10 Nov

Coding on the National Curriculum

coding

From September 1st 2014, programming (or coding) has become part of the national curriculum. We see this as akin to suddenly introducing skills like cabinet making, plumbing and pottery to the curriculum but without employing anyone with these skills to deliver the subject. This means that we envisage major headaches for those charged with delivering this education.

At Technically High, we understand programming, coding, software engineering and software development at every level.

We can help you if you are:

  1. a teacher, struggling with learning the difference between all the aspects of programming then we can help.
  2. a parent trying to help your child with their coding homework but struggling to grasp the concepts yourself.

We believe that we can explain concepts within this subject, that may be difficult to understand. If in doubt, give us a call and we will try to help. If you want to set up a more formal or a more regular arrangement, then we can work that out too.

When you have found out the requirements for Coding at Key Stages 1 and 2, then come and talk to us about how we can help. We  are just as happy providing help with Coding at Key Stages 3 and 4.  

28 Oct

Website design and development

To get your web site up and running, you will need a design as well as someone to build it for you. All too often, the tasks of web design and web development are confused and lumped together. If someone want s us to build a website, we ask them if they have a design. It may be that they do or it may be that they are expecting us to design it for them as well. Think of it like a house, it needs a designer (architect) and a builder. Although they are different tasks, in the case of websites, we at Technically High can do the design and the build for you. Alternatively, we are just as happy to implement someone else’s design for you.

Where to start

If you are starting from scratch, you would be better off talking to us first, before you pay anyone for any designs. This is because there are many different approaches one can take, depending upon what aspects of your website are most important. There are some very cost effective ways to achieve a web presence by using designs that have already been completed. If one of these suits your needs and you are not really fussed about the detail of the design, as long as it looks great, then you may want to go down that route. If you have already paid someone to design your site and then you decide to go for a stock design, you will have wasted your money.

Come and talk to us, we will be happy to give you all the information you need to enable you to make the right decision for your business.

24 Oct

Ten Steps for Building Business Systems

ten-business-system-steps

If you want a business system then these are the steps you will need to go through to be successful in your goal.

  • 1. Analyse what you do
  • 2. Test and capture your findings
  • 3. Prioritise functionality
  • 4. Decide on components
  • 5. Decide on process rules
  • 6. Design the architecture
  • 7. Design the look and feel
  • 8. Build the system
  • 9. Review and rework
  • 10. Plan the next stage

One of the main tasks is to understand what it is that your business does. You know what it does in that it gets work, it does the work and it invoices for the work. What you need to do is find out what helps it work well and what stops it working so well. You need to know which tasks are repeated, which adhere to a formula and which need intelligent input.

What are the procedures for pricing, allocating and recording work? What causes wastage of materials? How do you know how to allocate staff holiday, who is available when, what equipment is allocated to which job, who has been invoiced and who has paid?

Once you have detailed your current  processes, brainstorm all of the additional processes that you may want in the future. These could be supplying further products, greater services or the like.

Explain your business to someone outside of your business so that they can capture your requirements. Let that person ask probing questions to find out any exceptions to your processes. Someone skilled in requirements capture at this point can save a lot of time, money and disappointment later. Any anomalies will  become apparent once the system is in operation – the more you can find now, the better the end result and the less reworking required. With some fine tuning, it is likely that many of your processes can be captured in quite fine detail.
Decide on the importance of each feature so that you can get a system working with the most important features first. That way, you will get confidence early on as to what the system can do for you. You will also find out early what parts you have missed and you will better understand. Think of this as mitigating the errors you will have made in capturing requirements. It is no substitute, but it is better than finding out big errors at the implementation stage.
What elements need to be included in the processes. If it was a riding stable for example, then (depending on what you wanted to include) the components could be

  • Customers
  • Horses
  • Instructors
  • Stables
  • Booking Slots
  • Lesson Types

What restrictions or rules do you want the system to control. In the riding school example, you may want to make sure that every lesson being booked has an instructor and that there are no more than six people per instructor. You may say that each horse needs at least half an hour between lessons. You may decide that all lessons need to be authorised by a senior instructor.
Do you need people outside of your organisation to be able to access the system so that they can book lessons, for example? Maybe you need your people to be able to access the system so that they can work from home or on the road.This can be restricted to maintain privacy. Depending upon your requirements, the system could reside in your premises or out on the internet. Do you want it to be integrated with your web site? If you have it on your premises, then you will need to build access from the internet into your system if people are to be able to access it from the internet. If it is out on the main internet then you will not be able to access your system when your internet connection is down.
The design of the system is important so that the users feel happy using it. New systems will inevitably meet with resistance so the better you can make the user interface, the quicker it will be accepted and the more useful it will be.
Build the highest priority components first. Review the build and identify what further components need to be designed in, what is unnecessary, what processes need to be altered, added or removed.
Be critical of the new system so that it can be reworked where it does not do what you expect. It is important to have decided in stage 1 what you expect. This way, you can accurately decide whether or not the system builder has accurately followed your requirements or whether they have not. It might be that the builder has accurately followed your instructions but that you have not managed to specify them accurately enough. It may be that your specifications have not been followed accurately enough by the system builder. This is important in deciding who should pay for reworking, whether it is an ‘error’ or whether it is a new requirement. reworking of both these types is typical and some amount should be expected.
Once you have used your system for a while, you will find ways in that, with a little expansion, it can be improved to further help your business.

At Technically High we work with you through all of these stages to ensure that you always know what to expect, what comes next and how to make sure you get exactly what you signed up to. Come and speak to us about your business system and see if we are the type of company that you want to work with. Together we can build your business system.