Well, it’s been a busy few weeks for me, and when my head is down getting work done I tend not to write very much here.
Most recently I have been to Ahmedabad in India.
Ahmedabad is a city in Gujerat, north of Mumbai by an hour’s plane flight (about the same as London to Glasgow, then). The city is as you might expect any Indian city to be – full of colour, noise, activity and people from all walks of life. The biggest surprise came as I was being driven around – the roads are simply chaotic to anyone who is not from there! Cars, tuk-tuks, lorries, motorbikes, pedestrians, cattle, dogs all intermingle in a seemingly disordered way, with people simply driving where they want and in many cases heading the wrong way on the carriageway! Roundabouts seem optional.
However, whilst this felt amazingly dangerous, I didn’t see one mishap – not even a slight nudge. The rule seems to be if you get to the give way line first, you don’t give way. If you approach alongside a vehicle, sound your horn to get them to move left. In fact, sound it repeatedly. Eventually, they will move left, (and in doing so only just miss taking out a motorcyclist). Amazing!
My over riding memory is of a town with people who are helpful, friendly and dead keen to talk to you…
From the middle of Gujerat I returned to Heathrow and found instant order on the roads, calmness, orderly queues and absolutely no-one to talk to despite there being easily as many people around!
So what about the quality of the work the team are doing for us? Actually, I am sure it is as good as any done in the UK. There may be one or two things to fix – but all software has bugs when it is written – there may be some issues relating to scalability (in time we will see)… but no matter what we find I know that the team will fix it quickly, simply and without fuss… that’s the work ethic they have got over there. They are all keen to get things working correctly, and with the minimum amount of time spent doing it.
What we have done is manage the process with weekly Skype calls, visits to India, careful documentation, clear wire framing and being as unambiguous as we can be… then raising issues clearly and politely as we find them. If you can find a way to do those things then I’d heartily recommend outsourced work.
In the mean time, back in the UK the project which is using this revised software continues apace – lots of work with end users, training sessions, documentation, testing, more meetings, more demonstrations and more training. It’s full on (but I wouldn’t change it)!