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Digital Photography… Kids anyone?

Who me?  Cute..?Oops, this is about technology managment, isn’t it? Hold ON!!!!

What is it about kids that does this to us? Every time I see them I want to look for my camera. They smile and I think, where is my camera. Then I think, “Do I have the right camera? Do I need to get a better camera?”

Oh, wait. Is that an excuse to talk about cameras? I love this medium. I get to talk to myself, and we sure know I like to talk. Digital Cameras! Wahoooo!

So I’ve been taking pictures for about 10 years with Minolta Maaxum’s, first a 5000 and then a 7xi. I have a few lenses, a bag. AND lots of dust. I also have that old Fuji Finepix and a broken Canon. Oh, wait, I said all of this before. Well at least some of it.

Every time I get ready for the leap, I find another camera to sidetrack me. Right now, this time? Yep. There’s another one. This time it isn’t the Canon. The Nikon? Nope, a Panasonic. With a Leica lense no less!

Well enough about cameras. What about offshore maintenance projects. I am working with a small company in Michigan and a HUGE company in Houston and the solution is the same; move it offshore. At the same time, there is a local company and we’re keeping them onshore. At least for now. At least for now. The challenge is of course the communication.

Gravity?  Where? Communication? Don’t you meanproject managment you ask! Nope! Communication. Project Managment is just a form of communication. No mater which way you skin the cat, we’re still talking about communication. In a project, communication is the transfer of understanding from one party to another. This is the most complex problem in any project though; offshore, onshore, onsite. Communication is the hardest part! Technology is simple. Communication is HARD!!!

What made Linux work? Is Linus a genius coder? He must be. But more than that, he is able to communicate his vision effectively. And in English for god’s sake! There are hundreds, even thousands of technically feasible projects out in the wild, but the ones that happen are the ones with vision. Wait, the ones whose vision has been communicated! Whose vision is available. Whose vision is flexible.

How do we bring that to offshore projects? Well, I’ve been managing off and on about 10 people in India for more than a year now. Either directly or through the layer of an onsite coordinator. And I don’t have the answers yet. I have some things that work really well, but I have been humbled. And I’ve humbled? Maybe, but I’ve also learned a lot.

In the past product management /ownership has rested on the client site in the US and development has rested offshore. But we’ve been having much better luck lately by moving the product management offshore. We’ve been moving the design and decision making offshore. This has meant more trips to India and vice versa, but it has also meant that the team can ask design questions in real time. It means that we manage the managers from here. It means that we spend less time managin the details. More time managing the company.

We used to let the offshore managment team run the company, but WE ran the projects. We even tried letting them run the company AND the projects. But now we are running the company. They are running the projects. And you know what? I think it is working.

More to come…

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