After two weeks of non-stop immersion, wireframing our brains out, we have the specs ready for upgrades of both our main sites WhichTestWon and SubscriptionSiteInsider. Plus, such is the nature of intensive brainstorming and speccing, ideas for three more sites beyond those....
But now we need developers to take our PowerPoint layouts and turn them into HTML reality. Specifically, great WordPress programmers, Cold Fusion (for the Membergate platform) and even good old basic HTML developers. Plus, someone who's good at turning a PowerPoint layout and turning it into design specs that even a design-blind programmer can make beautiful, would be very helpful to have on call as well. If you know someone, please refer them to this link where our COO is collecting contacts from great contractors -- or if you are that someone, click on the link yourself :-)http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/JN765KJ
By the way - have you ever noticed how when someone is a genius at one thing, they invariably fail at something else? Example -- most great designers are terrible typists and proofreaders. And, many great writers can't do math. I've noticed this is also true of Web developers. Either they are great at design but really weak in programming... or they can program like gods but their design skills are dreadful. It would be wonderful to find everything in one tidy package. But then, as my friend Andrea Warner from StomperNet explained to me the other afternoon, you wind up hiring that one genius fulltime and get a terrible backlog because they can't handle all the work. Then you're back to web development hell again despite your brilliant hire.
That's why, she explained to me, it's always best to have a wide array of great programmers and designer contractors at your fingertips. Once vetted with an initial project or two, to make sure they can meet specs and deadlines, you need to fling them enough work on an ongoing basis so when you're the good-continual-client they'll always find room for in their schedule, even when it's a crazy last minute job and they have other clients to attend to.
The central person on the in-house team then becomes not so much the developer or designer, as the project supervisor who deftly manages the whole group of outsourced pros. That person is worth their weight in gold, especially if they are good at turning PowerPoint specs into "real" specs the team can work from. Luckily we have that person on our team, we just need to recruit the team of contractors they'll be working with.
However, finding the good people for the outsourced team is hard, hard, hard, despite the recession (or maybe because of it.) I've found that just like placing ads for writers (or singers for American Idol), seems like hundreds of people think they can do the work sure-fine-no-problem... even though in reality only a few are truly any good at it.