Software, Work

Offshoring means your job too

I quite often come across a strange attitude amongst people in favour of offshoring development work. It reached a kind of apogee in a recent quote that “The thinking will remain in the UK but the work will be done abroad where it is cheaper.”

Don’t kid yourself! If you outsource the work then you also outsource the thinking. If you are an architect, or a designer and your implementation team is offshored then your work has also been offshored. Without the vital feedback from your implementers your high-level input is very quickly going to go stale. The understanding of how to do a job lies with those who do it, not those who raise the purchase orders.

Don’t flatter yourself! For some reason a lot of people in the UK seem to think that the IT staff in places like China, Eastern Europe and India are incapable. I know from experience that there are more smart people in all of these countries than there are in the UK. It’s a simple case of numbers. Don’t confuse offshoring to a lowest cost bidder with being incompetent. You pay so little for your code that it sends a message: we don’t care about our software. If you don’t care why is the wage slave that is eventually contracted to produce it?

So if you are involved in “higher food chain” work, don’t get caught up in the hype. The thinking will always end up following the doing, and then, ultimately, the purchasing does as well.

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2 thoughts on “Offshoring means your job too

  1. I recall being told that the interesting, original, green-field work would stay in the UK, and the boring maintenance work would be offshored. This turned out to be nonsense. What’s easier to offshore – work that requires no knowledge of current systems, or work that requires detailed knowledge of current systems?

    The green-field work will go offshore because it doesn’t require any particular expertise to make a start on. Systems analysts and arhitects back in the UK will never quite understand how the new systems work as well as they do the old, UK-made systems. All the rest follows.

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