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Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Tirade against Out-Sourcing

Sue Spielman has written: Outsourcing in my company? I do not think so.

She really sums up a lot of my basic problems with out-sourcing (based on my own experience): it doesn't save money, it's a PR nightmare, it leads to inferior quality and service, it displaces American jobs, and ultimately, it doesn't save money.

For a long time, my Developer's Mantra was mental flexibility and initiative. The flexibility to pick up new ideas, coding or otherwise, and run with them. The initiative to identify problems and address them. There's that JFK quote (I'll have to paraphrase) about seeing things that don't exist and asking "why not?".

None of the off-shore IT help I've ever dealt with has had either mental flexibility or initiative. Whether it's support staff who don't provide support, or "developers" who produce terrible spaghetti code, it just doesn't work.

That's not a slam on those people ... it's a slam against the short-sighted, greedy, mismanaged companies that hired them to perform a job function that they don't have the experience, English language skills, and mind set to achieve.

Sure, I keep hearing "its the future, get used to it" but I'm not buying that ... Eventually one of these big Fortune 500 companies, or Gartner, is going to actually analyze whether out-sourcing really works. Spending 100% for a successful project is always a better deal than 30%, or 10%, for a failure.

I definitely like Sue's advice that if you are expected to train your off-shore replacement, quit. I just hope her company is looking for a talented Tapestry developer when that comes to pass ...

Meanwhile, I need to check what Howard Dean's stand is on this.

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