Atomic Spin

Answering “How Long Will This Take?” and Other Impossible Questions

Atomic Spin

As we decide where to focus, figure out the best way to implement things, or evaluate costs on any project, we hear the same questions: “How much will this cost?” Or “When will it be done?” Or even technical questions like, “How many records can this process per second?”

You Need to Be Involved with SoftwareGR

Atomic Spin

Are you a software designer or developer looking to connect with others in West Michigan? How about an owner of a software consultancy who would like some exposure to potential new employees? Maybe you lead a department of software designers and developers and would like to expose them to new ideas?

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Atomic Welcomes an IT Operations Engineer and a Delivery Lead

Atomic Spin

This spring, Atomic gained a Delivery Lead in Ann Arbor and an IT Operations Engineer in Grand Rapids. Now that they’ve settled in, I asked each of them to tell me about themselves and what it’s been like working at Atomic. Stephen Guyton. Stephen is Atomic’s new IT Operations Engineer.

Agile Misconception #2: We Don’t Need Documentation

Atomic Spin

Documentation means a lot of different things to different people. I’ve also found it’s one of the top five topics to cause a developer to cringe. If you’ve used a waterfall software development process, you’re all too familiar with documentation.

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Business Agile: A Roadmap for Transforming Your Management & Adapting to the VUCA Environment

Speaker: Peter Taylor, Speaker/Author, The Lazy Project Manager

Businesses everywhere are trying to “get business agile”—but it’s not easy to adapt to becoming this adaptive. How can conventional organizations succeed in this transformation? In this webinar, Peter Taylor will walk through the change process step by step, and look at a tried and tested transformation roadmap: benefits are outlined, solutions to common challenges offered, and tried and tested methods and tools provided. It will be a guide towards a decentralized and management style that offers more successful decision making through collaboration.

Villainous Personas – Anticipating the Users You Don’t Want

Atomic Spin

You know and use personas for a majority of your projects, but I’m here to tell you that you may have missed a category of user. A very important one. A not-so-friendly one. Users Who Mean Harm. Let’s pretend you’ve created a beautifully functioning and user-friendly app.

Want to be a Better Consultant? Learn to Work Strategically

Atomic Spin

Looking to level up your consulting skills? One thing I’ve observed among our more senior Atoms is a mastery of approaching work strategically. What Do I Mean by Strategy? As consultants, we juggle a lot of different concerns and goals.

How to Avoid Stakeholder Gridlock on Your Software Project

Atomic Spin

Have you ever been to a meeting that involved a dozen or more people, that constantly went too far into the weeds, that couldn’t come to a consensus, and that left you feeling like nothing was accomplished? It was horrible, right? You probably never want to have that experience again.

Starting Strong – 5 Ways to Establish Good Team Dynamics & Norms

Atomic Spin

You just kicked off a project, and it went well! Everyone is happy, hopeful, and on the same page. But how do you keep that momentum and camaraderie going? As a Delivery Lead, here are five things I try to do at the beginning of every project. Run a Team Norms Exercise.

Why Your Big-Team Software Project Needs a Utility Player

Atomic Spin

Projects with big teams introduce a slew of interesting problems–problems like keeping developers fed with multiple tracks of work, understanding areas with large technical risks, and sharing knowledge. On a recent project, we developed a role to help solve these problems.

BI Buyers Guide: Embedding Analytics in Your Software

The business intelligence market has exploded. And as the number of vendors grows, it gets harder to make sense of it all. Learn how to decide what features you need and get an evaluation framework for every technical and non-technical requirement you could imagine.

Choosing the Right Software Partner, Part 4: The Engagement Management Process

Atomic Spin

A strong engagement management process keeps complex, custom software development projects on track for success. It’s essential that you (the client) are regularly involved in conversations about budget, scope, and key decisions.

Choosing the Right Software Partner, Part 3: Evaluating Experience

Atomic Spin

Experience is the best teacher. When evaluating custom software development partners, it’s important to know if your potential partner has a track record of success with companies like yours and projects of similar complexity.

Reviving the Handwritten Thank-You Note: Tips, Tools, and a 4-Sentence Template

Atomic Spin

I’m pretty sure you already think handwriting thank-you notes is a good move. So why don’t you more often? Does it seem old-fashioned? Too much work? Overly time-consuming? Not sure what to say? Do you associate it with notes you had send to your aunt, thanking her for your itchy birthday socks?

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Creating a Fast, Easy Daily Log with Bear & aText

Atomic Spin

I am a big note taker, mostly because I tend to be forgetful. No matter how significant or recent a discussion may be, I often forget the details of what was said or decided–unless I take effective notes.

2019 State of Engineering Performance Management Report

More than 100 software leaders were asked how they manage and measure engineering performance. How do the findings stack up to your own experience? The report includes the top engineering challenges and the most used performance metrics.

Choosing the Right Software Partner, Part 2: Evaluating for Great People

Atomic Spin

Engaging with a service firm isn’t like buying a product. It’s about hiring a set of people to do work on your behalf. Yes, the company as a whole matters, but you also need to be confident that the people there have the right set of skills for your project.

With Jetpack, Android Development Has Leapfrogged iOS

Atomic Spin

Over the past six years, I’ve done a lot of iOS development (and written a lot about iOS ). I would say it’s been the primary focus of my career. But as a software consultant, I need to be flexible, and I’ve done my fair share of Android development as well.

MVC 52

My Long, Winding Journey to “Software Developer”

Atomic Spin

If you take a look at our team page today, you’ll see a little chart showing that almost all of our makers have a college degree, save one very small slice. That slice is me. My journey to becoming a software developer at Atomic is quite distinct because I chose that unique path.

Choosing the Right Software Development Partner (with or without an RFP), Part 1: Evaluating Longevity

Atomic Spin

Finding the right custom software development firm for your project is a tough job. Even a thorough RFP process won’t save you if you’re not looking for the right things. Software projects are notorious for being late, over budget, and frustrating.

More Effective Agile Leadership

Speaker: Steve McConnell, CEO, Construx Software

In this talk, Steve McConnell, CEO of Construx Software, distills hundreds of companies’-worth of real-world experience into the proven Agile leadership practices that work best. Steve will seamlessly thread together traditional approaches, early Agile approaches, modern Agile approaches, and the principles and context that underlie them all—creating an invaluable resource for Agile leaders, their teams, and their organizations.

How to Set a Budget for Your Custom Software Project

Atomic Spin

Software is never done—there are always more features and functions you could add. So how much should you budget for a custom software project? Some companies keep throwing money at the project without any budget at all.

Your Backlog Isn’t a To-Do List – It’s Self-fulfilling Prophecy of Success or Failure

Atomic Spin

Your backlog is an imperfect, always changing, self-fulfilling prophecy for how your software will be built. Not only that, but at a software consultancy like Atomic, it’s also a prophecy for how the engagement will end and deliver on your brand promise.

Four Steps for Inheriting a Codebase

Atomic Spin

In the last two years, I’ve worked on a few projects passed on to me by other teams.

Is Your New Feature Worth It?

Atomic Spin

When you’ve created a successful application, it is tempting to relentlessly add new functionality. You think that if you stop building, you’ll fall behind. New features bring in new business. They show your existing users that you are still active and adding value.

The Essential Guide to Building Analytic Applications

Embedding dashboards, reports, and analytics in an existing application presents some unique opportunities—and poses unique challenges—to software teams. Download this eBook to hear 16 product experts share insights on business intelligence, UI/UX, security, and everything that goes into building a successful application with analytics at its core.

Wireframing for Non-Designers – A Crash Course

Atomic Spin

Wireframes are not just for designers! As a software maker, you can and should be using them to eliminate risk and validate concepts. These tools benefit the entire team, and they can be created by any member of the team.

Wireframing for Non-Designers – A Crash Course

Atomic Spin

Wireframes are not just for designers! As a software maker, you can and should be using them to eliminate risk and validate concepts. These tools benefit the entire team, and they can be created by any member of the team.

Getting Ready to Break Everything (in 5 Easy Steps)

Atomic Spin

Every project eventually hits a point where a big change needs to be made, and it’s going to break everything. And you’re going to be the one stuck putting it back together.

Seven Quick Strategies for Effective Scrum Stand-Up Meetings

Atomic Spin

The daily stand-up meeting is an important component of the SCRUM process. It helps the whole team stay in-sync and up-to-date on what’s happening with the project, and it alerts everyone to blockers as soon as they become an issue.

Architect Your Organization for Effectiveness, Productivity, and Joy

Speaker: Ron Lichty, Consultant: Interim VP Engineering, Ron Lichty Consulting, Inc.

As a senior software leader, you likely spend more time working on the architecture of your systems than the architecture of your organization. Yet, structuring our teams and organizations is a critical factor for success. In fact, the impact of software architecture parallels the impact of organizational structure. We are excited to welcome Ron Lichty, co-author of a seminal book on managing software teams and a well-known speaker, he’ll speak to organizing for effectiveness, productivity and joy.

Creating Psychological Safety Leads to Happy Teams

Atomic Spin

Have you ever loved being part of a team? It’s a great feeling. Often, it doesn’t even matter what you’re working on as a group. Everyone shows up to work with enthusiasm, and all members support one another.

Embedding YouTube Videos in Android Applications

Atomic Spin

YouTube is the largest video sharing platform in the world, so it makes sense to include its videos in a mobile app. In this article, I’m going to cover how to add them to your Android application using YouTube’s official API. For the sake of this tutorial, we are going to start with an empty activity template, Kotlin , and a minimum API level of 6.0 in Android Studio. Setup. Unfortunately, YouTube does not provide a Gradle dependency for its player API.

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Five Quick Phone Tests

Atomic Spin

When I started testing websites, I had a list of quick “attacks” that could surface common issues quickly. Now that I’ve been doing more and more testing on mobile devices, I’ve come up with a similar list for them. Run on Your Oldest Phone First. I’ve found that issues tend to occur more on Android than iOS, mainly due to the large fragmentation of the Android market.

JavaScript-free Web Development with WebAssembly, Bolero, and F#

Atomic Spin

A while back, I remember hearing about WebAssembly and how it would finally release the web from the grip of JavaScript. Languages that transpile to JavaScript don’t cut it). Although WebAssembly doesn’t make the news much these days, it turns out there is quite a bit of work being done in this area. Since I do a fair amount of back-end work in F#, I was looking for a way to use F# client-side, and that’s when I discovered Bolero. Bolero.

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The Definitive Guide to Predictive Analytics

By embedding predictive analytics, you can future-proof your application and give users sophisticated insights. The Definitive Guide to Predictive Analytics has everything you need to get started, including real-world examples, steps to build your models, and solutions to common data challenges.

Writing a Great Software Development Contract, Part 3 – Warranties, Indemnifications, and Liability

Atomic Spin

Custom software services contracts should call out the promises you and your partner make to each other. The contract should also define who will be responsible, and to what degree, if certain issues arise. Disclaimer. This post is not formal legal advice. I’m not a lawyer. I recommend you work with legal professionals for all of your software contract needs. This is the third post in a series that will cover common considerations in the following categories: Overview & Principles.

BLOBs with Knex and PostgreSQL

Atomic Spin

My team and I recently decided that we should store user-generated binary files in our PostgreSQL database so that a user could download them at a later time. This is different from uploading those files to something like Amazon S3 (which we’ll likely consider migrating to at some point down the road). Initially, we implemented this solution using a bytea column, but we found that the retrieval performance was unacceptable.

There’s a Relational Database in Your Unix CLI

Atomic Spin

Did you know that there’s a relational database hiding in your Unix shell? There really is, it turns out. A friend of mine was recently telling me about his discovery of the join command, which allows you to combine data from multiple files that contain tabular data. Let’s take a closer look. Examples. For these examples, I’ll be using two files.

Want to Write Clearer Code? Follow the Cooperative Principle

Atomic Spin

Lately, I’ve noticed a transition in my craft as a software developer. While I once devoted almost all of my mental energy to getting code to run properly, I’m now putting more thought into writing clear and maintainable code.

MVC 52

An Adult Conversation About Estimates

Speaker: Beekey Cheung, Software Consultant, Professor Beekums, LLC

Estimates are a contentious topic in software development. Most of our development teams hate providing estimates and many managers are starting to view them as unnecessary. As senior software leaders, how can we determine whether estimates are helpful or harmful to our teams? We are excited to be joined by Beekey Cheung, a software consultant and blogger known as Professor Beekums, who has helped many leaders and teams go from fearing estimates to using them appropriately. He'll walk us through the value of estimates, how to overcome the hesitancy many have in giving them, and how to provide better estimates.