In April of 1984, I formed Dynamic Concepts as the “personal computer” relovution was just starting to impact the business community at large. This was a little over a year after the IBM XT wow and internal hard drive as standard equipment] had been released, and a few months before the IBM AT [80286 based] was introduced. From humble beginnings of offering services out of a Programs Unlimited retail store in Commack New York, our client list grew quickly to include large firms such as Hurst Business Publishing, and Philips Norelco among with many SMB [Small/Medium Businesses] in a variety of vertical markets.
For the next 8 years, this part time venture continued to explore the limits of applying PC’s .to meet critical needs usiing an ever evolving set of software development languages, tools, and techniques. By the fall of 1992, a downturn in the defense industry (where I was still a full time employee at ILC Data Device Corp., as technical lead of the engineering computer center) coincided with a number of opportunities for Dynamic Concepts, and the move to being 100% dedicated to Dynamic Concepts Development Corp. occured.
The only partial interruption was from Janurary 2005 until December 2006 where I took a direct position with Microsoft Consulting Services, though I (with full approval of Microsoft) continued to support existing Dynamic Concepts’ clients and applications. This was a great experience as it coupled the rapid engagement consulting techniques developed during the previous 20 year with the resources of a huge organization. Unfortunately (and eventually ironically) the extensive travel caused significant work-life balance issues and it became necessary for me to resign.
In 2011 and 2012, Dynamic Concepts took on its largest project ever with full development responsibilities for a machine control system for a tool that was being developed for the semiconductor industry. That 12 month period involved being in California (at the factory) for over 7 months [by this point, the kids had left the house and my wife could travel with me] followed by instalation at the client in Penang Malasia. All told, this project generated over $1 million in a perdiod of just under a year.
Since then, much of the focus has been on Application Lifecycle Management (though I still do a fair number of deep technical projects), in other words helping client teams become better at creating and maintaining software; which has as one of its byproducts the actual creation of better software. It is amazing to step back from the technology and view the entire period from concept to end of life and identify the conditions that impacted the overal success of the effort. In nearly every case, the most significant elements had little to do with the actual technology, and much more to do with the people. In the 9 years since Microsoft introduced Team Foundation Server [TFS] the amount of tooling for capturing and analyzing this information has exploded in the marketplace. Unfortunately, my experience has been that very few teams have used these tools to their fullest capability thereby missing significant opportunitites for improvement.
Looking forward is even more exciting than looking back, and the future is bright. Most of the mechanical aspects of writing software have been commoditized, allowing there to be a shift in focus to the other elements.