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Showing posts from 2015

Building agile teams in India: Pt 4: 20/20 Hindsight

I was asked recently: "If you were asked to set up a new office for an Australian company (similar to Aconex), would you choose Bangalore?" this was in conversation with my colleagues, Mike Melia and Craig Brown, here at Aconex. Here's an edited version of the ensuing discussion: Me: "Its a good question, and actually one that I have been asked by 2 other companies since. The answer, as always, is ‘it depends’, what are the primary drivers for doing so, such as, timeframes, cost, etc. "I think, on the surface, Bangalore seems a good place to target, there are a lot of IT companies in Bangalore, ergo it is a safe place to set up an operation, which, is possibly the best reason NOT to. Aconex' experience has been positive, but it took a lot longer, and cost more than we expected. We still have a number of unanswered questions, and challenges, especially around hiring senior 'hands-on' techies. "Would I suggest Bangalore as the ‘primary’ location…

Building agile teams in India: Part 3 - challenges at the hiring stage (especially for a fresh face in the market)

Part 3: Constraints/Challenges of building a ‘boutique’ agile team in Bangalore/India (especially if you’re an unknown in the market)
Low brand recognition In India, brand is seen as really important for a lot of candidates even in 'considering' an organisation. Family recognition of the organisation is seen as very important to candidates, acceptance of the organisation by candidates parents is often a key factor.
There is also evidence that candidates enhance matrimonial chances by joining a known brand, I've even had conversations that dowry can be increased dependent on the name of the company.  All of this leads to an uphill challenge for smaller organisations, however:
The candidates that do join you are joining because you've sold the company culture and challenge well, which increases loyalty/retention. Also, working on brand building is shown to pay off over time, hence partly an answer to the question of “Are you ready for this to take ‘x’ years.
Hiring Season The e…

Building agile teams in India Pt 2: Assessing your readiness

Part 2: Assessing our preparedness
Checklist: Were we ready to offshore The checklist I propose below didn’t exist for us. I wrote this checklist with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight. I wish I did have something like this when we started, but hopefully what we learnt is of benefit to others.
Are you ready for your offshoring to take up to 5 years to ROI Have you sold the ‘purpose’ to the ‘home’ team (leadership and teams) Are you prepared to place trust in the offshore team to make decisions Will the offshore teams have meaningful work (i.e. NOT bug fixing) Will your budget include a ‘building trust’ component Do you have a ‘local’ who is prepared to relocate Are you prepared for it to cost 50-100% more than your initial estimates/assumptions Are you prepared for it to fail? Do you know what failure looks like Are you prepared to take a risk on another location outside the obvious Have you considered the various models for offshoring (e.g. Outsource captive, BOT, Offshore etc)
5 yea…

Experience report: Building an offshore agile team in India - The Australian perspective - Part 1

Experience report: Offshore agile teams – An Australian in India’s perspective

Offshoring software development, in this case, using agile as a software development methodology contains many opportunities to learn. These kinds of teams have specialised requirements both in the technical realm as well as social expectations on the individuals hired.
A lot of organisations have tried, and failed in a lot of cases, to set up independent agile teams in India . With the right approaches and expectations set, Aconex has shown that it is possible to successfully set up agile offshore operations as we did. To get your offshore program on a sustainable footing you’ve got to understand the market and be prepared to be responsive to local conditions.
What sort of people are/were we looking for? A simple explanation would be, agile software engineers and product people with a desire to work in self managed, highly collaborative teams. We use the terms ‘passionate, self-starter, independent thinker a…