One of the most anticipated sessions at bpmCamp was a discussion on off-shoring.? It had one of the highest turnouts of day 1. There were some interesting observations from the discussion :
- Everyone agreed that daily communication across multiple mediums was a must: phone, email, instant messaging, screen sharing.
- Structure helps: Daily SCRUM sessions, for example.
- Bringing offshore folks onshore for a while helps - consensus is that this is more important than the reverse, though both are good.
- Despite having productive off-site working relationships within the US, several participants reported a drop-off in productivity when going off-shore - despite no obvious logistical/infrastructure difference besides timezone.
- Integration and collaboration among the teams is vastly more important than documentation and specifications.? The trend toward increasingly exact specifications to manage off-shore resources mirrors what happened with software development methodology in the US many years ago - with increasing gateways and overhead, and slowing velocity and innovation. (This led to a waterfall backlash, and the popularity of Agile software methods)
- There's a lot of potential in the follow-the-sun model, and in cost-savings.? But the challenges to productivity are real.
My own advice: when off-shoring, work with firms that do BPM deployments locally, for local market customers.? The adjustments they have to make to do a remote-BPM project are less-severe than the adjustments technical staff have to make from traditional IT projects to BPM projects.