Monday, June 05, 2006

Offshoring, Outsourcing, and Out of the Box Thinking




Unfortunately I did not hear the entire interview but today Neil Cavuto of "Cavuto on Business" interviewed a gentlemen talking about how the US economy is dominated by entrepreneurial capital but yet "our government does not change/keep pace..........." which reminded me of a speech I heard former Speaker of the House/potential presidential candidate Newt Gingrich give several years ago in the 1990's about the use of cathode ray tubes in the US's air traffic control system!!! Imagine your iPod having more functionality than air traffic controllers having at their work stations -- that won't make you sleep any better on your next flight :)

Mr. Cavuto's guest stated that "today's banking center is in Charlotte so why not move the Department of Treasury there.............." which makes a hell of a lot of sense to me especially given my childhood in Iowa during the "Farm Crisis" when small towns literally died out, plus my years of working in rural economic development in the 1990's where local activists chased jobs, and today's debate/fear about US jobs being "outsourced" India and China.

So why not bring some urban renewal to Washington DC by "off shoring" federal government jobs around the country to smaller, less expensive cities in our country? I love the idea of the Department of Agriculture moving to VERY affordable Des Moines, Iowa which is home of the World Food Prize (thanks to John Ruan for his leadership) and how about moving the Department of State to Seattle to place more emphasis on the rise of Asia's economies.

Sure this might affect real estate prices in Washington DC but imagine how the parking would improve when you visit the Smithsonian. :)

On a more serious note such a decentralized government would be more secure, less expensive, and would be easy to manage assuming government utilizes today's modern tools -- email, videoconferencing, skype, Instant Messenger, etc.

Save money via geography,

Todd

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

Would you really want the Potomac fever to infest the Des Moines river?

Tyler said...

great idea! although what department might we want in the Twin Cities? Perhaps the DOT, so the light rail wonks could pick up their sacks of money in person...

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Stay away from 'Yes men'
It is not hard to find stories of offshore software development firms over-promising and under-delivering. With increasing competition among offshore vendors, some of the companies would go to any length to land contracts. In a desperate attempt to keep up the volume of work, they tend to start telling the clients exactly what the clients want to hear, all the time. They end up saying Yes to everything that comes their way. '
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Some people still think that you can put a bunch of software developers in a room, feed them project specifications, pizza and soda, and the complete product magically appears in a few weeks or month, only to discover upon delivery that project has gone way off-track. Not being passionately involved with your offshore team is a recipe for failure. Your team is not addressing a technology challenge; they are addressing your business challenge using technology. And no one knows your business and your vision better than you.
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It's easy to underestimate this, but communication failures are the biggest IT project killers; whether they are onsite or offshore. Putting good communication frameworks in place is ever more critical while working with global teams. One of the most important things you should do is to demand a seasoned project manager located offshore who works directly with the developers. This person should manage all communication since developers are not the best communicators and should provide you daily status reports. I
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