Sunday, March 27, 2005

A Turn-around Story

Once our onshore teams are beyond FUD, our next challenge is making sure that the success of the onshore and offshore teams are one and the same thing.

I had one situation where a first-time manager was managing a 5-person offshore team. This manager wasn't really ready for the job; it was kind of thrown upon him without discussion or training. It wasn't so much that he was affraid his job would be sent offshore but that he didn't really understand what was expected of him so he couldn't help his offshore team be successful. He was dictatorial, he gave his team the busy-work that he didn't want to do himself, and his offshore team resented his behavior. Their performance was poor; and they were all ready to quit!

Before replacing the manager, we gave him a chance to improve: we set clear goals for him, provided plenty of coaching, and re-engaged his team on a visit to India.

Now, they are a model of effective offshore development at DoubleClick and he is probably our most improved manager. He invests tremendous time and energy in making his offshore team successful by focusing on communications, motivation, knowledge transfer, and team building. His team's performance is outstanding!

A side note: this particular team does visual design work for us, which requires tremendous collaboration with development teams both in N. America and India. It's a very challenging domain to send offshore, to begin with!

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