We went to live in Switzerland with my wife a few months ago. The banking system here is in need of (ever-cheaper) IT workers, so it wasn’t very difficult to find a job here.
I already have resisted outsourcing from the gut but now I completely made up my mind that I want never to work for a company made its money out of this.
What is outsourcing all about?
Wikipedia says: ‘Companies primarily outsource to avoid certain costs – such as peripheral or »non-core« business expenses, high taxes, high energy costs, excessive government regulation/mandates, production and/or labor costs.’
It is my understanding that it means: Let’s get others to do the work that does not mean much to us as cheaply as possible.
It doesn’t bother me that I work pretty cheap compared to others. This is the even-handed dealing of the world and there always will be a man who makes more money than I do. I don’t really care.
The fact itself that I have to work on a project which is really not so important, kills my motivation: a system of no weight, a kind of administrative stuff which – besides helping the customer to save costs – has absolutely no effect on the world. I do unnecessary things. This does not inspire me at all and I am not proud of it, in fact I definitely am ashamed of it.
Many persuade themselves that taking part in the development of an incredibly big system and that many people cannot do it. And not everyone has 10-15 years of experience in this area. Perhaps. But this is an unnecessary knowledge because it exists for a sole purpose which is not very important but means money. It does not inspire people and it does not give satisfaction to anybody.
Perhaps the fact that I work on a not so important thing – which does not add any perceptible value to the world – might be compensated with professional challenge in my work. Just a little refactoring here, some automated testing there and then there are a few interesting algorithms, and perhaps we can improve the processes in order to make us more agile.
But, by essence, the big picture does not change. Professional criteria do not really matter in these projects, just the cheapness: how many people work on the project, how much expense does it entail and for how long?
Once in a while the cool project manager gives way for the pressure of a team to do what they think is important. Let them have some fun.
These customers/project managers do not believe in that we do. And they do not care about it. Business is business and there I am – the IT, the employee – who does not have to understand why (s)he does what (s)he does. (S)he just puts the company to expense. (S)he is the necessary evil.
These people just don’t get what discipline and TDD mean. By testing strategy they mean a separate testing team who tests the system completely through its user interface. Automated testing only means Selenium (/PhantomJS/Tosca, etc.) testing for them.
They do not know the importance of the incremental and iterative development. Likewise, they do not know why it is so important to say no for some things instead of promising everything, and relative to what they promised – in the press of frustration and stress – much less work will be done.
What I have problem with is the scope. The departments – in my point of view, a faceless body in the midst of their political skirmishes – created the business requirements based on the available annual budget. No one cares about the fact that an incredibly complex system has to be developed which could be understood by no one and the 80% of its functions are absolutely unnecessary. They decided that. And there is the budget. And from here the project manager enters the picture: the paramount consideration is the compliance with deadline.
And what about quality? You only have to look at the user interface of these systems. It makes my stomach rise. Code rot is appearing at the very same time when the code is being written. The system is being patched all the time because it is full of bugs. But after all who cares if the system had reached its business goal?
Indeed this is the real world, and not everything is in black and white. Much could depend on good luck. But I do not want to leave myself to chance.
I am grateful for the opportunities given to me by people who gave me jobs and with whom I worked. I learned much from them and with them.
But now I do not want to engage in goals which do not concern the world and in soulless work to be done in a low professional manner.
I do not want to be outsourced. Not individually, nor as a member of a team.
I never want to work on a project for a single customer.
I would like to develop products. Products which excite their users and have an effect on the world. All this in a fellowship and with people who are forward-thinking and consider the goal – we work hard for – as important as me.
This is what I am looking for.