Buck Calabro (:mcalabro@commsoft.net) wrote:

>We require x billable hours per person to survive as a company
>(not to mention prosper!)   Obviously, if the company "pays" for
>education (with hours invested, course costs, etc.) then those
>expenses must be recouped.  Thus the question of who pays...

Of course you need to keep billing to survive. And to be able to keep
billing in the future you are going to have to keep yourselves abreast
of new developments. It's as simple as that.

>This is the obvious answer, but they don't much like it.  It's very hard to
>disguise a beginner to a client when the programmer has to talk to the
>client to get the details, etc.  There's a big difference between the client
>knowing that the invoice at the end of the month contains buried charges
>for overhead, and personally experiencing the fact that they're paying
>for one of our programmers' education.

I've attracted some flak for a simple statement that I took to be self
evidently true. I never meant that the clients would pay directly, nor
did I mean to imply that we should submit disguised bills or in some
other way treat our clients shoddily. All I meant was that we are
looking to maximise revenue over the long as well as the short term. A
software house cannot do this without budgeting for staff development.
Not in the long run.

>We don't have hard and fast standards; too many juniors, too many
>clients, too little time.

I'm stunned. At some point you're going to have to consolidate. There is
such a thing as going out of business through over trading.

>There's no tradition of having a project leader
>who gets educated first, then educates the others.  It's learn-as-you-go
>for each individual.  Not that everyone works in total isolation; far from
>it.  If someone needs help they ask a more senior person; but they feel
>guilty about it (taking away billable hours...)

On this logic staff education should definitely be discouraged because
if it takes them longer to perform a given job then you can bill more
hours. Eventually the clients are going to go to other suppliers who can
give better value for money. At least it'll reduce the pressure of work.

Dave Kahn - TCO, Tengiz, Kazakstan

e-mail:  kahn@tengizchevroil.com    (until September 30th)
         dkahn@cix.compulink.co.uk  (from  October 1st)

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