Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Enterprise Architecture: Repeatable Indian Outsourcing Mistakes

I was at Home Depot listening to an IT manager I know rant about how he explained a concept to folks in India whom gave an indication that they understood. He was disappointed in the deliverable...

We understand the difference in culture and to the meaning of the word Yes and how it differs in America vs India. There however is another pattern that happens that is more subtle. Even in situations where you have a full army of staff from an Indian outsourcing firm where you are more than outnumbered and even have more staff on hand than if it was a US based company doing the work, managers still make repeatable classic mistakes.

My general observation is whenever this happens, the pattern tends to be a manager providing what he feels to be a specification without actually documenting it. Likewise, regardless of supposed seniority, the vast majority of developers in India are still junior and therefore will implement either what they understood (distinct from what was said), what they are able to do with information received (more about ability or lack of) in the way they imagine is best (usually full of common but otherwise worst practices). All of this goes away once us Americans get a clue as to how to specify software correctly.

In the early days of my IT career, I used to participate in sound-offs where the car I drove has 2,000 watt sound system. The license plate was hearme. It is natural to want to be heard but it is important to acknowledge that the opportunity for this to become reality is slowing fading away. Americans have an increasingly small window of attention where everyone is multitasking as the sole method of maintaining work/life balance. Not everything can be distilled into a 15 second sound bite. When combined with junior personnel offshore, it becomes increasingly important for enterprises to understand how to write better specifications as tribal knowledge no longer scales...

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