Outsourcing Coding Vs Building an In-House Team

A few years ago I was in Bali for a fitness bootcamp. Whilst watching TV late one night, I came across a documentary on the construction of an underground railway system in Amsterdam. I vividly recall one of the engineers being interviewed saying “it’s impossible, but we’re going to do it anyway”. When I think of some aspects of outsourcing, I remember this statement because there definitely are some tough challenges in getting outsourcing to work, but I believe it can be done.

I should begin by saying that by no means am I an authority on working with outsourced programmers, in fact, I’ve only done it for a few months total. My brief experience with outsourcing revealed both good and bad aspects of the approach, but more importantly, it opened my mind to the possibilities. I have noticed that some people seem to be against outsourcing for personal reasons, and that is surely their prerogative.

In some ways this article is a retort to a piece on outsourcing I recently read. The article in question is by Michael Bean and is titled The Pitfalls of Outsourcing Programmers. It is one of the selected works gathered together in the book The Best Software Writing I – Selected & Introduced by Joel Spolsky.

Am I attacking what the author had to say in the article? No way, it’s very well written and full of insightful information. Some knowledge of what the article is about is required in order to understand my perspective on the matter. I don’t want to re-write the article, so I will just cover the main points very quickly.

Michael Bean discusses the following ideas:

There has been a rush in recent years for US companies to send development tasks to India, China, and Eastern Europe.

Software development is design not manufacturing. Therefore, by virtue of its creative nature, it’s not something which should be sent off-shore.

People pay for ‘value added’ services or products. If all aspects of a company’s offering (from production to customer service) are outsourced, they cannot give customers what they truly desire.

Outsourcing customer service is equivalent to saying you aren’t interested in hearing what you’re clientele have to say.

The motivation behind setting up a massive IT work force overseas goes like this; “if Nike can do it with shoes, we can do it with code”.

The “but you are taking away jobs from Americans” argument is spurious at best, people in India or where-ever have just as much right to work as anyone else. We are living in a global economy after all.

When a business outsources innovation related task, they give away their competitive advantage. Over time, a company will lose their capacity to innovate.

Innovation suffers when people are spread across different countries since they can’t communicate effectively.

Outsourced programmers aren’t around for the long term. They tend to disappear after the project is over, taking with them any specialist knowledge they have acquired.

Completely outsourcing all of your development is a bad idea (i.e. both design and coding of the software).

The difference between United States and Indian time zones means there is no overlap between their working hours. This makes communication even more difficult.

Creating software is more about design then assembly. The ability to design is also considered an uncommon skill.

This is basically the crux of Michael Bean’s article. I’ve done my best to retain his core ideas, but obviously there is the risk of misinterpretation.

I have to agree that it is undesirable to outsource everything (i.e. both design and coding). In Michael Bean’s article, he doesn’t really go into what he means by design. To me, design means the functional specification (i.e. how the software will work from the user’s point of view).

Would I trust an outsourcer to write a functional specification? No. This is not meant as an attack on the skill of overseas programmers, it’s just unreasonable to think you could get a remotely accurate spec without meeting a client face-to-face. Would I trust outsourced programmers to create software based on one of my specs? Yes, definitely.

The other problematic aspect of Michael Bean’s article is that it doesn’t explicitly mention a division between shrink-wrapped software development and custom software projects. This is a major consideration. If you are trying to minimize production costs, then outsourced programmers are very well suited to custom development (and yes, maintenance is a big issue, but it’s a big issue with normal companies anyway). Reducing operational costs may be a very real concern if your business has investors or venture capital.

There are strategies for having outsourced programmers work on shrink-wrapped software, for instance; some Indian companies offer dedicated teams that only work on your software, they even come complete with their own dedicated project manager.

It’s true, you’re communication will take a hit, that is unavoidable. But you don’t get something for nothing. If you want to produce software for 50% of the normal cost, then be prepared to put up with some discomfort.

Luckily, in Australia we don’t suffer from the same time zone issues our American friends have to endure. In my experience with Indian programmers, I found they began to stir at about 12 noon, that’s just fine as far as I’m concerned.

Communication and project management tools are very important for successfully working with outsourced programmers. MSN or other instant messaging software is the key. I remember having three different IM software running on my computer at one point in order to keep in touch with everyone on my projects. A project management tool like Basecamp is also very helpful. A bug tracking system is another great idea, and an online schedule that can be viewed by everyone will make life a lot easier.

Perhaps this is a little simplistic, but it seems to boil down to this: outsourcing results in cheaper software development, but in-house teams produce better quality software.

13 Tried and Tested Steps to Follow While Selecting the Best Web Designing Company

Most of the business owners dream of expanding their business in the international market. But some silly business owners believe it as a fantasy and never try to fulfill them. While some business owners are smart enough to think their dream as their vision and run after their vision until it becomes true.

To expand a business in the global market the first thing business owner should do is to have a website of the business. Some are hesitant to spend any money to make their own website. They don’t understand that why should they invest for creating any website. But the fact is more and more people spend much time online these days. So, to draw attention of the potential customers the strongest asset a business owner could have is a website of the business he owns. Ask your website designing company to create a professional and amazing website so that you can attract more and more visitors and turn the visitors into customers.

To create your own business website, you need to contact the best web designing company. There are a number of web designing companies who will build a website for you. But all the web designing companies are not the same good. Even an excellent web designing company may not fulfill all your requirements. So, stay careful as much as necessary while choosing the best web designing company that will work as per your requisite perfectly and proficiently.

Here I will present you 13 essential tips to follow while selecting a web designing company:-

1. Fund – First of all you should take a look at your finance. Ask yourself that why do you need a website. You may need a website for your online business to sell your products or you may simply promote your business through your website. You may give all the information about your business through your website, or you may simply offer some information and rest you may offer directly via phone or any brochure or leaflet. So, there are different reasons behind creating your own website. So be aware of what you want and go ahead to the next steps.

2. Portfolio РAfter you get the names of some web designing companies, you should ask their portfolio from them. A huge amount portfolios of a company will help you to understand that the company is well experienced in the field of website designing. Different type of élite designs in different website created by a single company shows that the company is versatile and hence it can design the exact type of website that you need. The websites designed by the companies necessitates easy navigation as all the visitors of your website are not much savvy in using computers and internet.

3. Service details – The third point is about all the services the website designing company provides you, like domain registration, internet marketing service, search engine optimization, social media marketing, web hosting, technical support etc. If your business is an online business and you sell products online, then you should also make sure that your web designing company provides services like payment gateway integration, shopping cart integration, SMS and Fax integration etc.

4.Contract on website ownership – Some web designing companies offer license to use the website after they have created your business website instead of transferring the ownership to you. So make it sure from the contract paper where it is clearly stated that the website owner is only you. So that if you switch to another service provider, you can take your website also with you.

5. ftp and hosting control panel user-id, password – Try to confirm from your service provider that they will furnish you with all the details about ftp and hosting control panel login user-id and password of your website. So that you can change your service provider if required.

6. Long-term relationship and cancellation policies – Try to understand if the company wants to keep up a long-term relationship with you, so that you can up-to-date your website if needed. Also know about their contract cancellation policies so that you don’t face any unwanted troubles in future.

Some web designing company may want to keep up a long-term relationship with you and in turn you have to pay them on monthly or yearly basis. But if you are not willing to up-date any new information in your website, then it is unnecessary for you to pay on regular basis. So be sure about this policy also.

7. Technical support – before you sign-up with any company you should also verify if the company provides any technical support or not, so that if you face any problem later on while navigating your website, the service provider stands by you to correct all the technical errors.

8. Best web designing company – The web designing company should have a team of committed, experienced and vibrant experts. The experts are confident enough and equipped with most web tools and advanced technologies. So that they could offer the best solution for your business and put your businesses at the top. The compan is a leading brand in web design and development in the global market.

9. On-time project delivery – Before you sign-up, confirm that the company will complete your project within your time-frame. Some companies are there who will take months together to contact you for simple and small details and delay your project.

10. Customer satisfaction – The web designing company should give priority to client-satisfaction.

11. Logo and graphic designing – It will be very helpful for your business if your web designing company can create a special logo and graphics designed exclusively for your business keeping in mind the products you sell through your business. A mind-blowing logo creates a huge impact on the visitor’s mind for a lifetime. For example- the “Disney World” logo has a huge impact on our mind since our childhood days. Also the beautiful logo of the most desired Ferrari or Audi car.

12. Ask for proposals and compare them – Once you have narrowed down the list of companies as per your requirements you can ask proposal from the remaining companies. This will help you to know about the exact rates, offers and the exact services the company is willing to give you. Hence you will be able to compare all the proposals and select the best suited web designing company for your business.

13. Don’t get magnetized by false hopes – Do not become allured by low price and amazing offers and end up nowhere!! Be sure that the web designing company you chose to work with is the best web designing company and also an affordable web designing company.

If your website designing company provides you a clear view happily about all the points mentioned above, then feel free to go with them for a deal. It will help you to fulfill your business website need without any hassle. But if any company is not willing to give you any idea about any of the points, then just ignore the company and move to the next prospective company.

Online Business Ideas For Starting Your Own Internet Empire

Planning to own an internet business totally requires accurate details involving proper usage of fixed assets and decision making. A number of businessmen claim initiating an internet business is pretty tough. Then again, if a person is well-equipped with information pertaining to his internet business, procedures would be uncomplicated. If one is planning to start up his own online business, recognizing online business ideas is incredibly important. Apparently, an individual couldn’t easily establish his business if he doesn’t know what business he decides to have. As there is a great deal of online business ideas that a person could engage in, it’s a must to cautiously pick what truly suits his abilities and skills. For more information, one could simply utilize the subsequent online business strategy and ideas in building one’s own internet empire.Internet retailing of products & servicesSuch business idea is a way to build one’s own internet empire. Essentially, it needs site creation enabling a person to give relevant details & support for the product or service that he’s trying to sell. Such internet business idea is exceptionally successful in building a large amount of revenue with combined internet sales and other affiliate advertising. In order to become effective in such business, one needs to start up using adequate capital and other business aspects.Blog website or creationThe blog website or creation is aimed to advertise affiliate programs and internet marketing. Such a business idea is an ideal way of generating huge amounts of money over the web. This online business strategy completely involves blog creation that matches an individual to his field of interest. When one’s blog or site is in place, marketing advertisements from Google AdSense or whichever affiliate programs could be achieved easily. Blog promotion and site marketing is incredibly in demand these days. If an individual wants to deal with such internet business method, he must see to it that he’s knowledgeable and well-prepared.Writing and publishing content articlesIf a person is fond of writing articles, he could easily utilize such interest in earning huge amounts of money. The ideal thing that one could do is to look for a company that considerably needs some web content writers. Such internet business idea is incredibly easy and an individual would never have to exert lots of effort to earn large profits.These are a few of the internet business ideas which could match one’s preferences and needs. If a person wants to learn more about the cited examples, he could simply ask help from any specialist. Aspiring internet businessmen are discovering their world by viewing sites with inclusive information on how to start an online business. As advised, one could also scan the site of Ewan Chia, a renowned speaker and online marketing guru.As soon as a person has decided which one amongst the many online business ideas he prefers, his next step is to think of ways on how to enhance that business’ operations and setups. Managing an internet business isn’t so difficult. An individual could easily achieve the ideal business output he desired as long as he is equipped with disposition, knowledge and an accurate online business strategy. Take note that the success of your business deeply lies in your hands. If one wants to achieve something with his enterprise, then he needs to begin making actions and/or decisions with regards to his business operations and dealings.