Jacob Zuma - Meme
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What a way to start the year right? Anyway, this isn’t a study of some sort, so put your expectations of numbers and stats aside and just enjoy the shade (read truth) being thrown around. The following five items on this list showcase how I see Kenyan devs behaving similarly to Kenyan tailors based on my experience with these two groups:

They Never Turn Down a Job

Oh, so you thought you were the only fish in his/her pond? Lol. Like a tailor who will not tell you, “No, I am too busy to make that shirt for you with your set timeframe,” a Kenyan dev will not turn down a job regardless of how busy they are. You know how your tailor is always knitting something, even when you first met that tailor, they were busy on their machine, same applies to our beloved devs. These people are always writing code, whether for leisure or a client and chances are when you met the dev they were writing code but somehow, they always have time for a new client and that takes us to number two.

Set Deadlines are Rarely Met

So you met your tailor, gave them the design of shirt or dress you want and they told you to come after a week, only for you to go back and the tailor is yet to finish your outfit, well, you guessed it, devs do the same thing. You will agree on a website, for example, they tell you that it can be done in a month and 30-days later, you get excuses as to why the work could not be completed within the set period or even worse, they dodge your phone calls.



Excuses, After Excuses, After Excuses

Speaking of excuses, these never run dry. From, “It was hard to find the material you wanted” from your tailor to, “The requirements of your website are complicated” from your developer, there’s always a reason as to why something was not done on time. There could be some truth to the excuses but what’s certain is that your work was not done because another client’s work had to be done or Mr Robot just got too interesting to take eyes off.

There’s Always a Dev Willing to Offer the Same Service for Less

Uhuh, that one tailor whose shop is literally next to your tailor, who is always willing to shave off a couple of hundreds to make the same outfit for you, we know we are always tempted to throw out loyalty every time we get that offer and the same applies to devs, well, not necessarily the proximity of shops – devs don’t have shops, they always meet you at Java *rolling eyes* but there’s always one dev willing to offer you a service for less, what they don’t tell you is that points two and three above will be the order of the day, that is, if they even get the quality right.

They Never “Not-Know”


Send your tailor that Emanuel Ungaro (Don’t ask who this is, I googled too) dress and he will swear that he can make one exactly like it only for you to be our next meme sensation.Tailor FailsWell, same applies to a developer. Whether you want a 3D header on your website or a magical wand on your mobile app, the dev is always willing to deliver, “I don’t know how to do it” is not part of the vocabulary. There’s a good side to it, when I was writing code, I was taught never to turn down a job because I don’t know how to but rather learn on the job or get someone who I can subcontract but that is where the problem starts, refer to number two and three above.

Dear dev or tailor rushing to the comment section, before you throw rotten tomatoes (in form of words) at me, take a minute to think; if I was right about even one point, sit down and be humble. No hard feelings by the way.

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16 COMMENTS


  1. How about you write one about our clients too… They’re just as much of a headache as we are. If not more. Especially for those of us who do a quality job.


  2. Let me tell you what’s really going on. Any freelancer or development shop who’s any good is juggling a bunch of clients. With a stack of different requirements, and unknown length of time to implement, it’s really, really difficult to schedule out projects.

    You don’t know when one is going to be finished so you can start the next one. You need to keep hustling to get more work. Many projects take longer than you thought. And meanwhile old customers are coming back with little changes they want done.

    It can easily become a time management nightmare. So how do you manage time? Set up some constraints. With a Drupal installation profile, we can deploy a fully functioning site, with a bit of color changes and a handful of pages and everything ready for the client to plug in content in a matter of hours—and it”s getting shorter all the time.

    A website sitting on a development server hidden away from the public is absolutely useless. Lots of extremely successful Internet startups started with a crappy site—people come to web sites for the content, the interaction, the stuff that’s on there. The good news is, the more often you update the site, the more reasons you give your visitors to come back—especially if you’re updating it based on their feedback. Don’t blow your entire load at once—but get that site out early and be prepared to update.
    Our goal is to get your site launched as quickly as possible, because we’ve learned that a website is never really done when its launched.


  3. The tailoring analogy is spot on. Software development is a continuous process. Once you make a name for yourself, the clients are going to keep coming back for little changes and you cant let that prevent you from taking in new clients. I would encourage devs to invest some time in learning software planning and management to make their lives easier.


  4. I agree to the comparison. I have some two cents learned from my previous experience as a developer.

    We’ve got a problem. It can be taking in too many jobs or not accepting to “Not Know.” Here are a few ways to make things work better as a developer.

    Prioritize all jobs in a FIFO no matter the revenue differences. You never know, they guy who gave you a 20K job today could give you a 500K one tomorrow, but because you delayed his job for a 200K one, you lose him.

    Have a concurrent # of projects threshold . Inasmuch as you are hustling for more revenue, take care not to tarnish your brand in the process. That will cost you more than the revenue you would have forgone. You may say, I (or company) is able to work on 10 concurrent projects, don’t take any more projects after the tenth comes.

    However, since no one wants to lose a job, inform the prospective customer (11th Project) in good faith when you might be able to take on their project. If they’re in a hurry, you better not take it.

    Be a source of information to your customer. Explain to the customer how you work and what kind of cooperation you will need from them. Let them know your elasticity limit with regards to revisions. It will make both of you happier and respectful.

    Now, the very last. Keep your promises, or when unable to, call the customer first and let them know. Don’t wait or the customer to complain and explain. He will say “Okay”, but it isn’t okay.

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