Here’s What to Do When Your Computer Doesn’t Turn On

It’s a really awful way to start a day: you press the power button on your computer and nothing happens.

There are many reasons why a computer won’t turn on and often very few clues about what might be the problem. The only symptom is usually the simple fact that “nothing works,” which isn’t much to go on.

An illustration of a computer that won't turn on. Grace Kim ©Lifewire 2018

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Read Step 1 below! Trust us, it’ll make you feel better.
  2. Pick the best troubleshooting guide from Steps 2 through 9 based on how your computer is acting or choose Step 10 if your computer stops at any point because of an error message.

The troubleshooting guides below apply to all PC devices. In other words, they’ll help if your desktop or laptop won’t turn on, or even if your tablet won’t turn on. We’ll call out any important differences along the way.

These techniques are applicable no matter what Windows operating system is installed, including Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP. The first five steps even apply to other PC operating systems like Linux.

  1. Your files are probably OK. Most people tend to panic when faced with a computer that won’t start, worried that all their precious data is gone forever.

    It’s true that the most common reason a computer won’t start is because a piece of hardware has failed or is causing a problem, but that hardware isn’t usually a hard drive, the part of your computer that stores all of your files.

    In other words, your music, documents, emails, and videos are probably safe—they’re just not accessible at the moment.

    If you don’t want to fix this yourself, see How Do I Get My Computer Fixed? for a full list of your support options, plus help with everything along the way like figuring out repair costs, getting your files off, choosing a repair service, and a whole lot more.

  2. Computer shows no sign of power. Try these steps if your computer will not turn on and is showing no sign at all of receiving power—no fans running and no lights on the laptop or tablet, nor on the front of the computer’s case if you’re using a desktop.

    Here’s What to Do When Your Computer Has No Power

    Don’t worry about the monitor yet, assuming you’re using a desktop or an external display. If the computer won’t on because of a power supply problem, the monitor certainly can’t display anything from the computer. Your monitor light will likely be amber/yellow if your computer has stopped sending information to it.

  3. Here’s What to Do When Your Computer Shuts Off During Startup

    You’ll probably hear the fans inside your computer turn on, see some or all of the lights on your computer turn on or flash, and then it will all stop.

    You won’t see anything on the screen and you may or may not hear beeps coming from the computer before it shuts off by itself.

    Like in the previous scenario, don’t worry about the state your external monitor is in, if you have one. You may have a monitor problem as well but it’s not possible to troubleshoot it quite yet.

  4. Computer powers on but nothing happens. If your computer seems to be receiving power after turning it on but you don’t see anything on the screen, try these troubleshooting steps.

    Here’s What to Do When Your Computer Starts but Nothing Happens

    In these situations, the power lights will stay on, you’ll likely hear the fans inside your computer running (assuming it has any), and you may or may not hear one or more beeps coming from the computer.

    This situation is probably the most common in our experience working with computers that won’t start. Unfortunately it’s also one of the most difficult to troubleshoot.

  5. Here’s What to Do When Your PC Freezes During POST

    The POST on your computer might occur in the background, behind your computer maker’s logo (as shown here with the Dell laptop), or you may actually see frozen test results or other messages on the screen.

    Don’t use this troubleshooting guide if you encounter a problem during the loading of the operating system, which occurs after the Power On Self Test is complete. Troubleshooting Windows-related reasons why your computer won’t turn on begin with the next step below.

  6. Windows begins to load but stops or reboots on a BSOD. If your computer begins to load Windows but then stops and displays a blue screen with information on it, then try these steps. You may or may not see the Windows splash screen before the blue screen appears.

    How to Fix a Blue Screen of Death

    This kind of error is called a STOP error but is more commonly referred to as a Blue Screen of Death, or a BSOD. Receiving a BSOD error is a common reason why a computer won’t turn on.

    Choose this troubleshooting guide even if the BSOD flashes on screen and your computer restarts automatically without giving you time to read what it says.

  7. Here’s What to Do When Your Computer Freezes During Windows Startup

    The stopping, freezing, or reboot loop may happen on the Windows splash screen (shown here) or even on a black screen, with or without a flashing cursor.

    If you suspect that the Power On Self Test is still going on and that Windows has not yet started to boot, a better troubleshooting guide for why your computer won’t turn on might be the one from above called Computer Stops or Continuously Reboots During the POST. It’s a fine line and sometimes hard to tell.

    If your computer won’t start and you see a blue screen flash or remain on the screen, you’re experiencing a Blue Screen of Death and should use the troubleshooting guide above.

  8. Screenshot of the Startup Settings menu in Windows 8

    Solutions for a Computer That Won’t Go Past the Startup Options

    In this situation, no matter which Safe Mode option you choose, your computer eventually stops, freezes, or restarts on its own, after which you find yourself right back at the Startup Settings or Advanced Boot Options menu.

    This is a particularly annoying way in which your computer won’t turn on because you’re trying to use Windows’ built-in ways to solve your problem but you’re getting nowhere with them.

  9. What to Do When Windows Freezes During or After Login

    The stopping, freezing, or reboot loop may happen on the Windows login screen, as Windows is logging you in (as shown here), or any time up to Windows fully loading.

  10. hal.dll Error Message

Here’s What to Do When Your Computer Stops With an Error Message

Error messages are possible at any stage during your computer’s boot process, including during the POST, at any time during the loading of Windows, all the way up to the Windows desktop appearing.

The only exception to using this troubleshooting guide for an error message is if the error is a Blue Screen of Death. See the Windows Begins to Load but Stops or Reboots on a BSOD step above for a better troubleshooting guide for BSOD issues.


Managed Services Deloitte Technology Services

Today’s information technology landscape is more complex than ever, and the cost to maintain it continues to climb. Deloitte’s application management specialists can help companies overcome these challenges to improve application performance and achieve better business results. We provide a flexible structure that enables businesses to fine tune application management services (AMS) to their IT and business objectives. We offer a full range of industry-leading services, including digital, enterprise resource planning, information management, and systems integration. This capability is underpinned by our managed service advisory function that supports our clients to select the optimum managed service model and successfully transition to the target state.

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Application Management Services for SAP

Deloitte has defined a clear and detailed approach based on its enterprise value delivery (EVD) method to implement a support organization in the most effective way.

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Being a close partner of Oracle and knowing the Oracle HCM Cloud tools and technologies we are very well placed to ensure your Oracle HCM Cloud software and tools are managed correctly and fully after go live… Download our brochure for more details

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Deloitte’s NetSuite practice is dedicated to implementing the preeminent ERP cloud solution in today’s technology market. Our practitioners bring a wide range of implementation experience mainly across Financial, Supply Chain and Order Management to deliver a highly flexible, scalable cloud solution that solves complex business problems. Our teams deploy NetSuite solutions to accelerate the time-to-revenue generation so clients can begin realizing return on their software investment in a much shorter time than that required by tradition ERP solutions.

The ability to rapidly deploy is attributed to a more flexible implementation methodology, our practitioners’ expertise, and leading cloud architecture that accelerates implementation without traditional investment in IT support, servers, storage, and time-consuming technical knowledge transfer. This fresh approach to ERP implementation now enables IT staff to spend more quality time on tech strategy rather than costly system maintenance.

Contact us to get the conversation started. 

 Deloitte Digital’s Salesforce practice brings a new digital mind-set to the complex challenge of transforming customer engagement. We work with forward-thinking companies worldwide to reimagine and build solutions for connecting to customers across every platform, every device, and every step of the customer journey. Using our design, industry, and Salesforce knowledge, we help you create artfully engineered experiences that combine the power of digital, mobile, cloud, and social technologies. Learn more on our Salesforce page.

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Managed Services vs. Traditional IT Support Whats the Difference

As an IT leader, you may be asking yourself if your IT support services are keeping pace with the demand of your ever-evolving applications landscape. It’s an important question to contemplate and quite honestly should be a part of your regular planning cadence. More and more businesses are shifting their focus to Cloud, Cognitive and AI. They want to cut capital expenditures associated with server farms, have someone else manage updates and improve their disaster recovery capabilities. In addition, cognitive service management and AI provide improved productivity, lower costs, and better accuracy. Ensuring you have the right resources, who are properly trained to provide the right end-user assistance, impacts more than just downtime; it impacts the bottom line, your scalability, and ability to implement new technologies.

Gartner 1defines IT services as “…the application of business and technical expertise to enable organizations in the creation, management and optimization of, or access to, information and business processes.” They also break IT services into segments based on the skills required to deliver the service (e.g., design, build, run, etc.) and the categories of service (i.e., business process services, application services and infrastructure services). So, let’s look at both traditional IT support services and managed services, break down the key differences, and help guide you in your decision-making process of which best fits your company’s circumstances.

Traditional IT Support

When we talk about traditional IT support and managed services (MS), it’s important to understand the basic differences. Let’s start with traditional IT support. This type of support is most commonly known as “break-fix” support and is usually depicted that way due to the reactive nature of the process. Something isn’t working right so the user notifies the help desk and waits for the problem to be fixed. This could mean waiting until the IT support group is back in the office if they offer services only during standard business hours.

Traditional IT support can be offered in-house or be outsourced. The in-house model is often used by smaller businesses who don’t want or need to invest in an outsourced model, but in-house support can also be found in medium to larger businesses. These businesses usually aren’t technical in nature and don’t rely heavily on their IT infrastructure to be fully available 24×7.

Traditional IT support solves many problems. If your business is not growing in complexity, a traditional IT support model may be a good choice. It may also be a good choice if you have a complex, customized application base that is not subject to frequent upgrades; or if your applications don’t require specialized skillsets and regular training to maintain.

Managed Services

Managed Services are services provided by a third party to perform the care and feeding of all or some of your applications. One of the main differences between an MS and a traditional IT support is that an MS is considered “always on”. Coverage options are available to suit any business needs from regular business hours to 24×7. It is also a scalable model which allows customers to include additional solutions based on business needs. But rather than waiting for something to break and responding, the MS team is always working in the background to predict a possible disruption and take proactive actions to remediate it.

In an MS model, you usually leverage a highly technical enabled pool of experts specific to the supported applications. That means you always have the most current skill sets available to you and your business, so you’re not paying for resources that aren’t needed. This is a particularly valuable benefit because it reduces training and upskilling costs associated with an in-house, traditional IT support model. It also allows the customer to re-deploy internal resources to more strategic projects rather than spend their time chasing application issues.

Another key benefit to an MS is the fact that the service is governed by contractual service level agreements (SLAs) covering both responsiveness and issue resolution. You can be assured of the continuity of your application availability, customizations, integrations, and choose different levels of response time based on the severity of the issues. A MS also provides a governance process to achieve regularly scheduled timeframes for reporting on the performance of your applications and KPI’s of the team supporting them. This data is invaluable in identifying operational pain points you may want to address in your future planning process.

Pricing Models

The models of IT support and managed service described above have different price points. Here’s a brief summary of what comprises the pricing models for each:

Outsourced traditional IT support: If a traditional IT support model is outsourced, the business can either purchase a block of usable hours or pay an annual subscription fee for that service. This is usually sold as all-or-nothing. In other words, regardless of whether you are using all aspects of the service, you are still paying for them.

In-house traditional IT support: This usually means carrying the fully burdened cost of salary, benefits, and training for full-time employees. According to the most recent data published by the US Department of Labor2, the median base salary for a Computer Support Specialist runs around $50,980 a year and fully burdened can run up to $65,000 – $70,000 per employee.

Managed Service support is usually offered with a fixed fee model. That keeps the price static over a defined period allowing for predictable budgeting and cost management. For example, a typical MS engagement for ITSM over a 3-year period for a medium-sized company can cost up to approximately 40% less than a traditional in-house IT support unit. Parameters of the service are defined up-front based on ticket volumes, service coverage hours, and activities required to be performed. Another contributing factor for cost efficiency of an application MS is it will be provided globally via a remote delivery model.

Deciding Which Option is Right for Your Business

When considering what type of support model is right for your organization, it’s always best to look at the pro’s and cons as well as understanding the key pain points before deciding. This chart helps simplify the comparison between traditional in-house IT support, outsourced traditional IT support, and an MS on some of the key components that should be clarified as you contemplate whether an MS is right for your company:

Diagram Source: BMC Software

It’s also important to identify your key pain points as they relate to your IT services and how to solve them. Some of the key aspects that need to be considered are:

  • Application Vulnerabilities – Many of the organizations are unable to keep up with the security patches required for their applications, a MS proactively ensures that the application is secured from vulnerabilities.
  • Underutilized Applications – This usually means there is either poor performance or lack of education on the part of the user, tying into the category of service availability to meet the business need in the chart above.
  • Poor Adoption of New Applications – Poor adoption is usually the result of either inadequate training or organizational change con
    trol. Both can be solved by a MS provider whose core competency is to implement a comprehensive service and support model from application launch through run.
  • Performance Gaps – Performance gaps can be caused by many factors including inadequate monitoring to detect issues as well as patches and upgrades not being performed in a timely manner. Having a MS in place to ensure these activities are performed properly and timely can greatly reduce this pain point.
  • Productivity Loss due to Down Time – As with performance gaps, ensuring proper monitoring is in place and the applications are kept up to date greatly reduces the possibility of downtime.
  • Inability to Keep Key Resources Trained – This is a key deciding factor for many businesses to move to a MS model as the training cost and effort belong to the MS, not the business.

If your business is experiencing any of the above symptoms and pain points, then it’s definitely time to reevaluate your current landscape and worth reviewing which option is best for your business.

With the information I have provided, my hope is that you be able to understand that there really is a difference between managed services and traditional IT support. It’s important to understand the differences to determine which support model will enable growth in your business and facilitate a smooth transition to modern technologies like Cloud, AI and Cognitive. There is certainly a place for traditional IT support for smaller business that are stable and don’t have complex IT environments. However, if you are looking to minimize risk and get out of “break-fix” mode, bringing a MS onboard is a smart choice to ensure an “always-on” service to position your business for future growth. By reviewing your pain points and understanding what each support model brings to the table, you can make the best decision for your business.

If a managed service model sounds like it might be a fit for your BMC applications, please fill out our form to speak to an expert and get started.

1 “IT Services.” Gartner IT Glossary, 22 Nov. 2012,

2 “15-1151 Computer User Support Specialists.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 29 Mar. 2019,

These postings are my own and do not necessarily represent BMC’s position, strategies, or opinion.

See an error or have a suggestion? Please let us know by emailing [email protected].


11 Website Design And Development Best Practices For 2018

Aim higher to delight customers with amazing website performance.


In today’s global marketplace, it’s not enough to just have a digital presence. To capitalize on opportunity and captivate real, live, human readers, an optimized, functional, interactive website is a must. Unfortunately, the Internet is swarming with poor website designs that miss both the technical and content mark. Worse yet, clients and developers alike continuously contribute to the current outbreak of design delinquency in equal measure.

It’s time to end bad websites, once and for all. Let’s take a look at how clients and developers perpetrate this trend of low-quality websites and pinpoint new design and development standards in 2018 that will help end this vicious cycle of “all-surface-no-substance” sites.


A client’s unrealistic expectations can doom a website to fail before the design process even begins.

Unfortunately, many clients have limited knowledge of what a website should be, and more importantly, what a functional, intentional website can deliver. They underestimate the value of going beyond esthetics with their sites, assuming that build success relies solely on an appealing interface. Clients believe that, as long as their site “looks good,” it will float in cyberspace, effectively extending brand reach while magically attracting millions of interested users and converting them into customers.

The truth is, that’s not how website magic works.

To deliver digital results, a website must offer an engaging, dynamic user experience. Yes, graphics are critical to the design process. However, to optimize success, your site must provide more than compelling graphics. Your developer is or, at least should be working hard behind the scenes for you, creating a sophisticated infrastructure of both site and SEO functionality that must be developed and tested before going live. That is where the website magic truly begins.

A client’s budget expectations can also play a major role in launching an inferior website. When it comes to promoting your brand, it’s important to remember that you ultimately get what you pay for. Effective, intuitive website design is complicated. But the return is well worth the investment. So, clients, invest already. And trust your developer’s insight, talent, and experience as you navigate through the process to a final design that doesn’t just look great, but also achieves all of your critical online marketing goals.


Of course, clients aren’t the only ones perpetuating bad websites. Developers themselves can also contribute to the slew of poorly-designed, ineffective sites plaguing the Internet. How? It often starts by treating must-have digital marketing features as “extras” when offering site packages to clients.

Not cool, developers. Not cool.

Developers, 2018 is the year you up your game and raise the bar on acceptable industry standards. No more static, one-dimensional tactics that render a site into a mere Powerpoint presentation (aka a static and boring data deluge). Going forward, refuse to work on a design that isn’t multidimensional and fully-functional. Every project you take on should have all necessary digital marketing functions to elevate both owner and user experience.

Yes, some of your clients will express a bit of sticker shock. Stand firm. Rather than dilute design features, enlighten them on the many benefits offered by a highly-functioning website. If they insist on a cheap and crummy website? Don’t take on the project. It’s far better to refuse one client than to lose countless prospects who notice you have a knack for churning out poor product.

2018 Website Feature Checklist

Ready to put an actionable plan in place to redefine the new normal for 2018 sites? Here are nine non-negotiable standards (and two bonus tips) to implement on your site:

1. Fast Loading — No one wants to wait (and wait and wait) for your site to load. Design sites with prompt loading times for all users on all devices (even the ones with slower Internet connections). You can use Pingdom or Pagespeed Insights by Google to check your website speed and see how you can improve.

2. Mobile Ready — Virtually everyone uses smart devices on a daily basis. Create an engaging, mobile-friendly design that your audience can access whenever they want, wherever they roam.

3. Tracking Enabled — Analytics matter – it’s the best way to determine that your website is actually doing its job. The final design should include functionality to gauge key indicators such as traffic, goals, and conversions.

4. SEO Savvy — Don’t underestimate the power of optimizing your site for both browsers and humans. Develop compelling, readable content for your followers. For the search engines, always include all important on-page SEO tags and elements, including schema and XML sitemaps.

5. Enabled CMS — We aren’t quite done with the power of the written word just yet. Consistently publishing fresh, original content not only captivates your audience, it can deliver invaluable, long-term digital marketing momentum. Include a back-end Content Management System in the design so clients can post and edit content as needed.

6. Conversion Optimized — Have a conversion-centric client? Implement tools for creating campaign landing pages into your design. These designated pages can keep your readers moving through your site and direct them to schedule an appointment, request a product demonstration, and even make a purchase.

7. Email Marketing — Yes, email marketing is still a thing – and a highly effective thing at that. A site’s email capture forms should sync with the client’s email marketing system for seamless access and connection.

8. Social Media — Never miss an opportunity to leverage the power of social media. Integrate all relevant social media platforms within your design. Allowing users to quickly access social media pages from the website instantly broadens a brand’s reach and helps increase visibility and traffic.

9. Strong Security — Never compromise on-site security. Every design should include fundamental security and privacy protocols, such as basic security checks, to protect client and user data.

This concludes the non-negotiable portion of our 2018 website design guidelines. However, there are two bonus tips to consider when creating a site:

10. Progressive Web Apps — Savvy web designers, intrigued by the impact apps have on mobile media platforms, have successfully blended the very best web and app features into a hybrid known as Progressive Web Apps. Expect to see Progressive Web Apps out in full force throughout 2018. As a developer, consider including various features into your design such as splash screens, push notifications, and animated page transitions to elevate overall UX.

11. Machine Learning And Artificial Intelligence — Yes, really. Artificial intelligence is no longer a futuristic, high-tech term and has successfully worked its way into our everyday vernacular and online experience. Don’t believe me? Have you ever posed a question to Siri or Alexa? I rest my case. Adobe’s Sensei is delivering AI tools to various web design platforms worldwide, making it a more accessible, available resource.

Is Your Brand’s Website Up To 2018 Standards?

If not, it’s time for an immediate online renovation. Remember, it’s not about grand gestures and overhauls. Rather, 2018 will focus on a shift towards simple, functional, and futuristic designs. Implementing these (relatively painless) standards as a non-negotiable design baseline can have a significant impact on the way we do bus
iness and connect with potential customers online for optimal ROI with every user engagement.


Denis Pinsky is a Director of Digital Marketing and Analytics at Forbes. For the past 15 years, he’s been using industry-leading practices to assist companies implement masterful solutions in all aspects of internet marketing and e-commerce. With a team of industry veterans and an arsenal of the cutting-edge technologies, Denis founded Webfia Inc to provide scalable and sustainable solutions in the areas of eCommerce, Web Analytics, Web Visibility, Website Optimization, and SEO.

Connect With Denis on FacebookLinkedIn, Twitter

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Original Source: 9 Website Design Standards For 2017

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Move from Managing IT to Managing Outcomes

Our Managed Services practice is built on a unique synergy of people, process, and tools. We deliver 24x7x365 support, a rigorous ITIL-based framework that is independently certified and audited, and customized tools and dashboards that provide greater visibility and intelligence to drive business decisions. Ready to connect the dots from your current state to achieve the future state your business needs?

Flexible Engagement Models—Geared Specifically to Your Business

We offer customized business process out-tasking with on-site support options—scalable to grow as your business needs evolve. We can integrate with your existing processes and architecture in a non-disruptive way to provide around the clock support for a range of IT lifecycle services. You can also engage with ePlus for a broad range of fully-managed “as a Service” offerings with flexible consumption models and comprehensive project management.

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Fuel Your IT Innovation

Managed Services allow you to outsource the day-to-day operations of your IT infrastructure, shifting your focus from keeping the lights on to driving your business forward. See how ePlus can help you connect the dots from your current state to achieve the future state your business needs—and fuel your IT innovation.

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Managed Services for Infrastructure and Cloud

Managed Services for Infrastructure and Cloud

Benefit from 24x7x365 proactive support across your infrastructure as well as public, hybrid, and private cloud environments, including Enhanced Maintenance Support, Executive Services, and Cloud Hosted Services.

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Enhanced Maintenance Support

Simplify your support experience with single-call support for multi-vendor environments and U.S.-based 24x7x365 customer care for faster time to resolution, greater visibility, and enhanced operational efficiency.

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Managed Security Services

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ePlus Service Desk

Take advantage of an ITIL-compliant framework and a central point of contact to troubleshoot, triage, and resolve your IT service issues with efficacy and speed.

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Asset Management Service

Ensure data integrity across your install base and gain real-time visibility to manage, measure, and govern your IT assets.

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Carrier Expense Management

Keep track of multiple carriers, contracts, and services across the globe through our fully-managed service that delivers global contract visibility, expense management, AP integration, project management, and convenient bill pay.

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7 Reasons to Consider SD-WAN Managed Services

SD-WAN technology is both transformational and disruptive, and it requires organizations to embrace a new approach to design and operation—and the roles and responsibilities of network engineers. SD-WAN Managed Services can help.

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Managed Services and the Customer Experience

From Cloud and AI to machine learning and data management, ePlus managed and annuity services leverage automation to help you achieve positive business outcomes through the smart use of technology.

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Best Virtual Phone System for Businesses with a Mobile Workforce

For some small businesses, a traditional phone system offers more than they need. That’s why virtual phone systems are the perfect fit for some businesses. Virtual phone systems give solopreneurs or businesses with a remote workforce the ability to use their mobile phones as their business phones and still present a professional image at all times. These businesses don’t need a complete unified communications system. A virtual phone system allows these employers to provide their employees with a business phone line for a fraction of the cost of a traditional phone system. 

After conducting extensive research and analysis, we recommend Grasshopper as the best virtual phone system for businesses with a mobile workforce in 2020. 

With Grasshopper, employees can set call-forwarding options that route their business calls to any other phone, such as their mobile or home phone, instead of just their business line. The system is available in three service plans that all include unlimited talking minutes. The plans differ in how many phone numbers and extensions they include. The virtual system also has valuable features, including a mobile app and an automated attendant. 

To understand how we selected our best picks, you can find our methodology, as well as a comprehensive list of business phone systems, on our best picks page


Editor’s note: Looking for information on business phone systems? Use the questionnaire below and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information you need. 

Grasshopper is available in three different service plans. Each plan includes unlimited minutes, every Grasshopper feature and a 30-day money-back guarantee, with no contract required. You can upgrade your plan at any time. 

  • Solo: The Solo plan costs $29 per month. It includes one number and three extensions.
  • Partner: The Partner plan costs $49 per month and includes three numbers and six extensions.
  • Small Business: The Small Business plan costs $89 per month and comes with five numbers and unlimited extensions. 

You can save 10% on each plan by paying annually instead of monthly. 

You might incur a few other costs. Additional phone numbers cost $10 per month each. Professional voice greetings are $75 each, and there is a one-time $30 cost for porting phone numbers into the system.

Grasshopper also offers Grasshopper Connect, which is designed for one user. It unifies all of your business calls, email and texts on one platform. Grasshopper Connect is $39 if you pay monthly, or $35 per month if you pay annually.

Part of what makes Grasshopper such an appealing option for businesses with a remote workforce is that it requires no equipment and is simple to use. 

Since Grasshopper is a virtual phone system, there is absolutely no hardware, equipment or wiring necessary to run it. It basically works as an extensive call-forwarding system. When a customer calls your business’s main number, the calls are answered by an automated attendant and forwarded to the appropriate employee or department. The call then rings on the employee’s preferred phone. Employees have the option of answering the call immediately, asking for caller information or transferring the call to voicemail. 

After you sign up for the service, the first step is to choose a phone number. Grasshopper gives your business a local, toll-free or vanity number, as well as virtual extensions for each employee. If you already have a phone number you want to use, Grasshopper lets you transfer it into the system. This process, called porting, can take anywhere from a couple of days to two weeks. There is a one-time $30 fee to transfer an established number into the Grasshopper system. 

Once you’ve selected your number, you can control the entire system through the Grasshopper online portal. Administrators can add users and extensions, create departments, listen to and organize voicemails, update your plan, change your phone number, and view call reports all from the portal. 

Employees can also access the system via the online portal, desktop app or mobile app to create their own ring trees. Employees can choose the numbers they want their calls forwarded to, the order in which those numbers ring and whether they want their calls forwarded to them during certain hours, such as 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. 

Grasshopper has an extensive set of features that allows businesses with a remote workforce to present themselves in a professional manner at all times. One critical feature is the automated attendant. This is what greets every caller who dials your main business line. The auto-attendant greets the callers and then forwards them to the person or department they are trying to reach. 

Available on both iOS and Android devices, the Grasshopper mobile app allows you to make and receive calls from your business line. Unlike with some other virtual services, when you make a call using the Grasshopper app, your business line number shows up on the caller ID of the person you are calling. 

Some other valuable features all Grasshopper users have access to are voicemail, voicemail-to-email, voicemail transcription, hold music, dial-by-name directory, conference calling for up to 10 participants, call screening, online fax and fax-to-email. 

One downside to Grasshopper is that it doesn’t offer some features and tools that other virtual services do, such as call recording and integrations with programs like Microsoft Office. On the other hand, many other virtual systems don’t offer such a powerful mobile app that allows you to make calls from your business line on your smartphone. 

Another potential negative is that Grasshopper only offers a virtual system. If your business were to outgrow a service like this and need a traditional phone system, you would have to find a new provider. Some providers offer both types of services. 

We were impressed with the customer service Grasshopper provided. We contacted the company numerous times, posing as a new business owner. Each time we reached out, our calls were immediately taken by representatives who provided clear and detailed answers to all our questions. The reps never tried to pressure us into signing up for the service. We were also pleased to see that the company offers 24/7 support to all customers.   

Grasshopper’s parent company, LogMeIn, is an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau with an A+ rating. Over the past three years, 117 complaints have been filed against the company. However, not all of those complaints were related to the Grasshopper service. 

Ready to choose a business phone system? Here’s a breakdown of our complete coverage:


Editor’s note: Looking for information on business phone systems? Use the questionnaire below and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information you need.


All About Project Management

Test – How Good Are Your Own Project Management Skills?

Sections of This Topic Include

Foundations of Project Management

What is Project Management?
Overviews of Project Management
Basics of Project Planning
Roles in Project Management (including Project Manager)
Skills Required to Leading Teams and People in Project Management

Project Planning

Feasibility Studies — Is the Project Achievable or Optimised?
Project Planning — How Do We Determine Project’s Outcomes, Goals and Objectives?
Project Governance — How Do We Bring Business Level Control to Projects?
Project Success Criteria — How Do We Leave Everyone in Zero Doubt?

Allocating Project Resources

Benefits Planning & Realisation — How to Implement This Most Valuable Aspect of Projects.
Resource Allocation — What Do We Need to Implement the Plan (People, Money and Scheduling)?

Risk Assessment and Ethics Management

Risk Assessment and Management — What Could Go Wrong?
Ethics and Projects — Are We In Conformance, Morally and Legally?

Implementing Projects

Implementation of Project Plan — How Do We Ensure Implementation While Managing Change?
Communicating Your Plans and Status — What Do We Communicate to Whom and When?

Evaluating Projects

Earned Value Management — How Do We Measure Progress and Results?
Evaluating Projects and Results — How Do We Evaluate Implementation and Project Results?
When Projects Are in Trouble — How Do We Avoid Pitfalls and What Do We Do If They Occur?

General Resources and Topics

Glossaries of Project Management Terms
Resources With Many Resources About Project Management
Software Tools to Do Project Management Process
Organizations Focused on Project Management
Getting PMP Certification
Some Related Fields

Also consider
Related Library Topics


What is Project Management?

Project management is the planning, organizing and managing the effort to accomplish a successful project. A project is a one-time activity that produces a specific output and or outcome, for example, a building or a major new computer system. This is in contrast to a program, (referred to a ‘programme’ in the UK) which is 1) an ongoing process, such as a quality control program, or 2) an activity to manage a number of multiple projects together.

Project management includes developing a project plan, which involves defining and confirming the project goals and objectives, how they will be achieved, identifying tasks and quantifying the resources needed, and determining budgets and timelines for completion. It also includes managing the implementation of the project plan, along with operating regular ‘controls’ to ensure that there is accurate and objective information on ‘performance’ relative to the plan, and the mechanisms to implement recovery actions where necessary.

Projects often follow major phases or stages (with various titles for these), for example: feasibility, definition, planning, implementation, evaluation and realisation. (Thanks for Kevin Lonergan for contributing to this description.)

NOTE: There are many software tools that make project management much more effective and efficient. Software Tools to Do Project Management Process lists software resources. The reader might best be served to read about the overall project management process in the section, “Foundations of Project Management” below, and then review some of the software tools. Another approach is to review the tools as the reader progresses through each phase of the project management process.

Overviews of Project Management

The following links provide an overview of project management:

Project Management
Solid Overview of Project Management
Origins of Modern Day Project Management & Trends in Recent Decades
Developing a Project Management Best Practice
Project Management Simply Explained
Finding Humor in Project Management
From Project Management to Program Management
Is PM Just Common Sense?
Some Project Management Standards and ‘Bodies of Knowledge’
Successful International Projects
Does It Have To Be So Hard?
Project Success for the Small Business
Creating a Successful Project Manager Resume – a Step by Step Guide

Also consider
Glossaries of Project Management Terms

Basics of Project Planning

It will benefit the reader immensely to have an understanding of at least the basic planning processes before undertaking the  more detailed process of project management. See Basic Guidelines for Successful Planning Process. Planning is all about asking questions, making decisions and solving problems, so it also will be useful for the reader to have some guidelines for Decision Making and  Problem Solving.

There are numerous other topics in the Library that could pertain to project management, but the reader might best be served to  first review the resources linked from this topic on Project Management and afterwards see Related Library Topics.

Some Popular Approaches to Managing Projects

Now that you’ve gained an understanding of the overall project management process, it’s useful to consider how projects could be managed. One traditional approach is to define and deliver your project throu
gh distinct phases. Here are two approaches that further enlighten how you might think about managing your projects. Project management methods fall broadly into two camps: predictive (planned) and iterative (evolving).  The most common predictive model is Waterfall and its derivatives and the most common iterative methods follow the principles of Agile.

‘Fusion’ Project Management

Agile Project Management

Agile is not a method – it is an approach (a set of values and principles) covering the development aspect of projects, e.g. software development. When combined with methods (such as Scrum) that support Agile principles, the result is an Agile development process. Agile methods mainly cover the (technical) development activity itself.  On many larger projects there are also other elements that need to be managed which Agile methods typically do not cover.  These are covered elsewhere across this guide.

The Originators of Agile: Agile Manifesto
Concise Overview of Agile
Agile Project Management for IT Projects (a book chapter)
Comparison of Agile and Waterfall
Agile Management (an approach to management)
Decomposition of Projects: How to Design Small Incremental Steps
Agile Project Management
Agile Reporting from Waterfalls

A number of development methods match the principles of Agile. They address elements of the development activity (e.g. software development) and most do not address aspects outside of the core development activity. Therefore on larger projects, many Agile methods will not cover all that has to be done.  It will still be necessary to plan and manage those elements.

Some Examples of Agile Methods:

Scrum: in under 10 Minutes
Extreme programming (XP): Guidance and references
Kanban: in Under 5 Minutes
DSDM: What is DSDM?
Test Driven Development: Agile project management: 12 key principles, 4 big hurdles


Prince2 originated in the 1990s as the UK Government method for managing IT projects. Since then authors have worked to broaden its applicability.  It is primarily a framework for defining and delivering projects that focuses mainly on Governance.  As with Agile, it does not cover many other core elements of managing projects, such as many of those covered in ‘Doing project management’ on this page.

Overview of Prince2
The PRINCE2® Training Manual
PRojects IN Controlled Environments (a.k.a. PRINCE2®)
PRINCE2: The Most Popular PM Exam In The World – Guest Post by Simon Buehring

Project Management ‘Bodies of Knowledge’

A number of the more mature Professional Associations have published their own Body of Knowledge (BoK) covering project management.  These are not methodologies in themselves, but do describe processes and skills or competencies associated with project management. PM Certification examinations such as PMP or APMP are based on their relevant BoK. The most popular are:


Roles in Project Management (including Project Manager)

Project Roles and Responsibilities
Role of the Project Manager
Real Example of Lessons Learned on Project Manager Responsibilities
In-House Project Managers vs. External
The Role (and Challenge) of the Project Sponsor
Top 10 Leadership Qualities of a Project Manager
Maximizing Project Managers
How Bad Project Managers are Killing the Profession
Making Junior Project Managers More Senior
Managing Projects on a Global Scale
12 Essential Soft Skills for Project Managers
Seven Deadly Project Manager Sins
On the importance of field knowledge in project management
Who’s The Boss?
Where Can a Project Manager Go From Here?
The Trouble With Sponsors

Skills to Lead Teams and People in Project Management

There are certain skills to have when conducting project management. It’s best to have a team of planners when doing project planning. Therefore, it’s important to have skills in forming, leading and facilitating groups. The following information will help you develop these skills.

Yes, Project Managers Need Leadership Skills!
Kicking Off the Project Team
Team Building
Leadership (Introduction)
Meeting Management
Short Video on What Makes a Great Project Manager
Facilitating in Face-to-Face Groups
Group-Based Problem Solving and Decision Making
Conflict Management (this topic provides basics in managing conflict in groups)
Capturing Lessons Learning During Projects
Using Project Teams on Organizational Projects
Project Management, Leadership and Making the Right Decision
A Strategic Management Model that Works
Course 19: Managing Projects
Become a Project Management Minimalist — Video 1
10 Steps to Project Success
On the importance of field knowledge in project management
5 Leadership Skills for Project Managers
How Project Managers Can Manage Conflict
Project With China
Cultures in the Project
How to Onboard Project Resources
Successful Strategies for Global Projects


Feasibility Studies — Is your Project Viable or Optimised?

A feasibility study determines if a project is viable or tests the pros and cons of different technical strategies and solutions.

Feasibility Study – Can You Mange It?
Feasibility Studies
How to Develop a Prototype
Have Your Project Demo Ready
So Are We Doing This?
Are We All Here?
Is It a Project or an Operation?
Is Your Project Really Worth It?

Project Planning — How Do We Determine Project Outcomes, Goals and Objectives?

Overview of Project Planning

Project planning includes agreeing the overall goals to be achieved by the project, the objectives associated with each goal, responsibilities to achieve each objective. Planning might also include specifying milestones or deliverables to be produced, and timelines for achieving the objectives and milestones.

Project Planning A Step by Step Guide
Steps in Project Planning
Project Management Planning
How to Plan Any Project
Assumptions When We Plan and Define Projects
Planning a Project — Sample Project Plans
Planning a Project — the Basics
How to Use Software to Plan and Prioritize Projects
Putting a people focus into project management
Project Management Definition and Solutions
Avoid That Creep
How Many Trackers Do You Track?
The Pareto Thing
Own Moving Country Project
Centralising Your Project Portfolio

Project Governance

Covers responsibilities for key decisions and may also cover business level reviews of strategic projects:

APM’s resources
An Overview of Project Governance
Don’t Confuse Governance with Management

Project Success Criteria

It can be fundamentally useful to define crystal clear success criteria for any project, to avoid the real risk of anyone making incorrect assumptions on such an important matter.

What is Success in Project Management?
Simple Overview of How To Do This

Benefits Planning and Realisation

A new topic that has developed from the UK since 2000.  For any organisation involved in a business improvement or change project, this is the most valuable and important task they will do.

Guidance on Benefits Planning, Realisation and Management
Example in practice

When Working from Requirements

Some projects do planning by working from an initial set of project requirements. The requirements might have come from other stakeholders, or people who have a strong interest in the project and/or will be affected by the project.

Incose: International Council on Systems Engineering – defining customer needs and requirements in (project) systems
Overview on requirements management by UK’s Office of Government & Commerce
Open Architecture Requirements Management
Building a Requirements Document

Some Tools for Project Planning

Generic Project Proposal Template
Project Evaluation and Review Technique
Statement of Work
Project Charter
How to Create a Work Breakdown Structure
Dependency Structure Matrix
RAID or Not to Raid

Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) – A scheduling Technique

Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT)
How to Use a PERT Chart for Project Management
User-Friendly Handbook for Project Evaluation

Resource Allocation — What Do We Need to Implement Project Plan (People, Money, Scheduling)?

Resource allocation identifies the resources needed and schedules their involvement. It might also consider the efficient integration of those resources and do contingency planning in case certain resources are not sufficient or available. Some planners might include budgeting as part of the resource allocation process.

Resource Allocation
Splitting a Project Into Small Bits
Estimating Project Costs
Hierarchy of Project Objectives
Project Management Resource Allocation
Resource Leveling
Are Sub-Contractors Good Or Bad?
Five Techniques So You Don’t Have To Be There
How to Manage Your Time as a Project Manager
The Perception of Time
Good, Cheap and Fast! You’ve Got to Be Joking!
How to Manage Your Time as a Project Manager

Some Tools for Resource Allocation

Project Management Budgeting Tools
Resource Leveling


Management of Project Risk — What Could Go Wrong?

Risk management involves identifying potential risks in a project and how to mitigate or manage each. It’s always best if risks are identified using a comprehensive and systematic approach.

Project Risk Management Principles
Improving Project Risk Management
10 Golden Rules of Project Risk Management
Project Management: Risk Management
What is Risk Management in Project Management?
Risky Business
Are Issues Risks?

Some Tools for Risk Management

A Consistent Project Risk Assessment Tool
Risk Management Tools

Ethical Analysis of Project — Are We In Conformance, Morally?

Ethics is clarifying what’s morally right and wrong, and influencing that actions are morally right. Ethics can include codes of ethics, codes of conduct, guidelines to resolve ethical dilemmas and training about these ethics tools. Ethics applies in all aspects of project management.

Business Ethics
Ethics in Project Management
Ethics in Project Management Customers and Suppliers?
PMI’s Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct
Project Management Ethics and Rules of Conduct
Green Project Management


Implementation of Project Plan – How Do We Ensure Implementation, While Managing Change?

To Ensure Implementation of the Project Plan

The best practices to ensure implementation of the plan actually start early in the planning process. The practices are the same, whether for strategic, business or project planning.

How to Ensure Implementation of Your Plan
Course 19: Managing Projects

To Manage Change During Implementation of the Project Plan

Implementation of important plans, such as strategic, business and project plans, usually impact the strategy, structure and/or operations of the organization. Therefore, it’s important that project managers understand at least some basics about managing change in organizations.

Guidelines, Methods and Resources for Organizational Change Agents

Communication and Your Project – Communication is the Life-Blood of Projects:

It’s extremely important to communicate project plans, status and results to stakeholders. Many project managers would agree that this is one of the biggest problems in project management.

Project Communication
Methods for Distributing Information on Projects
Real-World Project Communications
If It’s Important, Less Is More
Inside Technical Specifications

Some Tools for Communicating Project Plans and Status

Some Effective Communications Tools for Managers


Earned Value Management – How to Objectively Measure Schedule and Budget ‘Performance’

Earned value management provides objective measures of schedule and budget performance during implementation. When done comprehensively and systematically, it will provide early detection of schedule or budget problems.

What is Earned Value?
An Overview of Earned Value Management
Earned Value Management
Glossary of EVM Terms

Some Tools Project Management

Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT)
How to Use a PERT Chart for Project Management
Critical Path Method

Evaluating Projects and Results – How Do We Evaluate Implementation and Project Results?

Project evaluation is done during project implementation and after completion in order to assess the quality of activities and achievement of results.

Project Management Evaluation
Methods for Evaluating Project Performance
An Objective Method for Evaluating Project Managers’ Performance
Systematic Planning and Evaluating the Project Management Effort
Using Return on Investment to Evaluate Project Management Training
About Project Quality
User-Friendly Handbook for Project Evaluation
How Many Trackers Do You Track?

Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT)

Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT)
How to Use a PERT Chart for Project Management
User-Friendly Handbook for Project Evaluation

When Projects Are in Trouble — Most Common Issues and What Do We Do If They Occur?

Why Does Project Management Fail in Some Companies?
Pragmatic Project Management Requires Focus to Avoid Creep
Project Pitfalls from Symptoms to Solution
One Project – Multiple Consulting and Freelance Clients
Top 10 Issues for Project Managers
Reasons Why Projects Fail
Project Management, initiative, leadership: How to Avoid a Work Burnout
5 Strategies for Dealing with Project Management Chaos
The Project Management Office Blues
Exit Stage Left
The Trouble With Troubled Projects


Glossaries of Project Management Terms

Project Management Glossary
A Project Management Glossary
PM Forum’s Glossary
Wideman Comparative Glossary of Project Management Terms)
It Depends On What the Meaning of “Is” Is
Three Critical Project Management Terms to Know

Further Sites With Many Resources About Project Management

Free Project Management Articles published weekly
PM Forum Library
Project Management Tools
Tutorials Point

Software Tools to Do Project Management Process

How To Find The Right Project Management Software For Your Needs
10 Free Tools for Effective Project Management
Process Templates and Tools
Project Management and Tools Directory
How to Use Software to Plan and Prioritize Projects
Exotic Project Management Software

Professional Bodies Focused on Project Management

International Project Management Association
Project Management Institute(PMI)
UK Association of Project Management (APM)
Project Management Organizations and Resources

Getting PMP Certification

Getting the PMP Certification
Project Management Certification and Training
PMP Certification Guide – Online PMP Certification Training
Project Management Certification Just Got Easier
PRINCE2: The Most Popular PM Exam In The World – Guest Post by Simon Buehring

Some Related Fields

Enterprise Resource Planning
Management by Objectives
Program Management

Learn More in the Library’s Blogs Related to This Topic

In addition to the articles on this current page, see the following blogs which have posts related to this topic. Scan down the blog’s page to see various posts. Also see the section “Recent Blog Posts” in the sidebar of the blog or click on “next” near the bottom of a post in the blog.

Library’s Business Planning Blog
Library’s Building a Business Blog
Library’s Leadership Blog
Library’s Project Management Blog
Library’s Strategic Planning Blog
Library’s Supervision Blog

For the Category of Planning and Project Management:

To round out your knowledge of this Library topic, you may want to review some related topics, available from the link below. Each of the related topics includes free, online resources. Also, scan the Recommended Books listed below. They have been selected for their relevance and highly practical nature.

Recommended Books


How to Set Up Voice over Internet Protocol VoIP in


I don’t understand how to connect a second phone in another room. Will it pick up the signal from the adapter in the computer room?

If you use a home wireless phone system with one or more extension phones, you simply plug the phone line from the VOIP Adapter into the main/base unit, and one can then make and receive phone calls from each of the remote wireless phones that run off the main/base phone system. In other words, your wireless phones work just as if the phone company line was plugged into your wireless phone system base unit.


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Learn IT Software development

1. What is software development?

Software development is the process of developing software through successive phases in an orderly way. This process includes not only the actual writing of code but also the preparation of requirements and objectives, the design of what is to be coded, and confirmation that what is developed has met objectives.

Before systems development methods came into being, the development of new systems or products was often carried out by using the experienceand intuition of management and technical personnel. However, the complexityof modern systems and computer products long ago made the need clear forsome kind of orderly development process.

Typical phases of software development:

1) Identification of required software
2) Analysis of the software requirements
3) Detailed specification of the software requirements
4) Software design
5) Programming
6) Testing
7) Maintenance

In general, the development of commercial software is usually a result of demand in the marketplace, while enterprise software developmentgenerally arises from a need or a problem within the enterprise environment.

Related Links:

Rafeeq Ur Rehman and Christopher Paul’s Introduction to software development goes into more detail about the software development process.

SearchVB offers a selection of resources about design and development.


2. How is software development guided?

The software development process is almost invariably guided bysome systematic software development method (SDM). Referred to by a numberof terms, including process models, development guidelines,and systems development life cycle models (SDLC), software development methods nevertheless generally include the same development phases:

  • The existing system is evaluated and its deficiencies identified, usually through interviewing system users and support personnel.
  • The new system requirements are defined. In particular, the deficiencies in the existing system must be addressed with specific proposals for improvement.
  • The proposed system is designed. Plans are laid out concerning the physical construction, hardware, operating systems, programming, communications, and security issues.
  • The new system is developed. The new components and programs must be obtained and installed. Users of the system must be trained in its use, and all aspects of performance must be tested. If necessary, adjustments must be made at this stage.
  • The system is put into use. This can be done in various ways. The new system can phased in, according to application or location, andthe old system gradually replaced. In some cases, it may be more cost-effective to shut down the old system and implement the new system all at once.
  • Once the new system is up and running for awhile, it should be exhaustively evaluated. Maintenance must be kept up rigorously at all times.Users of the system should be kept up-to-date concerning the latest modificationsand procedures.

The systems development life cycle model was developed as a structured approach to information system development that guides all the processesinvolved from an initial feasibility study through to maintenance of thefinished application. SDLC models take a variety of approaches to development.


Systems development life cycle models include:

· The waterfall model: This is the classic SDLC model, with a linear and sequential method that has goals for each developmentphase. The waterfall model simplifies task scheduling, because there areno iterative or overlapping steps. One drawback of the waterfall is thatit does not allow for much revision.

· Rapid application development (RAD): This modelis based on the concept that better products can be developed more quicklyby: using workshops or focus groups to gather system requirements; prototyping and reiterative testing of designs; rigid adherence to schedule; and less formality of team communications such as reviews.

· Joint application development (JAD): This modelinvolves the client or end user in the design and development of an application,through a series of collaborative workshops called JAD sessions.

· The prototyping model: In this model, a prototype (an early approximation of a final system or product) is built, tested,and then reworked as necessary until an acceptable prototype is finallyachieved from which the complete system or product can now be developed.

· Synchronize-and-stabilize: This model involves teams working in parallel on individual application modules, frequently synchronizing their code with that of other teams and stabilizing code frequently throughout the development process.

· The spiral model: This model of development combines the features of the prototyping model and the waterfall model. The spiral model is favored for large, expensive, and complicated projects.

Related Links:

Peter H. Gregory’s SearchNetworking article explores “Security in the software development life cycle.

The CTG also offers a white paper on the “Systems Development Process Model.

Bender RBT provides their document on “Systems Development Life Cycle Objectives and Requirements.



3. How has the open source development process influenced software development in general?

Open source software is developed collaboratively; source code is freely available for use and modification. The open source movement arose because some developers came to believe that competition amongst vendors leads to inferior products and that the best approach to development isa collaborative one.

The OSI (Open Source Initiative) is an industry body that certifies products as open source if they conform to a number of rules:

· The software being distributed must be redistributed to anyone else without any restriction

· The source code must be made available (so that the receiving party will be able to improve or modify it)

· The license can require improved versions of the software to carry a different name or version from the original software

Despite its emphasis on the collaborative process, the biggest influence that open source has had on software development in general may be through competition: by competing with proprietary software products, open source products force vendors to work that much harder to hold their market share in the face of viable open source alternatives.

Related Links:

The OSI has a Web site.

Margie Semilof’s SearchWin2000 article is called “Battening down the Windows: Open source vs. commercial tools.”

Jan Stafford’s SearchEnterpriseLinux article is called “Perens: IT pros must lobby for open source.”



4. What are some generally accepted best practices common to all or most development models?

Here’s a collection of some of the top tips from a variety of industry sources:

· Make sure that you’ve chosen a systems development life cycle model that suits your project, because every one of the processesinvolved depends on the model. That said, however, implementin
g any modelis better than none — much of the success of a project depends upon howscrupulously the model is adhered to.

· Reuse software components when it’s appropriate, but don’t use code that doesn’t work perfectly for its intended purpose just because you have it on hand.

· Be very thorough in gathering requirements, ensuring that all parties agree on what they are — and make sure you document them.

· Don’t promise the moon, if you can’t deliver it. Avoidletting someone who isn’t fully informed negotiate with the client.

· Make sure that the architecture you’ve chosen is appropriate for the application you’re building. To retain perspective, you might want to look at the smaller picture and plan the architecture incrementally.

· Change is part of life, including software development. You have to accept that various things — requirements, for example — are likely to change throughout the life of the project. Keep control of them, but not too rigidly.

· Set up peer review processes for every element of the project.

· Design thoroughly and with care, but remember the KISSprinciple: Keep it simple.

· In your project plan, split big projects into manageable chunks, with concrete milestones and deadlines.

· Ensure accountability: make sure that deadlines are clear and that people have to report on whether they made them, and explain why not if they don’t.

· Implement quality control procedures throughout the project.

· Test exhaustively — there’s no point in doing a cursory run through only to have an application fail when you run it for the client.

· After the project is completed, conduct a thorough post-mortem, with everyone involved. You’ll see what worked well and what should havebeen differently, and your future projects will benefit.

Related Links:

The IBM Web site offers Mike Perk’s article, “Best Practices for Software Development Projects.”

IEEE Software promotes the “Daily Build and Smoke Test” as a development best practice.

The Standish group provides a “Recipe for Success.”

W. Edwards Deming offers more advice in his list, 14 Points for Software Development.

Johanna Rothman advises developers to write out goals inplain English to help managers, team members and stakeholders find consensusin this Software Development Magazine article. (requires free registration)



5. What are some common mistakes in software development?

According to a Standish Group report, corporations in the United States spend over $275 billion every year on software development projects, many of which are doomed to failure. Research by the group found that over 80% of projects fail for various reasons, and that fully 30% of projectswere cancelled prior to completion because of poor execution.

David B. Stewart, at the University of Maryland, set out to document the 10 most common mistakes of software development. He found, however,that the sheer number of errors that were commonly practiced made it impossible to keep the number to ten. He ended up calling his article “Twenty-FiveMost Common Mistakes with Real-Time Software Development.” Even so, afterthe title had been established, he found another five errors so common thathe felt compelled to add them.

According to Dr. Michael Stovsky, of Stovsky and Associates, the most common project problems are due to failure to manage project elements successfully:

· Requirements are not clearly and accurately defined, and agreed upon by all concerned.

· Resources are not adequately planned and allocated.

· Threats to project success are not clearly detected, identified, and protected against.

· Critical path analysis is omitted, or poorly executed.

· The project’s progress is not tracked adequately.

· Quality management is not carried out well enough throughout the life of the project.

· Too little data is collected, or data is ignored or poorly understood.

Correcting flaws identified during software security audits is expensive and time consuming. Worse, vast resources are spent on containing and recovering from exploits. Fortunately, providing development staff with the knowledge and tools to avoid many of these pitfalls is easy and inexpensive.



Related Links:

David B. Stewart lists the Twenty-Five Most Common Mistakes in Software Development .

In this paper, Dr. Michael P. Stovsky explores Common Mistakes in Software Project Management.

6. Given a particular process model, is there a set of tools(a development environment) to support it?

In general, a process model usually begins as a philosophy of “who does what development when” rather than a rigid methodology complete with tools. For example, rapid application development (RAD) is an approach that can make use of existing development tools. In general, tools for supporting all or part of a process model tend to arrive later, if at all.

Historically, development tools have focused on the code-building, code archive management, documentation, testing, and packaging parts ofthe process, sometimes offered as a suite. Such a suite is generally knownas an integrated development environment (IDE).

A set of tools for managing or supporting a development project is generally known as a computer-assisted software environment (CASE). A number of companies offer products that support early stages of development such as requirements gathering, design prototyping, and data modeling. A number of these provide tools that support data modeling with the Unified Modeling Language. Overall, there is a trend toward providing all or most of the tools for a development project in a single product or related set of products.

Today, the main code-building development environments or program suites come from Microsoft with its Visual Studio and Visual Studio .NET, providing support for Visual Basic, Visual C#, Visual C++, and Visual J#; Sun Microsystems with its Java 2 Enterprise Environment; and numerous software vendors such as Borland who repackage these environments with some value-added features. Recently, almost all providers of software development environments have added features that enable the software to be used on the Web.

Related Links:

Microsoft provides a case study of a company that created an accounting system with its VisualBasic .NET product and additional products from PDSA.

The Caldera OpenLinux Workstation describes several different integrated development environments it provides for Linux and Unix systems.

Knowledgestorm lists many products that describe themselves as integrated development environment products.

Carnegie-Mellon Software Engineering Institute answers the question “What is a CASE Environment?”


7. How do you choose the “right” programming language for your project?

most projects, the right language is easy to choose. Your company may have standardized on a particular development environment and language (and you may have been hired because you were already familiar with the language). Or you may be updating or enhancing an existing program; it’s almost always best to use the same language the existing program is written in. In some cases, however, someone will need to select the best (or, since the best may be somewhat arguable, at least an appropriate language). In somecases, you or your team of developers may need to know several languages fordifferent purposes.

General truisms about programming languages are that:

  • Perl or a similar script language is most suitable for small tasks and sometimes acting as a program that goes between other, largerprograms.
  • Visual Basic is most suitable for relatively novice programmers and relatively simple programs.
  • Java, C++, or comparable languages like Python and Tcl aremost suitable for larger applications using object orientation as a designmodel.
  • C is most suitable for programs where efficiency and performance are the primary concern.
  • The appropriate assembler language is most suitable where the program is relatively short and high performance is critical.

Where constraints permit, some programmers may favor one object-oriented language over another (for example, Java, C++, Python, or Tcl). A programmer with skills in C is likely to prefer C++, which combines the proceduraland other concepts and syntax of C with object-oriented concepts.

Related Links:

Outback Software compares three object-oriented languages: C++, Smalltalk, and Java.

Kuro5hin compares three Visual Studio languages: C#, C++, and Java.

Jason Voegele’s table compares 21 features of nine pure or hybrid object-oriented languages, including Perl and Basic.

The Open Directory Project offers a list of links relating to programming language comparisons.



8. What are some trends regarding the future of software development?

Blogs  – A growing number of big-name softwaredevelopers are finding they can make better software applications if theyshare information with potential customers from the start and incorporate customer feedback into development decisions. While developers of gamessoftware have used this method for years, business software makers are nowalso catching on and using blogs (Web logs) as an important part of the development process.

Big-name support for independent software vendors (ISVs) –  Big players like Microsoft, IBM, and Sun have recognized that they cannot fill every niche industry’s software demands, so they have begun to activelyseek partnerships with small ISVs, in hopes that by encouraging ISVs to focuson nichy vertical industry applications, everyone will benefit.

Component-based development – In this approach, softwareis developed in modules that are linked dynamically to construct a completeapplication. Charles Simonyi (creator of the WYSIWYG editor) believes thateventually, software development will become so modular that  even lay-peoplewill be able to assemble  components effectively to create customizedsoftware applications.

Continued improvements in refactoring tools – Eric Raymond,a leading philosopher about program development, maintains that the conceptof refactoring is consistent with the idea of get-something-working-now-and-perfect-it-laterapproach long familiar to Unix and open source programmers. The idea is alsoembodied in the approach known as Extreme Programming. As software applicationsbecome larger, better refactoring tools will be required to maintain codebases and diagnose bugs.

Outsourcing – Using this approach, software companies hire employees around the world to take advantage of time zone and labor/cost differences.Proponents say that in effect, software development teams now have a 24-hourwork day, and are able to provide fast turn-around. Detractors say that outsourcingparts of a project leads to sloppy coding and only works if there is a highdegree of coordination regarding modularized tasks, and above-average communicationwithin the team.

Related Links:

Rormer CNET developers Dan Seewer and Kevin Cobb discuss the future of software development.



Charles Simonyi, creator of the WYSIWYG, is in the process of designing programming tools for the future that are so simple that even laypeople can use them.

Developers are using blogs to get closer to their users.

IBM DeveloperWorks is one of many free resources available for developers




10. Software Development Words-to-Go Glossary:

Browse through instant messaging vocabulary in a handy printable glossary.


11. Self-assessment:

After you’ve looked at the glossary, quiz yourself to see what you’ve learned about software development terms.



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