After a recent event – where I ended up working all day Saturday, I have been thinking a lot about Offshore developer/teams and Onsite Clients’ requirements. Having worked on the other side where the Client looked down upon us for every little mistake – but couldn’t let us go because it doesn’t get any better – I have realized couple of things.
Here are 2 absolutely necessary qualities that I would expect in any Offshore development team or member.
1. Escalate: Offshore development kinda happens in future. I mean the timezone wise they are always ahead of us. This needs to be used as an advantage. Whenever something goes wrong or something doesn’t work – the Offshore team needs to escalate it to their Clients Onsite. This helps the Client to take necessary action even before this issue turns into a roadblock.
I am not sure of any other country, but of what I have seen mostly in India. So, these observations are based from my Indian work experience. It is such a strange medley of opposites and paradoxes. Indian developers are very smart to grasp technical ideas but their smartness fails them when it comes to communications. From the childhood, most Indian parents encourage their kids to become class toppers (Believe me, topper is a household word there, I was once a topper too.). There is no emphasis on clear communications. Parental authority in the initial stages and later work based hierarchy system actually supresses any communication abilities a person may have.
The end result is – a brilliant mind, but a numb tongue. So, if only the developers or the team members can learn to voice their opinions much more vocally – we would not have so many issues. Escalate problems as you see it. Raise red flags whenever you can. Your Onsite manager is not your Dad, he won’t be mad at you or judge you for bringing up a problem/issue.
2. Proactive: Most Indian developers I meet are reactive in their approach to development. If I give them a problem they will solve it based on their knowledge. But life doesn’t come in neat packets of problems. It’s a big mess that just overwhelms you.
Being Proactive means, anticipating delays, anticipating what might come up and prepare accordingly. It is said that only 300,000 years ago Humans developed – Pre-Frontal Cortex, the area under your forehead which gives us the ability to simulate any situation just by imagining it. Prior to that, we had no clue of any experience which we have NOT faced it physically. Just imagine how important this is. We got a whole extra add-on. We got a simulation laboratory right in our heads. This gives any human to use Imagination to try to simulate things, situations, actions, behaviors etc without even physically experiencing them.
So, developers – please put that to good use. Use that 1/4th of your brain to basically see the future. It’s something everyone does without being observant. It’s called day dreaming. When you are dreaming of that beautiful girl sitting in front of you in a Coffee shop or when you are dreaming of that vacation you have been wanting – all these things use your frontal brain. So, next time just use it in your projects to fore see what would happen if you did something and what possibly could be your response to it.
An example: We setup a stage server and I asked the developer to add some changes there and test them. He made his changes, but when he went to test them – the login didn’t work. So out of habit of his reactive mind – he assumed that he is powerless and basically sent out an email to me (from the future) telling me that the login doesn’t work. Well, you are the developer – if login doesn’t work then you gotta fix it. That’s what I did. When he said, the login didn’t work – I debugged it and figured out what was happening and I fixed it. The only difference between what he did and what I did – is not technical, but psychological.
That’s all. I don’t want any more features in my developer from India. I don’t care about your sex, about how you look, about your skills, about your coding powers etc. All I need from you is – A good red flag raising capacity and the ability to fore see them coming.
That would save the whole industry of Offshore development from using double the bandwidth in communications – back and forth.