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Software developer or network admin

I've been working as a one person IT team doing network and database management for a small company of 110 users for about a year and half now. My previous experience was similar but in a very junior role. I have been given a task by my director to come with our own specialised cti (computer telephony)integrated software that could save the company tens of thousands in licensing costs. The problem here is that being a one man band I've come to realise that by taking this task on I'm stretching myself thin. I've made good progress so far in learning how to program in c# plus my previous database knowledge. My question to you all is:how do I get this software built without having to contract or hire another developer because that would leave me back in square one and lose the oppurtunity for a bonus by building this app? I'm aware that it is possible to outsource development projects or certain aspects of them but what are the implications on cost effectiviness and overall quality of the projects?

Your help is appreciated in advance.

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Think Outside the Box!

by pmwpaul In reply to Software developer or net ...

Design HOW you're going to develop this software. Put it in writing with the associated priorities that occur with your job now.
For example:
Beginning Stage
Intermediate Stage
Finishing Stage
Intergration Stage

Job Priorities
Desk-side support
Network Support
Administrative Support
Software Development

You can also add the average time per day for each task.

Instead of outsourcing the software development, why not "temp" an assistant to take care of the low priority tasks?

The important part is to have a design of how you're going to accomplish this. And then have the appropiate managers sign it in agreement so when it begins there's no question about the priorities.

Good Luck!

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Use Asterisk

by John_Shadow In reply to Software developer or net ...

I feel that everyone has pretty much covered the topic of being stretched thin. However, I haven't read anyone that's actually answered your question. Might I suggest using Asterisk? It's an opensource PBX system, and hopefully would get you most if not all the functionality you need. Keep in mind it runs on Linux, so hopefully that won't be a problem for you. There's one distribution of it (Asterisk@Home) with a nice front end and helps you set it up rather quickly. In addition, there are some commercial GUI front ends, read more about that here:

Hope that helps! :)

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Use Open Source

by ajanta In reply to Software developer or net ...


There are a lot of components and application code available in open source now. Take advantage of it. I could help you locate the components if you could let me know what application you are trying to replace.


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Benefits of contractors

by czapinski In reply to Software developer or net ...

I cannot tell you the number of times I've come across situations like yours, where you find you could use the help, but are forced to weigh the pros and cons of your time, money, etc.

The first step is you realizing you need the help. At this point, exploring your options for outside temporary help, is most likely your best bet, since you sound like you're in a bind. If you bring in a skilled person to assist you, you can get the project completed in a timely fashion, save the company all that money-and be a hero, and not be as stressed out.

If you make your director aware of your needs, he may consider extending the task out or find someone to help you. In doing so, you still end up saving the company all that money, get the job done right, and with that said, they should consider giving you the bonus for getting the job done-with or without assistance.

If it ends up that you need a contractor, I work for a company that specializes in working with niche people for contract and contract-for-hire positions in IT. I'd be happy to help. Best of luck!

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Possible Setup for Failure

by Black-eyed Pea In reply to Software developer or net ...

I lived this scenario! Only, I was tasked to develop an equipment lease management package to replace crappy software my company was paying out the nose for.

My friend, this is a possible setup for failure. I can testify to that. Even if you were a C# expert, I would cast a jaundiced eye your way. In order for software development to be successful, you have to have excellent project management, sufficient resources, and realistic deadlines (among other things). You have none of those.

You don't want to go in and tell your boss that you can't do it from the get go - that is bad PR. On the other hand, you don't want to drag this out until your failure becomes so apparent that they want to fire you.

Your management needs to have their eyes opened to the facts. I personally would read a book on project management. That will give you an idea of what it might take. Then make a believable proposal that is well thought out and has at least two options.

Applications need to be developed with functionality, stability, and security in mind. You don't want a cobble-job app that becomes the company joke.

At the company I mentioned above, I put together a proposal that convinced management that I could not possibly do it alone and still manage the network (my forte). They had two options - outsource the project or purchase COTS that fulfilled most of their requirements.

Unfortunately, they opted to outsource. They only hired two developers and set a six month deadline. Three years later, they continue to develop a product that has become the company joke. I still ended up with my bonuses, raises, and valuable experience for maintaining the network and providing excellent customer service. I have since moved on to bigger and better things.

Good luck!

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I agree

by ZT3000 In reply to Possible Setup for Failur ...

You have to decide how much free time and interest in this project you have.
I would have to agree with Black-eyed Pea.

They want you to save them tens of thousands.
Probably in your spare time, right?
Either they have no clue how hard this will be or they are setting you up for a kill.
Run Away, if you don't, live and learn.

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Another Example..

by fitzgb2002 In reply to Software developer or net ...

.. of the ignorance of business leaders. Unfortunately, too many time bosses see the word "computer" without understanding that there are different aspects of the business. I'm not saying that that the one-man shops arent't capable, but the time constraints of people who already have their hands full aren't taken into account. When the IT community as a whole finally stands up and says NO!, things will begin to change. Otherwise, we as an industry are doomed to do more and more with less and less.

Stand up to the cheap son-of-a-"gun" and tell him to buy a package that can do what he wants. Also, remind him of the contributions you make to the company and how much it will cost him to train someone new if you leave. Best way to stop a bully is to stand up to him/her. If you have the skills, you can get another job.

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Plan of action?

by RAMROD In reply to Another Example..

All your contributions have been very helpful. I'm researching a few of them right now actually. I had over the past 3 months been taking one day a week to work exclusively at home on this project. And as time moved on I found what I stated above. I unravelled it all and things became even more complicated. Based on comments and my own obesrvations I will proceed as follows

1. Hire a professional contractor for the next two to three weeks to help me on further locking down the tech specs, I wont be going to any software development houses because they are likely to pump out a whole lot of B.S in order to make a steady stream of income of this.
2. I will then continue coding after he has left
3. Get an IT temp to do the basic network tasks (not looking for some cheeky whizzkid but someone who will follows instructions and help me to keep the network running).
4. As for the ongoing program maintenance and modifications I don't know right now?

....what do you think?

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by Black-eyed Pea In reply to Plan of action?
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Objective Third Party

by Black-eyed Pea In reply to Plan of action?

Having an objective third party professional help nail down your project requirements is an excellent step in the right direction. That is a crucial step I neglected to include in my previous post. It will give more clout to your proposal. After doing that, I would not be surprised if your plan of action changed quite a bit.

Based on the requirements you and your professional contractor come up with, COTS or open source software may turn out to be the best option.

If development is what you really want to do for your career, then your plan of action may work. If you prefer to stay on the system/network administration track, then have someone else do the coding.

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