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Making Great Software is Humbling

Coding is one aspect of software. Making great software takes a team of well-coordinated resources. When we oversimplify software to just a coding event, we get unexpected results

By Jennifer Matt
Published: August 31, 2016


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Jennifer Matt is the managing editor of WhatTheyThink’s Print Software section as well as President of Web2Print Experts, Inc. a technology-independent print software consulting firm helping printers with web-to-print and print MIS solutions. You can reach her at jen@whattheythink.com.



By Michael Jahn on Aug 31, 2016

While I TOTALLY agree that great solutions should not require training or a manual, lets face it, even Pokeman Go has a YouTube or two...

additional tips that help ensure user adoption:

- Building tool tips into the software panels
- Building an online searchable wiki
- Video Courses and Webinars



By Mark Myers on Sep 06, 2016

I fully agree with the author and that is why almost all print estimating programs have 15 or more screens as they were designed by programmers with instructions from printers and without a program manager... In 1995 I bought a $100,000 program for my 100 plus employee company and was promised features that I needed. They could not deliver so being an engineer I learned programming and wrote my own software... I realized that I knew as a printer how all the pieces fit together and so impressed people from Xpedex and Unisource that they convinced me to commercialize it which I did in 1998 introducing it at graph expo... My single screen solution makes it very easy to learn and install and the reason is what I call 3-dimensional programming which automatically makes changes to all aspects of the estimate such as a change in the paper weight changes the cutting and a change in the # of pages automatically changes the press, ink, folding stitching and all aspects without going back to to each department for updating. This approach not only speeds the process but eliminates mistakes in EstimatorCorp.com and EstimatorCloud.com software solutions...


By Jennifer Matt on Sep 06, 2016


Thanks for your comments.

I don't like when the comments section becomes a pitch of your products - printers are being pitched all the time, why not stay in the give, give, give mode instead of ask, ask, ask?

All you had to do was add to the discussion (which you did), if you know what you're talking about (which you obviously do) - people will find you.

Once you start pushing the sale, then people lose trust.

Education is the new sales. Stay in the educate mode and good things will happen!

Please educate us on how doing estimating in a system works with all the other functions that an MIS typically takes care of (e.g. accounting, order management, shop floor data collection, inventory management, etc.)? Does the system you built do all these other things? If not, how does a printer tie their business together with estimating on a separate system? I'm sure you run into this challenge all the time.



By Robert Godwin on Sep 07, 2016

Value proposition is the first step in educating the client. Asking about the prospect's business and any pain points they are experiencing serves to focus the education stages of the sale. Specific to software, the sales education must include the fact that software is never done (that's why Uber annoys us with never ending App updates). Our MIS communicates with at least 50 instances of software. Device software is often proprietary and as often as not play nicely in the sandbox. Other monitoring, tracking, estimating, reporting and billing software must also interact with the MIS if you want anything close to accurate manufacturing and cost analysis. If any of these instances update, regression testing becomes a regular part of your life, especially you have "built" your own solution. When was the last time you ran a regression test on your manufacturing software?
I have seen configured implementations of Apple script, Filemaker Pro, ColdFusion that worked fine...at least in the first six months. Then all the systems they pinged for info had updates and things started to break. Maintaining software and enterprise configurations is a humbling experience, even for the most robust and well-staffed IT teams, much less the programmers who we may righteously blame for our collective misery.


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