Average guy, above average luck...the blog of M. Keith Warren

  • Windows Azure Websites

    4 total hours of work. That is all it took from first call from a customer until I had their site pulled from the current servers, a new account provisioned, DNS changed, source control moved and site deployed to Windows Azure websites. The site http://eventwarden.com was relatively simple structurally but that doesn't matter. Everything went smooth as silk. Azure has come a LONG way.

  • Making us all look bad...

    So Verizon Wireless is going to release this new phone today which they think will be a big hit, they even set up a separate site to make ordering the phone a 2 step process. They build the site on ASP.NET and launch day comes around and here we find a buggy site which is failing to serve requests and even spiiting out ASP.NET runtime errors with web.config information.

  • Does adding developers increase the hours?

    I am working on a project timeline this week and my customer called me after review. They were pretty amused by the timeline because I had increased the total hours after adding another development resource to the project. I think this is hard for most people to understand, they imagine a pure labor project, building a swing set for instance. One man could do it in 6 hours but add a second equally capable man and they may complete the project in 2 hours. I think this is due to the fact that some tasks can be approached differently with varying multiples. I don’t believe this anecdote to make the leap into software development. Development methodologies aside I think adding a second developer adds a tax of time to the project, the guy once working by himself now has to communicate with another, tactics get questioned, he has to wait on things from the other guy and vice versa. There are also benefits, having someone else dependent on your delivery in the short term can make for a good motivating factor. In this case though, we are talking about man hours and not delivery date.

    I estimated the project to take 600 hours on my own and was asked what it would look like to add another developer. Looking at the tasks I chose some which would be best to be worked on independently and tried to avoid overlap in needs (don’t want someone building an interface if the underlying business objects aren’t complete). In the end I put the hours at 750, but the benefit is that the project gets done sooner in calendar days. This means I added about 25% more man hours due to the changes in approach wrought by the resource addition. This worked under the assumption that the second developer had skills commensurate with mine and that the project tasking stayed the same. I believe this number slides down with time and other factors such as whether or not the two resources were in the same location, had worked together before etc.

    My question is this – is 25% overkill?

    Not enough? What other factors am I not considering?

    Does this number go down with longer projects?

    What does a third person do?

    Any advice would be appreciated.

  • OT: Office 12 Beta

    If there is one tool I use more than Visual Studio it is certainly Outlook, I have been an Outlook fan since Outlook 2003 (before that it was just ok) and have not looked back since. I decided recently to give the Office 12 Beta a try and while I tend to shy away from beta 1 stuff for actual usage I was quite pleased with the relative stability. Now after having spent a few weeks mainly in Outlook and Word I have to say that this has got to be the best Office release by a long shot.

    I know people get into arguments about whether there is some killer 'must have' feature and whether the new features justify the upgrade cost and on the surface I could not name just one that makes it worth while but this thing is truly a starting to shine as I dig more.

  • micro.isv - a detour

    For over a year now I have been working in my spare time on a digital asset management system, I have been very serious about this and did quite a bit of competitive research out of the gate which I have refined over time. It got the to point where Outlook notes and scratch pads hobbled together where getting out of hand so I spent a few hours throwing something together to manage the information. made changes, spent more hours (big for loop here) and after way too many hours had something respectable for managing the information. I have showed this to a few people and got a pretty curious reaction, instead of "that’s nice" or "good idea" the response was more like, "why aren’t you selling that?"

  • OT: JibJab

    Noticed today that the JibJab site is running ASP.NET and they have a hilarious new video out. Check it out sometime.