HELP - My Programmers are AWOL!

I hired a friend of a friend to build my company a fairly substantial
application. He quoted it, committed to it, and now says he has run out
of money.

I’ve offered him additional money/incentives …twice. He continues to
commit, and then, ultimately not make his commitment.

I’m not sure what my options are.

Ideally, I would like to simply fire him and hire someone to finish the
job. Our agreement was that the code was “mine” and I believe he would
honor that …I think …hope. Part of the problem however, is that I
seriously doubt that there is anyone local with the ability to finish
this.

Is it feasable to hire someone remote?? Further, how do I find someone
I can trust? My business’ growth depends on the completion of this
program.

Any thought would be appreciated.

maxxx232 wrote:

Is it feasable to hire someone remote?? Further, how do I find someone
I can trust? My business’ growth depends on the completion of this
program.

Any thought would be appreciated.

Can you post contact info or email me at:
[email protected]

Can you post contact info or email me at:
[email protected]


Jeff, This address does not work…

Is it feasable to hire someone remote?? Further, how do I find someone
I can trust? My business’ growth depends on the completion of this
program.

Any thought would be appreciated.

email/msg me: [email protected]
yahoo: [email protected]

B&R

Meyer

email at [email protected]

Email me at [email protected].

I have completed many Enterprise applications in Rails


Rails mailing list
[email protected]
http://lists.rubyonrails.org/mailman/listinfo/rails

It’s certainly feasible to hire someone remote.

Out of all of my customers, only one is local. Much development is done
this
way these days.

As far as finding someone you can trust, I suggest you check references
and
check on past projects. That should give you an idea. And ask for a
reference for a project that didn’t go well - don’t just take the basic
list
he/she gives out.

Anyway, if you are a reasonable customer with a sane budget (lots of
insane
budget ideas out there these days - time costs money people!), you
shouldn’t
have any trouble finding someone. Lots of folks doing Rails these days.

That’s not his address. When he says “REMOVETHIS” he really means it.
It’s
just in case spiders pick up the list anywhere, he doesn’t want them to
have
his e-mail address.

BRILLIANT!!

Thanks for all the replies. I will try to explain… further.

Let me start by saying - I had a long and productive meeting today with
my programmer and we are still moving forward. The difficulty is that
he lost his two partners ($$) and after almost 11 months on the job
cannot commit to a completion date. Frankly, he is scared to because he
has done so and been wrong multiple times already.

When he started the job, I suspected he underbid it - but figured we’d
cross that bridge when we got to it. In June I offered a bonus (50% of
the origonal contract) in exchange for a managed schedule. They
committed …and missed/decided 4 weeks into it that it was impossible.

Today he reaffirmed his committment to finish the project (by himself)
however, he insists that my requirements make it impossible for him to
manage his time. I’ll explain more later.

4-5 years ago I built an Access application to manage my Employment
Agency systems. My programming experience ended with Pascal back in
college - so it isn’t pretty, however it is still very robust and it
does ALOT!

We record and catalogue every conversation. Whether its with a client
company, an employee or a vendor. We do searches and matches of course.
We have (internal) job postings that we are constantly trying to fill.
We track payroll - including “certified” and child support withholdings.
We manage unemployment and workers compensation costs. We schedule
meetings. We track time in-house.

On the down-side: we duplicate alot of stuff for Quickbooks. We are not
on the web. We have alot of “work-arounds”. We don’t have efficient
methods of rating and calaloging our applicants. Consequently alot of
stuff falls through the cracks. There are a few other cool things that
we want that I won’t discuss here.

When we first started the project we spent 10 or more weeks trying to
write the spec and writing very minimal code. That turned out to be a
good thing, because shortly after that they discovered Ruby. They got
all excited about the new possibilities and began building some really
(i mean really) cool stuff!

Our first deadline came and went and it became more obvious that
schedueling a completion date would be difficult. I started to ride
them a little harder. Looking for something tangeable. They wern’t
asking for money - instead they were doing other jobs. So I forced them
to take money, thinking it would make them more committed to my
deadlines. All it seemed to to was add pressure that their creative
genius’ couldn’t function under. They began to patronized me by showing
me “stuff” - which made me not trust them. When I didnt trust them I
began to try to micro-manage them. By micro-manageing them, they began
to resent me. A really viscious circle apparently.

So here’s what I think. I’m intimatley involved with the process. I
want a program that perfectly mimics what our job is - how the company
works. I want a virtual babysitter. I contend that I know exactly what
the process is (we are doing most of it now) and I just want them to
build the program that mimics it.

The complaint is that they will code for 40 hours then when I sit with
them they say that “I change my mind”. However, I believe that its
really just a communication issue. They hear me talk then translate it
in their mind to how a computer could do it.

I finally was able to prove this concept a few weeks ago, one of them
was keeping the usual minutes while i looked at the program on a
seperate monitor. We agreed on something, and he typed the decision.
Then it hit me!! I asked to see his notes and as suspected they DID NOT
SAY what I had just meant!

They want to build a “box”. They want me to tell them what goes into
the box and the result that I want out of it - period.

I want something more. I think that the Ray Kroc’s (inventor of the
McDonalds franchise) of the 21st century companies will build
applications/systems that will be more than just another tool that they
use. The application will BE the business. Of course we see that
already - but not so much in “people” business’. A computer can take
all of the human steps out of the process. Monster.com is the opposite
to our “people oriented” business model.

Sorry. I’m on a rant. But my point is that they blame me for
constantly distracting them from their “box” model. Ironically enough
they always seem to have fun - that is until it comes to deadlines.

My Questions: Am I unreasonable? Do I need to accept that this project
may not honestly be completed for another 6 months?

(If your still with me - thanks for listening)

I think you will have to pay a lot of money! Based on your perception
of the faulty email address from above where it said “REMOVETHIS” then
it may be that you want more than a box, but aren’t able to visualize or
understand the possibilities that most good programmers try to give that
think “outside of that box.” To reaffirm this position, your own email
above gives several hints that you know what you want and may be
closed-minded to new ideas. This can definitely rub creative people the
wrong way! Further, micro-managing will ruin the best of resources in
absolutely no time.

I wish you the best in your project. You can find a very cheap resource
to do what you need if you define exactly what you want and don’t want
any of their own thought process in it. To do this, dig out the
extremely detailed design doc and let them have at it. If you want
something more then you may find that paying a higher rate will achieve
your desired results - as long as you can keep an open mind to the input
that a senior architect/developer may present to you when you give them
high-level requirements of the system.

Regards,

Michael

maxxx232 wrote:

My Questions: Am I unreasonable? Do I need to accept that this project
may not honestly be completed for another 6 months?

(If your still with me - thanks for listening)

Generally the biggest problem with communication is trust. Do your
programmers trust you enough to tell you that you are insane or
unreasonable (if they think you are)? Do they trust you enough to tell
you that they can’t figure something out, or failed in some way due to
pressure or weakness?

It sounds to me like they don’t, because they have avoided
communications in the past. You also give evidence of using
manipulation tactics to try and get them to do what you want (e.g. “I
forced them to take money”). Manipulation is what we often fall into by
default but it destroys trust. Motivation is the way you should go
instead.

Most people don’t take the time to motivate because it involves
understanding the person you are trying to motivate - what drives them,
and how they communicate. It also involves building a relationship and
allowing someone to plot their own course to the desired goal. That in
turn means that you have to be able to communicate clearly what the
desired goal is, which might mean more time and effort.

It sounds like you haven’t taken the time to clearly define the goal, so
it keeps shifting around in your mind and everyone’s perception is that
you keep changing your mind because you keep saying it different ways.

You might want to consider hiring someone who can lead YOU and help you
to clearly define your vision, have clear expectations and communicate
in a way that your computer guys will get it. A good consultant could
come in and turn the whole thing around in short order provided you are
teachable.

maxxx232 wrote:

job. Our agreement was that the code was “mine” and I believe he would

I have a business associate that might be able to help you complete this
project. He’s an excellent programmer hasn’t done a lot of rails but is
familiar with the frame work. He is also very reasonable and will not
have a problem with giving you source. Were are you? Do you have a
requirements doc outline the project? A project plan outline were the
development is? If you could provide some more details about the project
I could get you an estimate and we could always skype or something like
that.

PW
my email is [email protected]

The complaint is that they will code for 40 hours then
when I sit with them they say that “I change my mind”.
However, I believe that its really just a communication
issue. They hear me talk then translate it in their mind
to how a computer could do it.

I finally was able to prove this concept a few weeks ago,
one of them was keeping the usual minutes while i looked
at the program on a seperate monitor. We agreed on something,
and he typed the decision. Then it hit me!! I asked to see
his notes and as suspected they DID NOT SAY what I had just
meant!

It very much sounds to me that you should be working with a team doing
Extreme Programming. One of the key tenets of Extreme Programming (XP)
is an onsite customer, sitting with the team, offering quick instant
feedback, and working with the team to specify tests for the work being
carried out.

XP also works in 2-week iterations where a small chunk of work is
estimated by the dev team, 2-weeks-worth is selected by the customer
team, and the functionality is delivered, fully tested, at the end of
that iteration. It may even, if appropriate for the business, be
possible to put that chunk of work into production…every 2 weeks.

Start here: On site customer and
I’d try googling it and perhaps mentioning it when you start to
interview others for the job. Will their development process allow you
to be intimately involved with design and development of the program ?

Alan

Max … when you say local where are you located? I am in Houston.

-daya

On Wednesday 09 August 2006 00:41, maxxx232 wrote:

job. Our agreement was that the code was “mine” and I believe he would
honor that …I think …hope. Part of the problem however, is that I
seriously doubt that there is anyone local with the ability to finish
this.

Is it feasable to hire someone remote?? Further, how do I find someone
I can trust? My business’ growth depends on the completion of this
program.

Any thought would be appreciated.

Hello there.

One option you could take up, if you are struggling, is RentACoder
(http://www.rentacoder.com). They at least give you some protection
from
the “fly by night” programmer, by holding your money on escrew until you
are
happy with the results.

I personally would normally be able to help, but currently am a bit
overcommitted on other projects. If you are having difficulty getting
anyone else, contact me through my website http://www.scotdb.com, and
I’ll
see what I can do.

Phil Nelson

On Thu, 2006-08-10 at 01:51 +0200, maxxx232 wrote:

the origonal contract) in exchange for a managed schedule. They

stuff falls through the cracks. There are a few other cool things that
them a little harder. Looking for something tangeable. They wern’t
works. I want a virtual babysitter. I contend that I know exactly what
seperate monitor. We agreed on something, and he typed the decision.
already - but not so much in “people” business’. A computer can take
(If your still with me - thanks for listening)


I am going to stick to one topic in all your rambling…are you
unreasonable?

Yes, your expectations were unreasonable. You expected your friend to
have to dedication to learn a new language, methodology and deliver a
project on time - at any time.

That is hard to do if you completely understand the language and
methodologies that you are using. That isn’t possible when you don’t
understand the language and the methodologies.

I can tell you that I had to go back on previously written code because
I wrote it not really knowing what I was doing or why it was working and
spent many hours cleaning it up.

Could someone on this list who has developed web applications with Ruby
on Rails already do it in a fraction of the time, meet completion
schedules and do it much better? Yes

Now, if you really were a people oriented business, you would offer
‘your friend’ the opportunity to create his own timetable, and leave him
alone to meet that timetable. If his timetable was not acceptable, fire
him, cut your losses and move on.

Craig

which part is BRILLIANT?? the fact that you are getting so many
responses or
?

email me at [email protected] just last week I have finished
converting
a Java/J2EE web app to RoR