CIO Magazine’s Secrets of Offshoring Success


    CIO Magazine has a very interesting article Secrets of Offshoring Success .

    CIO Magazine has interviewed Mary C Lacity and Joseph W Rottman of University of  Missouri – St. Louis who interviewed 165 individuals from 40 companies on what worked and what didn’t in Offshoring. In addition, they have visited Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore in person. They have interviewed both buyers and sellers of offshore services (seems like they are talking about software development mostly). I was surprised to find many things I have observed from our own personal experiences managing offshore development in India, validated.

    There were many new lessons also. Worth a read whether you are a consumer or seller of offshore services. You can save yourself money and a lot of heartache.

    Just some teasers:

    Managing an offshore software effort takes a lot of management time, sometimes up to 69% of the value of the contract.

    Hands-on Management and Excellent Customer-Supplier relationship are the keys to success

    On-site presence from vendor seems to make a lot of difference. Knowledge Transfer is the most important ingredient.

    Going offshore purely for Cost Savings is dumb. Going there so that you can sell your products there now or eventually, should be the reason to offshore. Otherwise, you will be moving every few years to less expensive countries, at great cost, wiping out all savings in going offshore.

    Employee Turnover is a big problem with vendors. Knowledge transfer to multiple people and multiple vendors is the way to insure against this.

    CMM doesn’t work and is frustrating, especially if the customer is not following it diligently but the vendor is. Flexible CMM seems to be what is needed.

    Metrics for Software Development does not exist properly. (Seems like they have not read my article Metrics for Outsourced Software Development as yet!)

    Successful efforts have been long marathons and had long learning curves.

    Excellent read to get a sane view of what it takes to get software done offshore.