Choosing a supplier: looking at the available information (Part I) 15 May 09
After discarding the bids that are not realistic, the next step is to compare the bids that are still on the table. Here are the criteria we used and the weight we gave them in brackets:
Reviews posted on the freelance market places (Low) should minimize the risk of engaging with a fraudulent company. But these reviews have several issues:
- Reviews work best when the expectations of both parties are clearly defined: for example on Ebay, buyer expects delivery of the right product in-time and in working order, seller expects prompt payment. Deviations are penalized with a bad review.
- Reviews on a freelance marketplace reflect more on the relationship between buyer and supplier. The ability to post a bad review declines the better the parties get along. But this is not equal to a successful project.
- Writing a bad review is equal to admitting that you chose the wrong supplier in the first place.
- Most companies donâ€™t bother to write a review and the standard review questions are too general.
- Suppliers can remove some of the negative reviews.
Profiles on freelance market places (Low) are sales brochures and have to be read as such.
Past work (Low – Medium) Most clients donâ€™t give permission to use their applications as examples of work. Therefore advanced projects are hardly ever shown. Projects that have been developed a few months ago are often much more advanced than at time of delivery due to ingoing developement by the client. Sometimes really bad work examples are shown and that should acts as a deterrent.
Supplier Website (Low – Medium) If you are looking for graphical and user interface work to be done then the website can say everything. Just make sure they didnâ€™t outsource it themselves! The website of a professional supplier company should contain information about who they are, where they are located and the services they offer. A quick call to the phone number in the contact us section can also be revealing. If they also offer completely unrelated products/services on their website, software development projects might not be their main focus.
Certifications (Medium) can give an indication of the processes used to deliver a project and certify the skill level in specific technologies. Certifications are only valuable if they can be verified and are recent enough. Skill certifications are generally per developer but are often used by companies. Certifications are indicators if you are looking for specific skills or process adherence like CMMI or similar.