For those who know me, you might be aware that I have been working on ‘Project web’ (a web application development project) for a few months now.  The whole process has been somewhat of a roller-coaster ride thus far, and have served me a few loops in the past few weeks.  The last disappointment was that it would probably be too expensive to have our site built here in the UK, and we’d have to consider alternatives. So, let me explain what I am doing and I’ll answer the questions that most people have been asking:

Q:  Why are you thinking of building your website in South Africa?

Labour prices, and the new favourable exchange rate (£1=R15) has made South Africa an attractive proposition.  I expect that we could pay half of what it could cost in the UK, and therefore have a chance of delivering the project within budget.  Also, South African web application development companies are willing to quote a price for the project, rather than applying an agile project approach which means you end up paying day rates until your money runs out.  The latter is too risky an approach for us.

Q:  Don’t you already know how to build websites?

In theory yes, but I can build only basic websites, and this is a specialist one.  Let’s explain with an analogy:  When it comes to legal services, I am able to do my own contracts for my tenanted property, but not able to do my own conveyancing or other legal work – here I will need a specialist.  In the web world it works the same way:  when it comes to specialist work, like building back-end applications (programmes), we need to employ specialists. And this project needs specialists.

Q:  Can’t you do it from the UK?

Again, in theory, yes.  We could try and use technology to communicate, using tools like Skype,  Google+ Hangout and Google Docs, but Tim and I both want to be more involved.  As I am a Project Manager, I would like to be involved the daily Project Management of the project, and liaising with the suppliers personally.  This way I hope to control both the costs and the scope.

Q:  How long will you be in South Africa?

We are not yet 100% certain, but I will probably need to be in South Africa for about 4-5 months.  Tim will, contracts dependent, join me for at least 3 months of that.

Q:  What about The CV Link. I thought that was your new business?

The CV Link will continue as usual.  All our services which help job seekers with their job search are available remotely and can be offered to candidates anywhere in the world, regardless of geographic location.

Q:  Who will look after your house?

We will have house-sitters to hold the fort and look after our beautiful oriental cat, Dali.  Also, our neighbours are very close and they help manage everything whilst we’re away.  And of course our lovely friends have offered to help where necessary.

Q:  How will we contact you or keep in touch wile you’re away?

There will be so many ways to contact us:
iPhone users:  Viber, Libon, WhatsApp, iMessage, Skype, Google+ Hangout, Facebook, Twitter
Android phone users:  Viber, Libon,  Skype, Google+ Hangout, Facebook, Twitter
Tablet/Laptop/Computer users:  Skype, Google+ Hangout, Facebook, Blog
Telephone numbers:  we will be swapping our UK sim cards for SA sim cards (if all goes according to plan), and we’ll let everyone know what our new numbers are.  Callers from the UK can use access numbers to call us for less than 5p/minute – probably cheaper than calling your utilities company (and we promise not to put you on hold!).
But of course if you’re on wi-fi and if you have a smart phone, just use one of the free smartphone tools above.

Q:  So why are you coming to South Africa now?

I am doing a whirlwind trip to South Africa later this week to meet prospective suppliers and hopefully get final pricing back by the time I get back a week later.  We hope this will enable us enough information to make a decision and select a supplier.  If we choose a South African supplier, we will get the ball rolling and make plans for me to return to South Africa at the start of September to kick-start the project.  If not, we go to Plan C!

Q:  Where in South Africa will you be?

Although we don’t want to pre-empt this, it would suit us best to be in Pretoria, as we can stay with my parents whilst there.  However, there is a chance that we may end up in Cape Town too.  And we will only know once I have completed next week’s trip.

Q:  Is there anything we can do to help?

House-sitting listing:  We are in the process of selecting house-sitters, and you can access our housesitting listing on this website.  Please share this information with anyone who may be interested.
Buying a car:  If you know of anyone selling a car in South Africa – something reliable, not just an old banger! – please pass us their contact details.  We will need a car for the duration of our stay in South Africa.

So, I think that will bring you up-to-date.  I shall certainly be documenting our journey, progress and updates on this blog as usual, so watch this space!