Tuesday, April 15, 2003


I Humbly predict that IT Outsourcing will succeed and fail...

Everybody loves a hero, particularly in IT—that talented professional willing to twist himself in knots to please his users and work overtime to get the job done. Most corporate IT organizations actively recruit, reward, and retain those willing to repeatedly save the technological day...

At annual review time, does your CIO highly reward the individual who wrote high quality code right the first time with zero defects or the person who wrote suboptimal code at the last minute and stayed all weekend to resolve a problem either he/she created or could have avoided?

Since we know the answer is that the vast majority of IT executives tend to encourage the later, what do you think will happen when we put in rigorous contracts related to deadlines, number of hours worked and so on? An outsourcing agreement may require of its employees lots of heroics but otherwise the client of the outsourcing firm will come to miss what they previously reward, the art of heroics.

Another practice that is starting to emerge is in taking former superman and encouraging them to become more business focused. This has the side effect of taking people whom otherwise could have spotted fuck ups challenges earlier, to remove visibility into the less than optimal delivery the outsourcing firm will provide to you.

Many CIOs will feel that their outsourcing partner when asked to also perform heroics aren't up to the task and state that they are too rigid. Reality says that the problems of IT outsourcing really have less to do with any cultural rigidity of the people in India and more to do with the simple fact that you got what you asked for and you get what you pay for...

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