The Perils of Remote Contracting

Thursday, October 2, 2008 Thursday, October 02, 2008

I love to help people achieve their dreams by making gadgets or particle effects to suit their desires. But sometimes it’s just very difficult to do.

Sure, I try to follow my own advice on contracting, but a recent engagement posed some difficulties. I really try my best to work with customers who often desperately need something unusual. In this case I had not one, but two key barriers to overcome:

  • Distance. The requester was located many time zones distant. Due to the difference in times, we rarely found each other online at the same time. This causes many delays in discussing the product design, as you often resort to drop-notecards that are picked up and replied to the next day.
  • Language. This particular engagement involved a requester who did not speak any language that I spoke. That’s ok – I believe in translation services if they can be used interactively. Sure, the automated translators often produce poor translations, but if you are with the person, you can paraphrase and confirm. This should lead to a good understanding and agreement on the work to be accomplished.

One of those problems can be overcome. But two are nearly impossible. Because of the distance, we had to communicate by notecard. Because of the notecards, we could not communicate interactively. In other words, we had a very trying time comprehending each other. The two problems worsened each other to a point where I wondered whether this was achievable.

So what is the moral of the story? When you decided to take on an engagement, make sure you understand all of the issues and logistics, otherwise you may have a difficult time.

That’s all for today, because I have to finish filling my hovercraft with eels.

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IYan Writer said...


My nipples explode with delight!

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