Development For Dummies


When I recently told my old form tutor at my secondary school that I am a Development Project Manager for a UK based Construction Software Company, he looked shocked.

Not because he didn’t have faith in me to find a job that is a challenge and that I enjoy! Just because with A-Levels in English Language, Geography and Business Studies, he didn’t imagine me turning into a computer whizz, helping to develop and test intricate software for thousands of users to use on a daily basis (and if I’m being totally honest here, neither did I)!

Once he had gotten over the surprise of my job title, he asked me to explain what my job role actually includes so he could understand the path I have taken from school life to where I am today. This is where it got even more interesting (and believe me, if I had videoed the expressions he was making while I listed my duties at BuilderStorm, I could have earned myself £250 on You’ve Been Framed!).

So to ensure I do not baffle any other people in the future, I have composed a simple list of my core duties, using the word Development which is the heart and soul of what I do. I present to you … Development For Dummies!!!

D – Design

Stripping it right back to basics, before any development is even discussed with clients, the BuilderStorm team will have multiple meetings and suggest ideas. I then transform these ideas into wireframes, which are effectively a graphical representation of the layout or structure of the idea itself.

From there, feedback is gathered and I will read adjust my design (multiple times if needed) until it is spot on and ready to be passed to the next stage to be worked on.

E – Enhance

A key element of BuilderStorm’s growth is to look forward at different ways of increasing or improving our value, quality, desirability and attractiveness to existing and potential clients.

V – Vetting

This works hand in hand with the testing stage – but before that, I have to ensure that the background build of our software meets a set of very high level requirements before it is passed to the quality assurance environment (also me!) for further testing.

E – Eat Lunch!

This is a daily occurrence at BuilderStorm but you know what they say: a Healthy Body makes a Healthy Mind! I need to maintain a sharp and focused mindset each day and having some food half way through the day definitely helps!

L – Learning Curve

This is one of my favourite parts of my role – every day is a true learning experience! Whether that be advancing previous skills I have acquired, learning a new piece of functionality which could enhance the system or even searching for a more pro-active solution for an element on the site – no two days are the same in my job and I love the variety.

O – Opinions

At every stage of the development process, we involve our internal team here at BuilderStorm and ask for clients’ feedback on our ideas and thought processes to ensure we meet the required criteria. This is a great way to get honest and reliable opinions from users that are active on the system.

P – Process

From when I first started at BuilderStorm to where I am now has been a process in itself.

I have gone from learning the simple and basic structure of the software to dealing with the complex and advanced development side of it. And even though I have already gone through multiple stages throughout this process and learnt different sides of the business itself, it doesn’t stop there. Every day, working at BuilderStorm is a chance to be part of the wider process of ensuring our software matures in the marketplace.

M – Making Progress

I am always moving towards a goal in my day-to-day role. Whether that be to help release a new feature, add new support content for clients to view or improve functionality, progress is a key part of what keeps a business going: ‘A linear pattern that denotes steady improvement’ and that is what I help contribute to.

E – Evaluate

Throughout every stage of the development process, the BuilderStorm team must constantly evaluate the software. We judge the worth of each feature addition, the impact this will have on client sites, whether this is going to be a positive change in functionality and determine the significance at the present time by careful appraisal and study.

N – Negotiate

Whether I need to manage clients’ needs, requests or expectations or arrange a discussion with the internal team regarding our strategies and development outcomes, negotiating is a strength needed to succeed in accomplishing my daily duties.

T – Testing

Implementing a new piece of functionality can be a test in itself, but before any of our elements of development are issued for client use, I am part of a testing team who vigorously put the system through its paces to ensure it works in the best possible way. Any feedback is then left for the Developers to work towards and once this has been completed, I will thoroughly test the software again. Only when it is working to highest possible standard and in the correct way will I then request this to be ported to clients’ sites to be used.

Like BuilderStorms tag line says: ‘Let’s Build It, Together’ – and being a key factor in such a hard-working and passionate team, I am continuing to strive towards BuilderStorm taking over the world in the near future (the construction software world that is!)…

And when that moment happens, I will be very proud of myself for contributing to such a business and I am sure my Form Tutor will be as well (if he doesn’t faint with the shock of BuilderStorm’s success, that is!)…