Thursday, January 20, 2011

Excerpt of a Quasi-Interview

Ok, so this time it's not "me" interviewing myself, trying to be clever and witty and all that.  This time it's a software vendor asking me 20 questions about how I can help advise them on how to make their products more palatable to customers (and hence, more marketable).  The only problem, well, two problems are:

1. He asked way more than 20 questions

2. Most of his questions were probing my background and experience, blah blah

If he reads this blog, well, he should know I don't pull any punches.  I lay the cards down as I read them.  In any case, here are a selected selection of selected selectable delectable questionables…

Q: What is your role in the organization?

"Senior Consultant - hired gun"

Q: How large of an organization (personnel)

"Varies from very small to very large"

Q: Multiple locations?

"Yes.  Multiple time zones also"

Q: Multiple languages?

"No. All English" (note: I wanted SO badly to add Swahili and Klingon here, but I held back)

Q: Are your users a member of workgroups or domains?

"Domains" (note: again, I wanted to add "workgroup users are shot on sight, and their disgusting little workgroup trash are burned on the spot!")

Q: I have just a little knowledge of working with workgroups - no experience with domains.

(yes, I know.  Not really a question, but oh well…) "Domains are better."

Q: Is there any small or simple applications that you have deployed across a large group that you thought afterward "Man, that was as smooth as it could possibly get."

"Yes" (note: seriously, I answer with a single word.  I could've dragged this one on to challenge the length of a Michner novel, but I'm too tired)

Q: Can you describe how you deploy software?

"Varies by customer environment, product vendor and product.  Larger environments use SCCM to deploy.  Smaller environments generally use scripting or manual installs (depending on the scope)."

Q: Is it typically done during non-worknig hours, if so via some type of automation? I've heard of PowerShell - is that something that is (or can be used)?

"Working hours = avoided at all costs"
"PowerShell for software deployment = Never. Not practical."

Q: If in workgroups/domains [sic] are ther [sic] automation tools you use or considerations I should take for rolling out a deployment?

(this was the 64 peso question for me.  strap in, hold on…)

"In general, it's fine that it requires Administrator level permissions to perform the install (as well as uninstall), but make sure your application can function (launch, operate, change settings, etc.) without requiring Admin or elevated rights.  Not one of my customers allow "users" to have anything more than "user" permissions.  No admin rights are ever given out - ever.  This is the single biggest headache we face - dealing with apps that require special permissions for users in order to use them.  Major pain.  In many cases it's a deal breaker and we reject the app entirely or we strike deals where the customer moves the computer off the network and off of IT support as well.  They usually opt for finding another product."

Back to me now…

I can't stress this enough - and this is not directed at anyone in particular.  It's aimed at the industry as a whole…

If you develop software, primarily Windows software, but whatever; or if you know people that develop software, make sure it follows this one simple basic common sense golden rule:

Software should NEVER EVER EVER NEVER NEVER EVER EVER require users to be granted elevated permissions in order to use it.  Ever.  EVER.

If you develop software in 2011 that still requires (or expects) the end-user to have Administrator or (gulp!) Power User permissions, you have failed.  FAILED.  You should be tasered in the crotch with 400,000 volts, and the fire on your crotch stomped out by a football team wearing ice climbing boots.  Then you should be drawn and quartered over a pit of burning coals.  There is no excuse for that lazy-ass crap in 2011.  In fact, there was no excuse for that in 2000.  Get off your ass and code right!  Read!  Learn! Obey guidelines!  Modernize!  Or maybe just find a different career path like gardening or street sweeping.

I'm done.  Phew!

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