We outsourced development (out of the country) to get a prototype of our site put together. The developer estimated 8 weeks for the project, but admitted that they could not guarantee that it might not take a little longer. Based on our lenghty description and a graphic we sent them of what we wanted and competitors in the space, they were able to in 2 weeks, provide a mock-up that we agreed to.
Today is the end of week 18. We have a project that is about 2/3rds finished, but nothing we can present as a functioning beta.
My question is what to do now to speed them up. We paid them half up front and promised the other half on delivery -- in hindsight, I wish we'd had more concrete milestones.
In any case, should I now:
This delay is really not helping. The business is seasonal and we would love to be able to put something up in beta by the end of the year.
Thanks for any suggestions
I think that a discount at this point would exacerbate the problem. In my experience when a project goes over time so significantly it means that it has also gone way over budget for the developer. The developer is now trying to find and do other work to pay the bills to subsidize the completion of your project. The less money he makes on your project the further down the priority list it falls.
Talk to the developer. Make it clear that you share a common goal of successful completion of the project. Do not set up an adversarial relationship. They know that there are problems. There is no need to rehash all of the reasons why -- the focus is on how to solve it.
If you need to get hard ball — then, the bottom line is that they are in breach of contract — they have not fulfilled their end of the deal. And you are renegotiating a new agreement. This one will be done right.
Here are options to consider as part of the solution:
Meanwhile you should start the development of contingency plans:
I don't know what you expected in 8 weeks but, in my experience, nothing of much value can happen in that short amount of time.
If all you were trying to accomplish was a brochure site then 8 weeks is reasonable, assuming you're fairly solid with your marketing. But to accomplish a meaningful application in 8 weeks, especially offshore, is more than a bit past optimistic.
Could you outline in broad strokes what sort of application you are trying to build?
If you did not have a contract about the finish date, and having specific conditions on payments with respect to the finish date; I don't think that would be a good idea to push him/her to make a discount. Things might get worser..
My suggestion is let him open the code, and bring a very experienced developer to look into the code and estimate how long does he think it is gonna take ? If necessary pay $200/h to go over the code and make suggestions. Think him like a CTO and let him to tell you the truth!
If he says the code sucks, stop paying outsourced developer, bring an way better local dev and keep on going. If he says the code is fine, be patient, make another deal about the finish date. Cut the payment for each late day/week. Like %20
Whatever happened is already happened. Focus on getting your site as quickly as possible.
BTW, is this an web application or a web site?
From personal experience it became a prerequisite to deal only with outsources and developers adhering to agile methodologies like Scrum. Using these methodologies eliminates "guesstamating" from projects, which in truth is what most outsourcing companies do. It also forces both sides to adhere to a predetermined timeline and burndown of tasks.
A link for you to investigate: http://scrummethodology.com With regard to your current situation you have two options:
Been on both sides of the coin: own a web dev biz, AND hired devs to work on projects.
I know what it's like to be yelled at and I know what it's like to yell.
Best advice if building a product: raise a little capital and hire someone full-time. It saved my business.
Outsourcing sucks UNLESS you know what you're doing.
I would speak to the developer now and try to arrange for an agreed date for the project to be completed, as the project is way overdue, push for penalties (ie. discounts) if the new agreed date isn't met.
It would be unfair to just impose a discount straight away as it wasn't agreed upon, but hopefully you can now create a new agreement for the remainder of the work.
It is a good example of the benefit to agile development. Get a very simple baseline delivered, and then iterate on it to add features. At any time then you can withdraw and still have a working product. This is not to mention the many other benefits.
Probably a very late response and won't help however let me give you my wisdom.
Your 2 month project has stretched to 1.5 years, still nowhere close to completion and you are still hopeful for a delivery. That is amazing!!!