Tom Williamson has over 15 years of experience in project management, enterprise software development, and over six years of cloud computing with specialized expertise in business process improvement, change management and Business Analysis. Hates zombies, clipping toenails and fighting with bullies.
Nearshore Ruling the Seas: Part 1
The issue with all this glorious software is someone has to write it, and well…let’s just say that’s no bueno. Greed, glory, power, and pride (GGPP) all get in the way of awesome software, so we create elaborate positions such as Delivery Manager, Project Manager, Officer in Charge, Scrum Master, Task Master, Circus Master…you get the picture. They all attempt to control costs, meet deadlines, and make people happy. Good luck. The human factor always fails the equation; however, humans aren’t going anywhere, so what is to be done?
I recently went to Monterrey, Mexico to study and engage a software company we partnered with to see how they stack up in this world of overhyped, underpriced, nonsensical companies that claim to be consultants, but actually can’t code ‘Hello World’ without ‘the Google’.
We were met at the airport by their CEO and our VP of Nearshore Delivery Services for MATRIX. We were immediately handed a shrink-wrapped notepad and pen with our three-day agenda on the inside cover. Say what? I hate waste and wasting time is number 1, so this is starting well. However, a bit odd. Maybe it was the shrink wrap?
We got to the company’s facility and began touring the various offices and ‘labs’ (please). Then, I suddenly realized culture was making an appearance. Open workspaces with three different Kanban boards in a very collaborative environment. They had a sweet kitchen, small offices for private conversations, and a highly technical conference room. Nothing new, but good to see they understand how development gets done in 2017.
Over the next two days, they took us through various verticals where we engaged their top-tier people along with most of the staffed developers, engineers, architects, designers, cooks, janitors, partners, and the CEO’s wife over Facetime. Wow. It was clear this company gets the human condition. Very cool and you now have my attention.
What other tricks do these nearshore nerds have stuffed in their sock? How are they going to solve this issue of humans jacking up software development, infrastructure, support, and staffing? Below is a bit of what I observed over the course of three days and are frankly areas you should implement if you care to survive in this age of the “entitled millennial”.
1. Create Passion
Everyone we talked to loved their work. They were in the right place doing what they love to do. It was apparent in their presentations and attitude. You can’t fake love. If you don’t love what you do, please stop and continue your search elsewhere. Life is short.
2. Be Fearless
This company puts their people first. Education is continual, ideas are expected, and growth is not optional. As they said, ‘Not everyone can work here’. You must to bring your ‘A’ game every day or they will send you packing. No, really. Don’t bother showing up, as the ‘Borg’ will deny you access to the consortium.
3. Think of Others
‘Others’ means coworkers and then customers. This organization will turn down jobs that don’t fit their model. Did I say model in the world of IT? Yes, they have several models for all types of IT scenarios and if the model fails…sorry, you’re out. What does this have to do with thinking of others? Well, they just saved the customer a boatload of cash (either way) and their coworkers the heartache of a failed project.
4. Team First
Seriously? Someone gives a rip that I think we should use a new technology for this solution? But we’ve never used it before. What if it fails? The team puts the technology to task and together they decide if it’s right for the given business problem. All ideas count and everyone is expected to contribute. No one is on an island and all will participate.
5. Tell the Truth
This one should be higher on the list, but make no mistake, these people will tell you the truth. Like if you’re a startup and your idea is trash. Take it to heart. If you think ‘x’ can be done in three months and they tell you three years. Listen. If you stroll into their ‘Think Tank’ (yes, they have a real, no-BS think tank with real doctors and super nerds) and want to know if ‘y’ will work, they can tell you.
6. Have a Plan
From our shrink-wrapped agenda to our University of Monterrey visit, it was calculated and had purpose. Every presentation we observed was clear and concise. Each action they took had meaning and benefit. Sixty to 70 percent of their time is spent on planning, organizing, and modeling the solution to ensure success. It’s not that they don’t fail, but they fail quickly and course-correct.
I just realized I didn’t discuss our university visit, meeting with the mobile think tank gang-of-beautiful-geniuses, or their predictive support platform. No, this isn’t ‘Silly-con’ Valley, glamorous Austin, or MIT, but Monterrey, Mexico. Haven’t heard of them? You’re already behind and good luck catching up because their foot is on the gas.