Following directions and consequences for not

Outsource: Following directions: When and where

When I test out software companies, I always take analytics on their performance. Testing people is easy. Getting analytics on what they SAY and how they PERFORM is easy. But, what about the interpretation of the analytics? That is not so easy.

Understanding how to interpret analytics is like seeing how a relationship will go based on the first date. The first date gives you some information about a person, or at least who they are pretending to be. But, it doesn’t prove how a person will behave in a long term relationship. What I learned, is that if a person doesn’t follow directions, that affects their performance in a variety of ways.

If you hand over an established website to a company, there are several considerations to think about. Are they secure for handling your site in the long run? Can they build new modules on your site? Can they update the technology over time as necessary? And can they quickly fix things that break? What I learned is that if you don’t follow directions, then you will not fix what you have been asked to fix — but, instead will be working on something else for me, or for another client. The order of critical and time sensitive steps is something that is greatly affected by the following directions analytic. Additionally, if something critical is broken, and you don’t fix it to specifications, then you create a delay in fixing code that is time sensitive. All 20,000 of your users will be delayed indefinately while a sluggish and uncooperative programmer screws around not following directions. Can you afford that?

Not following directions comes at a cost. Sometimes the cost is:

(1) Merely the cost of therapy bills for dealing with the frustration of dealing with someone who refuses to obey orders.

(2) Sometimes there is a financial cost for every hour something critical is left broken.

(3) Also, don’t neglect the fact that the programmer might fail to follow directions by working on the wrong project at the wrong time which screws up your ability to schedule projects.

Test your programmers by giving them an assignment with 10 documented steps. See how many of the steps they follow. The typical programmer will follow 6 out of 10 steps, and will only do several of those correctly, which means you have to harrass them to get everything up to specifications. What a nightmare!

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