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Managing a Global Programming Team?

Cliff posted more than 12 years ago | from the telecommuting-taken-to-the-extreme dept.

Programming 737

cwimmer asks: "I work for a technology company in the United States who survived the economic slowdown by trimming fat where necessary. Unfortunately, it seems that my small programming team must've looked like mostly fat to management: it has been trimmed from a high of 5 to the current 2. We have been given a very large programming project that we estimated would take 4 coders (the size of the team at the time) 6 months to deliver. I have been given deep pockets with regard to moving some or all of the project to an offshore partner, and I can probably get 4 or 5 programmers in India. Does anyone have any pointers on managing a team of programmers on the other side of the world?"

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Yes. (2, Funny)

Wakko Warner (324) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524142)

Learn to speak Hindu.

- A.P.

Re:Yes. (3, Informative)

BluedemonX (198949) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524162)

Don't you mean Hindi? Hindi's the language, Hindu the religion.

Re:Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3524187)

Hindi

Re:Yes. (3, Informative)

2br02b (448267) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524195)

It's Hindi, not Hindu. And programmers from the south of India (where the IT boom is mainly concentrated) are likely to be more comfortable with English than Hindi.

Re:Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3524196)

The reason you go all the way to India is because of the widespread use of english as a language of communication.

Not many fluent English speaking Indians here! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3524226)

So the Indians are keeping the English speakers at home? All the Indian programmers I've interviewed in New York had a very hard time communicating in English.

Re:Not many fluent English speaking Indians here! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3524305)

Maybe it's your English that's the problem.

Re:Yes. (0)

jdmmmmm (409498) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524207)

It's Hindi, not Hindu.

And they use English in most technical settings, too, because not all Indians speak the same dialect.

Re:Yes. (2)

56ker (566853) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524223)

But on a more serious note - what's to stop you hiring more programmers on short-term contracts or freelancers instead of out-sourcing to a foreign country?

Money (0)

The Turd Report (527733) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524302)

Money. You can get 3-4 programmers in India for what you would pay one programmer in the US.

Re:Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3524235)

Learn to speak Hindu.

In addition, may I suggest studying spiritual scriptures in the religions Hindi-ism, Tamil-ism, Telugu-ism etc. using the languages Hindu, Muslim, Christian.

If you didn't get it by now, 'Hinduism' is a religion , as opposed to Hindi, the language .

Re:Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3524356)

Woah! SLAMMAGE, DUDE!!!! Boy, he won't fuck up like that again!!!

Re:Yes. (0, Troll)

yuri82 (236251) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524281)

And whatever you do, don't ask them about that dot in between their eyes !!

BBQ SEITAN AND BLACK BEAN BURRITOS = YUM (-1)

RecipeTroll (572375) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524288)

Barbeque Seitan and Black Bean Burritos

Ingredients

2 cups water
1 cup white rice
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
5 green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 habanero chile peppers, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 1/2 (8 ounce) packages seitan
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (16 ounce) can diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 (18 ounce) bottle barbecue sauce
10 (10 inch) flour tortillas
1 1/2 cups white rice
1 (8 ounce) package seitan

Directions
In a medium sauce pan bring 2 cups lightly salted water to a boil. Add the white rice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until rice is tender.
In a large saucepan (wok pans also work well) heat oil over medium-high and saute yellow onion, green onions, garlic, habeneros, and bell pepper until onions become translucent. Add seitan and saute another 5 minutes. Add black beans and tomatoes. Heat through.
In a medium size mixing bowl combine heated mixture with cooked rice, cilantro, and 1 cup barbecue sauce.
Lay tortillas on flat surface. Spoon about 3/4 cup of filling onto each tortilla's center. Wrap tortilla so that mixture is captured on the inside .
In a casserole dish pour barbecue sauce to coat the dish's bottom. Place burritos in dish and pour more barbecue sauce on top of them. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven for 35 minutes.


Makes 10 burritos

A MORE IMPORTANT !! ARTICLE, READ THIS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3524322)

Hijacked Truck Contains Deadly Chemicals
Police Alerted To Nationwide FBI Search
Posted: 6:58 a.m. EDT May 15, 2002
Updated: 12:15 p.m. EDT May 15, 2002

DALLAS -- Border patrol agents along Texas and Mexico are on high alert, looking for a truck hijacked in Mexico carrying a potentially deadly cargo of cyanide.

The truck disappeared over 24 hours ago. It was stolen from the state of Hidalgo, north of Mexico City.

Investigators in Mexico and Texas still have no clear idea where the potentially devastating cargo is, or what the hijackers plan to do with it.

A copy of a Department of Public Safety teletype alert warns about the potentially deadly stolen cargo and the possibility it could be on its way to Texas.

Agents have turned a watchful eye to Texas highways after three men with guns hijacked a trailer along a Mexican highway loaded with 100 drums of cyanide, so nasty a dose the size of a quarter could be enough to kill.

The power of that potentially lethal stolen cargo has border agents on a Level One alert -- their highest emergency status.

Roger Maier of US Customs said, "Essentially, we're taking a hard look at every car, every truck, every pedestrian that's arriving."

But experts in the trucking industry said, even with the heightened security, the deadly cargo could be disguised.

Landstar Safety's Steve Gullekson said, "They could transfer it to another truck, mark it with another marking on there, and, unless they look suspicious, nobody's gonna look at it."

Here's a description of the truck:

White 2002 Kenworth Tractor Trailer Mexico license plate number 980CZ6.

Re:Yes. (3, Informative)

durdur (252098) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524338)

English is commonly used as the language of instruction in Indian universities. Assuming you are hiring college graduates, they will likely get along ok in English.

India has 14 official languages. Hindi is widely used but is not the native language of many Indians and is not even related to the languages spoken in South India.

So, while it would be commendable if you learned an Indian language to communicate better with your staff, you might have to learn several if they come from different regions of India. Not very practical IMO.

Re:Yes. (-1)

IAgreeWithThisPost (550896) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524359)

Learn to speak Hindu.

Hey MAN! IM going to SHOW HOW incredibly SMART i am and HOW INCREDIBLY stupid YOU are. ITS NOT HINDU. THATS A RELIGION DUH. ITS HINDI. See How smart I am!! Hindi!! NEvermind the FACT that SIX other people POINTED IT OUT BEFORE ME, I am OBVIOUSLY the only one with THE INTELLIGENCE to know what the MAIN indian LANGUAGE IS. Only an IDIOT could obviously confuse HINDU, a religion from HINDI, a language. I WILL also IGNORED the fact that you meant it as a joke and THEREFORE it is funny whether it's HINDI or HINDU, because most PEOPLE UNDERSTAND what the fuck you are saying. BUT IM THE ONLY ONE THAT KNEW IT WAS HINDI. You ARE A MORON.

Im l33t. bye bye

Move (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3524143)

Does anyone have any pointers on managing a team of programmers on the other side of the world?

Move there.

This might help... (1)

i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524149)

You could try getting help through eLance. Programmers from the Indian subcontinent abound on there for usually cheap rates. Managing? Man that's a tough one.

Move (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3524151)

Move to india for the duration of the project. You can live like a king with 20K a year.

Re:Move (-1)

ElCagado (575762) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524346)

Move to india for the duration of the project. You can live like a king with 20K a year

if you don't mind: spitting cobras, man eating tigers, feces ridden streets, and the threat of nuclear war from pakistan. Sure it would be a great place to live!

Yay! A commerical... (3, Funny)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524155)

This is a good time for OSDN to push their "Sourceforge 3.1" software! Unite everyone globally with one piece of software!

Keep click "refresh" on this story (don't forget to use those slashdot subscription pages) and see the advertisement for sourceforge!!!


*ahem*

The usual suggestions... (1)

shakah (78118) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524158)

Just do the usual stuff, i.e. establish source code control, build procedures, regular meetings, milestones, etc.

Re:The usual suggestions... (5, Informative)

crath (80215) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524291)

Just do the usual stuff...

...but in spades.

My employer first began contracting work to India about 10 years ago. The first couple of projects were dismal failures; but we eventually got the hang of it and continue to use lots of India-based developers. Here are a few of our learnings:

  • make sure your design documents are very detailed: if you want a data structure built a certain way then write it out; if you want screens laid out a certain way then do mock-ups; the more written detail the remote team has to work with, the better
  • talk to them every day! Don't rely on email for your communications. Use IM from your home PC to stay in touch during the evenings. Set up a daily phone call with key team members and talk everything through
  • if you can afford to bring a couple of the remote team to North America for a few weeks, bring them over at the start of the project so that you can spend some time with them and get them started on their work while you can supervise them. This isn't because you don't trust them or they are incompetent, it's just a fact of life that colocated teams function better
  • plan project execution so that the application compiles, links, and runs from Day One. This is an area where Microsoft has it right: nightly compiles of the whole project that can be tested each day will ensure that the remote team is building the application the way you are expecting. The daily call provides a great opportunity to give the remote team immediate feedback on their work

Re:The usual suggestions... (2)

scott1853 (194884) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524292)

Question, who's time zone do you schedule your meetings on?

Language barriers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3524161)

I think the biggest hurdle is the language barrier. It is ironic, though, that most computer languages are based upon English and English syntax.

Re:Language barriers (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524185)

Actually, I think indians learning english is better than an english speaker learning Hindi.

Not the messages but the meanings... (1)

Kindaian (577374) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524304)

Language barriers are nothing compared with cultural ones... And i'm not saying that the ocidental culture is better or worse then the Indian/Oriental one... They are just diferent... and that makes a hell to understant each others, even if both understand that white is white and black is black.

BTW this happens even inside one culture. Just define very well the project and enforce very strong development methods with case tests, performance tests, code review, coding rules, source control, and the like...

Cheers...
(and good luck)

regardless. (3, Insightful)

raindog151 (157588) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524164)

regardless of costs, there are a heck of a lot of talented programmers here in the US who would take work.

hire american.

Re:regardless. (4, Interesting)

Telastyn (206146) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524236)

Perhaps you could use those deep pockets to hire back the 2 fired programmers? 2 programmers you can actually talk to and design with are probably as productive, if not more, than 4 you can't communicate well with.

Re:regardless. (3, Insightful)

jnana (519059) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524329)

i agree with your sentiment, but in reality, 2 US programmers' salaries could get you at least 10 Indian programmers on the Indian subcontinent. That's hard to sell to management who only see $ signs and think that a programmer is like a lego block that you can interchange anywhere, all working as well as any other.

Re:regardless. (2)

Kenja (541830) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524243)

I see them every day. Standing there with a "will program for food" sign.

Its simple (4, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524169)

You just need to learn how to shout "do it again but do it right this time" in several languages.

Why go offshore? (1)

bodland (522967) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524172)

last I heard there were 500,000 technology workers out of work since this time last year...

Can't vouch for the quality here though (maybe that's why so many are out of work). But everyone knows in India children are coding C++ at age five.

Re:Why go offshore? (0)

The Turd Report (527733) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524351)

Money. You can hire a car load of Indian programmers for what it would cost to pay one American/European programmer.

Re:Why go offshore? (2)

Skapare (16644) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524355)

It's not an issue of quality here; it's an issue of money. While some companies have taken the opportunity to trim dead wood, most people are out as the result of projects cancelled, departments eliminated, and entire companies gone bankrupt. If you can't find a programmer here in the USA for half the price they made in 1999, you don't know how to recruit.

Even with that, you'll certainly find programmers cheaper in India. Costs are much lower there, so the demand for salary is likewise lower. But there will also be some increased costs to deal with. And there are greater risks. Large corporations with offices there can manage those things a lot better, but a small business will be entending themselves a lot to do that.

So say what skills you need (C? C++? C#? Java? SQL? Linux? Unix? Windows?) how much you want to pay and see whether or not Slashdotters laugh ... or send you resumes.

Email (1)

dingo (91227) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524176)

I know it is really obvoius but it has to be said :-email.Lots and lots of email.
Email specifically because i have found that if it is anything more interactive (phone or irc for example) then things are more open to discussion but an email adds that little more time between recieve/reply so that what you say is interpretted more as an order and less as a request :)
too much discussion in a project tends to slow things up alot but it still gives just the right amount of flexibility.

Simple! (1)

orkysoft (93727) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524177)

Use Sourceforge! You should already know that that is the best solution, since they're advertising themselves to death on Slashdot ;-)

one word: (0)

davereed (525994) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524191)

CVS =)

Communication (1)

Lord Puppet (300347) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524192)

Communication is the biggest challenge. I'm currently managing a couple of programmers in my office, and a couple in a neighbouring country. Instant messaging helps, but it's just not the same as being able to sit down at a table draw on a white board. We're looking into online conferencing, but I'm still a bit skeptical that it will solve all of our communication problems. Spontaneous idea-swapping has fallen by the way-side, and everyone has the feeling that the team has disintegrated.

Effective Recourse (3, Insightful)

ciole (211179) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524198)

Either trust them or ensure that you have recourse against them. I've seen outsourced teams from India sign the NDAs, take some money, and walk away with the IP.

Good News! (1)

jwinter1 (147688) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524199)

According to the Mythical Man Month/Peopleware/Joel on Software, you should be able to finish your project much earlier with fewer programmers. So, don't tell management, kick back, and relax for a few weeks.

Good luck!

Very large programming project? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3524203)

We have been given a very large programming project that we estimated would take 4 coders (the size of the team at the time) 6 months to deliver.

I don't know by what standard this is considered a "very large" programming project :-)

Now, to answer the question: based on my experience, teams in India are generally efficient for tasks that don't require a high level of interactivity with their counterparts over here. They have pretty good programmers. Like any other place, they also have bad ones, which are more of a problem simply because it's harder to identify them. Also, beware of the time difference. It can be a good (work around the clock), it can be bad (downtime of a key US machine while the US guys are sleeping = one day wasted).

It's 2:00 a.m.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3524208)

Do you know what your overseas developers are doing? [slashdot.org]

Don't block the ads if they answer exactly your question!

It's not going to be easy (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3524209)

Take your time estimates and double them and expect a lot of communications problems. Doubling the number of people working on the project wont help either. Also dont be surprised if you have to throw out and redo at least 25% of what comes out of any Indian contract shop. Make sure you assign the most mundane and routine tasks to any of your offshore contractors, especially if English is their second language. The less training you have to do, the better. Also be prepared to have to deal with cultural differences. Not just work schedules and such, some cultures have a bad habit of always saying yes when the answer should be no. This is a pain in the ass to deal with with the question is "can you do so-and-so" but even worse when the question is "do you understand". If the answer is always yes and you never get any feedback or questions back, beware. Dont just look in India, look in Ireland as well, I remember reading something about similar contract shops starting up there as well. Also read something about Vietnam getting into this business as well.

"Trimming fat". (5, Insightful)

Gannoc (210256) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524211)

I wish corporations had the balls to call it "Keeping money for ourselves" instead of "trimming the fat".

Trimming the fat implies that everyone who was laid off was useless. Just globs of ugly fat slowing down the company. We were glad to get rid of them anyway. Thank God this financial crisis came along so we could get rid of those chunks of lard clogging the arteries of efficiency. Whew!

It makes them feel much better about destroying lives.

Plus, the people who remain feel good about themselves, because they were the "lean" not the "fat". They're so important they didn't get fired!

Re:"Trimming fat". (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3524276)

no shit. A former employer *cough*Vignette*cough* has had terrible trouble making money, so they have had several rounds of layoffs. Most recently, they asked employees to participate in the "voluntary" salary reduction plan. Ha. At the same time, they gave some hotshot suit a $2m loan for his (her?) house. Note that this wasn't a money-making plan - the loan's terms are very favorable for the exec. 3 out of the top 4 (or was it 4 of 5) executives just got $70k bonuses for showing up to work every day. Trimming the fat indeed.

assholes.

Re:"Trimming fat". (4, Interesting)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524296)

Consider this. If minimum wage had followed the meteoric rise of the CEO/Exec salary from the early 80s at the same rate, min wage would be 25$.

Ever wonder why downsizing/timming the fat, etc, etc seems to be much more common these days? Well, the overhead for paying management is much higher, and as usual, the middle to lower tier pays for it by being subjected to trivilizing and belittling buzzwords designed to protect people from having to swallow the 'reality' pill.

Yes, I managed this kind on team (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3524214)

my tarif it's 200 $ an hour.
give me a call !

my experiences (1)

primus_sucks (565583) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524217)

A few years back I was in a similar situation. I was based in the US and given the task of working on a project with 5 other offshore programmers. The problem was that all of these programmers were very inexperienced. They came from a VB programming background and given 2 weeks of Java classes and then given to me to work with. basically I spent almost all of my time explaining to them how to program and debugging their code. I could have got more work done if it were just me! So my advice would be to make sure you have at least one experienced person in your offshore team. And try to get people with good communication skills - communication will be difficult enough without a language barrier.

Spin Spin Spin (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3524219)

Spin Spin Spin the glo-obe...

I saw a Semens commercial and they should be able to do it, they have a cool song.

Not too hard (3, Insightful)

ebh (116526) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524222)

a 24-staff-month project is not what I'd call "very large", and that will affect how you manage it. The problem is that you don't have the calendar time it will take to get things running really smoothly.

If you're treating the overseas programmers as an outsource, then the hardest parts will be nailing down the requirements, accepting code drops, etc.

If you're treating them as staff with a really long commute, then the biggest problems will probably be language barriers and time differences. (Get REALLY GOOD at IMing!)

In either case, it may also be tough to get test environments set up for the foreign staff, if it's not feasible for them to use your machines over a VPN or something.

At least, this has been my experience, in a place that does both (development staff in three countries, and outsourcing from two offshore companies).

Rational has some good software (1)

fabiolrs (536338) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524225)

Rational [rational.com] has some interesting software you can use (like ClearCase)...

Talk about a kick in the groin (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3524230)

Go to Slashdot, where there are undoubtedly a whole lot of North American coders looking for work, and ask them about some good ideas for getting cheaper labour overseas.

No offence, but I hope you understand if some of us offer you NO HELP.

I don't get it... (1)

borgillel (568835) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524234)

If you've been given "deep" pockets to hire foreign programmers, then why doesn't your company hire any of the many fine programmers in the U.S. who are currently out of work and will probably work for less? Granted, you may get more foreign programmers for the same money, but I sometimes think that many of the companies in the U.S. just compound problems by ignoring talent around them. Note: I'm sensitive about this situation because I have been unemployed for several months now, and just getting a chance to interview can be tough.

Look for a new job (4, Insightful)

technomancerX (86975) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524237)

I would suggest you start looking for a new job.

How long before your firm realizes that they can hire a manager on-site in India for a fraction of what they're paying you and not incur the language barrier and communications problems?

critical items for successful off shore dev (1)

f00zbll (526151) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524239)

Here is a list of what you absolutely have to have in place for it to go successfully. Otherwise, hire some one locally, like some of those x-employee who are still jobless.

1. have some one from your office in India
2. speak hindu. forget the bs about the largest english speaking population outside of US.
3. write very detailed plans, documents and specs
4. have weekly meetings on the phone with the whole team
5. get daily status electronically
6. setup source control, which they have to check in their code at the end of the work day
7. only send grunt work to India, due to communication reasons. When specs and requirements change, the high level decisions need to made locally.
8. get a dedicated telephone line to the office in india. telephone lines are notoriously bad in india.
9. have a well define development process and make them stick to it.

Doing anything less than this will result is total chaos. Considering how monumental it is to setup a development team in India, and the large number of un-employed programmers in the US. Just use contractors and break the project into smaller sub projects to make it easier for yourself to manage and track.

Re:critical items for successful off shore dev (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3524366)

Yeah right, he should really trust you on this one, especially since you know how to spell "Hindi".

Right.

Very easy! (1)

Snake (13761) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524242)

- Cancel your subscription of Slahdot,

- Join the near PHB Golf Club.

Just don't expect to be able to go there very often!

Moreover, before ever considering managing, do consider how you will recruit high quality programmers!

Do not do it! (5, Informative)

Ted V (67691) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524248)

For the love of God, DO NOT DO IT! I've worked with or interviewed for positions at 3 different companies/departments that used off-shore india programmers. It was always a horrible experience. In each situation, after 6 months they said that hiring the offshore team actually hurt progress. That is to say, X programmers on site would have made more progress than X on site and Y offsite.

I'm not sure what all the root issues are, but the time difference is huge. Get used to 9pm phone conference meetings. It was horrible explaining the software needs to the offshore groups. And fiunally, it's much harder to do quality control with people who aren't actually there. It's much harder to get them to fix problems when you don't have an in-person presence. Most programmers by nature get things done in the worst possible long term way. In the offshore situation, you will have almost no power to encourage them to create code that's built to last.

One more thing... (4, Insightful)

Ted V (67691) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524337)

One more thing. I agree with the others that suggest looking for a new job. If your management
is giving you money to complete the software but then telling you how you should spend it (ie. india), that's a sign they don't really respect your management decisions. If they really empowered you and had trust in you, they would say, "Here is $X. It's your responsibility to get the project done."

It seems like they won't accept any situatuion except one involving India programmers, and that is 99% guaranteed to fail. The failure will be blamed on you, you'll be out of work, and have trouble finding a new job (because of the previous failure which wasn't your fault).

The mere fact that they fired your team when you said you had just enough for the project should let you know they don't really value your opinion. Find a company that respects you. They do exist.

International Teams (5, Interesting)

glenstar (569572) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524249)

I have had extensive experience with offshore development in Russia, India, Indonesia (don't even ask), and various Latin American countries. If I had to do it again, I would go with a Russian team over any of the others. A business associate of mine does a lot of work in Vietnam (he has a couple hundred developers there) and he seems pleased with the work quality and the *much* lower bottom line. Indian firms are now almost on par with American teams in regards to rates, so why even bother?

But, as has been pointed out here already, there are thousands and thousands of US developers out of work, which makes it a buyer's market. To put it into perspective, a top-gun Russian developer is going to charge 25/hr. I am certain that you can find a comparable US developer right now to do it for approximately the same; plus or minus 10% or so. It's amazing, but even software developers like to pay their mortgage... ;-)

suggestion (1)

deepsea007 (528458) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524251)

Make sure that you are using CVS. This is particularly important because of the time differences that you will be worrking as compared to them in India. Also, you should invest in some teleconference equipment. If you can talk to them in real time, it is a helluvalot better than e-mail for a lot of things. And last but not least, keep communication optimal. Make sure that you have meetings 2 or 3 times a week. This will serve two purposes. One, it will let them know that you give a damn about what they are doing and Two, it will confirm that everybody is on the same page as to what has to be done. Good luck!

flamebait? (4, Funny)

tps12 (105590) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524252)

Let me get this straight.

You are asking a bunch of unemployed programmers how to best manage the foreigners you hired to take their places?

Hope you brought your asbestos suit.

Outsourcing to India (1)

code addict (312283) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524253)

If your software is non-trivial, I highly recommend that you have very detailed specifications for them to work for or you could end up with huge headaches. It can take many hours just trying to get the concepts and business rules across.

Also, the time difference can be a major problem when it comes to conference calls. We are on the west coast and trying to find a time that worked was difficult because we're something like 12 hours different. We ended up on the phone at 7am here and there were there at 7pm their time. If they run into problems, they don't have anyone to respond until we get in to work the next day.

All I'm saying is that you should tread cautiously. Outsourcing is not necessarily a huge gain in effeciency unless all your coding work in extremely trivial.

Yes. Don't. (2, Interesting)

bratgrrl (197603) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524254)

What a crock of shit. There's an abundance of able developers right here in the good old US of A. I hate this kind of crap, it doesn't work anyway, you'll spend the same or more money, with ten times the headaches. I've been through this twice- never ever again. It does not work.

no difference really (2)

mosch (204) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524255)

dealing with an offshore programming team is no different than dealing with any other consultancy.

Agree on the statements of work
Make sure that the statements of work are adhered to.
Smile and enjoy the fact that you're helping keep americans unemployed by implementing a plan which will not bring the savings you were hoping for.

Budget for travel (2, Interesting)

MountainLogic (92466) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524256)

Budget for a lot of travel on short notice. You will need "face time." Expect the trave to exceed what you will save in salary for such a small project. If you are hiring 20 or 20 programmers you might see a real savings if it comes out right. Also, plan on switching your US team to the graveyard shift so you can have enless phone calls with them. Been there, done that.

Quit (4, Insightful)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524257)

Seriously, the people you are working for are incompetent. If you said it would take four people six months, then they should believe it would take four people six months. Whatever immediate savings are to be had by laying off three developers and hiring Indian contractors are going to be lost in the loss of experience with your product and the overhead of managing developers on the opposite side of the world. Give up, now.

Good Infoworld Column (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3524258)

http://www.infoworld.com/articles/op/xml/02/05/06/ 020506opsurvival.xml">This article has some good points - especially relating to moving the coders closer as the project nears completion.

hire me! (1)

Kz (4332) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524260)

located in Peru, (almost) no time zone difference!

rule 1: understand the foreign culture (1)

yanyan (302849) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524261)

I work at a NEC subsidiary in the Philippines. The higher-ups in management are all Japanese, and we also have many Jap counterparts in Japan. The Japs in the Philippines are very well-adjusted to the local culture and respect local traditions and customs, holidays, etc., thus, they get along quite well with the Filipinos despite the extreme cultural differences. And the Filipinos also appreciate the Japs' effort to adjust. This, i think, should be a top priority when working with foreign programmers. Understanding foreign culture would go a long way toward mutual understanding and goodwill, and would help to create great working relationships.

dumb question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3524269)

Why does you management require an off-shore partner? Provided the price is competitive, is there some reason off-shore is better than on-shore? I can see no tax advantages w.r.t a project outsourced to a second entity that's not in the US.

Spec and Design (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3524270)

Just get the specification and design nailed upfront with in-house talent, then verify that the offshore talent have a clue about the technology. Make sure that the specs and design are very modular and that risky areas are addressed early.

I had a very bad experience where offshore talent had no ideas about the necessary technology, let alone alternative strategies, though they advertized as experts, etc. We terminated that contract with extreme speed, and brought the work back in-house. -PK

Cultural/conceptual/grammar differences (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524271)

With the inevitable time overruns due to rebuilding caused by grammar and conceptual mistakes, is it really going to be cheaper hiring offshore vs. hiring a team locally?

My last team had a Chinese woman, and Indian woman, a Hungarian male, and 3 Americans, all sitting in the same office. The disconnect between Chinese/Hindu/Hungary caused several large delays. Doing this from 10,000 miles away has got to be worse. Much worse.

Wrong place to ask (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3524273)

Slashdot is a wrong place to ask that.

Over here everybody is a code-monkey who hates the managers because they have a (completely unnecessary) university degree, get paid better and are, in general, smarter and equipped with a better human-to-human interface.

(good?) Advice (2, Interesting)

new_breed (569862) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524274)

As a programmer whose company is thinking of hiring help from a local company that uses Russian programmers, I'd say: don't do it. The amount of complications possible by far outweighs the advantages (cheap!) in my opinion.. Like: -You've got your working program. But hey! there are two major bugs in it..but the offshore team is too busy with some other job, or are not reachable for some other reason. -From experience, everything you buy that is cheap at first, might turn out te be quite expensive later. I'd say, that might as well be true for hiring programmerskills. You're gonna need people to communicate to those programmers, even if they speak english or not. That person will cost money as well, unless you're willing to give up 70% of your own time to integrate, test, debug etc. the code you're getting from them. -Losing control! What you don't make, you cannot control easily..i.e.: you can check the code itself, but not how it was manufactured, or what kind of design decisions were made. I'm sure other /. will have better stories on why you should / should not do this..Basically, I'm just saying: don't make this complicated. If you need more manpower, try looking around in your own country first. My 2 cents..

key comms: Email + IM + CVS + Intranet + SSH (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3524275)

I work as a biz/tech in NYC with a team of programmers in NZ and 2 biz in San Fran. We use:

email: Message usually to "all". Projct discussion is usually ad-hoc (no lists). This is mostly for updates, documentation of happenings, clients.

IM: we use a mix of AOL, Gaim, etc. This is where most of the decisions get made.

CVS: This, plus a whole bunch of automated testing scripts (JUnit and homebrew; we're all Java) with results of this posted every 10 minutes on the intranet and ensuing complaints if you fail to keep the tree green.

Intranet: News, CVS autochecking, Product versions, Marketing, etc. Looked at WIKI, Zope, etc., but ended up making homebrew.

SSH: Everything is tunneled with SSH to keep things nice and secret ;)

The most important thing in all of this is making sure information is received by those who need it. This is usually more of an exercise in politics than technology.

Keep in touch daily, don't hire yes men (3, Interesting)

rufusdufus (450462) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524278)

While I havent done it myself, I worked with others that have, and seen success and catastrophe. Whatever you do, don't hire somebody who is going to hedge the truth about progress. Ive seen projects completely cave in when the found out that their oversees components were months behind schedule, but the managers lied and said everything was going great. Remember they may not have the same American get-it-done attitude you have.
Also, make sure they have the same scheduling paradigm you have; for some reason a lot of people think that estimating a schedule means padding by tenfold, others think it means come up with the shortest conceivable timeline to please the boss.

Is this a good project for an experiment? (1)

cthlptlk (210435) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524279)

Six months seems pretty tight to roll out a new programming team, even if they're all in the same room. How critical is this project? If you have "deep pockets" for it, despite budget cuts, it sounds important. If so, it's probably not a good candidate for a new, untested mode of operation.

First goatse.cx post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3524284)

This goatse.cx post is brought to you by Microsoft:
Where do you want to go today?

if ($IM) { $trillian=1; } (1)

chaoticset (574254) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524285)

If you do end up IMing, use Trillian. It adds logging to IM systems that don't already support it, it allows you to interface with anybody unwilling to use Trillian, and the people you want to communicate with don't have to change anything they do. Just make sure you have one of each IM account and you can IM anybody, plus have IRC logging in the same software.

Suggestions. (5, Informative)

glh (14273) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524286)

My company has hired "off-shore" programmers, however we have always brought them in. You tend to get a really good rate even bringing them in (much cheaper than typical $200/hr consultants.. I think we pay around $40-80/hr for the off-shore ones), and I would wager that you would more than make up for it in the problems that would arise doing off-shore. The other thing with bringing them to where you are is, they tend to be more willing to work (what else are they going to do, hang out in the hotel?).

In terms of working with them off-shore.. You have the time-zone differences, which could be a potential headache (not sure exactly what the time difference is). Most Indians would already speak english (with decent clarity) so that usually isn't a problem.

I personally enjoy working with the Indian co-workers (off-shore or H1B's). The Indians that I have worked with have always been very productive, friendly, and don't slack off as much as their American counterparts. They almost always have better education backgrounds (due to the need for visas) but conversely have less real-world experience. Granted, I don't exactly like the idea that they are taking jobs away from Americans, but I can understand why companies will hire will hire them. Especially in this economy, where they are very excited about being able to get a position and will typically take a lower wage to work.

Some questions for possible recruits (1)

stevenbee (227371) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524297)

Here are a few questions I would put to any prospective members of a global programming team:

1. Are you well-managed? If so, why? If not, why not?

2. Is your manager an ex-programmer him or her self? If not, from what
discipline did he/she come?

3. Do you work in: a cubicle, a two-person office, a multi-person office,
a private office?

4. How often do you think about changing careers?

5. How long have you been a *professional* programmer? (i.e., you get paid
for doing it.)

6. What is your job title?

7. How many programming jobs have you had (i.e., different employers,
consulting assignements, etc.)

8. What platforms/languages do you specialize in?

9. What *specific* suggestions do you have for those who find themselves in
a position of managing a programming team?

three words: (1)

jbuck (579032) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524303)

babelfish, babelfish, babelfish. (does that translate hindi?)

Travel to India (or other off-shore site) (1)

farnsaw (252018) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524310)

Be sure to budget into the project your required trips off-shore to manage these people. At least once a month is a minimum, every two weeks is more like it. Plan on staying a week at a time. Hmm, 6 months = 26 weeks = 13 round trips... may be cheaper to just keep it here in the US.

Communication and Management (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3524312)

The keys to offshore development are communication and management. You need a strong manager offshore and you need to maintain an open channel with them. Without a strong manager you'll need to spoon feed work to the offshore resources - do a very thorough design job and hand small sections of work to them. A strong manager will greatly reduce your workload and increase the efficiency of your offshore team.

How to have sex with a horse (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3524315)

Anal intercourse with horses

Tip #1: Play Safe

There are some serious safety issues regarding horse sex that you need to be aware of at all times. First and foremost, whatever touches the horse's anus shouldn't be touching anything else. Never never never take your penis out of the horse's anus and put it into the vagina of your wife. That can lead to serious infections and other complications. After any kind of horse play, you should immediately change condoms and wash the relevant body parts thoroughly.

Of course, STDs are also a major concern with horse sex. This isn't just limited to AIDS; herpes, genital warts, syphilis, gonorrhea, etc. can all be transmitted through horse sex. You simply shouldn't be having horse sex without a condom; it's not worth the risk to either you or your pet.

Tip #2: Lube, lube, lube

One of the most important thing to remember when thinking about horse sex is that, unlike the vagina of your wife, the horse's anus isn't self-lubricating: you gotta bring your own grease. And, the more lube you use, the better. It will make the initial penetration much more easy and less painful for the horse and make the whole experience, for both of you, much more pleasant.

All kinds of lube are used for horse sex, from spit to Vaseline to high-tech silicone-based lubes. We'd strongly recommend spending a little money to get a high quality water-based lubricant; remember, an oil-based lubricant like Vaseline will degrade the latex in a condom, destroying its usefulness. We'd recommend products like AstroGlide or KY Jelly, available in any drug store. Note, though a condom may be "lubricated", they typically don't offer as much lube as we'd recommend for horse sex.

There are some specialty lubes designed for horse sex that include an anesthetic to numb the horse's sensation and make sex less painful. We'd advise against these products. The simple fact is, pain is a way of your body telling you that something's wrong. If you're in pain during horse sex, you need to focus on solving the root problems, not anesthetizing yourself so it's easier to endure.

Tip #3: Start Small

Simply put, a penis is an awful big to be the first thing you stick up a horse's bottom. Better to start with something smaller and work your way up. Fingers are an excellent beginning point. Use one finger, then two, to initiate the animal into the mysteries of anal horse-penetration. Try it while performing oral sex for an extra thrill. Be sure not to forget the lube, and you might also want to wear latex gloves.

As the animal gets used to your fingers, you might graduate to a small dildo or telegraph pole. Dildos are available in all shapes and sizes. Finger the anus to get one it thinks it can handle. Remember, though, don't put the dildo into the vagina of your wife after putting it into the horse's anus. The safest way is to put a condom on the dildo before using it, and to wash it thoroughly immediately after.

Ouch - posting this on slashdot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3524320)

There are a great many slashdot readers who would greatly appreciate an interview on this one. This is the reason why so many of us here in the US are unemployed now. If the jobs go overseas then there flat out *is no market* for US tech. This is another toll on the death bell of US programming talent.

I know *I* can never make a living programming, but those who graduated before me may still have a chance if people quit shipping livelihoods to India.

This is must. (1)

Like2Byte (542992) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524328)

Interpretation! Interpretation! Interpretation!

We had two Indians working for us.

They never did any error checking and where English translation was needed it got quite comical.

For instance:

"Required" became "This is must."

Now, I ask you: Huh!?

Without sounding derogatory.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3524333)

Conduct all your business via e-mail. Conference calls just don't work out when there is a significant language barriers. I know too many people that think they're fluent in English and it just isn't the case. I do have to give them credit, however, as I sure as hell haven't taken the time to learn their language. Specifically India has over 100 official languages, I believe.

Managing (1)

keep_it_simple_stupi (562690) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524335)

I couldn't imagine managing offshore workers [larta.org] that you've never met... Hmmm... Maybe this will even out the wealth in the world a little bit, not that I want that to happen (being in the US).

Get used to ... (1)

agupta_25 (468946) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524340)

Waking up in the middle of the night for status updates. India has a 11 hour time difference, so the programmers there work while we sleep. For management, this can be annoying since you will be getting calls in the middle of the night when things are not working out as planned!

Language should not be a problem since Indian programmers usually speak very good English, but can't say anything about accent :)

Some sort of videoconferencing would be good to have face-to-face meetings.

Employing Indian in India (1)

Gopal.V (532678) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524344)

Employing Indians in India is faced by obvious problems like getting good net access . There's actually two words which can solve the problem.

Give him an ASDL connection and tell him to hang out on jabber and ask him to work according to US hours :)

Seriously , I live in India -- It's d*mn frustrating to work with a guy in another timezone Unless one of them is a geek :)

three words: (1)

jbuck (579032) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524345)

babelfish
babelfish
babelfish

Interesting (2)

The Cat (19816) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524348)

Deep pockets, but only if it is to hire someone in another country.

Now, I'm all for free and open markets, but this doesn't sound like a choice.

What's the motivation? What's the benefit to not hiring someone here? Could it be that management is still having a tantrum about having to pay a living wage for a few years? Programmers gettin' too uppity?

It's sickening.

Read the Social Life of Information (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524353)

Read The Social Life of Information [amazon.com] by John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid.

This book deconstructs many of the problems with distance learning and telecommuting. It's a must read for you and your boss.

Stephan

Dear Slashdot.. (2, Funny)

Bowie J. Poag (16898) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524361)



Dear Slashdot,

Since i'm the kind of guy willing to cut corners and drive nails with a socket wrench, i'd like to hire some Hindu guys to code for me. The 12 hour time difference means i'll never have to talk with them, and whenever they call, i'll be out of the office. This is great. Who cares of Indian coders know they'll never be held accountable for their mistakes, being half a world away? I dont want it done right, I just want it done. Who cares if they dont have indoor plumbing? I want 500 lines of code per day for 3 Rupee an hour, or i'm outtahere. What should I do?

we tried that (0)

myspys (204685) | more than 12 years ago | (#3524362)

we hired a team in india to deliver a game written in java.

they were behind schedule ALL the time and in the end we hired a person to work on-site (this person WASN'T from the team in india) and this single guy got it done. probably quicker than the team in india, if we'd let them finish it.

the language barriers are horrible.
i'd never do it again.
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