Sunday, December 24, 2006
Visiting an Offshore Training Camp for Programmers...
Here are some of the notes from class:
- America is rich, we are poor. It’s not fair, they have to share.
I am a believer that America should share their wealth with other nations. The real question is whether we should share with India whom is thousands of miles away and in doing so results in a net loss of high-paying IT jobs instead of sharing with countries such as Costa Rica, Trinidad, or Jamaica whom if we did the same action, would result in an increased amount of high paying jobs in America.
- In the beginning, their manager will try to scare you by promising that he’ll check up on the status of your assignments daily. Do not be afraid – a status report is just a formality, and they’ll take whatever you write.
Sadly, America is going down the shitter, not because of outsourcing but because of the lack of strong technical leadership in corporate America. Magazines such as CIO continue to talk about the need for IT executives to understand the business. While this is true, it doesn't mean that they shouldn't also understand technology. If they did, then even when someone sends you a status, you will know if it makes sense.
- Be prepared to spend the first couple of weeks waiting for the logon id and password to your employer’s network. After obtaining these credentials, you’ll find out that you do don’t have access to a dozen of servers, which require Unix logon. Your remote manager will promise you to resolve it as soon as possible, but because of the service level agreements (aka SLA) with the Unix support team , you won’t get access for another week or so. Typically, it’ll take about a month to get you connected.
Sadly, the vast majority of enterprises don't have a sound strategy for identity management. Maybe if vendors such as Sun and Oracle stopped selling identity management software strictly by pontificating about SoX and instead started talking about increased productivity especially in a turbulent environment like outsourcing where the amount of folks coming and going tends to minimally double and in many cases triple, then we would be onto something. Hopefully, Pat Patterson will get his peers to understanding outsourcing as a component to identity management and stop strictly focusing on Project Management.
- In conversations with your overseas teammates, always require detailed written specifications for each small program modification. Ignore their statements “I’d fix it myself faster than writing detailed specs for you”. They have no choice and must work with you to show that your team is useful.
Here is the funny thing about this statement. The person in the U.S. may not have even coded for years and are entirely putting on a front in hopes of stimulating action. Too bad, the outsourcers realize this. The only saving factor nowadays is if everyone in the US truly knows how to code. Secondarily, the bigger problem is in terms of writing requirements which many shops have no clue on how to do as our cultures are based on keeping things at a high-level and indoctrination. If IT executives continue to keep things so high-level, the outsourcing firms will own you. We must have strong technical leadership to overcome this problem.
- Use time difference to your advantage. For example, if you want to send an email asking for some clarifications, do not send it in the morning, because you may get an immediate answer. Do it in the evening (your time zone), before leaving the office – you’ll get the answer only next day.
Sadly, I cannot say in good faith that this is a tactic solely used by outsourcing firms. In fact, I would probably encourage many of my enterprise architect peers at other organizations to do the same as this does result in a productivity increase from an individual perspective and frees up time to work on things that are more meaningful. My mantra is that if an enterprise believes it has a communications problem, maybe the enterprise needs to figure out how to communicate less and that the root cause is probably information overload.
- Experienced offshore programmers never try to obtain US working visa and to work onsite. If you do this, you’ll work a lot harder – not worth the trip.
I am of the belief that if someone had the opportunity to travel from India to work with James McGovern they would be an idiot to not jump at the chance. For everyone else, I agree.
- Change your local employer every three months. You are gaining experience daily, and even if the new job offers just one percent of salary increase, go there. It’s a golden IT offshoring era – use it while it lasts! Or as they say, it's time to make a quick buck!
As Cuba Gooding would say, show me the money! I would say though that changing jobs every three months to be a little extreme but if you have worked for the same employer for more than two years, you are not only missing out on promotion opportunities but a boatload of cash. Take the rupees and run...
Links to this post: