Advice on Sourcing a Website / Software Developer!

Discussion in 'Website Development & Design' started by Fergal, Dec 12, 2008.

  1. Fergal

    Fergal
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    I've completed a requirements document for an online software business website. My objective is to find a technical supplier who will build the software and the website.

    My preference is for a person or business who will be available to provide technical support for the software and who would be available to add features to the software as the business develops.

    Please reply with any suggestions you might have as to how I would go about finding the right partner to develop the site and software?

    I'd also welcome any suggestions you might have as to what I need to include in the software / website specification document.
     
    #1 Fergal, Dec 12, 2008
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2009
  2. Kay

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    I wish I knew someone to recommend personally for that kind of job but I don't, sorry. Just to be clear, when you say partner, are you looking for someone to be on equal standing with you or would you want to employ someone to do the tech side? If employing, I'd suggest you take a look at odesk.. Very professional setup where they monitor what the freelancer's doing by taking screenshots of their computer while they're logged in and working on a project.

    If not employing, I don't know but will try find out. Pendelton's probably the best one to advise you on that I can think of.
     
  3. omniserve

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    Hi Fergal,

    If you have had no luck yet contact us via PM or offlist if you are interested in discussing this. I have no idea of the project so not sure the project size but may be able to point you in the right direction.

    Regards
    Alan
     
  4. Fergal

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    Thanks Alan and welcome to Business Advice Forum. I will contact you when I have completed the specification document for the project.

    Thanks Kay I will certainly have a look at Odesk.
    I'll consider either option, I don't have the tech knowledge myself and I'm looking for someone to fulfill that role. Any suggestions as to what I should do to get the right person, would be greatly appreciated.
     
  5. omniserve

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    Fergal,

    When it comes to developing a spec for a project how much work goes into it can be someway reflected into the size of the project. A small project can just cover the main points so the developer has an overview of what you need and you may be happy then to run with rhat they come up with

    Although in any project the more detail you provide the better. There is less scope for misunderstandings around what you "assunmed" or "expected" to what a developer may have "assumed" you meant. It is these assumptions where I believe things can go sour and disputes happen. Basically they are grey areas and really should be clarified in advance.

    My rule of thum is after giving a developer a brief get them to explain it back to you and you will soon find out if they do understand it. May just say they do to win the contract.

    So my advice is to be specific unless you actually want the developer to provide their experience and offer recommendations but just make that clear to them. There are always cases where their experience can bring better ways, smarter ways, more efficient ways to do things that you may not have considered.

    Another area is in testing your application and bug fixing. Again it will depend on the type of person you employ and what you end up paying. Obviously the developer should be testing the application as should you to make sure it works the way YOU want. That said very little software is bug free so be clear about how long you get support for after the application is developed and whether fixes / bugs etc are to be charged for. You can negotiate a case by case basis or maybe just a small additional fee for say 3 months. Anything after that I wouldnt deem to be covered so make sure you test will before signoff.

    Some other points to note:

    1. What the application is being developed in. For example PHP. .NET etc as making changes etc down the road could be more costly using one over another.

    2. Get the source code if you are paying for it assuming thats possible or agreed in advance.

    I've used system like getafreelancer, rentacoder etc and they can be very good but there can also be bad experiences if you arent clear on what you want and research the person you work with. Always make sure they have history and can show past work and maybe verify some of it with their client.

    Personally I have used Odesk but I have come close and it seems pretty good. Anything that allows funds go into escrow gives some safety.

    Anyway as I mentioned we would be happy to look at the project or if you need some help on what to put into a spec let me know. Again this might all be overkill for a small project but might be useful nonetheless.

    I'll stop now before I waffle on more...
    Regards
     
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  6. Fergal

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    Thanks very much for the excellent tips Omniserve. I especially like the one about asking the developer to explain back the brief, that's a great idea that I hadn't considered.

    I'll be doing some customer and competitor research over the next few weeks, to help with finalising the spec. The spec should be done in Jan or Feb and I will send it to you then.
     
  7. ArchTrend

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    If you are looking for a partner you might want to look at webequity.org. It looks very similar to odesk but instead of finding freelancers to make your site you can find partners to make your site.

    One benefit of having a partner is that there long term goals are in line with your long term goals. Where as a freelancer goal is just trying to get paid and then move on to the next project.

    Just something to consider.
     
  8. Fergal

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    Thanks very much for that Arch. That's a very interesting concept and I will register later, I've started following them on Twitter so I will see their latest updates. They also have useful posts on their blog, about helping non-technical people to get their web business up and running.
     
  9. ArchTrend

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    If you do end up using webequity please let us know how it goes.
     
    #9 ArchTrend, Dec 22, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2008
  10. Fergal

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    I will indeed Arch, I'll post back here.
     
  11. Fergal

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    I've given my first draft requirements document to a couple of website developers and am awaiting their feedback. I'd welcome any further suggestions as to what needs to be in my specifications document and anything else that will help me find the right developer for this project.

    Thanks!
     

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