Sustainable solution development part 1 – Time

Is solution development in SharePoint easy enough for you? I guess your answer depends on your own experience. I have been to 9 SharePoint conferences and spoken to thousands of participants at these events. Judging from the responses that I have gotten, I would say most people are challenged when it comes to building solutions in SharePoint.

For the fun of it, we started a 30 minutes demo challenge where we show software developers a solution and asked them how long it would take for them to build a projects expense approval system. (See http://www.webparts360.com/trials/pet) So far, the fastest time quoted is 2 weeks while a leading SharePoint practice lead shared with us that 3 months should be manageable.

Before I get carried away, this demo was designed to show off the strength of our tool. And our tool did took us years to complete. So asking someone to build it from scratch after seeing it for the first time would make their answer somewhat more conservative compared  to the actual time it takes us to build it. But we were encouraged by their answers and they impressed with our ability to do it.

In any case, we were looking at significant improvements in developer’s productivity. Personally, I find myself building solutions 5-10X faster than I could with traditional .Net programming. That frees me to focus much more on providing beyond the original functionality and into building a complete decision support system. Customers are usually happier when you under sell and over deliver.

The other big savings is in the area of internal documentation. Since the system is self-documenting, you’ll get LIVE documentation that stays current with every change. Not time your customers sees but definitely time that your project manager charges for.

Just to share with you some “real” project time required. We rebuild two popular cloud solutions http://highrisehq.com and http://basecamphq.com using Webparts360 as a solution showcase to demonstrate the capabilities of our tools. You can see it at our solutions gallery at http://socialapps.webparts360.com The first module, Highrise took us 6 weeks while we finished Basecamp in just 4 weeks. We were happy with our progress 🙂 That’s sustainable by our standards.

I would love to compare notes with you. Do show us your apps and tell us how long it took you to build it. Perhaps we might be able to share with you where you can improve your work. Happy developing…

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