RE: permalancers

Subject: RE: permalancers
From: Technical Writer <tekwrytr -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: <john -at- garisons -dot- com>, John Rosberg <jrosberg -at- interwoven -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2008 12:10:36 -0500

Unfortunately, it goes back to deficient management. The reason for hiring one person over another is only secondarily related to the tasks that person is hired to complete, and is primarily a ploy by HR or management to avoid being made to look foolish. That is, the "safest" hire is the person who did this exact job for a company just like this just down the street, and only left because they wanted to do good deeds for some other organization.

The motive is the career of the HR or PM; mistakes are deflected with, "How could I have known?" and successes are heralded as brilliant selection. That often fills positions with "safe" choices with very little to offer.

The deep, dark secret that no one wants to think about is that outsourcing is primarily about control, and only secondarily about money. India, especially, is rapidly approaching (or has arrived at) a position in which "cheaper programming" (or whatever) no longer applies. They do great work, but their skilled people are demanding more compensation, and getting it.

It is not just the programming skills that are desired in outsourcing; it is the project management skills that are associated with it. Specifically, US PMs unwilling or unable to competently manage a group of developers (or technical writers, or engineers, or whatever) are the most vocal advocates of outsourcing. That advocacy goes right up the corporate hierarchy to the top; it is safer to outsource, regardless of cost.

In contrast, the typical US management solution of throwing bodies at a project in hopes of success is misguided. Increasing head count on a project that is poorly managed is costly. If, however, that project is well-managed, it is also likely to be broken down to skill-level appropriate tasks, and actually managed, rather than just reported. That is, assuming that only a "highly skilled technical writer with 20 years experience" can perform relatively simple writing tasks is inappropriate, and "hiring only the best and brightest" is just plain silly.

When project managers actually manage, rather the sitting scrunched over the latest version of MS Project creating diagrams and workflow charts, they will be able to assign appropriate tasks to appropriately skilled personnel.

When project managers delegate responsibilty for task (and project) completion to subordinates and hire "lifers" that are over-qualified for 80% of the tasks requiring completion and clueless about the other 20%, it is bad for the US economy, and great for the contractors in India, Canada, and Ireland. Also great for technical contractors in the US who have the exact skills required, do the work, take the money, and go on to complete other projects.

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RE: permalancers: From: John Rosberg
RE: permalancers: From: john

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