A dangerous thought about Outsourcing

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image: Image is public domain

Someone mistook this for the god of multitasking. Actually it is Narasimha, an avatar of Vishnu. But what if we left multitasking to supernatural beings?

A dangerous thought about outsourcing in software development came to my mind the other day. Why dangerous? Well it just might reveal something that upsets the prevalent thinking about outsourcing.

Recently, I have done a lot of introductory lean and agile workshops in customer organizations. A theme developed in these workshops: people have wondered out loud how avoiding multitasking or having just one project at a time might become possible.

By that, I don’t mean that they did not see the value in avoiding multitasking. Quite the opposite, in fact: They were very responsive and a I witnessed a lot of aha moments when we discussed the detrimental effects of multitasking. They just could not see how their organization could change its ways of working to eradicate multitasking.

And those organizations had something in common: they had outsourced their software development to contractors.

My dangerous thought about sw outsourcing

So it came to my mind:

What if the only reason organizations see outsourcing software development efficient is because the contracted software developers are the only people in the customer organization who are allowed to focus on one project at a time?

Well, that is my hypothesis that just would not go away.

What do you think?

Does the thought have wings? What other hypotheses can we make based on it?

Please join the conversation below in the comments.

Antti Kirjavainen is an experienced coach and a linchpin. Antti is full of energy and has many interests – he is a knowledge work management thinker, product development coach, a Licensed Management 3.0 facilitator well as an active member of Agile Finland Ry, Agile4HR Finland and Agile Lean Europe network.

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