Sunday, April 19, 2009

On Small, Low Margin Projects

Part 3: Framework and Starter Application

To get off to a quick start, I would imagine finding or building (or a combination of the two) an application framework before I start selling my services to the small business-person. Most small business applications need CRUD and List forms; user accounts and various levels of access; logging;; an about window; error and audit logging; etc.

The platform doesn’t really matter as long it is robust enough to solve the business problem. You need something that is robust enough to solve the current business problem and accept the changes that will take place (sooner: you misread a requirement, later: new work and more revenue). The toolset should support modern scalable designs; the software may be the seed of an enterprise system.

I know that this is like having a hammer and making everything into a nail. At this kind of margin, you can’t afford to handle any technology that the customer may want to use. If it isn’t a nail and can’t be made into a nail, have someone else do it; margins are too tight to take anything.

The first few projects will probably be losers as you work out the kinks in the framework and your process.

With a starting point, we can get our customer something to show them after the first sprint. We can show the customer something quickly and have something to talk about when we plan the second sprint. If we come back to them quickly with something to show, they will feel involved in the process.

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