Now doesn’t that sound like a crazy question? How about hiring your neighbor’s son to build an addition onto your house? Well, how is it that so many entrepreneurs take software advice from their design and marketing company or their accountants? They are either persuaded or think they can save a buck only to find themselves chained to an iron ball of software brimming with design problems and insurmountable issues!
This is not a stretch of the imagination. I have attended seminars with a designer at the podium telling the audience that there is no need to hire a software developer to create your startup companies’ software. You can do that - no problem. There are many free solutions available. I have heard entrepreneurs tell me their accountant they could save a lot of money if they avoided hiring a software developer or even advising them of the best software solution.
There are a couple of reasons why this does not sit well with me. I will stick to the more objective concerns.
Like a graphic designer or an accountant, a good software developer has experience doing the work of the profession. With that comes a project’s mistakes and successes. Architecting and thinking through problems, the best developers have seen more than their share of projects and have learned from each one the many lessons of the project. This is much like the experience an entrepreneur with startup has; time on the job provides a chance for trial and error. It is often said that the difference between a professional and an amateur is the professional has done the job more than once. For the amateur, it is their first time. I have seen it proven, time and again, that the complexity of a business software have been taken for granted and the business suffers. But wouldn’t that be true for the accounting, marketing or legal matters of a business?
Another reason is my grandfather said he was too poor to be cheap. He was right. Can you image how much money it would be to fix the problem created with a house addition project if you hired your neighbor’s kid to build that addition? It likely will not ever get approved by the building inspector! I am sure many of you are laughing, but this is true. I know of more than one business who started out hiring their neighbor’s son to build their initial software only to get five or ten years down the road to find major issue with the software preventing them from morning forward with new business objectives.
Consider next time you need software that being cheap today could cost your business success tomorrow!