Our last developer went to live on a farm

So you have some big problems with the freelance developer you’ve been using and you’re looking to contract a replacement ASAP. You get in touch with me and explain why you need a new developer so urgently for an ongoing project.

If you’re in this position, I’ve got a simple piece of advice for you –


Say your previous developer isn’t available anymore. Say they took a full-time job. Say they got hit by a bus or went to live on a farm.

Whatever you say, just don’t tell me what a terrible person they are and how they “screwed you over” or “left you in the shit”.

I’ve heard this so many times that I can only assume developers are the worst people alive. Does this sound familiar? “They’ve become unresponsive” or “impossible to work with”. They’re unreliable, belligerent and refuse to make the changes you’ve asked for.

The problem with telling me this is I’ve worked as a code monkey for 13 years for dozens of companies and I know without hearing the other side of the story what the other side of the story is.

Your project made them miserable

Developers are fairly normal humans in at least one respect: They like a job to be rewarding and well paid where they get to work in a good environment with people they like. Is this true of the project your developer has abandoned with such hostility? Because the first alarm bell that rings in my head as you offer me this opportunity is that I’d be walking into a nightmare of a project that will make me miserable too.

The second alarm bell that rings is that you can’t maintain good relations with your suppliers. To part on such acrimonious terms, the relationship must have been very strained and must have ended without mutual agreement. If I have to leave a project that is otherwise reasonably pleasant, I’ll always ensure a smooth handover to a successor and generally try to be helpful. If however I am abused or ripped off (it happens, trust me) I am likely to exhibit these horrible attributes myself.


Now ask yourself – how attractive does your offer look from my perspective?


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