ETNA Software Blog

Grocery Versus your Hotbed

You badly need tomatoes for your ‘Bloody Mary’ today. This is an issue. You can go to a grocery and order them there or build your own hotbed, buy seeds and start growing.

This is the choice you have to make when starting on something that requires a couple of lines of code. Or couple of million lines of code. Do that in-house. On a hotbed. Or outsource to the grocery.

What is so great about outsourcing programming? First off you cut expenses. Hardware, software, office space – they all cost quite a lot. And in most cases costs are much higher in the place where you have your representative office, than in Czech Republic, India, and Russia. Second, you do not have to hire people. This can become quite an issue when you’re looking for some rare and expensive expertise. Third, you do not have to take care of the development process. And believe me, I am a project manager myself, this is always one of the greatest pains.

You must never forget about implications that outsource programming brings to you of course. This is always a two-way process. You must be very careful when choosing an outsourcer – it should be a company with a proven track record – and with the required expertise. Moreover it is not just buying tomatoes from a grocery, even though the analogy is close. You have to be extremely precise in specifying the requirements as it will cost you more to make changes to the agreed requirements as soon as the development process kicks off.

There is one of the most difficult things to do in fact for every client, because you have to specify not only the size, and a bunch of physical parameters of the tomatoes you want the outsourcers to grow, but also the average size of seeds, percent of acid in them and much much more.

You can avoid this by increasing the cost of work by going forward with fewer specifications and paying just for the programmers work, when they will be working on the tasks you set them, not the project manager based on your specification. But be careful – it is not always possible to make the already created apple – a tomato.

37 signals”, creators of Basecamp, the uberpopular tool for project management, and a number of other tools, were working from different locations for quite a long time (even though they did not outsource programming) as moving all the people together would have made the bills fly high. They used Campfire – their own messaging and group-chat tool for sharing ideas, discussing concepts and even writing bits of code.

Moving software development to another country is not a problem with nowadays internet connection speeds, modern technologies in VOIP and video conferencing – you can hold a video conference with your programmers on a weekly, daily or even hourly basis if you’d like to disturb them that often.

Anyways, this is a decision to make. Tomatoes are pretty much the same when you’re in for a Bloody Mary. It is up to you to either outsource programming or not, but you should always consider such an option. Asking for an estimate doesn’t cost a dime. And benefits can be piles of dimes.

By Arseniy Korobchenko
 

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