Prime is like a nail gun

Let me start with a metaphor (probably the first of many of the course of these posts):

You could hammer that nail the old fashioned way, but you know how much time and hassle you save by using a nail gun. Prime is like a nail gun.

Being the Lead Front End Developer at DevCon Technologies and working on the Prime Ecosystem means the code I approve, write, change, and look at all day is actually interacted with by our clients and their users – real people! For me, people who use our system matter a lot. Seeing that they’re able to work efficiently and hassle free is a big priority.

I thought it’d be a good idea to write a little about the development of the Prime Ecosystem and how what we do here helps our clients.

What does development mean to the people who use Prime?

As a developer working on the Prime Ecosystem, it all comes down to helping our users; making their jobs easier, speeding up their work, preventing double handling. Things like that.

Sometimes…

This is by adding very visible and useful features – like our fast easy search where people can type in the start of an address or customer name and quickly find the job and customer they’re looking for (you know, when you’re on the phone and quickly trying to find the callers details) without having to correctly spell out their name and address and toggle heaps of filters to find the job they’re calling about.

Or sometimes…

It’s something more subtle, like adding the ability to easily see a work order’s profit margin in green, yellow, or red depending on your configured value (say 30% for green). Probably more simple from a coding point of view, but no less valuable to the person using the system every day who wants to know at a glance how the work order stacks up.

Or even sometimes…

This is by interacting with other systems to make things seamless for our users – like integrating with Xero or MYOB so that you don’t have to manually double handle invoices created in our system, or likewise in those accounting systems.

It’s funny (and I’m sure every developer has had this) but there are times when there’s been that extra bit of time on something, that ultimately is not even noticed by our users – and that’s the way we like it – when something isn’t done well you know about it (I’m sure builders and tradies know exactly what I mean!).

How do we decide what to add to the Prime Ecosystem?

What gets added and when, is called our development roadmap. Here at DevCon Technologies our development roadmap is large and varied, with many tasks in the backlog (developer speak for to-do list). It not only has tasks for the Prime Ecosystem, but also other projects we’re working on or looking at for the future. So some tasks are due in a week, some maybe in a few months, and some maybe not for a year or two.

We always welcome suggestions (our clients use this system every day after all!). So most of our roadmap comes from:

  1. Talking with our clients
  2. Finding out what they need
  3. Discussing how we can make things even better

In fact, the Prime Ecosystem product was really born from these three points.

In the backlog we have tasks generally categorised under new features, improvements (we’re always looking to improve our system), cosmetic changes, and yes even bugs. We have tasks that are just for us as well, improving our processes and methods.

When a client or potential client asks ‘What about this, have you got this?’ it’s always a good feeling for us when we can say ‘Yes!’, or ‘Yes, it’s in our roadmap’. It really validates that our focus is right, and our clients needs are being met. If it’s not already in our roadmap you can be sure we follow the points above (and we’ve had quite a few things come out from a demonstration before that client has joined us). And of course, it’s not a set slab. Even though we have a roadmap and direction, it’s easy for us to adjust to changing needs. Our system is developed using current tools and methods, and done in such a way that it’s not a big deal to add new things (can you imagine doing an extension and having to rewire the rest of house as well – no thanks).

If a number of our clients were asking for a new feature that was down the line in our roadmap (or not), we simply prioritise that task and do it, and thus get it to our users sooner.

Does development stop?

Things will always change and improve, and so development is on-going. Remember how the internet looked 5 years ago? Even one year ago? The Prime Ecosystem is no different in that we’ll continue to improve and add features for our clients.

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