On site consulting Access VBA consulting and training

peter warren
peter warren used Ask the Experts™
on
Hi all,
We have an Access VBA application that has grown over the last 10 years into 124k lines of code used by around 400 users. It talks to a main frame and an MS SQL Dbase and is effectively a reporting tool. We have a small young development team on site working with the code base. What I am looking for is a resource that can come in and assess the experience gap and then work with the team to implement a solution. I am thinking mentoring and onsite training/consultation rather than off the shelf training courses as they don't seem to provide any added value. Anyone have suggestions or organizations/people they have used to good effect in the UK?
Comment
Watch Question

Do more with

Expert Office
EXPERT OFFICE® is a registered trademark of EXPERTS EXCHANGE®
John TsioumprisSoftware & Systems Engineer

Commented:
You can also use the Gigs section of EE and throw a couple of your problems and check who gives you the best solution....
Lyubomir DimitrovReporting & Excel Support

Commented:
Hi,

there are countless companies that will have your money for nothing. My advice is to look around here find some MVPs or generally high level experts. It will take you a while browsing solutions but in a week you can see who is giving the best solutions and articles and then contact them with specific questions. If i were you i would brain storm with my team to exactly what we need and then ask around.

Good Luck,
Lyubo
Most Valuable Expert 2015
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
What experience gap do you experience?

Regarding reporting, not much evolvement has happened with Access - better graphing, and some other minor changes like printing to PDF - but nothing fundamental.

/gustav
How to Generate Services Revenue the Easiest Way

This Tuesday! Learn key insights about modern cyber protection services & gain practical strategies to skyrocket business:

- What it takes to build a cloud service portfolio
- How to determine which services will help your unique business grow
- Various use-cases and examples

Máté FarkasDatabase Developer and Administrator

Commented:
Please create a GIGS!

Author

Commented:
By experience gap I mean the developers here have never worked for a commercial software development group with SDLC processes and QA systems so have no exposure to how other organisations work and how this could/should be applied so they haven't, at all!  Overall what has been achieved is functionally impressive but it has no quality assured base, is probably untestable and not maintainable as it is.

Does that help?
Lyubomir DimitrovReporting & Excel Support

Commented:
Hi,

I still believe that here you would be able to find the people that you are looking for. Just check who is online perhaps schedule a meeting, or simply make a gig :)

If you want more you can try https://mvp.microsoft.com/en-us/MvpSearch 

Good luck,
Lyubo
Most Valuable Expert 2015
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
Yes, that explains.

But that will be extremely difficult to achieve.

First, Access is, by its nature, really not built for teamwork during development. For example, version control is only possible to some degree and with some tweeks and tricks.

Second, as large and as old as your current application seems to be, it probably isn't that well organised as it could be, thus, bringing it on par with a modern structure as if it was built from scratch, will be close to impossible - at least without what approaches a rewrite.

Third, should you (your organisation) wish to allocate such resources, they would probably be better spend on a new project in, say, Visual Studio where you will have all the features and options needed for modern development and testing in teams.

That said, some years ago I worked for a couple of years in a small group of a large organisation on an Access application. We had a full developing and testing environment, of course, so we didn't have to touch the production environment, and we had all resources we could ask for. Nevertheless, we worked with a simple model where, say, one worked on some code, one on some queries, and one with reporting, and, at regular intervals, the team manager simply merged our files. Very low-tech but quite effective.

As a part of that, I worked out a distribution system which can be found here:

Deploy and update a Microsoft Access application in a Citrix environment

/gustav
John TsioumprisSoftware & Systems Engineer

Commented:
Well i have a strange feeling about this....i am not sure if its about gaining knowledge or about presenting nice reports to the administration....
Quoting from your words "functionally impressive" indicates that your developers do their best to cover the needs of your company...Bringing someone from the outside to consult  ...at least as it is presented...it will bring discomfort amongst your team ...probably it will generate mistrust and lets say the air in the office will start smelling somehow....unless your team is very young at their early 20's to say the least....
If you want to move your development team to the future as Gustav said probably your best bet is to direct them to a Visual Studio (C#/VB) and set a rather ambitious goal.....like transferring the whole application  to .NET...or Web...in the mean time educate your team..find the courses that will help towards this target...cover expenses to attend them...motivate them for new ideas (one key note is : Listen to them...)...
Well this is my opinion...
Before hiring consultants, have you trained your developers to know what best practices are?

Our Total Access Analyzer product is an Access addin that performs detailed analysis of Access databases to document who our works and over 300 types of errors, suggestions and performance tips. http://fmsinc.com/MicrosoftAccess/BestPractices.html

Many organizations have found that product and our 11 other Access related products very helpful.

Here's a paper that I've written on taking over existing Access applications with lots of tips on improving and maintaining them over time. http://fmsinc.com/MicrosoftAccess/taking-over/index.html

Hope this helps.
OK, many thanks for all the feedback. Will be hiring contractors and providing mentoring and training to existing team.

Author

Commented:
Feedback seemed out of sync with goal in some cases but I have taken on board a 2nd round of training. Many thanks for your feedback.

Do more with

Expert Office
Submit tech questions to Ask the Experts™ at any time to receive solutions, advice, and new ideas from leading industry professionals.

Start 7-Day Free Trial