The A-Team Dilemma

It’s been a while since I wrote, partly because work has been a roller coaster. We’ve been at both our highest and lowest points as a company in the past several months. But… by God’s grace we’ve pushed through and things are looking up again, so expect a lot more chronicles from the Martians in coming weeks.

For now, I just want to share a significant dilemma that we’re facing. We haven’t even decided what path we’re going to take, but would like to invite you to ponder it with us all the same.

See, we consider ourselves to be a sort of A-team: When you need to do the impossible, or the extraordinary, or the exquisitely detailed, you call The Martians. And when you do, the job is done with German precision, guided by the highest regard for your hopes and overall vision for your company and product. We are less like mercenaries for hire, and more like personal bodyguards with a vested interest in your happiness.

This passion for exceeding excellence combined with a pro-friendship attitude towards our clients is at the heart of who we are and what we do. And now, after half a decade, it has brought us to something of a crescendo. One that we’re not sure what to do with.

The A-Team

The A-Team

Any team of experts is bound to be a relatively small team. But small teams of experts conversely tend to have the biggest dreams. Ours, from a technical perspective, was to work on massive systems that would have our processors maxed out on every level, from user interface design to monolith databases working in perfect harmony. From an organizational perspective, we wanted the websites of some of the biggest companies in the country and region to have our signature: “signed. martians.”

We ticked that box last year. Not just for Kenya, but Africa.

But that’s when we experienced the unexpected dilemma: Are big projects really worth it for a small team? As in, we are essentially questioning the very goal we set out to achieve as a team!

Why are we asking ourselves this question just when we’ve landed the biggest project, for our biggest client, giving us the biggest cheque we’ve ever received?

Because there’s something about working on a 9-month project that threatens to choke the passion out of you as a small team. It’s just crazy, man! Every single day, you wake up to face the monster that is a 10,000 lines of code project, with incoming bug alerts and client frustrations and complaints from users who don’t know the difference between signing up and logging in! For months on end!

And it’s a dilemma not just from that point of view, but also from the financial. A big project has an appealing total sum, but in this case, when the amount is spread over the duration, it’s about a third of what we’d have earn each month if we worked on several smaller projects.

So, is it worth having the biggest brands in your portfolio and to work on systems that most programmers only fantasize about, or is it better to target smaller and quicker jobs for the same companies and have more income and greater job satisfaction?

We honestly don’t know yet. What would you do?

Signed. Martians.