Some the best coders on the planet live in places like Vietnam, China, India and Pakistan. These individuals graduate from code colleges that are the technological equivalents of the best universities in the United States. The difference between code colleges and universities is that code colleges offer curriculum that are an inch wide and a mile deep while university programs are a mile wide and an inch deep. Code colleges prepare workers for immediate positions that require highly complex skills in a small area of a large manufacturing process. Universities graduate students with broader backgrounds who use skills within conceptual frameworks of highly specific industries and/or businesses.
Code college graduates can be very useful for destination marketers. They have raw skills to achieve specific outcomes at great prices. The question is how to work with these people given that they are half way around the world and speak limited English. Here are eight guidelines for anyone thinking of bringing in a competent foreign specialist to do a specific task.
1. Forget about issues of quality. A remote coder knows everything anyone does on this side of the pond. In cases of raw coding, they probably know more. What they don’t know is branding. As a person who has contracted dozens of outsourced jobs, I can tell you that the work you will get will be superb technologically and as ugly as a mud fence visually. The Western sense of design and branding is as unique as clothing styles. When it comes to Asia-based coders, your new technological suit will fit like a glove, be made of the best silk money can buy and look like it was designed by a Soviet-era coop farmer with a checked red jacket, a polka-dot tie, and a pair of striped, aqua-colored, bell-bottom trousers.
2. Beware of online service brokers such as Get A Coder. I’m not saying that these outfits can’t be trusted. Far from it. What I am saying is that you need to know what they do and what they don’t. An outfit like Get A Coder is a website where coders place their resumes and conduct their cash transactions. Get A Coder is not an arbiter of quality nor is it an intermediary between buyer and provider in the sense of making things come out right. These responsibilities fall directly on you the buyer. Success depends on your job description and your making certain that your message is being heard loud and clear.
3. I don’t speak Vietnamese. Chances are you don’t either. Make certain your provider speaks English. Many do and this is critically important. Jobs evolve and successful changes in directions result from clear communications.
4. Don’t worry about exploiting people. Just be fair. $8 an hour in a village outside Da Nang is much more than $40 an hour in New York. Most foreign freelancers work from home using Skype. Their costs are low and their capacities are high. Moreover, they will bend over backwards to make you happy.
5. The more you plan and guide the process, the greater are your chances of success. Write detail job descriptions with diagrams. Outsource providers love precise Photoshop mock-ups. All will provide you with highly detailed style sheets that your people can easily tweak to smooth out any rough edges.
6. Don’t be afraid to say no. Freelancers get paid when you are satisfied. I’m not suggesting that you change your mind without paying for changes. I am just saying that you don’t have to feel uncomfortable expecting work to be done to specification or within a prescribed time frame.
7. Think seriously about doing hybrid sourcing. My company provides hybrid services from time to time when our development work is slow. Hybrid sourcing means that you work with someone like me to articulate ideas and write detailed job descriptions. The hybrid sourcer speaks your language and has a steady and reliable group of coders in various places that are proven providers. Using a hybrid sourcer means that you have someone to call and someone to honcho your job like a general contractor in the construction business.
8. Don’t pay by the hour. Pay by the job. Describe what you need and ask for a total. Per hour payments sound cheap but can go on for what seems like forever.
Contact us if you need help in working with out-source providers.