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Four development methods you didn't know you were using!

Waterfall is hard, and agile is confusing, so why should you put your team through them? Instead, you are probably already using some of these alternative development techniques! You won't learn about these in a text book, but you'll find them in use all over the software industry. Let's learn about how we manage small teams:

1. Whack-a-mole development

This is the most common development methodology around. Almost all small teams do this to begin with, and businesses can grow huge off the back of Whack-a-mole development. So what is it?

Whack-a-mole development is a process where your developer…

The Guten, the Berg, and the Ugly

Or: How I learned to stop worrying, and love like accept Gutenberg.

For those not in the loop, Gutenberg is the controversial new editor for WordPress. Despite not using WordPress on this blog, for reasons poorly explained elsewhere, I do use WordPress for client work. With Gutenberg becoming the default editor in the fast-approaching version 5.0 of WordPress, I figured that I should install the plugin version, and at least try to understand what it's all about.

Why a new editor?

Because the old editor is crap.

Ok, now that I've offended everyone, it's not crap, but it's also not sufficient for b…

The small tips about freelancing that I've learned over the years.

This was originally a post on /r/freelance over on reddit, but I'm re-posting here for posterity.

I've been at this for a fair while, and this is some of the wisdom that I've been told or learned, often the hard way.

The typical full-time employee costs a company 2-3 times their nominal salary

Use this as a basis for deciding your rate. $90/hr might sound like an expensive replacement for an employee getting paid $30/hr, but that $90 is the total cost, and stops immediately when the project ends.

A client asking for 6+ hours in a day will cost you 8 hours

You will achieve nothing useful (read: bil…

Workflows for a small team of gits

In my current role at cpap.com, I'm working on improving the workflow of our small development team. We made the switch from SVN to git a couple of years ago, but the tools we had available at the time didn't really support us well, so we had to fight to stop using git like we used SVN.

As the developers got more comfortable with git (and as we brought in new blood to the company), the workflow has organically changed to be closer to the original plan. Now only the lead developers push changes into master, and developers pull off feature branches when they get a new ticket.

It's working well, b…

Pretty and Broken trumps Ugly and Working

There, I've said it. Programming is a beauty contest, and if your software ain't pretty, it will lose out to something with half the function. This is a really difficult thing to admit as I'm not a designer, but the user interface is more important than the functionality.

Of course this isn't always true - quite often banks and other large businesses use software that was written 20 years ago (and still looks the part), but for the majority of businesses (especially in the web sector), it's just a home truth that design is more important.

So let's explore why.

Trust
Reason number one why the UI …