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Re: Is this Needed? Dragging OT

From: stephen booth <>
Date: Fri, 28 Oct 2005 17:38:34 +0100
Message-ID: <>

On 28/10/05, Johnson, George <> wrote:
> Not wishing to drag this way off topic....
> In all seriousness is this the general perception of contractors
> across the globe? That we are a tolerated resource but ideally the world
> might be a better place without us.

I've had to deal with a number of contractors (perils of UK public sector working) and have found that som,e are decent and helpful whilst others make Arthur Daly seem like a paragon of virtue. The ratio seems to be about 1:5 (possibly being in the public sector where 'cheap initial bid' beats 'good but you get what you pay for' most of the time means I've run into more of the fly-by-nights).

The good contrators listen to what you need from them, come up with a solution (usually more than one, explaining the different pros and cons of each one, and let you choose) which they implement. They don't mind if the permanent staff sit in and are quite happy to explain what they're doing and why and to fully document what they did.

The bad contractors will drop in their standard one-size-fits-all solution and then charge you extra for 'bespoke customisations' (i.e. getting it to work) which they claim wasn't covered by the original contract, won't explain anything to the permanent staff because 'It's too advanced' then leave without providing any documentation or even the passwords they changed all the passwords to.

My preference for getting contractors in (assuming they're there to provide skills, not just an extra pair of hands to cover leave or because your DBA (i.e. your only DBA) has just left for a much better job and you haven't managed to hire a replacement yet) is that they don't actually do any of the work directly themselves. They talk one or two of the permanent staff through how to do it (and why) as they do it and document the process. That is hiring a contractor should be an opportunity to improve the skills of your permanent workers, rather than just get a task done and have the skills required to do it again or to support it walk out the door with a sizable fraction of your IT budget in their back pocket. Some might disagree


It's better to ask a silly question than to make a silly assumption.
Received on Fri Oct 28 2005 - 11:41:17 CDT

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