The perils of outsourcing

There are probably hundreds, if not thousands of articles on the risks, and even the benefits of outsourcing to offshore companies.

The reality is that offshore development can be a valuable way of getting work done, and the output produced can be as good as an internal team.

The risks though are inherently high with the biggest being the communication breakdown and loss of urgency that comes with the disjointed offices.

This is the case for both English as a first, and English as a second language offices. I have experienced the effect that time-lag has on two offices and the 'us and them' mentality in a number of positions. It's almost unavoidable.

Where reputation is concerned the risk is far too great, especially when claiming to be a full service agency, though that's an entirely different discussion.

I recently consulted on a mess created by a company outsourcing work to Vietnam and not completely understanding how it should be handled.

In this particular case the client was educated enough that when the project commenced an immediate flurry of activity from Vietnam visible in Google Analytics seemed an unlikely coincidence.

A few days later they were asked a series of confusing questions via Olark about their shipping rules, and the various attributes of their products. These questions also came from someone in Vietnam.

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Better get a mentor son, better get a real good one

Over the last few years of my career I've been both mentored on and mentor for the various aspects of working within a business as an owner, employee, or client. This mentoring/mentorship covered acquisition of new business, the production of work, engagement of employees, and more.

It is a rewarding experience for me as a mentor, and an invaluable experience to be mentored. I meet monthly with multiple mentors who help me with different aspects of my day to day career (and life) in ways that I would otherwise have to learn myself far less efficiently.

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Four minutes of Google talking about not much

Google have created a great video about nothing in particular, though it is a wonderful way of learning about how awesome agile could be if you too become agile.

Google and Agile

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Don't innovate, just become better at knitting

An often overused and misunderstood word—innovation—is used to describe the desires and symptoms of a company's pain points without truly considering the meaning behind the word.

For some organisations a lack of overall vision and efficiency can lead to feelings of stagnation, a loss of purpose, and as if nothing is really happening. The symptoms are usually blamed on a lack of foresight, which is then attributed to a lack of innovation while the cost is a high attrition of both staff and clients.

The seemingly natural reaction is for management teams to encourage or demand that staff focus their attention on innovating, rather than improving. The circle continues.

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