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Gene Kim-Eng wrote:
As for the expense of training an engineer to write vstraining a writer to understand the content as well as anengineer, we don't do either. It is less expensive to paya little more for someone who already has both engineeringand writing knowledge than to train either. It does take alittle more effort to find someone like that, because the techworld is full of engineers who can't or don't want to writeand writers who are "technical secretaries." But paying alittle more and putting in a little more recruiting effortupfront is not a "failure of management" if it costs lessand reduces effort in the long run.
That works well, when the long run is considered; that in turn implies application of a strategy that is in the best interest of the organization, rather than the recruiter or manager.
The long run benefit of recruiting the right contractor to complete the specific project may be even greater. The advantage is that it is unnecessary to locate the perfect fit for the job; that is the task of the contractor. Hiring a contractor who in turn hires both an engineer and a writer capable of translating the writing of the engineer essentially replicates the business model of Bangalore.
There is no reason whatsoever that documentation contractors or software developers in the US need to locate the "perfect fit" for a particular job, when the job itself can be chunked by a contractor, with various portions of that job assigned to those with the closest skill match.
I am suggesting that "outsourcing" could as well be done across town as across oceans, with a bit more emphasis on locating competent, skilled managers. Those managers in turn could do more to actively manage projects than simply to report on them. A valuable (and currently, often lacking) part of that management is chunking tasks and assigning them to appropriately skilled workers.
The strength of the offshore contractors is in project management, rather than simply software development, or some other type of process. Few want to admit that the technical managers in India might be better at their jobs than their US equivalents.
In both technical documentation and software development, a more enlightened attitude about the scope of work (and responsibility) of low- to middle-tier managers would be of benefit. It would also diminish the reliance on (and necessity for) offshore outsourcing.
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