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Old Oct 10, 2013, 08:22 AM   #1
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web programming company

I am working on a project with a web programming company in India for almost 4 months now. The project when it started had a timeline of 5 months with 3 developers, 2 senior and 1 mid level and a part time designer. I have been paying on monthly basis for the resources. My contact person is an account manager in the company for this entire duration. I have not been introduced to the team who is working yet.

We are now at end of month 4 and as far as I can see the work is only 50% complete if that much. And the progress also makes me think that maybe they do not have the resources on the project that they claim are on the project. And now since the project will take longer than 5 months i have to pay more than what i initially budgeted which is frustrating for me.

Below are something that i need input on:

The worklog i got from them have a few items below are these justified?

Login Module took 32 Hours
The registration process which has a registration form along with activation process via email and then confirmation welcome email took 25 Hours
Creating a facebook style wall for posting status with “More” feature to load more statuses in async mode. this took 50 Hours

Are the above hours justified? They do not make sense to me as for me i thought login and registration along should not take more than a day max 2.

Some explanation here and what could I ask to make sure I am getting what i am paying for will help.
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Old Oct 10, 2013, 08:33 AM   #2
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Did you specify certain milestones within the contract to be met at a certain time?

What I mean is, is there's any motivation for the company to produce what you want in a timely manner or just keep charging you an hourly rate.

If you don't think you're getting your money's worth then perhaps its time to terminate the relationship. If you're only 50% completed but mostly through the estimated time frame, either the contracting company estimated poorly, or they issues unknown to them cropped up (including change requests) or they're milking you
~Mike Flynn
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Old Oct 10, 2013, 10:00 AM   #3
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How did you find this company?

I have heard nothing but horror stories with these India based development companies that undercut on price. I'm a web developer and have done several projects fixing sites that these companies developed.

Is this a site that requires a lot of custom work? For building from scratch for a completely custom site the numbers a little high. if its a site that could have been built on an open source CMS(drupal, joomla, wordpress) those numbers are outrageous as those are mostly simple pre built functions.
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Old Oct 12, 2013, 08:25 AM   #4
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I've had experience with offshore development with my last 2 employers. In both cases the offshore talent wasn't so much difficult to work with, but they did not question requirements which were in conflict and they did not push back which resulted in re-work and missed deadlines.

We had an effort this last year that our offshore people assured us was going well. Daily updates were upbeat and rosy. There were minor issues which were always resolved. When they declared they were done with no big issues I took it out for a smoke test. Being a developer I could run the app in debug mode and even basic functionality was broken. My report to management was not good and quickly our offshore co-workers had to get things sorted out and their project manager told exactly what was wrong and why their daily updates had been misleading. The really sad thing is I was not tasked to smoke test the app. But having started the effort and having provided early guidelines meant I had skin in the game and was surprised by the daily updates and not surprised by the end result.

Personally I've felt their estimates were inflated at times and output did not seem to match effort.

Any agreements with offshore assets like developers need to be very specific with milestones clearly labeled. If milestones are missed there should be a consequence to the contracted company. Updates need to be clear. Any work items that are > 20 hours should be broken down in to smaller tasks with the level of effort (hours) are documented to get a better handle on what is going on.

While you may not want to use it, an exit strategy needs to be in place going in so you know when to pull the plug than being kept on a never ending cycle of development with little to no real progress.
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