The Art of Project Management: Expert advice from experienced project managers in Silicon Valley, and around the world
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Engaging brain before engaging outsourcing

If you have not read Shampa’s post below I encourage all of you to read it.  I would like to point out a few newish developments on the software side.  First of all my information on outsourcing prices is from about two years ago.  As most of you know the dollar has taken a significant plunge since then so outsourcing would have gotten even more expensive in terms of dollars.  When I had to calculate the cost of an engineer outsouced from India vs. one onsite in the U.S two years ago the cost ratio was about two outsourced engineers for the price of an onsite after the real middlemen costs were taken into account.  From a project management standpoint I knew from experience that except for well defined and stable pieces of the project I might be better off with onsite engineer productivity due to ease of communication.  That being said it was always easier to get approval for offsite engineers because of the perception that outsourcing was “the no brainer way to go” given the exchange rates.

Now I am with a small game company startup and the equations are changing rapidly again for onsite vs. offsite. 

A serious hobbyist programmer will typically leave an offshored engineer from now “traditional” powerhouses of India or China in the dust in terms of knowlege or productivity.  After all the hobbyists have been doing it since they could press a button on a Nintendo and they are doing it because they really like it.  Therefore one has to consider hiring this talent pool professionally and contractually when possible and they can be anywhere in the world with the typical hotbeds being Europe (especially Finland) Canada and the US.  Currently, gasp, the exchange rate favors the U.S.   One should also look at internships at local colleges too.   Once upon a time, before everybody became convinced India and China would do everything for us,  cultivating local college talent was considered a smart idea.  Maybe it’s time to consider it again.  It’s also time to consider that say, hiring someone from Finland or Eastern Europe or Brazil or Japan and using all the internet tools to keep in touch may be the right thing to do depending on the talent and interest.   The time when we could press “that was easy” decision and offshore to India or China because the exhange rate forgave everything may be approaching a close.  For new technologies that don’t depend on an existing factory infrastructure I suggest giving the whole world a look, and especially your backyard.  You might be surprised.

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I've been employed as a manager by a major financial firm for an indecent amount of time. Read my clandestine confessions here.
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