Category Archives: Mini-Cases

mini-cases: controlling the source

When you’re working on something by yourself, life is simple. But add just one person to the mix, and everything gets a lot harder. You want to keep track of what changed, when, and who was responsible, and to do that, you need source control. Continue reading

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mini-cases: better to beg for forgiveness, part 2

In this mini-case, I did not have official approval for my idea. And it was simple: I was working for a business that, among other things, allowed users of a website to search for airfares across multiple providers—pretty innovative, at … Continue reading

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mini-cases: better to beg for forgiveness, part 1

This case is about a time I should have started a skunkworks. While the historical origin of the term “skunkworks” is lightly disputed (it most certainly references a comic strip called “Li’l Abner” and stems from military projects in the … Continue reading

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mini-cases: support your core

The new content-management system was done, and we breathed a sigh of relief. We needed it to support our ambitions of providing even more specific content to our users, who came to our site for our well-informed professional recommendations in … Continue reading

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mini-cases: things take time

My manager uttered a phrase that, to a software developer, was simultaneously thrilling and terrifying: “It’s time for an upgrade.” I was working for a company in the financial services sector; their core business involved a proprietary system for predicting … Continue reading

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mini-cases: keeping the lights on

You know your job is in trouble when you can’t log on to the Internet, and the Internet Service Provider tells you that the bill hasn’t been paid in months. Such was my situation at a small government contracting company. … Continue reading

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mini-cases: more movement means more mistakes

I used to have the power to email over 250,000 people at my fingertips. We weren’t spammers; far from it: we were publishing a successful newsletter to all those subscribers, and had quite a few who were actually paying for … Continue reading

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mini-cases: taking stock

It’s not unusual that writers occasionally need to do fact checking on the stories they write, and when your “stories” consist of stock recommendations, it’s even more important to keep your ducks in a row. Such was the situation at … Continue reading

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upcoming entries: mini-cases

Starting tomorrow, I’m going to be doing a series of entries on my (attempted) usual MWF update schedule: Mini-Cases. In school, virtually every class used the “case method” of instruction, where we would use short narratives about business situations as … Continue reading

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mini-cases: the shifting burden of work

Most modern web applications are nothing more than a bunch of boxes. One holds a name, another holds the value selected from a list of options, and another indicates that one group of boxes is somehow related to another group … Continue reading

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