One problem with my current business plan is that if I want things done faster, I have to hire more programmers, which costs more per month. In theory, (aside from diminishing returns), this would pay for itself anyway. Twice as expensive for half as long still costs the same amount. In practice, I have a feeling this isn’t going to be the case. One problem is that, before hiring someone, it’s hard to get a feel for how fast they are. If I have 6 months of work for myself, and hire 1 programmer, is it going to now take 3 months? Probably not. Maybe it will only take 5 months instead. Or 4. Or 7 because they take so much of my own time that overall productivity is lowered.
This is hard to budget and hard to schedule.
What is much easier to budget is if I attach a fixed maximum and minimum cost to each item on the schedule. I now know the absolute minimum and maximum the game will cost, as well as the longest it could take to get done. It also lets me hire more people with safety, because it just spreads out the same amount of money between more people, rather than costing more with no guarantee the job will get done faster anyway.
I know from personal experience I actually like this better, from both sides. When I was an hourly contractor, I didn’t feel compelled to work when I don’t want to. As a manager, I don’t feel I need to check up on the schedule anymore. Either the work gets done in time or not. As a matter of fact, I liked putting down my hours, because I was fast and I could show it. And I worked hard, and I liked the extra money I made.
To try to help this along I’m also attaching minimum hours to each assigment. If a worker can get something done faster than I could myself, and still be up to spec, they still get paid for those hours. It’s a bonus for being especially smart. The maximum is to prevent cost overruns, and wasted time on dead-ends.
This might cause a rush of half-way finished code to try to beat the requirement. Hopefully not, but if it does, no big deal. It just costs me a bit more time to day to review code.
I’ll see how it works over the next couple of weeks.