Stories Posts

Increasing Productivity in Outsourced Teams

Around 11:00pm, April 7th, 2010

My phone alarm blares at 11:00pm ringing to the tune of The Imperial March. I grab my laptop bag, hop in the car, and head home from a wireframing session at Pickwick Pub. A new feature concept served over two Firestone DBAs waits to be shared. Again, my alarm rings at midnight. I log into a Go To Meeting conference to meet with two offshore development teams in India. Together, we build and design CRM and web development solutions for one of the largest SEO companies in California. My first question to them: “Guys, are we on track?”

From Scatterbrained to Focused

Imagine having to build software without clear instructions. This was how one of my software jobs started. My boss would routinely send me e-mail requests for features to be built from his boss. Let’s call his boss “Bob” for the sake of simplicity. Unfortunately, Bob was about as clear as a 7 year old talking with food in his mouth when putting together requirements. To make matters worse, requirements would shift constantly without being communicated in a streamlined manner. You would find out later in the day that Bob had changed the requirements, but he only told the sales team instead of all stakeholders. In my most memorable meeting, we went in assuming that other stakeholders had the requirements from Bob only to find out all we had were separate incongruent pieces of information which would change at any moment like a mutating virus. It was similar to getting random puzzle pieces and not getting to look at the cool picture on the box so you at least have a clue. That is one hour of my life I will never have back.