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Book Review: Offshoring IT Services

By b2bhandshake ·
Managing a global workforce and distributed teams is perhaps one of the most crucial aspects of offshore outsourcing, that is ?offshoring??the reason why the author Mohan Babu, who is with Infosys, has dedicated an entire chapter on this aspect in his new book Offshoring IT Services: A Framework for Managing Outsourced Projects. Offshoring necessitates interaction and communicating with people around the world. The book has been published at an opportune time, especially since offshore outsourcing is taking off and executives and IT leaders are looking for best practices that they can adopt in their initiatives.

Managers and members of teams need to learn to work with professionals and peers from across geographic and cultural boundaries, separated by time and space. As offshore outsourcing becomes more pervasive, managers are beginning to pay greater attention to aspects of managing geographically distributed teams or virtual teams.

The section on managing a global workforce is peppered with examples and case studies, and highlights some of the key aspects including:

Articulating clear goals: The onsite and offshoring teams need to be clear about their goals
Define modes of interaction: Stakeholders across the offshoring spectrum may have varying goals and needs that will have to be addressed and planned for
Focus on communication: Defining the modes of interaction may include communication management planning, essentially aiming to bridge the onsite-offshore gap
Cultural differences: Teams and managers may have to recognise the existence of cultural differences that may not be mitigated
Trust between teams: Working with teams across geographic and cultural boundaries hinges on basic trust between onsite and offshore teams.
Managing projects entails ?regular? project dynamics for which there are several well documented tools and techniques including that described in PMI?s Project Management Body of Knowledge Guide (PMBOK). The added dimension of complexity in managing offshore projects is that of managing cross-cultural and geographic issues.

Managing projects gets more nebulous when it involves orchestrating the efforts and schedules of individuals, teams and resources from across the globe.

The author highlights three main aspects: Cultural, technical and human. Managers aim to bring together a group of people from different cultures and geographies, with varying skill sets and goals and ensure that their work is organised in a cohesive manner. The human aspect delves into what really motivates people.

Traditionally, IT managers didn?t get invited to strategic decision-making meetings, a forte of business leaders and executives. However, with offshoring on the rise, the author observes that the percentage of strategic influence that technology managers wield is increasing in focus, and adds that ?by offshoring technology management and development, managers are expected to bridge the gap between application development and the strategic goals of business.?

Another key to managing the technical aspects of global workforce is the fact that technical people build their distinct work cultures, regardless of their ethnic or social cultures. Therefore, managers need to understand the subtle nuances of managing technical people.

Book: Offshoring IT Services?A Framework for Managing Outsourced Projects. Author: K Mohan Babu
Publisher: Tata McGraw Hill, 2006

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