I was about 10 years old when I really started playing with the computers, my father bought to our home a 386 SX PC with great specs. The love with computers started as one might guess, by playing games, they took quite a big share of young nerd’s life. When the time passed by and there was decision to be made, what would be the profession to do as an adult. There really only were two options, football manager or programmer.
The years rolled on and Finland were actually on the pinnacle of software development, in late 90s and early 21st century. We had Nokia and huge amount of subcontractors, partners to support Nokia’s mobile phone development. Then times turned into worse for our flagship and the rig started sinking. The diminishing market share for Nokia caused mass layoffs for major Nokia subcontractors.
Many of our employees have background from the Nokia ecosystem and that has been really good foundation to the modern way of working. The tools have of course improved vastly and the productivity of a developer is nowadays in whole new level, compared to ancient technologies. But there is more than just mere code lines which determine the success in global competition. We as a rather small company (17 employees now), can see the global pressure on almost each day. Checking from todays email trash box I can see that I have received 6 proposals from around the world to outsource our development to low-cost countries. There are excellent developers available for smaller hour price what lowest paid employees in any profession receive in Finland.
As an entrepeneur it would be easy to say yes for the low-cost development. One could get amazing profits for projects and you wouldn’t need to take care of daily stuff what is inevitable. when human beings are in question. Sick leaves, personal issues, all things that belong to normal life. However there are few problems when human beings are handled as soulless machines. I list here few to consider when you ponder whether to outsource to low-cost sites.
1. Commitment – If one is looking for good end product, the first thing is to have committed people onboard, if developers actually care how you fare with your end product, you have great start.
2. Flexibility – True flexibility means that you can actually adapt to the changing environment with your trusted partners, and they just don’t obey to the contract and say that this is only what we do and everything else will cost you fortune.
3. Stability – The best things in life take their time. Don’t believe those who say it will be done in few days. Some things can be actually done in few days, such as quick prototypes. But if you want to have success, your better check that you have partner to trust all the time. It is imperative to have stability in key personnel, otherwise the quiet information is lost.
4. Trust – There has to be trust and honesty, you can lie only fixed amount of time and then it will collapse. You better have honest friends who dare to say also the not so nice things.
I could actually create much longer TOC here, but I think my point is pretty easy to see. I am sure there are excellent software developers all around the world, that is something Finland can’t compete with as a small country. But what is in our own hands is the way we do our job and look after our customers, which sets us apart from the low-cost competitors.
There are values you can’t get by adding big number of developers, it can’t be even achieved with big amounts of money, but only by understanding and respecting each others. I honestly believe Finland will be successful software developing country and we have our own way of doing things, in a bit better way to remain in the competition also in the future.
What I am not so sure about, is if I can still pull out my dream as a football manager, but I am loving my current job and we hope to create more successful journeys with our friends.