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Experiences from building a global scale learning service
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Experiences from building a global scale learning service


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A few experiences from the process of building a web system

A few experiences from the process of building a web system

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  • 1. Experiences from building a web 2.0 platform
    Epignosis LTD
  • 2. The time paradox
    Assume a software system that needs 20 days to complete 80% of it
    How much time will it take to complete 100%?
    Answer = Infinite
    As closer we get to 100% time becomes relative. We can never reach 100% as we need more and more time to cover the next step
  • 3. Balance between time and results
    It is important to get something working quickly
    Aim to 90% - this gives you a good balance between functionality-quality and time-to-market
    Get used to reiterate later your logical and layout issues
    Don’t loose long-run goals perspective over every-day hurdles
    Balance is a key ingredient for everything
  • 4. Care for the “wrapper”
    Build a decent web-site from the scratch
    Use your brand as the glue for everything you do
    Use a forum or blog to communicate with the users
    Build documents, video presentations … whatever you can to explain your system
    Look and be professional on all aspects
  • 5. Get used to people differences
    Not all people are the same, work the same, produce the same
    Make a good mix
    You need the architect, you need the builder and you need the clerk
    Motivate them and keep them as a team
    BUT: You need at least a few extraordinary members to lead the process
    And you need the correct attitude from all members
    Don’t go with people that cannot communicate at all
  • 6. Get external support
    Promoting your system is harder that you expect
    Find the appropriate channels
    Measure your site traffic, it is the only trustworthy success mechanism
    Find people to help you
    Building a community takes time and it is extremely hard
    Help them back
  • 7. Keep it simple
    In an iterative environment debugging can become a headache
    Forget about unit-testing and other exotic debugging mechanisms
    Write simple, well-structured code
    Use continuous scenario testing (labor or automatic)
    Have experienced system testers
    If you have a user community include them to the testing process
  • 8. Get used to change
    Change is inevitable
    You should get prepared to handle it efficiently
    Filter external interferences from the development team
    Give them ample time to do it correct / work with them
    Make sure that everything is simple so as to be able to adjust
    Re-balance your system frequently to be change-friendly
    Minimize source
    Optimize code
  • 9. Products vs Projects
    Projects have a deadline, you don’t have one
    Projects get to 80%, you need to go to 95%
    Most project management tactics are useless under a continuous development environment
    A small development team can make miracles
    But use ample resources for wrapper tasks (documentation, testing, marketing,…)
  • 10. Pick the correct tools
    There will always be a variety of tools that can make the job
    Do not get “attached” to certain tools
    Pick the ones that can help your time-to-market equation and not based on their superiority
    Be careful to pick those that will provide an optimized solution for the end-user
  • 11. Be honest
    …to the team
    …to the customers
    …to yourself
    Don’t offer biased advices.
    Or whenever you do so make sure you are open about your bias
    Don’t promise what you cannot deliver
    Don’t aim to the impossible
    Aim to the extraordinary
  • 12. Don’t give up
    Building a product is a long-process full of good and bad moments
    Each day has something new to give. Let yourself grow through them
    Be persistent but not dogmatic
    Don’t forget that opportunity meets preparation