I've been working here for about 3 months now, and this company has been around since 2003. I've the only full time developer, and I don't know what happened to the part time guy who was doing work before I got hired, I haven't seen him since a month after I started, aside from a couple emails.

Essentially, that makes me the only developer, trying to balance adding new features to our main product (subscription website service), developing an Android-based version of the product, handling client issues, working on migrating clients from old version to new version (and the headaches that will result from this), fixing issues with a signup service for out ISP side of things, and helping with tech support for the ISP side. Not to mention the massive overhaul I'm fairly certain the database needs, that will mean at least a few months' work.

My bosses hired an intern to help me with the Android version, but the one boss randomly went to England until December, taking the intern with him.

Any tips I can use on convincing management to hire somebody else? Even if just a second full time support guy to help with the phone calls?

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  • 6
    Am I the only one who wants to hear more about the boss randomly running off to England with an intern? – GrandmasterB Oct 7 '10 at 19:20
  • Exactly how do you run randomly? – Paddyslacker Oct 8 '10 at 12:58
  • 1
    @Paddyslacker Arms and legs flailing all over the place? – Tarka Oct 8 '10 at 14:10
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    Ha! Now there's a mental picture to start the day with - a fast-forward version of Monty Python's silly walks! – Paddyslacker Oct 8 '10 at 14:22
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    @DeveloperDon Never did convince him to hire a new dev, and gave up after awhile. I also started a new job about 2 months ago, where we can't find enough people to hire. However, being a new hire now, that question is definitely worth contributing to. – Tarka Dec 22 '12 at 17:39

You need to build a case for it.

Start by estimating the effort for every task on your plate. In hours, days, whatever. Make sure management sees this- mention this list to them the next time they ask you to do something. Be sure this is written down.

For each new bit of work, estimate its relative effort and importance, and be sure management knows where it's going in your todo list.

When they start getting agitated that things aren't getting done as quickly as they'd like, point out the need for another developer. 1 person can get 1 hour of work done an hour. 2 people can get 2 hours of work done an hour (more or less). If they want prompt support and improvements, they need to hire someone to help.

  • Also consider outsourcing and contract help - you could project-manage some external resources possibly cheaper than hiring a permanent person or contractor. The pay-as-you-go nature of an outsourced person may appeal to management as permanent hires have long-term implications and contractors are, by definition, expensive. – JBRWilkinson Oct 7 '10 at 17:10
  • Thought I should say, I showed my one boss my todo list (was about 70 odd items at the time), and made occasional comments about how much I have to do. Was told last week they're going to hire somebody to help me out. – Tarka Nov 18 '10 at 17:27

As Fishtoaster mentioned, you have to build a case for it. I'd go a little further in saying you need to build a FINANCIAL case for it. If you had another programmer the following features could be delieverd this much sooner resulting in quicker product launch. Another programmer would reduce the backlog of support request raising customer satisfaction resulting in new upgrades - etc.

  • Yup, it's not just building the case but building it in terms that the bosses understand and that's usually money. What financial benefits will the business received by spending more money on developers? – Corin Oct 7 '10 at 17:43

Prioritize everything and publish it if you have multiple stakeholders. When a new task comes in ask where it goes on the priority list. You should not have more than one person setting this priority either, there should be someone or a set group making this decision. When they realize that certain things are never going to get done based on your workload (and you should stick to 40 hour weeks when estimating workload), then you can bring up the need for a dedicated assistant. Think about assigning them the tasks that you don't want, you were there first so don't let them bring in someone to do the android app while you toil away on tickets and meaningless crap.

  • Bear in mind that 40 hours of work in a normal workweek doesn't work out to an average of 40 hours a week on what you're officially supposed to be working on. Counting holidays, vacations, and unrelated but high-priority tasks, some places figure 20 hours a week. – David Thornley Oct 7 '10 at 21:28
  • The 40 just gets you to a general workload. Putting it on the calendar is next, but if you try and sell anything less than 40 to management they will try and weasel things into that time, such as this is maintenance so do it right away (regardless as to how pointless the maintenance is) – Bill Leeper Oct 8 '10 at 17:36

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