Engines of Mischief Consulting Services

Why Engage Engines of Mischief Consultants?

Maybe you need some extra programming power on a project for a few months, or an old hand to help some inexperienced programmers get a handle on something. Maybe you need an outside auditor to look at a project or a design or an outside team to decide if it's worth putting money on it or them. Maybe you've got a team that's underperforming and you need someone to get them back on track. Or maybe someone on your staff got hit by a truck and won't be working for 3 months and you need to replace them as a manager, programmer, or project manager.

We can do all that. Our principal has 20 years of programming and management experience, and we can hit the ground running on most projects. We can organize, hire, and if necessary fire development teams. If you've got a team that's hit a rough spot we are happy to come in and help out, whether it's establishing a build procedure, regaining focus on a tight schedule, programming tools, general programming, putting our heads all the way into the code and saving you some cycles, or giving you an honest assessment of your chances of getting product on time.

We've been successful as independent developers and in large corporate environments; developing on engineering teams from two to over a hundred; managing teams of three to twenty engineers; managing programmers on a $3 million project; had budgetary responsibility for a $1.5 million department; and generally had a pretty good time doing it all.

We're not perfect, but we're experienced and smart and honest and we "tell it like we see it".

Engines of Mischief provides consulting services in three major areas:

Programming Services

EoM can provide general programming services with expertise in: Windows; C/C++; games and UI programming; and general familiarity with: perl; php; Macintosh; text processing; PDF; computer opponents; low-level graphics; assemblers and 3-D graphical pipelines.

We are not experts in 3-D graphics, or creating drivers, or PlayStation 2, or AI, but we are well-rounded and capable of integrating into almost any project and being work-positive and contributing in relatively short order. If you require an expert in some area, we suggest you hire us 6 months in advance so that we can provide a generalist to become an expert by the time you need one.

Our dedication to development process is extreme. Unless performing directed R & D, we insist upon requirement specifications before substantial implementation. Source Control systems and periodic backups are part of our work cycle. We do not believe in "Not Invented Here", nor do we believe in doing the same job more than once. We are lazy engineers in the best sense.

EoM's principal, Evan Robinson, has 20 years of experience developing software and/or direct management of programmers.

Technical Direction

Technical Direction is a catch-all for technical mentoring, problem solving, project management, process improvement, technical or process auditing, and often just plain common sense. TDs at Electronic Arts in the early '90s (including Evan Robinson, EoM's principal) were responsible for creating the commonly used definitions of Alpha and Beta in the games business, as well as creating and expanding upon the Technical Design Review process also common in the games business.

We can provide individuals to perform technical audits of projects under consideration, projects currently in development, or prospective development teams.

Project management is a continuous process of monitoring and improving project focus and scope. We can provide outside (unbiased) auditors to determine how closely a project is tracking its schedule, whether milestones are being met, and whether hidden tasks are being accumulated that will surface at Alpha or Beta. Given sufficient time and data, we can make excellent predictions of the date your project will achieve no unshippable bugs.

Management Services

We can provide project or personnel management on a short- or long-term basis.

Project management can be so much more than someone keeping track of developer's task lists for them and coming by every day to say "what tasks have you completed?". We can provide sensible project scheduling and management that enhances your development process instead of just irritating engineers.

EoM's principal, Evan Robinson, has 4 1/2 years of experience in corporate management, supervising up to four groups of developers simultaneously, totalling up to moe than 20 engineers. He has also been a principal or partner in contracting groups for more than 10 years.

What's all this cost?

We have two basic rates: $100/hour for programming and $125/hour for management consulting and technical direction. When charging by the hour we prioritize between clients. We will charge by the day (or half day, sometimes) for travel and you get undivided attention during that time unless otherwise negotiated.

If you prefer, we are willing to bid on projects, but you must understand that we are likely to require more up-front documentation, requirements gathering, and design than you may be used to. We are not comfortable working on a fixed price project when the target is not well-defined.

Evan Robinson's Resume
Publications

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