7 Replies - 1081 Views - Last Post: 29 January 2011 - 07:05 AM

#1 c wanna b  Icon User is offline

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Bad luck with Programmers!

Posted 27 January 2011 - 05:43 PM

I know this a question that will bring lots of comments but I have had the worst luck with computer programmers. Over a year ago, I created a project that would be able to sold on the retail level. You know the works. Website, trial software, order online, activation code, etc. I have invested a lot of money into this program with nothing to show for it because apparantly the two computer programmers find it extremely difficult to simply comunicate with me. The first programmer took me on a long goose chase. A project as he put it would be a 3 week too completion just for the main project. That was a complete disaster! He would not return calls, emails, anything. I felt lucky I got out of the deal through Guru with the source code that he threatened to sue me for. All I got out of the deal with this guys was slanderous lies on my Guru profile. Than my latest programmer. He is from the same state as I am and it seemed like this would be the programmer to bring this to a reality. Well, once again, I can't seem to get him to answer the phone, reply to emails etc. Let me be completely honest. I did not nag these programmers. I have given them plenty of space to do what they need to do. My latest programmer suggested a conference call each Friday. It has never happened. Just last week, he sent me a text message and told me he wanted to discuss the project at 9 that night. Never called me. As you can tell, I know there are excellent programmers who read this and shake there heads saying I would never do that. But programmers need to understand that in my situation, each week that goes by with no progress, a week of no income occurs. Anyway that's my soapbox and I have a hard time trusting you guys when the second programmer had heard what the first one did and said that was bushleague. To say I am frustrated with programmers would be an understatement!


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Replies To: Bad luck with Programmers!

#2 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: Bad luck with Programmers!

Posted 27 January 2011 - 06:00 PM

What is your hiring process like? Do you ask for references, work samples, etc., when hiring them? How do you interview them? When you hire them, do you make them sign a contract that their work is the company's intellectualy property? Like in any profession, there are sleazy people and those with no work ethic. But I think there is also possibly a flaw in your hiring process. And sometimes in business, you get burned by people misrepresenting themselves or their commitment to the job. :)
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#3 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: Bad luck with Programmers!

Posted 27 January 2011 - 06:01 PM

Quote

Over a year ago, I created a project that would be able to sold on the retail level. You know the works. Website, trial software, order online, activation code, etc.


To be clear: When you say you created a project, you mean that you outlined a set of needs. You needed a Website, trial version, order online, activation codes etc. But you hired programmers. So from a software perspective you haven't created anything. You created the designs/plan/wishes. Is that right?

I'm not looking to get deep details but... What was the estimated number of hours to complete and what was the paycheck? I only ask because with programmer just like anything else, you get what you pay for. If you were offering two hundred dollars for 4 weeks work then you could expect only high-school students would respond.

You've outlined a wide range of skills. I wouldn't expect all of that to be done by one person. Generally speaking a skilled website developer isn't necessarily a skilled desktop application developer.

With so many areas that needed fullfillment is sure sounds like a series of milestone payoffs would have been in order. $x00 when the website is done. $x00 when the eCommerce store is open. $x00 when the desktop application GUI is completed. And so on.

One has to look at portfolios. People who call themselves programmers is a lot like people who call themselves graphic artists. Just because someone bought (or pirated) Photoshop doesn't make them an artist. Just because someone owns Visual Studio doesn't make them a software engineer. If you're going to hire an employee I would expect you checked their references and saw examples of their work.
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#4 Sergio Tapia  Icon User is offline

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Re: Bad luck with Programmers!

Posted 27 January 2011 - 07:32 PM

You should never hire someone without checking for references. With programmers you should always ask for a portfolio or sample projects they have done. Any programmer worth their weight has a blog of some kind or has contributed on some level to a project anyone can see.

Next time make sure to ask for references and prior work. Not all programmers are lazy like the one you had to deal with, most of us take pride in our work. For me, a happy client = more sales in the future.
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#5 hookiethe1  Icon User is offline

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Re: Bad luck with Programmers!

Posted 28 January 2011 - 06:42 AM

Yep, like those guys said, 2 bad experiences doesn't mean that all computer programmers are bad. There's plenty of shoddy plumbers in the world, but you'd still call one if you needed plumbing work done.
The trouble with this industry is that when people don't know what's involved, they REALLY don't know what's involved, and have to rely on the word of the contractor. Just going by the vague details you've given, I think my alarm bells would have rung as soon as the first guy promised a 3 week completion. 3 weeks is really no time at all for an original project of any appreciable size.
A good contractor should have supplied you with some sort of outline at the start, a design/requirements phase, 1 or more coding phases with demonstrable milestones, a debug/testing phase, and possibly multiple iterations of these phases if the job is large.
To hire someone on the basis of "yeah I can do that" is a little naive on your part. You should go and watch "the social network." ;)
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#6 Craig328  Icon User is offline

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Re: Bad luck with Programmers!

Posted 28 January 2011 - 02:42 PM

Well, as having tried Guru I can confidently say: you're first mistake was relying upon Guru to locate a qualified dev. The concept there is great, I got 3 part time contract gigs from it and 2 good ratings from the customer. That said, I'd see projects listed that were easily a hundred plus hours of dev time and I'd respond with an appropriate quote with the proviso that it would need to be adjusted once the fine details of the project were hammered out...and I'd get back an email like "oh, I'm paying for this out of my pocket and I only have X (where "X" is the amount of money one might guess the average Happy Meal costs) to spend on it". I'd politely respond with something like "well, good luck...there's lots of Indian devs on this site who'd be GLAD to take on your project for $8/hr and sell you cookie cutter code they wrote for/stole from someone else but I'm not one of them...you know how to contact me" and off they'd go.

I mentioned two out of three experiences. The third (and last) project I did was a two step project. Step 1 was define the scope of the project and lay out all that was to be built along with whiteboard mock-ups and a rough database design proposal and Step 2 was the actual building of the project. My rate was quoted on my profile on the site and was confirmed before we started. I do step 1 and deliver a comprehensive .pdf of the project only to be told that he had run out of money (interestingly despite not paying for jack shiat as of yet) and that he'd pay me what he felt the work was worth which, needless to say, was close to $0. I took it up with Guru, they said because I'd had only 2 previous projects over the preceding 12 months that my word was basically shiat (despite the correspondence on their own site) and they ruled in his favor. I got jack.

What made it better was I got a contact message from him 3-4 months later asking if I'd be interested in "finishing" his project. Seems he magically DID have money because he hired a very nice kid from Bangladesh to code his site for like $5/hr and despite that great deal he wasn't satisfied with what he got...which was basically a steaming pile of shiat. I swear, in all the years I've conducted business, that's the one and only time I've used the word "f*ck" in a business correspondence...and I used it a lot in that one.

Short story: Guru sucks if you're looking for quality coders. They're there to be sure but they're buried by the hoards of pretenders there.

Your best bet is to keep your search strictly local. You need to be able to physically meet the people you contract with. Remote contracts can work but if it's for something critical you need to understand that distance provides people with the ability to simply drift off and leave you holding the bag.

Due diligence: it's not just for breakfast anymore.
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#7 c wanna b  Icon User is offline

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Re: Bad luck with Programmers!

Posted 28 January 2011 - 04:00 PM

Thanks everyone for replying and giving advice. To be a little more detailed, the program when completed would allow the user to simply look up information. There is obviously other things but that is the main core componant. A database would be used to update any new information for the user. So pretty straight forward regarding what actually a customer would need. The other things mentioned like web, key activation, ordering online would need to be addressed at another time. The first programmer as mentioned before told me I would have a fully functional program in 3 weeks so again just the program. When some of you have suggested references, that isn't as easy as you think. This programmer had a 5 star rating on Guru, nothing but rave reviews from previous customers, so I'm not sure what more I could do to find out more about him. In regards to some of you asking about clearly defining the project or needs. That should never be an issue if you have good communication with your programmer. The first time we spoke, he understood exactly what I was looking for and he made the suggestion of breaking down and taking small bites at the apple which I completely agreed was the way to go. The problem was after the downpayment was sent, I heard nothing for 3-4 weeks. I called but never got an answer, I emailed, texted, same result. Guys this is where I have had the worst luck. Can you imagine how frustrating it was to have tried to communicate using every medium at my disposal and being totally ignored? I finally got a first version of the program mentioned earlier as well as a working database. So currently as I speak I have the abiltiy to use it however, It hasn't been beta tested since it isn't complete. My second programmer I feel is a stand up guy, who said he would take on the project but has probably over committed himself considering his regular job, family and family activities. But to just ignore me and drag me along for the two months and as of this I still don't know if he has interest or not since he won't reply. Again never have I nagged or bothered him. He just can't stick to any type of game plan to move it along.
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#8 JackOfAllTrades  Icon User is offline

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Re: Bad luck with Programmers!

Posted 29 January 2011 - 07:05 AM

Like the esteemed Klingon above said, you get what you pay for. You didn't address how much you expected to pay for this, but when you go to a bodyshop site like that and select the lowest bid from some kid in Bangalore who copies and pastes code for a "living", you get crap results.
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