in reply to typical contractor rates / outsourcing
In my large corporate environment, I create small perl applications to help folks make sense of various debugging output from a telephone switch. One of my better efforts was used in a commercial service that is now generating revenue (for my company, not for me). As demand expanded I expressed the need to expand the development out to two people and suggested a local guru that I knew to be open to the position. The request was granted provided that I use one of our colleagues in Beijing instead of my preferred candidate.
I had all the usual initial fears that accompany the prospect of outsourcing work to China, and it created quite a lot of stress until I finally decided to give it a chance, do the best setup job I could, and not try to doom things to failure before it even got started.
I first tried to do good prep work, identifying what I expected to be done, helping out where I could to get my new co-worker up to speed including asking for help from this very site (see Helping Chinese Colleagues Learn Perl), and approaching it with an open mind. As part of my prep work, I created a list of requirements that I deemed necessary for the success of this project:
1.) At least 3 face-to-face meetings per year.
2.) Must be dedicated exclusively full-time to this project.
3.) Must be able to create usable work off by them-self without constant supervision (by me).
3.) Opt-out after a few months if things are not working out.
After working with him for six months now, I'm very happy with the outcome. It's clearly not as good as my suggested guru, but the contribution he makes to this project is a more-than-significant plus, and he and I are becoming friends in the process. The time-shift is difficult at times (who stays up late vs who gets up early), but can also be used to an advantage as well (sending Saturday night email gets me results on my desk first thing Monday morning).
Maybe I was just very lucky with the individual I got, but I thought it would be good to report a pleasant experience about something that usually generates a lot of bad press.