It’s Time to Build a Masterpiece

Greenfield Development

Is it just me, or does seeing a blank canvas invigorate you? Having the ability to start from scratch, and create whatever you like, and knowing that all of the responsibilities lie on you, both failure and success. No, I’m not talking about painting the next Mona Lisa. Heck, I can find ways to screw up stick figures. I’m talking about creating an application from the ground up, and owning the process.  Now, I’ll admit, for the most part, it’s not a totally blank canvas, unless it’s an application that only I will be using. I’m working with customers to gather requirements, and figure out if they want a painting of a bowl of fruit, or a sculpture made out of marble. However, working in stages, it’s still the feeling of creativity and accomplishment that moves it forward. Again, in stages…

Oil paints and paint brushes on a palette

Gathering Requirements:

How can something be built, if you aren’t told what to build or what it will look like. You want a chair? Great! So I carve an elegant dining room chair out of oak. I didn’t understand (because I never asked) that you wanted a maple rocking chair. It’s all about communication. It is imperative to talk with customers about what the application will look like, what it will do, and what the end result is. Ensure that every possible contingency is thought about and documented. It’s all about creating that perfect rough sketch, in order to build from.


Creating a Mockup:

Speaking of mockups, that’s exactly what the prototype should resemble. Will the prototype “do” anything? Probably not, or at least not much. However, let’s make sure it looks (both aesthetically and functionally) like what you pictured. Is the color scheme right? Does the navigation meet your needs? Do the laptop, tablet, and mobile layouts all work, because these days they could be used on a variety of possible platforms. Don’t forget the backend database, as this needs roughed in as well. Do you need fully formed tables? Of course not. However, having a diagram of data flow is always a great idea. Again, constant communication is imperative, because it’s always easier to erase roughed in lines in pencil than a finished work in ink and paint.


Build Time:

Now it’s time to get dirty. Whether you view it as getting out your palette of paints, or digging into code, the end result is the same. You are creating your end product. However, don’t disappear into your creative cave and not return until the end product is done. Not wanting to switch analogies, but think of it more as building a home. You have inspections after the rough-in. You have more after electrical, and plumbing, and drywall. The more reviews you have with your customer, the easier it is to go back and make corrections. Who wants to tear into a freshly painted wall to fix a wiring issue? Who wants to fix 1,000 lines of code due to a misunderstood requirement. Provide communication and feedback, FREQUENTLY.


The Big Reveal:

Your masterpiece is complete. It looks breathtaking. The coding is done. You’ve tested it. Everything functions as you expect it to. It’s time for the big reveal. However, are you done? Far from it. Now it’s time for the customer to test everything, and ensure everything meets their expectations. This should not be difficult, since you listened to me and had frequent reviews, right? RIGHT?! I hope so. If that’s the case, then it’s time to put the finishing touches and polish on it, and it’s show time.
However, now that it is live and available for public use/viewing, you still are not done. You are still available for bug fixes. Think of it as touching things up, as art restorers are known to do. After all, this is your creation, so who knows the inner workings better than you?


What Does This All Mean?:

These are the sorts of projects I live for. Whether you call them “Greenfield Development”, or “Cradle to Grave Development”, or “Inception through Implementation Development”, I greatly enjoy being a part, and responsible for, every phase and facet. Asking me to choose my favorite is like asking me to choose my favorite child. It simply can’t be done. I greatly enjoy every phase, and can’t wait to find a new blank canvas. The questions is, which customer (new or existing) will provide that inspiration?

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