Frequently Asked Questions
Working with Your Developers
1. How do I work with Allshore and your developers?
You work directly with your developers through voice, text, and video chat using Skype, perform demos with GoToMeeting, and easily manage your project(s) using Basecamp. Communication is key when working with virtual employees, so we maintain open lines of communication through which you can work directly with your dedicated developer.
2. Do I have to use Basecamp or can I continue to use my own project management software?
We provide a Basecamp account, but you are welcome to use whatever project management system you prefer. Just give your team access and instruct them on how you want them to us to use it.
3. What hours will my developers work?
- Our development staff works American business hours: Monday â€“ Friday, 7:30 a.m. â€“ 4 p.m. CST. Each developer takes a 30-minute dinner break, and may occasionally take other necessary breaks throughout the day. However, your Client Relations Manager counts your developers’ working time by the minute to ensure eight hours of work are met daily.
- Pakistan does not observe Daylight Savings Time so from November to March when we move our clocks ahead an hour our shift time changes to 6:30 a.m. â€“ 3 p.m. CST. Our employees overseas get off work at 2 a.m. â€“ this is when public transportation stops running so we cannot ask them to work an hour later for half of the year. Our clients of course do not have to get up earlier â€“ the CRM will check attendance and make sure your developer is on time and working on your tasks.
4. What does it mean to have a dedicated developer?
Your developer works only on your projects and is available to you during the day like an in-house employee. They will work accordance with your standards and follow your instruction to complete your work according to your specifications.
5. Who keeps my developer(s) accountable? How can I be certain that my developer(s) is working when they say they are?
- One of the primary functions of your support team is to keep your developers accountable and ensure the hours they log are accurate.
- Your technical Team Lead manages your developer(s) technical work and working time visually, in-person; they are aware of where your developer(s) is and what he is working on throughout each day.
- Your onshore Client Relations Manager monitors your developer(s) working time and communication remotely to ensure each day’s work is satisfactory.
6. Can I communicate with my developers directly?
Absolutely! We believe direct and open communication is key to successful outsourcing. You will be able to speak to your developer(s) via Skype, GoToMeeting, email, phone call, and a project management system of your choosing (we offer Basecamp as an option). Additionally, your developer(s) post hourly status updates in Skype to keep you informed of their progress throughout the day.
7. Do your developers speak English? Will there be a language barrier?
We only hire developers who are able to communicate fluently in English, both verbally and textually. (For more see out hiring standards.) However that does not mean that there will not be misunderstandings; even among native English speakers that is an impossible guarantee. In order to help prevent miscommunications, U.S.-based Client Relations Managers are involved in all communication to facilitate efficient and productive discussion.
1. What roles do Team Leads and Client Relations Managers play?
- A Team Lead and a Client Relations Manager are provided at no additional cost to help manage your developer(s) day-to-day by overseeing their work, time, attendance, and communication.
- An Allshore Team Lead has considerable experience and knowledge in his field and performs routine code reviews and offers technical guidance and solutions for you and your team. He is also available to assist in the creation of project estimates, scopes, and documentation.
- Your Client Relations Manager provides proactive customer service and is your primary contact for client support. They are available to resolve any questions, issues, or concerns regarding our services. Their objective is to prevent problems from ever arising, but are trained to handle them if they do.
- Both managers are heavily involved and invested in Allshore’s relationship with you in order to ensure you are fully satisfied and your company’s standards, goals, and needs are met.
2. Can my Team Lead or Client Relations Manager serve as project managers?
Unfortunately, neither manager can help manage your project. Both managers are instrumental in establishing a team relationship and ensuring your development work is completed to your standards. They have the capability to aid in scope or deadline creation, but they are not instructed to handle task delegation or oversight on the project scope. Your support team is provided to aid in collaboration and quality assurance only.
3. Does Allshore provide a project manager?
Allshore does not provide a project manager. In our experience we have found that an effective PM must have an in-depth knowledge of the project, the company, and the clientele that can only come from an internal employee. We are firm believers in the potential of outsourcing, but we are also carefully aware of its limitations so while our staff can fulfill many integral roles with great proficiency, project management is something that we believe should remain in-house.
4. Do I need a project manager?
Project management is crucial to the success of any project and we ask that a representative from your company fulfill this role. We recommend appointing someone who has strong communication skills and some technical knowledge. They must have full understanding of the project scope and end result requirements, as well as the ability to communicate directly both with our staff and your clients.
1. Who do I contact if I have questions about the status of my project?
Your project manager should be in communication with your development team regularly and have a constant knowledge of the status of your project. We encourage weekly demos be scheduled to ensure things are progressing correctly so that adjustments can be made if necessary.
2. What should I do if I am unhappy with your services or any work my developer(s) have completed?
Don’t hesitate to contact your Client Relations Manager with any issues or concerns regarding your developer’s work or performance. Both your Client Relations Manager and Team Lead are trained and prepared to assist, train, and coach your developer(s) to solve the issue promptly. We will remain in close communication with you while we rectify the situation. If your developer continues to not meet your standards and the profitability of the relationship suffers as a result we will recommend that you replace your developer and will begin looking for the perfect replacement.
3. If a developer isn't working out, how does Allshore handle replacing them?
- We have a process in place to make a switch when it is necessary and to make it as seamlessly as possible with very little disruption to your work. Sometimes things don’t work out with a particular developer. There is more to a successful working relationship than technical skill alone and it is hard to judge from an interview if someone will be a good fit for the team. We want to find the perfect developer for you, so don’t hesitate to tell us if your current developer doesn’t meet that criteria.
- You are welcome to be involved in the recruitment process: you can review resumes or interview potential replacements that have been pre-screened by our team. Once hired, we will remain highly involved in the relationship to ensure the replacement is a good fit and that knowledge transfer occurs quickly and seamlessly. We will compensate the time your new developer takes to train and get up to speed on the project.
4. Can I let a developer go when the project they were working on is completed?
Yes. Allshore offers hiring solutions based on your needs, and we offer month-to-month contracts that only require 30-days’ notice to cancel. If you anticipate that you will soon run out of work for a developer or the project is ending, simply inform your Client Relations Manager and we will help manage the transition.
5. I have hired my developer full-time, but what if I don't have a full 40 hours of work every week?
We are flexible to help you maintain ideal capacity â€“ this means helping you manage the slow weeks as well as the busy weeks. We only require 24 working hours per week for each dedicated developer. With this minimum policy, when work is slow or you are unavailable, you only need to reach 24 hours of billable time per week. Your development staff will remain available for the entire week if you end up with more than 24 hours of work or need additional assistance. While not working with you, your developer(s) will study, train, and perform research in the office, continuing to hone skills and be readily available if you need them.
6. What if I have an emergency after-hours, on a weekend, or during a holiday?
Don’t panic! We are on stand-by to help in any way we can. Our customer support team is available through our emergency after-hours line to help. In the event you encounter an issue outside of our business hours of Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. â€“ 4 p.m., just call out emergency line and an Allshore team member will help you manage your emergency.
Allshore’s Overseas Service Centers
1. Where are your service centers located?
We currently have two fully operational offices overseas, in Islamabad, Pakistan and Lahore, Pakistan. We are also in the process of establishing an office in Karachi, Pakistan.
2. Why did you choose Pakistan?
Through years of experience, research, and attempts to establish offices in other countries, Pakistan has proven to be a continual source of highly skilled senior-level developers with the work ethic, technical and communication abilities to meet our standards. South Asia is a valuable resource for quality resources, and while Pakistan was a latecomer to outsourcing, this gives them more incentive and ambition to succeed in the industry.
There are numerous advanced technical universities in Pakistan, many of which offer programs taught in English to prepare developers to work with international companies.
1. How do you select developers to hire? What does your recruiting process entail?
Allshore takes great care to determine whether or not someone is fit to work with our clients. All candidates that apply to Allshore must complete a series of technical tests, an HR interview, a technical interview, and a communication interview. Our standards are high and uncompromising, and as a result we only hire approximately 6-8 percent of the candidates who apply.
2. What do you look for in potential hires?
Technical interviews are given by our most experience technical management staff and supervised by our Development Department Manager. The interview is a question and answer session to evaluate the candidate’s depth of understanding, knowledge, and experience on their technical skills. The key points the interviewers are looking for include:
- Ability to work on MVC
- Experience in and strong knowledge of OOP
- Ability to work in any MVC Framework (Zend, CI, Yii, Cakephp, etc.)
- Ability to work in any of the CMS systems (Drupal, WordPress, Joomla, etc.)
- Capability to solve problems related to OOP, PHP, or MySQL
- Advanced analytical thinking and problem solving skills, enabling him/her to solve easy to complex scenario-based questions
- Interest in learning and keeping up with new and existing PHP related technologies
- Confidence in his/her technical abilities
- Motivation, willingness, and commitment to accomplish projects of various calibers
- The interview is then graded on an American academic grading system; candidates must achieve a score of 75 percent or higher to proceed to the communication interview.
- If we are hiring to fulfill a special request for a client, we will look for all of the above plus any additional criterion the client has requested.
Trained native English speakers from our U.S. office conduct the communication interviews for all candidates. A casual question and answer session is hosted in both text and verbal communication, to evaluate the candidate’s English and communication abilities as well as their sociality. The key points the interviewers are looking for include:
- Ability to work within our model
- Articulate communication and comprehension, both in text and verbally
- Excellent grasp on English language – fluent or near fluency, with little to no grammatical mistakes
- Capable of expressing and presenting oneself in detail, as requested
- Clear and understandable verbal communication, with limited accent and good pronunciation
- Quick response time and typing skills
- Ability to hold a conversation without major prompting
- Polite and sociable demeanor
The interview is then graded on an American academic grading system; candidates must achieve a score of 75 percent or higher to be offered a position with our company.
- While 75% is passing for each test, if a candidate earns a 75% on both tests they are typically not offered a position.
3. Can I interview/evaluate a developer before I hire them?
Certainly! We will send you a developer’s resume so you know their experience and skill-level before that developer joins your team. Additionally, we welcome requests to interview a developer before you hire them and highly encourage interviews when either replacing a developer or adding a developer to an already established team. If you are interested in interviewing a developer, your Allshore sales contact or Client Relations Manager can set up the interview at your convenience.
4. How do I add developers to my team?
Allshore offers infinite capacity to meet your changing needs. If you would like to add another developer to your team, notify your Client Relations Manager and explain what you are looking for. We will seek the best fit for your project and your team and follow up with options for hire at your convenience.
5. If I want to hire a new developer, how quickly can they start?
That depends on whether the developers we have available meet your needs â€“ if so we can get started right away, but if not the process can take a little longer. We are interested in finding the right fit for each client and will not place a developer just for the sake of getting them off the bench. A quick match for the wrong reasons is not conducive to long-term success. This means that we may not be able to start you with your desired developer immediately, but our team of recruiters work quickly and effectively to find you the right fit as quickly as possible. While this model takes a little longer, we have found it to be much more successful for everyone involved.
6. How do you select the developers you recommend for my team?
- We aim to provide you with a developer that can work with you long-term, so we seek out a developer that possesses the technical skills you require as well as attributes and a working style that will make them a good fit for you and your team.
- We look first to any developers we have free, but if we don’t have the right developer available our recruitment team will go to work to find the right developer. This process is less immediate than pairing you with what we have available, but in the long run taking the time to find the right fit pays off for everyone.
1. Can you give me a fixed price per project?
Allshore does not bid on projects or offer a fixed rate. Since we are a staffing firm we charge hourly and clients pay only for the hours that their developers worked. Your team can collaborate to create an estimate for a project, but it is just an estimate. While this model sounds riskier to many, our clients have actually found it to be a more honest and transparent way of outsourcing. Our model eliminates scope creep and clients know they are paying only for time actually spent on their work â€“ time they can review and approve. Many of our clients are completing projects for their clients for which they do offer fixed rates and we have always managed to work with them.
2. How am I billed?
Allshore offers hourly rates for each developer, in which you are only billed for the hours your developer(s) work. These hours are logged daily into an internal system on Basecamp and verified by the Client Relations Manager and Team Lead. We use Freshbooks, an online-based invoicing system, to manage billing and send invoices, which are delivered via email to your accounts manager. Each invoice is sent with a net. 30 deadline for payment before a seven percent (7%) late fee is incurred.
3. Will my rate ever change?
Your rate will be increased annually to cover accumulating operational costs for your development staff. We view Allshore developers to be your employees, just as much as they are our employees. Allshore maintains each relationship at a fixed profit, and any rate increase will be given in the form of an annual raise to your developer, or will be used to recoup any yearly expenses on equipment improvements we’ve made to benefit your work.
4. What should I expect in my invoice?
Your developer(s) enters daily logs into an internal Allshore system in Basecamp, with descriptions of their work completed and total hours worked. These entries will be featured in an itemized list within each invoice.
5. Can I keep track of the hours my developers are working without waiting on each invoice?
Yes, you can view your developer(s) logged hours at any time. If you ever have any questions regarding hours, you can contact your Client Relations Manager at any time during our regular business hours.
6. How do you manage overtime, weekend, or holiday time?
As Allshore bills by the hour, these hours will also be included in invoices at your same hourly rate. You will not be billed a higher rate for work after-hours or beyond our 40-hour workweek so the hours will be billed at your usual rate.
7. Do I pay upfront for projects, or once the project is completed?
Neither. We do not offer project-based plans; all services are charged at an hourly rate and invoiced bi-monthly. You are only billed for the hours your developer(s) works. Payment is required within 30 days following the date the invoice has been sent, before a late fee of seven percent (7%) is incurred.
8. When will I be invoiced?
Invoicing is compiled in bi-monthly periods, ending on the 15th and final date of each month. You will receive the invoices via email on the business date following the last date of the invoicing period.
9. How can I pay my invoice?
- Our most popular payment option is to simply mail us a check with the specified invoice you wish to pay. Checks can be mailed to our physical address:
2500 McGee Drive
Norman, OK 73072
- Online payments can be made through Freshbooks with a PayPal account, or you may call your Client Relations Manager to pay invoices with a credit card.
10. Can I dispute time on my invoice?
- Definitely. Allshore’s guarantee is “never pay for unproductive work,” and we will gladly compensate any time deemed unproductive for all open invoices. In the event you feel unjustly charged, please select the “dispute” option on Freshbooks and contact your Client Relations Manager immediately. An investigation will be performed, and we will involve you in each step, then will discuss the final resolution with you.
- If you do have an issue with an invoice, we ask that you or your accounts manager refrain from paying this invoice until the issue has been discussed with and handled by our client support team; the invoice will be updated to reflect any compensations made.
11. Do I have to wait until I receive my invoice to dispute unproductive time?
No. The Allshore promise to “never pay for unproductive work” remains our guarantee and includes all working time. You are welcome to dispute unproductive time prior to the invoice being sent by contacting your Client Relations Manager. We will perform an investigation with your team following the complaint and will attempt to solve the issue prior to the invoice being sent out, keeping you involved in the entire process. Any compensation granted will be reflected in the next invoice.
12. Who should I contact with questions about my invoices?
Your Client Relations Manager is capable of answering questions or solving any issues you may have with your invoices or our invoicing procedures.