Showing posts from April, 2008

Productive Use of Offshore Development Resources

I have experience at two companies that relied heavily, in some cases exclusively, on offshore development resources. In both cases, the companies neglected to consider and adequately accomodate the challenges presented by an offshore partner, including language differences, lack of domain knowledge in the offshore centers, time and geography differences, high attrition levels overseas, lack of experience, poor infrastructure, and other issues. Here is the background of both situations: In April 2008, Jack Xu, VP of Engineering and Research, and eBay Fellow, announced his retirement from eBay. Jack started at eBay in 2002. In 2004, Jack was responsible for opening eBay's first overseas development center in Shanghai. Jack played an instrumental part in growing the China Development Center to over 400 R&D staff. Three years later, Jack partnered closely with PayPal to establish the Marketplaces India Development Center, staffed with over 100 R&D professionals in Chennai by t

Costs of Offshore Software Development

The offshore software development model has been in use long enough for those who have experience with that model to have identified a number of cost categories that must be budgeted and included in ROI calculations, including: Travel costs for onshore resources to visit the offshore facility, and vice versa. These visits will occur regularly, resulting in almost a continuous presence of someone, or a group, from one site, visiting the other site. Communications, including phone calls and web conferencing. Daily communication, including visual demonstrations, is critical. Intermediaries. Language, cultural, and domain issues require added resources, including business analysts, project managers, team leads, and others. In addition to these explicit costs, each organization, the client and the service provider, need to account for the increased time and energy demands placed on their respective employees. Time zone and language differences will require an extensive commitment after

Successful Coaches

Watching my daughter's soccer game last night gave me a renewed appreciation of good coaches. She's 14 and has been playing soccer at a highly competitive level for 4 years now. She's had several different coaches. In a competitive environment, a coach's success is measured by his win percentage. Coaches can achieve a high level of success by various means. In my experience, the best coaches display these attributes: They understand the game. They know a variety of tactics and are able to employ different tactical approaches based on the demands of the present situation. They understand that they are dependent on their team for success. No coach ever scored a point or prevented the opponent from scoring from his or her position on the sidelines. The team members do that. They earn the respect of their team members. They're honest with the team. They acknowledge their own mistakes. They offer plenty of praise and compliments for good play, and they give im