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Re: Offshoring XP

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  • CORUM, M E [AG/1000]
    As far as offshoring occupying a similar moral position as selling cancer-causing products and pushing drugs, I would have to say yes, but not for the reason
    Message 1 of 112 , Mar 1, 2004
      As far as offshoring occupying a similar moral position as selling
      cancer-causing products and pushing drugs, I would have to say yes,
      but not for the reason you might think at first. I'm aware of
      several companies that are doing offshoring. They are officially
      reporting that offshoring is saving them large amounts of money,
      perhaps up to 50%. However, when I talk to the people actually
      working with the offshore firms, they have calculated a fully-loaded
      cost of well over double their internal development.

      So, what I think is unethical is not the practice itself if it
      actually worked, but the use of a practice, lying about it, and
      then putting people here out of work because of lies. That is
      unethical. I have the naive hope that the managers in those
      situations would be found out and dealt with. I doubt that will
      happen.

      I've been involved off and on with offshoring since 1999. In my
      experience, it has not saved any money yet in the situations I've
      been personally involved with. In fact, it extended the timeline
      dramatically and took a lot more people offshore than we would have
      staffed the same project locally. For me, it has been nothing but
      pain in a lot of early morning and late night meetings besides my
      normal day job. So the answer is that I get to work more hours
      and harder for no more pay (and possibly for downward pressure on
      my pay) in order to get the privilege of working with offshore
      teams populated with people where some of them would have been
      rejected as co-op candidates locally. In the end, I have to make
      up for the loss in communication and the low skills but I get no
      actual reward for that.

      For me, if offshoring actually worked and saved money, the company
      would have more money to pay me for my extra hours. Then, I would
      have some incentive to actually make it work. Then I would possibly
      subscribe to the idea of secondary effects (rather than the idea of
      the tragedy of the commons) in relation to trade because my own
      job would be rather secure and my renumeration would be equivalent
      to my suffering. In truth, I have no problem helping people who
      should never have gotten into computing to get out of it if I have
      a true alternative that actually works.

      I've done XP several times and pseudo-XP several times. In a few
      of the former cases, we achieved momentary magnificence. In the latter
      cases, it still beat offshoring for cost and time to market. I'm
      convinced beyond any shadow of doubt that a local XP team populated
      with high-skilled (and even high-cost) local programmers would have
      a fully-loaded cost of less than the same project offshored and
      would achieve goals in roughly half the time. For those situations
      where time is more than money (because of time-to-market issues),
      the best choice is a local XP team. Not only will it go faster, it
      will even save money. This is especially true in high-tech research
      areas like the one I work in.

      But hey, what do I know. That's just my opinion.

      Mike Corum
      (All opinions my own)


      -----Original Message-----
      Message: 25
      Date: Mon, 01 Mar 2004 08:59:44 -0000
      From: "kentlbeck" <kentbeck@...>
      Subject: Re: Offshoring XP

      --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, Ron Jeffries
      <ronjeffries@X...> wrote:
      > On Saturday, February 28, 2004, at 9:14:33 PM, kentlbeck wrote:
      > Nothing else could make sense, in my opinion. It is my own
      personal plan,
      > however, not to direct my attention to improving the value of off-
      shore
      > development if I can help it. Again, a personal plan, not an XP
      position. I
      > probably wouldn't help a tobacco company or a drug lord write
      software
      > either. I hope.

      Did you mean to imply that offshoring, selling cancer-causing
      products, and pushing drugs occupy similar moral positions?

      > > I'm inclined to ascribe my difficulties in finding such work to
      > > offshoring. Truth to tell, though, there is a lot more I can do
      both to
      > > make my software development more valuable and to advertise the
      value of
      > > my programming.
      >
      > Yes, surely there is for all of us. And still, offshoring surely
      has an
      > effect, and perhaps not a small one, on all of us.

      My observation is that IT jobs dried up before offshoring really
      took off. I conclude that lack of value created by software
      development and lack of communicating value created by software
      development have much more of a correlation with the disappearance
      of American IT jobs than the availability of inexpensive programmers
      elsewhere. There are going to be educated programmers everywhere,
      some more expensive and some less. There are none of them I would
      not want to feel welcomed in the XP community and benefit from
      applying XP. XP is not an exclusively American thing.

      Programming jobs are not a zero-sum game. Forty years ago you were
      the only professional programmer :-) Increasing the value of all
      software development is in all our best interest.

      Kent
    • Steve Ropa
      Yes, I should clarify. I came on board after the initial hiring decision was made. I had the perception that the team was too high ceremony, and the team
      Message 112 of 112 , Mar 3, 2004
        Yes, I should clarify. I came on board after the initial "hiring" decision
        was made. I had the perception that the team was too high ceremony, and the
        team had the perception that my company requires high ceremony. Luckily, we
        quickly found out that we were kindred spirits in Agility.

        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: Saif Ahmad [mailto:sahmad@...]
        > Sent: Wednesday, March 03, 2004 12:43 AM
        > To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: RE: [XP] Offshoring XP
        >
        >
        > Steve,
        > High ceremony lends itself to the unnecessary and undue
        > reverence most customers attach to thick piles of process documents;
        > process certifications and 'structured development'
        >
        > Referring specifically to the context that you are talking about; I was
        > quizzed on what 'documentations' we maintain; are we CMM processes'
        > compliant!
        >
        > Of course down the line it was more a case of getting used to the
        > 'pitch'; communication, more than anything else, facilitated the
        > offshore/onsite collaboration wonderfully
        >
        > While we developed our unique paradigm of agility whilst still retaining
        > the leverage of patterns driven development; (of course factoring in TDD
        > to evolve the same on need basis)
        >
        > And most importantly this has been one wonderful showcase for offshoring
        > wherein the focus has been on maximizing throughput and delivery by
        > leveraging a 24X7 delivery model rather than any migration of jobs!
        >
        > I wonder why people can't evolve a model where more gets done in the
        > same time by having two teams across opposite timezones work on same
        > deliverables
        >
        > I am sure lot has been said about communication and logistics overhead.
        > Honestly, there is no fixed formula to handle that; lot of it is
        > situational and contextual; involves elements of interpersonal skills
        > and rapport. However, if you have few willing and enterprising
        > individuals on either side of the engagement, it works out wonderfully
        > well
        >
        > Saif
        >
        >
        >
        > Saif Ahmad
        > Country Manager
        > Xavient Technologies
        > A/57 Sector 2 NOIDA
        > Phone-91-120-2539114
        > Fax-91-120-2539102
        > Mobile-+91-9818205196 (from US-+1.805.955.4414)
        > -US-+1.818.324.6062
        > email- sahmad@...
        >
        >
        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: Steve Ropa [mailto:theropas2@...]
        > Sent: Wednesday, March 03, 2004 10:24 AM
        > To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: RE: [XP] Offshoring XP
        >
        >
        > Oh, that I shall. But the point I was getting, was that if XP works in
        > one
        > case, why can't it work in the other?
        >
        > It's an interesting dichotomy. The offshore team, when I first met
        > them,
        > were a little too high ceremony, and I was afraid that nothing would
        > ever
        > get produced but paperwork. The other team is essentially code 'n fix.
        > Its
        > sort of a Tale of Two Vendors. Let's see...It was the best of code, it
        > was
        > the worst of code. There were objects that were tightly coupled, there
        > were
        > objects that were loosely coupled.....
        >
        > > -----Original Message-----
        > > From: Ron Jeffries [mailto:ronjeffries@...]
        > > Sent: Tuesday, March 02, 2004 6:57 PM
        > > To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
        > > Subject: Re: [XP] Offshoring XP
        > >
        > >
        > > On Tuesday, March 2, 2004, at 7:39:59 PM, Steve Ropa wrote:
        > >
        > > > You know, after reading this, and my response that I just
        > > posted, I realized
        > > > that you guys have every right to jump on me for failing the
        > > "courage test".
        > > > I won't need to go quite as far as you stated, but I will this
        > > week start
        > > > giving this vendor his "this is working well in India, I would
        > > like you to
        > > > do the same."
        > >
        > > Well, OK ... on the other hand, you pointed out that your boss won't
        > hear
        > > anything bad about these guys, and that they have you by the um.
        > >
        > > So tread lightly, not just bravely.
        > >
        > > Ron Jeffries
        > > www.XProgramming.com
        > > You don't need to see my identification.
        > > These aren't the ideas you're looking for. Move along.
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        >
        >
        >
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