I have a mirror blog called ‘Outsourcing to Sleestak’ that is hosted on my company’s corporate site. It has seen a recent spike in hits for reasons I do not fully understand. Looking through the search queries that bring people to my mirror site, I have come to the conclusion that there is a lot of interest in the advantages of outsourcing to sleestak, especially in these difficult financial times.
As the world’s leading authority on outsourcing to sleestak, I thought it might be helpful if I provide the following FAQ. Bear in mind that these FAQ are solely the result of my personal research and expertise in the area. My company has its own outsourcing solution that I will decline to comment on – especially as I am offering a competing solution to the problem of providing cheap alternatives for expensive problems. So without further ado:
The Outsourcing to Sleestak FAQ
1. Isn’t the plural of ‘sleestak’ in fact ‘sleestaks’?
No. The plural form of ‘sleestak’ is ‘sleestak’, as in “Ten sleestak can do the work of a typical developer without the added cost of health insurance or the hassle of labor laws.”
2. I have heard that sleestak are not effective developers and often screw up projects, in part due to their lack of fingers. Is this true?
This is a common lie spread by jealous outsourcing centers in Bangalore. While the physical disabilities of sleestak are admittedly problematic, they are more than capable of manipulating polyhedral objects called ‘crystals’. Work stations in the land of the lost are equipped with large keyboards in which the typical key is replaced with these crystals, making the sleestak more than qualified to search MSDN forums for code samples they can paste into their own projects. Furthermore, I find these attacks on the digitally impaired to be highly prejudicial and unnecessary.
3. What about the language barrier?
While it is true that the sleestak lack vocal cords, per se, I have never found this to be a deal breaker in working with sleestak outsourcing centers. Each sleestak ‘tribe’, which is made up of 20 to 30 sleestak, has a ‘leader’ which I like to call the ‘project lead’. Each leader has a magic crystal around his neck that allows him to communicate in a faux English accent. Software requirements may be given to the ‘project lead’ who will in turn translate them for the sleestak workforce. You will never personally have to interact with a sleestak developer.
4. What if I want a project lead onsite at my company? Is there anyone available to do that?
Besides sleestak workers and sleestak leaders, we also have sleestak from the distant past on staff such as Enik who are highly educated and trained in ‘soft’ skills. They are experts at telling the client what he wants to hear and will keep the project on track, or at least lead the client to believe that everything is on track. In a pinch, he is also experienced at rationalizing delivery problems and deflecting blame.
5. Can sleestak outsourcing meet my advanced programming needs in Silverlight, WPF and other complex technologies?
You are clearly looking at this in the wrong way. If you are concerned with getting work done, you should look to your internal developers, to independent contractors or consulting firms. If you are concerned with the bottom line, however, then you need to be outsourcing. At 99 cents an hour, sleestak are the most cost-effective solution for your programming needs.
6. I think you punted on that last question. If sleestak don’t know these technologies, then my project will never be completed. Shouldn’t I be concerned with getting working code, as well as cost savings, at the end of an engagement with sleestak?
Apples and oranges. It is all a question of motivation.
If you simply want to get work done, then you should give it to an internal team of developers. Internal developers, however, do not always keep up with the latest technology and methodologies and expect companies to provide expensive training.
An alternative is to hire independent contractors or contractors provided by staffing agencies. While these are frequently more expensive than internal staff, you can typically be assured of hiring someone with the skills you need to complete a project. Contractors, however, have the following shortcoming – they dread the day they complete a project because this is the day they must look for a new job. Consequently, they have a tendency to do only what is requested of them, seeing no need to do additional work that might bring their engagement to an end. Alternatively, they will over-architect a project in such a way that they will be needed well past the completion date for a project since they are the only ones who understand the code.
Another alternative is to engage a high-end consulting firm. High-end consultants are judged by their consulting companies based on their ability to deliver. Consequently they will work hard to complete a project as quickly and efficiently as possible in a way that leaves the client happy. They will juggle development speed, code quality and code maintainability in a manner that best meets the client’s objectives. Their ultimate goal is to complete a project as successfully and quickly as possible so they can move on to their next project and accomplish the same thing. The main shortcoming of hiring high-end consultants is that they are really expensive. They know they are the best and charge accordingly.
If money becomes a problem – let’s be frank, when isn’t it? – and you can’t afford the best solution, then you have a moral obligation to choose the cheapest solution. Why allow yourself to be straight jacketed by the dictum that you get what you pay for. With sleestak, you’ll be paying for what you get.
7. Your answer makes brilliant sense. But I’ve heard there is alot of turnover among sleestak. Isn’t this a problem?
Perhaps this is a problem for traditional outsourcing but not for sleestak outsourcing. Sleestak belong to what is known as a ‘hive mind’. What one sleestak knows, all other sleestak in the vicinity know equally well. This basically alleviates all the issues of project hand-over and application maintenance that plague the typical software project.
It is common to call developers ‘resources’. This gives the impression that all developers are commodities and interchangeable. Sadly this is not the case, and great effort has to be expended on team building, personality management and motivational techniques.
With sleestak outsourcing, we take these soft issues out of the equation. The hive mind ensures that sleestak are true development commodities. If one goes off to join a rival firm or is injured in a freak elevator accident, this is not a problem! We can replace him with someone with identical skills and an identical knowledge of the project the very next day.
8. I love the idea, but this sounds like science fiction. How can you afford to bill 99 cents an hour for software development? Aren’t you exploiting your sleestak?
Certainly not. Sleestak are not motivated by anything as banal as money. They are motivated by the desire to achieve client satisfaction – as represented by their client satisfaction target numbers for which they are rewarded with papaya and mangos. Unsatisfactory target numbers garner a half-hour in direct sunlight, which they find physically painful. This is a win-win situation for everybody.
And while there are certainly moral dilemmas involved in the employment of sleestak, this is not your problem. You can leave the worrying to us.
9. Given the recent backlash against foreign workers, isn’t outsourcing to sleestak a PR nightmare?
Let’s face it. There’s only one opinion you need to be concerned about – the opinion of your shareholders. Issues such as community backlash, employee morale, code quality and project deadlines are ultimately peripheral. The purpose of outsourcing is to demonstrate fiscal responsibility to shareholders. This is why, when a project goes bad or revenue is lost due to missed release dates, the solution is always to outsource even more work to sleestak – thus demonstrating your ability to quickly respond to revenue loss with efficient cost-cutting.
When it comes down to it, what’s good for sleestak is good for America.