Smells Like Entrepreneurial Spirit... In The Enterprise? - InformationWeek
Smells Like Entrepreneurial Spiritů In The Enterprise?
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Shane M. O'Neill
Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
1/14/2014 | 1:43:05 PM
How do you hold on to external developers?
This scenario does put young and talented developers in the driver's seat. What other incentives could, say, a FedEx or a Bank of America, give to independent external developers other than the necessary paycheck (and perhaps cases of Red Bull)? An enteprrise is not about the shill out for health benefits and a 401K. So if it's just about paychecks, how will enterprises hold on to these renegades when a contract is up and another firm offers more money? Maybe there's an expectation that the partnership will last a year and everyone just moves on.
Lorna Garey
Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
1/14/2014 | 2:38:19 PM
That all sounds great, but wasn't the ACA site done by outsourced talent? And, sorry, but trusting someone doing business from his parents' basement with an important innovation project seems to have career-altering potential -- maybe it'll go great and the person who approved the spend is a hero, with a great app for short money. Think the Health Sherpa guys. Or maybe it doesn't go so well and confidential competive information is out in the wild, your outsourcing fee is spent on a new Xbox game, and you as the grownup is on the carpet.

Just saying, it's not such a simple calculation. Employees, internal and of established dev firms, have a level of accountability.

Boy, now I feel like a fogey.
Mohamed S. Ali
IW Pick
Mohamed S. Ali,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/17/2014 | 12:01:01 PM
The price of failure
As Lorna points out in the enterprise failure is usually not an option. However, the cost of failure in the app world drops quite a bit. Unlike a $100M CRM transformation project, most mobile apps cost less than $250K. At this price-point, the cost of failure is a bit more acceptable, and like it or not, being entrepreneurial does require a fair bit of dealing with failure. That said, the cause of failure is equally as important - if you fail because you chose a lousy set of developers (internal or outsourced), that shouldn't be acceptable regardless of wether its a $100K project or a $100M project (ala, howevever if the project failed because your hypothesis on what the market wants is wrong, then being entrpreneurial requires you to accept that risk, and at best minimize the cost of that failure - hiring good indie developers or teams can be a cheaper route to the second type of failure.

(for full disclosure, your article is exactly about what companies like mine are trying to pomote)
User Rank: Apprentice
2/21/2014 | 3:13:22 PM
Re: Accountability
Not a fogey, but logical. Can a business reasonably entrust their information capital to a "genius" running their operations in their parents basement? I would question this point as well. I agree with most of the article, but this point, I had to chime in on.
User Rank: Apprentice
6/3/2014 | 12:41:47 PM
Re: How do you hold on to external developers?
You have the right idea Shane, you simply plan on NOT holding on to them.  Believe me many don't plan on holding onto the company longer than they are willing to provide the paycheck.  Particularly if they are expected to support everything they "turn over" to the enterprise.  My recommendation would to have 2 specified in-house techies available to do nothing but review the documentation and source that the external consultant has been hired and contractually bound to provide in excruciating detail.  Yes you pay for that, but if you want to have any future for the code, or heaven forbid the code turns out to be fairly archaic in 6 months, you will have a path off of it based on that doc.  IMHO, written documentation is the single most important deliverable any external development or integration services contract, and never gets the attention it needs.

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