BSR Website and the Life of Small Business Web Developer Part 1

Office lifeBetween buzzwords, mail server explosions and graphics designers falling through there were many issues that reminded me why web development is difficult. The concepts of cloud computing although not difficult to comprehend have infiltrated everyone’s mind and some how as a web developer I should deal with this. How necessary is it for a small business website with global customers? My guess is not very; however, considering the amount of new hosting solutions I suppose it is not too difficult to implement :).

This project reminded me how crucial having a solid team is, how every cog needs to fit right or else another team member ends up taking all the work load. 1 Month with no solid design caused the project to be delayed by two months. I hate getting off of deadlines; however, this one slipped out of my hands. Being the guy in charge has its benefits, but when you need to report to a client you can’t exactly say hold on let me find a new designer. So one thing leads to another and you need to take matters into your own hands.

The First Concept

For a while, I was untrusting and would never let anyone else join my team. About a year ago I started to diverge from that mentality and brought people on board. My first team member proved to be awesome so I decided looking for a designer. I posted an ad on craigslist which yielded 150+ resumes and portfolios in about an hour of which my eyes could only look at about 10 of them. Lots of people looking for experience. I took a bet, and started the person on smaller projects before throwing them into the fire. After a while I realized they can’t take it. Graphics design and art of any kind is tough. You need to learn to take criticism and work with it well. People don’t know what they want, and it is every team members job to try to decipher what someone else wants (just like a developer). Trying to manage everyone’s design opinions is also difficult. I still like my original design  the best (ha).

The final design

I don’t quite know what to make of all of this. Much of this seems pretty obvious; however, I suppose now I will revise my needs for team members. I can’t just have someone who is eager to learn. The passion needs to be there, but it needs to be more than that. Hiring is difficult :(! I now know what hiring managers must feel like at big corporation. They already have great teams, and bringing another person in could break the chemistry. Lets not even get on topic of politics.

On the other hand as a smaller developer I do have some awesome opportunities that employees of larger companies don’t have. For example this BSR website is the first live example of the CakeCMS my team is developing. We have some cool wordpress like features we are currently working on implementing like auto updating and a plugin database with the easy install. Plus we have taken concepts from joomla like their menu manager and AJAX’d it out (that currently works). Also merged tagging with SEO stuff. We have a bunch of stuff on that list!

Conclusions: life is good :).

Check it out: http://www.blueskyresearch.com


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