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Relooking at Decline and Fall.... again?

Hi,

I just ran across this thread accidentally.
http://discuss.fogcreek.com/newyork/default.asp?cmd=show&ixPost=242

Joel has mentioned that 10.5 time zones mean that every communication takes 3 business days.

I wonder how.

I am currently working for one of the biggest IT Company in India.
We have this 'offshore' delivery model. What I have seen is we are using time difference to our advantage as opposed to what Joel mentioned.
We work till morning 9 to 7 and by the time we finish day's work and upload it to our colleagues at client's location in US, there working day starts.
They review/modify work done and send in comments, which we get in morning of next working day. So it goes absolutely fine!

But the other point about product development holds quite true for India.
But product like FLEXCUBE (from i-flex solutions), which is now no.1 in BFSI sector, may inspire other companies! Though its a long road ahead for Indian companies. [ http://www.iflexsolutions.com/news/pressview.asp?cat=137 ]

Regards,
JD

JD
Friday, March 28, 2003

I think it's like so:

Day 1, US working day: US office requests small coding job from India
Day 1, India working day: India sends spec to US

Day 2, US working day: US office reads spec and gives go-ahead
Day 2, India working day: India starts work and completes code, sending code to US

Day3, US working day: US office receives code

Matthew Lock
Friday, March 28, 2003

Hi Mathew,

I agree with what you mentioned.

Butw, I am not sure if he meant this when he said 'Every communication takes 3 days'.

Regards,
JD

JD
Friday, March 28, 2003

I think Joel was talking about Worst Case Scenarios.

Prakash S
Friday, March 28, 2003

I think Joel's talking about software dev as I experience it (i.e. worst case scenario is common) :).

I worked in a flex time environment once where a couple of the guys worked nights.  They were never around when we needed spontaneous 'face time', and something that would've been resolved in 5 minutes had they been in the office with us instead took 12 hours until we were back in the office the next morning.

Very inefficient, and I imagine that that is what Joel has in mind.  I'm sure there's some entrepreneuring Indians that don't mind working night shifts though....

big bob
Friday, March 28, 2003

All I want to know is how come managers are so willing to ship work halfway around the world but they won't let me work from home...

Philo

Philo
Friday, March 28, 2003

Philo,

In my company, no one is allowed to work from home. We have a team at client's location and one team in India.

Onsite team does Requirements Analysis and at the most HLD. Rest of the stuff like DLD, Build, Unit Testing, Component Testing and Integration Testing is done in India. Obviously, System Testing is done at client's location. Onsite team also helps in resolving any issues/doubts we might face.

Knowing this, it makes sense that offshore team works at same place so as to avoid 'communication' problems! So, they will surely not allow me to work from home. Also, if I were to work from home, I need access to system setup in Office which mimics setup at Client's location. It's costly option I guess!

In light of background I described, I can not see any 'communication' problems; in fact we don't face any! Daily conf. calls to Onsite team and regular video con. is the way to go!

JD

JD
Friday, March 28, 2003

Also, if I were to work from home, I need access to system setup in Office which mimics setup at Client's location. It's costly option I guess!?

All you need is a VPN/ tunnel to your client's site, cost you less than $150.

Prakash S
Friday, March 28, 2003

In 100% of the jobs I've worked at, my system at home has been better than the system at the client's office.

Mind you, working from home I expect to be on firm fixed price, not hourly - makes both sides more comfortable, I think.

Let's be honest - the only reason for telecommuting aversion is that the average boss believes "If I can't see you, you're not working"

Philo

Philo
Friday, March 28, 2003

Prakash,

I am in India and cost structure is different. And right now there are 1000 employees in my office. If you sum up the cost for each employee, amount to be spent is handsome.

Philo,

Yeah, what you mentioned is true, but in our case, it is simply not possible for ppl to work from home. I may not be able to explain you why, but it is like that only.

Btw, I am wondering if we are deviating from my main query?

Regards,
JD

JD
Friday, March 28, 2003

The three days is simple.

Monday US - request sent to India
Tuesday India - request received, answer sent
Tuesday US - answer received clarification requested
Wednesday Inida - clarification sent
Wednesday US - clarification received

You're also forgetting weekends being different. In Saudi the weekend is Thursday and Friday; this means in practise that there are only three days available to communicate with London and Washington. In fact with Washington it doesn't matter anyway because to get an international line at our college we need to go through the switchboard, and the switchboard operator goes off duty at 16:00 hours, well before the Washington Mission opens. We just don't bother phoning, ever.

Stephen Jones
Friday, March 28, 2003

At this point, I consider being able to work at home a non-negotiable. In my opinion, all developers should have good laptops that work well at an office or at home, if that's the way they work best.

Flex time shouldn't mean that you're out of contact. Even when my coding is mostly done at night or on the weekend, I'm still available via IM and telephone.

Brad (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Friday, March 28, 2003

Brad,

My point was that these guys were sleeping while we were working and vice versa.

Yeah you have contact, but it's sometimes 12 hours waiting for an answer that would've taken 5 minutes.

big bob
Saturday, March 29, 2003

Yeah Bob,

sometimes it does happen that we have to wait for a day. But honestly that has been very rare [I have been in team for 7 months now!], so it really doesn't matter that much! [Also, we wake them up at night, if it is really urgent!]

Regards,
JD

JD
Saturday, March 29, 2003

"All I want to know is how come managers are so willing to ship work halfway around the world but they won't let me work from home..."

Very good question.  If physical presence is unimportant, companies should let all developers work from home and save millions of dollars of office real estate costs.

The problem is that telecommuting is not touted as way to save money for the company, but is perceived as just a perk for the developer.  Offshore outsourcing is being hyped as the Next Big Thing that will automagically save money, with some managers being rewarded based on how many jobs they can send out.  So they forget the importance of physical presence and the cost/benefit analysis of outsourcing.

It is the latest management fad that will leave the majority of participants disappointed, just as most who joined earlier bandwagons like dotcom and ERP ended up disappointed or even bankrupt.  After the smoke clears they will scale back and figure out what makes sense to outsource and what doesn't, but that will be after lots of grief not only for those who lost jobs, but also for shareholders who suffered through the losses that occurred while management was riding the bandwagon.

T. Norman
Sunday, March 30, 2003

That's true JD.  Eventually all of the minor things caught up with them and flex time became a lot less flexible.  I've always been an early bird myself, so its never bothered me.

big bob
Monday, March 31, 2003

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