Under the Umbrella: Custom Software Solutions Blog - Page 7 of 10 - Inverse-Square
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Under the Umbrella: Custom Software Solutions Blog

Inverse-Square has been privileged to work with a host of amazing clients; big and small, public and private, on a myriad of custom software projects; from Automated Background Screening Systems to Membership Management Systems and Event Tracking Applications. All have been exciting and with their own unique set of challenges, but as much as we don't want to play favorites, none can compare to the awesomeness of working with Santa's Workshop!
One cold winter night in the North Pole, It was the height of pre-Christmas season and all of the toy elves were working away. Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and the rest of their deer friends were training for the big run, and Santa Claus was preparing to get the presents ready for all the good little boys and girls. He sat down to his computer, switched it on, and waited for the latest version of the Naughty & Nice list to load. Santa waited, and waited, and waited some more... Nothing! And then, horror of horrors, the unthinkable happened, his screen went black. Santa's Access database had crashed!
Project management methodologies exist to take you from point A to B as fast, efficiently, and with as little waste as possible. The waste bit is important: It entails minimizing lost time, errors, risks, duplicate or low-impact efforts, and costs. When it comes to custom web application development, developers typically rely on one of two popular methodologies: Agile or Waterfall. In our young industry, there’s still much debate over the two project management styles and which is best. Here’s a breakdown:
When stage and cinema artists need to train in the art of stage combat, they turn to the Society of Fight Directors, "an organization of dedicated artists whose purpose is to promote safety and foster excellence in the art of performing, teaching, and directing staged combat/theatrical violence." And when the Society of American Fight Directors needs a custom web application to manage their members' information, they turn to Inverse-Square.
When someone hears the words, inverse-square, they probably think of physics (if they know about laws of physics anyway), but at Inverse-Square, when we hear our name, we think about trust. Inverse-Square is a law in physics that states, the closer you are to a source, the stronger that source is. We believe that a close relationship and close communication between ourselves and our clients is paramount to the success of a custom software development project. And we chose the name, Inverse-Square, as an acknowledgment to how powerful a close relationship can be.
With over over 10,000 volunteers, Special Olympics Indiana (SOI) have their hands full managing and coordinating all of their volunteer's data between different counties and varied processes. Inverse-Square is honored to have been chosen by SOI to help them find an easier way to do so with a new online database system customized to meet their needs.
<< Part 3 At Inverse-Square, we consider the most critical piece of our operations to be effectively communicating with our clients. We like to be certain that there are no surprises in their project schedule. All of the daily operational tasks mentioned in the previous posts come down to effectively communicating the good, the bad, and the potentially ugly in custom software development. This information is given in two documents for every client of ours; the Task Summary Report , and the Project Summary Report.
One of the most challenging things about building custom software applications is estimating the time involved for the build and the associated cost. The crux of this challenge comes from the fact that we are a custom software development shop and most of what we do is being done for the first time. There is a lot of research and development in our work, and that can lead to uncertainties. When there's not a software solution on the shelf that fits your needs and we take on your custom project, we minimize the challenge of time and budget estimation with thorough planning.
As a child, Ann Marie's wish was to grow up to be an ice skating ballerina, but lucky for us, the Franklin native grew up to be Team Awesome's Application Development Manager instead! New mom, Ann Marie, joined Inverse-Square about six months after the company was founded making her one of the first members of Team Awesome along with Bob and Joe.
<< Part 2     Task time tracking, or logging hours against every task we work on, is the driving force to scheduling and forecasting our custom web application projects. At Inverse-Square, we drill down to the eight hour work day and monitor the hours logged by the developers, as opposed to only weekly or monthly monitoring. This 'drill down' allows us to immediately recognize if tasks are being completed on time, under the estimations, or taking longer than our original estimations. We can act immediately on potential issues, while also recognizing 'task wins'; tasks that were accomplished under our original estimations. Ultimately, our time tracking for every task we have scheduled gives us the opportunity to see where every custom software project is at down to the day.
<< Part 1   Once the client approves the application design, we schedule the build contract into our master project schedule. This is why accurate estimations are necessary to custom web application development. If we are not accurate, our master schedule won't be accurate. An inaccurate master schedule can result in major delays to deliverables, budget overruns, and missed deadlines. Unfortunately in the website software industry, these outcomes are all too common. Once we add a client’s project into our master schedule, it is our daily duty to adhere to that project schedule.