Don’t choose a programmer, choose a team!

Choosing Programmers is Hard
Many small companies have a huge dilemma choosing programmers. Most programmers are busy and unreliable, especially to new clients. But you need good programmers for your site to function, so what to do? It is a common mistake for a company to choose “a” programming company only to be let down. Smarter companies might test companies or freelancers out before hiring. But, in real life, companies and freelancers get busy, quit, or become incompetent the minute a task gets complicated. You need more than one entity helping you out with your programming no matter how small your operation is.

Hire More Than One
So, the key in hiring programmers seems to be pairing. If you want a programmer who is smart enough to handle difficult tasks, but fast enough to handle quick fixes, you might need more than one person. You could ideally hire a fast programmer who might not be that sophisticated to handle last minute problems, but also hire a more refined programmer with a tighter schedule to handle more critical yet less time sensitive tasks.

Which Programmer; Which Task?
I like to have overseas companies work on less critical tasks as a rule. I’ll often have a company in India working on a new project whose outcome is not tied to my income while my regular programmers work on existing projects. It is good to test programmers out on less critical tasks to see how they do and how fast they finish. Critical tasks should be reserved for programmers who have stood the test of time and who have proven themselves.

Wine Pairing vs. Programmer Pairing
Pairing programmers with different attributes is a great idea. Have fun with it. If you get really bored, think of it as something like wine and food pairing! Pair an advanced programmer with a less experienced programmer. Pair a fast & limited programmer with a slow but good programmer. Pair an overseas programmer with a domestic one. That way you can work at night with the Indian programmer and during the day with the American one. There are many ways to pair programmers, and I strongly suggest having backups for your pair as well. Good luck!

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