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Tue, 23 Jan 2007

Adventures in Inshoring

Like many small consulting companies, Obtiva was built upon a longstanding relationship with a large, local client. A client like this provides a strong foundation on which to build a business. As I said in my 2006 Retrospective, my primary goal for 2007 is to spend an increasing amount of time in our Wheaton office leading our Rails projects. To achieve this goal, we will need to bring in a steady stream of new projects. I'm happy to say that January has proven to be a good start. We kicked off two new Rails projects: negotiations software for a large bail bonds company and (yet another) social networking application for a major television network.

While these projects are wildly different, they have one thing in common. Both clients are located in California. Why is that significant? Go read Mike Karlesky's insightful post on Inshoring. While neither Obtiva nor Atomic Object can compete with the prices of our offshore brethren, it is possible for us to undercut our coastal colleagues.

Moving toward distinct, shorter-term projects creates a need for a steady stream of new business, which is exacerbated by our expertise in Ruby on Rails and agile practices. We have found that by coupling a killer technology like Rails with the disciplines of frequent releases and test-driven development, we are able to deliver our projects ahead of schedule. This puts more pressure on us to bring in more projects, but it also increases our chances for repeat business, not to mention the morale boost our team feels. It's a positive feedback loop that I hope we'll still find ourselves in when summer arrives.

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