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Monday, April 30, 2012

How Much Do I Need to Spend On My Website?

Your least expensive option is to use Open Source software.  Why pay someone to write what has already been written?   
When I talk with business owners about how to create and maintain a website most say, “I know a guy…”.  Lets price that out.  If you hire someone cheap you would have to pay at least $30,000 a year to get anyone who knows what he or she are doing.  Add taxes and benefits on top of that.  After a year what will you have to show for it?   
Using Open Source software and Story Driven Development your money could go a lot farther.  You could have a working site much quicker and you are not dependent on one person so you can be selective on who has the fastest/best solution.  You specify a story of the features you need.  You only pay for one iteration and the time needed for training is built in to the price.  After the iteration the clock stops.  You are free to see the results and think of new features you need.  Post another story of those new features to start a new cycle or stop anytime.   
Building a website is not like building anything physical.  It’s software.  You don’t really need a blueprint.  Yes, you do need to know where you want it to go.  But instead work on just one feature at time and think about how each feature serves a business purpose.  Pay only for the minimum features to fill your need then turn off the expense by waiting for the next required feature.   
Because you are using Open Source software and Story Driven Development it doesn’t matter who is going to do the next iteration.  The next developer can just run the tests and add the next feature you requested.   
Turn off the fixed expense of your website and use Storyiter8.    

Friday, April 27, 2012

"Open Source is Not Sustainable and What We Can Do to Fix It."

You have no right to expect me to send you back to Kansas unless you do something for me in return. In this country everyone must pay for everything he gets. If you wish me to use my magic power to send you home again you must do something for me first. Help me and I will help you."  
"What must I do?" asked the girl.  
"Kill the Wicked Witch of the West," answered Oz.  -L. Frank Baum – The Wizard of Oz
Not too many years ago the music industry found itself in trouble.  No one wanted to buy music on traditional media. Industry executives were convinced that the fault lies with the evil Internet where music was exchanged for free.
Steve Jobs created a marketplace.  It turns out that people DO want to pay for music, as long as you make it convenient.

Open source is a wonderful thing, now let’s make it better.
Help me build a marketplace for open source software.

This is my manifesto.

First, don’t change a thing.  Yes you heard me, let’s not change a thing.  Keep writing open source software and keep posting it on Github for all to see, download and use, for free.  
Other programmers are on your team.  They are contributors and business partners.  You need to keep track of them and nurture their contributions.

It’s the business owner that can profit from the open source software you write and you should get your share, and so should your contributors and partners.

The marketplace is a website where business owners can post stories of functions they would like programmed.  The story becomes the test for software that needs to be written.  The tests are broken into iterations that represent less than one day of work.  Then you or your team, collaborators or partners bid on what you would charge for that iteration.  The business owner approves and pays for the iteration.  The marketplace holds the funds in escrow until both parties agree that the iteration is a success, and then the funds are released to you and your team in percentages that you control.

Then iterate again and again.

We can test the process by building the marketplace with the same tools we want our customers to use.

The website should;
        •  Keep track of users, owners, developers and admins
        •  Allow owners to write stories of features  
        •  Allow developers to edit stories into tests and iterations
        •  Allow developers to bid on iterations
        •  Allow owners to choose and authorize bids
        •  Handle payments
        •  Allow a two-way sign off on the iteration
        •  Dispense funds    

Future features will improve communication and make it easy for owners to see the results of the iterations, and for developer to collaborate.

Let’s do this.