Methodology

The Total Solution. It's not enough to design the perfect application. The application must be integrated into your operation. This means keeping in mind the hardware you will be using, installing the system, doing data conversion if necessary, ensuring that the system will be backed up on a regular basis, training your staff and providing ongoing support.

How we proceed. The first step in approaching a new application is gaining an understanding of the organization it is meant to serve. It is also useful to know something about the personnel that will be using it, their level of skill with computers and their working environment. We will meet with you to get an overview of the project and ask questions to tease out any details or ramifications that may have been missed. Often we will make suggestions as to other features that could be added to improve an application's usefulness.

Working together we create a wish list of features for a project. I encourage clients to think "pie in the sky". Talk is cheap. Now is the time to get all of the ideas out on the table. With the rapid advance of technology features that would have been prohibitively expensive, too resource hungry or just plain impossible suddenly become reasonable. This is also a good time to think about how the application may grow in the future and how it relates to other aspects of your organization.

Once we have our wish list we decide what portion should be tackled immediately. Not everything you have imagined needs to or should be created at once. Some applications benefit greatly by being creating in several phases. This can save money and reduce the stress of introducing too many changes to an organization all at once. Also, what features will give you the most bang for the buck? What can be created at a reasonable cost that promises the biggest payoff? We will work with you to decide which features to include in your project.

At this point we can usually ballpark the resources required by the proposed application and the cost of creating it. If the ballpark estimate meets with your approval we will iron out the details more precisely and set an exact price. On large projects we may go into a more extensive design phase and prepare a detailed specification before we can set the final price. On smaller jobs (two days or less) we may just come to a verbal agreement with a client and jump in immediately. There are also times when it makes more sense to work on a time and materials basis depending on the needs of the client.

How We Work. We often perform much of our work on-site. This provides many advantages including the ability to get questions answered quickly, get a better feel for your organization and tailor our work directly to the people using it. It also saves time, which saves you money. In cases where this is not an option we will prepare our work offsite and come in only to install it and train users. There are times where we may need to halt production or deny users access to portions of the network. This is most evident when converting existing data and installing new applications. We will always work to minimize this down time. In short we will work closely with you to ensure the best fit and to minimize the impact.

Our Library. Over the years we have created an extensive library of code and programming objects. We utilize these tools to give us a head start on projects. This standardizes aspects of our applications making them easier to support. They have the additional benefit of being thoroughly tested. PC-FM owns the code library and grants its clients an unlimited use license to utilize the code throughout their organization. We only ask that the code not be distributed outside of your organization or resold either separately or as part of an application. One additional promise: No slide rules, no geeks, no know-it-alls, digital divas, programming primadonnas and so on. You will only work with personable, professional people who have a love for this work and have your best interests at heart. We appreciate your business and will earn it on an ongoing basis.