Talent is not enough in offshoring

I have spent over 6 months in Bangalore looking at how we could get our operation over there significantly more productive than it had been in the the 9 months to then. Before I arrived in Bangalore, everything seemed to be black and white. Now everything seems like shades of grey.

A key ingredient that we lacked 6 month ago was an experienced and talented team in India. I inherited a team of graduates, termed freshers in India. We now had some of the experience and talent that is crucial, but today I realised that this is still not enough.

The developers in India had created a specification and design document for a test harness they intended to build. When the document came to the UK for review, a few emails were exchanged and all seemed happy on the surface. A little further digging when I saw the UK reviewers face to face showed that they felt the entire approach was wrong - this much was not clear from the email discussions. Even with the brightest people working for us in India, it was still possible for misunderstandings to creep through between people and what is intended for the work. When the different people involved do not know each other, people can find it easier not to communicate than to make the effort to do so.

Going forward, the managers in India and UK need to encourage more interactive communication between the teams - particularly through phone and video conferencing. Greater mutual involvement and inclusion of senses, like sight and sound, can only increase familiarity between the two parties involved. If we can get both sides feeling like they are on the same team, they will be more willing to support each other through each other's mistakes.