Monday, October 22, 2007


Enterprise Architecture and Outsourcing to India

Has outsourcing to India made enterprises more stupid? We have been conned into believing that creating stringent requirements is a sign of maturity and have been baited to think about CMM when in all reality, specifying stringent requirements is not strictly necessary...

When you aren't permitted to have face-to-face conversations, the amount of comprehensive documentation one writes will increase by factors. The problem though is when you start substituting stringent requirements for face-to-face conversation and this so-called maturity habit spread to others then it has a sucking effect in that it kills the ability to hire local talent and build in-house experience.

The savage mindset of pursuing CMM or other metrics around maturity are noble and tend to be driven by the perceived need to hire the best for a job in your company. Likewise, there is a subtle undertone and dis-inclination to spend time and money training folks on the job, because you can't quantify the investment. Over time this causes folks to become lazy and not want to investigate what role really needs to be performed effectively. At the highest level of immaturity, the enterprise then adopts tendencies to copy other strategies that lead to a repeatable stock approach to the problem.

CMM as encouraged by folks outsourcing to India is somewhat like the tragedy of the commons. A commons, that is, a shared or unowned resource, is used inefficiently (a lake being over fished to exhaustion, for example, or being used as a dump for toxic chemicals) because no one has any incentive to do otherwise. The tragedy of the commons describes a situation as an externality. Economists have long known that externalities can be ameliorated in several ways including by making the commons a private good ("internalizing the externality") or by governing the externality through collective action (taxation, permits, etc). Which method is best depends on the situation and often the ideology of the person doing the analysis; it is known that when there are no transaction costs, privatizing the commons leads to an efficient outcome.

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