Wen I wrote the first draft of this series, I bragged in this part about how I had an awesome team of developers and didn’t need to do much more interviewing and hiring for anything.
Well, my team let me down. They aren’t my team anymore.
I found my original team through a job post on Upwork.
They did fantastic work for the most part at first and communicated with me very well.
A friend (who is on the same page as me in terms of lean software) has his own crew of developers who rock as well. So depending on the task and how many other tasks I have going at once, I have a healthy selection of developers to choose from.
About my team
- I hire developers from the Ukraine predominantly, although I don’t limit myself here. I am just looking for the best developers at the best prices.
- I use upwork.com most of the time, but have gone off the platform now quite a bit.
- I communicate (typically) with one person and he fills the gaps if he needs a developer with a certain skill to finish a project.
- We communicate via Skype and Quip.
- Projects have ranged from $25 – $15,000.
Ok, enough about me, let’s talk about the principles of hiring.
Hiring principle #1 Keep Your Team
Working with the same team has many perks…
- They will know what you and your business is about.
- They will care more because a successful launch means more future work!
- They will know what you expect from them from a quality standpoint.
- You won’t have to spend additional time filtering pages of developers.
- You can have one core group check the health of multiple existing software at once.
- You won’t be blindsided by unexpected costs more than once (typically).
Understanding that there is a huge cost to finding quality developers will make you appreciate good ones when you find them.
So, what will you pay?
I know you are wondering…
My answer isn’t specific so I’m sorry…
The answer to how much you will spend: it is relative to the work, who you hire, where they’re from and what experience they have. From a “simple software” standpoint, I recommend you outsource to the most capable developers overseas, within your budget.
For me, my most successful produts have been very “affordable,” relatively speaking. Typically costing no more than $1,000.
Hiring Principle #2 Avoid Paying US Rates
In 2015, the number one job sent overseas was, you guessed it, computer programing and software development! Estimated lost wages were to the tune of $14.4 billion dollars.
There is a reason for this. US developers simply don’t bring much more to the table than their overseas competitors.
As unpatriotic as it sounds, paying a premium to have a developer from the US design your product is not efficient. I find with quality instructions, the work you get from somewhere like the Ukraine is just as good and a fraction of the price.
What you (typically) get with US employees: better communication. But with the skills you should be learning in this blog series, you will be able to define jobs so clearly (and with actual examples that need no translation) slight language barriers should not be an issue.
However, just because I don’t want you to overspend doesn’t mean I want you to go cheap!
If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. – Chinese Proverb
So please, balance quality with affordability relative to the scope of your projects and your predictions for profitability. As you get better at this, you may be fine with overpaying a US developer just for the convenience because you know that your project will earn you exponentially more than this extra cost.
Hiring Principle #3 Work Examples are Key
Upwork does something great, it shows you how much developers charged for projects in the past. You can check their project history, see the end product and compare it to your project in size, scope etc.
I don’t know your software so I can’t even quote you a vague estimate, but my personal range has been $25-$15,000+.
The most successful? $300…yes…$ Three Hundred dollars.
Using the past job samples as a starting point of reference, you can decide if a developer fits your criteria or not.
When reaching out to your potential developers, reference the similar software in your contact.
Example: “I saw the work you did in (time) for the (project). My project is similar in that (list similarities). If you think this is a project you can complete for a similar price, please respond and we can discuss more over Skype.”
Hiring Principle #4 Hire Slow and Fire Fast
It’s never ideal to fire someone, but there are two things that make it less of a burden.
First, spend more time assessing candidates. If you jump to hire the first ones you find, you are at a heightened risk of potentially firing them.
Just as with marriage, popping the question before you really get to know the person usually results in disaster.
Second, don’t let bad employees hang around. It isn’t fair to you, them or your customers.
Hopefully you have done a good enough job with the first part (hiring slowly) that you don’t need to fire someone for performance, but you may need to if they commit any of the following mortal sins…
4 Reasons to Fire a Developer
- Your developer becomes despondent and doesn’t respond to questions and comments as promptly as you stated would be necessary in your job posting/interview.
- Your developer lies about time worked (or in any way deceives you regarding money).
- Your developer cuts corners or otherwise blatantly ignores instructions to save time.
- Your developer shares confidential information.
So if any of the above are an issue early on, you are likely best to cut ties with your new hire and move on. Letting these things drag on doesn’t make anything better.
Coming Next: Validating Your Idea