Off-Shoring and Out-sourcing with positivity

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Ten years ago I used the threat of off-shoring work or out-sourcing as a threat to ineffective organisations during pre-sales engagements so I can totally understand why the ‘them vs. us mentality is so strong. But despite this being a tactic I was always prepared to accept it when an organisation could compete effectively. I had one experience where an IT shop was lean and there was no financial business case for the solution that I had – so I found another route and moved on.

The example that caused me to put my thoughts into writing was nothing to do with competency or competition however. My disappointment recently was because this was purely a paper exercise and the organisation concerned really didn’t care whether they could execute.

My perspective has always been that no-one goes to work to do a bad job; in fact it has been far more positive than even that. People like to perform well and be recognised for their hard work, expertise and achievements.

I recommend that any organisation that finds themselves in a ‘them vs. us’ scenario actually tackles the challenge in a positive way. I perceive there being a three positive ways in which they can move forward.

  1.  Accept your deficiencies and look to partner with an excellent organisation
    that will help you to improve.
    With the advances in programming language, agile practices and automation there are plenty of
    advocates willing to share there expertise and coach you on improvements without trying to out source you;
    take a focussed view, work on a project that will help you to transform and become the best you can be.
    I know of organisations that will help you be Agile, teach
    you pair-programming, help you to measure maturity and effectiveness.
  2. Measure everything.
    Performance, cost, failure, people. Measure everything!
    There are so many tools and good practices for measuring performance ranging
    from Netflix Chaos Monkey to AWS Lambda to Agile – you have the capabiltiy to
    measure and visualise so much. Work out your KPI’s and be ruthless in measuring
    them. Use this in conjunction with 3 below.
  3. Actually put Continuous Improvement in place.
    I have heard this phrase since before ITIL v2 but rarely find it in practice.
    Remember that to improve you have to optimise, you have to change. I always look for the ‘rose tinted sceptic’.
    Find that person or people on your team who have been saying ‘we can do it
    better’. If you trust them, if they are accepted as expert in the team then give them rope.
    I can guarantee that your best people are as good than your outsourcers and
    they already have context and domain knowledge.

If you want to compete, then compete. Don’t play games, IT is a young industry with plenty to learn & IT will never improve if you play games…

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