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Trust. Pay. Lose.

  • Moscow, Russia
  • comments

management

"Listen up, dude," a friend of mine said when he called yesterday, "I trusted them for over a year—we've been partners. They've been programming it all and I was busy doing business development. Now they've quit and I'm left with nothing! What am I supposed to do with all these JavaScript files? How do I even know they are mine? Moreover, they don't even want to cooperate. I feel like a hostage. Please, help me out!" What could I say? "It's too late, dude," was my answer, "but the good news is—you are not the first to have this problem."

The Godfather (1972) by Francis Ford Coppola
The Godfather (1972) by Francis Ford Coppola

"Trust, pay, lose" is what I would call this very typical scenario.

First, you trust your programmers. You call them partners. You believe in them. You are sure that you picked the best ones. They seem to be very reliable. You look at their resumes and feel excited. They know JavaScript, and DevOps, and GitHub, and even Big Data. They definitely are the best. Moreover, they've been in this business for ten years. What else do you need, right?

Second, you pay them. How else would they work, right? True talent is expensive, we all know that. They bill you regularly for the time they spend working on your project. You feel excited to see how your money turns into the software that works. They demonstrate new versions regularly. There are bugs, of course, but this is how it should be, right? They explain everything to you and you keep paying.

Finally, you lose when you realize that it's their software, not yours. They quit because of some business reasons and you're left with nothing. You can't understand those files. You don't even have them, since they are somewhere in the programmers' Git repository. You hire some more people to help you save what's left, but they say that it's time to start everything from scratch. Your frustration is enormous and you're ready to go back to the first step—you trust these new guys, because they definitely seem legit, not like those previous crooks.

Seems familiar?

What is the alternative, you ask?

Don't trust.

Instead, before you start a project, hire an independent expert, who will regularly (ideally, every two weeks) review everything these guys are doing and tell you where and how you may lose. This expert will maintain a Risk List for you. You will take necessary preemptive actions.

Don't trust us programmers. We are smart, lazy and spoiled.

You will lose.

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