I have a fairly ambitious software development project that I have no time to give. This project is for my personal life and if completed will save me much time and money. I am a software developer by trade but don't have much time to work on this project.

So, I am considering outsourcing or contracting out some of the work so I can get it done faster. It's one of those projects where the longer I take to finish it, the more it costs me. I have not outsourced anything and would like to try, what is a good way to get started? What are some risks that I might face?

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    How good are you at managing other people? Because when you outsource a project, that's what you end up having to do. – thedaian Jul 29 '11 at 13:29
  • If you are a software developer, let's say you make $x an hour. Can we assume that you're going to be paying the contractor some (smaller) percentage of x? Can you afford to pay a GOOD contractor? (I can't, at least not without some significant debt) – Brook Jul 29 '11 at 14:15
  • Can you clarify whether this can be open source? – Chris Frederick Jul 29 '11 at 23:33

Probably your biggest risk is that you'll hire someone like this:

Is it reasonable to NOT provide technical documentation and unit tests to client?

and you won't be able to maintain the code yourself.

As @Morons said, it's just like hiring a contractor to work on your house. So:

  • Don't go with the lowest bidder.
  • Check references
  • Look for someone who has been in business for a while
  • Hire someone in your country
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    I'd go one further and say "hire somebody in the same city as you", because being able to sit alongside them for a while and talk and think and see is worth an almost infinite amount. – quickly_now Jul 30 '11 at 10:03

Depending on what it is, you don't necessarily have to hire someone to do it.

Do enough of it to be minimally marketable, make it open source, and try to market it other developers. Other people might be interested in seeing it completed, so that they can save time and money in their own personal lives, too. See if you have any friends who might be interested in contributing.

I'm not saying that once you've started it, you can then rest on your laurels and exploit the work of other developers, but that if the reason you can't do it all by yourself is because you have so little free time that it won't get done for years, then "many hands make light work".


It's Basically the same as Hiring a Contractor to work on your house.

what is a good way to get started?

Start by talking to contractors\ Custom Dev vendors.

What are some risks that I might face?

1) (Money & Time) You risk paying them for shotty work and there is a good chance it takes longer.

2) You also may loose control of the code base and find it impossible to continue to maintain it your self.

3) Once the project is Paid (but not necessarily Done) you risk never hearing from the vendor again.


I've had friends that found success with http://www.vworker.com/, although they've usually been smaller projects. A well structured larger one may do well!

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