Collaboration with bad outsourcing


A while ago  partner tagged me in a comment below a post on Facebook, on which some startup guy was looking for a technical partner for development mobile app and backend. 
I responded I could help. 

Several days later this startup founder, let's call him John, contacted me and asked to look through the specifications and give the estimates. I checked it and found that idea very interesting. Actually, there was a working mobile app already, but with some bugs and also there were many new and somewhat interesting features that had to be implemented.

So, I analyzed the requirements in the details, asked some questions, and made remarks about some parts, which, in my opinion, had to be removed from the MVP, as it too complicated to implement, so it would take more money and time for him. Also, some features violated some policies of Google Play and the App Store.

As an answer, I got huge gratitude, however, a few days later, John told, that he has chosen another partner. As it turned out later, that company proposed $5 less hourly rate of devs and didn’t make remarks about reducing the functionality of the app.
It was the first bad sign...

However, he liked my feedback so much that he asked me to join his team as an independent consultant and to supervise the development process. That's how Edicasoft service “CTO-as-a-service” was born.

So the setup was this: 
- the project was an existing mobile app, but with some bugs and also there were many new features that had to be implemented. 
- developers were divided into 2 teams: the in-house team of the startup & the outsourcing team, let’s call it BadBoys :)
My role was to oversee the whole process of development

The second bad sign appeared: it was the extremely bureaucratic process in that outsourcing firm. You saw such companies: they had a PM, a dev lead, a secretary, an efficiency coach for some sake. They had set up a Monday meeting for this, a daily call for that, a one-week sprint length, retrospective every Thursday

The first month passed quickly and as if effectively. The internal team was working on bug fixes and made few releases to the App Store & Play Market. BadBoys’s managers happily reported about a closed sprint every Thursday. But... the demos were postponed every week with excuses like: “Everything is working, but we can’t show it, because another sprint has started”. It was the third bad sign(after that I stopped counting the signs, as they were popping up everywhere)

The next month, the key Android developer of BadBoys got sick(as it turned out later, he just quit from the company) and he was replaced by another dev. Later, there was a problem with git merge, as it suddenly turned out, one of the devs has never made any commits to the git repo of the project. After he finally did that, he erased the whole 2-month work of the in-house team (accidentally, yeah).

So, that was the total failure of collaboration. John followed the rule “fire fast, hire slow” and fired BadBoys.

To end on a good note, after terminating the contract with BadBoys, the in-house team and Edicasoft was able to save the project and released it.

So, folks, listen to your gut and observe all the bad signs that I mentioned.

Author: Igor Kurochka - Edicasoft CEO