Outsourcing Realities: Time to Stop Whining

I “borrowed” the title of this post from this op-ed from SDTimes by Edward Yourdon. Ed latest book OUTSOURCE : Competing in the Global Productivity Race was just released and I guess he’s writing op-eds to promote it.

I’ve planned to blog about outsourcing for a while, but haven’t gotten to it because of the immediate negative reactions many developers have whenever the word is mentioned. I knew I’d have to explain my points flawlessly or end up with lots of developers hating me! But now I don’t have to, because Yourdon’s op-ed said almost exactly what I wanted to say, and he’s got the credentials to back it up!

Like Yourdon said, we can all be mad at outsourcing and decry that US politicians should do something about it! We claim our standard of living will decline, and the US will loose its competitiveness. Horrible thing, really.

But the reality is we might be able to slow the trend, but we can’t stop it. Anything we do to slow the trend will hurt our competitiveness long term, so why not go ahead and tackle it head on? After all, wasn’t it in elementary school we learned the ostrich sticks its head in the sand to hide? And haven’t you, like me, always been amused by how the ostrich can be so stupid?

Your solution is conceptually simple. As Yourdon states, ensure your “economic value” is greater on a doller-for-dollar basis than your outsource competition (see my prior blog titled “Pricing, and the Economics of Value Creation for a somewhat related discussion I wrote as a precursor to this subject.)

Clearly it is much harder to ensure your economic value than just saying that it shall be. But if you are a developer in the USA, that is what your livelyhood is going to require.

You might as well go ahead and start figuring out how.

P.S. This subject of ensuring a developer’s economic value is one I’ve been considering a lot lately, and I have a lot of thoughts on the subject I plan to share. Expect to see me blog on the subject numerous times over the next year.

2 Replies to “Outsourcing Realities: Time to Stop Whining”

  1. I would like to share a friend’s experience. He was a developer with extensive experience in banks and other financial institutions. A lot of work was being outsourced to India and all his colleagues were complaining high and low. Not him. He went to the company which had bagged the contract (for development and maintenance of the bank’s back office applications), shook hands and joined them as a senior project manager responsible for all onsite work in his region- at a higher pay. Not long afterwards, many of his friends were ‘downsized’. It has been less than three years and he is now a Vice President of the Indian company.
    While his friends whined, he acted smart and created value. From a developer to a vice president in three years is quite a growth.
    PS: Just in case you are wondering, this Indian company is one of the largest IT players in the world. Not some tiny third world sweat shop.

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