Saturday, May 02, 2009


Worst practices in having a team in India work with Americans

When doing an in-house IT project, such as in a bank, it's very common to have a team with significant differences in both skill and talent among its members. As the biggest factor in project success is usually the people, this is a major project risk, and needs to be managed appropriately.

While it is important to recognize expertise and defer to that expertise, you also need to determine what strengths each team member has. Like it or not, you have to ensure that each member contributes productively to the project efforts. This means you must motivate them to contribute, and in a sense, find a place for their sense of importance to be recognized.

Your challenge is to not let the superstars overshadow the other members in a way that reminds the lesser skilled people that they are not superstars. The trick is to not slow the project down by worrying about the emotional state of each team member while maintaining morale.

Americans tend to have a dominant personality especially when they feel threatened by Indian outsourcing and this mechanism causes harm to the ability of those in India to be truly successful (mediocrity is not success). Likewise, folks in India aren't taught the proper skills in sucking up to Americans who in general have more experience.

You'll need to remind the less experienced team members that they have a great opportunity to learn from some skilled people. They may not get to do the things that they want, but they will have the opportunity to participate, and when possible, take direction from the subject matter experts. Real life projects with real stakes will give the junior members great experience.

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