An Allegory – Plastering
Let’s say you need a new room plastered in your home and you know a good plasterer who charges £20 per hour. But then a salesman knocks on your door and says he could send a team of plasterers and they will do it for £10 per hour per person. It seems like a no-brainer. But what he doesn’t tell you is that his people have limited experience, work slowly and produce shoddy work.
Now if you go with your original contact, the proper plasterer, he’ll take two days and do a great job with minimal disruption. “Job’s a goodun” as they say in the UK! But if you go with the other option, you will get 4 so-called plasterers and after 2 days you realise that they are only half finished, the walls they have completed are not flat and the carpets are a mess. So the job now starts taking up your time and emotional energy and you get them to rework sections and clean up the carpet. After a week, they have finished. You have paid 5 times what you would have paid the proper plasterer and the end result is not as good.
Could This Be True of a LabVIEW Agency?
We believe this is happening all the time with software development (including LabVIEW). Agencies claim to have good programmers but in reality they will pick up any newcomer who wants to sign with them. If you get 4 programmers from a LabVIEW agency, perhaps one or two will be moderately experienced and the others will be relative newcomers. The more experienced one(s) will spend a lot of time checking and correcting the work of the others.
I have seen this first hand. Companies sometimes feel reassured at the start because of the number of workers being thrown at the project, but later, they regret their decision at length. To make matters worse it is hard to backpedal later on. The programmers from the LabVIEW agency can produce so much inefficient code that anyone else taking it over would need a very long time to untangle it all. Often, the only realistic way to proceed is to start again from scratch, but this can be hard for management to accept.
The moral: the LabVIEW world is like many others, you are better off with one organ grinder than several monkeys!