Best Company Ever Award For LOD Checklist

Mar 19, 2008 by:   Tim Stanley

We strive for good quality, a job well done, making the client happy. Having a customer or client that is so enthusiastic about a solution my team and I delivered that they use dramatic phrases like “improved the way we do business and increased our competitive advantage” from Bob Ulrich the chairman and CEO and “Life just got simpler in our stores” from Craig Lindner Senior Manager, Store operations both from one of the largest retail organizations in North America can only be described as an honor and a privilege.

Last week I was at Target Corporation in Minneapolis for the formal presentation of the “Best Company Ever” team recognition award to the Target TTS team for the LOD Checklist project.  Junction Solutions provided the front end graphical solution, and approximately half of the numerous back end services for the LOD Checklist solution.  I've been working as the project manager for this project at Junction Solutions for the last two and a half years.

Thanks Junction Solutions!

Bob Ulrich

Bob Ulrich Chairman and CEO Target Corporation

BCE Presentation


Target Managers Anand Sing and Pat Connolly

Target Managers Anand Sing and Pat Connolly

LOD Checklist

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Best Company Ever Award Invitation

Mar 17, 2008 by:   Tim Stanley

For the last two and a half years, I've been working on helping Target corporation with a project to bring a dashboard reporting application to work on a mobile device.  The project has been well received and so popular among store managers, that it's won an award within Target. Not just any award, but the Best Company Ever Award. It feels like winning an Oscar.

Why did it win?  First and foremost for the vision the business leaders had in providing the software tools that make the day to day life of the store managers easier.  The bottom line, it saves time, not just a little bit of time mind you, but a big chunk of time that managers had to spend getting data from multiple systems and from multiple printouts now combined into a real time display of events as they unfold in the store.  Everything from unloading of stock on trucks to stocking of shelves and price changes. The vision didn't come easy.  Numerous releases were put through the paces before the team hit on the award winning combination with a graphical interface that worked on a touch screen without requiring a stylus.

The second reason I believe it won was an extremely high quality deliverable. The last release provided for testing only had one issue reported against over 100,000 source lines.  The high quality made for quick pilot and rapid deployment throughout the 1600 stores.   The high quality allowed the team to focus on developing new features, and not become encumbered with extensive support issues.

The solution was developed by Junction solutions, and the development was completed by the development team at ISS India PLC.  I was fortunate to participate as the project manager for Junction Solutions on this project.

Quick Application Stats

The application is a true service oriented application gathering data from numerous enterprise and store specific systems to present them in a seamless interface to the store managers.

  • ASP.NET 2005 application
  • SQL 2005 database for main response information
  • Oracle database for news information
  • Over 100,000 source lines
  • 24 client screens (full IE and mobile device touch screen based layouts)
  • 6 ISP .Net Services
  • 1 POS .Net Service (Real time sales)
  • 6 Headquarters Java based Services (Sales, Payroll, REDcard, Guest Survey, Birthdays and Anniversaries, Transitions)
  • 15 admin screens
  • 2 admin reports

Award Information

The Best Company Ever award at Target is presented twice a year to the project that is the “Best” overall project within the entire Target Corporation.  The award is selected from all projects (not just IT) within the company and was awarded to the October 2007 release of iLeader (Automated Leader).

The award invitation reads:

You deserve our highest recognition

Your team delivered more than major results on a major initiative. Your Energy, Enthusiasm, Execution and Excellence demonstrate what it means to be the Best Company Ever.

You did it!

Thanks to your work in creating a new tool that delivers real-time actionable information through an easy-to-use, easy-to-understand interface, leaders on duty now get an instant big-picture view of store performance in the palm of their hands.  This ultimately helps them operate their stores more efficiently and deliver on our “Expect More. Pay Less.” Brand promise for our guests.

The formal presentation of the award will be Wednesday, March 19, 2008 by the president and CEO, Bob Ulrich.

Best Company Ever Team Recognition



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Sites For CSS Design Themes

Mar 11, 2008 by:   Tim Stanley

Don't pick a web site engine (blog, CMS, or other), unless you have the ability to customize the style. A web site should have the ability to change designs over time as personal preferences, and desired style and color preferences change.  Sites using a site builder tool require a lot of hand coding or a complete re-generation of the site.  This can add additional cost or time to customize.  Sites that use a theme engine can be modified or changed quickly with minimal cost or time.

For a better example of what theme switching can do, see Themes Galore.

Engines that use a theme engine to allow quick styling and deployment include the following.

For a more extensive list of Content Management Systems (CMS), refer to the post on 50 Content Management Systems.

Some of the more interesting CSS templates, or themes I've seen are listed below. These themes include the CSS and the templates uses for posts, pages, headers, footers, etc.

Tags: Free themes, CSS templates, Wordpress themes, XHTML templates

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BlogEngine.Net Secret Links

Mar 10, 2008 by:   Tim Stanley

BlogEngine.Net provides quite a lot of very rich functionality, but the rich functionality is not documented as extensively.  I've tried to put together a list of all the types of links that BlogEngine.Net supports. 




RSS Feeds

Special Links

AXD Handlers


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How to Remove Projects in the Visual Studio Project MRU List

Mar 08, 2008 by:   Tim Stanley

Visual Studio.Net (2003, 2005 and 2008) keeps a list of recent projects shown on the Start Page in the IDE. Sometimes when moving projects around on the disk, one can end up with duplicate names and this can be confusing. To resolve this, the list in the registry must be updated.

Visual Studio Recent Projects

Visual Studio .Net keeps it's list of projects in the registry. Depending on which version depends on which location the list is stored.

  • Visual Studio 2002 - 7.0
  • Visual Studio 2003 - 7.1
  • Visual Studio 2005 - 8.0
  • Visual Studio 2008 - 9.0


There is also a FileMRUList that is maintained for individual files as well.

Warning: All the normal cautions to editing the registry apply. Editing the registry can corrupt your system. If you don't know what your doing and don't know how to fix it, don't even think about doing it.


The registry entry contains a list of files as REG_EXPAND_SZ values similar to what is shown below.

File1 - C:\Projects\Test\Test1.sln
File2 - %USERPROFILE%\My Documents\Temp\ReportTest.sln
File3 - %USERPROFILE%\My Documents\Projects\ReportTest.sln

All you have to do is find the entry that you want removed, and delete the registry entry.

Update: If you remove an entry in the middle of the list, then Visual Studio does not show any entries after the entry that is removed. For example, consider a list that contains the following registry entries before editing.

File1 - C:\Projects\Test\Test1.sln
File2 - %USERPROFILE%\My Documents\Temp\ReportTest.sln
File3 - %USERPROFILE%\My Documents\Projects\ReportTest.sln
File4 - %USERPROFILE%\My Documents\Projects\Solution4.sln
File5 - %USERPROFILE%\My Documents\Projects\Solution5.sln
File6 - %USERPROFILE%\My Documents\Projects\Solution6.sln

If you remove the entry for File4 then you would be left with the following.

File1 - C:\Projects\Test\Test1.sln
File2 - %USERPROFILE%\My Documents\Temp\ReportTest.sln
File3 - %USERPROFILE%\My Documents\Projects\ReportTest.sln
File5 - %USERPROFILE%\My Documents\Projects\Solution5.sln
File6 - %USERPROFILE%\My Documents\Projects\Solution6.sln

Visual Studio however, will show only the entries for 1 through 3. If you want entries after 3 to show, then you must renumber the subsequent entries to have the following.

File1 - C:\Projects\Test\Test1.sln
File2 - %USERPROFILE%\My Documents\Temp\ReportTest.sln
File3 - %USERPROFILE%\My Documents\Projects\ReportTest.sln
File4 - %USERPROFILE%\My Documents\Projects\Solution5.sln
File5 - %USERPROFILE%\My Documents\Projects\Solution6.sln

Josh Beach wrote a tool Visual Studio Project MRU List Editor that appears quite useful if you have to do this on a recurring basis. [1]


  • May 22, 2007 - original post.
  • Mar 8, 2008 - update with Visual Studio 2008 notes.


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Themes Galore

Feb 28, 2008 by:   Tim Stanley

Web sites use templates called skins, themes, and styles to describe how web sites can be modified to change the look and layout of a web site without changing the content.  Wordpress, Blogspot, DotNetNuke and others all provide the ability to modify the color, layout and style with thousands of templates that are available.  Many are free, some cost only a small fee.  The ones that do cost something range from less than $50 to about $200 for a bundle.

One of the greatest sites to extol the virtues of using CSS to modify layout, colors, images, and style of a stie but using the the unchanged same content is the CSS Zen Garden.  A lot of significant design effort went into the styles used at the CSS Zen Garden, but they look great.

Predesigned themes can be invaluable for a small business or organization operating on a limited budget.  Something that would cost $3000 to $6000 or more to have a custom designer generate, can be obtained for less than $100.

There a new web site engine making headway in the market today called BlogEngine.NET.  It's been very popular as more and more new features become available.  One of the most interesting features is BlogEngine.Net's ability to support multiple themes.

Here's a list of current BlogEngine.Net Themes that are supported (with some custom ones added by me):

** - these are definately worth taking a look at.
* - you might be interested.
Several of the themes were created by Jesse Foster.  Jesse explains more about how the different layouts are accomplished in his post on Layout Gala.




  • 8/31/2022 - .aspx extensions removed, note themes no longer supported under core.

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Focus Causes Change Blindness

Jan 25, 2008 by:   Tim Stanley

Focus or stress causes us to overlook things we would normally notice (inattentional blindness).  When people focus too much on one thing, people don't notice other changes.  Take the video example below that illustrates this example.  There are five changes that occur during this video.


What if you have a project, and you want to communicate a change. How can you be sure that people will correctly observe and act on the change accordingly? The first obvious answer is to have a change control process.  But even then, changes that are identified still get lost if the information is too much to process, or it it's not clearly presented. I've found the following techniques useful from my own personal experiences and projects.

  1. First, be aware that inattentional blindness or change blindness exists.
  2. Minimize other distractions when presenting information about changes.  If changes are presented when other priorities have focus, the changes will be lost.
  3. Minimize the quantity of changes presented at any given time.
  4. Provide breaks (hours, days) between blocks of changes.
  5. Give ample time between changes for people to evaluate the impact to other systems or processes.
  6. Clearly identify visually in distinct colors or blocks any changes.
  7. Break out specifically changes separate from the overall context of other documents, or e-mails. 

In software development projects, I have witnessed both within my own software development and within all software development teams a phenomenon I've not seen documented in any software development process. There is a period of time between when a development team has completed a release and when within days of not working on the code on a day to day basis, without performing any code reviews or other analysis, issues are identified that need to be further tested or changes made in code to resolve code or design issues.  The only thing I've been able to attribute this too is too much information during development which when removed allows the developer to focus on things more clearly and these things then come to light.  I now plan for these "aha" moments in my software development projects.

Any successful project has changes that occur from the begging to the end of a project.  Too many changes presented with other priorities will be lost and won't get successfully delivered.  Be aware of change blindness so your projects don't get caught blind.

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