Q: How are you different than recruiters?
A: CF Webtools doesn’t grab someone from a pool of resumes based on a checklist. We integrate our developers closely into our culture. We get to know them – their strengths and weaknesses. When we assign someone to your work they remain a part of our culture (even though they may be working closely and directly with you) and they have access to the giant aggregate brain of our community.
When we hire we look for more and require more. We look for high technical aptitude, but that’s just a “pay to play” item. We also require the candidate to be a cultural fit – to be able to thrive within our community.
When we hire we put candidates through a rigorous hiring process. In addition to standard hiring practices – credit checks, background checks, reference checks, social media checks, etc. - we test their technical proficiency by asking them to code for us (and actually watching them do it). We comment on the code with both positive and negative comments. Then, in speaking with them, we look for markers that indicate healthy, mature response to both praise and criticism.
After the coding test we interview them at least two times – one technical interview and one cultural interview. Once a job offer is extended, the employee spends the first 30 days in a probationary status where we review their work, gather specific communications skills assessment from their team members and decide if they are a good fit for CF Webtools (and also decide whether or not CF Webtools is a good fit for them).
Finally there is the “aggregate brain” difference. CF Webtools is not building a pool of assets to be rented out. We are building a technical community. The “brain-power” of our collective group of senior level developers is the most valuable asset of such a community. Even though you may only interact directly with one team or even one developer, behind that developer stands a library of years of experience residing in all our development staff. We value knowledge-sharing.
Q: What makes your team different?
A: Many of our developers are nationally known ColdFusion experts who speak at conferences, maintain widely read blogs and interact directly with Adobe on bug hunts, beta tests and forums. Besides their impressive level of expertise.
CF Webtools employees are hired because they have our core values:
- We exhibit a can-do servant-like attitude.
- We are a community focused on caring, family and faith.
- We excel at cross-domain communication.
- We possess high technical aptitudes.
Meanwhile the structure of your team differentiates us as well. There are many ways of working with CF Webtools. Not everyone wants a full team, but for those that do we provide a Project Manager, high level team building help from CFG Mark Kruger, Lead and secondary developers (as many as you need) and ancillary help like sys admin, networking or DBA support.
As a development shop we have maintained a small data center (some 40 servers) for over 10 years giving us a much broader level of experience in all aspects of Internet programming and support.
Then again, if that’s overkill you will find us very flexible. Perhaps you need occasional maintenance or a one off change request on a legacy site. We can bring resources to bear on that too. We will listen, and devise a plan to help that meets your needs and your budget.
Q: Why should I use a “work from home” developer?
A: Let’s ask a different question. Who are these developers who are able to make a living without ever needing to leave the house? Who “gets” to work at home in the developer world? In our view the ones capable of being productive in a remote environment and still maintain good communication and cultural ties with our little technical community – those are the cream of the crop.
They’ve earned the "right" to work from home. These best of breed developers, when they are able to control their physical environment, are more productive.
Q: How do you overcome the “pitfalls” of a remote development staff?
A: All CF Webtools remote developers reside in the U.S. This helps us overcome some of the inescapable issues with language and time zones that dog other outsourcing operations. We carefully craft a culture that encourages constant communication:
- Using Skype, each developer is placed in a large communal chat room where questions are asked and answered and techniques are discussed.
- Another chat room dubbed the “Water Cooler” is for all the craziness that comes with active minds. Here developers post funny YouTube videos, sport the latest t-shirts and give each other High fives for cryptic and obscure things that only uber-nerds understand.
- Culturally, we choose developers who are gregarious and positive and need to rub shoulders with other developers. Our group is Nerdvana – a community of developers who love to be together and who constantly work to make each other better professionally and personally.
- Our Project Managers and Account Managers assemble online teams and stay in constant communication with them.
- Our operational process involves smaller, incremental changes and commits (Agile), logging of work in our tracking system throughout the day, and an incentive program that bases part of the developer salary on meeting a specific matrix of goals that help facilitate constant and ready communication.
- We have monthly staff meetings with the entire staff. We provide company updates, communicate policy changes, discuss technical items and allot time for a presentation from one of the developers on the topic of their choice.
In addition we are constantly reinforcing our core values (Can do attitude, community, communication, technical aptitude) using incentives like cash bonuses, Amazon gift cards, trips to conferences, annual banquets etc. We work very hard to find, enrich and keep developers who fit this communication model.
Q: How do you provide transparency?
A: It starts with our sales process. We are not going to recommend that you use us if we don’t believe that we are a good fit for you. If you don’t believe us ask – we have a special group of references that represent people who were amazed at our advice to not use CF Webtools because it wasn’t in their best interest.
Our operational process centers on transparency. Our online customer portal has extensive reporting showing your hours and how they are being used. Developers update the system multiple times per day and each update is delivered via email to your inbox. Your source code is protected in source control and you are given direct access to download it at any time. Even incremental changes are pushed automatically from source control to your staging site via our CI server. Estimates are created for individual tasks and overages are subject to approval.
In short you should always know how your money is being spent with CF Webtools. Development doesn’t have to be an inscrutable black box. Our process and our culture help make it understandable again.