NewYork2008:Managing Nonprofit Software Development Projects

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While a best practice for Nonprofits technologists is to try and utilize existing tools and services, there are invariably times when the appropriate tools and applications don’t exist. But software development is not a core competency of most Nonprofits, and too often Nonprofit software development efforts spiral out of control or end in less-than-complete realization of vision. This session will explore how best to get from concept to running code with out losing focus on mission.

Session Notes

Gunner Session 2

To make or not to make? Should a Nonprofit develop its own software or should it look for appropriate software?

G: You want as much of your stack to be off the shelf. PHP is the most insecure mainstream web language, in my opinion. Every line of code you write is a marriage relationship. The pizza problem: once you order it, then it's ready.

Don't reinvent the wheel.

Do an analysis for motivation for writing code. A person may want to start from scratch to bolster their resume with tech skill they picked up. If writing from scratch is ABSOLUTELY necessary, then go for it.

Just putting extra babies on the diaper doesn't get rid of the shi*.

Create user stories to create a map for software development.

User Stories--a sentence--"administrator can enter employee"

G: I strongly encourage you to design your concept in paper. I would strongly suggest you to model this project process as a community organization. I emphasize a front-loaded, user-focused approach. Squeezing in a slew of mediocre functionality won't bring you glory. Allocate time to run an internal project blog. Think out loud about possible options in the project and let people comment on it. If you've got a project blog, then keep track of people who have contributed to the project.

G: The effect of open source.


Talk with lawyers concerned with intellectual property. Prior to that, get a sense of the issue of intellectual property before you take on a software development project.

G: It's insane not to open source the software that you're developing. Recommend GPL v.3. DEBATE

What if I have no budget? You're asking for a train-wreck. Pay them small money ($20-40/hr) so that you have a contract and a financial relationship.