How I Work
(or, what's in it for you)
What's it like to work with me? On this page I'll tell you the kind of results my clients have experienced and I'll also give you a sense of my guiding beliefs, approach to client projects, and how I'm different from most software consultants.
Worked with Mark maintaining and enhancing a number of legacy record keeping systems at a top financial firm. This project was at least a year of firefighting and problem resolution and Mark was excellent at it. Sharp and creative...and likeable too! —John Ours
, Paragon Consulting
- Things work together. Your commissioned sales reports feed into your accounts payable. Work orders placed on the corporate mainframe become available on the local office's intranet. Everything you need is accessible from a site manager's Windows PC, or a Linux workstation. New technologies meet old, on neutral ground.
- Applications share data seamlessly. Your Windows databases become accessible to Web users. Your legacy applications still work on new systems. There's no rekeying.
- Your new applications are developed in your timeframe, not that of your central office.
- Maintenance and licensing costs are minimized. Some projects may even pay for themselves in reduced runtime fees alone.
- The problem has been solved, once and for all. I design solutions to support any reasonably anticipcated future needs, so you don't have to keep coming back to solve the same problem over and over again.
- The financial payoff is obvious. We plan together for a successful outcome that meets the goals you specified.
Beliefs and Values
I am in business to move your projects along and help your existing team do their best possible work.
- Benefit Principle: I believe that my fees, over the course of a project, need to be realistic in proportion to the benefits generated.
- Empowerment Principle: I believe in transferring skills, so your employees gain effectiveness rather than becoming dependent on a particular solution or continuous hand-holding.
- Principle of Complements: I preserve your investments in existing systems and data. You built those systems for a reason! As much as possible, I make more effective use of what you already have. This limits your costs and greatly diminishes the need for retraining.
- Simplicity Principle: I endeavor to simplify as much as possible, but no more.
- Relationship Principle: I foster better, more robust, loosely coupled relationships among managers, line workers, analysts, systems, business objects, and the world outside.
I work hard for your organization, but always in partnership with your own staff and decision-makers. Business-critical projects are never executed in a vacuum. That's why...
- ...Management participation is not optional. Regardless of the type of project, we need to meet at least briefly with upper management every two weeks to demonstrate progress and exchange information. It's the best way to ensure our work aligns with the organization's objectives.
- ...I examine your existing infrastructure and adapt to it, preferring not to add new servers and systems--that you're stuck supporting afterwards!
- ...I prefer to acquire and adapt "off the shelf" software rather than developing new code. This often reduces your costs and eases maintenance.
- ...I use flexible tools like Perl for new software, where applicable, to maximize reusability and preserve options for the future.
- ...Except in the rare cases where vendor licenses make it impractical, I share with you the source code for all newly developed software.
- ...Where it is needed, the expertise I supply to your technical departments is always complementary, not competitive.
What makes me unique
I have a twenty-two-year track record of finding concrete solutions to data problems that have frustrated others.
People like working with me! As an extrovert, I tend to bring people together. Even when brought into a crisis situation, I find common interests among stakeholders and can usually surmount differences to reach cooperation.
I enthusiastically embrace information sharing, even providing a wiki collaboration platform for client use.
I understand Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Therefore, you won't have to explain the difference between liability and expense accounts, and I know how to maintain auditable double-entry transactions.
I am not tied to any subset of operating systems, software products, or prepackaged solutions. Therefore, I ask a lot of questions about your business--not to push a particular solution, but to fully understand your goals and challenges.
My extensive network of colleagues, management consultants, trainers, technical writers, DBAs, network managers, and hardware experts is available to you. Rare is the problem that will not yield to my mighty Rolodex. You won't be left in the lurch with a software-only solution where a more comprehensive skill mix is required!
But most importantly, I've developed a wide perspective from my experiences in a variety of industries. You probably don't care very much about computers, but worries of moving product and creating revenue are what keep you up at night. I get that, and my job is to create results in that context.
Now that you have a better idea about the results you can expect by working with me, and have read about my approach and philosophy of working with clients, move on to the My Services page to learn about the specific services I offer.