In Part 1 of my interview with Doug Bradbury, I asked him about his background and how One World Coders was founded. In this second installment, Doug and I talk about the kinds of services One World Coders offers its clients and a pricing model based not on time and materials but on business value produced.
Walsh: When you first started One World Coders, what kinds of services were you planning to offer, and have you realized your goals with respect to offering those services?
Bradbury: Initially, we wanted to build additional developer capacity for other dev shops like 8th Light. We launched with a couple of subcontracts from 8th Light and a goal of producing developers at the level of quality that people expect from 8th Light. With that we knew we could sell additional team augmentation services into other development companies. The Covid-19 crisis has certainly changed that a little bit. A lot of those development companies are not looking for extra capacity. They are struggling to keep their own people working. It has caused us to pivot a little bit. One of the models that we are experimenting with is what I’m calling “The Software Factory.” I’ve always pushed back against this idea or this metaphor of thinking about software development as a factory. It is sort of antithetical to the idea of software as a craft where everything is custom. However, I’m starting to see some merit here in how people want to buy software. The customers that we’ve been working with lately are companies that aren’t necessarily software companies, but they have a software product of some kind either that supports their business or that they use for their clients. We let people, instead of buying developers or developer time, buy features from us. They say, “I want my app to do this,” we give them a price on that, and we charge them that price. It doesn’t matter how long it actually takes to get done. We have our own internal ways of trying to preserve our cost structure and everything, but we are really trying to price software based on the value it produces not the time that somebody spends on it.
Walsh: Would you describe that as a middle ground between buying software as a package and a purely custom solution built specifically for a client from the ground up? Are you building little modules that people can buy and more or less reuse with some tweaks?
Bradbury: No, we’re still not owning any IP [intellectual property] or trying to have our own products that we are selling to multiple clients. It is still all custom development on the client’s system. How they pay for that development is different. They say, “I want this,” and they pay a fixed price for that thing versus us saying that we think it will take 20 hours, but if it takes 30 hours, we’ll charge you for 30, or if it takes 15, we’ll charge you for 15. We have our way of estimating to say, “This is the price.” Once the client agrees to it, that’s what they pay even if the complexity grows beyond what we estimated. It also gives us a lot of flexibility in terms of who does the work. We eliminate the conversation of, “Oh, this developer is faster than that one, so I want the more experienced developer because I want it done with fewer hours.” With this model, it doesn’t matter. It could be a more junior programmer working 30 hours, or it could be an experienced developer working 15. It doesn’t matter because the value produced is the same.
Next time, I talk to Doug about what differentiates One World Coders from other outsourcing options.
To learn more about One World Coders…
- General information: https://www.oneworldcoders.com
- Videos of weekly katas and other meetups on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCirIapVcTclvbyX_xUK2zcQ
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/oneworldcoders
- Slack Workspace: https://www.oneworldcoders.com/blog/one-world-coders-community-10-launches-in-rwanda