Re: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Outsourcing and Trust
- Hello Gert,
Thursday, October 1, 2009, 10:07:08 AM, you wrote:
> It is also true that because it is quantifiable that managers couldIn 30 years (has it really been that long?!) of software development
> use it as a stick in bad ways. Regardless of the environment my
> interest lies more in the psyche of the developer that deliberately
> undermines the value for personal gain.
jobs, I've met very very few developers who I believe consciously
did a bad job. I've known some who are highly motivated by personal
advancement and money, and I've worked with some who I felt chose the
wrong career because they simply were not very good at their jobs.
Personal gain, however, isn't intrinsically a bad thing, and I believe
I've known people who would add blank lines to their code (without
actually decreasing the quality of the code itself, or slowing down
productivity) if management were stupid enough to count lines of code
as a meaningful good thing.
<personalAnecdote> 25+ years ago I was working as a mainframe developer
at a relatively large (100+ developers) shop. One day a VP
called my team leader into a meeting and asked him "Why do Doug and
Gary run two to three times as many compiles as every other
programmer in the shop?". My team leader explained that Gary and Doug
were two of the most productive developers he had ever worked with.
Neither Gary nor I changed our behavior, but if my next raise had
depended on it, I might have (while I looked for a new job).
> When I did my SCRUM training Ken spent a good portion of the timeTrust is a two way street, takes time to establish, and, especially
> on trust and not micromanaging every individual. Give them the
> responsibility and allow them to perform to the best of their ability.
early in a relationship, is easily undermined. I have no visibility
into the situations you've described, so can't comment specifically.
Here are questions I would ask
Do the outsourcing firm and the contracting firm have a good history.
Is that good history reflected in contract terms which encourage the
outsourcer to work closely with the customer to create the best
possible system, or are the terms more like: "deliver exactly to spec,
exactly on-time, with a bonus for automated test coverage".
Do the developers have a cultural history of disincentives of various
sorts for "thinking", or a history of being encouraged to step up to
take on responsibility? Is there a history of "development silver
bullet of the year", with management words usually not matching their
actions, and no real evidence yet of long term commitment to "this
> When I tried to "sell" TDD to a large internal outsourced team, theWhat is an "internal outsourced team"?
> management response was that they will "cook the books". If you have
> that level of distrust SCRUM (or waterfall) will fail, or produce
> mediocre results.
Low trust levels certainly contribute to mediocre results. And yet,
I'm interested in what books could be cooked? For books to exist,
something must be measured. Honestly, I can't imagine a measure of TDD
that would be meaningful.
> My interest is more on the personality traits and motivation of theI find this area interesting as well. My college psychology professor
> individuals. Is this more prevalent in outsourced vs. co-located
> teams? What role does culture and personal ethics play for success?
had one primary rule "People vary.". Individuals will have differing
attitudes and reactions. I believe company culture is a large factor.
I suspect national/ethnic culture is a much smaller factor.
> I personally believe personality and technical depth of teamAbsolutely. "Individuals and interactions over processes and tools"
> members are the primary contributing factors for success. SCRUM and
> good leadership will definitely improve the odds but I think
> technical managers tend to spend too little time on our people skills.
- This piece of the conversation is interesting to me:
>> My interest is more on the personality traits and motivation of theI'm a Brit working in the US who has worked with teams in both those
>> individuals. Is this more prevalent in outsourced vs. co-located
>> teams? What role does culture and personal ethics play for success?
> I find this area interesting as well. My college psychology professor
> had one primary rule "People vary.". Individuals will have differing
> attitudes and reactions. I believe company culture is a large factor.
> I suspect national/ethnic culture is a much smaller factor.
countries as well as Germany, Belarus and India. In my opinion, culled
from my experience, you will definitely find a wide variety of attitudes
and behaviors within a single national/ethnic culture. Nonetheless,
understanding the general outlook that permeates a culture can help with
understanding and cooperation within a team with a diverse make up.
There definitely are differences and personally I found myself much less
frustrated once I better understood this.
For example, I see much greater willingness to be critical of things and
offer suggestions from people I've worked with in Belarus than in India.
This makes certain aspects of agile thinking (retrospectives :-) harder
for some folks from India initially. However, a colleague of mine who
has worked with teams there for longer than me says that with the right
approach it's quite possible to get folks to overcome their reluctance
in this area.
This website has some short but useful profiles of various countries
that I certainly found helpful in understanding this kind of thing:
http://www.worldbusinessculture.com/ (no, not affiliated to them in