From the Ask Joel forums:
I think that the reality is that design and code are one – and every really succesful, productive software house I’ve ever worked for operates like this. Those that disrespect mere ‘coding’ and have a rank of higher paid, non-coding ‘architects’ who pass the code on to cheap minions struggle. Every software house I’ve known that works like this invariably struggles with way over budget projects. They then use creative accounting, time allocation and hundreds of hours unpaid overtime to keep the illusion going.
In this detailed picturephone fote you can see (From left to right), JP, Chip, Khwaja, and James.
Here’s one we like around the office, a kind of phrase…
“Good luck with no fuckin’ head” – an impossible, esp. comically so, situation or problem. For example, “Folkenaugle says this 2,000 page report, with charts, has to be done by COB Thursday. Yeah, good luck with no fuckin’ head.”
This saying, of course, comes from Barton Fink:
Mastrionotti: [The murders] [s]tarted in Kansas City. Couple of housewives.
Deutsch: Couple days ago we see the same M.O. out in Los Feliz.
Mastrionotti: Doctor. Ear, nose and throat man.
Deutsch: All of which he’s now missin’.
Mastrionotti: Well, some of his throat was there.
Deutsch: Physician, heal thyself.
Mastrionotti: Good luck with no fuckin’ head.
Quite simply, the Google philosophy can be expressed in five general principles: Work on things that matter, affect everyone in the world, solve problems with algorithms if possible, hire bright people and give them lots of freedom, and dont be afraid to try new things.
Not that this really applies to companies that aren’t flush with cash and time (as JP might say, “do those exist?”). Which is to say, principles and “Ways” seem nice, but only seem doable if you don’t have to run just to stay in place, as they say.
In the United States, high wages are a major reason for the understandable tendency of high-performing companies to strip out layers of middle management and to increase the operating span of the remaining managers, forcing them into administrative and supervisory roles. In Asia, by contrast, the ratio of managers to staff is much higher, so they can spend more time building the skills of employees.
[…]To give an example, eTelecare maintains a ratio of one “team lead” (frontline manager) to eight customer service agents, compared with a ratio of 1:20 or more for similar U.S. operations. The company invests heavily in formal training programs, which are reinforced by apprenticeship, coaching and mentorship. Agents who handle complex mutual-fund advisory calls, for instance, take a 16-week training course leading to the NASD Series 7 examination for broker certification.
Now, that’s something interesting and (to me) new in this whole realm: domestic IT labor is very expensive, so to make up for that, companies hire fewer manager and provide less training. Offshore folks are cheaper, so companies can hire more managers and provide more training. Obviously, then, there’s the potential for the lower paid folks to be much more skilled.
While this may not be entirely representative of the entire arena, this also reframes the claims of pro-offshores that it’s not all about cost, but the lack of needed skills onshore: the argument going, “it’s not that it’s cheaper, we just can’t find enough qualified people here, so we have to go there to get them.” Instead, it looks like companies have to raise the skills of both pools of labor, it’s just cheaper to do it with the offshore folks. What was that about rapture and the LSAT?
For those of you have readers that don’t read ATOM feeds (who don’t want to just switch over to bloglines ;>), it looks like
there’s a new service to convert an ATOM feed to RSS. It’s URL based, so you can, of course, use it in an aggregator.
Arley has been posting again. In one post, he rips apart Kirkpatrick’s offshoring column of late…while in another one, he does the old ‘you’ll never be on the streets or worried the secret police will cart you off, so quit your bitchin’ thing. Both, as always, are quite well written, for example, on McKinsey’s report that “for every dollar spent on a business process that is outsourced to India, the U.S. economy gains at least $1.12”:
I also wonder how much I trust McKinsey Global Institute, run by McKinsey & Company, a major consulting company receiving millions of dollars from corporate customers espousing outsourcing. According to their guiding influence, Marvin Bower, they should have “unyielding loyalty to the client” as their website states. This hardly seems like an unbiased observer to me; it seems more like they were paid to say what their big-company clients want them to say, namely that outsourcing is good for us. I remember another ex-McKinsey consultant from my hometown, who stated that lots of things were good for us which ended up causing the loss of tens of thousands of jobs. The company: Enron. The man: president Jeff Skilling, placed in federal custody this morning on fraud charges.
As it’s at blogspot, he automatically has an ATOM feed.