Instead of working traditional outsourcing project style we chose the extended team model. What is the Extended model? In our case this means that we have our developers sited in Ukraine integrated into product team as any other developer. We do not have a team leader in Ukraine responsible for the Ukraine developers. The team leader is one among the team and could as well be a developer sited in Ukraine – We have actually one team where the team leader is Ukrainian and sited in Kiev.
Compare to the more traditional outsourcing where you find a project team together in another sites than where Headquarters is and with product management and project manager sites fare away from the team in the headquarters, I think extended teams is much more agile then working with outsourcing. I believe that agile is not about processes but about people.Trusting people, having everybody in the same boat, working with every team member in the same way even if they do not speak you native language, respect them as human beings and not some salary reduction employees is a way to conduct agile leadership.
The benefits are clear we get very engaged employees. Engaged employees makes the difference. To the team, to the product and to the company. I read a equation ones saying that
Value = Innovation * Engagement * Engagement
so if this equation is right management shouldn’t be afraid of losing money one this approach.
Another aspect to the extended team solution is developers working in extended teams gain mostly all the good from the two cultures. In Denmark we have the culture of asking “Why” while developers in Ukraine often ask “What and How”….. “No it is not that simple” – of cause but there are something good about mixing two or more cultures of professionals. They will try to work very close together as professionals and will learn form each other very fast. It is like all the good things that one culture represents is presented for the other culture and making some kind of synergy. This will only happens if management has provided the right environment of trust and respect.
We as management start by trusting our developers to make the right decisions and not making the decision for them (which is so easy for management to do). Once the developers starts to feel the trust and the guidance they start to trust each other and now we start to get the synergy effect.