UX / UI / Wireframes, front-end, back-end, source code, repository, hosting, domains, frameworks, databases, MySQL, code languages…..there is simply a lot to cover before you even get to market.
It’s also a steep learning curve to come from professional services (or any other environment) where if standards are not met, you get fired and probably won’t get paid or ever work again in your industry.
From our experience in the tech industry, only a small subset of tech professionals practice professional standards. They are not held accountable in the same way as other businesses.
We’ve found that the tech who practice professional standards are the ones who are here to stay, they are playing the long game and actually really enjoy what they do.
Developers with a vested interest in the startup and the startup community are who you want to find fast, so you can literally fail fast in the market or change your product and not waste your time and money.
This is more difficult than it sounds and given the large array of offerings. Freelancing sites like Upwork will protect their freelancers so you can’t rely on reviews, they just remove reviews. That’s the beauty of the game tech lives in, one minute it’s there, next it’s deleted.
Technology professionals and developers are similar to how builders operated in Australia in 1975.
Back then you could literally build an apartment block that would fall down next year or build something that ended up costing the owners hundreds of thousands of dollars in repair and you’d not only get paid but do it again over and over and never get sued.
If you don’t know the language to talk about they will bill and treat you accordingly.
Professional standards don’t apply to developers and people in tech as they do with lawyers, accountants, vets, doctors, dentists or other professionals and that’s even when you have all the legal in place. I believe this is mostly because without key documentation it’s extremely difficult to argue they didn’t do their job.
Accountability, professional standards, and customer service are somewhat lacking and the guys at Upshot put it down to demand and supply.
Good developers hen pick their projects and they switch between projects either based on money or interest. Usually, they are already employed and they work like they don’t need the money because they enjoy what they do.
For the bootstrapped, solo founder, it’s hard to find a company or developer offering the complete package at a price you can afford.
If you’ve already experienced a fail don’t be too hard on yourself. Even those with a background in development find it challenging – as Andrei Anisimov’s (CTO and Director of Orbtec) points out:
I started with Elance in Russia and built my career to CTO and Director now based in Florida. I’ve learned how to hire and manage in-house and outsourced developers, but even with my skill set and background without tight controls and processes on all developers, no project would ever end or reach the market
CTO and Director of Orbtec
If you find a developer or agency that loves what they do, treat them well because they are rare diamonds in the rough.
For me, the ones I’ve found go above and beyond. If they don’t know something they find the solution and add it to their learning. I trust them to deliver on their word because they do what they say and if they can’t, they tell me what the problem is and we solve it together as best we can. We build on the relationship and learn from each other without ego or judgment.
Paul Towers from Task Pigeon tends to agree, building relationships is extremely important (over and above outsourced freelancing options):
After going through it I would be hesitant to use Upwork to be honest. I think it’s better to find someone you can build a relationship with.
I also think the other thing I am really glad I did is to seek the advice of a seasoned developer. They helped me review the proposals I had and narrow down the list to 2 or 3 options. From there I made sure I did a “test project” for a couple of days with the developer to make sure we could work well together.
Companies like Upshot actively reduce the number of startups who experience tech failure and never get to market by assessing IT architecture of the project before putting it to market.
Upshot ’s business model is unique, in that developers on their platform are already operating in corporate or on projects and use the platform to build their personal portfolio. So, you know they aren’t going anywhere!
Lee and Ricky consult on the project and find the right IT architecture before selecting the right developer.
If you are in Tech please listen up as well because at the end of the day if you are operating your business on a ‘hit it and quit it’ model and building products which never get to market then this model might last you a few years but at the end of the day repeat business will keep you going.
You might think Sydney or Melbourne or San Francisco are big enough places but word spreads especially when dealing with the more long-term entrepreneur players who actively want, are talking to and helping the newbie founders to be successful in their market and they will hear all about the tech fails long before you run out of business.
A word on what it means to be “project transparent.”
Throughout these pieces, we will refer to transparency.
Creating and maintaining transparency is key to all successful outcomes so the more we share as a startup community the greater we will become at creating successful start-ups.
As this point in the series, we want to point out that this article series is not an exhaustive list of what you should and shouldn’t do. We’ve tried to cover the main moving parts.
If you have something you want to add please reach out and we can add to the article. The more we can improve tech and non-tech communication the more everyone wins.
Next up on the tech list – READ our next article – UX/UI and Minimal Viable Products.