Sunday, December 20, 2015

More Templating

I added a marketing overview document to my collection of company business guides.  Keeping with my usual format, it is largely a series of bullet-points that form a sort of template for things that a marketing department can expect out of my company.  I think that this approach is easier for me to view later when I'm trying to make decisions or decide where I should be going.  My marketing overview is a big step away from guides in the strategy area about actions I should be specifically taking.  This is more of a resource overview and how the materials that I have created are going to help guide the companies progress, and possibly change if I am fortunate to see enough success.  Overall, I think that my general business area is starting to look more complete than I would have expected.  Having something is place is the best way to build on your success and this overview is both a much needed representation in the area and a sort of conclusion to the strategy area.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

A Full Explanation

My second venture into my new layer of documentation sees me starting an experiment that I feel is going to prove very useful to the overall direction of my work.  My last project was not one of the largest projects that I had, and I only gave it two summaries that were about two pages long each.  I think that that is going to be among the shortest that my summary documentation is ever going to get.  That is supposed to be a full explanation of all the parts of my product in about four pages.  It doesn't sound like as much as it should be, but I covered every area of the product.  My new documentation project is going to be a bit more ambitious.  I started by creating an outline that describes the general characteristics of the four different sections that I'm going to be writing summaries about.  This means that I will hopefully end up with about eight pages of documentation for the technical specifics of my project.  I'm hoping that this will end up as one of the smaller sets of documentation for my projects and this will be pretty much the minimum amount of writing that I will expect from now on.  This isn't going to be a rule because there are exceptions, but I think that I will feel better about the direction of my company knowing what I should start to expect.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Doc Overview

I have officially started my newest layer of documentation and I have already decided that it is not going to be sufficient.  Now that I have all of the negative stuff out of the way, I'd like to talk about how awesome things are going so far.  I  chose one of my simplest projects to use as a sort of test run for my documentation process.  This way, I would be assured that the complexity of the project would not limit the amount of useful information available in any way.  It is also a lot easier to organize my thoughts with only a few aspects to discuss.  So far I have already noticed that there are a few parts of my code that I am not as familiar with as I had thought I was.  I didn't need to actually open up my compiler to verify anything (although it wouldn't be a bad idea), but I'm going to guess that I will need to in the future.  I think that this documentation is going to give me a very good idea how things are going to go if I ever hire anyone to work with my code.  Anything that I'm having a hard time explaining, they're going to have a hard time working with either because of the complexity or the way that I decided to organize my work.  This documentation is also going to tell me how skilled I will be at explaining what I have done.  So far things have gone very well, so that seems like a good sign for my future employees.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Coding Standards

I started work on a coding standards document.  This doesn't really have much use for the management or sales side of things, but it is a good engineering practice to be aware of.  Everyone that gets hired is going to have their own style and way of doing things, but starting the conversation is going to be a big step in the right direction.  Even if I only have a few things to write down at first, I might think of more things that I can add later.  When other people start working with my code and going over some of the documents that I have, they're going to be able to comment on what I have and whether they find it useful or not.  This document isn't going to be of any use to me at first, but over a long enough period of time this is the sort of thing that I'm going to need to start thinking about if people are going to take working for me seriously.  Having a procedure that everyone can agree on is going to make both old and new code more professional.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Structured Vision

My company roadmap(s) document is going to be an enormous asset to my company.  After thinking a lot about the more detailed documentation that my company needs, it's important to create something the gives structure to the less detailed company information.  This document outlines what people that may not ever even use one of my products is going to see.  Where is my company going?  Why am I going to be profitable?  What do people have to be excited about?  Out of all the materials I have for my company, I need to condense it into one small, entertaining file.  I wrote down a lot more guidelines for this than I expected because of the possible audiences for the presentation.  This is something that I haven't currently put a lot of effort into, but need to do a lot better job.  Being too modest when I'm trying to get people to notice me is not exactly a recommended business practice.  I want people to not only like what I am doing, but to be excited about the potential that my company has.  Creating my company presentations is not going to be easy, but outlining what they need to sound like was an important first step.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Product Documents Checklist

I have created another area for the internal_documents portion of my company.  My real work today was adding to what I am now calling my "product_documents_checklist" which is a guide for what I want to have for documentation for all of my products.  I have updated this guide to emphasize my need for more comprehensive documentation.  This means that at some point every product is going to get a folder called "product_summary" which includes the most detailed product information that I will have on record.  Previously, I was mostly creating installation manuals, download guides, drawing flowcharts, and going over any higher level points that I thought might need to be illustrated.  The "product_summary" area for each product will go over all of the features of a product from a very detailed perspective.  This means that where I might have drawn a picture of data moving around in a program, I'm going to explain what is happening in each of those parts, why it happens, and what someone might actually expect to see.  This means that all of my previous documentation work will still be useful, and there is a good possibility that I will find that I actually need to add a fair amount more to my existing areas.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Groundwork

Company documentation is going to be extremely important at some point.  I will probably need to personally explain how everything works to most of my employees at first, but even that process is going to be much smoother if I have well-organized, descriptive documentation.  I was going over some fairly basic procedures today and thought that it would be helpful to write the process down.  This prevents me from having to do duplicate research if I forget how I did things a while from now and it's a start to a document that could be helpful for anyone else that might need to set up something similar in the future.  Considering how helpful having even some of the basics written down is, I can start to see a lot of things that might need process documentation.  It's going to be a lot easier and faster to get things done if there is a place where someone can start instead of there needing to be two people working on a problem.  People can always ask questions before or after reading a document, but this gives them a place to reference on their own.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Patience and Collateral Progress

I don't need to make a note of this, I probably shouldn't make a note of this, but yet I think that I have to make a note of this.  A long time ago I came up with an idea for a tech demo that I could eventually use to attract attention and possibly generate some advertising revenue.  I drew a few designs, wrote down some notes, and then put the idea into all of my planning documents and todo lists as something that was theoretical and probably not going to happen.  Since I started work on a project that I deemed as much more important and therefore beneficial to my company overall, the actual strain of doing this project became much less.  Instead of making more tech demos for technologies that I might not find important, I was making something more useful that I was already using.  It felt pretty good to be able to change the status of this project from theoretical to actually happening.  This makes my company appear more credible, and I think that I like the whole system of just writing down ideas that I like better as well.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Portability

Just as an amusing side-note, I'd like to mention how much of a difference it makes to have a small code base when working on a new project.  I know that since I don't actually have a whole lot that I've accomplished so far, there's not really a huge difference that's going to be made.  But I think that most of the benefit that I've gotten so far is mental.  It takes a lot of strain off of my thought process to know that there are a few less things that I'm going to have to look up.  The things that I've just finished doing that I've already forgotten how to do, I can just go back to some of my previous code and see how I did it the first time.  Even for things that I do have to look up, I'm much more familiar with the instructional site than I was the last time.  This means that I'm doing a lot less reading and a lot less looking at things that are not relevant to what I want.  Hopefully, with a bit more work to my projects I will have a very solid code base to proceed into different directions in the future.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Cleaning Up Ideas And Staying In Motion

Today's work was primarily translating images that I had drawn into code.  I'd had the idea around for quite a while now, but I never really bothered to start working on it because the technical details weren't too complicated until you got to areas that required funding.  There is a fair amount of things that I could still work on just because I wanted to, but in most cases you want to be able to justify your work in some way.  I think that a better motivation for me was the thought of expanding my technical portfolio.  I'm not sure if it's even a smart business decision to maintain products across a wide range of areas, different technologies and audiences.  Right now, I don't have any customers so it might actually be a smart idea to give myself as many opportunities as possible.  I want to be able to make money and maintain a steady income for a long period of time.  This has a much better chance of success by not narrowing your target too much (although, the same could be said for the possible drop in quality).  What's most important though, is that it is an enjoyable engineering experience.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Being Proactive

I have decided that I need to be more proactive with my new skills.  Technically they're not really new skills, but I'm working on expanding an area of my technology profile that's dangerously thin.  I have some very basic entries in the promotional area of my company, but these are really more like a flyer than an actual product.  Perhaps someday I'll work on adding some sort of significantly useful functionality, but for now all that I need is an advertisement for the technology that I am working on.  Since the corporate site is going to be something that employees, customers, and business partners interact with, I consider it much more of a full product.  Additionally, it will eventually link to all of my existing promotional materials.  Since I have momentum from this project, it seems like the right time to quickly expand to new areas where I can continue expanding my presence.  It will be interesting to see how an actual web site that is a product will be advertised, but hopefully it will fit in well with everything else and if things go well, there could be more in this area in the future (ideas pending).

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Posting Content

More work on the corporate site today.  I have the basics that I wanted so far pretty much working.  I spent some time converting my existing business documents into HTML forms that I can load into the site.  I will need to add some navigation for these documents when I decide what's definitely going to be a part of the site and what isn't.  Formatting is always a difficult decision for me.  I like to do the whole, code by committee for that.  You just go around and ask people, this color or that.  Or, something like that.  I think that would be a good idea to actually do.  Instead I decided to look into some new technology for my site.  It's not that new since a lot of major sites use similar features, but it's still new enough for me to have to import the libraries.  I really don't like having to manually import libraries, there are always so many issues that can happen.  It really makes the whole learning process so much slower.  Overall, a lot of important stuff happening with the site.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Possible End

This blog is officially going to be or could be discontinued at some point.  I have seen the end and the end could be at any point after this post.  I won't just be ending for no reason or with no explanation.  I already  have a new blog started with a decent amount of content.  The main difference is going to be the actual details that are revealed in my new blog.  This one might surprise some people with how technical things start to get.  I think that so far here I have avoided a lot of implementation specifics to try and keep the coding and business techniques and generic as possible.  Although I may not actually deviate from this strategy too much, there could be things as specific as screen shots and code that gets posted.  Probably not though, not yet anyway.  But the point is, I will be much more detailed with my new blog.  This one could sort of disappear over time, although it might not.  My biggest worry is that I'll have a hard time keeping track of the differences in style if I'm trying to maintain to different things at the same time.  For now, this will be an offline blog that will be posted at some point in the future.  This blog could last a few weeks, a few years, maybe I won't ever end it.  The point is, the end is possible.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Expanding Company Doc

I have decided that not only do I not have enough documentation for my company, but I am not even entirely sure how to properly document what it is that I have.  I first started thinking about this when I was creating my strategy materials.  I left out the strategy specifics that would require me to do research and to go into actual parts of my products.  This reminded me that I have generally avoided talking about product specifics anywhere in my company.  This started when I was designing promotional HTML pages and couldn't quite decide how much information would be necessary to explain what was happening.  Now that I am going back and putting my products into writing, I can see a lot of places where the details can either be confusing, hard to explain, or assumed to be obvious where they might not be.  I can already tell that I might not even be using enough detail now to get all of my points across, so I might have to go through this process again in the future.  Hopefully, if I can get some feedback at some point I will know whether that is necessary or not.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Being Profitable

I need to keep my business profitable.  If I'm going to take what I'm doing seriously in any way, there has to be a possibility that my business can actually be my career.  This means that I'm going to make enough money to support myself for a long time.  Selling a product to only three different people probably isn't going to work out well in the long run.  This can mean a lot of different things and is probably one of the more important topics that I'm going to have to face, my ability to keep coming up with ideas and to maintain the ideas that I currently have.  This is where I go out and find people that have never heard of me before.  Where I get people that already like what I do to return to consider other products.  To keep using the product that they do like.  I have ideas for improvements, new technologies, and possible promotions I can do.  I want to be around for a long time.  This means that there's a system that allows me to keep doing what I do and people keep liking what I do.