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Agile/XP programming and Offshoring

I find all the hype about offshoring to be amusing given the general direction the software industry is going.  Offshoring, in my mind, requires either a vertical organization move offshore or an extremely rigid and well managed development process.  The agile and XP software development movements have basically sprung up due to the industry accepting that requirements have, and always will suck/change.

So how does Agile and XP programming work with offshoring?  Does it or is, as I believe, offshoring only viable for a small percentage of very large, very rigid corporations?

chris
Tuesday, August 19, 2003

The problem is that "the industry" *isn't* supporting Agile/XP processes. It's the developers fighting a probably fruitless battle against management to actually get a chance to succeed for once.

Management doesn't want, for the most part, to hear about anything but waterfall.

Chris Tavares
Tuesday, August 19, 2003

The XP process assumes that the team is physically together.  If you can't do this, nobody will shoot you, and you can still follow the rest of the XP process and get value from them, but you wouldn't derive the benefits you'd get from the full synergy of the entire XP process.

OTOH, with Agile methodologies, you can break your group down into smaller teams, which could cope with offshoring nicely.  Rather than have one mammoth 90-person engineering team, you'd have three teams of 30 people each, and each team could be physically located anywhere.

The Pedant, Brent P. Newhall
Tuesday, August 19, 2003

These processes require more than just the ability to break groups of people up.  They require that developers, project managers and users all interact in a deep and meaningful way.  They also involve iterative development.  These are not things you can easily do with a development house in India and your business knowledge/requirements folks and users in the United States.  So unless you're moving users and management to India too (which is what I meant by a vertical organization move) you're going to have a hard time embracing offshoring and agile development processes together.

chris
Tuesday, August 19, 2003

You don't have to be physically present for work to take place.

There are other reasons than flirting and swapping scatalogical jokes to use IM,IRC, etc, etc....

Mind, those other reasons seem to be in the minority.

Simon Lucy
Tuesday, August 19, 2003

I find it amusing that all the programmers that 3 years ago were complaining about not being allowed to telecommute, are now complaining about outsourcing.

ditto
Tuesday, August 19, 2003

I find it annoying that all the managers that refuse to allow programmers to telecommute *now* are all for sending their IT staff halfway around the world.

Philo

Philo
Tuesday, August 19, 2003

"Offshoring, in my mind, requires either a vertical organization move offshore or an extremely rigid and well managed development process. "

Offshoring requires numerous conditions to bring net savings, but that doesn't stop it from happening even when those conditions aren't in place.  As long as it can be used to create *illusions* of savings, like the dotcom boom created illusions of profits, and senior managers continue to follow the herd, it will continue to happen regardless of the reality.

T. Norman
Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Agile processes are deliberately optimised for volatile requirements. Volatile requirements are not a good thing when you're outsourcing to another timezone.

Andrew Reid
Tuesday, August 19, 2003

chris,

Why don't you re-post this message on an XP forum, such as, the one located on Usenet and then let us know what the XP gurus and practitioners who hang out there wrote?

chris wrote, "I find all the hype about offshoring to be amusing given the general direction the software industry is going."

Don't be fooled by all the marketing hype.  Chris Tavares is probably correct when he wrote that much of "the industry" simply hasn't embraced or used any of the Agile methodologies. 

Side note: I remember reading somewhere online that Kent Beck was booed off the stage a couple years ago while giving a presentation to a roomful of project managers.

You might be asking yourself, "Who buys all those books and reads all those articles that talk about XP or some other Agile methodology?"

My guess is a lot of different types of developers do, however, I bet the majority of the people who actually buy these type of books are developers who mostly work alone or at organizations that don't follow any process whatsoever (a huge market imo).

One Programmer's Opinion
Tuesday, August 19, 2003

T. Norman wrote, "As long as it can be used to create *illusions* of savings..."

Yup, because that is how (by saving $ or bringing in more $) most corporate managers get promotions and bonuses.  Being a good at your job hasn't been "good enough" within corporate America for several decades.

One Programmer's Opinion
Tuesday, August 19, 2003

My previous company was a big Agile/XP shop, and they opened up an office in India for just that reason.  From what I could see, they generally weren't sending new work over there, at least not yet, but were transfering mature projects over there for the long term maintenance.  Companies don't want to continue to pay american consulting fees for extended periods of time.

Oren Miller
Tuesday, August 19, 2003

> Companies don't want to continue to pay american consulting fees for extended periods of time.

Then why are they happy to pay American management fees and bonuses for extended periods of time?

.
Tuesday, August 19, 2003

You know, that's a good point. If the average company wants to see savings *and* productivity increases, outsource middle managment to India and don't provide them with any way to contact the development team.

Philo

Philo
Tuesday, August 19, 2003

"I find it annoying that all the managers that refuse to allow programmers to telecommute *now* are all for sending their IT staff halfway around the world."

Philo - That is so funny. I have been a full-time telecomuter for over two years. Now my company is recalling us back home (which is the other side of the country for me) or loose our jobs. The main reason's we have been given is it is too difficult to manager people over multiple time zones. In other news, the majority of our developement staff is being redeployed (let go) so our work can be moved offshore.

m
Tuesday, August 19, 2003

"There are other reasons than flirting and swapping scatalogical jokes to use IM,IRC, etc, etc...."

Do you know how time zones work?

Mister Fancypants
Wednesday, August 20, 2003

"Do you know how time zones work?"

Well, if you spoiled American developers stopped insisting on sleep, timezones wouldn't be a problem!

Jimothy
Monday, February 23, 2004

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