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Merichem Makes Product Search

Merichem Website – Before

Merichem Website – After

 

 

 

 

 

Softway recently helped launch a new website for Merichem, a Houston-based company serving the oil and gas industries with focused technology, chemical and service solutions. Merichem pioneered the recovery of cresylic acids or phenolic products from refinery caustics. Basically, they’re a tree-huggers dream when it comes to capturing and reusing the byproducts of oil & gas refining.

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ToothIQ JR. App Released

A screenshot of the main screen for ToothIQ JR.

Have you ever tried to teach a toddler proper toothbrush procedures? It’s not easy. But it might be a little easier now, with the ToothIQ JR. App, designed and developed by Softway Solutions. The ToothIQ JR. project started about one year ago. iTooth Apps came to us with an idea for an app that was both informative as well as fun for their young patients. After nearly a year of creative design, app development, and even creating custom sound effects, the ToothIQ JR. app just went live for purchase in the App Store.

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A Multimedia Director at SXSW Interactive: Part Two

Day 2 – So This Is SXSW!

The second day was jammed packed with panels, events, and thousands of people! You expect it to be huge but the mass of people outside and inside the dozens of venues were staggering. At any given time there are 20 plus events happening and each one seemed to have lines forming 45 minutes before it began.

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How to Prepare for a Business Development Networking Event

Our Business Development team at Softway Solutions takes Business very seriously. When it comes time to make a deal, they are completely and utterly prepared in every aspect of the word. A lot of work (and caffeine) goes into preparing for a great business meeting.  When making connections and closing deals are the names of the game sometimes it takes more than a blog post to explain how we do things around here.

What do you do to prepare for an important meeting? Let us know in the comments.

 

(Disclaimer: 55% of this video is entirely fictional. Figuring out which 55% is up to you.)

 

 

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Softway’s design Team Places Second For Logo Design

Yesterday we announced that we won second place for logo design in the American Design Awards (ADA). An internationally-recognized independent awards program, the ADA recognizes designers from around the world who produce innovative and creative design pieces. Our design team submitted to the ADA Summer Quarterly Design Awards the logo they created for YetiCars, an online used car search engine.

Please follow this link to read more about our award!

http://www.send2press.com/newswire/Softway-Solutions-Design-Team-Places-Second-for-American-Design-Awards_2012-10-1011-001.shtml

 

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There Might Be Scrum-thing To This

“Individuals and interactions over processes and tools;
Working software over comprehensive documentation;
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation;
Responding to change over following a plan.”
-    The Agile Manifesto

    

In every sense of the word we are a growing company. Though we’re reaping the returns of our hard work, external growth outpacing internal growth makes it more challenging to manage projects. Our workload is steadily increasing but our team members still haven’t learned how to clone themselves or how to survive without sleep. The widening employee to project ratio exposed aspects of our project development process that were becoming counterproductive, essentially creating additional hurdles for us to jump over. Hiring employees en masse is not a realistic solution but taking a new approach to project development is.

We knew there was a method out there that would leverage our capabilities with our potential, mitigating the increased workload and increasing our efficiency. The issues we were having stemmed from using the waterfall method to build our projects. Waterfall is strict and compartmentalized, which allowed for unforeseen challenges. We don’t have an overabundance of team members to tackle the challenges that arose on one project while continuing to build other projects. So we decided to investigate an agile project development method called Scrum.

Scrum is structured to support complex project development and correct inefficient steps. It’s adaptable and collaborative framework minimizes both the number and the size of mistakes and prevents lengthy delays from happening. We thought it was our best bet at simplifying the development process and improving our efficiency.

Scrum Framework

It is a given that to turn a concept into a product, a project development plan is essential. However, to turn a concept into a functioning and valuable product, an agile development plan is a necessity. The reality is a concept doesn’t always translate into a good product just because the plan is good in theory.

Scrum emphasizes that effective team collaboration, rather than going through the motions of an unexplored yet concrete plan, uncovers the value the actual process of agile development brings to a project: empiricism. It is within the small steps of Scrum that observations lead to ingenuity and innovation, which enhance the project and enable it to evolve into a turnkey product and solution. Scrum doesn’t force the project to adapt to the development plan; the plan adapts to the project.

Scrum can make our previously counterproductive issues become productive and proactive steps, which is something our growing company will really benefit from. Changes, additions and challenges can occur at any point during the production process without it feeling like a wrench was thrown in the gears.

You’re going to build a better, more quality project when you go through the development process, gradually building the project step-by-step. Scrum puts innovation, collaboration and creativity back into development, making it easy to build a product that not only functions, but truly works for the client’s business and enhances the way they do business.

This has always been our goal on every project we do; we just needed to find a method that enhances our ability to do that. We always say that we work magic. Well, we needed a magic solution to optimize our potential, improve our efficiency and promote future growth without needing to immediately expand internally. And that solution is Scrum.

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Burnie & Earl: Can You Dig It?!

Recently, Softway Solutions had the privilege of creating a coloring book for the up and coming animation stars, Burnie & Earl. The idea for Burnie & Earl originated from Kid Energy USA. The purpose of Burnie & Earl is to educate adults and kids regarding how much oil and gas related products impact our lives. Burnie is a flame-shaped character, while Earl looks like an oil drop.

Background Story of Burnie & Earl

Burnie and Earl originally lived under ground. Unfortunately, both of them have been pulled out of their homes and have been placed above ground in a new city, exposed to the modern world of a working society. In this “new world”, Burnie and Earl will be going on different adventures while conveying the message of the usefulness of oil and gas.

Development of Burnie & Earl

Kid Energy USA decided that “811 Call Before You Dig” would be the first way of bringing Burnie & Earl to mainstream America. The “811 Call Before You Dig” project was developed because PCM saw an immediate need to educate the public about 8-1-1, a hotline where people can call and get information about the location of any gas pipes or lines. Often, this info is requested by construction companies or even home users when they plan to dig into the ground.

Kid Energy’s USA idea is to inform children about 8-1-1 through the cartoon characters of Burnie & Earl. In turn, children would bring the knowledge and materials from school or daycare centers to parents, thereby also informing their parents of 8-1-1.

Softway Solutions and Burnie & Earl

Shortly thereafter, Kid Energy USA asked Softway Solutions to develop promotional material for the “811 Call Before You Dig’ campaign. The first piece that Softway developed was a coloring book. Our Houston 3D Animation team was able to bring to life the adventures of Burnie & Earl through stories and activities contained in the coloring book.

The project, which included all concept design and the coloring book, took about a month and half to develop. Currently, the 3D Animation team is working on a cartoon/animation project of Burnie & Earl which is scheduled for completion July 1. For this first leg, we had nine people working on different parts of the Burnie & Earl project; however, we plan to expand the number of people on the project once the things take off.

Future of Burnie & Earl

Kid Energy USA and Softway Solutions are working together to expand Burnie and Earl into a series of short shows, cartoons and toys for children.

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