My Secret Life as a Spaghetti Coder
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If we accept the notion that we need to figure out how to work with outsourcing because it's more likely to increase than decrease or stagnate, then it would be beneficial for us to become "Distributed Software Development Experts" (Fowler, pg 169).

To do that, you need to overcome challenges associated with non-colocated teams that exceed those experienced by teams who work in the same geographic location. Chad lists a few of them in this week's advice from My Job Went To India (I'm not quoting):
  • Communication bandwidth is lower when it's not face to face. Most will be done through email, so most of it will suck comparatively.

  • Being in (often widely) different time zones means synchronous communication is limited to few overlapping hours of work. If you get stuck and need an answer, you stay stuck until you're in one of those overlaps. That sucks.

  • Language and cultural barriers contribute to dysfunctional communication. You might need an accent to accent translator to desuckify things.

  • Because of poor communication, we could find ourselves in situations where we don't know what each other is doing. That leads to duplicative work in some cases, and undone work in others. Which leads to more sucking for your team.

A pacifier, made of white gold, with diamonds.

The bad news is that there's a lot of potential to suck. The good news is there's already a model for successful and unsuccessful geographically distributed projects: those of open source.

You can learn in the trenches by participating. You can find others' viewpoints on successes and failures by asking them directly, or by reviewing open source project case studies. Try to think about the differences and be creative with ways to address them.

Doing that means you'll be better equipped to cope with challenges inherent with outsourced development. And it puts you miles ahead of your bitchenmoaning colleagues who end up trying to subvert the outsourcing model.

Hey! Why don't you make your life easier and subscribe to the full post or short blurb RSS feed? I'm so confident you'll love my smelly pasta plate wisdom that I'm offering a no-strings-attached, lifetime money back guarantee!


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