How We Organize Our GIT and Why

How We Organize Our GIT and Why

All of the projects for Jay Nine, Inc use a very specific process in with our development projects. Everything in the project must be checked into a single version control repository: all of the code, testing scripts, database scripts, build and deploy scripts, and anything else needed to create, install, run, and test your application. This is for several reasons, namely: This makes it so that we have a ready-to-go back up of the entire application that we can launch at a moments notice When working with a team of developers, you can easily have multiple developers working on the project without a lot of hassle If a bug is pushed live, our team has a rule that we try to fix it for ten minutes. If, after ten minutes, we don't have a solution, we'll roll back to the previous version in our version control and fix it from there. This is auto-synced with our live websites, so when we make little fixes and...
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How We Use Asana for Task Tracking and Project Management

How We Use Asana for Task Tracking and Project Management

In the late 1940s, Toyota re-imagined the approach to manufacturing and engineering, forever changing the automotive world. This system is highly visual in nature, allowing teams to communicate more easily on work that needs to be done, and when. It standardizes cues and refines processes, and will help eliminate waste in an organization (while maximizing production). How the Kanban System Works The system is easy. First, we define workflow that is specific to our business. We then use a system of priority setting, to decide which pieces of work should be tackled first. Using a pull system, we pull work from a queue in a clear system so everyone can see what's going on. This system controls the release of work in a project, and more importantly, ensures that the most constrained resources are doing only the work that services the goal of the entire system, not just one component. We have a board that generally has 5 or 6 different items.   The board has a column for each step of...
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How We Use Checklists to Keep Our Projects on Track

How We Use Checklists to Keep Our Projects on Track

Faulty memory and distraction are a particular danger in what engineers call all-or-none processes: whether running to the store to buy ingredients for a cake, preparing an airplane for takeoff, or evaluating a sick person in the hospital, if you miss just one key thing, you might as well not have made the effort at all. -The Checklist Manifesto In large projects with many moving parts, professionals have a lot to remember. Hundreds, sometimes even thousands of details make up a completed project. One of the main tools we use in project management over at Jay Nine Incorporated is the simple checklist. All of our projects and tasks have checklists associated with them to confirm crucial working parts aren't forgotten in the haze of an ongoing project. The checklist offers the reassurance of verification while instilling a discipline for higher performance. A checklist removes the "you should have known" variable and provides a concrete explanation of the project requirements and important aspects of the project. For...
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The Pains of Developing an MVP and How to Overcome Them

The Pains of Developing an MVP and How to Overcome Them

The fabled MVP has become the new sexy word to throw around when it's time to develop a new application, company, or product. MVP (or minimum viable product) is meant to achieve a concept called Product Market Fit as quickly as possible. The MVP allows for small improvements based on real feedback—as opposed to  the traditional school of thought,  which is to try to launch publicly with what we think is our final, perfected product. Think the quiet and inexpensive growth of Airbnb vs the giant release of the first iPhone. While the concept of the MVP is a great concept, and it does work very well when executed properly, proper execution is extremely difficult. I've found there are generally 3 killers: Ego Trumps All A lot of people's ego get in the way of the process. They want the software or the website to be "perfect" in their eyes, without really a care to the consumer. When this is brought up, the response is usually, "oh,...
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Why Your Software Developer Needs To Go To Sleep

Why Your Software Developer Needs To Go To Sleep

"Well, you really want your IT guys [or department] to be the kind of guys that don't have a life or girlfriend. They just sit behind their computers all day and night." Um, okay. Time At Work Does NOT Equal Productive Output I was sitting on my couch reading the other night (okay, I was playing Madden) when a solution to a software problem we've been trying to solve suddenly popped into my head. We were trying to think of the best way to create a set of CSV files for a partner company to access to track some basic data entry. While I was sitting there debating whether or not Drew Brees was going to cut it as my new franchise Quarterback, I suddenly realized that we shouldn't be doing this with a CSV file at all, but rather (and contrary to task instructions) with a member portal. Does this mean I should just play Madden all day? Unfortunately, no. However, if I hadn't taken the...
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Why Software Projects Make People Pull Their Hair Out

Why Software Projects Make People Pull Their Hair Out

There was a study done in 1995 (22 years ago as of this writing) that concluded: Only 16% of software projects were successful 54% were challenged (cost overruns, budget overruns, or deficiencies) 31% were outright cancelled The average project runs 222% late, 189% over budget, and delivers only 61% of the specified functions. Failure has become the IT norm. Today I want to discuss some of the reasons why, and in a follow up article, I’ll discuss my life mission to do something about it. No Time Most software projects I’ve quoted or started had a deadline date that was decided well before the project starts. 99% of the time, this is an arbitrary date of when “it’d be nice to have it.” OR, a project is started with the intentions of “doing it right,” but a few months into the project there becomes a sudden need for it "to be done now.” There’s an excellent quote from the Mythical Man-Month (a software development book...
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The Jay Nine, Inc Software Development Process

The Jay Nine, Inc Software Development Process

Introduction We're working on continuously improving our process of project management and development. The below outlines the high level overview of the processes we use to develop and build web applications and custom business software. The Core Fundamentals: Find out exactly what the [user, client, or person who is benefiting the most from this system] needs and wants. Get the data you need to make that happen. Analyze at least ten types of forms. Refuse to accept any data without validating it first, always assume there is undiscovered data. Build the simplest and quickest version of that. Always focus on getting the simplest version to a solution in production as soon as possible. Test with user, fix mistakes, create better functionality. Ensure that no human error is found again (through automated tests and scripts). Do not allow arbitrary deadlines hurt long term productivity (focus on the tasks that will take a few extra days and save a few months). Set deadlines for...
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My Favorite Books from 2016

My Favorite Books from 2016

I read an average of one book a week this year, far short of my goal of reading 100 books this year. My goal for 2017 is taking a page from Warren Buffett’s book (ha, pun alert) and striving to read “500 pages a day.” Below I’ve listed the 5 best books I read this year, with some excerpts from each: The Score Takes Care of Itself by Bill Walsh I’m not usually a fan of sports-centric motivational or leadership books, but this book was in a class of its own. Walsh took the 49ers from the worst team in the NFL to the Super Bowl in less than 3 years. What was fascinating was his systematic (known as the Standard of Performance) way of doing so. His courage and emphasis on the fundamentals is an amazing lesson to all people trying to tackle greatness. He emphasizes that with upholding these standards and the fundamentals of the craft—whatever they are for any chosen craft—success...
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