Thanks for sharing your blow by blow experience with Developers.
Golden tips throughout your post. I have a question about the "Blueprints"
You mentioned YOU prepared 2. The second Blueprint was 40+ pages of instruction. How did you "learn" to prepare these blueprints?? Trial and Error or did you follow a template of some kind. Any resources which you found helpful?
Hmm I would suspect that a "non-coder" would do well to learn how to write up the Blueprint. This would provide CLARITY both to oneself AND to the developer and save time.
Thanks Cornell for sharing your Experience.
How many were on your team for your projects? From your post it sounded like you had a partner. Were they a coder? What skillset did they bring to the table?
Just trying to get a clearer picture of the team as I found this most valuable in my own experience.
Originally Posted by Cornell
No...but you have to know what you want and how you expect it to function and be able to communicate this in clear and concise terms....and hope you have made the right choice in a developer.
Ankesh is correct in saying you have to find the good developer.
I am not a coder and the first foray into having software developed resulted in several months of a bad coder wasting time and ended up in us having a successful lawsuit against him. He came with glorious testimonials and was well known on the forums but the fact was that he was nothing but a shyster.
Just a hint (in case you pick an incompetent developer)....when you enter into the contract with a developer make sure that there is a clause that any and all emails, PM's, ICQ messages or other forms of communication are parcel and part of the contract....and keep and store all communications.
Our second developer was great but ran into a personal dilemma and abandoned us (understandably given the circumstances) but he laid the ground work, the basic backbone of the software (incidentally he is back working with us when needed)
Our third and final developers we found in S. America and we have been with them for just about 10 years now.
You need to write a complex blueprint of exactly how you expect it to work (leaving out nothing), how all the functions will interact., etc., before turning it over to a developer. While even a great developer can't read your mind they will advise you what can and can't be done according to the guidelines set out in the blueprint....and a good developer will find or suggest a workaround or alternative for things you have specified but can't be done exactly as you have said in the blueprint.
I did 2 blueprints.....
one an overview for the different developers to look at and use as a basis for giving a bid on the work.
second was comprehensive for the selected developer....took a full week and some 40+ pages laying it all out in black and white.
If you are lucky enough to find a good developer and keep them....after a period of time you will develop a synergy with them...the developer knowing what you expect and you knowing what the developer is capable of doing....more than anything a trust in each other.
Good developers aren't cheap.... they really are worth their weight in gold when you find them.... pay them well and above all treat them well.
Most bargain basement developers will end up giving you mile high headaches.