How does one create software? First of all, one needs to find the right contractors. There are four main approaches to solving this problem.
In this situation one should consider the following details:
- Knowing how to hire the 'right' programmers. In the sector as stands, 80% of work is done by 20% of staff. If you can’t find programmers able to do the work and delegate tasks to others, your budget will be spent in vain.
- Motivating programmers is also a rather serious task. This category of workers is very specialized and incentivizing them requires a great deal of talent.
- Securing the product from theft. One must prevent a situation where somebody develops a product on your money and hands it over to competitors or even sets up a rival company of their own.
If the project is not overly bulky and its development is projected to take around half a year, it can be considered unreasonable to hire programmers. The employer has to provide the worker with certain social benefits, pay taxes, not to mention cover sick leave and holidays.
In this case, first and foremost, you do not have to bear the entire burden of an employer. Secondly, this method is the cheapest: freelancers cost less since, as a rule, they don’t have experience in working on serious projects. They can however easily complete a standard template project.
There are other peculiarities. Freelancers who come as recommended usually have several clients and projects at any given time. This is why 95% of the ones who actually complete the task will as likely as not violate the deadline.
There are also dishonest freelancers. Some like to add other people’s work to their portfolio. Others take the prepayment and disappear. On the job market there are many novices who do not possess a varied skill set or much experience, but are able to skillfully promote themselves. Even if you manage to find decent specialists, it is unlikely that they will be able to work on your project for 20 hours per week. The probability of the project being completed on time stands at around 5%.
You can economize on software development only in two cases:
- If the project is small (for instance, about a week's worth of man-hours) and will be completed in three to four weeks;
- If the implementation of the task is not urgent.
If the project requires about five years in man-hours, just try to calculate what losses might be caused by choosing the wrong contractor if, for example, five programmers have been hired and only a year later, when the project is to be delivered, it turns out that the task was entrusted to unqualified people.
Our conclusion is that freelancers aren’t fit for large projects, since they have no experience in handling projects lasting over a year. Their domain is small, one-time tasks.
Using a team of freelancers
In practical terms, this is the same as employing several freelancers. If there is no legal entity and no management or core team the group may fall apart at the first sign of difficulty. Joint contracts are, as a rule, as unstable and unpredictable in terms of the behaviour of providers as single contractors.
To prevent serious mishaps an organization needs an experienced, highly-paid manager who is able to solve any problems that may arise without any inconvenience to the client. All too often freelancers neglect the management side. On the other hand, in a team of executives there is no one to analyse tasks, organize staff, find new personnel, motivate them and finalize developments even where difficulties occur.
Working alongside professional software companies
There are many software development companies on the market, but they have various degrees of reliability. When examining them it is reasonable to consider the following aspects:
- The realization of project management functions
- Replaceability of workers
- The company’s reputation and comments from clients
- Relevant products developed by the company
- Demonstrable results in the form of tasks carried out, or potentially source code
- Experience in implementing projects which are at least in part similar to those required
- Organizational matters: availability of legal documentation, professional contracts, speed of interactions etc.
There’s no need to overestimate the qualification of particular workers because in the course of their work programmers will exchange knowledge. Here there is a possibility to build the team with staff of a certain orientation: one can, for instance, be entrusted with the development of video surveillance software, another with the creation of a payment system.
A specialized company is the most expensive but also the most reliable solution. The price is accounted for by a great number of additional indirect expenses incurred and a large team of professionals working on the project. The efficiency and longevity of a company testify to its rational management processes, without which individual clients wouldn’t obtain satisfactory outcomes. An undeniable advantage of working with a company is that the required result would likely be delivered within the specified time limits.
This solution is suitable for those who need serious software products, who create high-load unique projects and complex services from scratch. For a guaranteed positive outcome, a specialized or sector-wide company should be used, though in either case there should be at least some experience in the creation of similar products.