Slow-but-good verses Fast & Sloppy programmers

Programming is a very meticulous task and you can ruin someone’s business if you are sloppy. The programmers I have hired in the past were all sloppy which is why I am changing my hiring algorithm to include a testing process involving a two hour programming test. The test is easy to pass, but most people are not paying attention and fail. But, let’s say that some people do pass the test. Then what?

If one company delivers slow and meticulous work, that is wonderful. But, what type of project do you put them on? If one project is time sensitive and my company will suffer $2000 / day in damages if there is a delay — then slow and meticulous might not be the ideal choice. On the other hand, if I have a very complicated project which doesn’t need to get done for a few months, then slow and meticulous might be a great choice.

Fast & sloppy can work too on a NEW project that doesn’t have any customers or data yet. If they fix their mistakes right away, you might be able to make some real headway, and working on an experimental project might be great with this type of team — once again assuming that they fix their mistakes as quickly as they make them.

But, what about fast and meticulous. Programming companies are so short-staffed, that it seems almost impossible to get fast service at any price. I think you could make a mint if you hired really good programmers and charged insane prices. Some people will pay for it, at least when they are in a bind — which seems to be the case for many companies. If you get a client who is short on time but packed with money, they might like to have someone fast and good who charges 50% more than the market rate for programming services.

The moral of the story here is to think from the perspective of the customer. They are the ones paying you, so try to find a way to cater your programming (or other services) to their needs in terms of speed, accuracy, customer service, or anything else that matters to whomever is paying.

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