in reply to Learning Exercises
Are you being paid to train the offshore team?
If you've got a contract house doing code, then that contract house should be providing you suitably capable workers to actually produce working solutions. Why are they giving you someone unfit for that task?
Typically, offshoring is to accomplish more for a lower cost. Offshore teams should be ready, fungible, and awaiting your requirements specifications. If there's training to be done, it should be done by the offshore team before that programmer is assigned to your project payroll.
I'm not against offshoring itself (in the send jobs to India sense), but I have noticed that many "onshore" companies really have no idea how to get much for their investment. The middle management just counts the heads offshore and report it to higher management for bonuses. If you send work offshore inappropriately, it's going to be less effective than hiring core domestic staff.
Four good rules of thumb about offshoring teams:
- the offshore team does the work because it's a geographically sensitive task (e.g., supporting Malasian services in Malasia)
- the offshore team does the work because it's not a core competency nor a corporate strategy of the onshore team (e.g., developing code isn't a core competency of an insurance company)
- regardless of reason, the work that is to be done by an offshore team should be insular and share few dependencies, but the management still needs to stay in touch with actual operations
- the work that the offshore team must do needs to be specified in excruciating detail, and that means that your management needs to know exactly what they want before they start; you can't expect piecework teams to invent something for you
Too many companies just ship their core competencies overseas, and wonder why the quality doesn't keep up or why the secrets leak out. Too many companies just ship their services overseas, and wonder why there's a culture clash or why a timezone hell ruins all their effectiveness. Too many companies just suggest a basic approach, expecting the teams will work out a solution, and wonder why it takes twice as much time to go through the waterfall model of research and development.
Maybe it's completely appropriate that you are training someone offshore. I just doubt that it fits with either of the rules of thumb. If you care to comment, I'd like to hear more about it.
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