Running Spring Boot with Angular

A current trend among Java developers is to move the user interface entirely to the browser. Using Angular framework on the front end is one of the most popular ways to achieve this.

This post will help Java developers integrate their Spring boot applications with Angular 4.

Let’s create a bootstrapped application using Spring Initializr.

Read More

DrupalCamp Lutsk 2017: Impressions from Speed & Function’s Drupal Lead

This month I attended a DrupalCamp in Lutsk in western Ukraine. I would like to share my impressions of the conference.

Typically, the common way to hold Drupal Camps in Ukraine is a bit boring.  I presented there myself and noticed there was little interaction with the audience and not much feedback.

But Slava Merezhko had a great idea, turning his presentation “Let’s resolve a SOW” into a practical seminar. First, the audience was split in several different teams.

Read More

“Forget Everything You Know”

You may have heard that when you took a new job. Ten years ago it probably meant that the work you will be doing now is quite different from studying. “Welcome to the real world, Neo”. But today this phrase has a new meaning. The world moves faster every year. We must run as fast as we can just to stay in place. Well-paid skills from the past can become unwanted tomorrow.

Read More

5 Activities to Improve Your Retrospective Meeting

The retrospective meeting is one of the most important scrum events. A team can understand their strengths and weaknesses, discuss their relationships between each other, and set goals for improvement beginning with the next sprint. You can find tons of different information on how to conduct retrospective meeting: who should participate, what’s the order of discussions, what to do with conclusions made during the meeting, etc. But the event itself can remain uninformative and boring if not done well. So I’d like to share 5 ways to spend this couple of hours with your team. These activities and others can be found on a great site called Fun Retrospectives and can easily be mixed with each other within one meeting. It’ll make the retrospective more interesting and more productive. So let’s get started!

Read More

Case Study: A Folk Tale called Axe Porridge and Free Out-of-the-Box Solutions

There is an Eastern European folk tale that is called Axe Porridge1. The story begins:

Once upon a time, an old soldier was returning home from the wars. He had been walking all day. He was tired and hungry. Night was drawing close. He needed a meal, and somewhere to spend the night. Soon he came to a little village. He knocked on the door of the first hut.

A little old woman opened the door.

‘What do you want?’ she asked him.

‘I am looking for a place to stay the night,’ replied the soldier.

‘Come in then,’ said the old woman. She opened the door wide, and stepped aside to let him enter.

The soldier entered the hut and set down his belongings in a corner.

‘I am hungry, ma’am,’ said the soldier. – ‘May I trouble you for something to eat?’

The old woman had plenty of food in the house. But she was mean and miserly and didn’t want to share. She pretended to be very poor and wept:

‘Oh poor old me! I have nothing in the house. I have eaten nothing myself all day!’

The soldier was a clever and observant man. He could see that the woman was not poor. He suspected she had plenty of food in the house. Noticing an axe lying in a corner, he said, ‘Well, then maybe I could make us some porridge out of that axe.’

Many times during my IT project practice I have been faced with clients that want to keep their costs down and think they can use an out-of-the-box solution. So they are enticed by a free open source solution or some low cost proprietary solution, such as WordPress or Drupal, with some functionality included. I’m not going to criticize such an approach because it’s pretty reasonable. But I have my thoughts and recommendations to improve that approach and to avoid making mistakes.

Read More

Have you been on your own Death Star?

When you work a lot of hours, even favorite movies remind you of your job. That often happens with me. Recently I was watching those good old episodes of Star Wars and got frustrated with how Darth Vader treated his staff and wondered about the destiny of the Death Star.

Moff Jerjerrod: Lord Vader, this is an unexpected pleasure. We are honored by your presence…

Darth Vader: You may dispense with the pleasantries, Commander. I’m here to put you back on schedule.

Moff Jerjerrod: I assure you, Lord Vader. My men are working as fast as they can.

Darth Vader: Perhaps I can find new ways to motivate them.

Moff Jerjerrod: I tell you that this station will be operational as planned.

Vader: The Emperor does not share your optimistic appraisal of the situation.

Moff Jerjerrod: But he asks the impossible! I need more men!

Vader: Then perhaps you can tell him when he arrives.

Moff Jerjerrod: The Emperor’s coming here?

Darth Vader: That is correct, Commander. And, he is most displeased with your apparent lack of progress.

Moff Jerjerrod: We shall double our efforts.

Darth Vader: I hope so, Commander, for your sake. The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am.  

Does it sound familiar? Deadline is coming, management is getting anxious, team is working full strength and a soon-coming menace is at the doorstep.  

I have managed many software development projects for lots of clients. Here’s what I thought about:

Read More

A Design Agency’s Struggles Led them to Speed & Function

Digital agencies play a critical role with their clients in developing outstanding user experience, branding and marketing. This article will focus on those that deliver user experience. The most creative firms are phenomenal at designing effortless, inspiring interfaces to amaze and engage their clients’ customers. Wired Magazine said of one agency Work & Co. regarding their work for Virgin America: “Beyond the cutesy gloss is the first radical rethinking of the flight booking experience in a decade.”

Agencies typically use a collaborative process with clients to research, define and apply creative and analytical methods to improve consumer experiences and increase engagement. Many times the work for their clients will require custom software development, whether that is a marketing website, e-commerce or something else. Most agencies have the skills to build a website and do it exceptionally well. But what happens when there will be complex software development? Or there will be integration with other software? Or the site will have heavy traffic volume or require fast performance?

Read More

The Startup Founder Double Whammy: Low Software Development Success Rates and Startup Gotchas

Expensive Technical Resources, Changing Burn Rates and Technical Debt

We wrote before how after twenty five years the success rate for software development teams across all industries has increased from 16% to only 29% being on time and within budget. The startup founder who enters this arena should be aware of  this because they already know that there will be startup “gotchas”, also known as challenges, that are unique to startups and early stage companies and unlikely to be an issue with traditional enterprise teams.

These challenges are many. Whether they are bootstrapped or venture-funded, they have extremely limited money for software development, which can be expensive. The product is inevitably going to change frequently so they may need to quickly speed up or slow down development based on feedback on their MVP, the minimum viable product to prove their idea is doable. Lastly they may be too focused on the MVP and proving their idea. If the product is as successful as all founders believe, there will suddenly be more traffic, new devices to support, third-party application integrations needed, etc. Is the product built for that?

Jason Grad is an entrepreneur with an idea for a mobile fundraising platform. He and the rest of his in-house technical team chose Speed & Function, a web application development company, for the following: Read More

A look at 25 Years of Software Projects. What can we learn?

History of Success and Failure

25 years ago just 16.2% of all MIS projects were completed on time and within budget according to something appropriately called the CHAOS report by the Standish Group. 52.7% were late and over budget, and 31.1% were outright cancelled. The top two reasons then were lack of user input/involvement and incomplete requirements. What has changed over 25 years?

Standish recently reported an improvement from 16.2% to 29% success rate. Certain projects were as high as 62%. I’ll get to that later.


Despite this improvement, that’s awfully low!

Success and failure rates in other industries?

Let’s look at the Home Redecorating/Remodeling industry with kitchen and bathroom projects. A 2013 study found that Redecorating projects were over budget 35% of the time, and Remodeling projects were over budget 53% of the time (1). That’s not very good either.

Why did Projects fail then vs. now?

Getting back to software projects, have the reasons for failure changed? Read More