Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Does India Outsourcing remind you of a death march?
While some may argue that long nights and heroism are normal and acceptable that this new value hierarchy is inverted and, if continued, will lead to the collapse of those societies. Further, these societies exist globally, be it regionally co-located, bounded by political borders, or bounded by company doors.
What's insidious about this practice is that it actually works, to an extent. Not, as their pushers seem to think, because people think better under stress. Rather, they work because shared vision and teamwork are effective ways to get thigns done, even if they come from "we're all in this together against the world". Because young programmers are like young soldiers: they don't know any better. The savage art of creating a death march using Indian outsourcing is hard to beat because the things that are better are harder for a manager to understand and harder for a young hotshot to recognize.
In many ways India developers are following the trail into doom of their American counterparts where companies reward heroes with praise and visibility while ignoring those who did it right the first time. Who gets the mention at the next staff meeting - the guy whose code never had problems or the gal who stayed all weekend to fix the bug in the uber-important mission critical system.
Imagine if human resources were more transparent in the job descriptions? Men wanted for hazardous journey. You get the opportunity to receive low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. You get a career path where perception management is more important than technical excellence and demonstrated ability. You get to enjoy growing overweight and with high blood pressure while having the pleasure of spending less time with your family. Your future compensation isn't coupled to either effort nor result but the whims of others.
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