What I Learned (the Hard Way) About Outsourcing

A small business owner finds out firsthand the nightmare of crap code that results in shipping work to India. No wonder so many US companies have disappeared.

Good, fast, cheap. Pick any two. The hype of better, faster outsourcing simply does not work in software. Good software takes time.

“These employees all ran hundreds of projects at once. And I never spoke to the Indian team, which had no clue about the business problem the app was intended to solve; they simply received instructions from guys who didn’t really care about my project. The result was a buggy product that crashed constantly, a disaster we had to scrap.

I hired two senior in-house engineers and they found a team in India to whom they outsourced much of the work. That way, our in-house guys could attend to the crucial infrastructure work and lead the Indian team. Our local engineers cost around $100,000 a year each, and for $180,000 a year, we secured six full-time engineers in India, including a manager.

Again, the solution was not ideal. Our local guys spent much of their time writing specs for India, and the code that returned was sloppy. This frustrated our local engineers. They weren’t proud of the work and they lost interest in the project. Production slowed and mistakes escalated. My solution was to sack the whole team, scrap the product and build an in-house team from scratch”.