Friday, 29 July 2005

Classic mistakes software companies make

1. Contracting out all 'green-field' development to 'off-shore' companies because they're cheap and then using in-house staff to support and maintain the systems, resulting in the end product costing twice as much in the long run because 'cheap' doesn't mean 'quality'.

2. Not giving out at least inflationary-level pay rises or bonuses to reward hard work

3. Promoting staff to the level of incompetence.

4. Having sales and marketing people have any say in technical decisions of any kind, like for instance delivery dates.

5. Having programmers answer the phones, do technical support, deal with customers, etc. Think: cost efficiency. Every time you distract a programmer, you're loosing money.

6. Thinking that an annual performance review should be an opportunity to real off a list of anonymous criticisms and complaints against a staff member instead of dealing with the issues as and when they occur.

7. Starting work without a specification.

8. Arguing with technical staff about how long something will take.

9. Getting angry about when people turn up to work late, after they've been working all hours of the night to fix your crappy systems. Never piss off a coding monkey before they've had their coffee, they might just rip your arms off.

10. Not training your staff, keeping them doing 'what they're good at'. Stagnation results in boredom and apathy.

My company has done pretty much all of the above. I know I'm not alone.

Interface crimes against humanity

Anyone who makes a web site consisting of the following interface atrocities needs to be shot:

1. Tonnes of flash 3d graphics that grind most PCs to a screaming holt and make the interfaces virtually unusable due to processor lag. Flash: just say no.
2. Obnoxious, vomit-inducing flashing red on green poker adverts, which i always block or nuke.
3. Pop-ups. Ahhhhg the devil, the devil!
4. Spy-ware or other anti-privacy features. If you need to know you need to ask.
5. Sites that try to dissable all the features of your keyboard and browser (such as the context menu, refresh, back, etc). So dumb and so pointless!
6. Terrible spelling.
7. Terrible grammar.
8. Ringtones adverts! Ahhg! The devil (again)!
9. Fonts so small an ant would struggle to read them.
10. My favorite: 'I.E. 5.0'-only sites. Over 75 million people have downloaded firefox. Isn't it about time you catered for them rather than the lowest common denominator?

Web designers: read a book on usability before you design a public service, or else me and my posse of hard-pipe-hitting monkey usability vigilanties will come knocking on your door and get medieval on your ass. (*)

(*) May not actually be true but you should do it anyway.