Perhaps you are thinking of saving money by hiring cheap freelancers from low income countries. Perhaps you’ve already tried it. If you have, you will know it often does not work out as cheap as you expected. The problem is not the dollar cost of the contract, it’s the money you need to spend supporting it.
You’ll need to make virtually all the design decisions, and be present to constantly monitor progress. So that ties you up completely. How much is your time worth again?
If you’re not an expert in the technologies your freelancers are using, you are not going to know when they cut corners, implement poor architecture or make mistakes under the hood. You’ll start paying for this some time down the road when bugs become apparent and things start to go wrong – and you’ll pay above and beyond the price you would have paid for getting it right in the first place.
Businesses often assume building software is a one-off process. You pay a programmer, they produce some code, the job is done. Then you carry on using that same piece of software forever. The reality is the opposite: almost as soon as your software starts getting feedback, you are going to want to modify it. That’s when you’ll find your cheap freelancers did not build with flexibility in mind, and it’s going to cost you an arm and a leg in programmer time to make even trivial changes.
In fact when you take these points into consideration you may well find the cheapest option on paper turns out to be the most expensive option in reality.
At Virtual Blue we understand you want to build as inexpensively as possible, but we are also well aware of the potential pitfalls when trying to cut costs. That’s why we are structured to save you money where possible, but without reducing oversight or the quality of the final product.
Virtual Blue is a UK owned enterprise, and we operate according to UK laws, standards and transparency – however we are founded in Hong Kong due to it’s low tax requirements, a cost saving which we pass directly on to you.
You do get those cost-effective programmers, because we do recruit from lower income regions. However, from experience we avoid the lowest. Our standard programmers generally are from less expensive EU states such as the Czech Republic.
You get the necessary guidance and supervision built in, from one or more experts (depending on the size and nature of your project) generally from Western Europe or English speaking countries.
We operate a distributed model of team interaction. This means programmers generally work remotely, reducing office space costs. Again, this saving is passed on to you.
We are programmer owned, programmer run and programmer driven: we use small teams that can make decisions quickly and are not bogged down with corporate beaurocracy or a laboursome corporate-inspired development methodology. We can work quickly because everyone on the project understands the code, so we don’t need to waste time explaining to managers who don’t.
These are the factors that enable us to bring you our development services at such a reasonable price, but still deliver solutions of the highest quality. For more information about our structure please get in touch.
At Virtual Blue we are not advocates of any particular development methodology. We don’t believe there is a specific way of working which is appropriate to all situations and can always guarantee the best results. We prefer to keep flexible, to trust the skill and experience of our engineers, and to adapt to each project and our clients needs.
That is not to say we don’t have beliefs about what makes better software. Here are some of the things we advocate:
a high level of communication, both within the team and with our clients
scientific-based understanding rather than a focus on knowledge of specific tools or syntax
empowering our teams: putting respective architecture decisions in the hands of the coder
reducing dead ends and wasted work whereever possible
always working towards finding or creating better tools to increase productivity
inspecting the code produced to benchmark productivity, rather than using meetings or reports
writing code that is self-explanatory in preference to lengthy documentation
getting code right in the first place rather than writing todos which don’t get done
and here are some of the things we don’t:
noisy, unproductive open plan offices
endless meetings, beaurocracy and red-tape
complicated code review processes
flip-flopping programmers between multiple tasks
expecting tests to determine design or improve code quality
management fads in general
At Virtual Blue we take as practical an approach to problem solving as possible. Our philosophy is simply to get the job done, and done well – and our mode of operation to remove anything in the way of us doing this. To learn more about how we operate, please get in touch.
“I worked with Virtual Blue on a rather complex scraping project for the purpose of Business Intelligence…
They completely refactored and optimized the code so that it now runs in just about an hour (it previously took 9 hours to fully run). Not only that, but they created complete documentation to make it easy to dig into the code at a future date should I wish to have other developers add new features or functions.
Given the complexity of the project, there were things that popped up during the course of the work that needed to be discussed. They gave me several “good/better/best” options with explanations that helped me make a better and informed business decision.
I can recommend Virtual Blue without hesitation.
Dustin, Town Web Design
“It was a real pleasure to work with Virtual Blue.
We choose to work with Virtual Blue because they raised many points we didn’t think about, and were transparent and honest from the start. They even did some research and experiments for free when we weren’t sure about which technology to use. They work hard, even working during the weekend to help us respect our deadline.
We couldn’t have released our project without Virtual Blue. Thanks again!
“In a word – “Perfect”. Start to finish. Virtual Blue were able to figure out complex programming issues left behind from an old web designer 10 years ago. They worked quickly and with the expertise I was hoping to find. Virtual Blue is now on my “Go To” list for any issues that crop up with old Perl/CGI programming. Thanks – great job !