Development Tip: What to do When a Project Gets Delayed

It’s bound to happen. Problems arise, clients change their minds, and countless other unforeseen issues can cause a project to be delayed. One important thing to remember is, resist the temptation to add more people to the project as the first option. Taking some literary advice:

“You cannot have a baby in one month by impregnating 9 women” – The Mythical Man-Month

This applies to software projects too.

In reality, sometimes adding additional people might help, but keep these points in mind before making this exception.

The newly added people should be experts at the pending task, AND/OR are going to be working on a completely independent portion of the project. The integration should be seamless with no additional contextual knowledge of the project needed.

The other practical option is – negotiate with the client and help them understand and prioritize their requirements. Drop a couple of fancy items which are “nice-to-have”, but not the “must-haves”. The client might be more accepting of a simple-yet-functional feature, instead of a half done, fancy looking feature.

Taking another cue from the “Mythical Man-Month”, here’s some advice:

“When the chef delays your omelet, you can either have him bring it out early and eat it raw, or allow him the additional time to make it cook well”.

In the end, always do a team retrospective to figure out what went wrong and caused the deliverable to be delayed.

Share your experiences in the comments field below!

Tip of the Day – Iterative and Incremental Development

A useful way to achieve customer satisfaction in an incremental development approach is to always decide the priority of tasks picked in a specific development iteration. The priority order should be based on guidance from the customer, keeping them fully involved throughout the entire scope of the project. Complete customer involvement prevents unnecessary surprises and full understanding of the expected deliverable.

Mobile Learning in the Classroom

It’s the start of a new school year for thousands of students across the country, and 98% of returning high school students have access to a Smartphone. Instead of fighting mobility in schools it’s time to embrace it – and today’s technology leaders are doing just that. Educators from kindergarten to the collegiate level are integrating mobile technology into their every day curriculum.

Children as young as 2 years old can be seen playing educational games and increasing their motor skills on a mobile device. With the iGeneration being raised in a socially integrated, technological world, it’s a prime time for developers to seize the opportunities in mobile learning.


Here are some examples of the many ways you can use apps to educate kids, teens, and college age students alike:

Apps for Small Children

  • iWriteWords is a game used to help children develop their handwriting skills. The lite version is available for free and the full version can be downloaded for $2.99.
  • Peekaboo Barn is a game used to help children identity different types of farm animals. The lite version is available for free and the full version can be downloaded for $1.99.
  • TeachMe is a series of educational apps that teach young children different subjects based upon their education level. There are three separate applications available for 99 cents; toddler, kindergarten, and first grade.
  • Kids Math Ace is an app that teaches children how to count, add, and subtract, using visual guidance and tools. The lite version is available for free and the full version can be downloaded for 99 cents.
  • Story Builder is an interactive and creative application used to help children improve paragraph formation, integration of ideas, and improve higher level abstractions by inference. The app is available for download for $3.99.

Apps for Middle to High School Students

  • Flash Cards Deluxe is a flashcard app designed as a study tool for students. The lite version is available for free and the full version can be downloaded for $3.99.
  • Molecules is designed to view 3-dimensional renderings of molecules with the ability to manipulate them with your fingers. The app is available for free.
  • Blackboard Mobile Learn works with Blackboard’s web-based teaching and learning software. The app is free to download once your school has enabled the software.
  • Star Walk turns your device into a stargazing tool to view stars, constellations, and satellites in real time. The app is available to download for $2.99.
  • iHomework is a tool used to keep students organized and up-to-date with their daily homework, grades, to-do’s, and teacher information. The app is available to download for $1.99.

Colleges are also taking note of the exploding mobile market and using creative ways to interact with their students. In 2008 Abilene Christian University starting equipping their students with iPods and iPhones. Now, they are incorporating iPads into their mobile program. They have offered everything from interactive theater productions, to lecture podcasts as ways to stay in-tune with an increasingly connected student body.

According to a report created by onlineeducation.net, 38% of college students can’t go more then 10 minutes without connecting to an electronic device. Students will continue to expect mobile programs in their daily curriculum while veering further away from the old days of pen, paper, and textbooks.


6 Positive Results of Tablets in the Classroom*

  1. Tablets are an optimum way to show textbooks
  2. Students expect the technology (classrooms are ready)
  3. The devices fit students’ lifestyles
  4. Tablets have the software to remain competitive
  5. Tables have the ability to integrate with current education IT trends (i.e. cloud computing)
  6. Tablets are becoming more and more available (extending beyond the iPad)

90% of college students who own tablets feel like the devices are a more efficient way to study.

Technology is only moving forward. Educators who embrace the technology to enhance involvement and learning will benefit students and the younger generations entering their school age years.

*Resource – mashable.com

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Mobilize Your Business with Mobile Apps! Pt.3

WorldLink’s VP of Mobile Technology, Mike Hall, spoke at a recent Verizon Mobility conference on the topic of Mobilizing Your Business with Mobile Apps. Over the last few weeks we’ve looked at some key points from that discussion including market statistics, native mobile apps versus mobile web sites, business cases, and small business trends.

In the final installment of Mobilize Your Business with Mobile Apps I thought I would keep it light and offer up some good old fashion advice.


Mobile Apps

In this exploding mobile market there is a slew of useful and certainly non-useful mobile apps available for download. When it comes to your brand it’s crucial to develop an app that is beneficial to your consumers. So many businesses get caught up in the idea of an app that they forget to actually pay attention to the needs of their customers while creating it. The app represents your company, make it count!

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when developing your mobile app:

  • Don’t just summarize your web site
  • Solve a problem, make something easier
  • Reward for use!
  • Use location-based discounts
  • Always provide guidance to your store
  • Payment screens catered to the device
  • Include access to your Facebook and Twitter
  • Tell your friends about your app!

Mobile Vendors

*Disclaimer: WorldLink Apps is a mobile app development company.

The app market is still considered a fairly new industry, and with that you have a lot of people trying to capitalize on the new, hot trend. One of the biggest mistakes we’ve heard from our customers is hiring the cheapest developer you can find. Do your research and make sure you are completely comfortable with the company’s capabilities before you sign that contract.

Here are some tips:

  • Find a mobile vendor who has proven multi-platform experience
  • Find a vendor who has their lead technical engineers here in the US
    • For close communication
    • For project risk reduction
  • Don’t just focus on price
    • Phase the quantity to keep costs down
    • You can always find a cheaper bid
    • BUT, you will get what you pay for!
  • Think long-term mobile strategy partnership!

Conclusion

The numbers don’t lie your customer base is mobile, and if they’re not, they will be very soon. It’s not too late to determine your mobile strategy with a proven vendor. There are no signs of the industry slowing down anytime soon, so don’t think you’re too late. Plan your mobile strategy today!


Recap:

Mobilize Your Business with Mobile Apps! Pt.1
Mobile Your Business with Mobile Apps! Pt.2

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Alvarado ISD and WorldLink Apps Release New Mobile Application

WorldLink Apps is proud to announce the release of Alvarado Independent School District’s mobile application for the Apple and Android Smartphone markets. Kyle Berger, Alvarado’s Executive Director of Technology Services, was introduced to WorldLink through the Verizon Wireless Business Solution Alliance Program last January. Over the last 5 months WorldLink has had the unique experience of partnering with one of the state’s most technologically progressive school districts.

WorldLink’s App Development team and Kyle Berger collaborated extensively to develop the official iPhone app of the Alvarado Independent School District. The app comes loaded with a large number of features including: district and individual school information, events, dates, bully report capabilities, homework resources, and many more for AISD students, parents, and staff.

“In today’s society we all work from our mobile devices. It only made sense to leverage that power to communicate and connect with our parents and students. We are excited to take this next step in communication, empowering our stake holders with all the tools they need in the palm of their hands. In conjunction with WorldLink I believe we have delivered the first feature rich k-12 application to the market.” – Kyle Berger, Executive Director of Technology Services, Alvarado Independent School District.

Key Features:

  • ISD
    • District calendar (English and Spanish)
    • News
    • Events calendar
    • Add ISD event to your personal iPhone calendar
    • About us
    • Departments
    • Contact us
    • Touch-to-call phone number
    • Map of ISD location
    • Guidance to ISD location
  • Schools
    • Select your Alvarado school
    • Bully report
    • Tips for identifying a bully
    • Touch-to-call bully hotline
    • Calendars
    • Menus (breakfast, lunch)
    • News
    • Staff
    • Send email to staff
    • Information – school hours, principal, new student registration, etc.
    • Map of school location
    • Guidance to school location
    • Extra-curricular activities
    • Contact us
    • Touch-to-call phone number
    • Send email to school
  • Resources
    • Student information – Skyward access
    • District website
    • Links – weather, parent/student/teacher/employee/TAKS resources, employment, and help desk
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Useful apps – Cloud Agent, Safari Montage, Evernote, EMD Periodic Tables, iAmerica, Graphing Calculator,  etc.

The Alvarado ISD application is available to download on iTunes for Free!

Check out some of the features below!

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