Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Top 3 concerns when outsourcing to Asia - Uncensored

Excerpts from one of the discussions going on at LinkedIn. Pretty interesting stuff

Here you go

Senior Software Development Engineer, Toshiba America Electronic Components
In my experience culture, distance & communication are big issues when outsourcing.

First of all, we often outsource software dev to realize cost savings. This savings is often eaten up due to logistical and cultural issues which impede the outsourced projects.

1) Communication issues: Especially with China, communication can be difficult because of the lack of qualified English speakers. I interviewed a team that had daily 10 PM phone conferences from the US to China where only 1 guy on the China side could speak English. The Americans would talk for several minutes, then the one English speaker would translate in 15-20 seconds that content to his team members. A lot was 'lost in translation'.
In another example, members of an American software team had great difficulty working with Indian team members over tele-conference because of the accent issue. The company stateside eventually fired several members of their American staff because they would not cooperate fully with the remote Indian team due to language frustration. This damaged morale of the team, and did little to help the ongoing issues.

2) Culture. Sometimes "yes" does not mean "yes". Teams think they are on the same page with their overseas counterparts, when they are not.

3) Distance (physical and metaphorical) - Software development requires a tight interface between the developers and the stakeholders / customers. When separated by distance, time-zones, culture, and language you are adding a significant project risk that the work being done will not mesh with the (often dynamic) requirements for the end product. Not only are problems more likely to occur, but it will take more time to identify them for all of the above-mentioned reasons.

Executive Producer for Video Games
The 3 biggest concerns would be:
- Cultural background: you will experience vast differences in use of color, shapes, facial features, technical detail etc. from country to country. Don't expect Western style unless you guide extremely well.

- Language barrier: definitely an issue in Japan. Not so problematic in India. Mixed in China.

- Reliability. I don't want to say we've been disappointed so far. But we are fully aware that our legal possibilites are very restricted in China and India. This is not really an issue in Japan though.

CEO Bertin Services
1.As you probably know India is the WW Leader in software development, and gatheres probably 80% of CMMI5 companies in the world... but check what is covered by their CMMI certificate to understand the major concern there : It always looks perfect (english culture). Real Life is often not so bright, although they have competencies and want to make it. dig to make a difference between what they say and what they do.
2. I'd rather go in India than in China, because they're under english culture (easier to work with), software oriented, highly educated, and India is the largest democracy in the world. but they're not so cheap...
3. Outsourcing to Asia will require a lot of lawyers' time to make sure you get a fair Deal, and will take very long in India. Let's also be clear about the risks you'll face to have them copy your production and take the business from you, especially in China.

4. Last but not least : I believe that a key of success of operations set up in Asia I was part of is a very strong involvement of Key people of your company, including having a very reliable peron (at least one) staying down there for a year to ensure everything it going to be taken care of.

Software Development Process Reengineering Manager
NINE offshoring advices.
1. Always take care of your local workers.
2. Focus on core competencies.
3. Work with big established companies.
4. Offshore projects that require minimal interfaces.
5. Do not overemphasize process.
6. Focus on communication.
7. Test offshoring team with some pilot project
8. Read some offshoring articles.
9. Conclusion and evaluation using eSCM.

Reference: LinkedIn

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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