Letter from Managing Director, PMI India   |   Download a PDF version     

OFFSHORE CENTERS MUST SHOWCASE EXPERTISE TO WIN CORE PROJECTS
By Vimal Kumar
Khanna

A large number of global companies run offshore centers in distant countries. These companies augment their project teams in the global head office with the offshore teams. Projects are distributed across the offshore center and the head office, with managers across locations leading their respective project teams.

There is a perception in the management in the head office of some global companies that offshore teams are not capable and experienced enough to be able to execute core and complex projects. Hence, they offload only simple projects to the offshore center. For example, if a company is developing products, it offshores only projects such as adding simple features to products and maintenance of legacy products. Projects to develop core features of the products continue with the head office team. The value addition of the offshore center to the company’s revenues is then low. Further, since the offshore center does not offer opportunities to work in challenging projects, it is unable to hire, retain, and motivate good talent, especially capable and experienced professionals.

I suggest the following techniques for managers of offshore centers to convince the head office management to offer them high-value, core, and complex projects, which can significantly increase the contributions of the offshore center to the company’s revenues and help it hire, retain, and motivate talent.


i) Showcase expertise and experience of offshore employees
The offshore center management should share the profiles of their key and senior technical and management employees with the head office management, highlighting their expertise and experience in handling large, core, and complex projects. Even if these employees have not got such opportunities in the current company, similar projects in their previous companies should be should not only showcase the existing talent but also highlight the availability of talent in the industry in the vicinity of the center. With exciting projects, this talent can be attracted to join the offshore center in the near future. By building a case around talent availability, the offshore team can gain the confidence of the head office for high value projects.


ii) Gain advance knowledge of projects to train talent
Managers in the offshore center should work closely with the head office management to get advance information on upcoming core projects of the company and prepare their teams for winning such projects. For example, offshore managers must work towards getting advance information on new key products being planned and gather as much information as possible about the core features of these products. This will help them train and groom their teams extensively in the business domains of these products and in the technologies to be used for implementing the core features of these products.

With such in-depth knowledge, the offshore team will be in a strong position to establish its credentials for the project when the head office management decides to distribute the project tasks. It will allow the head office management to compare the strengths of the offshore team and the head office team in implementing the core features of the project and decide who to trust with implementing these. Since the offshore center will have developed expertise in implementing core features of the product, implementation of a large number of these core features will be offloaded to it for execution. With this approach, the offshore center management will be able to win core and complex projects for its teams.

(Vimal Kumar Khanna is the founder and managing director of “mCalibre Technologies". This article is an excerpt from his book, Leading and Motivating Global Teams: Integrating Offshore Centers and the Head Office.)

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