I have been writing Microsoft Access software now fornearly 25 years. In that time, I have occasionally had software projects thathave not had any development or support for 5 years or more. If the project wassmall, starting again is no trouble. If the project was big, getting back ontop of the project is either costly to me or the customer.
After 5 years has gone by, the customer will befamiliar with what some of the software does but may not be aware of theworkings/specifications for the software, especially if they are new to thecompany. If so then everyone who is going to be involved in the new developmentwill be “somewhat in the dark”.
Things can get start to get a lot darker when theprogrammer of the software leaves town. Given that there has been no action(read money) for five years, there is every likelihood that they will have lefttown. This particularly applies to contract programmers who are working on thenext project the minute the current contract is completed. My company doesn’tdo contract jobs for that very reason.
What is the solution to this stagnation dilemma?
My personal belief is that software is like a potplant, it needs watering from time to time or its going to die eventually. Ifyou only have a set budget for software every year, there is no need to rush,just do 20 hours a month rather than 100 hours all in one month and then stopdevelopment. If your programmer / consultant cannot provide that style ofservice, maybe you should look around a bit more. Over the thirty years that Ihave been programming, I have noticed that the best projects are the small andgradual projects where the sponsor of the project thinks carefully about thenext enhancement, briefs the programmer and does the testing whilst not beingrushed. You will not be surprised that many of these projects just keep tickingon forever and the customer is happy because their working life is alwaysimproving.
“So go water that plant” – Garry Robinson, editor of the popular vb123.com.au