FAQ Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read
» Video Reviews

» Linux Archive

Linux-archive is a website aiming to archive linux email lists and to make them easily accessible for linux users/developers.


» Sponsor

» Partners

» Sponsor

Go Back   Linux Archive > Gentoo > Gentoo User

 
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
 
Old 05-26-2012, 11:26 AM
Grant
 
Default {OT} hire a programmer or company?

I'm debating whether I should hire an expert programmer for $X/hour,
or a company of expert programmers for $2X/hour. It makes sense from
a financial perspective to hire programmers directly, but I wonder if
there are benefits to hiring a really good company.

I'm sorry this is OT, but I bet you guys have some seriously good
insight on this.

Thanks,
Grant
 
Old 05-26-2012, 11:44 AM
Florian Philipp
 
Default {OT} hire a programmer or company?

Am 26.05.2012 13:26, schrieb Grant:
> I'm debating whether I should hire an expert programmer for $X/hour,
> or a company of expert programmers for $2X/hour. It makes sense from
> a financial perspective to hire programmers directly, but I wonder if
> there are benefits to hiring a really good company.
>
> I'm sorry this is OT, but I bet you guys have some seriously good
> insight on this.
>
> Thanks,
> Grant
>

For starters, you could give us a bit more insight into the kind of
project we are talking about. What's the expected development effort,
what are the services you pay for (binaries, source code, testing,
maintenance, ...)?

Regarding programmer vs. company, I'd say it depends on what you expect
and pay for. If you just want it coded, then the lone programmer is
probably as good as the company (since programming itself doesn't really
scale well with the number of devs).

Extensive testing, on the other hand, is something a team should do.
Sure, the lone programmer can write you some unit tests and conduct a
system test, but testing itself is a profession of its own and should be
done by a second person with the relevant training.

But in the end, these issues a minor. It really boils down to whom you
trust more. Ask for references, look at their previous work, talk to
them, etc.

All things being equal, paying 1*x instead of 2*x gives you the chance
to pay another 1*x to a second developer if things don't work out with
the first one. ;-)

Regards,
Florian Philipp
 
Old 05-27-2012, 06:22 AM
Grant
 
Default {OT} hire a programmer or company?

>> I'm debating whether I should hire an expert programmer for $X/hour,
>> or a company of expert programmers for $2X/hour. *It makes sense from
>> a financial perspective to hire programmers directly, but I wonder if
>> there are benefits to hiring a really good company.
>>
>> I'm sorry this is OT, but I bet you guys have some seriously good
>> insight on this.
>>
>> Thanks,
>> Grant
>>
>
> For starters, you could give us a bit more insight into the kind of
> project we are talking about. What's the expected development effort,
> what are the services you pay for (binaries, source code, testing,
> maintenance, ...)?

The project is made up of various and ongoing scripting tasks for a
relatively complex website.

> Regarding programmer vs. company, I'd say it depends on what you expect
> and pay for. If you just want it coded, then the lone programmer is
> probably as good as the company (since programming itself doesn't really
> scale well with the number of devs).

That's a really good point.

> Extensive testing, on the other hand, is something a team should do.
> Sure, the lone programmer can write you some unit tests and conduct a
> system test, but testing itself is a profession of its own and should be
> done by a second person with the relevant training.
>
> But in the end, these issues a minor. It really boils down to whom you
> trust more. Ask for references, look at their previous work, talk to
> them, etc.

Can you tell me what sort of positive and negative things to watch out for?

> All things being equal, paying 1*x instead of 2*x gives you the chance
> to pay another 1*x to a second developer if things don't work out with
> the first one. ;-)

Once I need more than one developer (which could come sooner rather
than later due to the availability of these guys) am I likely to
struggle managing them? I've read a bit about "Agile" software
development and I plan to read a lot more. Is that the way to go?

Would hiring a company make management a non-issue from my perspective?

- Grant

> Regards,
> Florian Philipp
 
Old 05-27-2012, 08:27 AM
Alan McKinnon
 
Default {OT} hire a programmer or company?

On Sat, 26 May 2012 23:22:22 -0700
Grant <emailgrant@gmail.com> wrote:

> > Extensive testing, on the other hand, is something a team should do.
> > Sure, the lone programmer can write you some unit tests and conduct
> > a system test, but testing itself is a profession of its own and
> > should be done by a second person with the relevant training.
> >
> > But in the end, these issues a minor. It really boils down to whom
> > you trust more. Ask for references, look at their previous work,
> > talk to them, etc.
>
> Can you tell me what sort of positive and negative things to watch
> out for?

Here's a quick test that I've never seen fail:

When you get the quote stage and are discussing numbers, ask for their
estimate of how long it will take to produce a beta. Let's assume they
say 6 weeks. You say you need it in 4. Can they do it?

If they say yes in a way shape or form, do not use them. Go onto the
next one.

The reason is that development takes as long as it takes and the old
adage of "the production of a baby takes 9 months no matter how many
women are assigned to the task". A mature dev or team know this, stand
by their estimates and politely won't be swayed.

Everything else is common sense, and the best recommendation is word of
mouth from someone you already trust

>
> > All things being equal, paying 1*x instead of 2*x gives you the
> > chance to pay another 1*x to a second developer if things don't
> > work out with the first one. ;-)
>
> Once I need more than one developer (which could come sooner rather
> than later due to the availability of these guys) am I likely to
> struggle managing them? I've read a bit about "Agile" software
> development and I plan to read a lot more. Is that the way to go?

Agile is nothing more than the way a team organizes itself so they can
keep on top of things. If it were software, it would be a neat add-on
like bash-completion (without it you still have all of bash). When
Agile works out, it works really really well but it takes discipline
from the programmers.

All Agile methods have some way of bringing constant feedback to the
devs so they can assess how they are going and easily deal with the
inevitable mistakes. It also lets them experiment a bit with different
technologies and change implementations without upsetting the whole
apple cart.

Agile is subject to much buzz-wording just like everything else in our
field :-( A mature dev team who know what they are doing can use it
correctly and well.So be sure to look for real evidence that it's being
used, not tossed about as a cute buzz-word

We use Scrum at work and for us it works well - we get to concentrate on
the task at hand and can spot bugs and show-stoppers quite quickly. But
it's very important to observe that it's not Scrum that magically makes
all things good all by itself - it works because we know what we are
doing and Scrum is just giving us the right information at the right
time so we can keep on track. There are potentially 100s of ways to do
that, but without out basic skills in place Scrum couldn't help at all.


>
> Would hiring a company make management a non-issue from my
> perspective?

Not really, you may just end up have to manage the managers that manage
the devs :-)

A good software house is like a good builder - some you can leave to
get on with it even though the truck is shabby (like the chaps that
redid my bathroom). Some have flashy shiny trucks but are still short
on clue (like the chaps who first quoted my bathroom and didn't get the
job)

--
Alan McKinnnon
alan.mckinnon@gmail.com
 
Old 05-27-2012, 08:51 AM
Florian Philipp
 
Default {OT} hire a programmer or company?

Am 27.05.2012 08:22, schrieb Grant:
>>> I'm debating whether I should hire an expert programmer for $X/hour,
>>> or a company of expert programmers for $2X/hour. It makes sense from
>>> a financial perspective to hire programmers directly, but I wonder if
>>> there are benefits to hiring a really good company.
>>>
[...]
>>
>> For starters, you could give us a bit more insight into the kind of
>> project we are talking about. What's the expected development effort,
>> what are the services you pay for (binaries, source code, testing,
>> maintenance, ...)?
>
> The project is made up of various and ongoing scripting tasks for a
> relatively complex website.
>
>> Regarding programmer vs. company, I'd say it depends on what you expect
>> and pay for. If you just want it coded, then the lone programmer is
>> probably as good as the company (since programming itself doesn't really
>> scale well with the number of devs).
>
> That's a really good point.
>
[...]
>
>> But in the end, these issues a minor. It really boils down to whom you
>> trust more. Ask for references, look at their previous work, talk to
>> them, etc.
>
> Can you tell me what sort of positive and negative things to watch out for?
>

I probably don't have enough experience to give you an exhaustive list.
However, since this is a web development, the two biggest points I'd be
looking at are:
1. How do they plan to separate the production environment from testing
and development? You don't want to crash your site just because the dev
is too lazy to test his changes beforehand.
2. Do they have a basic understanding about web security? What
precautions do they take with regard to XSS, CSRF and the classic
injections (HTTP header, SQL, Shell, etc.)? Do these words even ring a
bell to them?

Methodology is also a good indicator: Are they happy hackers with no
real software engineering background, then they'll probably be good for
smaller projects but will break down on large ones where you need the
additional management. On the other hand, if they throw only buzzwords
at you, I'd get suspicious.

>> All things being equal, paying 1*x instead of 2*x gives you the chance
>> to pay another 1*x to a second developer if things don't work out with
>> the first one. ;-)
>
> Once I need more than one developer (which could come sooner rather
> than later due to the availability of these guys) am I likely to
> struggle managing them? I've read a bit about "Agile" software
> development and I plan to read a lot more. Is that the way to go?
>

Two independent programmers working on the same project? I wouldn't do
that unless they know each other and have experience working together.
If you need to scale beyond the capabilities of your contractor, you
should definitely start with a larger contractor (i.e. the company).

I cannot give you any insight on agile development. First and foremost
because I've never worked agile (well, unless you count rapid
prototyping) but also because that's one of those buzzwords that can
mean many different things to different people.

> Would hiring a company make management a non-issue from my perspective?
>

Not completely but it's definitely better than managing two developers.
You should still try to be in close contact with them. See if they
understand your requirements, watch their progress, look at their
intermediate results, plan the final acceptance testing with them and so on.

Regards,
Florian Philipp
 
Old 05-27-2012, 04:09 PM
Grant
 
Default {OT} hire a programmer or company?

>>>> I'm debating whether I should hire an expert programmer for $X/hour,
>>>> or a company of expert programmers for $2X/hour. *It makes sense from
>>>> a financial perspective to hire programmers directly, but I wonder if
>>>> there are benefits to hiring a really good company.
[snip]

Thank you Florian and Alan. This subject has proven difficult to
research and how cool to get in touch with lucid and experienced
individuals like yourselves.

I think I need to hire one or more programmers and manage them myself
precisely because I don't know how to do it. For many years I handled
all business duties myself, and I've slowly been handing off duties,
and I think that has been working because I know first-hand exactly
how each of those duties should be done. So many times my business
has required something I don't know how to do and I've been faced with
the choice of learning how to do it myself or hiring someone who does.
I've chosen to learn how to do it myself every single time and it's
served me well, although it is very much the long and hard way.

I'll be getting my feet wet with this shortly. Any other tips
regarding the management of one or more programmers working on various
small web projects? Maybe workflow or any key procedures a newbie
manager should follow?

- Grant
 
Old 05-27-2012, 04:35 PM
Volker Armin Hemmann
 
Default {OT} hire a programmer or company?

Am Sonntag, 27. Mai 2012, 09:09:26 schrieb Grant:

> I'll be getting my feet wet with this shortly. Any other tips
> regarding the management of one or more programmers working on various
> small web projects? Maybe workflow or any key procedures a newbie
> manager should follow?

seriously? asking those questions? Get a company. Make it their problem to
worry about managing the bearded ones.

--
#163933
 
Old 05-27-2012, 04:53 PM
Grant
 
Default {OT} hire a programmer or company?

>> I'll be getting my feet wet with this shortly. *Any other tips
>> regarding the management of one or more programmers working on various
>> small web projects? *Maybe workflow or any key procedures a newbie
>> manager should follow?
>
> seriously? asking those questions? Get a company. Make it their problem to
> worry about managing the bearded ones.

Too flailing? How about this:

2x 8-hour days per week, or 5x 3-hour days?

Specific days and a specific time of day?

Should I bother with a contract for a dev working in a different
country than mine? I hope to hire someone for ongoing work on various
small projects, so the project itself wouldn't belong in the contract.
Maybe an NDA or something, but would that make sense with each of us
in a different country?

- Grant
 
Old 05-27-2012, 09:18 PM
Alan McKinnon
 
Default {OT} hire a programmer or company?

On Sun, 27 May 2012 09:53:22 -0700
Grant <emailgrant@gmail.com> wrote:

> >> I'll be getting my feet wet with this shortly. *Any other tips
> >> regarding the management of one or more programmers working on
> >> various small web projects? *Maybe workflow or any key procedures
> >> a newbie manager should follow?
> >
> > seriously? asking those questions? Get a company. Make it their
> > problem to worry about managing the bearded ones.
>
> Too flailing? How about this:
>
> 2x 8-hour days per week, or 5x 3-hour days?
>
> Specific days and a specific time of day?
>
> Should I bother with a contract for a dev working in a different
> country than mine? I hope to hire someone for ongoing work on various
> small projects, so the project itself wouldn't belong in the contract.
> Maybe an NDA or something, but would that make sense with each of us
> in a different country?

Those questions are very revealing. If you truly need to ask them, then
your path has already been established:

You need an existing development house with a reputation to uphold,
located in the same city as you.

NDAs and contracts in a different country are for all practical intents
and purposes unenforceable.


--
Alan McKinnnon
alan.mckinnon@gmail.com
 
Old 05-27-2012, 09:18 PM
Alan McKinnon
 
Default {OT} hire a programmer or company?

On Sun, 27 May 2012 09:09:26 -0700
Grant <emailgrant@gmail.com> wrote:

> >>>> I'm debating whether I should hire an expert programmer for
> >>>> $X/hour, or a company of expert programmers for $2X/hour. *It
> >>>> makes sense from a financial perspective to hire programmers
> >>>> directly, but I wonder if there are benefits to hiring a really
> >>>> good company.
> [snip]
>
> Thank you Florian and Alan. This subject has proven difficult to
> research and how cool to get in touch with lucid and experienced
> individuals like yourselves.
>
> I think I need to hire one or more programmers and manage them myself
> precisely because I don't know how to do it. For many years I handled
> all business duties myself, and I've slowly been handing off duties,
> and I think that has been working because I know first-hand exactly
> how each of those duties should be done. So many times my business
> has required something I don't know how to do and I've been faced with
> the choice of learning how to do it myself or hiring someone who does.
> I've chosen to learn how to do it myself every single time and it's
> served me well, although it is very much the long and hard way.
>
> I'll be getting my feet wet with this shortly. Any other tips
> regarding the management of one or more programmers working on various
> small web projects? Maybe workflow or any key procedures a newbie
> manager should follow?

You can get away with almost anything except these two things:

Do not micro-manage
Do not tell them how to do what they do

For everything else, good old communication (that thing you do lots of
in business) will see you through.

--
Alan McKinnnon
alan.mckinnon@gmail.com
 

Thread Tools




All times are GMT. The time now is 11:06 AM.

VBulletin, Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO ©2007, Crawlability, Inc.
Copyright 2007 - 2008, www.linux-archive.org