failure. Take this Global 500 Company for example. They knew what they needed, found a good solution, and took the proper steps to ensure success.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

5 ways to drive your best workers away

Talk to any manager today, and they’ll tell you how difficult it is to attract good talent. Many of those managers will also complain about how difficult it is to retain good talent.

If that’s the case, they have no one to blame but themselves. Talent retention is the responsibility of the manager. If you have trouble keeping your best employees around for very long, maybe it’s time to take a good look at your management style.

How do you keep your best talent? You can start by not doing these 5 things.

Monday, August 25, 2008

CSS Tutorial #5: Cascading Order and Inheritance

When working with CSS, do you ever come across problems that just don’t make sense? Almost like the code isn’t doing what you told it to do? If it’s not a syntax error, it could have something to do with cascading order and inheritance.

In this CSS tutorial, you will learn the basics of cascading order and inheritance. When two styles conflict, which one is used? Which selector is most important? These questions are all answered in the latest tutorial, which you can find here.>>

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Simpler Approach to SOA

If I've learned one thing in all my years in this industry, it is this: Keep it simple. More often than not, the probability of failure is directly proportional to the level of complexity in a project.

Here's an interesting article in, entitled "A simpler approach to SOA" which touches on Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) and Web-Oriented Architecture (WOA). The author explains how a "keep it simple" approach is far better when it comes to SOA.

I wish more people would espouse the KIS approach. Why try to force a complicated SOA on your company when you could accomplish the same thing faster with a WOA? SOA is more difficult, expensive, and has less of a chance to succeed than a WOA.

Choose the simplest solution that will solve your problem. Whether it's an SOA or WOA, m-Power can simplify doing it. We've kept it simple in this WOA demo site. . .

Click here to see a good example of a WOA.>>

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

30 Skills Every IT Person Needs

From a skills standpoint, how would you rank yourself as an IT professional? If you think you know quite a bit, then here's a good test for you. Read this article entitled, “30 skills every IT person needs”.

How many of them do you have? Would you add anything to this list?

Monday, August 18, 2008

8 Ways to Improve Your Business Systems

In a perfect world, enterprise software (ERP’s, MRP’s, BI, etc…) would do everything you need it to do and more. Anything with a 6-7 figure price tag should work smoothly, install easily, and create revenue for your company…in a perfect world.

But, the world isn’t perfect. Anyone who’s ever implemented an ERP knows it often takes longer, costs more, and does less than you thought. (Exhibit A: Read about the Waste Management/SAP litigation.)

A couple things to watch out for with enterprise software:

  1. One size does not fit all. Every company is different, and every company may need different features. You can’t expect a boxed solution to exactly fit all of your company’s needs.
  2. It becomes outdated. Your business needs will change over time, but will your enterprise software keep up? Probably not without expensive upgrades.

But don't worry, there are ways to overcome these obstacles. Find out how: Read our free white paper which examines 8 different approaches for improving your Enterprise Systems.

Friday, August 15, 2008

10 Ways to Kickstart Underachievers

When you hear the word “underachiever”, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Most likely, it’s the name of a previous coworker or employee.

What happened to that underachiever? When it comes to poor performance, a manager generally has two options:

  1. Terminate the employee, or...
  2. Try to help the employee
Unfortunately, managers usually choose the first option based on the assumption poor performance is always the employee's fault. In reality, there are many reasons for poor performance, some easily correctable, and others directly tied to the manager themselves.

Before pulling out that pink slip, try to help an underachieving employee. This article in lists 10 ways to potentially do just that.

I personally like number 5. Having the right tools to work with can make all the difference, for any employee or company. For example, look at what this company was able to accomplish with the right tools.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Career Tip: How to Move Up at Work

What kind of person are you? Are you one who constantly looks for ways to advance your career, or are you satisfied just staying put?

I think that most people would claim to be, or at least want to be, someone who is not satisfied just standing still in their career. If you are that type of person, make sure you read this article in entitled, “Career Advice: How to move into a leadership role”.

Monday, August 11, 2008

How to: Create rollover buttons with CSS

What is a web button? In its most basic form, a button is a link, a doorway to another page. That being said, would you rather go through a plain door, or a fancy door?

Web buttons play an important role in web design. If used correctly, they can attract visitors to a specific page, and if used incorrectly, they can do the exact opposite.

In the past, fancy web buttons were only possible with javascript or Flash. But did you know that you can do the same thing with CSS? How? This forum post entitled, “How to: Make Rollover Buttons with CSS” will clearly explain why this formerly difficult task is actually quite easy.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Free Whitepaper: Application Modernization

Business technology is moving at such a rapid pace, it’s sometimes hard to keep up. However, the need to modernize legacy applications is greater than ever, for a few very important reasons:

  • Legacy applications are both expensive and difficult to maintain.
  • Companies need to keep up with competition
  • Modernized applications increase business agility
If modernization is so critical to the success of a company, why do so many hold off? Is it the price? Complexity? Fear of the unknown?

If you have questions about modernization, we have a free whitepaper that explains it in detail. This whitepaper covers the reasons to modernize, the 4 different ways you can modernize, and important details to watch out for in the process.

You can find the free modernization whitepaper here.>>

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

IT jobs at risk in 2009?

According to a recent survey by Goldman, Sachs & Co., the IT industry is feeling the effects of a slow economy. Going into 2009, staff cuts are likely, with contract workers feeling the brunt of the cuts.

A second survey indicated that IT spending will also decrease. CIOs want to stick with tried and proven methods over new technologies and ideas. They are looking for a fast and high ROI from their purchases.

How else will the slow economy affect the IT industry in 2009? Read the full story on>>.

Monday, August 04, 2008

CSS Tutorial #4: DIV and SPAN Tags

If you had to create a web page, could you do it? If so, could you do it without using tables?

How can you design a web page without using tables? In this latest CSS Tutorial, entitled “CSS Tutorial #4: DIV and SPAN tags”, we overview the DIV and SPAN tags and how they are used in design and layout of a page.

If you are still unclear why using CSS is better than using tables, read our forum post entitled, “Benefits of Using CSS for Website Layout”.

Friday, August 01, 2008

The Myth of the Interchangeable Programmer

The software development industry has a problem. According to this article in Datamation, the problem stems from two software management formulas (SMFs) that drive much of the industry:

  • Software Produced = Number of Workers x Hours Worked

  • Cost of Software = Number of Workers x Hours Worked x Hourly Cost Per Worker
At first glance, these equations might make sense. But, look again and you’ll see the problem: They use the assumption that all developers are interchangeable. Based on that assumption, logic dictates that quantity is better than quality, and low priced developers are always the best option.

Sound familiar? This is why companies use offshore developers.

In reality, all developers are not equal. The formulas fail to account for things like individual skill, work ethic, incorrect cultural assumptions, distractions, etc… Rather than answering project deadline problems with more developers, try to find ways to make your current developers more productive.

It’s not as hard as you might think. This company made their developers more productive and was able to meet a near impossible deadline despite being short a developer. Find out how they did it>>

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