Mainstream Technologies

Thought Leadership

The Triple Constraint: Cheap, Fast or Good? Pick Two.

the triple constraintExecutive Summary

In our pursuit of excellence, why is it that we’re reluctant to invest in excellence?

An hourly rate is generally used as a key factor in selecting a software provider.  It’s assumed that all software developers are created equal which isn’t necessarily true.

Mainstream is a destination employer of experienced software professionals.   Our staff averages 15 years’ experience in their craft with 7 of those being with Mainstream.   One of our primary steve jobs quoteareas of focus is acquiring top talent, cultivating it and unleashing it for our clients.   Our ability to deliver and positively impacting the FINAL COST of the SOLUTION has been validated by a successful 21+ year track record.

The reality is that rate is a good indicator of supply and demand and little else.  An average rate could be translated to mean ‘average’ skills and experience.

The following case study is based on the experience of a Mainstream client.  They were savvy enough to track the entire effort and the associated costs of building a custom software package.  As a result, there is verifiable data to substantiate Mr. Jobs’ claims that the quality of people working for you does impact your business.

Challenge

Client A found themselves in a struggle to deliver a new software solution to a key stakeholder in a timely manner.

Originally when tasked with the project, they were at full capacity managing day to day activities and chose to meet their obligation by using a contractor.  They reached out to their source, reviewed the options, identified the most competitive rate and chose a candidate to work alongside an internal resource who had been assigned to the project.

After 3 months they had only completed 10% of the functionality.  At this point, the lack of progress alarmed management because there was a risk of failing to meet the promised deadline.     Realizing they were at risk, they reached out to Mainstream Technologies for help.

Solution

Mainstream was given the leeway to assign two FTE (full-time equivalent) resources, yet the project required a blend of 3 distinct skill sets rather than two.

Mainstream’s LEAN SOURCING™ service offered our client the flexibility to utilize resources on a fractional basis.   This allowed them to dynamically deploy the right resources when needed, for only as long as they were needed and no more.   Partnering with Mainstream gave the client access to a technology team rather than a static set of developers.

Once the agreement was completed, Mainstream redesigned the solution from the initial effort and completed the project in 3 weeks.  Having delivered the original requirements well in advance of the due date, the client chose to proceed with Phase 2 feature enhancements.

Recap

Beyond meeting the original obligations well in advance of the deadline, the client had indisputable evidence that a provider’s hourly rate wasn’t a meaningful indicator of the FINAL COST OF THE SOLUTION.

In this example, Mainstream’s rate was higher than the competition, but the FINAL COST OF THE SOLUTION was 38% of what had been spent on the initial effort.

  • The Initial Effort
    • Term – 3 months
    • 2 FTE resources
    • 10% of requirements were completed but deemed unusable
    • The promised delivery date was at risk
    • Resulted in a 3-month delay and loss of productivity
  • Mainstream Technologies’ Effort
    • Term – 3 weeks
    • Leveraged LEAN SOURCING™, 3 resource assignment within a 2 FTE budget allocation
    • 100% of the requirements were delivered ahead of schedule
    • On time delivery with additional Phase 2 features
    • Total Relative Cost for Phase 1 – 38% of the initial effort

 Impact

  • The initial effort took 4x times longer than the Mainstream effort and resulted in 10% of unusable software
  • Mainstream’s effort took 75% less time to complete 100% of the project
  • Client A spent 62% less  with Mainstream than the initial effort
  • Phase 1 and additional Phase 2 features were delivered ahead of schedule

Conclusion

There is any number of factors that contribute to the FINAL COST OF THE SOLUTION.  An hourly rate is certainly a factor, but if you believe Steve Jobs, you get what you pay for.  The quality of the people you surround yourself with does make a difference.

If you would like more information about how Mainstream Technologies can help you get the most from your technology investment, visit our website at www.mainstream-tech.com or give us a call at 501-801-6700.

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