Nov 19, 2008

Our ODC is at an inflection point...

Earlier this month I visited our offshore development center (ODC) in India. Many of you have asked me about the current state of ODC. This post captures some of my thoughts...

This year, I noticed distinct improvements compared to last year. Although there are improvements each year but this year was special! Changes were not just incremental but a large step forward...

Given the passion, energy and excitement in the group there (~170 ) I felt like being in the middle of a college classroom. A place where people are learning, growing and having fun while doing it. The energy onsite is not even half of what I experienced there.

Some words/phrases, I've used to describe how I felt are -
- high energy
- passionate
- learning agility
- college classroom feel
- share successes
- share failures
- high performing team
- desire to do more
- desire to make an impact
- change agility

Our ODC is at an inflection point...

We need to create an environment, build a platform to help the ODC leap forward to become a higher performing team. If we fail to do this we will loose an opportunity and the ODC will continue on its regular growth path.

Over the next few weeks I'll think about the necessary conditions to create this environment,, meanwhile here are some factors that motivates them... Lets do more of it...
- direct interaction with onshore (sponsors/POs/CoEs)
- hear their ideas
- create transparency
- exciting work
- variety in work to learn new technologies/domains
- timely feedback (praise, development areas)
- play multiple roles (support, QA, development, BA, PM)
- celebrate success (project accomplishments)
- opportunity to become specialist (full coverage in an area like testing, quick starts)
- ?

And here are some things that kill their motivation... Lets do less of it...
- delays
- insufficient resource commitments
- no idea of roadmap,
- old technologies
- ?


  1. I am happy to know that you have observed distinct improvement in ODC. It means a lot to everyone at ODC and particularly to those who have been part of this journey for many years now. Appreciate you sharing your thoughts on creating an environment conducive for higher performing teams.

    I have couple of things to add to the list.

    1) Provide constructive feedback to the ideas presented by ODC members
    - It's one thing to "involve" ODC members or "hear" them out to keep them motivated. But more important is to give them confidence that "we need your ideas", "we are genuinely interested in implementing your ideas" or "we are benefiting from your ideas"

    2) Include appropriate members of ODC in making decisions that affect them
    - Making them part of the key initiatives would reinforce the sense of partnership

    3) Encourage each member of project team (including Portfolio Leads) to interact with their offshore team members through video conferencing or face-to-face at least once in a quarter.
    - I have heard from every delegation visiting ODC over past couple of years that they have seen great improvement (change in perception about ODC). However, it's not easy to have each FTE visit ODC to experience the improvement. Leveraging video conferencing and regular interactions with ODC members will make them more comfortable, even though they don't travel all the way to Mumbai.

  2. Rajesh, thanks for the additional points.

    Re: (1) lets partner and communicate regularly to ensure that the energy and brain power of ODC engineers are invested in areas important to the organization (pipeline, new opportunities, old pains, etc.)

    Re: (3) I'm a new portfolio lead too and would like to lead by example and keep in-sync with ODC teams.

    Others, more ideas/thoughts?

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